The North lands of Echo, remote and sparsely populated.

People of the North

Shiroi and 5x5 eventually come out of the lake, and Shiroi simply repels the water off her body, then materializes new clothes, unfortunately she completely sprayed 5x5 in the process. Shiroi still looks breathless, almost looking at everything as if it were surreal.

5x5: *dries himself off with his own clothes and puts them on. Smells under his arms and nods pleasantly* Alot better. Do we get sleep now?

"Yes, we will. ...Are you interesting in sharing again?"

5x5: If it's alright with you.

As they return to the town, her father immediately looks their way. "You missed desert. What were you doing out there so long?"

5x5: My apologize. I need to take a bath, due to my unbearable smell. I didn't know where the lake was so she showed me and I tend to get paranoid when I'm in the dark of the woods so I asked if she could stay nearby until I finished. I washed really hard to get of that awful smell, now lucky me, I don't smell anymore.

While not pushing the issue, 5x5 senses that he likely isn't buying it. Regardless, her father walks off. "We leave tommorow morning at first light. Be ready to wake up early."

5x5: Yes sir...Wow, that reminds me of the times I used to lie to The Admin. on why I failed my missions.

Shiroi takes him to the building, which has been fixed by the townsfolk since the attack. Once inside, she turns and looks at him.

"I think it's time you knew the other benefit of gaining a Spirit Brand."

5x5: What else is there to know about it?

Shiori sighs. "Besides allowing you to visit the Spirit Realm and marking you as affiliated with us, they open the capability for a marked mortal to learn how to use spiritual powers. Soul Hands, Spirit Weapons, even Energy Tapping. ...The final capability of the Spirit Brand allows the mortal branded to evolve into a spiritual being. ...Put it another way, if you wanted to, you could truly become a spirit like us. Death... wouldn't be a threat to you."

5x5: Death comes to all.I have no fear dying, cause I know there's a place for me up there. *looks up into the skies* I can't keep living, Shiroi. Especially when I'm not meant too.

She gently hugs him. "...I know. Many of us serve him too... we are not immortal. Spirits can die just like anyone else. ...It's just a lot harder to do. A spirit can kill another spirit, and if we lose all of our energy or our will to exist... we do perish. But we don't have to worry about old age... not nearly as much as most. ...Though I do suppose it does happen... it's just not heard of happening frequently."

"...I won't push you... but I don't want to be alone after you're gone..." She hugs him tighter.

5x5: I won't be. For you, I will keep myself alive as long as possible so that wont happen. *hugs her back with one arm*

He feels her 'heartbeat' speed up at the touch.

"...I guess I'll have to keep Branding you every other month then... they only last for two months for non spirits. I could train you to use spirit power to greater efficiency, though you could only extend it so long before you crossed the border between spirit and mortal."

"I also guess I had better learn how to cook... I'm rather rusty at it..." She smiles faintly, before heading over to the bed.

5x5: I know how. It was a requirment back at The M.C.C.P. I can teach you how to if you want.

She looks up as he says this, halfway into the covers. "Will you?!" She cries with unexpected enthusiasm.

5x5: Yea ofcourse. You've been teaching me alot, o I think it's about time I teach you what I know.

Shiroi smiles, and slides all the way into the covers. "Thank you... I'd like that..." She rests her head on the pillow, staring up at him.

5x5: You sure will. I warn you it might get a bit messy. *gets in the bed next to Shiroi* Wait hold up. *gets out of bed right quick and gets on his knees and says his prayers*

She watches him for a moment, and closes her eyes, her mouth silently saying a few lines, though he can't tell what she's saying. When she finishes, she watches him pray through half opened eyes, a content smile on her face.

5x5: *finishes saying his prayers and get's back in bed* Goodnight, Shiroi.

She edges closer to him, lightly pressing against him as she adjusts herself. "Goodnight Jon..."

5x5: *holds her closer to his body*

Early the next morning, 5x5 tries to sleep in longer, but he starts feeling a sensation as though he was being watched, and carefully peeks to see Shiroi's father at the doorway. His arms are crossed, but he says nothing, still most likely aware 5x5 is awake.

5x5: *slowly sits up, his eyes are mildly blinking as he is still tired* It's not what it looks like...

Quietly her father replies, "I see the young man who Shiroi chose to love. If you were like the men who took advantage of her, well let me put it this way. You wouldn't be awake to be having this conversation with me. I was going to wake you up to head out. ...However she is resting so peacefully... ...You have one more hour, but then we must get ready to leave. Sleep or do whatever you wish. ...Besides... as much as I don't like it... she is old enough to make her own calls. She lives on her own... once they come of age, we must let them make their own paths. I still do not know if you truly are the man she has wanted for so long... but for now I will respect her decision. And good morning."

He leaves quietly.

5x5:...Man that guy reminds me of The Admin. so much...*looks at peacefully sleeping Shiroi* The last thing that I want is for you to be hurt the same way the others did. *strokes her hair back and looks at her a little while longer then ever so gently kisses her on her forehead. He gets on his knees and say his prayers and puts his clothes on*

She sleeps for at least twenty minutes, but then she eventually starts to stir, her arms extending as if seeking him out next to her. Eventually she completely stirs and sits up slightly, looking for him in the room. She relaxes though as soon as she sees him, though her eyes appear a bit unfocused, and take a moment to regain the usual clarity in her eyes.


5x5: *turns around shirtless. He has a royal blue flower tattoo no the left side of his chest and 5set domino on his packs. He smiles as he looks at her* Morning. How did you sleep?

She rubs her eyes. "Fine... but why did you get up?" She lets out a tiny yawn.

5x5: We have get moving today. We're going to see people. The Wonderful people of the North. *smiles as he puts the rest of his clothes on*

She lets out a low moan and buries her head in her pillow, pulling the sheets back over herself. "...Ten more minutes..."

5x5: Come on, this can be the time I show you how to make breakfast.

"But I'm not hungry..." She whines, though he can tell she's lying.

5x5: You may be a spirit, but you still gotta eat. Come on, I promise it will be fun. And who doesn't like fun? F is for friends who do stuff together. U is for you and me. *pokes at Shiroi's side and is pointing at himsfelf, then does some bacflips and cartwheels* N is anyone at anytime at all, down here in th---h. Well you know what I mean.

She sits up again, still looking tired, and gives him a blank look. "...Did you eat Fool's Blood Mushrooms?"

5x5: No, but there is a thing called Spongebob. Hurry, If you wanna learn how to cook, but 1st, where's the kitchen?

She eventually slids out of the bed, and walks over to a side room. She looks back at 5x5. "I will be back. And try not to eat any more sponges." She enters the room and closes the door.

5x5: Spongebob isn't something you can eat, unless it's one of those Spongebob Ice-cream pops.

She comes out a few minutes later wearing a white tee shirt and white pants, the change in style catches him off guard. He also notes that the dress she wore before seemed to hide her figure, but wearing normal clothes, her figure is now much more defined than before.

"Do you like it? I tried to match the style of dress that is more commonly found on your home world."

5x5: *is amazed, his mouth is almost wide open.* You look...absolutely stunning, Shiroi.

She looks at him expectantly. "How about that breakfast then?"

5x5: *continues to look at Shiroi for abit longer until he snaps out of it* Oh yea sorry..uh, where's the kitchen?

She grabs his hand and guides him through the house until she leads him to a small room, though the kitchen couldn't possibly be called modern.

5x5: *looks around* Ok, let me get the stuff we need.

1 minute later

5x5: *puts pancake mix, carton of eggs, milk, a measuring cup, a large bowl, a ladle and griddle* Your first lesson, is to how to make the best breakfast food known to man. The Pancake. Here you have all the stuff you need to make them, I'm gonna help you while you do it. You ready?

"What is there to be afraid of?"

5x5: Burning yourself on accident for one. Ok, First you wanna put not alot but enough pancake mix in that bowl.

She proceeds to dump half the bag of mix into the bowl, the dust cloud blowing onto them.

"...I think I messed up."

5x5: No no, It's ok. That means more pancakes for us.*slightly smiles* Now you take 3 eggs an 2/4 cup of milk and put it in the bowl.

She places the three eggs directly onto the mix, and looks at the cups in confusion.

5x5: Oh that's my fault. Should've been more specific. *takes the eggs out of the mix* I mean like this. *takes one egg and cracks it on the table, then just opens it up and the yolk and egg fall into the mix and puts the shell in the trash* Now you try.

She lifts the two other eggs using her Soul Hands, and they crack open, dropping the contents into the mix, and throwing away the shells.

5x5: Good. Now carefully pour this much milk. *picks up a cup and shows her how much milk she needs to fill up the cup*

She does so without any trouble and pours it in, having an almost childlike curiosity about the whole affair.

5x5: Now...hold up. *gets a wooden sppon* Use this to stir. I'll plug in the griddle so it can pre-heat. *plugs the griddle in and sets temperature to 400 degrees *

She stirs the mix, though she seems very much confused as to what's going on.

5x5: *looks at the mix* Your doing good.*gets some sugar and puts some in the mix* Mix it until it looks smooth and cream, you might have stir a little bit faster though, Like*takes Shiroi's hand and and has it stirring the mix a little bit faster, making the mix more creamy looking* Like that.

She mixes it to his instructions, then when finished looks at him. "Is this... pancakes?" Indicating the creamy mix.

5x5: *smiles* no, its the mix. Speaking of hich. *gets a can of spray-cooking oil and sprays enough of it on the gridle* Now it's time to make pancakes. *gets the ladle* Take this ladle and scoop enough mix and pour it on the gridle. Once you do, do the same thing again but make sure you you do it on a nother part of the griddle. Dont pour it in the same place.

She does as he says, and occasionally somehow gets it on her dress, though she seems not to notice, until there are an even amount of poured sections of mix, though some quite large and others rather small.

5x5: Your doin' good. Now we take this spatula and flip them over, but wee need to let them sit for a minute or two. You also got some mix on your clothes, but anyway. How did you sleep last-night?

She looks over at him. "Fine... I still would have liked to be with you longer... it comforts me."

5x5: Tell you the truth...that comforts me too.

"...I'm glad. I wish the others you left behind could be at peace. ...Things have been unbalanced in the otherworld."

5x5: I sure hope so...They've probably gotten over me at this point. Hopefully things will be easier for them.

She sniffs, and flips the pancakes. She looks over at 5x5. "I meant there is a war going on. I can sense it."

5x5: What's happening? It isnt another Fantasy War is it?

"Potentially, it could mean the end of human civilization on Earth. Unless stopped, the ones known as Phoenix will unleash a force beyond reckoning." She sniffs, and flips the pancakes again.

"You've met one of them before. Two of them actually."

5x5: Yes, Kukyo and some evil-white chick named....White.

She shakes her head. "Actually three. Kado, Torrent, and yes, White. White is their leader."

5x5: I remember. Torrent was the purple guy who beat the crap out of me when I was...out of it.

"I am not sure why he did that. Phoenix members rarely ever show themselves."

5x5: I also bet they wouldn't give care about anyone else except themselves. So why would he just beat me and give me a lecture for being out of it? Why not just let me go about my business?

"I don't have an answer to that. He may have had his own personal reasons, I wouldn't know. But it brought you here. ...Am I burning this?" A faint smell of smoke can be detected.

5x5: ...Yea.*looks at Shiroi* I guess it did.*gets a plate* You can put the pancakes on this plate. After you get them all off the griddle, put more mix on it. *re-sprays the griddle*

Shiroi does so, then closes her eyes. "A storm is incoming in the next few days."

5x5: Does that mean we're gonna have to get moving then?

"It's mainly heavy rain and lightning. The winds will be below threat level. The windstorms you became aquainted with are the result of a Spirit fighting another Spirit... either that or one attacked you directly."

5x5: Whoa. That must be some hectic fighting. The fight s between a positive and a negative spirit,right?

"Usually. But sometimes two positives or two negatives have a quarrel with one another. It's not common. It seems odd to me that it would just be a fight. It would seem too convenient that would happen out of the blue. Spirits of this world do tend to pick up on outsiders easily, as well as their intent. A Justice could have easily come after you, or a Protection like my father. Some spirits even take it upon themselves to protect cities of their own free will. It was so with Japan sometimes. Sometimes they really did protect people from their shrines."

5x5: You can flip them now. Are their any other spirits besides Justice and Protection?

"Many. Tranquility, Wrath, Anger, Hate, Peace, Nature, Life, Death... possibly too many to count. They each play a role in the natural cycle of life. Unfortunately mankind on Earth failed to understand the role and blessing of the Spirits, so if they didn't fade the majority likely abandoned Earth to its fate. Though there still may be a few positives... the majority would be negatives that linger.

Didn't I tell you what I am?" She flips them.

5x5: Yes, you're a Tranquility.

"Yes. I'm glad you remembered that. We don't have any technology where we live, so cooking will be much more basic, you know that right?"

5x5: Yea, I do. That means more cooking classes for you then.

Kyōdaina walks in. "What is that smell?" He eyes Shiori's clothing and what they're doing. "Are you teaching her how to cook? Her mother will be thrilled."

5x5: Everyone deserves to know how to make pancakes. She's doing great so far, but I guess you already knew she would.

"Frankly I'm amazed she hasn't blown something up at this point. ...We gave up after a while and moved on to other matters."

5x5: Well atleast she's makin' up for that. The pancakes are ready. *gets chocolate syrup and whip-cream. He puts 3 pancakes on a separate plate and puts drizzles some chocolate on them and whip-cream, then finally puts a black cherry on top, then hands the plate to Shiroi and hands her a fork*

Kyodaina silently leaves and closes the door, as if something bothered him.

Shiroi eats the first one rather slowly, then she eats the second one with little trouble, and then completely devours the third.

"...Those were ama-z-zing! Thank you Jon!" She pauses, and before he can start eating his, she tackles him in a fierce hug.

5x5: *drops his pancakes* Aw dang, ma' cakes! *ties to reach but the hug prevents him from even reaching the floor. He finally gives up* Aw. *hugs Shiroi back* Your welcome.

She moans. " I have a buzz... in my head...?"

5x5: I think I poisoned you with sugar. Getting sugar high, I think.

She leans up against him, but the chair ends up tipping over and knocking them to the ground, and she smiles as she lands on top of him. "Planned it!" She giggles.

5x5: You know. You gotta be the most crazy and yet so adorable girl, I have ever known.

She lays down on top of him, smiling. "So what shall we do next?" She says in a playful tone.

5x5: We could just lay here or we can start packing up for the trip, unless that's already covered.

"Father already transported the crates. ...I'm rather bad at transportation..." She sulks for a moment.

"You should see my mother sometime! She's the most beautiful spirit in the North! ...I'm just an adorable flower..." She sulks again.

5x5: It happens to be that I like adorable. *smiles at Shiroi*

She gets off him, and levitates the pancakes off the ground, they glow golden for a second, before landing on the plate and returning to the table, looking as though they had never even fallen on the ground.

"I fixed your pancakes."

5x5: *is breathless as he gets up off the floor and looks at his plate of pancakes* Oh my God...*is making a really wide smile* Your the best! *kisses Shiroi's cheek and runs to his pancakes and immediately starts devouring them*

As soon as he finishes, Shiroi looks at him. "We need to practice you going into the spirit realm. Otherwise it will be uncomfortable adjusting when we get home."

5x5: Am I supposed to enter a certain way. Is it my posture? I mean I can fix that.

She looks at him with a faint smile. She suddenly shoves him, and his vision flares painfully into pure white and black as he suddenly feels disconnected from everything.

"Try and focus on me!" Shiroi's voice rings out, but it comes out garbled and he can barely understand it. He tries but the painful black and white does not go away, just endlessly swirling.

5x5: *is dizzy* Aw snap, Now I'mreallyout of it. Alright I'll try. *focuses and sees a faint image of Shiroi* I can see you, but my sight is starting to hurt.

He suddenly feels a tugging, but it fades as soon as Shiroi puts a hand on his shoulder in the real world and pulls him back.

"I should have guessed you would have some trouble. We'll try again in a few minutes, you'll probably want to catch your breath after that."

5x5: *rubs his eyes* Ah, so much flashing. That's what you meant by 'practice'.

"It's not easy, I would know. It takes time, even for natural born spirits to acclimate to their first time in the spirit realm."

5x5: Atleast we still have all the time in the world to practice before we get to the spirit realm.

Kyodaina walks in. "Get ready to leave in a few minutes. We leave soon. Boy. Have you ever been to the arctic circle before?"

5x5: Back on Earth, yea. The only thing that kept my mind off the blistering cold was those baby polar bears...and then that feeling went away when mama bear got involved.

"Well it's going to be as cold or worse, and not much to say in the way of animal life."

5x5: As long as there's nothing there trying to bite my ass off, Im ok. But I will need a big,big...really big jacket.

He holds up a really,really,reallybig jacket.

5x5: Wow, man. I swear you're like Santa Claus. *puts on the jacket and moves around abit only to fall back*

Kyodaina rolls his eyes in irritation. "You are something else..."

Shiroi giggles.

5x5: Spoken like a true, Samaritan. Can you get me up, please?

Shiroi helps him to his feet. "I think you need a smaller one Jon." She laughs.

5x5: He said it himself. It's gonna get cold where we're going. But yea you right, needs to be smaller.

He feels the material shrink to somewhere more appropriate to his size.

"We won't reach the Arctic for a while. We don't need that out right away."

5x5: Ok. *takes off the jacket* How will we be getting there?

"BY THE POWER OF.... walking." Shiroi giggles. Kyodaina looks at 5x5.

"You fed her sugar, didn't you?"

5x5: *looks away* Maybe...She's awake, isn't she?

"That's not the issue. ...The issue is... BLARG!" He yelps as Shiroi tackles him in a hug. "...She gets excessively hyper and high as a kite for days."

"Can I have a kite for my birthday?"

5x5: How 'bout water instead? Water can fix just about anything. *gets a spray bottle and begins spraying Shiroi with it" Bad,bad,bad Shiroi. Very bad. Get off your father like that.

She looks at 5x5 and gets a wicked smile. The bottle rips out of his hands and starts rapidly spraying him instead.

5x5: *his face is wet* My eyes...It burns...

Shiroi smiles. "Surrender!"

Kyodania sighs. "This is why we only let her have sugar on her birthday."

5x5: So she's glutton free or something?

"...Usually. SHIROI! DOWN!"

She quietly retreats to a corner and sits there wide eyed and stays there.

Kyodania sighs irritably. "...Don't say or do anything to her for five minutes. You'll encourage her to keep acting up. She needs to calm down." He walks out. "Be ready to go in ten minutes."

5x5: Can I atleast give her water to drink? That should wash some of that sugar away.

"Fine. Nothing else."

5x5: *gets a water bottle out the fridge and rolls it over to Shiroi* Drink up.

She reluctantly takes it and slowly drinks it, remaining silent the whole time.

5x5: *sits on the floor and thinks about all the past events from his childhood to where he sits now. He shakes his head slowly as it hurts to think about all the pain, as that has been all their was in his life*

She looks up at him. "Why are you sad...?

5x5: Im not just hurts.

"What does? What's making you hurt?"

5x5: *touches his head and is silent for a little while longer*...Nothing. It's nothing anymore... *gets up and leaves the kitchen*

She runs after him and grabs his arm. "Don't lie to me Jon! What's wrong? You don't have to hide your pain from me!"

5x5: Believe me Shiroi...I don't want to hide my pain..but I can't tell you neither...Last thing I want is...*touches his forehead again as it is causing him distraught**runs off*

She chases after him, and after a short burst tackles him to the ground, and silently holds him down with her supernatural strength.

"...Jon. I've been living with my burdens for years. I've never gotten to share my feelings with anyone I cared about. They were taken or left me before I could ever feel my feelings shared in turn. I'm no longer alone now Jon. ...And neither are you. You can't ever move forward with your life if you run away. You said you'd be there for me, that I wouldn't have to be alone anymore. So let me be there for you, so you don't have to be either." She gently embraces him, and a wave of her tranquil spiritual energy flows into him, like a wave of soothing light.

"Let me help you." She says softly.

She could never understand. Forever doomed. Forever cursed.

5x5: All I have ever done was was my only solution, when I messed things up for everyone...

No good. You are mad. Run, little boy. Run to your mommy...if she's there. Better off without anyone. No one that you can hold back.

5x5: I have been so alone ever since my mom died...and I wasnt really on good terms with the rest of my family...They wanted me to be.different but I could never unlearn what my mom taught me..she was all I had and all I ever needed...*is trying not to cry* Ever since she died alI never had a say in choosing my own life, but I didn't even know what to expect to do with it once I got it...Without her, I felt like everything I was doing was...wrong...

Hated you. You were different. There was no place for you.

5x5: *is trying hard not to cry* She had to leave me...

She left you. She did not want you. You mean nothing to her. She lied to you. You we're too weak. Youaretoo weak.

She lifts him up and makes him face her. "Not everyone can be strong all the time Jon. There are many kinds of strengths, and many weaknesses in the world. Trying to change the world through discussion and understanding... not everyone can learn to see that way. What does violence even do for the world? All it does is breed more violence. Oppression only leads to more misery. You tried to change the world, but we're all just people. Everyone has their limits... we have to accept that. But that's what makes me like you Jon. You kept something important to you close to your heart, and never gave up, even when you failed. That isn't weakness. That's a strength that will never die.

I can't replace your mother Jon. I can't be her. Perhaps I can't understand what it was like for you. But if I don't try, that just makes me more of a failure for not being there for you. Jon, because you kept that important thing close to your heart, you were able to save a friend, you changed the heart of Kukyo, and ultimately she was free in the end, not out of violence, but because of your compassion. She may be dead Jon, but guess what? Your mother's love, what she taught you? It will never die. She is with you forever. And when you pass on... you'll get to see her again. And she'll be proud of you."

She smiles. "So until then Jon, continue to make her proud. Keep doing what you've always done. Fighting to change the world through compassion, not hate. You're not alone. You have her heart, and you have me. And not just me. You have the rest of us. Our people is one heart and mind. And yours as well."

Then why do you feel so distant from the world? Why does it feel like you were not guided by the hand of God?


She embraces him softly, then in a softer voice says, "If you want to move on with your life Jon... you are going to have to face it. No more running. You can't learn to heal, you can't learn to live without first facing your pain and overcoming it. Life is hard. There will always be pain. But running and not letting others help you only makes you wallow deeper, it will only pull you further from happiness. Until the day we die, I won't abandon you."

You held out for help. They would not help you. Not even the Father would come to your aid. They all left you in the dark. Never to see again. You don't deserve happiness. They have doomed you. The girl knows nothing. She shall never know anything.

5x5: *humbly embraces Shiroi back, still trying not to cry*

"Look at me Jon. When the time comes that you must leave and join the Father in heaven... I've decided... that I will come with you. You won't be alone. I promise. I will gladly go with you. I would give up my eternal existence so that you could still be with me. But... you have to promise something to me."


5x5: *nods his head* Anything.

She seems to cautiously look at her father, who is busy talking with the town leader. She looks back at 5x5, and she grabs him, and suddenly countless miles pass before him, until they stop at a beach by the ocean.

"Here... he'll not be able to sense us here." She looks at 5x5, and her clothing disappears into mist. Her spirit brand glow much stronger than before, and at the same time as he is started by the change, he strangely is more drawn to the intricate brand's many weaving paths on her body, stretching from both cheeks down each side of her body and ending in graceful curls at her hands and feet, a beautiful woven network of light on her body.

"I want you to promise to make me yours. Sickness and health, times of plenty and times of misfortune. Mark me with your spirit brand, just as I will mark you with mine. ...I'm doing what your people would equivocate to giving you a ring of proposal. It is something I cannot lose, unlike a ring, and is a reminder and sign to allI will never leave you."She says in a firm, determined voice.

Do not believe. She does not understand.

5x5: How do I do that?

Fool! Dooming yourself!

"Place your hand on my body- whereever you feel the most comfortable doing, and touch my brand and channel your energy into mine. You must hold it steady until I am completely branded."

5x5: *puts his hand on the side of Shiroi's face and his brand starts to glow*

His brand extends down onto her cheek and begins to intertwine with hers, and she flinches as it burns her in a similar way that he had been when she applied his to his body. After several minutes, 5x5 becomes aware of her thoughts and emotions in his own head as his brand finishes intertwining with her.

That was not pain. It was desperacy. They would not have left her they had truly loved her.

5x5:..Your much...abandonment...

She knows nothing of such and you know it. It happens in Reality all the time. She is just as weak as you are.

5x5:..She is...

She timidly touches his cheek, her brand slowly spreading to wrap gracefully around his, her energy feeling like a soothing sleep, yet gives him a sharp buzz, as though he had just have five espressos. Thoughts of the past, her first love, which had died in her arms after she had failed to protect him, her withdrawal from other people afterwards, serving Kukyo in her dark palace and slowly opening her heart again, a second love, betrayal... death... disappearance... despair, all drift in her conciousness. She seems to brush the thoughts away, seemingly wanting to forget about the bad times and let a new chance at a new life into her heart.

5x5: *head starting to hurt as he is receiving her memories*

This is nothing. It happens all the time.

5x5: So does poverty.

They would have left her if they truly loved her.

He feels her mind slowly connecting with his, but she seems to stop just outside of his boundaries, nervous. She appears as though she is gathering herself. She then slowly reaches and connects with his mind, a soothing contrast of pooling tranquil energy.

5x5: *his mind is agitated even more as it begins to start hurting*

Memories of his childhood. In a room, one shadow monster and another a feminine water spirit are strangling each other. He's peaking into the room and looks horrified and confused at the two figures strangling each other. The water spirit stops and wraps her arm around him. He continues to look at the shadow monster who is staring at him with hatred and resentment. The water spirit takes him out the room and as he leves, he sees another shodow monster only it is the same age as he is. That monster is also staring at him with hatred and even more resentment.

I'm so sorry.... is that your family....?

5x5: *His eyes are wide with fear and has a scared and sad look on his face* ...Yes...

Hated you. She chose you over them and they hated you. They could never forgive you.

Shiroi embraces 5x5, not releasing her hand from his cheek, as the brand continues to wind around his in delicate swirls, her mind helps to comfort him from the memories with a gentle, reassuring touch, inviting him to take refuge within the quiet hum of her consciousness.

5x5: *embraces Shiroi sort of like how a child hugs its mother. His eyes are now wide with sadness*

As the bond finishes, she slides her hand from his cheek to the back of his head and softly runs her hand through his hair.

"I'm here for you," She says softly.

No one was ever there for you then. Why should anyone be there for you now? Their lying to you, Jonny.

5x5: *has more of a worried look on his face now mixed with the sadness of his eyes*

She pulls away slightly, and looks at him with a slight air of hurt. She points to the brand. "Jonothan Waltz." She stresses his name out sharply. "A soul brand is a visible extension of one's soul. Within the brand I placed upon you I imbued my promise to never leave you. In sickness in health, times of wealth and times of poverty. In times of joy and times of grief. And I will keep that promisewhen we go together to the next life.That is the promise of my bond with you. ...Is that not enough for you?" She ends off with a low whisper of pain.

5x5: *tears start streaming down his face* I don't know...My whole life I felt stuck...l-like I had nowhere to go...L-like what ever I do didn't make any sense...I felt like I was lost in a fog...fog filled with people who continued walking...cause they knew what to do....L-like right now...I don't even know what brought me here...or why my life was so messed up...or why I try to help the other myths...everything feels so...blank now...when I look I don't feel anything for my actions...I don't feel pain...I don't feel happiness...Just...stuck...*looks up into the skies*

He sees a giant hand descending from the clouds unto him and as he reaches for the hand it shatters into broken glass and falls all around 5x5. He looks back up into the clouds and sees he skies going dark. The broken glass become cracks in the earth and it gives away under 5x5. 5x5 falls into the darkness below him, catching the last glimpse of sunlight disappear. A giant-diseased looking hand comes from under 5x5 and grabs hold of him and pulls him into the darkness.

5x5: I believed...

God has abandoned you. Doomed I tell you. Doomed.

She grabs his face and makes him look her square in the eye. "Listen to me. When I first met you, I saw a person confused and unsure of where he wanted to take himself. Yet you immediately chose to follow me and start over. Jon. You tell me, is this starting over, or are you the one making the lies? You are the only one responsible foryouractions. It is the same for anyone else. Your mother, your father, your brother, they all love you. We can help guide you, but you must be the one to steer your life.

The only one who has abandoned you is you. That's why you're stuck. If you want to finally move forward in your life, thenstop blaming yourself for things you cannot control.Your mother's death was not your fault. Them breaking up wasnot your fault,andonly you can accept that. Only you can take back your life. Stop abandoning yourself."

Hhmhm. She does not know what I know. Not even you know what I know and we share the same mind.

5x5: She's right...

No she's not.

5x5:What do you know? Your just a figment of my imagination.

I am, aren't I? It was nice mesiing your mind up, again.

5x5: *shakes his head* Bastard...

Shiroi looks at him. "We should get back before-"

"Beforewhat?" Her father's voice rings across from behind them, either great anger or great irritation marring his voice.

5x5: It's not here fault. She was helping me..cope with some trauma I was feeling. She took me here to calm my mind. I can't say it will last forever, but it worked.

He walks over to them, and then he sees the new brand on 5x5's face, and then the one on Shiroi. His eyes widen, and his pupils narrow almost to slits. He looks towards 5x5.

"You didn't...."

5x5: *sighs* Yes. It is what you think it is this time. but you said it yourself, your daughter is old enough to make her own choices and I am no father or anything, but every father should support their children's decisions. What's the matter with that anyway?

His face seems violently pale. " you realize... you even know... what the significance of what you've done is...?"

5x5: No, but judging by the look no your face, it seems bad.

He slowly closes his eyes. "...Come with me, Jonothan." He says slowly.

5x5:...Ugghh..Okay.*follows behind him*

He leads him only a short distance away, just outside earshot.

"...You need to know something. We all have our flaws. With spirits, we usually exist based around a basic principle... but because of that, we also have a... 'Fundamental Flaw'. Even I have my own flaw... paranoia. I need to ask you something. If you really are serious... no... the brand is proof of that..."

5x5: I'm just as flawed. I'm not sure if was thinking before I did it, but i know one thing. I did for Shiroi and I trust her with my life as she trust me with her life. *thinks a little bit* More or less.

He looks at 5x5. "Shiroi didn't act like she does now when you first met her, right? She was more... restrained... am I right?"

5x5: I don't know. She seems the same to me. The only time she seemed different was when I gave her pancakes. Why ? Is there a problem?

"...More or less... you. Shiroi is normally extremely emotionally reserved... however, she usually lacks any sense of 'pleasure' in her life as a result of being a Tranquility. ...It is very easy for a spirit such as her to become obsessive if not possessive of something that gives them a strong sense of pleasure. This behavior can lead to the spirit degrading into a Negative. ...For a long time, I've not seen her this happy. But... just be careful that if after you ever decide to become intimate with her... if she seems as though she gets... addicted... to something, I need you to make sure you avoid doing that thing that overstimulates her. ...I don't want to lose my daughter... not to something like a Negative."

I told you.

5x5: I see. Sort of like an overdose. I understand. i will do whatever I can to prevent that happening to her.

"...Thank you. ...I wish she had honored my wishes in her taking her time in this relationship... but it is not my place... I know though you are capable of being the man she deserves... just make sure that you are that man when it counts... I know you are capable of being stronger than your darkness." He places a hand on 5x5's shoulder, and he has a softer cast to his eyes. "And I promise that as her father I shall welcome you into my household as if you were of my own. Misgivings do not belong in the affairs of family."

5x5: *puts his hand on Kyandashia's wrist* I understand...I want to be that man you and Shiroi see in me. I can feel it inside of me.Last thing I want is to break her mending heart, because I wasn't being that man you see in me.

He walks back to Shiroi, who looks at 5x5 anxiously. "Are you alright?"

5x5: *slightly smiles* I'm fine. I can see you were probably worried.

Her father looks at them both. "I think it's time we headed out to home."

Shiroi blinks, and her clothes appear, changing into a long thick dress. "Jon needs better clothes."

5x5: that sounds like the bestest idea since the creation of SETI.

Shiroi makes a thick fur coat appear for 5x5, matching his size.

5x5: *wraps his arms around himself* Feels cozy. Thanks.

Her father closes his eyes, and they arrive back at the village. "Shall we head out then?"

Shiroi cheers. "Road trip!"

5x5: A road trip isn't a road trip unless we're driving. Which I highly doubt we are.

"What's 'driving?'" Shiroi asks, tilting her head to one side as she walks.

5x5: Something we're not going to be doing.

"Is it that bad?" She asks, confused.

5x5: Heck yea it would. Let's not worry about it anyways.

The Village

Shiroi runs up to the entrance of a massive snow covered valley that looks as though there is no end to it, along the whole center region a massive oddly rectangular lake stretches for miles. "We're here!" Shirori says cheerfully. All 5x5 sees is a bunch of snow.

5x5: I wonder if you guys have a Santa Claus here.

"...Santa Claus? ...I swear, you people from Earth have interesting names!" She giggles.

5x5: I could say the same with you guys. *gives a small smile*

Shiroi looks at 5x5. "So you can't see the village right now, that's correct?"

5x5: No, but I know it's there.

She smiles. "Ready to see? Might want to brace yourself. Will you be fine without my help or do you think you can adjust now since we've practiced a bit?"

5x5: Let me try by myself. *tries his hand at it and bgins to see a faint image* I think I'm starting to see it...

What appears before him takes his breath away. A settlement which could only be described as a city sprawls before him. Many graceful and beautiful homes dot the landscape, but looks as though they merge, rather than overcome with the land. There are gardens filled with countless flowers, and it's only now that he can smell many beautiful scents, and hear the sound of peaceful music. Adorning the valley walls are even grander homes built into the sides, with a single massive almost palace like one nested in the center section of the city.

Shiroi smiles. "Welcome home."

5x5: It' amazing...I've never seen anything like it.

She looks at her father. "May we go home?"

He gives her a look. "What do all newcomers have to do, Shiroi?"

"...They have to be greeted by the elders...." She moans.

"That's right. Now take him to the family home and introduce him."

She looks at 5x5. "We have to go make sure the village elders sign you in as a member of our family now. ...I'd rather be home right now..."

5x5: Sometimes, I tell myself the same thing. Even though sometimes I really don't mean it.

Shiroi smiles. "Shall we go?" She takes his hand.

5x5 *holds on to her hand a bit tighter* Yea. Lets.

Shiroi walks him through the tranquil streets, many of the residents greet him, but he notices an interesting look. They all appear genuinely friendly, but still look as though they are peering at his inner nature, trying to figure him out. Finally after many greetings and salutations, they arrive at the central large house, and walk up the stairs.

"You'll get to meet my mother soon! She's so beautiful Jon, you'll love her!" Shiroi chirps with excitement.

5x5: *smiles* I bet I will. It must have been awhile since you've seen your mother.

She walks all the way up the stairs, and walks up to a set of grand doors of what look like ice, and pushes them open. "Mother, I'm home! I have someone I want you to meet!" She calls out joyfully.

A beautiful white haired woman with gleaming golden eyes like Shiroi looks up from a book she was reading, as she sits on a simple oak throne of sorts. She smiles when she sees Shiroi, and Shiroi runs up to her and embraces her.

The woman looks towards 5x5, and she gives him a very similar, almost motherly smile. "And who might you be, young man?" Her eyes show brilliant warmth and kindness.

5x5: Jonothan Waltz. Pleased to meet you, ma'am. *nods in acknowledgement*

"Dear, please call me Shimo Rirī, Frost Lilly. 'Ma'am' is unnecessary here. I see you and Shiroi have bonded. I can't imagine how annoyed Kyōdaina must have been at you two." She laughs lightly.

5x5: Yea...*remembers what Kyodaina told him before they had left and starts to feel uneasy*

She beckons him to come closer. "Be at ease, Jonothan. I trust and believe in you. You have a different air about you than the other men she had in her life. A more hopeful one. And you have our guidance. Welcome to our family, Jonothan." She smiles.

5x5: *smiles back* Thank you so much, Miss Riri.

She smiles exasperatedly. "You're welcome dear. Is there any specific things you would like to study while you stay with us Jon?"

5x5: Hmmm. I could study just about everything you got.

"I see. Well, run along now, but would you kindly join us for dinner tonight? We have much to talk about."

5x5: Oh sure thing, Miss Riri.

"Don't worry about the elders, I'll tell them for you."

Shiroi smiles. "Really? So we can go home now?"

"Yes dear. You can go home."

"Yeaa!" She grabs ahold of 5x5's arm. "Come on, let's go! I'll show you where I live!"

5x5: *is being dragged along*Wow, she must be really happy to be back home.

Shiroi smiles as they walk together. "This'll be the first time in years since I had anyone living with me at home, you know? And... I'm just... really happy. To be here, with you, with my family... I love you Jon!" She chirps, then sighs contently.

5x5: *pulls her close to him and embraces her*

She hugs him back for a moment, and then asks, "Can I have more sugar?" She asks innocently.

5x5: No.

"Awwwwwwww...." She pauses and looks over at a woman sitting alone at a park bench, who seems to be quietly watching the ripples in a nearby pond. "...Sabireta....." She mutters.

When 5x5 looks at her confused, she shakes her head. "It's nothing. Let's leave her be."

5x5: *looks at the woman for a little longer* Ok. I'm coming.

Shiroi leads him to a small house in comparison to the others, a bit further away from anything else, surrounded by a few ponds and gardens. She looks over at 5x5. "This is where we live."

5x5: It looks beautiful. I never been in a house before and never seen a garden either.

"Well it's your house, well, our house, but you know. Want to come inside?"

5x5: Sure thing. I never been inside one neither.

Shiroi takes him to the front door, and opens it, revealing a central living room with a hallway leading out to three different bedrooms, to the far right side next to one of the bedrooms is a kitchen, the layout seems very simple.

5x5: *is fascinated* Oooooohhhhhh. So, if you can count that as a word.

She points to the right bedroom. "That is my room. The left one is for you. The middle one.... for special occasions."

5x5: Well doesn't our spiritual marriage count? *smiles*

"I suppose. What do you see in our future, when you think of us together?"

5x5: I feel like our future has never shined so much brighter before in our lives. *smiles and holds Shiroi's hands*

She holds him closer. "So you want to sleep in the middle room? Shall I fully manifest my being for you then?"

5x5: Hm. Go on ahead.

He feels a sharp increase in energy around him and she starts feeling more there, and he can almost sense her entire being compacting into a small sphere deep in her chest, and he starts feeling body heat coming from her as a soft heartbeat, real and organic begins to thud softly in her body, and she takes in a breath, and he can tell a severe difference, its alive and real breath.

She sits down on the couch and invites him to sit next to her, tugging at him with real flesh and muscle in her arms.

5x5: *sits next to her* Even in a physical body, you're still strong.

She shrugs. "Evolutionary wise it's insignificant. We really don't need physical bodies that much. It's convient for interacting with other mortal beings ....and reproduction...." She blushes when she says that last word, "But besides that we pretty much can exist without ever returning to mortal form. The only time we usually are in physical form is in our childhood, when our spiritual power is too small to take form, and many spiritual forces could easily snuff out our forms."

5x5: I'm pretty sure your saying that only to get your mind off the reproduction part. Besides, you do live in a world where most of it is inhabited by spiritual beings, so that much I guessed.

She squirms slightly and blushes. "Now you're just embarrassing me. Mean...."

5x5: Sorry about that. But you do look rather adorable when your embarrassed.

"You know, I meant something more when I asked about your thoughts about our future. I know it's a bit recent to think, but.... ....I still want to know what you see us doing as a couple together. What do you want to do? See the world? Settle down here and enjoy life? ....Raise a family? Have you any thoughts on our relationship like that? Or would you rather not think on it right now? I guess it's true about what they say about men being oblivious." She laughs lightly.

5x5:....I'm sort of like that to. But I have my entire life to think about that and maybe while I'm thinking, I'll be already be doing it.

She smiles faintly. "If you'd like to go lay down for a while in the middle room, we can do so until dinner. If you'd like to have a little bit of fun, I don't mind, though I do enjoy our naps all the same. It's been a eventful journey here.... I don't ever want to forget this."

5x5: I don't mind. We can have some fun later after dinner.

Shiroi walks into the middle room, undressing before crawling into her side of the bed, he's noticed she always tends to sleep on the right side. She lets out a small content sigh as she settles into the bed, looking up at him with a gentle happy look in her eyes.

5x5: *smiles back* Or we can have fun now...whichever or.

"Entirely your choice. Whatever you desire more I will accept happily. I merely just want to enjoy our time together. However we might choose to spend it."

5x5: Well in that case...*leaps unto the bed next to Shiroi*

"Diving straight in I see?" She laughs.

5x5: It's a thing me and my brother would do after a long days work. It made it more fun to be tired.

"I see." She lightly kisses him on the forehead.

5x5: Soo I get undressed and stuff, right?

"That depends. You don't need my permission Jon. Do what you want. If you want them on fine, but if we 'play they might have to come off. I don't care which you choose. Besides, we've already shared a bed before, it isn't that new."

5x5: Ok then. Strip. *takes of his clothes and gets under the covers* Feels sort of cold under here.

She gently hugs him. "I can help with that a little." She raises her body heat a bit to help warm him.

5x5: *hold her closer to him* So you're like the Human heater now? not really human, but I guess you know what I'm getting at.

"Voluntarily controlling my body is second nature, I can teach you various tricks using spiritual powers to make your control more efficient some time." She sighs happily in his arms.

5x5: I would like that.

"Mmmmm...." She lets out a small hum as she nestles her head against him.

5x5: *eye begin to sleepely close*

After a while, he feels Shiori's hands gently tug on him. "Hey, it's time for dinner with the family." She says softly.

5x5: *moans* Alright. *gets out of bed and gets dressed*

She hugs him after she gets up and proper. "Excited?"

5x5: I don't really know. Never met someone elses family before.

Shiori takes his hand. "First time for everything, right? Don't worry, you'll have fun!"

5x5: Ok...Fun. *faintly smiles out of nervousness*

He feels an extension of calming energy from her. "Relax... it'll be just fine. You have nothing to worry about!" She says with a smile.

5x5: Ok. I trust you, Shiroi.


Shimo Rirī and Kyōdaina sit at a family sized dinner table, large enough to seat them comfortably as well as have plenty of room for the dinner.

Shimo Rirī smiles at Jon. "I trust you have been antiquated with your home now, Jon?" She says after eating a few slices of well spiced meat.

Kyōdaina merely observes Shiori and 5x5 on occasion, at other times choosing to seemingly ponder something, other times stays focused on his meal.

5x5: Yes, ma'am. I'm still getting used to it. Never been n a place this big that was covered with metal.

Kyōdaina shows a strained expression towards 5x5. "Jon, please. Call us by our names."

Shimo Rirī laughs. "He'll learn, Kyōdaina. Don't worry Jon, you'll get used to it. The people and this city is your home, I genuinely hope you will come to feel at ease here."

5x5: Well it's not that I don't feel calm here. It's just the way i've been raised. to say 'Yes sir', No sir'. 'Yes ma'am.' , 'No ma'am.' For me it would sound like disrespect.

Shimo Rirī smiles faintly. "I see. Status among us is an illusion. You could say we are royalty or high class, anything that applies to our position, but we are merely respected members of the society popularly chosen to serve and run the community and to keep relations strong with our kin. We don't believe in titles or things like that. Everyone is equal, and everyone offers their names to each other here. It's sort of just a way we bond together."

5x5: Well it's not much as a title, more like respect-wise. Not like in status. Just sort, in manners.

Shimo Rirī shakes her head while smiling. "I know. It would just be nice if you could call me by name, you are my son in law pretty much after all. Shimo Rirī or even just Shimo. Please. It's like me just calling you 'Son in Law'."

5x5: *nods* Ok.

"In any case, I thought it would be best to give you an overall overview of Spiritual Energy to start you off in teaching. Is there any kind of subject that interests you? Science, literature, any of those?" She asks.

5x5: I don't know. We were taught those back at in the facility but in terms of just spirits. I wouldn't know where to start.

"I was just wondering how far you were educated, not necessarily in spirit terms."

5x5: Back on Earth, we're only educated to an 8th to 9th grade level and we we're taught how to contain myths from there.

"I see. Well, of anything that you were taught, did any of it interest you?"

5x5: Here and there it did. Learned about the history of many races and hybrids. Where you would most likely find them. Learned how to trap them. Their weaknesses. All that. Pretty intriguing stuff.

"...I see... I meant more on the lines of science and stuff like that."

"Yea, there was heredity. You know with the Punnet Square and um inherited traits. How to use magnets for electricity uses. And Intergrated Chemistry and Physics as it pertains to us doing our jobs.

Shimo Rirī sighs. "I imagine we'll have you learn arts and crafts, Shiori could help you with that."

5x5: Arts..and crafts...? Like how to make a home-made bomb or home-made tear gas?

Shiroi shakes her head. "No Jon, like how to make flutes or drums, or paintings, that sort of thing. That's more like... ...weapon making."

5x5: Does reassembling a energy sniper count?

"....No, Jon, making a weapon doesn't fall under arts and crafts. I can show you how to make a flute, would you like that?"

5x5: *nods his head*

"Then I'll teach you tomorrow afternoon, ok?" Shiroi says.

5x5: *nods* Ok.

They eventually finish, and continue their conversations for a while. Eventually a knock on the door is heard, and 5x5 sees the woman by the lake Shiori had pointed out, the woman she has refereed to as Sabireta.

Shimo Rirī promptly gets up and the two women walk of, beginning to talk to one another, while Shiori watches Sabireta until she is out of sight.

5x5: *is abit confused* Is she a friend of your mothers?

"....My aunt. ...And Kado's mother."


"Hmmm?" She asks, confused.

5x5: I know..his parents were....dead. Or atleast just his mother.

"They are alive... the clan is scattered across the land, no one is certain where they set up their new location."

5x5: *thinks for a moment* Huh...

"Many things are obscure, even the greatest of us can only know so much... ...anyway, how was dinner?"

5x5: *nods* It went better than I expected.

"See, nothing to worry about! You're fitting in perfectly!" Shiori says with a smile.

5x5: Nothing is ever perfect. In this case, it went alright. Thanks, Shiroi.

"You're welcome. Would you like to learn how to make a flute before we head to bed?"

5x5: *smiles* I would love that.

She takes his hand and pulls him along. "Follow me to the secret workshop!"

5x5: *follows behind her* Why secret?

"Because people love my flutes. Gotta keep the secret going~"

5x5: Ahh, Clever.

She leads him to a blank wall. "Now, tell me, is that a solid wall?"

5x5: No.

"Why do you say that?"

5x5: It's either and illusion or i maybe wrong and it is a solid all, but it's a trap door or we could just phase right through it.

"Well, yes, sorta... if I were to suddenly shove you, kinda like this-" Shiori shoves 5x5 into the wall. "Will you believe you're going to smash into it?"

5x5: Well, yes and no. I still gotta get acquainted with the wall first.

She laughs. "I suppose so. Anyway, imagine that the wall is made of... air or something."

5x5: *closes his eyes, and the wall turns into running water*

Shiori takes him through it and into a large room, where various tools and various materials can be found.

"This is my workshop. Pretty neat huh?

5x5: Very neat. Not like the weapons garage back "home".

"Of course, it's an art studio. Shall we?"

5x5: *nods* Yea. Let's.

She shows him a flute sized stick. "We will start with wood. First, carve a hole with this drill to the other end." She hands him a crank operated handdrill.

5x5: *drills through the stick to the other end*

"Alright, now carve a mouth piece out of this," She says to 5x5, holding a small block of wood.

5x5: *neatly carves out the block into a reed*

Searching the North

Lord Endlos and Alexian arrive at the snowy stretches of the north, and at first things seem normal, until a blizzard seems to whip up out of nowhere, as though it was hastily making an attempt to hide something. They can hear something faint and soft against the wind, something sounding like running in the deep snow.

"Hm, this seems to have been the correct area to visit," thinks Endlos, aloud. "Alexian, would you?"

"Already ahead of you, Erde," replies the human barely affected by the weather, if at all, despite his thin cloak and short sleeved shirt. He lifts a hand and a tiny pulse of light comes from his hand. He perks his head up then nods before speaking, "Yeah, they're here, but they're afraid. The souls in the area can't exactly tell me where they are, but they can detect them."

"I see," says Endlos before raising his voice, "Hello? I'm here to talk, not bring you harm. Can you tell me about a woman by the name of Caess?"

They hear the footsteps stop, and then a single pair of footsteps can be heard slowly crunching in the snow, gradually growing louder and closer. Eventually the lone footsteps stops. A icy cold blade of ice appears, though no hand or side of a hilt of any kind can be seen, the end of it obscured. The distance between the owner and them must be still great.

".....How do you know the name of my mother Caess?"A young male's voice, though marred by a tone of anger, and a tone of gurgling water and scraping ice. The blade absolutely radiates a cold far stronger than the surrounding snow and ice.

"Your mother? I see," says the king, "Your mother was one of my subjects before she vanished years ago. While I did not know Caess personally, I care for the safety of my people more than my life, so when I learned that an Endlos had vanished for more than a few days I grew worried and had the Spirits investigate. Only recently did I hear that beings that may have been Endlos hybrids living in the north, hence my presence here." Endlos keeps his tone even the entire time he speaks. "I am here to personally verify Caess' safety, so if she is here, may I meet with her for but a moment?"

The blizzard calms down, and a young adult made of ice and what appears to be flowing water underneath the ice, wearing ragged clothes becomes visible, his eyes glowing blue. A similar being, though a graceful female, with equally tattered clothing trails behind him, slightly behind the male and peaking out from behind him, just a head smaller than the male. His hair creaks with the blowing of the wind.

"Caess isn't here. Only me and my sister. Our sister and our mother... ....I don't know if they still live after the incident."

The male's eyes narrow at the word 'incident'.

"Please explain," requests the king in a still even tone, though his voice seems to be louder despite not changing volume. "If someone is responsible for harming a subject of mine, they will be punished direly." Endlos' last phrase is frigid in tone.

"Our mother, Caess, she was taken by the Warlords of Water and Ice, and they.... twisted her form into something like what you see us as. After they lost the wars here and on Earth and were subsequently sealed within the Slayers of Phoenix, our mother didn't know where to go or what to do, so she fled further north, knowing the shapeshifters bore a grudge against her existence, and ironically met a kind shapeshifter who helped her cope with her form and even worked to create a 'replica' form she could use with her. He was our father. They eventually became a couple, and eventually had me, then my sister behind me, and finally our youngest, Aoi, who miraculously was not born like us.

We were happy for a while, but when Aoi became ten.... ....they found us. An organization, no less than the one that defeated the Warlords all those years ago, came and demanded of us that Aoi be made one of their members, holder of the Ice Slayer. ...Our mother and Aoi refused their leader, and in cold retaliation killed father in front of our eyes. ...It broke our little sister, and under threat of killing our mother, the woman forced Aoi to become a member of the organization. After that, she captured mother and tried to come after us. We escaped, and have lived many long years not knowing what has become of them. We care not about justice for what the Warlords did to our mother. It was long ago and they already endure a punishment well enough. But our father is dead and our mother and little sister we know not the fates of after that. We tried to follow but could not. Now we cannot even sense any of the organization."

He bows his head. "I fear whoever those people are.... ....they have completely left Echo behind. We know not where they lurk now. Along with mother and sister."

"I see," says Endlos, his voice strained as the ground beneath him cracks and his shadow warps into that of an armored figure with a giant gauntlet and and three swords larger than the gauntlet floating around it. The king's voice hardens. "Thank you, I have an idea where to find the answers we both seek thanks to you. Hopefully, if we meet again, it will be to unite you with your mother and sister. Until then, be safe." Without another word, Endlos storms towards the Central Wilds with Alexian in pursuit.

"H-Hey! Slow down, dammit!"

A man seems to just appear out of the snow, Endlos recognising him instantly. The man has a silver pistol out, and a scarf over his mouth. He walks over to the King and grunts a greeting, not uncovering his mouth and making sure to holster the pistol in his jaket before bowing, and going to one knee.

"Pixel, you've arrived. At ease, we're heading to the Central Wilds," says the king, not halting for an instant. Alexian trails slightly behind Endlos.

"Erde, slow down," he yells after the king.

The guard stands, catching up with the King. He grunts and motions to his gun as if to ask to pull it out, as well as straightening his jaket and pulling up his scarf.

"Not until a valid reason is eevident."

-Act Three: The Gathering of Angels-

The Tower of Heaven. This was where Alexian had been led as he followed the trail of the presence he hadn't felt since he left behind what was left of his regular life.

"Seraphina," calls the teen as he reaches the tower gate. He hears the tickling whisper of the sould that follow him, warning him of something to come, but he ignores them as he approaches the gate. "You're here... I know you are."

The tower grounds gate opens for him, various spirits are working the gardens, some in meditation, and others are simply strolling. The clouds covering the top of the tower momentarily part, and he thinks he sees a glowing figure dressed in a lavender kimono, but the clouds obscure the top too quickly.

Alexian enters the tower grounds and glances around before approaching the tower itself. Who was that? Could it have been Sera- No, it couldn't have been her...

A spirit in brown robes standing at the door notices him approach the tower. "Is there something you need of the Queen, sir?" He asks politely.

"Maybe. I'm lookng for someone," Alexian explains, "I felt her presence here, in fact I still do. Has a young woman with black and white hair come through here? She doesn't talk much and wears simple dresses for the most part..."

"Not to my knowledge. If she does I can keep an eye out if you'd like."

"Thank-" The teen suddenly clutches his head and falls to the ground. His vision blurs and the scenery of the tower is replaced by that of a completely white plain. He hears the sound of thousands of souls attempting to speak to him at once when a caw cuts through the noise. A raven lands near Alexian, blue flames coming from its beak.

"It grows near," the raven squawks before flying off and the scene warps back to the tower, albeit brighter to the disoriented teen.

The man looks at him in concern. "Are you alright?"

"I don't really know," Alexian says, squinting to block out the increased brightness. He has a terrible migraine all of sudden and its hard for him to focus before his vision fades and he faints.

A cool breeze wakes him up, and he is laying down in the presence of a woman with a light lavender colored veil, and a white-lavender colored

kimono with dark purple inner layers, with light white tinted purple hair and lavender eyes, busily drawing on a scroll with a brush and black ink, her head bowed to the scroll as she works, when she finishes, she taps a dot at the end of her lines, and the line of scroll glows and vanishes into blue powder, which she sprinkles over him, and a light blue barrier forms over him, neutralizing the effect of the positive energy in the air from touching him.

"Better?" She asks quietly, a sort of gentle humor to her voice.

"Y-yeah, thanks," Alexian strains, looking around slowly, "What exactly happened to me? Where am I, ma'am?"


"You fell unconscious, my attendants told me you reacted badly to the positive energy in the area, so I had them bring you to me. We are at the top of The Tower of Heaven. I've always thought it a bit presumptuous a name. I am the Queen of the Positive Spirits of this land. My attendants tell me you seek a girl of some description."

"Yes, I'm looking for a girl with predominantly white hair, though she has a black patch close to her face. She wears simple dresses, often of a single color and tends not to talk to many people," he explains, "I feel her presence in the area, but I can't discern where she is beyond in this area."

The woman's eyes shift off over the edge of the tower, off in the distance.

"I would suspect she is drawn here by the energies. Out of caution, I have been keeping a close eye on her presence, though as to what she wants, I do not know."

She opens a scroll, and begins inscribing it.

"Balance," sighs Alexian, "Sera has a condition that prevents her from balancing positive and negative energies for long periods of time. I don't know what caused it, but its side effects aren't pretty."

The woman continues drawing. "I see." She appears to be inscribing the form of some kind of being repeatedly, but somehow in multiple angles with the ink, until she creates enough images to appear as though if put together, it could become 3D. She makes various writings, diagrams, and charts of varying degrees of complexity, until she stops and creates a dot at the end of it, causing all of the lines to glow blue, before a pair of strange winged creatures with a cavity that looks big enough to seal up a person inside on their chests come into being, and the woman whispers something to them, and they fly off immediately in a very particular direction, one of them seemingly grabbing nothing with the cavity, only to reveal Seraph as it closes its cavity around her, and flies back to them, dropping Seraph on the opposite end of the tower, and then fading into blue mist.

"I believe this young man is looking for you." The Queen says calmly, already making more brushwork. A circle with an outer layer of strange symbols is made, and she creates another dot, causing a protection barrier to erect around the Queen.

"Now why don't you two catch up, since you're both here?" She says, noting the scroll of paper is exhausted. She reaches over and pulls out another scroll from a bag next to her and begins again.

Several emotions pass through Seraph's eyes: starting at startled, then moving to furious then finally stopping on hurt. She nods faintly at Alexian, who repeats the gesture. Neither say anything for a few moments, making the atmosphere awkward until Seraph chooses to speak.

"It's been awhile, Alexian," she says softly, almost as quiet as a whisper. The teen only nods. "At least you're alright... You're all that matters after all." It is rather difficult to understand if Seraph was insulting Alexian's character or if she was being serious because of the placidity of her tone.

The Queen continues to inscribe on her scroll. "Judging from what I am told as well as your behavior, you're after positive energy, are you not?" She says in an indifferent tone.

Seraph nods, but keeps her gaze on Alexian who shifts uncomfortably. 

"Sera, it's good that you're-"

"Don't say that word," reprimands the girl, anger suddenly filling her eyes, "I've never been 'good' or 'well' or 'fine', never. You only made that worse when you left us..." Alexian winces and sighs.

"Look, I'm sorry," he says, "A lot of things happened and it was either leave or get you all killed because I couldn't control what was happening."

"Don't be, all of us died the day you left. Most of the others died again for various other reasons after that."

The Queen continues inscribing her scroll, writing complex formulas. A bird lands on her shoulder, chirping softly. The Queen continues listening to them talk as she works.

"So either way I failed," laments Alexian before sighing, "Of all things, I view that as my greatest mistake, but I don't know how I'd fix it even if I had the chance to. I didn't want to endanger any of you, yet my decision still cost all of you." Seraph looks down, the anger in her eyes draining before she rubs her forehead and sighs.

"It's impossible to stay angry with you Alexian. I'd really like to, but I can't."

The Queen looks up at Seraph, before creating a dot at last. The whole line of diagrams and formulas glow, and begin to condense in a large blue sphere of energy above the scroll, radiating a large amount of positive energy.

"Will this sphere be enough to satiate your needs?" She asks.

Seraph nods, though her eyes remain downcast. "Temporarily."

"I see." She takes out a strange glass sphere and twists half of it, and it opens, sucking the sphere of energy into it.

"This sphere can naturally over time draw positive energy into it. There is a limit to how much it can contain at any time, but it could help you provided you were to time when you drew from it." She closes the sphere and tosses it at Seraph, giving her a kind smile.

Seraph nods again, "Thank you." She looks at the orb before it vanishes into somewhere. She takes a glance at Alexian. "Truce?"

The teen prepares his own answer when a melodious, yet monotone voice interrupts.

"So this is where you wandered off to, Seraphim. I see that you are keeping... interesting company." The voice makes Alexian narrow his eyes.

"So it's you," he frowns as Helios materializes beside Seraph. "What do youwant?"

The Queen looks over at the two. "Keep your peace. Do not quarrel within my sanctuary."

"That is not my intention, madam," replies Helios, "I am merely here to assess Seraphim's condition and ask that you awaken Alexiel's familiar." If Alexian's eyes could narrow further, they do.

"Oh, no no no," he says shaking his head, "I will not be involved in one of Zwei's schemes. He's already cost me enough as is." This time Helios' eyes narrow as they flicker golden.

"You have no choice in the matter, not if you want to save your precious person and the Kaiju," the humanoid counters. Seraph looks at the two, confused, not understanding what the two males are debating.

"I'm afraid I do not take such a request that often. My art is not a weapon, but a thing of beauty. I will not accept a request, especially if it does not come genuinely wanted, or if it intends to perverse the beauty of my art with violence. And stay your tempers."

"Madam, with all due respect Alexiel does not understand the gravity of the situation at hand nor does he realize how much danger he will be in if he is not awakened," says Seraph, "People important to him are in danger as well as many others that he does not know. I am not permitted to explain more than that, but I can say that not releasing his familiar will lead to something very unfortunate, at least according to my creator."

"And why am I needed in this? Couldn't Zwei just contact a Yama to handle this?"

"If it were that simple, Anira, Alisa and Iylessa would be safe and sound for the most part," answers Helios before Seraph intervenes, preventing Alexian from .

"Stop it both of you. Fighting will get us nowhere." The two male grumble and glare at each other, but a pointed glare from for Seraph causes them to grudgingly cease with the hostilities. 

The Queen stands for the first time since Alexian arrived, and with this movement a change comes in her aura that although not threatening, it clearly indicates a more tensed tone to her normally peaceful energy. 

"I can see that your creator acts from the shadows. If he is not honest enough to appear before me, what good is the word of his messenger? I already have sensed from your spirit, one called Helios, that your master is not above deception to get what he desires, and has angered many, and equally has betrayed that number. My craft does not belong to that of the dishonest, nor the wicked." 

Helios' eyes flare golden. "That man is not my 'master.' The only reason I even listen to his orders is because Asteria feels that she owes him a great debt despite the amount of things that we've gone through because of that man's machinations," he states, anger entering his tone, "But I digress. As much as I hate him, I can't fault him for doing something good for once... As much as it irks me to say this, my creator is trying to help out a lot of people... Urg, that felt absolutely vileto say, but it is true... I think. As for why he isn't here, he should be preparing a spell or something that's going to drain his energy entirely."

"Ultimately it is still not your place to decide anything."

One of her scrolls levitates and unwinds in the air, loosely flowing between Alexian and the Queen.

"Decide for yourself if you want, Alexian. I will allow for an exception this time." Her gaze turns back towards Helios, the sudden force of it making him want to drop to his knees.

"Tell your creator not to ask of me for anything again unless he comes to me in person. I will hear no more requests otherwise. And he shall earn them."

Her head turns towards Alexian. "Accept or not, it is your choice."

".... Why not," sighs the teen, "If Annie and Lessa in trouble, I'll have to do something, so sure, I accept." He doesn't notice the look of jealousy and sadness that passes through Seraph's eyes or the shadow that follows.

Helios laughs as he forces himself to stand. "Oh trust me, I have a long list of complaints and critiques to give him , that being one of them. I hate being his errand boy, though if it keeps Asteria happy, I'll endure. That being said, at least you are reasonable to deal with. I'd probably visit this place often if I was free because of the atmosphere and scenery..." Helios begins to daydream...

She begins writing a long complex formula, rather than drawing any symbols or designs. Only toward the very end, does she create a symbol, a basic bird surrounded by a circle. Instead of finishing with a dot, she suddenly grabs Alexian's right hand and begins to draw more formula on it, all the way up his arm, then drawing dots on each of his finger tips. He notices as she draws his arm stings as though she placed embers on it.

"If you agree to it, place your finger tips with the ink on the circle, do not touch the bird or it will contaminate and not work."

Alexian does his best not to touch the bird as he touches the circle. Hmm, this fabric is nic- No, no texture analysis can wait...

The Queen places her hand on his, and the markings all glow blue, creating a stronger burning sensation, as the scroll burns up into a thick black smoke.

From the center of the smoke emerges a crow seeming composed of solidified black smoke, with blue and orange embers flowing from its plumage. In its beak is a trailing sphere of blue and white flames. It cocks an eye at Alexian before speaking.

"I am Shiki Ouji, the Versatile Assisstant and greatest of Shikigami. It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Lord Alexian." Alexian looks dumbfounded.

"Is this supposed to happen," he asks the Queen, confused.

"I didn't make a misstep in my designs, so I would assume so. Is there something odd?" She asks with unreadable eyes.

"I- No, it's nothing. I'm probably just a bit mentally drained."

The Queen opens her hand, and the scroll he signed turns red and closes, then flies into her hand and then she extends it towards him.

"The scroll can be used to summon him if necessary." A bottle of ink appears as well. "This bottle will refill itself if you set it out in the rain. That way you won't have to visit me to refill the ink."

"I see, thank you again," Alexian bows and accepts the items before Helios hoists him upwards and takes Seraph's hands.

"Thank you for your time, madam," nods the humanoid, "May peace remain with you." With that, the humanoid vanishes in a storm of feathers and light with the two teens.

The Queen watches them go, then sighs. "Might as well paint some more.... ....never even asked my name." She sits down, and continues her work.

The Lost Twins of Frost

When Kalin, Aoi, and Caess arrive, they are in a vast snowy plain, a severe temperature drop shock hits Kalin.

Aoi sighs. "Oh well, the quest begins... I wonder where they are..."

Kalin shivered slightly, as the cold seemed to irritate him more than normal. "Well, I could probably sniff them out."

Crouching, with his hand to the frozen earth, Kalin began to focus. Sending out his spiritual energy as far as it could reach in all directions for a full minute before standing with a sigh. "I got nothing concrete. there's something out there, but I couldn't pin down a location..."

Aoi starts, as a voice rings out in the icy wasteland.

"I'm telling you, I've picked something up, you impatient savage!" A voice yells irritably.

"And I'm telling you... ...that we're lost. And.... WHY THE HELL ARE WE NOT IN THE PLAINS, INSTEAD OF BEING IN THIS GODFORSAKEN DUMP?!" Another voice roars at the first.

Aoi looks at Kalin, and quietly whispers, "It's Torrent! One of the members of Phoenix! ....there's no way they could...."

She is interrupted by the sight of two figures appearing from the frozen mists. One is a man with a cloth mask over the bottom half of his face, and wearing a fur coat, and the other is a white haired man with a sly grin on his face, wearing a white robe that billows in the northern wind.

The man in the cloth mask lets out an amused chuckle. "Here I am, sent on a mission to find Noriko, and of all things, I hit the bingo target.... Aoi... Caess... and the man who took them away... a perfect bingo. If we nab all five targets, I'm pretty sure White will be most pleased with us... ...normally I wouldn't think like this, but this is an opportune moment... My orders are to seize Noriko... normally I would let Azula take care of this, but I have been dying for a good fight..."

The white haired man laughs. "As expected of my villainous side kick... now then, villain, it's time for you to hand over our lovely ice princess... ...the hero has come to reclaim her at last!" He smirks at Kalin.

The masked man looks over at the white haired man in aggravation. "Seriously you damn brat Kagerou?! How many times do I need to ram it into your smug head that YOU'RE assigned to ME?!" He looks over at Kalin and Aoi and Caess.

"Don't you dare run away. You're going to stand and fight me!" He draws his sword, and the wind picks up.

As Aoi, Caess, and Kalin tense up, Kalin thinks for a moment he can hear a rapid set of footsteps rapidly approaching the encounter.

"Aoi...mind giving us some cover?" Kalin said, still crouched, but his hands tensed, with one covered in red runes.

Just as Aoi creates a wall of ice using Ice Slayer, two blue figures speed over their heads, and begin firing blasts of ice at the two strangers, who leap back. When the cloud of snow and ice clears, Aoi gasps.

"Brother! Sister!" She cries out with joy.

The woman of the two newcomers, made of pure ice looks back. "Oh, so it was you, Aoi, Mother. I'm glad to see you're well. Hold still for a moment. She appears beside them, a sphere of blue light enveloping them.

"I'll take you guys back to our hideaway while he deals with them," She says, indicating her brother facing off against the two strangers. "Stay here and wait, he's going to buy time."

"Well, then. Guess I'll be joining him, then." Kalin said, drawing Muramasa. For a moment, he felt an intense pain in his head, but it quickly subsided.

The woman looks at him irritably. "Stay still. I was talking to you as well. My brother can handle it. Don't make me freeze you there."

The brother creates a storm of ice blades, and begins bombarding the two enemies, who both manage to evade rather well, though they can't get close yet, finally the masked man swipes his sword and blows the blades away, but the brother already is creating large ice boulders and rains them on the two again, causing them to retreat a bit.

"Not bad, punk!" The masked man growls. 

"Ugh, fine." Kalin said, sheathing his blade. "So, what now?"

"Wait just a little bit longer." Various markings appear on the ice being's body.

The brother engages in a fist fight, and the two duel for a while, while the white haired man just watches the fight and the group behind the ice with a faint smile.

"Sorry. Taking too long..." Kalin said, before pointing his hand towards the air, and calling down a small volley of light arrows, all of them aimed at their opposition.

"I must admit it to you, you do put on a fancy light show, Mr. Villain. But I'm afraid.... it is a farce." He holds up his hand to the sky with a smirk, and the light vaporizes as they hit an invisible barrier.

"Next?" He says with a smug expression.

The brother kicks the masked man in the face. "Is it ready yet?!" He barks.

"Just another moment!" The sister replies, now glowing brilliantly.

"Skip the moment, please!"

The masked man goes to stab the brother, when a brilliant light envelops the group, and they appear in a icy cave somewhere elsewhere.

"Alright, we should be safe here," The sister says panting a little.

"You need to be quicker about our escapes." The brother says quietly.

The sister sighs, then looks at Kalin. "Who might you be, by chance? Was it you who brought Aoi and mother here?"

"Yeah, that was me. My name's Kalin. Nice to meet you both, finally." he says, waving at the two.

The sister nods. "It is... nice to meet you too. ...Who were those people anyway...." She seems more nervous and scared now that the battle had died down. She looks up at Kalin. "My apologies, my name is Kiyōna. He is Zetsubō." She says, indicating her brother. "He doesn't talk much."

She looks over at Aoi and gives her a happy hug, crying. "It's so good to see you after all this time...! My word how you've grown...'re so precious, you know that?" She says softly.

The family gets close together and embraces one another, all of them tearing up. Even though Aoi is taller than most girls, she is still much smaller than her sister brother, and nothing compared to their mother.

Zetsubō looks over at Kalin. "....Thank you for this blessing, Kalin."

"It was nothing." Kalin said, shrugging. "It feels good, helping bring a family together."

Caess closes her eyes, a quiet tear of joy rolling down her face. "Children... my dear friend Kalin here has accompanied me here in the order of bringing you with me home... my first home, Twin Valleys."

The two frozen beings look stunned. "R-really?" They collectively stutter.

"Yes, really. It has been far too long since I saw my people. It is time I returned home. I'd like you to come with me."

Kiyōna looks at Aoi. "Will Aoi be coming with us?"

Caess smiles. "For a while, yes. Will she stay? I suspect that she will want to remain with Kalin. You could say they are very fond, very close to each other's hearts. She will likely return with him after a while. But she will be accompany us."

"Yeah, she'll probably-wait, what? " Kalin said, a slight blush crossing his face.

"Did I stutter?" She asks with a teasing look on her face, a slight smile. "You can stop pretending like there's nothing going on between you two Kalin. I know my own daughter well, Kalin, despite how long we've not had close communication. A girl like Aoi cares deeply about the things they care about, and will always want to keep them close. You need not be embarrassed by it."

Aoi is still hugging her brother and sister, who have slightly amused expressions, but she herself shows no sign of denying it, even though a blush comes over her face.

"Well...okay, I'll admit we're close. I didn't actually expect her to stay, though. It...makes me happy to know she wants stay with me a bit longer." he responded, smiling as he said it.

Aoi looks at him and smiles. "Did you think I would say those things and just leave you behind? They're my family and I love them, but I want to be with you, because you make me happy."

"You make me happy, too..." Kalin said, trailing off as he noticed the numerous  stares he is recieving.

Aoi pointedly ignores the stares and dives at Kalin and hugs him, causing him to topple over, she laughs the whole way down.

Kiyōna smiles. "Looks like Aoi's learned how to be a bit more... 'aggressive'." She says, laughing.

"That part isn't directly my fault. Well, okay it's partially my fault. Although there was that time with the shower..." Kalin said, partially speaking to himself.

Aoi smirks. "I wonder..." She says, stealing a kiss before straightening up and walking over to Caess. "If you're ready, we can go anytime, Kiyōna, Zetsubō."

They nod. "We'll be glad to leave any time you are."

Kalin touched his lips, and chuckled softly before sitting up. "Alright then. On the road again, ladies and gentleman!" he said, opening a gate behind himself.

The Bitter Ending

Cb07183faf 41487395 o2

The stranger revealed

The first thing Drake feels is cold. Gradually, his senses return, and eventually he wakes, at which point a hand holds him gently down.

"Drake Ryunexo, you are gravely injured. It will take you time to heal. Rest now. You have been through a terrible ordeal. And once you are ready for it, there well be an even greater one waiting for you. But first. Rest. Ask of me what questions you will, the time is now for it. But promise me that you will not get excited. The last thing I need to do, in addition to bringing you back to health, is being your babysitter. Alright?" The voice of a woman speaks up as he comes to. When his vision focuses, he sees the green kimono woman with the fans from before, keeled over him.

"How are you feeling? Do you... ...remember?"

"Remember? ...I remember fighting... Kagerou, Torrent, Seriah..." Despite the woman's warning, Drake instantly sits up and looks around. "Noriko! Seriah! Kanashimi! Where are you--" Drake gets a imense pain and coughs up a bit of blood, he puts his right hand over his mouth. His eyes open wide as he see that his entire arm is black and demonic, even his hand has small claws on them, he forces himself to lie down. "Where... Where are they?"

She applies a salve to his wounds, then places a hand on his forehead, the energy that flows into him is incredibly soothing.

"I shall tell you, but you must relax. As I said, you are injured, you must heal. I will tell you, but you mustn't get up. I'll have to make you sleep longer."

She takes a breath. "Not a moment before you fell, I arrived at the site of your battle. The one you call Kagerou had recovered and was going to kill the angel child, but I kindly detained his arms. After making sure he was unconscious, I attempted battle with the one named Torrent. Needless to say we were well matched, my speed only carried me so far. As it turns out, it's much harder to knock the Chaos Engine out than I imagined, so it quickly evolved into a two on one battle, something I'm not good at, considering I don't like fighting in the first place. I managed to retrieve the angel child from her hiding place after I grabbed you, but my fellow spirits were unable to defeat the one named Torrent before back up arrived in the form of a blue star. Its power too great, I retreated. Searching your memory, I was able to send an escort to the one named Kanashimi.

As of right now, Seriah is resting in the adjourning room, and I imagine it won't take long for the child Kanashimi to realize you're up.

....But I'm afraid that... ...I was not able to save the one you call Noriko. Between the two adversaries I had enough trouble, but the Blue Star destroyed any chance of me getting to her. ...I am sorry. They escaped with her. She was alive, last I saw of her. But I do not know her present condition. Please, do not get up again, it's difficult enough to keep you stable as it is."

He growls. "Great... So the two got Noriko... Just as the vision showed." He sighs before looking at the woman. "Wait... You're the one who I confronted that night, so then, who are you?"

She bows her head slightly. "I suppose I should tell you. I am called Sukina Spiritwood. I am a handmaiden of the fair lady Azayakana, Queen of the Positive Spirits of this world, Echo. History once knew me as Sukina The Untouchable, and... ...White the Fourth." She lifts her hood, revealing short white hair with long bangs, and gold eyes, though they occasionally shift to brown. Her face reminds him of two things, White from this current generation, and the White he had seen in the vision of Eien's past.

"W-White? ...Spiritwood, where have I heard that before..." Drake wonders for a second before shaking his head. "...May I ask for some bandages please?"

She takes a roll out of her sleeve and hands him them. "Unlike the generations that came after me, I led a generation who tried to live a life of integrity and service to the world. I admit, I was often lazy, but never would I have imagined, that such evil could be born of my descendants."

"Yeah, no wonder..." Drake says brashly, he then starts to cover his entire right arm with the bandages. "It's a drive that I'll never understand... Hmph... This White needs to pay."

"She will. Already forces gather on both sides, and we shall soon see the end of this long road. I have already arranged for some of those forces to meet here soon. These descendants of mine, their actions could be said to have been caused by my mistakes. As their predessor, it is my duty to right them."

The door swings open, and a gentle voice speaks. "Has he wakened?"

Drake turns his head over and sees the woman. "Hmm? And who might you be?"

"My name is Azayakana. You're one of the few visitors who have even bothered to ask my name. It does tend to get lonely when one isn't even asked such a simple grace. You are Drake Ryunexo? I am terribly sorry about the events that have transpired. I wish we could have done more for you. Please feel free to rest and recover. We expect to have visitors within the coming weeks, and there is much I sense you will need to know and have done."

"I don't need rest..." He slowly sits up and looks at Azayakana, he then nods. "It's a pleasure you, Azayakana, and yes, I am Drake Ryunexo." He then looks at Sukina. "So, we'll be having visitors? Can I ask of their names?"

Azayakana closes her eyes and smiles, but Drake feels a mountianous pressure upon him, gentle, but enormous. It almost feels like a hand, which pushes him back down.

"You need your rest," She firmly stresses. "You have been through much, have you not? Even if you could lie to me about your physical status, I have no doubt in my mind you will need time mentally to heal. I imagine you will understand soon."

Drake sighs. "I can tell that this is gonna be a pain for a while, so I can't get the name of the visitors?"

Sukina looks at the queen, who quietly nods.

"One by the name of Kado Spiritwood, my partner Nobuyuki, and a companion of Kado's, Akami. However... he is coming here to receive special training from the Queen. You will not have an opportunity to speak with him until after the second part of it."

Drake smirks. "Oh? Good ol' masky... Two more questions, then I'll rest; where are we exactly? And is there a training or sparring room?"

The spirit queen opens her eyes, swirling energy replacing her lavander irises in a not too subtle display of firm temper.

"You should not even consider sparing, much less walking, for about another day." There is a similar pressure from the first time, but broader, as though her mere words carry her power.

"As for the first question," She says, her eyes returning to lavender and the pressure settling back down to a gentle aura, "You are in the Tower of Heaven, my capital. It is akin to a temple or monastary. I would ask that you do not go about challenging others here. When Nobuyuki arrives, you will have an opertunity to train with him then. At least until I finish training Kado."

"I see... Well then... I guess I'll have to wait until I awaken, see you then, m'lady." Drake exhales one more time before closing his eyes, easily falling asleep.

The spirit queen watches him for a moment. "I pray for his heart. I fear more trials await him. I can only hope he perseveres." She leaves. Sukina remains attending Drake, and after a while, Kanashimi comes in, when she sees Drake she shows a rare smile, then hugs him lightly as to not disturb his sleep, then takes a pillow and blanket and lays on an adjacent cot to Drake's.

"I'll see you later, old man." She says, then falls asleep.

Sukina observes the two quietly. "They may not be truly father and daughter in the flesh, but in the soul, they are no doubt truly family."

Outside the tower, two yellow cloaked figures loom.

"...So the future I foresaw came to pass. I'm glad that at least they were brought together for the time they had. Perhaps this will give him the resolve he will need to survive the coming war. Kaminari, I have fulfilled your request. I gave them a chance for happiness for the future. Now it is up to them to steady the course. ...I only wish I could fulfill for you the same. This last request before you disappear... I'm glad you gave me at least that." Eien says quietly.

"...Goodbye, my love." He says as the cloaked woman besides him vanishes into dust.

"...I'm sorry." He looks down at Drake one last time, then vanishes.

Sometime later, lunch is made, and Drake is woken by the smell. It smells familiar, like a certain type of food he likes...

He sits up and smiles as his body aches less, he gets up on his feet and begins to follow the scent. 

He comes to a dining hall, where Seriah, Kanashimi, Sukina, and Azayakana have already seated.

"I see you have woken," The queen remarks. "Have a seat." She indicates a seat on her left, next to Seriah. Seriah appears to have bandages on her head.

"Drake awake!" The girl cries out happily.

Drake walks over and sits down, he looks at Kanashimi and smiles before looking at Seriah and giving her a small hug. "Hello there Seriah... Are you alright? What's with the bandage?"

"Big mean guy hit me. I passed out. Have big boo boo." She yawns.

Kanashimi sighs. "It's like you're a mobile adoption center."

He chuckles as he softly pats Seriah's head, he then stands up and walks over to Kanashimi, giving her a hug too. "Call me what you want, I'm just glad that both of you are safe..."

"Yeah the only thing I saw was something akin to a nuclear explosion after the lightning and wind stopped trying to tear each other apart."

Sukina looks at her for a moment. "So you saw the Blue Star's attack as well."

"Yeah, that shit was scary."

"Blue Star...? So it's a person?" Drake asks while he sits back down.

"Yes. I couldn't make anything out. I knew it was female, but that's about it. It had a powerful blue glow, as though she was a living star or something. Her power was enormous."

Drake sighs. "Great... Another opponent to take down, y'know for once... Kinda sick of fighting bastards." He then suddenly tilts his head down slightly. "Oh, sorry for my language, m'lady." Drake says to Azayakana before chuckling slightly, a smile on his face nevertheless. 

"It's quite alright. Try not to make a habit out of it, for the child's sake."

"Alright... Now if you excuse me, I'm a bit hungry." And with that, Drake starts to eat the food lay out on his dish, all the while trying to be polite.

Seriah takes small nibbles of food, the Queen however eats very little at all.

After a while, he looks at the two and tilts his head. "Umm, is there something wrong with the food? Or aren't you two just hungry?"

Aza shakes her head. "I do not eat much."

Seriah just tilts her head. "Tiny stomach, lots and lots of food!"

"I don't mean to be rude, m'lady... But if you insisted that I needed rest, then I'm insisting that you need to eat." He then looks at Seriah. "If you want, I can help you cut your food so it's not too big, that might help you."

"I am appreciative of your concern, but I do not need to eat. Much. I can eat only once a year and never have to dine again. Such is the nature of us spirits."

"That seems more like a curse than a blessing, considering the amount of food with amazing taste, having to only eat once a year is horrible."

She closes her eyes. "I said I can. Not that I do. I usually eat once a month. Or when I have company, I eat to be social. Beyond that, I do not eat. I've already eaten this month, but I choose to eat with my guests. Besides, that makes food all the more special to enjoy."

She smiles. "Oh, if you have a person that you know that is a Spirit, they probably are going to get very hyper, very fast if you give them sugary food. Sugar highs are much more intense for us than it is for you of the flesh."

Drake looks at Kanashimi, a small smile on his face proving that he knows such a person, he then looks back at Azayakana. "Yep, I know that all too well." He chuckles.

Seriah has grabbed a knife and is attempting to cut the meat.

"Here, let me help." He softly places his hands ontop of hers and helps her cut the meat. "See? It's like this, it makes it easier and lowers the chance of you hurting yourself."

"...Thank... you..."

"You're welcome, now eat as much as you can."

She smiles, and eats until full, then crawls into his lap.

Drake pets her for a moment before finishing his own food.

Sukina looks at Drake. "Do you have any questions for us?"

"It may be a stupid question, but why were you following us? And why did you bring us back to here? We could have been villains for all you know."

"...I was for one, chasing ghosts of the past, as it were. As for why I brought you here, it was because you were in need. Let's overall say I and my lady sensed trouble stirring based around you, and so I was deployed to see why."

"Ah alright..." He picks Seriah up and puts her on her chair, Drake stands up and walks away. "If you need me, I'll be off, you'll know where to find me."

"Going back to rest?" Azayakana speaks up. "If you find you are not quite tired yet, you can join me at the top of the tower." She says, getting up.

"I'm not tired, so I guess I'll follow you up to the tower."

She quietly walks to the door and out into the hall, from there she begins walking up a spiral staircase. 

Drake soon follows and then asks Azayakana. "So why did you suggest going to the top of the tower?"

"You will understand." She says, continuing walking higher.

"Ok... Oh, Sukina said that she's a handmadien to the Queen of the Positive Spirits of this world, Echo. Are you seriously a queen? Or something even higher?"

"Some may call me a goddess. But I am their queen. They anointed me as such, though I was reluctant to accept. Before I was their queen, I lived in this tower all alone."

"A goddess? Hmm, it wouldn't surprise me... So you lived in this massive tower all by yourself, seems very lonely..."

"I was. But I had something to fill that loneness. It's something all young ones have when they are growing up. Bitterness."

"Bitterness? What would you be bitter about?"

They arrive after a bit of silence and walking, onto the very top. The top seems to rest just above what seems like an endless sea of clouds. She walks over to the edge of the tower, and sits down. Abruptly, several scrolls appear and she begins to draw incredibly complex designs. Of a person. After a long period of drawing, she marks the end of the scroll with a '.'

The scroll glows, and in a whirlwind of blue light, a young female elf takes shape, a minute later clothing forms over her, and the two servants that always follow Azayakana brace the newborn elf and lay her down, she is apparently sleeping.

"This is my gift, the gift of which the peoples of this world call me the Kanjo Goddess of Life. My father is Kagayaki, the firstborn of the Elemental Warlords. I sense that you have met him -indirectly, once before. I speak of the eight spirits of the swords of Phoenix, the Slayers. They are my family. Through the drawings I weave, I give life to plants, animals, people, almost anything you could imagine, I can breath life into my drawings can make them alive."

"So you give life through your drawings... I guess the people of Echo plead out to you if a loved one dies..." Drake takes a look at the newborn before looking back at Azayakana. "And the spirits sealed inside Phoenix's Slayers are your family? All of them?"

"Few actually know of my location. I make new life. I do not bring it back. My brother, the Black King, he rules over Death. To rebirth those who have past would violate his authority. As for the second question, yes. Grandma Kukyo, the spirit of Kado's sword, has been freed, and I sense she is no longer tied to the darkness. It would seem that Kado's own dark side has taken her place. Besides that once exception, yes. They are all my family. 

I have not seen them in years. Not since the war. You asked why I would be bitter? Let me tell you. They saw my creations, and directed them into warfare, creating hatred that continues to flow to this day, hundreds of years later. My children, my world of life, tarnished through senseless violence. I pleaded again and again for them to stop. But when they would not listen, I abandoned my father, my grandma, and my uncles and aunts. I fled to this northly land and made it my isolated sanctuary. Since that time, I have only come out of my isolation once. And that was when I dwelled among my creations, and sired the royal lineage that would spawn the Empire of Chinmoku. From that very bloodline White and Kado, even Sukina are sprung.

I still feel the pain of long ago. I do not know if I could ever look at my father again."

Drake just stays silent before looking at the sea of clouds and smiling. "I imagine that's how these worlds goes, hell... That's the premise of it, someone creates life, some see peace and others see war, causes situations such as yours. The hatred was always there, but warfare and senseless violence only brightens the embers of hate. I guess people such as you will go to extremes just for peace, it is a shame that worlds will now have wars over simple things such as a race or minor disagreement, isn't it?" After a moment of silence, Drake just chuckles. "I'm sorry if I didn't made any sense, I'd just wanted to see how the wise would give wisdom. It's great to know that I'm not capable of that." His smile widens.

"No apology is needed. It was a genuine thought, which is more than some can allow themselves to have. By the way, always ask the name of a spirit that you meet if you start a conversation. We don't believe in titles, we don't even really like to use Sir or Mr, things like that. So always ask. Its our way of being equal with each other."

"So... Just call you by your name? And not stuff like, m'lady or sir?"

"Yes, that is the basic idea. We try to build community, not status or power. We try to live a pure philosophy."

"Ok, I'll keep that in mind, Azayakana." He says, he then takes a gaze at the clouds again. "So other than creating life, is this why you come up here?"

"I glance upon this endless white landscape and see nothing of the land I have given life to. It is a blank canvas. I am truly alone up here. Not even the songs of the birds reach here. It is... ironic this scene though. Below, there was only a vast white landscape, and a blue sky. But now it sort of repeats."

"A blank canvas... Nothing to cloud your mind, no distractions... It's sort of like a clean slate every time, when I see this... I see another chance at something, giving you a chance to perfect something, only then will the canvas be full... Is that what you see?"

She blinks, seemingly unsure how to answer, but then she smiles softly. "I suppose you could be correct on that one."

"Heh... I guess even the biggest of fools can have some sense of wisdom of their own. But nevertheless, it's a beautiful sight."

"That it is. Would you like something to drink?"

"Hmm? Like what?"

"It really doesn't matter. Just anything you might like."

"...Probably just a small alchoholic drink will be fine, if that's allowed here."

"That is acceptable, in moderation of course. You sure that's what you want?" She says, taking out a small scroll.

"A sweet cider will be nice, please."

She nods, and begins to draw, a moment later she finishes with a '.', and a glass of cider materializes just in front of Drake, the glass seem beautifully made.

He smiles. "Beautifully crafted." He takes a sip and makes a sigh of relief. "And tastes like liquid gold, thank you Azayakana."

"You are quite welcome. Tell me of the angel child."

"Seriah? ...Well, she's a CE or Chaos Engine as they're called, originally human or mytho, but captured and experimented on by Phoenix. Seriah is the first of them, she has a strange ability to purify but at the cost of it losing her own purity, causing her to age like she does... We have a machine called the Processor she has to get placed in so she can revert back, it's to help her but it erases her memories in the process... I had to put her in it once so far, one of the hardest things I did..."

"...I see. It pains you? Describe how this ability works in further detail, if you can."

"Well... My Slayer has a creature known as Corruption inside of it, he is completely impure, darkness personified if that makes sense. Seriah's ability is basically the bane of Corruption as it purifies him, which actually would erase him. It is hard to explain, but she basically emits a vibe or aura which destroys darkness and evil."

"So she absorbs the taint of others to purify them, thus corrupting her. ...If I am correct, then that would mean to counter, she must absorb purity to regain it. ...Then in reverse, not only can sure purify others, but she can also corrupt others in turn.

...Do you think you can bring her here?" She asks.

Drake nods and finishes his cider. "Sure, give me a moment." He then goes down the tower and searches around for Seriah. "Seeeeeeeeeeriaaaaaaaaaaaaah, where are yooooou?"

He hears a giggle, coming from a large glazed clay vase.

"...Seriah, are you in there?" He playfully asks as he walks towards the vase.

A hushed silence before.... "....Noooooooooo?"

"C'mon out Seriah, the nice lady has something to show you I think."

Another round of hushed silence.

"...Seriah, I'll let you ride a dragon up to the top of the tower."

"...You don't have an dragon, don't lie to an angel!~"

Drake then smirks as rune circles appear on his palms as his eyes glow, fire slowly forms out of the circles and morph together to take shape of a Chinese style dragon the right size for Seriah to sit on, it makes a growl at Drake as he chuckles. "Yes I do."


"Come on now, Seriah."

".....WHEEEEEE!" She takes flight straight out of the jar and begins flying at high speed.

Drake looks at Seriah with slight awe. "Wow... She's fast for a small girl." Drake sprouts out his dragon wings and flies after Seriah.

"You can't catch me, you can't catch me~" She sings as her nimble body gracefully slips through his fingers multiple times.

"That's what you think!" Drake flaps his wings once and he speeds right past her, he then quickly turns around and catches Seriah. "Got you!"

"Waaahhhh! I wanted to plaaaay...." She cries.

"Hey hey hey, we can play straight after we see the nice lady, alright? I promise."

"Meanie." She says, but doesn't protest further, though she does cross her arms.

Drake calls the fire dragon over and sits Seriah down on it, amazingly the fire doesn't harm her in any way. He then makes his way to the tower. "Let's go, Seriah."


"I'm sorry, we can play afterwards, we need to see the nice lady first... She probably can make you a small treat if you ask nicely." Drake says, giving Seriah a small hug as they go up the spiral staircase.

She says nothing further until they get to the top. "Oooooh, clouds..."

Drake looks at Azayakana. "There you go, Azayakana, here's Seriah."

The queen looks upon her for a moment. "It is as I thought. Her ability works two ways. She can both absorb taint and purity."

"So then what are you planning?"

"Tell me, if she grows impure by absorbing taint, what would happen if you caused her to reverse the effect?"

"As you would expect, the purity would grow in her... Is that what you're planning to do? Make her absorb purity?"

"Perhaps. She is only half arch angel, right?"

Drake blinks and looks at the innocent girl. "...I guess."

"Then perhaps by making the purity grow to a critical point, I may be able to trigger an ascension. In other words, she may become a true angel."

"Hmm... That may work, ok, let's give it a shot." Drake then looks at Seriah and smiles. "Seriah, look at the nice lady and stay still, ok? She's going to do some magic."

Seriah looks at Azayakana quizzically.

The queen looks at Drake. "You may want to put her in the center of the tower and stand on the other end."

Drake nods and walks up to Seriah, he picks her up and walks over to the center of the tower. After a small hug, he places her down and stands on the opposite snd of the tower. "Alright."

Azayakana begins to work on her scrolls, and she does this almost until an hour, before she stops and opens another scroll.

"So how are you doing this? By creating life with a great amount of purity so that she can absorbs the purity out of them?"

She merely shakes her head, concentrating. After the second scroll, she then stands up, and takes her brush and ink, and removes Seriah's clothing and gently lies her down, inscribing monstrously complicated lines of runes on her body, so complex just looking at a single line makes Drake's brain hurt.

He blinks. "Wow... Impressive, you need to teach me how to inscribe rune circles like that..."

Still saying nothing, she continues until all but Seriah's body is covered in runes, upon her forehead she inscribes a '.', and then quickly proceeds to wrap Seriah in the scrolls, which begin to slowly turn blue with so much energy Drake wonders how they contain it all, and then turn gold, becoming massive streams of energy that pour into the tiny girl's body, the area begins to quake from the force of the energy's flow.

Drake manages to stand upright as he watches in awe. "Woah... Wait... Do you think her body can handle all of that in one go?"

As if to answer his question, Seriah begins to cry out in pain as the energy that has infused her body begins to make her glow- -violently. After another minute of the process, her body begins to crack, even more powerful streams of gold light blaze through them, dwarfing the intensity of the energy already flowing into her, which hasn't even begun to cease its intensity.

"No. This spell arrangement is to make her forcibly Ascend into divinity. True divinity with the light of the divine coursing her very existence. Her mortal shell will be ripped apart and burned away as she becomes one with the almighty. In order to be born anew, Seriah must cease to be as a mortal, and be born again. Like the phoenix."

"...Sounds way to sinister to be true, but I have to trust you with this." Drake sighs. "If it is to help her, then I have no choice but to stand back and let this happen."

As the light continues to pour into Seriah, her body continues to crack, like clay, then Drake realizes it is a substance like clay, which is literally burning into ash as it falls away from Seriah, the light inside her growing more and more powerful, then he starts hearing a supernatural heartbeat, which increases in power until it finally makes the remnants of her body shatter apart into nothing, leaving only a light in her place like a minature sun, bleaching everything in sight white.

Drake shields his eyes for a moment before adjusting to the sudden change. "Thanks for almost blinding me! ...Seriah? Are you there, respond if you can hear me." 

The light suddenly begins to condense violently, causing a massive inflow of air that starts pulling him in. 

"Crap crap crap!" Two rune circles appear on Drake's plams as he presses them against the floor, causing a dome of energy to form around him, acting as a shielf from the inflow of air. 

The dome struggles to hold until finally a surge of holy power bursts from the condensing light, and it takes the form of a woman with white hair, and six large angel wings sprouting gracefully from her back. Bursts of blue fire flicker around her body, twisting and weaving into a dress. Even after, the flames remain, and she begins to fall, asleep.


Seriah reborn

The dome shatters the second the woman falls, Drake looks at Azayakana with a slightly concerned face before looking at the woman. "So... That's Seriah as an angel..." Drake walks over to her and softly picks her up. "I'll take her to a place where she can rest."

Seriah is in a deep sleep, but is otherwise seemingly fine.

Azayakana gives Drake an apologetic smile. "She'll be alright. I promise. You're with her after all."

Drake smiles. "Yeah... I guess so." And with that, Drake begins to walk down the spiral staircase, he eventually reaches the room Seriah was in when she arrived here. Drake walks over to the bed and lays her down, he takes one more look at her before lightly hugging her. "Sleep well Seriah, you deserve it." He says softly, before quietly leaving the room.

As Drake moves to leave, he feels a hand grab on his back pocket.

"Hmm?" Drake turns around to see who grabbed his back pocket.

"....Drake...." He sees Seriah's arm reached out to him, his turning moment had knocked her arm down, causing it to hang limply from the bed.

"......Thank... you...." Her mouth speaks, but her eyes remain closed, she had been only briefly conscious.

"After all that has happened to you... It's what you deserved." He says before putting Seriah's arm back in a comfortable position, he chuckles and opens the door to the room. Drake looks back at her before walking out of the room, slowly shutting the door.

Kanashimi meets up with him. "Who was that pretty angel lady you were carrying around?" She asks.

"That was the sweet little Seriah, Azayakana was able to turn her into an angel. It was pretty amazing." Drake answers. 

"So that's what that ridiculous fireworks display was. Dude, how can she do that?!"

"I have no idea, there was scrolls, runes, quietness then loudness... It was a blur."

"That queen lady is really something then...".

"Without a doubt... It really is outstanding what she is capable of, although I don't doubt it... Oh yeah, Sukina and Azayakana are having three other guests over."

"Oh, who are they?"

"Two we don't know off, while one has a familiar face... Or mask, to be correct. We have Azayakana's partner; Nobuyuki, someone named Akami and Kado."

"So who's this Kado then? You know him?"

Drake blinks. "...Oh right, you've never met him. Well Kado was a member of Phoenix, the Dark Slayer, last time we met was during a big battle... Sorta. But where we actually talked to each other was back in Upnation. He's uuh... Unique to say the least, although he seems kinda dull." He says jokingly.

"What do you mean, unique?"

"...You'll see."

"...Ok then. So, what do you want to do now?"

"I have no idea... Huh, that's new."

Meanwhile Seriah sleeps on...

"Seriah. Wake up, Seriah."

"Ermmmmm...." She moans, her eyes crack open, a soft red.

"Arise, for I have a gift for you."

She slowly sits up, still exhausted from her recent ascension. "Who...?"

The moonlight shine down on her, aswell as the stars.

"You are the first victim of an evil ambition. I am here to relieve you from such a tragedy and to give you a new purpose to your life."

She looks at the light and stars in wonder. "Who are you....?"

"I am your Father in Heaven. I have to renew you and relieve you of what sin has done to you."

Seriah gasps, and her eyes grow wide with wonder. "Are you Father's Lord? Is Papa there?!" She asks excitedly.

"Yes, He is here. I have come to free his daughter and mine"

Unexpectedly she begins to float and light just encompasses her into a shining void\

She looks about in wonder, struck in awe, her gentle red eyes widened.

Her wings unexpectedly sprouts and she hears a melodious song she has never heard before. She is overflown with so much relief and peace with herself.

She quietly hugs herself, overwhelmed.

When she opens her eyes, she is wearing a white robe and her entire body is glowing, her body flowing with such tranquility

"I have touched you and now you are like my sons and daughters who are in Heaven. I only have one more thing for you to do on my behalf."

"What is it that you want of me?" She asks in a hushed voice, feeling small.

"I want you to guard and watch over Drake Ryunexo. To never leave his side, and keep him from hurting himself physically mentally, and socially. And when he does hurt himself, to be there to minister to him."

"I will!" She says joyously. "I will, I will, I will!"

"Then go now and do my will."

The moon and the stars no longer has that amazing shine but her own divine glow still remains

Seriah looks at herself for a moment, then immediately seeks Drake out, practically flying out of the room and squeezing him in a hug.

"Drake!" She cries out joyously. Her glow is blinding.

He topples over to the floor and chuckles, hugging her back. "Hey there Seriah, glad to see you're awake."

"Well, what happened to you? You took a dip in the sun or something?"

"The Lord claimed me as his own~, I'm your guardian!" She says happily.

Drake tilts in head in slight confusion. "...The Lord claimed you as his own? You're my guardian? Seriah, what are you talking about?"

"Just that. Guardian Angel? I'm like my father now. I'm a real angel!"

Drake just blinks. "Are we talking about your dream...?"

She looks confused. "Dream? N-N-no. Drake, there is an almighty god who rules the angels. My father was one of his servants. His Lord and mine reclaimed me as his. I am one with the true divine. He declared me your guardian. I am to guard and watch you, to never leave your side, to keep you from hurting yourself physically, mentally, and socially. And when you hurt yourself, I am to minister you.

What's a good way to explain besides that...?" She wonders aloud. "It's now my duty as an angel to protect you," She further clarifies.

"Well, not to be mean, but this 'Lord' isn't very bright." Drake sighs. "Considering that I'm a mercenary, I get damaged all of the time, I guard others, I don't need to be guarded... You don't need to protect me."

Seriah frowns, Drake realizes he upset her by the look on her face. "Don't say that! Besides, he told me to do it, so I will, no matter what! Besides, you can't defeat everything on your own. Now I can help you and keep you safe! Especially from... ...them." 

Drake sighs. "I don't want you to protect me because I don't want you getting hurt, you just got this new body, I don't want you to lose it."

Seriah smiles. "Fraid it's not up to you. Besides, there's a reason Phoenix made Archangels the basis for their Chaos Engines, you know. We're powerful. Dare I say it, you know that more than anyone, having fought against Kagerou."

"...What annoys me is that you have a point, but if you're going to be stubborn about this, then I guess I have no choice, do I?" As he says that, Drake takes out a necklace, with the centerpiece housing a vibrat sapphire that glow, he then gives it to Seriah. "It's the sapphire that houses your memories starting from when you met me to when you had to go into the processor, I imagine that if you want, I can finally have you recollect those memories."

"I already have them. My memories are restored when I resume my full potential. Now that my power is stable, my memories are back. Thankfully, I am at peace now. The dark memories of the past, they're a distant memory now... ...But I am very grateful for all of your kindness. It warms my heart. And indeed, I will not ignore a request of the Most High."

Drake softly smiles before hugging Seriah once more. "Ok ok, thank you, guardian angel." He chuckles.

"That's a good boy," She lightly teases before giving him a hug in return. "....Though I think the sapphire is pretty, can I still have it?"

"Go right ahead, it is my present to you afterall."

"Thank you~!" She happily takes the necklace and tries it on, her enthusiam almost infectious. 

Kanashimi groans. "Now I feel... girly."

Drake laughs. "You're just jealous!" 

"I am not jealous of the glowing hyper angel." 

"Uh huh, sure you're not."

Kanashimi swats him. "I am. NOT. Seriously, I hate all cheerful and girly... uggh..."

"Ok ok, little miss doom and gloom... So... What happens now?"

Sukina appears from a corner. "Ah, I see the ascended angel has woken."

Drake turns head towards Sukina and waves. "She sure has, hello Sukina."

She nods her head. "I do believe you have not yet visited the outside of the tower, particularly the gardens. Would you like me to guide you? I'm not doing much anyway."

She sighs. "Nobuyuki is gonna work my ass off once he gets back."

"Yeah, I think we all would want to see the gardens... Right?"

Seriah nods excitedly. "I'd love to!"

Kanashimi sighs. "I guess it would be nice. Getting some fresh air, I mean."

"Ok, Sukina, you lead the way." 

Sukina begins to lead them down the spiral staircase of the tower, and Drake realizes they are a lot higher up than he imagined. On the way they encounter other spirits, many looking like priests or monks. 

He looks at Sukina. "So I'm guessing this is a holy place? Considering all the relegious feel of the tower."

"Not exactly. While spirits do follow the Lord here, it's more on the lines of a sanctuary. Malice falters in this place. Those who seek a life of tranquility can choose to live here in the quiet north."

Drake sighs. "So this 'Lord' person... Is he a concept or actually real?"

Sukina looks at Drake. "That depends on what you believe. But Seriah could not have power if he wasn't. Nor any of the other Chaos Engines. Holy power, at least."

"Hmm... Different to the Vitae Gods then, but then again, everyone has their own belief on stuff so this really shouldn't surprise me."

"Tell me of these Vitae Gods, if you would."

"Well, as their name implies, they're Gods of my home planet; Cyanic, as per the usual, you'll have your God of Fire, Water, Air and yada yada yada. Hell, my best friend is the offspring of the Vitae God of Light and Life, so he's a Heroa God... But umm, let's not get into why he's in Fantasy right now."

"I see. But how would you describe them? Are they benevolent?"

"...Not all of them, the Vitae Gods are split between two dimensions or sectors, as they're called. One half is nice, the other... Not so much."

"I see." They reach the bottom of the tower, and exit out of double doors. Outside, the air is much, much, much colder.

Drake shivers for a moment before his body quickly adapts. "Ok... We're more North than I thought..."

"True, for we are in the North Pole." Seriah and Kanashimi are not so pleasantly immune to the cold temperature.

"Holllllllly crap it's cold!" Kanashimi shrieks. "You could have warned us sooner!"

"I forgot. I am not a fleshy like you."

Drake turns towards the two as he puts a hand on their shoulders, suddenly a very faint orange aura envelops Kanashimi and Seriah, heating up their bodies. "There you go." He then turns back to Sukina and tilts his head slightly. "Huh... I still find it strange that you were a White, and yet I trust you, your motives were different... This is something I'm not going to be used to..."

"About half of our order's leaders had good intentions. As for the other half, I don't know what happened. I sometimes blame myself. Though honestly a lazy person like myself shouldn't have to worry about such things, yet I do..."

"If people are born into a hostile world, they'll blame the generation above them... But if what you're saying is true, then it wasn't your generation that did anything, it would be the one which caused all this. I think the reason you worry is because you care, obviously... I mean, say if I was the last good leader of Phoenix, then some bastard came along and screwed everything up, forever tarnishing Phoenix's name. I'd be worried for what would happen afterwards."

Sukina looks away, for a moment she loses her usually aloof air and genuinely has a melancholy air. "...What choices did I make that allowed these things to happen? Should I have fought him, actually gave it my all for once in my life? Should I have taken better consideration as to my disciple?"

"Should have fought wh--" Drake's eyes suddenly blast wide open, then quickly an angered expression appears on his face as he grabs Sukina. "IT WAS YOU! YOU GAVE EIEN THE SLAYER!"

Sukina merely stares at him wide eyed, and strangely everything, from the murmur of the people, to even the breeze on the air, the sounds all freeze, and there is a heavy silence, right before a bone crushing spiritual pressure makes Drake crumble to his knees in moments, as the clouds above momentarily part, from atop the very tall tower, a woman stands on the edge of the tower, looking down upon them.

"Enough!" The powerful voice of Azayakana booms, cracking the stone walls.

Drake glares at Sukina and makes a loud draconic growl. "You... Gave him the Slayer - Your Slayer... What made you think that was a good idea!?"

"Drake Ryunexo, unhand her now!" Azayakana shouts, her revealed power so vast, just from raw potential power, he could mistake her for a god, perhaps why she is called one to begin with. Her energy bares down on him like an endless tidal wave, threatening to crush him.

Seriah grabs ahold of Drake's arm. "Drake, just let her go, she's gone out of her way to help us, so please don't disrespect that!" She pleads, trying to reason with him.

Sukina tightly closes her eyes, and her body suddenly cracks, before collapsing into dust and disappearing into particles of blue light.

A mere moment later, he hears the footsteps of the Queen coming down the staircase- -she does not sound happy from how loud her steps are. She comes out brandishing a red scroll.

"Drake Ryunexo," She intones, her lavender eyes deadly. "You will not resort with violence here again. Do not disturb the peace. If you have a problem with her, you take it up with her or me in a civil manner, or not at all. ...If she will even appear before you anymore, that is. Don't do that again, or you will be put into place." She gestures with the red scroll, and Drake has a feeling there's a good reason why its binding says, 'Sealed'.

​Drake stands back up and looks at Azayakana with a disdainful expression, before reluctantly nodding. "No promises though, but I don't think you know anything about this, do you?" Before the Queen can say or do anything, Drake turns and walks away. "With all due respect, Azayakana, it's best for you to stay out of this."

Drake finds as soon as he has taken one step, a strange sensation, as though a hand had grabbed him, makes him stop in his tracks.

"It's best for you not to attack my subjects. And yes, I know of the incident you were so enraged over. Sukina indeed faced Eien, but chose to hand over her Slayer. I don't know how you know of this, considering the nature of that event, but I would encourage you to not judge others for actions you were not personally involved with. Even if you have been entangled in the affairs of her former comrade, it is not your buisness to attack her for events you do not understand the nature of."

"Get... Off." The moment he said that, Azayakana a pale and faint dark demonic aura forming around Drake, obviously showing Corruption's presence. "I understand that it's something I shouldn't do, but considering my situation, I think I should be allowed to hold a bit of resentment. Now... Release me."

"Resentment? For what? The fact she did not want to fight a long term childhood friend? The fact she did not want to kill a man she had fought beside for years, a close comrade and friend? You think it is wrong for someone to put down their sword for that? In the end, it has cost great harm, perhaps to even you that she had done so, but you have no right to so easily condemn her for something you know nothing about. You only saw the battle, but you felt none of the emotions and feelings of the people involved. There are two sides to a story. The stuff that can be told, what people can see. But the often unseen, unknown is that of the heart of the story. Ask yourself how Sukina might have felt about what she did. How she feels now. And put yourself in her shoes. Then talk to me about resentment."

She walks off, the binding remains for a minute, then fades away, leaving him to think about what she said.

Drake simply makes another growl before flickering like a flame, disappearing a moment after.

Seriah, concerned, tries to follow after him.

As she wanders through the tower, she can hear someone sparring in an empty room.

She manages to phase herself through the wall, popping her head in. "Drake?" She asks softly.

Seriah sees him sparring with Corruption, the two's speed is almost a blur but she can still register every attack. After a moment, the two stop and Drake looks at Seriah. "Hmm... What is it, Seriah."

"...Are you ok? Why did you attack Miss Sukina? Please don't be mad at me."

"I'm not mad at you, and that's hard to explain."

"It's not like you have anything else to do..." She pouts.

He sighs. "I wasn't going to attack her, it was just the anger in that moment... The reason I did that was because of one of her choices she made; which was giving Eien a Slayer to make him stronger than he needed to be. Me and Eien aren't exactly the best of friends, in fact, he showed me the fate of that battle with Kagerou and Torrent, that's something I won't forgive him with... Although, he did give me you."

Seriah looks at him. "I was supposed to die, you know. White Six didn't need the Alphas and Betas, she killed them. ...All of them. ....They were... children, my brothers, and my sisters. I don't know why Eien saved me though."

"Eien would tower over White Six if it came to strength, so possibly that White feared him... Another theory could be that he forseen this and preemptively saved you in case his vision was true."

"Maybe... though I feel it had something to do with something else. ...Are you feeling better?"

Drake nods slightly. "Yes, but I'd like to be alone if that's ok with you, I want to keep sparring until the others arrive."

Seriah looks out south. "I don't think they'll be here for a while. It feels like a long journey from where they are."

"Then you'll know where to find me." He walks over to where Seiah has her head poking in and he gives it a hug. "Don't worry about me, I'll be fine."

She sighs, then disappears.

Drake stays silent for a moment before sighing himself, but regardless he goes back into a fighting stance and spars with Corruption.

Meanwhile, Sukina reappears in her room towards the very top of the tower, walking into the bathroom, then quickly strips and enters the shower, letting the cold water soak her, her eyes dim as she ponders the past, her mistakes.


Drake meanwhile hears the door open and close rapidly, and he feels as though someone is now in the room.

He glances at the door then looks around. "Who is it now?"

Kanashimi suddenly drops from the ceiling and tackles him. "HA! Thought ya could get some extra practice in now without me, eh?!"

"Oh yeah, your training." Drake smirks as her grabs her shoulders and places his foot against her abdomen, he then pushes his foot up and throws his arms over, throwing Kanashimi to the other side of the room. Drake then gets up and tells Corruption to go back into Kurai, which he does without asking any question. "Alright then, Kana, you ready?"

She rolls and is back on her feet. "Bring it on, old fart!"

Before she has time to react, Drake speeds right past her and elbows her which stuns her for a moment. He grabs Kanashimi's arm and throws her into the wall then strikes her once in the chest.

She blocks his strike to the chest with her arms, then grins and sweeps his legs out from underneath him and kicks him right in the spleen.

Drake gets knocked back but springs back up, he then prompts her to strike him.

She swats his head with one of her wings.

Drake uses his forearm to block the wing then he headbutts her, he knees her in the gut then with the same leg, Drake swings it out and kicks her side.

Kanashimi jumps up, dodging the array of attacks, then with a united stroke of her wings, blows him into a wall hard.

"Uuugh... I'm not on my game today..." Drake dislodges himself out of the wall and looks at Kanashimi before charging towards her only to jump above her, slamming his foot down on her. He then lands behind her and spin kicks her onto the floor.

Kanashimi catches his foot, but lands on the ground roughly all the same. She proceeds to assault him with a variety of punches and kicks.

He starts to block and dodge the attacks, but only manages as some go through and connect, Drake lunges forward and starts his own barrage of attacks. 

She blocks most of them, but gets hit her fair share of times in turn. She manages to knee him hard in the gut.

Drake staggers for a moment before jumping back to take a quick moment to breathe. "Ok then... Maybe that sparring has worn me down a bit."

"Well, I know I'm having fun. I guess my secret practice is paying off!"

"Secret practice?"

"I can meditate, and in this inner world I can train myself and observe how I fight. I then try to find ways to improve my pattern of attack, make it easier to fight a more experienced foe. I've also been doing some training on the side."

"Hmm? Meditation... Ok, that's a new way to train I guess, how long have you been doing this?"

"Since... ....awhile. I've only really started getting good at it recently."

"Ah, well that would explain that." Drake chuckles before his stomach growls. "...And I'm hungry... Great..." He looks at Kanashimi with a slightly awkard smile. "Umm... Want to find something it eat?"

"Oh sure, though I think Aza is still a bit grilled at you." She walks over to him, then playfully roughs up his hair. "Let's go then, I'm hungry too."

"H-Hey! Don't ruffle my hair, I do that, not you!" He says, a bit shocked when she did that. But regardless, he exits the room and goes off in search of something to eat.

She walks along side him to the dining hall, where Azayakana is sitting at the far end of the table, along with a woman wearing a white veil which obscures her face.

"Hmm?" Drake leans in and whispers to Kanashimi. "Who do you think that is?"

The woman seems to turn her head slightly in their direction, then looks down and eats.

"One of the lady's subjects..."

"...Oooook... Kinda creepy..."

Other veiled servants bring them food, and Kanashimi smirks at Drake before she eats.

"Oh, you want to do that? Heh, challenge accepted." And in an instant, Drake begins his little eating challenge with Kanashimi. 

She increases her pace to match, and the queen and the veiled woman look at each other and then back at the two.

After a while, Drake starts to sneakly snatch untouched food on Kanashimi's plate.

She eventually catches on, and sets his hand on fire.

Drake gulps all his food and looks at his hand. "Ow ow ow ow ow!" In return, Drake burns all of Kanashimi's food. "Ha!"

She silently points to his hair.

"...Oh you haven't... Do not tell me you've just..." Drake gulps before putting his hand over his head, he feels the heat and instantly grabs a jug of water and spills it over himself. 

Kanashimi gives him an unholy grin.

"Oh I really don't like you right now..." Drake gives her a spiteful yet playful expression. "But hey, at least I win." Drake says as he grabs the last piece of his food and finishes it.

"Well, technically, you lose. My food is gone." She indicates her ashes. "Which means, you technically made me win."

"It was to finish the food, I finished all of mine, you didn't finish your food, as it's still ashes. So I won!"

"You never set the rules in stone~"

"And neither did you." Drake says, chuckling. "Fine, you win."

"Ha, yes! I am the BEST! THE BEST!" She cheers.

Azayakana just shakes her head wearily.

"You're not the best, I let you win once. Doesn't mean I'll let you win a second time."

"Settle down children." Aza says with a sigh.

Drake glances over at the woman with the veil then back at Azayakana. "So, who is the woman behind that veil?"

"The identity of my handmaidens does not concern you."

"Hmph... I would ask about the other veiled servants, but ah well." Drake then turns his head back at the veiled woman and stays concerntrated on her for a while before shrugging. He then stands up and looks at Kanashimi. "If you need me, I'll be getting some rest, alright?" Drake then walks off to an unoccupied bedroom and lies down on the bed, slowly closing his eyes and resting.

She nods, and heads off to her own room, but stops just outside her door. ".....What is this tingling feeling I keep feeling...?"

While Drake sleeps, his thoughts begin to strangely drag images to his mind, and almost as soon as he registers what's happening, a vision occurs, without him directing it to show.

He stands outside a old fashioned japanese palace of sorts, and he sees a young girl, no older than ten, with short white hair and gold eyes, dressed in an black apprentice's kimono walking out of a series of doors. Emblazoned on the chest is a golden Phoenix emblem.

"Wow, so beautiful..." She stares at all of the Sakura blossoms in awe, and sits down under a tree, and begins to fall asleep, taking a nap. About five minutes later, a blonde boy with sharp blue eyes with similar attire sees her.

"OI! It's time for initiation, you don't want to be late do ya?!"

The girl jumps, awake. "AHH! Don't scare me like that!"

The boy practically dances around her in circles. "Race ya to the ceremony!" He takes off with great speed.

"H-hey!" She runs after him, much slower than him.

Drake takes a look at the boy and notices the resemblance with ease. "So that's Eien..." He then looks at the girl and tilts his head. "Hmm, that may be her..." Drake just shrugs and walks along, watching the two race on.

They reach the center of the complex, where a woman as well as several other promenient figures stand are gathered, with a group of at least fifty other apprentices can be seen. The boy Drake identified as Eien enters and takes his place, not even having broken a sweat, but Sukina collapses next to him, exhausted, landing on her face.

"What's the matter? You look like you're going to blow away in the wind, it was just a little race!" Eien pouts. "Aww, so much for that..."

"Tch, I'll... *pant* I'll beat ya... *pant* next time.... *pant*..."

Drake looks back at the girl. "...Yeah, sure you will." He takes a look at the figures and the woman. "So these must be the generation of Phoenix before Eien was even a member... Although that'll change soon I guess."

The woman bares a resemblance to the girl, which is confirmed when she lifts her head and smiles at the woman. "Hey, Mother!" She says excitedly, but suddenly gets a sad look as the woman looks away without acknowledging her.

The woman proceeds to make a long speech about the history and honor of the organization, and addressing what the initiates will learn, at the end adding that she has no time for refuse. Something tells him that she is specifically talking about the girl. Among the crowd of apprentices, there are some gold eyed and white haired individuals, all of whom share a general likeness to the girl as well. The woman standing before the crowd seems to actually pay them attention.

"Wow... You're a nice mother, aren't you..." Drake walks up to the mother and just looks at her, before looking over at the other figures. "May as well get the chance to see their face while I can..." He looks back at the people. "Gold eyed and white haired... Is she trying to replace her daughter?"

The only one that catches his attention for some reason, but he doesn't know why, is a woman with medium length blue hair and blue eyes, wearing a blue and white kimono.

Water dress flowers blue eyes blue hair torii japanese clothes anime girls akai ito hatou yumei 2 87
The girl picks herself up, and looks after her mother, almost longingly as she and the other promenient figures depart inside, leavin the initiates to head to their rooms. The vision begins to flicker away, but not before he sees the boy Eien walking beside the dejected girl, showing her a kind smile, and a soft side, he can't tell what he is saying, but Drake figures from the expression on Eien's face, that he is desperately trying to make the girl laugh, telling her jokes.

"I guess I found Sukina..." After a moment, Drake looks at the woman and tilts his head. "Hmm... Blue... What is blue in Phoenix... Water or Ice... Could this be a relative of Aoi? Or Toma..."

The vision ends, and Drake finds that the morning has come when he awakes.

Drake stirs and sits up, placing a hand on his head. "...I need to know how I'm getting these visions... And how I can use these at will... But in the mean time." Drake gets out of bed and gets ready for the day, he spars with himself for an hour then exits his room. He then starts to wander around the tower.

After a while, he catches a glimpse of Sukina, but she notices him and walks right into a wall and goes right through it. ...A rather annoying advantage of a spirit.

He just shrugs and decides to go off and find Seriah.

She appears not too long after behind him. "Whatcha looking for, Drake?"

"Oh, hey Seriah, I was just looking for you, are you alright?" Drake asks, giving Seriah a hug.

She laughs. "Of course I'm alright, why what's up?"

"I was just wondering, you seemed annoyed yesterday."

"I wasn't annoyed..." She says, confused.

"Oh... Well nevermind then, I'm glad to see you're ok... Now we wake Kana up, any idea how?"

"A fog horn?" The angel asks innocently.

"...That is a brilliant idea, do you know where we can get one though?"

The angel is now holding a fog horn. "I don't know," She says.

Drake blinks before opening his hand so that Seriah can give him the horn. "Wow, you're full of surprises."

She hands him the fog horn. "Aren't I though? I can also bend my legs in really wierd ways."

His eyes widen slightly. "...I'm just going to ignore that, c'mon, let's wake Kana up..." So the two begin to reach the door to Kanashimi's room, he gives the 'hush' gesture to Seriah as he slowly opens the door and peaks inside.

"Why are we being quiet?" She asks, a bit too loud.

"Beacause we don't want to wake Kanashimi up just yet... Ok? So just try to whisper." Drake manages to slip into the room, he takes a look around and spots the still sleeping Kanashimi, Drake smirks. "Ok, Seriah, try to come in without making any noise."

"I'll let you do it~" She says, keen to watch.

"Alright alright..." Drake sneaks over to Kanashimi and looks at the fog horn, he takes a moment to think about it before looking at her. "...I feel kinda bad if I do it..."

"Feel bad about what?" Kanashimi says, waking up and looking right at him. "I see you've evolved into a Creeper."

"...Don't feel as bad now." Drake pressed down on the fog horn as it blasts the noise right in her face.

A second later, Kanashimi has gripped his hair and is trying to rip it out.

"OW OW OW OW OW! GET OFF!" Drake says as he tries to push Kanashimi off.

"Rippy rippy goes Drake's hair, R.I.P., Rest in Pieces, motherfucker!" She snaps.

"I will tear off both of your wings and shave off your hair!" Drake threatens.

"And I'll gouge your eyes out!"

"And I'll plant you back into the ground I raised you from!" Kanashimi notices the air around Drake grows dry and hostile, his eye colouring darkened just enough for her to notice.

Seriah rips them apart. "Ok stop it both of you you! Drake, Kanashimi, corners!" She launches them into two separate corners of the rooms, where they find they cannot move.

"Now stay there until I get breakfast!" She scolds, disappearing.

Drake's regenerative healing kicks in as his hair grows back, he stays quiet until food arrives.

Seriah comes back with two trays, she then looks at the two. "Fighting like little babies, come on you two are better than that!"

Once more, Drake says nothing, he just takes the tray and starts to eat. 

She pokes his head. "Hey! Taking to you!"

In response, Drake growls at Seriah, regardless of the restraint she put on him, Drake manages to stand up, he takes one look at her before walking right past her. He wanders into his room and closes the door, Drake sits in the middle of the room and creates a rune circle around him, he then gets in a meditating post and takes a long breath before there's silence.

Farther South...

Nobuyuki and the others are now flying across vast endless stretches of pure white snow.

Akami: *is still hanging on as tight as she can* We're almost there, right?

Nobuyuki shrugs. "A few hours, give or take."

Akami: Damn...

"Relax. At least you're not down there. With the ice monsters."

Akami: Atleast I wouldn't have to worry about my skin flying off. And I will be down there if we keep going any faster.

"Shirubā won't let you fall. It's an insult to her pride as the Eighth Fox Wind to let you fall."

Akami: Then all I have to worry is my skin then.

"Shiruba, could you please slow down? A little?"

The fox grumpily complies, slowing down.

Akami: Thank you so much..*takes deep breaths*

Nobuyuki smiles. "She says you will receive a bill."

Akami: What does a fox need with money?

"....She says that was a joke, and that you need to get out more."

Akami: Sorry,don't got enough time in the day to 'get out'.

They continue flying for the next few hours...

After a while, Seriah flies into the room to check on Drake. "...You ok Drake?"

She sees Drake with tribal markings and runes all over him, his eyes glowing a faint white, she noticies that the hostility in the air and in Drake is gone... For now. "Oh, hey Seriah... Yeah, I'm fine."

"....What happened to you?" Her voice is heavy with worry.

"I don't know to be sure, it's probably Corruption's doing... Sneaky bastard took the chance where he saw, but just to be sure..." Drake shows Seriah the bandages on his right arm, running down it seems to just be runes. "These act like a suppresor, hopefully keeping Corruption in his place."

"...Can I help you...?" She asks.

"No need, I'll just need more time to actually communicate with Corruption to sort this out ourselves..."

"....Alright... ...but if it gets worse, promise you'll tell me, alright?"

"I will... So, is Kanashimi alright?"

"I believe so, physically. You may have upset her though, I don't know. I'm not good at reading her."

"Ah... Probably because of what I said..." Drake sighs. "I'll speak to her soon... As for you." Drake chuckles. "Go on, have your day."

"My day is your day!" She says with a smile.

"Heh... Even if it this, I need to do something important concerning this... And having you in the room may prevent that, I'm sorry, but you need to leave the room just for a while."

She nods and disappears. He hears a knock not too long after, and Sukina's voice rings out. "Drake Ryunexo, the Queen told me to tell you to expect our guests soon."

Drake sighs. "Ok, thank you Sukina... Now... To deal with you." Drake focuses on the shadowy figure in the same sitting pose as he is, two dim red eyes look back at Drake.

"Yes? What is it now Dra--"

"Don't you dare give me that crap, you know why I brought you out. So why the hell did you try taking over?" 

There's a moment of silence before Corruption speaks again. "Because you've grown weak."

"Weak? WEAK!?" Drake roars at Corruption.

"Yes, weak... Look at your body, focus on your mind, you are not in any condition to win your next battle with Phoenix. You will not get Noriko back and you will die."

"That doesn't give you the excuse to try to take over, this is MY body, MY mind, MY life. Not yours, your life is inside Kurai, and I don't care if you like it or not."

Corruption just chuckles sinisterly. "You really are tenacious, aren't you boy... What makes you think that you will win against Phoenix?"

"Simple, because I won't be the only one there..." Drake's eyes narrow. "You will too."

"Oh? And what makes you so sure that I will abide with you."

There's another round of silence before Drake looks at Kurai then back at Corruption. "The one way I know how, I will beat the respect into you."

What follows is Corruption laughing at Drake. "You? You will do what to me? I would say don't make me laugh but that's a little late now..."

"Oh, I'm being serious... If we have to fight for power, then we will, I can easily arrange it." 

"Hmph... Very well, where and when do you plan on doing this." 

"We can do this right now, but we can't harm anyone else so I have an idea." The rune circle that Drake and Corruption are sitting in begins to open a hole beneath them, they take one more glance at each other before sinking in. The rune circle closing up with nothing but a burn mark on the floor.

After a whie passes, the entire tower shakes with what sounds to be a hissing noise coming from Drake's room.

Seriah appears just outside the door. "....Drake....?" She tries to sense his energy.

She can hear some coughing, but it doesn't sound good.

She opens the door, alarmed.

Seriah can see Drake, his clothes tattered, a bunch of cuts and marks on his entire body, some rips in the bandages on his right arm. Drake stays silent before chuckling to himself. "...Got you, you bastard..." Seriah can see a dark shadow slipping into Kurai, Drake looks up and sees Seriah. "Oh... H-Hey there." He coughs.

"Oh dear, what happened to you?!" She rushes to his side and starts applying healing to him.

"Me and Corruption had a disagreement, I kicked his ass, and I feel like I've been struck with a train."

"Why didn't you let me help?!"

"I'm sorry... But it was something I had to do alone."

"How is it something you 'had' to do?! You could have been lost forever, think of Noriko!" She cries out.

"That's what saved me..."

"And what if you didn't win? Think about how Nori would feel if you died because you were too stubborn and prideful to ask for help!"

Drake sighs as he looks directly into Seriah's eyes. "Trust me, no matter what will happen, I won't die unless I allow it. It was something I had to do alone because it was between me and him alone, anyone else would just cause Corruption to control them instead. If you helped, yeah, he wouldn't be able to take control of you, but that doesn't mean he can't strike you instead. The thought of seeing Noriko again was what pushed me, if I didn't, then I surely would have lost..." Drake chuckles. "Besides, being stubborn and prideful is one of the side effects of being me."

"Those side effects seem like stuff not worth having."

....Farther away....

After hours of flight, a lone tall structure begins to appear in the distance.

Akami: Please tell me that's the Tower?

"Yes, 'O Impatient One."

Akami: You're not just telling me that because I told you to, right?

"No." He says as the fox purposefully speeds up and lands at the gates to the Tower's grounds.

"Well, we're here," Nobuyuki says unaffected.

Akami: YES! *simply falls of the fox and hugs the ground* Oooohhh it feels so good!

Nobuyuki sighs. "That's.... polar ice. You'll get frostbite."

Akami: Ground is ground, man. I'll take what I can get.

He takes Kado and helps put him on the ground.

"Help him walk, he's not in good shape."

Akami: *picks Kado up* Got'em

Kado is much more feverish, his eyes distant.

"Hmmm, think it's more to do with being out in the cold too long... ....we'll get him out into the warmth, come on." He guides Akami to the front gates of the walls, and after a minute, the doors open, revealing a complex of various buildings and gardens in a circle, all around one massive tower whose top stretches into the sky.

Akami: *marvels at the sight* Whoa...

The clouds at the top of the tower part, and standing in the light shining from up top is a female figure adorned in a lavander kimono and a almost white lavander veil over her face.

Akami: Who's that? The Queen you mentioned?

Nobuyuki nods. "Indeed. She has aknowledged our presence. the Queen of Positive Spirits, Azayakana, Goddess of Life, some hail her as."

Akami: Oh. Hello, Ma'am.

"We can meet her once we go inside and get Kado in a warm bed."

Akami: Alright. You're gonna be ok, man.

Nobuyuki takes her to the tower itself, and opens the door, guiding them until he reaches one of the floors, and shows Akami a bedroom.

"You two rest here for now. I must make my report, then someone will come back for you."

Akami: Alright then. *sets Kado on the left bed, then takes the covers off the other bed and covers Kado with it* Better?

Kado coughs, closing his eyes. "Thanks..." He croaks.

Akami: I'll be here of you need anything else. *sits on the side of the other bed*

Sukina, elsewhere, opens the door to Drake's room. "I was just told by Nobuyuki that Kado and Akami are here, though Kado is in poor condition. Once he's had some rest, I imagine we'll be taking him to see Azayakana."

"Typical, he arrives in a sorry ass state..." Drake sighs then he looks at himself and chuckles. "Then again, I'm not one to say, am I? ...And why can't he pay her a visit himself, when he awakes, anyways."

"...." Sukina doesn't respond, instead turns and is beginning to walk away.

"How the hell did you become the leader of Phoenix..." Drake annoyingly sighs as he gets up, he grabs Kurai's sheath with the blade inside and puts it back on, he then makes his way out of his room and wanders around the tower as usual.

She pauses after he says that, and grabs his arm and makes him face her for a moment.

"Don't talk like you understand me, or know anything about what makes a good leader. When you get placed in my position, and go through what I did, then maybe you will have the right to judge." She suddenly smacks him hard, then walks off, too fast to react to. "And just shut up, you sound like a fat pig." She is gone.

"...Well, you certainly are touchy touchy." The smack mark on Drake's face soon fades away. "So Sukina is pissed at me, Kanashimi is mad at me and Seriah just seems to be getting annoyed at me... Yep Drake, you're going back to your roots, aren't you?" 

"DYNAMIC, ENTRY!" Kanashimi tackles him to the ground, smirking.

"Well now, prickface came back out of his room, and looks torn to pieces to boot! Whatcha do, hit yourself with a truck?"

"Nope, Corruption hit me a bunch with the force of one though."

"Deserve it. I also hear your friend is here too. Wanna see him? I bet you two could reminisce about how beat up you two are."

"If he's still asleep, we're sneaking into his room, got it?"

"Uh huh. I'm sure you mean 'limping', right?"

"Oh hahaha... You lead the way."

She gets off him and begins walking around, walking down some stairs.

Drake gets up and staggers along, closely following Kanshimi. "So are you still mad at me?"

"That depends, are you sorry for saying you'd kill me again?"

Drake nods. 

"Good boy, I was going to put a curse on you which causes any and all steaks you tried to eat to burn to ash."

"Heh, I doubt you could do that, but I can't afford to see if that's true... So how long has it been since I even said that?"

"Who knows," Kanashimi replies. They find an open door, where Akami and Kado are inside, though Kado is asleep and a bit sickly compared to how he looked last time.

Drake walks over and looks at the asleep Kado, he looks at Kanashimi and whispers. "So that's what he looks like... Let's change that up a bit..." He opens up his HSC and grabs out a marker pen and lightly draws on Kado's face, drawing lovehearts and some profanities. When he's done, he gets the mask Drake spraypainted pink and puts it on Kado. "And just like that, a masterpiece is born." He looks at Kanashimi and nods. "Alright, we can go now."

Drake feels a light tap on his shoulder, and as soon as he turns around a great pain hits him square in the middle of his face and he's sent flying out the room

Akami: Seriously, man? Markers? On a sick man? Talk about disrespect.

She can hear laughter coming from Drake. "Says the one who just punched someone who's wounded to all hell, nice going there."

Akami: You're an intruder. When you intrude, I have rights to defense, cause I don't know you. Stranger walking into a room and draw on a sick persons face? Reason enough.

"Kado knows me, calm your tits lady." Drake replies as he stands up and walks back in, looking at Akami. "So then who are you, his partner or something?"

Akami: I don't know that he knows you. Hasn't said anything about you, so until he says so: Get a towel and clean his face. And the next time you say a single word about my tits, you're going to be missing yours.

"Ok, three things lady. One, I'm not cleaning his face. Two, I'm male so I don't have tits. Three..." Drake unsheaths Kurai, with the runes on the blade pulsing red. "You even decide to attack me, you'll lose both your arms and have your head on a plate before you can even blink. Besides, you may as well wait until Kado wakes up, it'll be something to remember."

Akami: Tits are nipples, dumbass. And you wouldn't have to clean his face if you didn't draw on it in the first place. And another, I'm not dying unless it's a noble death. And one last thing, you are no friend of his if this is what you do to him in during his current state.

"Then you should of said that I would be missing my nipples then, also, I'm not going to clean his face, and your too stuck up to do it yourself. So it looks like I win here, we wait until Masky here awakens."

Akami: And your retarded as hell, just so you can get a laugh out of doodling on a another man's face. How old are you? 8?

Drake simply chuckles as he looks at Kado, then Akami. "There's no point in being grown up if you can't act childish sometimes."

Akami: But face doodling? Any other jokes you could've thought of? And you couldn't have waited until he wasn't sick?

"Well, it was that or use a fog horn on him. And if he wasn't sick, he would be aware, and for a prank to work, the victim needs to be unaware." Drake sighs. "Losen up a bit, learn to have some fun in your life you dull bastard."

Akami: I'll have "fun" when my kind isn't being hunted, contained, or killed, or when the hungry, elderly, and the financially poor are back on their feet...

"Ah, you're a Mytho then... Well, like it or not, that's not going to happen ever. Even if you have world piece, I promise you that there will be someplace where the Mytho are treated horribly."

Akami: That's something I refuse to believe...

"Then who is truly the dumbass here."

A really dark feeling comes over the space.

"Get out. Both of you. Before I skin you alive and toss you both into a salt pit, and then into a pit of maggots!" Neo's voice growls.

"Akami, stop punching him. Drake, do that again and I'll tear that limp noodle between your legs clean off."

"Well well well, morning sunshine." Drake smirks. "So, what happened with you?"

Akami: I apologize. I shouldn't have escalated with this argument any further. *walks out of the room*

Kado's body is covered by a thick veil of shadow, red lines cross all over his body. The mask violently disintegrates.


"Fine fine, oh, and you forgot the marker on your face." Drake says as he chuckles, but moments after, just as he walks out of the door, his voice grows serious. "When you do feel like getting off your ass, we need to talk." Drake then walks out the room.

The markings on his face burn off. Drake almost feels as though a strangling force is lifted off his neck after exiting.

"Hmph... Still an all serious person." Drake sighs as he looks at Akami. "And you put up with that."

Akami: He never gave me a problem. Well one, but it wasn't bad.

"That's because you're like him."

Akami: He is fellow comrade and like all them, we work hand-in-hand.

"Like all them? We? This sounds like he's made a small group of friends." Drake chuckles.

Seriah appears beside Drake. "You were fighting again, weren't you?"

"...Possibly... Also, where the hell did you come from?!"

"I can be anywhere I want."

"Oh... That's helpful for you, isn't it?"

Akami: Who are you talking to?

"Someone that isn't dull, or boring and knows how to have fun."

Akami: *sighs*

Drake just starts to walk off. "Oh, when Kado wakes up, tell him to meet me and a friend in the dining hall, then we can take him to see Azayakana, got it?"

"You shouldn't be so mean! You should apologize to that nice girl!"

"Let me remind you that she did punch me out of a room because of a harmless prank..."

"She was only protecting a friend she cares about who happens to be under the weather, don't tell me that you wouldn't get mad if someone did that to Nori if she was in a similar state?"

Drake sighs. "Yeah... Fair enough, I'll apologize later. But for now, we go to the dining room and wait I guess."

She follows after Drake, Kanashimi lingering for a moment. She looks at Akami.

"Sorry about the ol' man. He's too immature for his own good. Of course, I got that from him too, but... don't take it too personally." She walks off after Drake, not bothering to hide her angelic wings.

He looks at Kanashimi. "Y'know you don't have to sympathise with her."

"Neither do I you. You have been acting like a dick lately, you know. That's why."

"Because I don't want to be here, I want to be at Yosai, kicking White, Torrent and Kagerou's fucking teeth in for taking Noriko away."

"Yeah, and the last time you tried doing something like that, you got your ass beat and ended up looking like a mummy with a wretched sunburn, not to mention that's how I and Kagerou came about in the first place."

"That was then, and I'll go do it again with a damn smile if it meant that Noriko would be safe."

"Drake, considering what happened last time, I absolutely forbid you just run off on your own like that again. Nothing would change. Admit it, you need help, old man, and I have no intention of letting you charge off to your mindless meaningless self sacrifice of a death. I want to see her safe, but I want my old man back safe too, you got that?"

Drake looks at her before sighing. "I'm not saying that you're wrong, but if it's a last resort, I will go there myself. Besides, if I die there, I'll make sure I'll take the lot of them with me." He chuckles.

"You're not going alone. Ever. If you go, I go too."

"...Wow, you are stubborn as all hell. Kana, if you went with me, you would die too."

"Do you think I give a fuck? I've died already anyway."

"Yeah, but the chances of you coming back is gone..."

"Again, do you think I give a damn, Drake? I don't."

"But I do. Alright? If I didn't care, I wouldn't have brought you back, I don't want you to follow in my footsteps and redo the mistakes I did. So, if I end up going to Yosai, I'm going by myself, I don't want you to die."

Kanashimi's right eye glows, bright red. "And I just said I don't give a damn!" She snaps, kicking him between the legs.

However, it doesn't connect, as a large shadowy mass has blocked the attack.

"...The heck?" She turns to see Kado limping out of the room he was in, a dark aura about him.

Drake looks at Kanshimi with slight annoyance, he then looks over at Kado. "Well well well, look who's finally up."

".....What happened to Noriko?" He rasps. One of his eyes is a dull red.

"Torrent and a new Chaos Engine attacked me and my group while on our way to Chinmoku's city, they managed to beat us down and take Noriko to Yosai."

"...." He looks at Kanashimi for a moment, his eyes narrowing slightly as does. He then pushes past them and keeps going, even though he looks visibily ill.

"Where do you think you're going, Kado, we're supposed to drag you to see Azayakana."

He stops. "Then, hurry up."

Drake looks at Kado with slight concern before getting a serious expression on his face and nodding, following up with him. "Alright, then we should be going to the top of this tower."

Akami: *follows close behind them*

"Oh, she's coming along... Ok. Kado, please tell me who she is."

"...." He doesn't say anything, but follows what Drake said, taking the stairs.

"Well, you're talkative today, aren't you."

"I'm tired..." He grunts.

"Well someone's grumpy..." Kanashimi remarks, though also elbows Drake.

Seriah manifests behind them, following. 

"So can I ask, the hell happened to you?"

Akami: Man this place is...definately something else. I just pray Kado can get better. He definatley acts like Obi whenever he's woken up early, only more tired, less rage.

"...I'm not in top form... ...I'm here to fix that." They reach the top of the Tower, where Azayakana sits at the other end of the flat tower's top.

A massive sea of pure white clouds drifts just below them, only an inch below in fact. The woman appears to be drawing on scrolls.

Akami: *is astonished* Oh My Gosh, this tower actually does lead to Heaven! The liars...

The woman smiles, the same one they saw on top of the tower coming in.

"Are you the queen they talked about?" Kado speaks up tiredly.

"My name is Azayakana, and yes, I am queen of spirits. However this is not actually Heaven, my apologies. My status as a goddess is partially responsible for the name. Though it is a heavenly sight. It is however a haven, for souls who are lost and seek direction. Welcome, Akami... Halfdragon?" She adds, not knowning her surname. 

"And to you, Kado Spiritwood, one of my own flesh of many generations. You seek guidance, and purpose. You seek stablity and assurance. I can help you, but only through part of the journey. The rest is up to you.

Kado nods. "I understand."

The queen looks at Drake and Kanashimi. "If you can be respectful of the undertaking to be done, then you may stay. Should you choose to mock the young child, I will ask you to leave immediately."

"I have my own plans." Drake glances at Kanashimi, then Kado, then his eyes narrow at Akami. "Akami Halfdragon... Pfft, sure." Drake turns and starts to go back down the tower. "Kana, stay here if you want, ok? You don't need to keep following me." He desends further down

Akami: My last name is Stormman. After Obi's last name.

Accepting One's Self

Azayakana nods her head. "I see. Well met then. Now, this training... it is not like most training. Kado, come here." He beckons Kado foward.

He slowly approaches, unsure.

Azayakana indicates for him to sit down in front of her, and once he has, she places her hands on his cheeks and makes him look her in the eyes.

"Don't look away, and don't fight me. I am going to make you into Ace for a while." Before Kado can pull away, she adds, "The reason I am going to do this is to clearly define the existence of both Ace and Neo. Once we have done this, we can more properly define you, and give you your own strength to rely on. You won't have to rely on them anymore, and you will not feel them unless you ask for their presence. However, this is the first step."

Akami: *sits down, watching attentively*

Azayakana does not remove her hands, but Akami sense an energy coming from Azayakana, and flowing into Kado, who right away is starting to change into Ace, but this time is actually becoming a full grown Ace, rather than her previous child forms. Kado seems to be in mild pain though, twitching and sweating on occasion while this takes place. Once it is done, Ace collapses and comes to end up laying on Azayakana, tired.

"Wake up, young Ace. The world is before you," Azayakana speaks, and slowly Ace lifts up, a brilliant clarity in her gold eyes.

"...Huh....? Where am I?" She says softly.

"You are safe, and that is all that matters, you were brought here to be trained by me. Are you ok?"

"...I think so...." She says slowly.

Azayakana looks at Akami. "It's done, you can come over now."

Akami: *gets up and walks over to where they are* What is there to do now?

"You are going to teach her as well. I cannot fight, but you can. You are going to teach her how to fight, but you must be gentle. Physically she is much more frail than you, a full throttle punch would leave her hospitalized. I am going to teach her how to understand and commune with her own power. You must show her how to survive in this world, much like Obidah showed you and taught you what you know, now it is your turn to teach this fledgling spirit."

Akami: *nods* I will oblige, ma'am.

"Right then." She looks at a servant. "Kindly bring us food. We'll be here a while."

"Of course, my lady." The servant departs.

Akami: Is there anything else you must do?

"I must train her so that she can use her powers on her own. Have you noticed that on occasion, she doesn't seem hurt when she should?"

Akami: i...yea I...guess.

"Do you remember a time where you were really scared and everything just sort of... shut down, and when you came back, what scared you went away?" She asks Ace.

"Hmmmm... ...Oh yeah, Big Mean Obi blew up our nice cabin, made it go 'boom!'. I was so scared, but nothing happened, not even a splinter!" She says cheerfully.

Akami: That happens when he has to repeat himself.

"Still a big meanie..."

Azayakana smiles faintly. "Think you can do it again?"

Ace looks at her oddly. "How?"

"Just try, Akami, take one of these balls and throw it at Ace." She hands Akami a plushie ball.

Akami: Alright. *looks at ace,then pulls her arm back and throws a curve ball at her*

Azayakana holds Ace still when she tries to move away, and just when Akami thinks it is going to smack Ace straight in the face, her pupils dilate to thin points and the ball stops abruptly, a mere inch away.

Akami: Oh My  God, she's a telekinetic too?

Akami's vision flickers in response, and she sees a strange aura about the ball, which disappears just as the ball falls down and Ace's eyes return to normal.

"No, Matter Manipulation."

Akami: Whoa. Learn something new everyday.

"As Kado was once one united being, had he not been split apart like he is, he would have the combined powers today of Neo AND Ace. The boy would have been a powerful spirit."

Akami: I bet, but has he ever used their powers before?

Azayakana shrugs. "As he is now, he can't use them. The one time he most likely did is when he actually split himself into this current state. Though to be honest, I don't know how he wasn't simply just torn in two and that be the end of it. .....The will required alone to... ...I couldn't fathom such a thing."

Akami: I could...


Akami: I am half dragon after all. When it come to balanced hybrids, one side will try to become dominant over the other. My dragon side was stronger than my human side. If it weren't for dad, I would be soaring through the Heavens on Earth instead of here. It may not be close to what Kado might be going through, but it is something close. Even Segura and Torem had the same problem.

"I see. That does make sense. I wish you all luck. Now Ace, I want you to join me in mediation."

Ace has a disapointed face. "But that sounds boring!"

"Trust me, we can get to the cool parts later. You have to learn how to willingly control your energy to start with."

After a little more motivation, the two spirits begin their session, initally Ace does not seem keen, but she soon seems to be enjoying it.

Akami: *sits down and begins to do meditation on her own as they do theirs*

Off and on, the two seem to be switching routines, from meditating to practicing what looks like a yoga exercise.

Akami: *comes out from her meditation* What are you doing now?

"Giving her a sense of herself," Azayakana says vaguely as she continues.

Akami: By stretching?

"Spiritual awareness requires multiple aspects, including awareness of body." The spirit elaborates.

Akami: Oh, I see because it works hand-in-hand.

"Yes. Even our young must learn to become spiritually aware before they themselves can join us within the Spirit Realm. Our children are born pretty much humans, and through their own path become one of us. Ace has not yet been attuned to herself or The Balance."

Akami: I can see now. What's in the Spirit Realm?

"Life, Death. Good, Evil. Love, Hatred. It is a world of balance. It serves as a counter weight. A counter weight to the world of the living and the world of the dead. Just as Echo is a counterweight to Earth. Disrupt the weight, and what happens?" She asks Akami.

Akami: Off balance.

"The word you're looking for is imbalance, yes, but more than that. In a balanced system, when something happens on one side, in order to rebalance the system, the system does what is natural: do what happened to one side, to the other. The Spiritual Realm balances the World of the Living and the Realm of the Dead. In fact, there is such a system tied to Earth and Echo. They are twins, you see. Made by the same God. They are so alike, that they share each other's trauma."

Azayakana begins showing Ace various stances, and then nods after a moment. She then places a ball before Ace and directs her to lift it with something the queen calls a 'Spirit Hand'.

Akami: God made another Earth?

"...Well, in a sense. It is very much possible the Earth may cease to exist. In such an event, there were copies made. Each one given a guardian. Or several. Of course, that is what I believe is the case, as there is to my knowledge, only Echo. ...The one thing unknown, or unclear to me, is where or who the guardian of this world is.

But you could say that it is another Earth. ...Though it's more like a sister world, than a direct clone or copy. Nevertheless, there is a balancing force that exists in both worlds, that acts once either one's balance is disrupted. The last war with the Kanjo Gods, the Elemental Warlords, happened during an event you may be familiar with as the Fantasy Reality War, as well as during the World Wars. There have been many wars between the elementals and shapeshifters, but the last one actually ended along with the Fantasy Reality War. It began with World War I. If calamity occurs on one side, it will happen with the other. It's how the worlds maintain their balance. Same goes for peace. When one side strives for change and equality, a similar force will grow on the other."

After a while, the ball rises up. Azayakana then has Ace make it orbit around her head, which takes longer to pull off.

Akami: Man...You definately don't read anything like that in the Bible

Azayakana shrugs. "Just because it isn't in the Bible doesn't mean it isn't true. It is his message to men. He probably doesn't want Earth knowing about it unless it is nessisary. It's a back up world, that doesn't mean Earthlings can just claim it as theirs. If anything, he has basically decreed the Kanjo are the custodians, the caretakers of the world. Man was given the Earth, we were given Echo."

Akami: Sounds totally legit, but you know how some humans are. Overtime, their gonna want to take things for themselves. It's happened through out history.

"We have the Guardian for that.... ...wherever or whoever they are. Alright, enough, we'll continue this tomorrow." She says to Ace.

Sukina comes up the tower. "Ah, Sukina. Take Ace to the dressing ward." Sukina nods, gently taking Ace's hand and taking her back down the stairs.

"She needs more time before she can train with you," She says to Akami.

Akami: Take all the time you need. I'll be here.

"Rest yourself, a girl like you needs it."

Ace is brought up in similar garb as the Queen's, a kimono soft shades of lavender, and her hair has been styled with a flower hair pin. She is looking somewhat self concious of her appearance.

Akami: *looks at Ace* You look very pretty. We might as well make a club for kimono girls, huh?

"...Do I?" Ace asks hesitantly. In the self confidence department, Ace seems to be really lacking.

Akami: Yea. Like a Chinese princess of sorts.

Azayakana seems to be looking at Ace in an unreadable manner, quiet. It almost looks as though she is thinking. After a moment, she sighs. "You are both dismissed for the night."

Akami: Ok. Where do we sleep?

"In the same room as you were before, if you wish. There are plenty of spare rooms in the upper levels. I will have Sukina summon you in the morning to join the rest of us in breakfast."

Akami: Alright. Thanks. *gets up and heads off*

Ace quickly follows suit, keeping close to Akami. The Queen watches them go, though more specifically her gaze is on Ace.

"...I must be sure. I need more time..." She mutters to herself, then begins to draw.

Akami: *says her prayers, then gets into bed*

In the adjacent bed, Ace looks uncomfortable. "...Hey Akami?" She asks quietly.

Akami: Yea? You good?

"...I can't feel them in my mind. It's... so empty... it feels weird..."

Akami: Yea, now you can get twice the better sleep, right?

"...You don't understand... I've always heard their voices... It's so... empty... at the same time, I've never felt like I've belonged in this body than now, but... it's as if they don't even exist anymore... it feels scary."

Akami: Ah, it's getting used to something you thought you'd never live without. When you live with something for so long and then it's gone, it's just your not used to it. It's common with most people.

"I..." She hugs herself, not knowing what to do. "...For so long, it was like seeing through someone else's eyes, wearing a piece of clothing... ...but it feels as though I was born since the beginning in this body, like I've always been here... ...nothing feels like someone else's body, just... Ace... ...You don't think she got rid of them and replaced them with me, do you?" She asks worriedly.A

Akami: *gets out of bed and puts her hand on Ace's shoulder* I really don't know. Maybe she's going to help them get to where you are. You'll get used to it and they'll be fine too.

"...I hope so..." Ace begins to slowly tuck herself into bed.

Akami: Goodnight, Ace. *kisses her on the forehead and walks back over to her bed*

Ace quietly lays there for a while, before slowly closing her eyes.

Akami: *gets under her covers and goes to sleep*


Ace and Azayakana continue their training, during the practice Akami starts noticing strange rippling in the air, like heatwaves, around Ace.

Akami: *is dong her exercises*

The Queen is seen whispering to Ace, and then after a few minutes, Akami feels someone tap on her shoulder.

Akami: *peeks behind from the corner of her eye*

There is no one there, but Ace giggles.

Akami: Not falling for it twice. *continues to exercise*

She feels a couple more taps.

Akami: *ignores them* If there's something you need from me then ask.

The tapping continues.

Akami: *begins to get more and more irritated*

"Hey Akami?"

Akami: Yes?

More tapping. "I think you need to look behind you."

Akami: If I look behind, will you promise. Promise. To stop tapping me?

"Mayyyyybe," She says with a smile.

Akami: *sighs* *looks behind*

There is a large steaming apple pie floating behind her.

Akami: Ooohhh. Piiie. *takes the pie*

Ace smiles wearily, and Akami notice she is pale. "I brought it all the way up from the kitchen... ....which was at the bottom floor... ...that was harder than you think..."

Akami: You ok there, Ace? You look like a ghoul.

"That's mean... ....just tired..."

Akami: Then go get some rest then. We don't want everyone thinking that you're dying, now would we?

"I'll be fine..." Ace says with a sigh. "Now eat your pie!" She says cheerfully.

Akami: Ok, I need a fork though.

A fork pops into being in front of Akami, then Ace sits down, sweating a little.

"She is doing well."

Akami: I knew she would. *takes the first bite of the pie*

Ace continues to train for the next couple hours.

Akami: *finishes her pie, and licks off whats left of it off her lips* Yum.

Ace eventually is allowed to have a break, and begins napping, the queen gently covers her in a soft blanket.

Akami: Is her training almost complete?

The queen sighs. "She's getting there. She still needs time."

Akami: Hm. Is there anything I can do? Cause I haven't been doing shit load of nothing for a while now, and I don't like being productive.

"In a little bit, yes. You'll train her how to fight and defend herself."

Akami: Ok, buuuut your not done training her though, right?

"No, not yet."

Ace continues resting for another hour, before she begins to wake up.

Akami: *is practicing the Snake fighting style* Afternoon.

"Mmmmm...." She gets up and stretches.

Akami: Go ahead and get at it. You've got alot more training to do and I'm starting to regret coming along.

While the Queen stretches, Ace curiously takes her brush and scrolls and is now doodling, though the Queen only notices once Ace mimics her and marks a '.'

After a minute, the scroll disappears and suddenly transforms into a blue colored bird, and the Queen goes incredibly visibly pale at the sight.

Akami: Seriously, is that natural for you guys to be looking like that?

"Did she just... use...?"

Akami: Hello. My name is Akami and I'm the one who isn't here ignoring you."

Azayakana suddenly grips Ace. "Do it again." Ace looks nervous.

"A-Am I in trouble....?" She puts the brush down.

"N-no no no, paint something else," The queen says hurriedly and excitedly.

Akami: OH MY GOD! Why won't you people tell me what's happening?! Is this anyway you treat a visitor?! Treat him like he ain't worth dime?! Much less a penny?!

Azayakana looks over at Akami. "...She just created a bird." She looks back at Ace. "Please, show me again." Ace quietly begins doodling, though slightly unsure due to the reaction of the queen, and once she finishes, another bird is created, and the Queen seems to have a hushed, reverent air looking at Ace.

"...A spirit that can use the Brush..." She says breathlessly. "I never imagined I'd see this day..."

Akami: Sooo liike, she's She-Jesus or something? What does that mean?

The queen lets out a soft laugh. "No, nothing like... ...err... 'She Jesus'. ...Until now, I'm the only spirit that has been able to use the Brush. It helps me channel my power and create lifeforms. She's the only other spirit I've met that can use this power of mine as well. ...She's the only one spirit right now that could serve as my heir. ...You could say... ...that the prospect is overwhelming."

Akami: Isn't someone like you immortal or something? Or do you have a retirement plan in mind?

"No. I am not immortal. I may have many long years of life, but I can die. ...From various things. ...And things aren't how they used to be..."

Akami: So you're eternal?

"I don't die of old age, but someone can stab me and kill me."

Akami: Oh I see. With like some enchanted weapon of sorts?

"...Can we not talk about violence...?"

Akami: Violence? I was talking about a weapon type, but sure.

Azayakana sighs. "Thank you." She gets up, though Akami can see a more passionate energy in the Queen's eye. "Shall we continue training, Ace?"

The girl nods, and eagerly continues her exersizes. After a while, she glances at the scrolls. "You can learn how to use the scrolls some more later," Aza says with a smile.

Ace smiles, then begins training more excitedly. 

Akami: Man, she sure has it easy. When it was me and Obi, things were hard as hell. 


Young Akami: *is struggling as she's pushing a boulder up hill* 

Obi: Puush! Puuush! 

Young Akami: It's...too heavy, Dad! The gravity is making it too heavy...I can't push! 

Obi: Fuck Gravity! Use the Force! Puuush! 

Young Akami: I can't push any further, Dad! 

Obi: Not that 'force', you ninnie! Puush! 


Obi: *is slightly hunched over* Ok. Try to hit me. 

Akami does so but is easly blocked and hit over the head

Obi: Ooooohhhhh reflexeeeeessss... 


Obi: *holds out a pebble in his hand* Try to take this pebble from my hand, Akami-sama. 

Akami tries to snatch it but Obi moves his hand and slaps her hand

Young Akami: Ow! *rubs her hand* 

Obi: Again 

Young Akami: *tries to snatch it again but Obi moves his hand and slaps her hand once again* 

Akami: Ow! 

Obi: You must learn patience, Akami-sama. Otherwise you will be like the chicken who crossed the road. 

Young Akami: Why did it crossing the road... 

Obi: Trying to stop those pesky cows from setting up another 'Eat More Chicken' ad for Chic-Fil-A. 

Young Akami: Uuuuuggghhh what? 

Obi: Again. 

Akami tries and tries again to snatch the pebble out of Obi's hand

Flashback ends

Akami: *sigh* Those were the days... 

The two spirits are appearing to be meditating, when all of a sudden, the two begin to levitate off the ground about an inch, and both begin glowing. 

Akami: Why can't I do that when I'm meditating? Oh yea, half human. Damn!

Without warning, the two suddenly flicker and disappear, and for a while, it is quiet, until Akami feels a finger poking her cheek.

"Can you see me?" Ace's voice rings out in the air, but no one is nearby.

Akami: What? *looks around but sees nothing*....Speak Lord, Thy servant hears you..

"No it's me, Akami!" Ace pops back into view right next to her. "So you couldn't see me then..."

Akami: *is completely surprised* Oh shit! How did you get there?

"I went into the Spirit Realm!"

Akami: Oh that's...greaaat...Spirit Realm, you say?

"Yea!" She suddenly gives Akami a tight hug.

Akami: *chuckles* Well I'm glad for you. *rubs Ace's hair*

Azayakana laughs as she reappears. "She may be grown physically, but she's still quite a child, wouldn't you say?" She sighs.

"I believe that will be enough for her spiritual training, at least for the present moment. Now, Akami, I want you to train her physically. But be warned, she is still as meek as she was when you met her, most likely. So start gentlely if you can."

Akami: *nods and stands up* I have the perfect start.

Ace looks at Akami. "What are we playing?" She asks curiously.


A pile of small boulders are right across from the spot Ace is standing. Ace stand behind a chalk line

Akami: Here's what you're gonna do. You're gonna take 1 or 2 boulders at a time and carry them over back to where you're standing and set them down. Then repeat. There's twenty of them. Begin.

Ace looks at the boulders disheartened. "All of them...?"

Akami: They certainly ain't gonna move themselves. Be glad they're small. Let's go!

She runs over to a boulder and begins lifting it, grunting and straining a moment, then begins returning it to where she stood, but shows problems being able to hold it.

Akami: This is to help your physical strength. This exercise helps with the arms and the chest aswell as the legs.

Ace is huffing and puffing, little muscle if any at all only making her task more difficult, but she does it without complaint, and sets down the boulder, tiredly returning to pick another up.

"I imagine this will take a while. She's spent all of her life inside of Kado's mind and soul, never in the real world."

Akami: I see. I don't want to start her off too too hard, but just enough to where I can actually begin to teach her all I know. I'm shaping her up, to build her up.

Ace continues, at a slow pace.

After some minutes go by, Ace finally gets the last boulder behind the line

"H-h-how'd... I do....?" Ace wheezes. 

Akami: You did good. Get some water a snack or something and take five. 

Ace falls on her rear and sighs, tired. The queen hands her a glass of water, and she begins gulping it down greedily. 

Akami: You might wanna give her a taller glass. The next one is gonna be quite tiresome. 

The queen offers the girl a bigger glass, as well as some fruits, Ace appears to be rather ravenous as she continues.

After Ace finishes

Akami: Alright. Your next exercise is to take that boulder and hold it high above you head.

Ace lets out a small squeak of despair, before beginning to attempt to lift it.

Akami: I warn you though, you're gonna feel the burn in round about a minute, so feel free to walk around until I say you can drop it.

She tries to lift it up, grunting with the strain.

Akami: Geez. I didn't think she would be this out of shape. This might take a lot longer than I thought.

Azayakana creates chairs for the two of them. "She's recently transitioned into a proper spiritual being. Our strength can be very much dependent on energy level. ...Which sometimes means the young ones will eat a ton before they are even close to satisfied."

Ace manages to lift the boulder over her head, though she is shaking visibly.

Akami: Keep up like that until I tell you to drop it. Feel fre to move about to keep your mind off the pain.

Her knees start wobbling.

Akami: Don't give out now. Keep it up.

"She seems equal parts weak and equal parts extremely hungry. We're going to need to give her plenty of time to gorge herself."

Akami: Food and working out doesn't go together.

"It's more of an energy thing. Unless you want her to feed off  your energy or something."

Akami: Mmm. You can drop it for now.

Ace drops it gratefully, collapsing once she is done.

"Something with sugar might keep her going for a while," Aza suggests.

Akami: She needs vegetables and milk. Lots of it.

"She still needs the energy. And protein."

Akami: And she needs the strength, Before she. *takes a stick off of the ground and snaps it in two* Snap like twig. *she says in some Asian accent*

Azayakana closes her eyes. "First part of muscle building: protein. But yes, Calcium is important too. Please don't talk to me about what a child needs to eat, in multiple terms I have been a mother, both figuratively and literally. A mother to the lineage that would become the emperors of Chinmoku, and the mother of all living things on this world. I think I understand basic nutrients, thank you kindly."

Akami: Then makes sure she get's some gosh darned calcium. She'll be needed alot of it for awhile if she's going to withstand our next exercises.

"...You aren't exactly a respectful one, are you?" 

Akami: I'm respectful. Just that this place is rubbing off on me the wrong way. If there's one thing I take after my father the most, is that is only so much shit I can put up with, which is not alot. You screw things up with me, next you'll know is people will be asking, 'What happened to your face?". 

The Queen gives her a frown. "That isn't called being respectful. That's called having an absentmindedly short temper." 

Akami: And that's called 'thinking that you know something'. 

"Akami, dear, I do know something. A great many somethings. About thirteen thousand years worth of somethings. Probably even more, I've lost count of my age. I'm not sure where your attitude is coming from, but I would ask that you drop it. I haven't done anything to you." 

Akami: Neither have I and here we are. Thirteen thousand years or more doesn't apply to the one person you don't know. Like me having an "attitude". I'm speaking to you in a calm, civilized manner. In all honesty I am complaining, but I do have right to.And with me being "short-tempered". Is like I said, I have a very little tolerance for certain things. Like people judging me for one cause they think they instantly know me just as soon as I stepped foot in this place. But you know what? It's good. We can drop it if you want. 

"An attitude can be perceived, even if it is false. You talk with your fists more than your mouth, a mistake for one so young like yourself. Just not too long ago, you were going on about 'screw things up with me', and 'what happened to your face?', and carried on that subject as though some how I or someone else here gave you trouble." 

Aza pauses to look at Ace. "Calcium and Protein really isn't worth anything here anyway. She doesn't have a normal body. Her form is but a capsule containing her spiritual energy. She needs more raw power than anything, which is why I mentioned sugar. With her, it's both physical, and energy management. I wasn't criticizing you." 

Akami: Then how did this conversation start? Believe me, I wouldn't have said those things if no one had done me wrong. 

"Like this: Some sugar might keep her going. That's all I said. I suggested energy and protein. You're trying to get her to become stronger, are you not?"

Akami: I am. And I you make sure she gets just that. I'm trying to see here how you thought I was having an attitude.

Sukina walks up. "I would imagine it was your talk of essentially punching my lady's face in that gave her that impression. You yourself painted that assumption into her mind. Would you like something to drink?" She asks, holding a cup of warm cocoa.

Akami: That wasn't until this conversation progressed. And no thank you, I'll simply have water.

"You initiated it, Akami."

Akami: Yes, ma'am. But tell me how though since you happen to know so much.

Sukina swats her with a fan, which smarts for a full minute after. "Enough, know the correct time and place."

Akami: Well you sure appeared as if it was.

Everything stops abruptly

Akami:*is shocked* Whoa,whoa,whoa,whoa. What?

Akamiiii. Akamiiiiiiiii

Akami: *is confused* Hm?

An ethereal vision of Obi appears

Obi: Akamiiiii. It's meee. Your fawdeeeerrr.

Akami: Dad? What are doing here? How did you get here? And did you say fodder?

Obi: I said fawder, not fodder! Jesus, you so slow! I'm speak to you telepathicsly, like Charles Xavier.

Akami: I don't know who that is.

Obi: He is a psychic cripple with cancer.

Akami: Oh. That's bad.

Obi: Sure is. I cam to tell you, to 'Shut up and be woman!' Simply apologize and continue on with life. Right now you're giving me a bad name, cause I can do good job of that all by myself. I don't need you fucking it up for me. I know these people seem like a bunch of assumptions, self-righteous picks. Which they sort of are, but this is they're land. You must abid by their rules and customs, as long as it isn't circumventing what I've taught you. Accept responsibility, cause right now, you wine like little bitch. I know these people sort of got on your bad side, but you need to calm your balls....Ovaries...whichever. You escalatored further than you needed to. Let them say all they shit they want, as long you keep a calm and clear sense of judgementses. I raised you right. Don't be going out places acting a fool. Like I said, I can do that myself. *hugs Akami and then begins to disappears* Good-bye Akamiiii, take care of yourself and that whiny-little pick whose name is totally irrelevance. Bye my chiiillld....*disappears*

Everything reverts to normal time

Akami: I apologize Lady Sukina, Lady Azayakana. I shouldn't have treated you both disrespectfully or smart-mouthed you. U promise it will not happen again as long as I am here.

Nobuyuki: The Sword of Balance

Kanashimi soon follows, and on their way down, they meet a man with brown hair, and brown eyes wearing a long white overcoat, watching them come down with his arms crossed.

"Greetings, you are Drake and Kanashimi Ryunexo?" He asks.

Drake brushes past him. "Mhmm, why'd you ask."

"It would occur to me that you might like training," He says casually. "The two of you need all the help you can get, and I can tell just by looking the girl hasn't been trained by a master before."

"..." Drake stops and turns his head towards the man, an annoyed expression on his face. "What, and you think you could train her?" 

"Hmmm, yes. I believe I could. I'll be taking the boy Kado under my wing once Azayakana is finished training his positive spirit, Ace. ...Right, introductions. I am the sword sage Nobuyuki. You won't find a better person to train someone. She has multiple physiologies, such as Spirit and Endlos. I know multiple connections beside myself that could help further enhance her potential. She is a Chaos Engine, correct?" 

Drake's eyes narrow at Nobuyuki. "One that's been freed, yes." 

"If you doubt me or my intentions, you will find no flaw in character in mine blade." He says evenly.  

"Though if you wish to test me, you might find yourself back in the medical ward again." He warns. 

In response, Drake places his hand on Kurai's handle and he gives Nobuyuki a cold stare.

"So you don't trust me after all then. You have nothing to gain through turning down the help of others." He says simply, and begins to walk on.

"I'd kind of like to have a trainer though," Kanashimi remarks.

Drake looks at Kanashimi. "Then go with him, if you need to improve, then go ahead." Drake then walks to his room.

"Why are you acting like that? You're different Drake, what's wrong?" Seriah asks, concerned.

Seriah notices that Drake's energy is constantly changing, fluxing, she can't pinpoint it. But she can tell that he's angered, distraught and faintly panicing. "I just can't wait any longer... I need to get to Yosai, I need to get her back."

Seriah hugs him. "But you will. But you need the help of your friends. Please wait... I will be there for you too. That's me and Kanashimi on your side. And I'm sure once Kado is better, he'll help too. Your friends will help you, but you need to give us more time. We'll help make the White Witch pay, and get Noriko back."

She notices that the feelings Drake has are still there, but they seemed to mellowed out. Surprisingly, he hugs Seriah, tightly. "Ok... Ok... If I have to wait... Then I will, I'm not going to like waiting..." Drake then chuckles. "I have to wait for you three to catch up. Oh... And sorry for not playing with you before your transformation."

"Don't be, it was me just being a silly kid. And don't worry, I'm already strong enough to fight."

Drake lets go of Seriah then sits on the edge of the bed.  "I guess... So now what? Kana is off training with that new person."

Seriah sees a spider and suddenly firmly clings to Drake like a cat. "EEEEEEEK! SPIDER! NO! AWAY! AWAY!" She whimpers. The spider in question is no larger than a teaspoon measurement.

"I guess you did retain some of your young self's characteristics... It's not harmful, look." Drake puts his open hand near the spider.

It raises its front legs aggressively, then suddenly runs, not before blasting his face with a large, sticky web. It runs into the corridor and out of sight.

"...Not all bastards are spiders, but all spiders are bastards..." Drake tears the web off of his face.

Seriah wearily laughs. "I guess it is harmful, to your hair." There is still spider silk firmly stuck to his hair.

Drake sighs as he tries to pull the web off. "God dammit spiders... Why the hair?"

Seriah helps pull off the stubborn strands. "Apparently targeting one's hair contributes to humor in some ways. Maybe the spider thought it was funny?"

He blinks. "...I doubt the spider thought it was funny, the way it had it's legs up, it showed it was threatened."

"Well, maybe it was telling you to take a hike then."

"Hey, I would of left it be if you didn't screech and cling on to me."

"It was going to bite me!" She whines.

"It was going to spray web at you as it did with me, although... I've never seen a spider do that before."

"That would be because my lady was tired of venomous spiders and created a spider that doesn't bite, but shoots webs at its attacker's face. Surprisingly effective. We call them Cannonback Spiders. ...Cause they can shoot those pretty far." Sukina says, popping her head in.

"...Playing God brings out some scary things... Hey Sukina."

"The lady is currently training Ace, teaching her control over her powers. ...Though that might take a while, she's rather frail."

"Funny enough, Kado is strong yet his female counterpart is stupidly weak... I think there's a joke there somewhere."

"Strength is objective, to be honest. She has a hidden strength. Strength he lacks, but he needs. In equal perspective, Neo may be strong, but lacks what the others have as well. Have you met any of his spirits?"

Drake remembers back at Upnation and chuckles. "I think so... Violent one, isn't he?"

"Yes. Though you're a violent one yourself." She looks away.

"Hey, in times like these, you have no choice but to be violent if you're going to partake in what could possibly change entire worlds."

She looks back at him, visibly irritated. "Apparently that's to the point when you need to start choking people just because you are upset with them."

"Oooooo.... ...I think she's still mad about that," Seriah whispers in his ear.

"I can still hear you, angel."

"Without a doubt..." Drake stands up and looks at Sukina. "Can you answer my question? Why did you give Eien the Slayer, was it to avoid combat because he was your friend? Or couldn't you bother to fight in the first place."

"Tell me, could you bear to turn against your own friend? The one called Daikeim? Could you convince yourself to kill him?"

"If I had to, then yes. I wouldn't like it, but if I had to, then yes. And obviously you don't know what I used to do if you don't think I could convince myself to kill a fellow friend."

She closes her eyes. "A comerade, a friend... more valuable than any money or treasure in this world. The only thing of value in this world is the people within it. No material possession could ever amount to the value of another living being."

"Do you know what I told him that day? That the power you will gain, may not hold the answers you seek?"

"Yes... I do." Drake starts to remember all the visions he's had, what Eien has told him and what he found out back at the Palace. "...Kio... That's why he wanted the Slayer, and power... That would explain his notes, his lab, his motives against Igna..." Drake looks at Sukina. "The power he gained may not hold the answers he seek, but they sure as hell will lead him towards it."

"...I'm not going to ask how you know all of that. ...But you're wrong on the last part. The road he walks is toward failure."

She opens her eyes. "When he started to change after Kio, I told him something. 'Hang in there. I'll do anything I can. I'll be by your side, I'll help you, if you only give me the chance.'"

She closes her eyes and sighs. "When I told him that, I meant it. I was working on a way to combat Inga Kankei. However, before I could complete my thesis on the subject, that's when the killings started. One by one, our members disappeared. Close friends of ours too. It was only when it was down to the last four that I realized... ...that someone from within was betraying us. ...only after my husband, the Dark Slayer was killed... ...did I face the reality that it was Eien. My long childhood friend. My closest friend. The one I trusted the most. I refused to believe he would betray me.

...Yet it happened. I made myself disappear and hid in shame. At myself, my failure to save my friends, and at failing to help my friend. He has gained power, but he has walked down the wrong path. ...I know not where he is or what he is actually doing. Only that he walks alone on his path. ...His path of vengeance."

"I don't blame him... Right now, it's his only close family he has, and he'll go as far as he needs to save her..."

"And yet, he has yet to succeed. And I get the impression he is headed for a fall."

"Hmph... If he is, then I'll make it my own duty to save his sister."

"I wish things were that simple in life. Inga is the one being Azayakana cannot forgive the actions of."

Drake stays silent for a moment before sighing. "Nothing is simple in this life, which means if I have to take Eien out to make sure he doesn't go too far. And we both know that will be a difficult if not, impossible task."

"...If it's any help, I may join you to help free your friend. It is the least I can do to correct my mistakes."

He looks at Sukina for a second before nodding. "Yeah, we'll need all the help we can get."

"Oh, and try to choke me again, and you'll find out how very dumb of a desicion that is." She says, as a strange sensation like a finger poking his forehead occurs.

"...I grabbed your shoulders." Drake says, blinking.

"The point stands," She says as the force pokes him in the eye, then she turns and leaves.

Drake puts his hand over his eye. "Ow..." He turns to look at Seraih. "So... Should we see how Kana is holding up with Nobuyuki?"

She nods.

Out in the courtyard, upon exiting the tower, they can hear how the training is going. "I didn't tell you to lower your sword! Keep going! Left, right, block, dod- no, don't catch my sword with your stomach, try again!"

"Well... That sounds interesting, let's get a closer look."

When they turn the nearest corner, they hear Nobuyuki exclaim, "Are you even trying?! It's not that hard to hit my head, big and round, can't be that hard to miss, or are you just blind?!" Turning the corner, they now see Kanashimi furiously trying to swat Nobuyuki's head with a large wooden stick, but Nobuyuki is dodging so fast, and with such ease, he looks like he's just fooling around at this point. ...Which explains Kanashimi's increasing look of frustration and fury.

"Take this seriously!!!"

"I am, I'm dodging. Slowly."

Drake leans against a wall. "Hmm... Kana! Lunge, swipe ground, barge then thrust!"

Nobuyuki smiles faintly for some reason, and stops dodging, Kanashimi's stick smacks right into his head, but breaks instantly. 

"Lesson three: The Real Thing." He manifests a sword and stabs at Kanashimi, who jumps back.

"Woah woah, real swords, come on!"

"Yes, real swords, ones that go, 'pokey pokey stabby stabby'. Now fight!" He says, coming after Kanashimi lightning quick, she however has no weapon, only her stick, which she desperately tries to block with, but with little luck. The next thirty minutes devolves into what is esentially a game of tag, ended once Nobuyuki corners her, then with a sigh makes the sword and staff disappear.

"We'll continue this tommorow, since by now you are probably not going to give me any lip like you did back in lesson one. ...Which we will be repeating tommorow. Wake up at four am sharp. DON'T. Be late."

He walks off, leaving Kanashimi panting, looking absolutely exhausted. Whatever training he'd been doing, he's obviously worked her to the breaking point, and she falls onto her knees, trying to catch her breath.

"Man," She pants, "That guy is mental! He doesn't take any nonsense at all... geez... he had me lifting boulders twice my size..."

Drake glances at Nobuyuki as he walks off then looks at Kanashimi. "...Hmm, still doesn't seem like he lives up to his name... Kana, you alright?" Drake reaches out his hand to help her up.

"I'll... I'll be alright... whew.... man that was tough. Oddly enough, he's called the Sword Sage right? So why doesn't he have a sword? ...Or one you can see? It doesn't look like he carries a sword..."

"Huh... I guess you have a point, I'll look into that... Oh Kana, I have some Cyanican food in my room, help yourself, alright?"

"...Oh, thanks." A curious thing to note, is that the three gold stripes on her left cheek have strangely grown down her neck, and have branched three ways, down toward her chest, and toward both shoulders. At the bottom center part of her collarbone, they join to form a decorative circle, almost like the pendant of a fancy necklace.

Drake blinks. "...That's new, Kana, your stripes have changed a bit."

"WOAH what the heck is this?" After a moment, she frowns. "...I feel sick now."

Unseen by Drake or Kanashimi, Nobuyuki watches in spirit form from afar.

The former weapon's powers keep shifting. Some times she is overflowing, yet other times it is like the flow of her energy is being cut off completely... would appear something is changing in her.

Drake looks at Seriah as he places a hand on Kanashimi's shoulder. "Seriah, can you take Kana to her room and make sure she's alright? I'll just be here, so don't worry about me."

She nods, and with a flutter of feathers, disappears with Kanashimi.

Nobuyuki meanwhile has appeared further away, looking deep into a koi pond.

Drake looks over and rolls his eyes before he eventually walks over and looks at the pond.

The Sword Sage seems to be watching the various rather large koi swimming in the large pond, some bigger around than Drake's own hand. He says nothing, but seems content to watch the koi swim around, living in their own little world under the water.

After a while, Drake just shrugs and sits down, crossing his legs. He creates a small fireball and bounces it on his hand to pass the time.

After a while, the spirit glances at Drake. "Is there something you need, Ryunexo?"

"Just call me Drake." He says before glancing at Nobuyuki. "...Where is your blade?"

"My sword is not meant to be used upon those who are not deserving of it. I don't mean that Kanashimi is inferior to me, I mean, my weapon, my true sword, is only to be used to destroy my enemies, and to protect what is closest to me. I will never so much as offer a glimpse of it to anyone except those I protect, and those I destroy. I wield many blades, but the one most powerful of mine blades is reserved for the absolute protection, and the absolute destruction of others."

"I don't mean that, you don't seem to carry one on you... And considering that you're apparently called the 'Sword Sage', don't you think it's a bit... Ironic, that you don't carry one?"

"Well, consider the fact you're not looking at the real me when you say that... Spirits often appear before beings of the flesh as a prefered appearance. Some of us appear as something else than what we actually are. In this case, I have a personal collection of over three thousand individual blades."

"Even that is too many." Drake sighs as he looks into the pond one more time before standing up, he blows out the fireball like a candle and starts to walk away. "Right, well then, goodnight."

"Personally, I would choose the word 'overkill'. Which is exactly my intention," He muses.

Another sigh is heard as Drake goes back to his room, he falls face first on his bed and has no trouble falling asleep.

At some point in the night, he has another vision, which cuts into his sleep with no warning. In the vision, Drake stands in the midst of a completely leveled city, soot covering everything. Once towering skyscrapers now lay strewn everywhere. However, there seems to be a pattern to the devastation. At the very center of the city, there is a large crater he can see in the distance.

He takes a long scan around the city before shrugging, walking towards the crater while looking at the debris. 

Standing in the middle of the crater is a male figure in white armor, with long brown hair drifting down from the back of the helmet. Twelve glowing blades float behind the figure. It silently turns, revealing a dragonic mask with painted on black 'eyeholes'.

"Another who gazes beyond their time and space... ....from where and which time do you come from....? ....I suppose you wouldn't know the answer to those questions anyway, Drake Ryunexo."

Drake's eyes widen, he takes a look around to see if there are any other Drakes this person is referring to. But as he confirmed a moment ago, there's nothing in this city... Except these two. "What the... There's no way you can be talking directly to me, this is a vision... Right?"

There is a short laugh from the figure in white. "It is. I am talking to you."

"Hmph... This is certainly new." Drake takes a step and slides down the side of the crater, keeping his balance perfectly as he stops only at arms length from the figure. "So then, you caused all this?"

"No. What you see is the end result of what will happen in your future. An event that will be called The Siege of Yosai. The end of the imminent Phoenix War, judging from your time.

....This, is where the great Blue Lambda... met her death."

"Huh... So visions into the future and pass... Surely Eien is fucking with me now." He takes a glance around. "Met her death... So this entire city was gone with her?"

"...Eien... ...What you see before you is not the true timeline, merely one of its possibilities. And yes, this city is nothing more than a wasteland, due to her death. ...Til the end, she was the Lambda of Destruction... ...and was never released from her fate."

"....I am not going to interfere in anything pertaining to your future. But you have a choice to make soon. Ally with your friends and trust in their power, or take the road unfavorable and against you.

...Is there something else you would like to ask me, or are you merely wasting your time now?"

"A couple if you can answer them. One is how am I able to have these visions, and how come this is the only one I could interact with? Another would be what would be able to prevent this from happening, and finally. Who are you?"

"When Eien showed you the vision of Noriko's future, he accidentally caused an instability in your own time flow. As a result, you are starting to gain your own sight of the timeline. ...I am surprised your sight can reach here though. The only way to control this is through actively learning how to use it. ....As for the other two questions, I refuse to answer them."

"Ok... So I can see further into my timeline... And apparently reach into a whole other one as well, that will be handy once I get a hang of these. And what do you mean you refuse to answer, you want the death of her to be prevented, right?"

"Sight of the timeline is the most you will ever be capable of." The figure falls silent for a moment.

"...And I thought I made myself clear... I refuse to answer why only I am able to interact with you, and what my name is. Those two questions are not your concern."

"Fine, be like that... Hmm, in most cases, the vision would flicker out and I would wake up when I've seen what I needed to see... So why isn't it doing it now?"

"...I am a ghost of your past... ...and the phantom of your future...." The figure says, then suddenly slashes Drake across the chest with one of the swords, the vision dying out immediately. Waking up immediately after, Drake notices his chest is warm and wet, and he checks and sees a small slash, not enough to be potentially fatal, only enough to hurt.

"What the hell? Was that a vision or not?" He asks himself before his regenerative abilities kick in, closing the slash up. "How the hell did..." Drake shakes his head, gets out of his bed and starts to get ready for the day.

A knock on his door comes. "When you're ready, breakfast is being served for everyone." Sukina calls.

"Ok, I'll be there in a minute." Drake responds, he throws his jacket onto his shoulder and opens the door. "Hey Sukina."

She nods. "Ready then?"

"Yeah, although apologies in advance if I don't eat much." After he says that, he follows Sukina to the dining hall and sits down.

He notices in addition to Seriah, Kanashimi, and Akami, there appears to be a new girl, sitting on the left side of the queen. She is wearing a lavender kimono like the queen, with a flower hair pin of similar color. She has soft gold eyes and long white hair, though her face seems vaguely familiar.

"So... Another one of your handmaidens, Azayakana?"

Akami: That's Ace...*stretches* Best sleep I had in days.

Drake glances at the girl. "Ace... So the other spirit of Kado... Seems like less of a dull person, but we'll see."

She lowers her head and starts looking away, as though intimidated by his gaze.

"Uuuh... There's no need to be afraid, so stop being shy like that."

"She's always shy," Azayakana remarks. "Don't be harsh to the child. Give her time to get used to you."

Drake rolls his eyes. "Fine fine..."

The girl named Ace quietly eats, occasionally glancing up toward Drake. Sukina regards the girl with an amused smile. Nobuyuki is nowhere to be found in the room though.

"Hmm..." Drake looks at Kanashimi. "Weren't you supposed to be training with him at four in the morning?"

"Yeah, but it's two."

Drake blinks. "...Two in the morning... How long was I out for?"

"Oh, about ten hours."

"Ten... Hours... Ok then." After a while, Drake stands back up and starts to walk away. "Just going to take a breather." He then finds his way outside, he sits down with his legs crossed and closes his eyes.

Seriah flies over to Drake, landing next to him.

"You alright sleepy head?"

"I'm not sleeping, I'm trying to focus on something... And yes, I'm fine." He replies.

She sits down and wraps a feathered wing around him to keep him warm.

"Thanks." He says as tribal markings appear on Drake's head and even though his eyes are close, a faint white glow is peering through. "Come on... Come on..."

For a while, nothing really happens, long enough to make him seriously consider stopping, when a brief flicker occurs on his vision, but nothing else.

Drake lays on his back and sighs. "God dammit... This is a pain, how the hell can Eien do it with so much ease?"

Although nothing actually came up, Drake does feel a wierd sensation, though he can't describe it.

"Hmm... I wonder." Drake sits back up and closes his eyes, the same glow returning again.

Drake eventually gets a burning headache, and finally his vision begins changing.

He catches a glimpse of Eien slumped at the lab under the palace, writing furiously in his journals.

"Perfect... Heh, Eien is gonna be pissed if he's seeing this." Drake tries to focus on what he's writing in the journal.

"Oi. I don't appriciate the snooping." Drake hears, just as a foot smashes into his face and shatters the vision, Eien starts grinding his head into the ground.

"You know, names have power. You rang, dickface?" Before Drake or Seriah can respond, he disappears again.

Drake takes a look around. "What the hell?! ...Ok, first that person... Now Eien-- ...There's an idea."

Seriah taps him. "I think you should stop making people mad."

"Can't help it, it's another side effect of being me... Hmm, so I'm sorta able to do that at will..."

"You can help it, all you gotta do is think positive thoughts!"

"..." Drake slowly turns his head towards Seriah. "Right..." Drake sits up once more, crosses his legs and just meditates.

"What? You gotta think positive sometimes Drake..." She frowns, watching him for a moment, before she slowly smiles and starts tickling him.

After a moment, he smiles and starts to giggle until he eventually gives in and starts to tickle Seriah back.

She in turn giggles like the playful childish person she is, and starts targeting his sensitive spots.

"You call that tickling?" She taunts playfully.

"Heheahahha, not yet!" Drake replies as he finds a sensitive spot on Seriah and focuses on that.


"I'm winning! I'm winning!" Drake exclaims.

Seriah then starts targeting him with both hands and wings.

Drake's own sentient aura emerges and targets all of Seriah's sensitive spots. "Aaah ha!"

"No no no no! Ahhhhhhhh-" *Poof* Seriah explodes in a cloud of feathers.

"Meanie... you beat me at tickling..." Her invisible voice speaks up.

"Hehe, that's mean of you to call me a meanie, don't you think?"

"You made me go poof!"

"Ok ok... Sorry I made you go poof." Drake sighs.

"That's ok, you can make up for it by giving me a hug," She says, reappearing.

"Alright, done." Before Seriah can even smile, Drake pulls her in for a hug, he chuckles.

She softly hugs him in turn. "Feel better now?"

"Yeah, I'm feeling better."

"Yeaaa! I feel better knowing you're better now too!"

He smiles and pets Seriah's head. "Of course of course."

Below them, Nobuyuki and Kanashimi are seen running, holding giant boulders. Though Kanashimi seems to be struggling.

"Faster! You're moving like a snail!"

"It's a giant boulder!!!"

"And? Show it who's boss and quit fooling around! Or are you a girly girl?"

The comment seems to... 'motivate' Kanashimi, who begins running faster and holding the boulder up higher, though she looks pissed. She wheels around and begins charging Nobuyuki.

"I'll smash you!"

"Catch me if you can," The spirit says before taking off with ease, and Seriah and Drake are treated to about thirty minutes worth of a grand chase which ends when Kanashimi throws the boulder, only for Nobuyuki to easily catch it with his bare hand and set it down.

"Good work."

"Hmm... Well that was interesting, wasn't it Seriah. Hey! Nice going, Kana!"

Kanashimi folds her arms.

"Now then... next lesson." He suddenly whips out two wooden poles and throws one at Kana, and the two start whacking at each other, though Kanashimi gets more of the beating than him. Or rather, nearly all of it

Drake sighs. "A bit rough, but considering that she is a Chaos Engine... I guess it's fair..."

After a while, Nobuyuki seems to be frowning more and more, until suddenly he easily knocks Kanashimi off her feet and onto the ground in one swoop of his pole.

"Ok, you're not bringing your A game today. It's starting to get aggravating."

They continue for a bit longer, and Drake starts noticing periods where Kanashimi seems to do much better, then her performance tanks severely.

"Huh, it could just be rushes of anger which improves her perfomance for a moment, either that or it's with something concerning her CE self."

After a few minutes more, Nobuyuki stops and looks at Drake.

"Come down here please."

"Hmm?" Drake stands up and walks off the edge, falling straight down before landing on his feet without any harm at all.

"Can you explain why her power keeps wildly fluctuating?

"Could be exhaustion..." Drake looks at the stripes on her. "Although... Kana, what exactly happened after those stripes expanded?"

"Huh...? Oh... well I keep feeling sick... right now... and dizzy."

Nobuyuki looks at Kanashimi, then Drake.

"It feels as though her powers are changing in some way, though how I do not know."

"I may have an idea... After a while, Kanashimi slowly got her powers back... Do you think she's evolving? And her body is just trying to adapt to the changes? And Kana, if you're feeling sick and dizzy, then go get some rest."

"I I'm... I'm fine..." She says, before suddenly losing balance and falling against Drake.

Drake catches her and sighs. "No... You're not... C'mon, I'll take you to your room." Drake puts her on his back and starts to walk away.

To Drake's alarm, her body feel incredibly hot, like he is touching hot steel.

"Ow... Ow! OW OW OW!" He flinches and stops walking for a second, but soon manages to put up with the pain as he walks her to his room. "Oh God... I'm going to get burns for months..."

"D-Draaaaake...." Kanashimi groans in sudden audible pain. "Something's happening...."

"Uh oh..." Drake kicks Kanashimi's door open and sits her down on her bed. "Don't worry don't worry, I'm here Kana, everything will be fine."

As he puts her down, he notices there is a strong glow to her body, in fact looking at her he can even see the heat radiating off her. Sweat is actively rolling down her body, and there is clear pain in her eyes, her teeth clenched.

Drake places his hands on Kanashimi's shoulders, not even regarding the heat, tribal markings appear on Kanashimi in an attempt to reduce the pain.

Nobuyuki stares up at the tower, for some reason, his senses are picking up an energy signal aligned that of...


After a minute he sighs. "....I'm gonna have a meaty bill to pay after this..." He says just as Drake's room explodes in a giant fireball that blows open the wall to the outside, and he holds out his arms and catches Drake and Kanashimi, and sets them both down.

"Well... this is interesting." He says, looking upon the transformed Kanashimi, who is burning with enough fire to make it look as though she had been dumped with gasoline, her whole body seems to be burning up.

Drake blinks and looks at Kanashimi, a bit awestruck. "Wow... That's impressive..."


"Alright!" He puts his hand on Kanashimi's shoulder and unsheathes Kurai. "Alright, do your thing Kurai." The blade glows as Kanashimi suddenly feels no pain from the fire.

He gets blown back as the fire gets stronger and causes a second, stronger explosion, when the dust settles, Kanashimi levitates in the air, her body now composed of flames. He can see the full length of her gold markings on her flaming body, a ruby in the center of her chest where the necklace like markings grew. On one hand a shield of majestic flames forms, and the other a one handed greatsword of fire.

As he stands up, he has to shield his eyes from the intensity of the female flare, after a moment. His jaw drops at what he sees. "...Woah, that's... Holy shit, Kana, are you alright?"

She looks at herself in shock, then suddenly gets a big grin. "...I... I feel... I FEEL FANTASTIC!" She cheers, the outburst causing a huge blast of fire which fills the whole courtyard. Kurai seems to not be very good at dissipating the flames.

Drake watches as the flames whiz past him without harming him, he chuckles at Kanashimi. "...Like I said, evolving... So Kanashimi just evolved." 

Seriah looks at Kanashimi. "A divine instrument... ...that one looks pretty cool." 

"Hmm? A divine instrument?" Drake looks at Seriah with curiosity.

"It's a weapon or tool some angels or divine beings have. It's a signature power of theirs."

"Huh... So, Kanashimi is either an angel or a divine being... And considering that she has my genes... Yeah, divine being." 

"Well all Chaos Engines are created from me and father's DNA you know... and we're archangels." 

"...You and father's? ...Oh. Right. God and all that... Hmm, I wonder how strong God is..."

"Infinite. I actually more mean my biological father, not the one in Heaven. ...Though father is in heaven too now..."

"Ok, two things. Infinite power? Hmph, I could still beat him... And your biological father, what happened to him?"

Seriah flicks Drake in the nose. "You couldn't so much as look at him without spontaneously combusting. He was the genetic base of all Chaos Engines. He was set free and redeemed a little while ago."

"Oh... And you never met him after your transformation... Did you?"

"...I don't think so. I didn't actually see any people."

"Huh... That's strange, but we can talk about this later." Drake turns to look at Kanashimi. "Do you think you can get that under control?"

She shrugs. "I dunno." The motion sends a fireball flying into the air, where it bursts like a firework.

"...That will be a no." Drake sighs. "Alright, well it looks like before you can do anything, you need to learn how to exit or control that."

Nobuyuki looks at her. "I have my ways of arranging that. ...It'll take a while, but it'll work."

"Of course you do, now then... Kana, don't destroy the entire tower, alright? We need this to not be just ruins, ok?"

"I make no promises. That actually sounds like a bit of fun."

"Kana... Do not, destroy the tower, got it?" Drake says seriously. "I hope you can control this soon, it'll be a big surprise towards Phoenix." He chuckles then begins to walk away.

"I was just kidding! Seesh."

"Can't be too safe!" Drake exclaims before flickering like a flame and disappearing.

Over the course of the next few hours, he can hear large various explosions coming outside of the boundaries of the tower walls.

"Aaaand that's explosion number eight fifty two... This is going to take it's time..." Drake says, laying on his back on his bed. He closes his eyes for a moment. "...Noriko, if you can hear me, don't worry about a thing, we will rescue you..."

Eventually the explosions stop sounding so random, and a little more sequential.

"Hmm... I guess she's slowly getting a hang of it, I gotta say, her transformation was very impressive..." Drake looks up at the ceiling and sighs. "Heh, maybe she'll become a better fire user than me..."

"If you mean I'll become better than General Couchpotato, certainly!" Kanashimi says, still in her firey form, but she doesn't seem to be generating spontaneous fireblasts with every movement.

"Nobuyuki said to come help."

"Why? You seem to be doing well."

"He wants you to help. He also wants to show off my training."

"...Of all the things... Sure." Drake springs up from his bed. "You lead the way."

"Rarr!" She roughs up his hair, then takes off toward the outside of the complex.

Drake rolls his eyes and sprints after her. "He has this under control, what does he need to bother me about."

"You'll see, stop being a Grumpy Cat."

He glances at Kanashimi. "No promises."

"Aww does the wittle kitty need to be petted?"

Drake's glance turns into a glare as soon he overtakes Kanashimi.

"Well that got him motivated." She arrives where Nobuyuki stands waiting.

"Ah you arrived. You know, she's actually a good learner, now that her power stopped fluctuating."

"Yeah, I know that, so why did you want to drag me here."

"To help train her. A two on one."

Drake gives Nobuyuki a blank expression. "...You got Kanashimi to drag me out of my bed for this..." He makes an annoyed sigh and places his hand on Kurai's handle. "Fine..."

Nobuyuki walks out away from them, then momentarily glows, then a massive explosion of silver energy goes off, creating a pillar of said firey energy.

Drake looks at Kanashimi. "Ok then... You ready?"


"Alright." Drake fully unsheathes Kurai and focuses on Nobuyuki. "Ok... He should be wielding one blade, which means that one of us can easily rush his unarmed side and attack..."

When the fire goes away, an armored figure errily like the figure in his vision is revealed, unfortunately Nobuyuki wasn't joking when he had said he had 3000 swords, as an army of swords float behind him in a ring formation, though two of those swords are in his hands.

"...Hmph, a bit much don't you think?" Drake spins Kurai around as a red draconic aura forms around him, his aura wings make a single flap and be speeds off directly towards Nobuyuki. "Here goes...!"

A single blade intercepts him, while another one hacks at his aura wings.

The aura blasts off of Drake and explodes, creating a shockwave which knock any blades away. Drake then charges straight ahead and slashes down once, causing a wave of light to speed straight towards Nobuyuki.

With a mere flicker of movement, Nobuyuki is behind him and proceeds to slash his back, but immeidately dodges after as Kanashimi fires a fireball at him.

"Too slow." With another flicker of movement he is across the field. 

"Grr... He's going to get on my nerves..." Drake growls as he jumps back right next to Kanashimi. "Hmm... Ok, you got any plans?"

"...." She clenches her fist, and her flame shield expands significantly, she positions it so that Drake's and her back are both covered. Her sword also increases in length.

"I say frontal assault."

"So... Go straight for him? ...That sounds like something I would do... Great idea." He smirks. "I'm following your lead here."

She rushes off without warning.

"OK THEN!" Drake exclaims as he catches up with Kanashimi.

Kanashimi fires various fireballs, which Nobuyuki starts deflecting with a bored expression.

"I'll make an opening." Drake flickers like a flame and disappears, only to appear right in front of Nobuyuki with a grin on his face as he shoulder barges him. Stunning him for only a moment, which gives Drake enough time to sidestep behind him and makes a single stomp which causes another shockwave to spread the blades away. "NOW!"

Nobuyuki doesn't move as Kanashimi appears behind him, shooting a blast of fire. However at the last second the sword sage ducks, causing the blast to smash into Drake.

Drake emerges from the smoke and knees Nobuyuki while creating a black fireball and smashing it into his back.

Nobuyuki jumps back and slashes through the fireball and kicks Drake away, then sidesteps Kanashimi who slashes him with the firey sword.

"Good, good."

Drake handsprings back up onto his feet and glares at Nobuyuki. "Hmph." He clicks his neck and jumps high into the air then slashes down, creating a massive wave of light. As Nobuyuki dodges it and looks up, Drake is right in front of him with a smirk on his face. "Peek a boo." He quickly spinkicks him into Kanashimi.

Nobuyuki suddenly launches straight up into the air a good distance from them, then stops and looks down. He points down at them, and the blades hovering behind his back suddenly spread out over a massive area and point down at the ground.

"Three thousand blades of penitence."

"Kana, shield! NOW!" Drake quickly jumps beside to Kana as rune circles appear on his hands, ready to strengthen her shield

Kanashimi makes her crimson shield just as the blades are about to crash into them.

Drake places his hands on the back of the shield, causing black tribal markings to appear on them. Which causes multiple Chinese style tribal dragons to fly out of the shield to deflect some blade and even send them back at Nobuyuki.

Nobuyuki takes his two blades and begins deflecting them, then with a kick he creates a gust of wind to blow the rest back.

As they get blown back, they disperse into black smoke. Drake looks and grabs Kanashimi's arm. "I throw you through, you bash him with the shield then get behind him. Then I'll go through the smoke and we both strike with our blades, ok?"

"Crazy and stupid, I like it."

"Ok, LET'S DO IT!" And with that, Drake spins once, using the momentum to throw Kanashimi through the smoke straight towards Nobuyuki.

"Take this!" Kanashimi attempts to smash him with her shield, but she sails right through him, and he simply turns and watches her flail in alarm.

"I just went right through him?!"

"Dammit... Ok." Drake creates a rune circle underneath his feet which blast him up into the air, just as he goes up, the blade strangely glows white.

Nobuyuki parries him once he gets close. "If you had just gone, ignoring my move, you would have gotten a clean shot."

"Oh, I know. But I'm not the one attacking. NOW!" Drake's aura appears behind Kanashimi and uses a strong gust of air to launch her at Nobuyuki as Drake swings Kurai down at him.

Nobuyuki drops down just as Kanashimi and Drake slash at him, and he lands on the ground.

"Very good. You work well together."

"Heh... Yeah, so we done?"

"For the moment."

"Ah, alright then." Drake lands on the ground and sheathes Kurai before looking at Kanashimi. "Your shield came in handy for once."

"For once? I didn't have it before today!"

"I'm saying that now because I feel that shield of yours won't work all the time." He chuckles.

She whacks him on the head with the shield, causing a goose egg to form on his forehead. "Hmmph."

"Ow..." The bulge on Drake's forehead quickly goes away as he groans in pain for a moment. 

"You were saying, chicken legs?"

"Chicken legs? What kind of insult is that?" He says with a small smile.

"Pot belly."

"Carrot top."


"Daddy's little 'princess'"



"Uhhh... ....Fishsticks?" 

Drake chuckles. "Ok, that's enough... Now what do we do?"

A spider dangles down in front of his face.

"Oh not this again..." Drake cups it into his hands. "Ha!"

He feels a wet sticky substance coat his hands.

"Yep... Ok burning this thing."

He finds he can't pry open his hands now.


He can feel it crawling inside his cupped hands.

Drake creates a fireball inside the cupped hands, burning the spider and the web.

"Well, I believe you have a new rival. Spiders!" Kanashimi cackles.

"More of a rival than you." Drake teases as he opens his hands.

She smiles as she opens her hand and reveals another spider, then she tickles it in a certain spot and it blasts Drake's face with the webs, and Kanashimi cackles.

"...Of course." Drake tears off the webs then picks the spider up before throwing it away.

"Aww I was gonna name it Ted..."

Drake blinks before looking at Kanashimi. "...I don't even... OK! I'm gonna get something to eat, you coming?"

"Yeah, sure."

He smiles as he starts to walk, with Kanashimi following behind him. After a few moments he comes across a door which leads to the kitchen. "Hmm... Maybe we can cook something for ourselves instead of waiting for everyone else to be hungry."

Kanashimi frowns. "But I can't cook."

"Then you're gonna learn, what do you want?"

"...Something meat related."

"Ok, go to their meat freezer and pull something out."

Kanashimi starts rummaging, and then pulls out a pork.

Drake takes the pork from her and gets out a chopping board, he then grabs a nearby cutting knife and starts to slice through the meat. "Ok, so porkchops it is... We may need something to go with this, any ideas?"

"Hmmmm.... spice. All of the spice. So much spice... Make it spicy!"

"...Not exactly the best idea, but sure... The long cupboard next to the right of the sink, there should be a spice rack, bring some here."

Kanashimi ends up bringing several random kinds of spices to him.

Drake begins to season the pork with the right kind of spices before grabbing a tray to place them on. "Ok, I'm sure you want something other than pork to go with this, right?"

"Huh... what else could I have..." She looks at a husk of corn and points at it. "What is this?"


She sees a sack of potatoes. "...Are these rocks in a bag?"

A thud can be heard as he turns to see an indent on the counter in the shape of Drake's face. 

"...You ok?"

"Yep... Just fine... Grab the bag and the corn and bring it over."

She brings them over, looking confused. "Seriously what are these things?"

"Food." He begins preparing dinner for Kanashimi, he tells her to go sit down while the pork cooks. "Specifically, potatoes and corn are vegatables."

"Ooooooh... so umm... what's a... 'vegatable'?"

"Food is split up into groups, fruit and vegatables, dairy, meats and grains such as rice. Vegetables are stuff that grows out of the ground, so that would be the potatoes in the bag and the yellow corn. Fruit is stuff that grows above ground, so apples, bananas, pears, cherries and the list goes on. Dairy are products that have calcium in them I believe? They help with the bones in your body, milk and cheese are the only things that come to mind." He chuckles. "I don't have to explain meats to you, do I?"

"I'm not stupid..."

"I know, now if we give the food a while to cook, we should be done."

"...Thanks. ...And sorry, I feel like I should have known that..."

"It's fine, it's fine... I didn't learn about food since I was around your age too, I was too busy swinging swords to learn the difference between an apple and a tomato." He chuckles as he gives Kanashimi a soft hug.

She lets her rarely seen soft side open up and she just rests her head against his shoulder for a moment, sighing, a small smile on her face.

"...I'm feeling a bit stressed out... thanks."

"Stressed? Is that because of Nobuyuki?"

"No... ...Nori."

"Yeah... I know how you feel then." He sighs. "Don't worry, she'll be fine... And if White lays a hand on her, then me, you and Kado are going to storm to Yosai and beat that bitch until she's white and red." He makes a quiet chuckle, trying to comfort Kanashimi.

Long Days

Kanashimi gives him a soft hug, and for the few moments she allows herself to be open, Drake can feel a daughterly love coming from her, warm and genuine.

Drake gives off a small smile as he hugs back. "Even if you say you're not, you're the best child I'll ever have."

"I'm sure you can always do better than me." Her wings open up slightly. "Urgh... I feel stiff today... I blame the cold weather..."

"Hmm, do you want to go outside and stretch your wings? Oh! Right after you eat, of course. The food should be done." He chuckles.

"Urggh, the cold air doesn't feel good to fly in."

"Don't worry, I have a way to warm the air up... It's a little trick I learned, although it's up to you."

"No thanks..." She pauses. "...Do you think I should... ...loosen up a little?"

"Loosen up? Now I think that's a term used on Earth for something else, but do go on."

"...I mean... do you think I need to be more open with people rather than... I don't know, push people away? I feel like if I open up to other people, it'll make me feel... ...weak."

"Wow, you really are like me." Drake smiles. "Open up with the people who you care about, who care about you. It's those people who truly deserve to see who you are, Kanashimi. Believe it or not, if it weren't for Daikeim, Noriko, or you. I wouldn't have made it this far, I guess what I'm trying to say. Is that opening up to the people who give you strength will not make you feel weak... If that makes sense."

"Hmmm..." She gives him a tighter squeeze, after which her stomach grumbles.

"Alright, I need to get the food out now." Drake gets up, causing Kanashimi to let go. He then goes over to the cooker and takes out the dish, he laughs. "Still a better cook than Michiko, although I feel I can only say that when she's not around."

"I have a feeling that meat wouldn't be the only thing cooked in here if she heard that."

"Cooked Cyanican... Sounds kinda nice, actually."

"You're not a cannibal are you?"

Drake blinks. "...I went through some hard times, it's best we don't explain it."

"...Right. Just so we're clear, no munching on me."

"I promise on Noriko's life."

She sniffs the food. "Hurry up, I'm hungrrrrryyyy...."

Drake puts the food onto the dish and after a moment, a full dinner is ready, he calls Kanashimi over.

She attacks the meal with gusto. "Thank you thank you thank you thank you!"

"You're welcome, just take your time, it's better to savour the food."

"Blah blah blah..." She grumbles as she eats.

"I'm being serious, but do what you want, I guess." He chuckles.

She slows down, but not by much. Drake notices she now has a gold necklace with a ruby pendant.

"Hmm? A pendant? I'm guessing that's a gift from Azayakana?"

"Nobuyuki." She says as she eats some potatoes.

"Nobuyuki... Hmm, strange. Why would he give a student a pendant this early on?"

"It's to surpress my new form. I can't control it perfectly yet."

"Ah, alright, that does make more sense... So what do you want to do after you finished eating?"

"I don't know... ...huh, ever since I put this on, I've been feeling... ...different. It's like a previously unfelt agitation was eased away the moment I put it on. I don't know why."

Drake takes a moment to exmaine the pendant. "That's certainly interesting... Maybe this pendant clears your mind as well?"

"I dunno... it's pretty though."

He chuckles. "Yep, it sure is..."

She looks at it a bit more, then returns to stuffing her face.

Drake begins to walk away. "Come back to me if there's anything you want, I'll just be wandering around... Not much to do here until Kado or whatever gets off their ass and moves."

"You're leaving? Uggh..." Kanashimi sighs but continues eating.

"Don't worry, I'll be back soon enough... Like I said, this place is boring so I'll be back with enough time." He exits the kitchen. 

Soon after he leaves, Seriah appears. "Had a Father-Daughter moment I see?"

"Yeah, although I can tell she still have stuff to talk about... I just need a quick break, that's all."

"Like what, do you think?"

Drake takes a look behind her before looking back at Seriah. "You may not see it, but her and I both have each other's questions and answers... Kanashimi has a lot to ask me and others, could be something personal or simple stuff."

"Ah I see. I think she is really starting to take after you, you know."

He chuckles as a response. "You really think so? I didn't believe that my own ego affects others."

"Swelled heads ARE infectious." Seriah replies.

"Oh? And you think you're catching on?"

"Nah, I think I'm good. Kana is definately down with the Swelled Head Syndrome."

"Swelled Head Syndrome?" He begins to laugh. "Alright then, if that's going to be a thing now... Let's try to infect you!" He suddenly rushes towards Seriah and begins to tickle her.

She squirms while laughing, then poofs in a cloud of feathers, reappearing on top of him and tickles him instead.

He begins to laugh even more as he gets tickled, but eventually finds a sweet spot and begins to target that spot. "Say mercy!"

His hand suddenly goes right through her as though she was made of air. "Good try!"

"Dammit!" He exclaims as he takes a look around to find her.

With a soft flap of her wings, she lands gently on his head. "Now now, no potty mouth!"

"Huh, you're surprisingly light..."

"I can be as light as I desire~" She says simply. She hops off and wraps him up in one of her wings.

He chuckles. "Oh, I don't think you thanked me."

"For what?" She seems confused.

"For taking you with me and for letting you out of that damn machine, then again... I gotta thank you for being a good person, hell, you're an angel now."

"Oh... well I am thankful." She leans in and rests against him softly, pulling him closer with her wing as if giving him a feathery hug. "You set me free, how could I not be thankful? I'm finally myself, I won't have to lose myself ever again."

Drake smiles softly. "I'm glad I was able to set you free." He closes his eyes and thinks to himself. "You were planning this would happen, woudn't you, Eien?"

Seriah looks at him with her oddly beautiful red eyes and then smiles. "We'll get her back, I promise. I'll help you like you did for me."

"Don't worry, I have faith that you will. Just like I have faith in Kanashimi, and hell, even Kado."

"He's a troubled soul..." She says, the mention of Kado causing a shift in her eyes he can't read.

"You mean, souls, right?"

"I'm talking about the one we generally call Kado."

"Ok, what makes him a troubled soul?"

"The paths he's taken, the choices he's made. The life he lives."

"Yeah, well in that case, most people I've came across are troubled souls."

"It is a troubled world, is it not? Few do what is right when they can choose to only worry about themselves."

"Yeah... I guess you have a point there."

"Let's talk about something less depressing... do you have any other friends?"

Drake simply shakes his head.

"No? That's sad..."

"Well, I don't know if you could class Kado as my friend, Noriko is my parnter, Kanashimi is my daughter of sorts, you're my guardian angel... Although, now that I think about it... There is the rest of Noriko's family and Daikeim, but that's it, really."

"I see... did you like anyone else from Phoenix?"

"Torrent was irritating, Toma I didn't care to know, White is one of the biggest bitches you will ever know, we know how Noriko went... Aoi, well... Like Kado, I wouldn't consider us as friends... Just, we know a bit about each other, that's all."

"You didn't need to tell me about White..." Seriah flies up on the ceiling and begins walking upside down.

Drake looks up at her, chuckling. "Yeah, I doubt anyone would need to be told about White nowadays."

She looks about. "I wonder how she is doing... ...Ace, I mean."

"If what people say is true, then Ace is most likely having a hard time doing whatever she's doing... If you want, we can go check on her." Drake says, smirking as he holds out a spraycan and a mask.

"Why are you holding those? Are you going to be mean to her again?"

"Mean isn't the word I would use... Mischievous however..."

"So you ARE going to be mean to her, aren't you?"

"What? I'm only going to spraypaint this mask and hand it to her..."

"...And then annoy Kado with it, aren't you?"

"...Why is it that you can read me like a book?"

"I'm you're guardian angel, remember? It's my job to: guard and watch you, to never leave your side, to keep you from hurting yourself physically, mentally, and socially. And when you hurt yourself, I am to minister you. That includes keeping you from getting a knife to the throat from annoying annoying someone."

Drake chuckles. "Y'know, you could have shortened that to 'it's my job to keep you out of trouble', but now that you said that... Then what are you going to do when I go to Yosai?"

"Isn't it obvious? Help you defeat your enemies."

In response, he rolls his eyes. "Should have seen that coming... So then, what about this mask thing, can I do it or not?"

"...Yeah, sure. It's not a big deal really."

"Alright, thanks!" He sprays the mask pink and writes 'Phoenix's Little Helper' on the forehead of the mask, using his own magic to hide the writing. Drake then looks up at Seriah. "Alright, let's get going, shall we?"

"And of course you write something dirty."

"Of course I have to, have you seen Kado when he's mad? It's hilarious! Besides, it's not like I was going to add glitter or anything... But now that I mention it..."



"Nope nope."

For a moment, Drake seems to have decided not to glitter the mask... But not before pouting at Seriah. "Please?"

"Nope, nope, and noperton."

"Hmph... No fun, ah well." Drake says before he begins to walk off, finding where ever Ace is.

Ace is with Akami, Sukina, and Azayakana, taking a break.

Drake eventually finds them and looks at Ace, hiding the mask out of sight. "Huh, so then, guessing training has been going well?"

Ace looks at him tiredly. "My arms hurt..."

"Oh?" He then looks at Azayakana. "What have you been training her in?"

"Akami has been training her physically."

"Huh... What would be the use for that when Kado is the host... Per say."

"The body changes for the individual." Sukina explains.

"I know, but... Not to be mean, it seems like Kado and Neo are fine to use... Why would Ace be used in any situation?"

Ace looks up at him with a frown. "What do you mean by 'use'?"

Drake looks back at Ace. "Umm, just don't worry about it."

For a brief moment he thinks he sees a faint glow around her, then suddenly he is pulled closer so they are face to face. "Why do I get the impression you don't view me as a person? Am I just some tool or something to you?"

"If I have to completely honest... To me, you're just a soul who can manifest a body for it's own." Drake responds. "I said use because tell me, when has Kado ever needed to rely on you?"

"...." She tightly closes her eyes as a force like two strong arms repel him away from her.

Drake manages to stay on his feet after getting pushed back. "Psychical training? Really Akami? By the looks of things, Ace here is more of the telepathic more than an actual fighter."

Akami: Can't rely on your powers all the time.

"Yeah, no shit... But as I said, Kado will rely on Neo and himself with fighting, the chances of Kado needing to use Ace for a fight is next to none."

Azayakana looks at him. "Why do you think Kado is here in the first place? He is here to learn how to control his spirit. To do that, he needs both Neo and Ace. And Ace holds the majority of his spiritual powers."

After a short moment, Drake simply looks at Ace for a moment before looking back at Azayakana. "Look, can you just speed things up... I am waiting on Kado after all before I take him to Yosai with me."

"...Just trust me, it will be worth the wait."

Drake says nothing, instead taking out the mask which has seem to change back to it's normal white colour. Instead it has draconic markings on it, he tosses it to Ace before walking away. "It's for Kado whenever he decides to show." He then walks away.

Ace looks at the mask, after a moment a faint smile crosses her face, and Drake is unexpectedly hit by a snowball.

The snowball melts on Drake's jacket as Ace hears a chuckle, just as Drake walks back into the tower. Ace feels her feet suddenly feel ice could as actual ice bounds her feet to the floor.

Ace looks down at her feet for a moment, then begins levitating through the ice and breaks free.

"Good use of your spiritual body," Remarks Azayakana.

"It's child's play," Sukina says without interest, shrinking back when the Queen gives her a faint look. "...Nevermind."

"Worth the wait?" Drake sighs. "Depends on how long that wait is..." He says, wandering inside the tower. "Hmm... I'll go see Kana, she's probably doing something interesting." And with that, Drake begins to explore the tower, looking for her.

Kanashimi is sitting on her bed, looking at the gold tattoos on her body.

Drake enters and tilts his head. "Hmm, those tattoos really are strange..."

"Mr Nobyuki says they're related to my powers which were previously dormant. The spiritual energy in the area must have woken them up."

"Possibly, either that or your training... Also, Mr Nobyuki? You really hold him that high up?"

"Not that much, just felt like it."

"Ah I see... Well, we're currently waiting on Ace's training to finish, God knows how long that'll take. But after that, we'll be set off straight to Yosai, you ready to see your 'siblings'?"

"...Not really. We'll be fighting."

Drake sighs. "That's what I meant... Besides, I got unfinished business with Kagerou to take care of... Hmm, that does mean we'll be seeing Silent Angel too."

"...Right... As I said, I'm not really looking forward to it."

"Hmm? I would say how so, but I can imagine why."

"It's funny to think of how far I've come since then..." She looks at the tattoos again. "It'll be wierd returning to where I was created..."

"Yeah... It will be, I doubt that seeing White again will be nice either..." After a bit of silence, he looks at Kanashimi and chuckles. "How about I take a golf club and smack your head flatter than the surface of this floor instead? Sounds familiar?" 

"Yes yes, you're hilarious." She retorts dryly.

Drake sighs. "Look, I know that it was a very sucky place, but isn't there one thing you liked about there?"

"Not really, side from meeting you."

"I guess it's different for everyone then... So, did you have anything else you wanted to ask?"

"What did you do before Yosai?"

"How far back are you specifying?"

"It really doesn't matter."

"Well, I mean... If you're so sure, but one more question before I do run my mouth; during my times at Cyanic or when I arrived on Earth?"

"Either one, which ever you are more inclined to tell."

"Ok then... Well, my Cyanic side isn't really all that interesting at first glance, I mean... I grew up with the Ryunexo Mecenaries until I was banished, found my enjoyment in spells through a personal job and I was given the name 'Kurizik' for a while. But that's pretty much it when concerning Cyanic, as for Earth... Well, that was a bitch to get through... Considering that when we arrived, Daikeim and I got attacked by this apparently immortal werewolf who belonged to the MCCP, arrived soon after into Upnation where we met someone named Jumbo and Elaonore. Then going to the realm of dragons, we met two other people who got on my nerves and Valeric... Other than that, nothing really stood out for me, that's until I came to Yosai for the first time and... You get the idea."

"Kurizik... does that mean anything?"

"I don't know, I was told it's simply a name they came up with... Either that or it's something to do with Cyanic's older language they used to use."

"Huh. Ok then. Jumbo... what a wierd name."

"Trust me, names are very missleading... That bastard is one of the most durable Mythos I've ever seen, although I don't know what he's up to nowadays."

"I take it you didn't get along well?"

Drake chuckles. "Not by a long shot, he attacked me the second I entered Fantasy because Daikeim and I weren't Mythos... So yeah, we started out fighting... Typical, isn't it?"

Kanashimi smirks. "Yep. Sounds like my old fart alright."

"Your old what? Hehe, should I get a golf club?" He says, a own little smirk appearing on his face.

"A retirement home sounds more suitable for you, old man. You should get a rocking chair too."

"Hey! I'm still in my prime! You're still a child, how about a pacifier for you?"

"I think you need a pacifier more than me, you got beat by a guy called Jumbo! Where's your pride man?!"

"Who said I lost that fight with him?!"

"You seem more like the kind of guy who would make fun of an enemy he beat."

"Oh, and how many people have you won fights against, lady?"

"...Shut up."

"Besides... I'm not as prideful as I used to be."


"W-What, you don't believe me?"

"You called yourself better than Michiko as a cook. I happen to like hers a teensy bit more."

"If I was clouded by my pride, I wouldn't have taken White's gift, which is Kurai. I wouldn't accept Corruption's power, I wouldn't rely on Kado or Daikeim... And finally, if I was as prideful as you make it out to be... You, Silent Angel and even Kagerou... I wouldn't have been calling you guys Ryunexos."

"...Yeah I don't remember you being happy about that last part."

"Kagerou will obviously be the one who will have troubles with this... Silent Angel, I'm not so sure about, and I doubt that you don't mind having a last name to go with your first, right?"

"No I don't, but you didn't recognize Kagerou like you recognize me."

"What do you mean?"

"You just didn't hold him to the same standard as me or something, heck I don't know how to explain it. But I can tell you didn't recognize him as a Ryunexo."

A strange moment of silence passes before Drake looks down at his feet. "Kagerou is absolutely obsessed with me... When I was fighting him, Kagerou changed... Like two personalities... It said this. 'He isn't loved or even accepted by the one being he looks up to, Drake Ryunexo.' So maybe I didn't recognize him as a Ryunexo... But then again." He looks back at Kanashimi. "Ryunexos are just a band of misfits that always fight with one another, so who am I to say that he is or isn't?"

"...Huh... think we can train again together soon?"

"Whenever you want, Kana, it's not like there's anything else to do around here."

"How's your arm? It's not slowing you down is it?"

He takes a look at the now tattered bandages on his right arm, he takes off his jacket to examine the arm all together. "Can you grab me some bandages please?"

She nods, then goes looking for some.

Drake sits on the edge of Kanashimi's bed and unravels the worn down bandages, revealing that his entire right forearm is still black and demonic, the claws still present as well as a few spikes. "Well... It's getting better..."

Kanashimi returns with a roll of bandages. "Here you are, Freaky Hand."

"Thanks Kana, this'll last until after Yosai hopefully... Although I'm gonna miss that little trick of mine with Kurai." He says while taking the bandages and wrapping it over his right forearm.

"Don't let Nori see it, she'll probably find it gross or something."

"Without a doubt... Like I said, when Yosai is over, it should be fully healed."

Kanashimi extends her wings, then stretches with a yawn. "Uggh, today's been an interesting day."

"I guess that's what you can say, as for me, most of the day has been a bore..."

"What, me spontaneously combusting wasn't exciting? Do you need nuclear fuel for an expresso or something?"

"Notice how I said most, you exploding was pretty awesome, although I was worried for a bit. In case you actually died or something."

"So what's Daikeim like?"

"You hung out with him for a bit, remember? But... To explain Daikeim? ...He's very tied to his roots, a Heroa God is a great responibility, even if they're just demi gods. Daikeim is what you expect every good person to be, strong, confident, a hell of a fun time to be around, he always has your back when you need him... And thanks to Elaonore, he's improving in life in general."

"I see. I said that because well... my memories of him got corrupted pretty bad when I... died."

"Ah... Don't worry, you'll meet him again soon... I doubt that he won't be coming to Yosai." Drake takes a look around and sighs. "Y'know... I wish Seriah was still a kid... Either that or we had Aiko along with us, either of those two would really liven the place up, don't you think?"

"What, I'm not enough fun?"

"I'm not saying that, I'm just saying that despite Seriah, you and I being here... It's still dull."

Kanashimi notices Seriah appearing from the ceiling above them, holding an air ballon. She lowers it to Drake's ear, then pops it with a needle, causing a loud, 'BANG!'.

Drake falls off of the bed, shocked, he takes a look at Seriah before narrowing his eyes at Seriah. "...Why DIDN'T I see that coming?"

She smiles innocently. "I was trying to entertain you. Did it work? I read a book about humor, it said it was a very funny practical joke."

He chuckles. "Yeah, but usually, it's the spectators who laugh, not the victim."

"So it did work?" She asks.

Drake turns his head towards Kanashimi. "Well?"

"Well, it was funny seeing you jump out of your skin."

Drake then looks back at Seriah. "And you have your answer."

"Yeaaa!" Seriah cheers, blowing a party horn at him.

"W-Where did that even come from!?"

"I made it," Seriah says with a wink.

"Ooooook then..." Drake says, chuckling once more. "...We've been here for... Two days now?"

"About that I guess."

"How long do you think it'll be until we're ready?"

"If I had to say, it may take a week or two. Ace is the trickiest one to deal with, because she's so underdeveloped as a spirit. Neo has his own challenges, namely getting him to not kill everything in sight. Kado then has to learn how to balance and understand his two halves in order to learn to channel them. Oh, and trust me, you are severely underestimating the potential of Ace."

"Right then." Drake sets one of his fingers ablaze and starts to burn a Cyanic rune circle in a corner of Kanashimi's rune, the circle soon glows an ominous white and he turns to look at Seriah and Kanashimi. "Ok, if I get bored, I'm going to someplace else, you two would be able to contact me when I'm out. So I can come back as soon as I can."

Nobuyuki knocks. "I could always spar with you, if you're looking for something to pass the time."

Drake glances at Nobuyuki. "...No, I need to say hello to a friend of mine, catch up... That's all, maybe when I come back."

"Take care of yourself then."

He doesn't bother to respond, instead just stepping on the rune circle which causes Drake to glow white then slowly fades away.

A couple of hours later...

Drake appears in his own room as he falls back onto his bed. "Ow... That... Was something."

"You need to check your temper better," Seriah remarks, beside him, she seems a bit pale.

"Are you aright?" Drake asks as he looks at any wounds he has.

"I'm just a little spooked..."

"That person? ...Yeah, he looks similar to someone I've seen before... Strange."

"Someone you saw? I hope not."

"Visions, that's all I'm going to say..."

"That being, he was... unnatural. It kinda creeps me out. It's like he should have been dead... thousands upon thousands of years ago. It's like the only thing keeping him from collapsing into dust is... his own willpower."

"You could sense that kind of stuff? To that detail?"

"I can see the spiritual nature of beings, and well, he's not something I'm... used to. But sort of. He just had a really old, almost withered presence about him."

"Well that would explain the wear of his armour."

"..." She pinches his nose hard. "Why did you act like that anyway?"

"First of all, Drekavas deserves death anyways, second of all, Jumbo is a brainless idiot who has tried to kill me three times now, third of all, Elaonore is starting to irritate me to the point where I want to kill her, as for the rest... I don't know."

"...I think the second one is largely your fault, and third of all, you never even bothered to explain your situation to Elaonore either, did you?"

"She's a broken person, she wouldn't understand, as I said to her."

"So you haven't tried talking to her? And also, that's kind of funny, because I see you as broken sometimes." Seriah comments.

"I know I'm broken, that's the difference."

"Is there a difference though?" Seriah asks, looking him dead in the eyes. "I don't think you know any more than she does. That girl has been through terrible things, Drake. Stop keeping things to yourself and open up, bottling up your emotions will make things worse. You need to tell them about your problems with Corruption. And you need to take care of those problems."

Seriah notices one of Drake's eyes flicker a black flame before he sighs. "I would if I had time to deal with him, also, who do you mean 'them'?"

"Your friends. Daikeim and Elaonore. Kado, if you consider him a friend. If you don't want to be judged for things you can't control, they need to know."

"Well, getting Daikeim and Elaonore to trust me now is a damn longshot. Plus I'm now wanted in Fantasy, so there's that too."

"I think the being had something to say about that."

"Hmm, what, concerning Drekavas? I suppose so, but I doubt he'll be around to help a second time, I guess I'll just have to be careful whenever I go into Upnation... Or Downation... Or Midnation."

Drake hears his window open.

"Ok, who's there?" He stands up and walks towards the window.

A snowball hits him in the face as Kanashimi cackles. "Got you!"

Drake gives Kanashimi a sly look before smirking, he jumps out of his window and lands on his feet as he cups a ball of snow. He quickly takes aims and fires the snowball, hitting Kanashimi on her back. "HA! Payback!"

Kanashimi creates a whole swarm of snowballs and magically begins bombarding him. "Hahahahaha!"

In return, Drake creates a wall of fire which melts the snowballs, he chuckles as behind the wall. He starts to make his own snowball ammunition.

From behind him, he feels hands tickling him.

"Hey! No fair!" He spouts out before he starts to laugh, he quickly grabs a snowball and throws it at the face of the tickler. 

Kanashimi grabs it and cackles, throwing it back at him.

Drake presses his hand onto the floor as a rune circle appears around his hand, suddenly a wall of snow towers over Kanashimi and collapses on her.

The snow starts warming and melting as a red glow spreads underneath.

"Ok, time to start running." Drake chuckles as he takes off.

A burst of fire blows up the snow, and Kanashimi flies after him, pelting his rear with snowballs, along with some snowballs made with ice.

"Ow ow ow! What's with the ice! It's called SNOWballs! Not ICESPHERES OF OW MY FUCKING ASS!"

"Hahahahaha! That's what you get for burying me!"

In a quick resort of action, Drake presses both his hands down to the floor and raises a wall of ice that Kanashimi crashes into. "HA! EAT THAT!"

It cracks dangerously with red cracks.

"Uh oh..."

Kanashimi bursts through, made of burning energy. She makes two more snowballs, but they catch on fire and she throws them, now a snowy fireball of death.

Drake quickly sidesteps, sweeps and dodges the barrage of flaming snowballs that are flying toward them. He creates more rune circles which causes more ice and snow to crash onto Kanashimi.

Kanashimi doesn't move, but instead gains an aura of fire which melts the oncoming snow.

"Someone is sour... And mad... Very very mad."

"Come here!" She says while charging at him.

Drake quickly takes off and flies around the area, just getting out of Kanashimi's reach. "Gotta catch me first!"

She zooms after him, shooting fireballs at him, which follow him like homing missiles.

To evade the fireballs, Drake flies through an opening in the tower, zooming by everyone around. "CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP!"

Kanashimi flies around the outside of the tower, watching for an escape.

Drake instead chuckles and hides away within the tower.

Seriah looks at Drake. "Somethings never change..."

"No it doesn't, now sssssssssssssssssshh... I don't want her to find me."

Seriah slowly takes out a megaphone.

"Don't. You. Dare."

She gives him an innocent smile.

"No no no..."

She holds it up to her face and inhales sharply.

"Seriah, please, do not."

"Ooooooh Kanaaaaaa..."

Drake quickly covers Seriah's mouth with his hand, he then looks at her with a pleading expression.

Kanashimi stands behind Drake. "Boo."

"...Oh I hate this game with a passion."

Kanashimi tackles Drake in a bearhug.

He chuckles and hugs Kanashimi back. "There, you caught me. But you started it, remember?"

"Hee hee hee. Glad to see you're back. ...even though you turned into a hooligan the first time I let you out of my sight. Some dad you are."

"Oh yeah? And what kind of daughter throws snowballs that are on fire, defying logic while doing so?"

"Because throwing firey snowballs is such a crime compared to murder."

"Yeah yeah yeah..." Drake rolls his eyes. "So now what?"

"Can we train?"

"I think I've had enough with fists and fighting for one day... Maybe tomorrow, Kana, sorry."


"I know I know, but I just need to sleep... Ok, instead of maybe, I promise I'll train with you tomorrow."

"Yes!" Kanashimi seems pleased.

He smiles but eventually yawns as he walks off to his room. "So get ready tomorrow, alright?"

Kanashimi eagerly heads off to her own room.

"And Seriah, get some rest too, if you can sleep, that is."

"I'm good." She says, sitting in a chair in the corner of his room.

"Are you sure?" He says as he lays on his bed, slowly dozing off.

"Yes, now hush and sleep."

"Ok, mum." He says, chuckling as he closes his eyes and passes out.

Seriah simply watches him sleep, helping drive away negative dreams he might have.

Hours past into the night.

Drake eventually feels a tingling at the back of his mind.

'Here we go again... Another of these visions, I wonder what this one has to show me.' Drake's conscious opens his eyes and takes a look around.

He is in a vast green plain.

As he has no given plan, he just wanders the plain, looking up to the sky and at times to the floor.

Drake notices far off in the distance two figures standing toward each other.

"Finally... Some people." He speeds up his walking pace and stops once he is able to make out the figures.

Drake notices one of them looks almost like Kado, and another looks almost like White, but still very much different. The one looking like Kado has many multiple Slayers, while the White only one. They draw their weapons.

"Huh... These two aren't Kado or White, could be previous members... Although they look like they've were here way before Eien, so what generation are these two from?" Drake slowly walks towards them and sits down, hoping to observe the fight.

The scene flickers, and Drake gets the impression he's no longer on solid ground, but air.

Drake simply sprouts his wings and floats. "Ok... That happened..."

He appears to be flying over a vast fortress reduced to rubble, and below, he sees two figures, one white, one black.

"Huh? Could this be Yosai?" He takes a look around but to no avail. "Hmm... I don't know." Drake looks at the two fighting and soon makes the small realisation. "Wait... The two are Kado and White, I guess I'm seeing an event repeat itself."

Drake then notices the two events overlaying on each other, Kado and the man resembling Kado align, just as White and the woman do. Then, he strangely notices red static blur the visions.

"What the hell...?" Drake begins to take a look around to see what's causing the static. 

The static gets fierce.

He takes another look around before growling, he then attempts to move closer towards the figures to see what happens.

Something like a thick red fog sweeps in front of him, solid red and dense. Stepping into it is even colder than the arctic climate of the North itself.

Drake shudders and takes a step back. "Ok... Whoever is doing this, show yourself now."

"Yuo twan t'ond." A voice echoes from everywhere and nowhere, it can only be described as the voice of a void, something that no longer is.

"So whoever you are, you don't want me seeing this vision... Why don't I?"

"Tonnac eldnah hturt. Hturt iwll sconume. Reven. Okiron reven nruter."

"Speaking English would be nice... Although, managing to get into my conscious is impressive, considering that Corruption lingers in this space too."

"You opened yourself."

"So you can speak English... Opened myself? ...Must mean through the vision."

"You will fail... she will rot... ...and I shall feed... ...on your misery..."

Drake shakes his head and forces himself out of the vision. "Shut up shut up shut up..."

Drake hears a very faint ominous laugh on the wind, just barely there, then it is gone.

He suddenly wakes and sits up, breathing heavier than usually. "Ok... The hell was that... And what the hell..."

Seriah sits up sharply. "Drake? You look pale..."

"Yeah... Just a vision gone wrong... Red static and fog... She will rot." Drake softly growls and clenches his fists.

"What happened Drake?" She asks, coming to his side.

"I had a vision, I saw four people, two of them were Kado and White... The other two looked like them but they had that sense of experience and age to them, everything was going fine until this red static started to blur the vision. I tried to get closer to have a lot but then a red fog clouded the vision all together, when I tried to get through it... It was cold, too cold, I couldn't even heat myself up, then I heard a voice that was talking in a mumbled language, when I could finally understand what it said..." He then recites to Seriah what the voice said, well at least what Drake could understand.

"...I don't know what that could have been... but I'm scared. For you. Don't try to use that power of yours for a while Drake... it might be waiting for you."

In response, he takes a deep breath then exhales before silently nodding. "So... What time is it?"

"...Three I think? It's hard to tell."

"Three in the morning... Ok, that's annoying, but I'm not exactly sure it's safe to sleep right now."

"Don't worry, I'll watch over you."

"Alright, thanks Seriah." He lays back down and softly smiles at Seriah before falling back to sleep.

Seriah sits next to his bed, a gentle tender expression on her face.

"Dream well for me. It hurts me to see you haunted in your waking, so at least be at peace in your slumber..." She speaks softly, adjusting his sheets and tirelessly keeping watch over him with a loving but sad smile.

Hours past until morning finally arrises, Drake yawns and wakes up.

Seriah is there waiting by his side. "Good morning."

"Good morning, Seriah." He says, smiling.

"Good morning. It's now seven. You feeling better?"

"Much better... Ok, so I just need to get ready for the day, grab something to eat then I can train with Kanashimi... Any idea what there is to eat?"

"I dunno."

"...Ok then, I guess we'll see for ourselves, can you do me a favour and check on Kana while I get ready?"

"Sure." Seriah disappears.

He smiles once more as he starts to get ready for the day, although he keeps pondering about the vision he had. "Who the hell was that..."

"...That depends on if you're willing to describe what you're talking about." Nobuyuki speaks up from outside the door.

"I doubt you would have a clue on what I would be referring to, also, hello to you to, Nobuyuki."

"You can be surprised by what one may know."

"Even so, it can wait, it's too early to converse about topics like that."

"As you wish. Have a good morning."

"Yeah, you too..." Drake soon exits his room and makes his way to the hall.

Kanashimi is standing outside her room waiting. "Morning gramps."

"Morning volcano-top, sleep well?" He says as he passes by her, he then notions for her to join him.

"Well enough." She follows closely behind Drake, who notices her wings have a slight red coloration at the tips of the feathers, almost flame like.

"We're gonna get something to eat first, then we can begin. Also, you're looking more like a phoenix now." He chuckles.

"Hmm? I guess so."

"You don't seem ok, Kana, what's up?"

"Aside from being sleepy, I'm fine."

"Sleepy? What kept you up? Or was it just a restless night?"

"I just woke up. Something up with you though?"

"Just a bad vision, that's all."

"...You sure that's it?"

"I'm sure... Now c'mon, I'm starving." Drake says eagerly.

Kanashimi rolls her eyes, but follows suit.

After a moment or so, the two finally enter the hall and take their seats.

They do not see the queen or Ace, but Sukina walks in shortly after and stands nearby. "Is there anything you would like for breakfast?"

Without hesitation, Drake responds. "Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeat..."

"...Specifics please?"

"Steak, ribs, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, any and all!"

"...Alright then, chicken." She leaves.

"Well then..." He blinks then turns to Kanashimi. "Wait, don't you want anything?"

"Same thing you're having."

"Oh alright... It's way too quiet." Soon, a devious grin that Kanashimi knows all to well grows on Drake's face as he starts going through his HSC.

"...Oh lord..."

"It's something to do while we wait for the others... Now what shall I do..."

"...Please tell me you aren't blowing something up..."

Suddenly, his smile widens. "...This place is surrounded by snow, right?"


"I'll take that as a yes." Soon after, Drake begins to make a rune circle small enough to hide underneath a nearby plate, he presses his hand down on the plate as a invisible pulse goes out. "There, this will be fun."

"...Draaaaaaaake...!" Kanashimi hisses.

"What? Let me have my fun, Kana. Besides it's harmless..."

Sukina taps on Drake's shoulder, holding a hot plate of chicken.

He politely takes the plate and places it down in front of him. "Thank you, Sukina."

"You are welcome." She leans in toward his face. "So what was that spell of yours...?"

Instead of worrying Drake, his grin only widens. "Oh, it does this." Drake takes a single bite out of the chicken as the rune cirlce underneath glows, suddenly a dense 'poof!' sound can be heard as some snow seeps through some of the windows. "I only multiplied the size of the snow by three thousand percent in a three mile radius, anyone outside right now are so deep under the snow, they could make igloos... Anyone outside will be fine though, so don't worry." He chuckles as he takes another bite of the chicken.

Sukina quietly reaches out and grabs the chicken, and Drake watches as it turns to powder as she sucks the nutrients and anything else of value that would otherwise make it tasty into her and then leaves the powdered remains on his plate.

"Enjoy." She says, walking out. A small burp can be heard after she leaves.

"...Whites are a pain in the ass." He looks at Kanashimi, sighs then stands up. "Right, I guess I'm cooking... Or do you want to go train?"


"Food it is." Drake then wanders off into the kitchen and takes a look around. "Hey Kana, what exactly do you want?!"


"Alriighty then, give me a minute!" He responds, Kanashimi can hear Drake cooking along with him humming a tune, a few moments pass as the aroma soon finds it way into Kanashimi's nose. "It's almost ready!"

"Sooo hungry..." She drools.

She can hear the kitchen doors open as Drake walks back in, the chicken on a much bigger plate, he chuckles and places the plate down in front of Kanashimi. "There you go, eat up."

"Thank you for the food..." She digs in immediately.

"It's fine, you need your energy if we're gonna train." He smiles and sits down, casually waiting for Kanashimi to finish.

Kanashimi is about half way done before she pauses.

"Hmm? You finished eating, Kana?"

"I miss the Fairy Princess."

Drake gives Kanashimi a soft yet warming hug, then puts on a small smile. "I miss her too, but don't worry, we'll see her soon, won't we?"

"...I hope so." She looks down at her food for a moment.

"Hey, I'm having as hard of a time waiting idily for her as much as you are... But this is Nori we're talking about, she can handle herself there."

Drake for a moment thinks he hears a faint laugh on the wind.

"...Maybe you're right."

"I wouldn't doubt an ex-Phoenix member, would you?" Drake chuckles quietly before he cheekly takes a bit of Kanashimi's chicken and eats it. 

"I'm an Ex-Phoenix member, and I'm still doubting you."

"...Just finish your food already." 

She pretty much inhales the rest of the chicken. 

"You should probably do something about that snow though." 

Drake smirks. "Nah... I wonder who's outside though."

"Well Ace and Akami, and the Queen."

Drake's smirk turns into a giggle, then a chuckle, then full blown laughter. "Azayakana?! HAHAHAHHAHA! Awesome, this prank was much better than I expected! Haha!" He gets up and sprouts out his wings then flies out an opening, he takes a look around before rolling his eyes and creating a massive heatwave which begins to melt the snow.

After a while, a air pocket bursts, revealing the Queen, who is looking at Drake with slight annoyance.

"Oh... Hey there Azayakana... You don't mind snow, right?"

"No I don't." She takes out a scroll and writes in it, then makes a dot on the scroll. Out of nowhere, a slab of ice entombs Drake, about as dense and heavy as all of the snow.

"But don't play with fire, you'll get burned."

"...Fair enough." Could be heard muffled through the snow as it slowly melts, revealing a slightly annoyed Drake. "But hey, fire is my thing, besides, I can't get burned by it." He notions towards Kurai and smirks.

The queen is simply staring at him. "A sheep it is." She begins drawing on the scroll again.

"No no no! I prefer to stay the way I am, thank you... Now if you could excuse us, Queen... Me and Kana need to train."

"Right. Remember that before you try burying me under the snow."

"Yeah, I will... Alright, Kana, come on now."

"Finalllly... too bad you didn't get turned into a sheep."

"Well, if it came to training, you'd probably fare against the sheep as well as you fare against me." He teases.

"It sounds like we're having cooked lamb tonight." Kanashimi responds.

Drake smirks as he gets into position then a stance. "Alright alright, I'll let you start."

Kanashimi smirks and gets into a stance, then ignites in a large blast of fire, revealing the form she took the other day. A blazing sword of fire is now in her hand.

"An unfair advantage, but ok..." Drake unsheathes Kurai and spins it around before chuckling. "I can make this work." He then instantly jumps high above the tower and fire down a barrage of fireballs and beams of light from Kurai.

"Light? Fire? Oh easy." She responds with a volley of even bigger fireballs.

Drake passes right through the fireballs. "Those aren't the only elements I can use, here, I'll show you." Drake lands and knees Kanashimi hard enough to knock her back, the colouration in one of Drake's eyes darkens as a rune circle forms on Drake's left palm. As Kanashimi tries to move, she feels ice trapping her in place then she gets struck by a wave of darkness. "Just because I don't use other elements doesn't mean I don't have access to them thanks to my spells."

Kanashimi lets out a pulse of heat that melts the ice the moment it touches her, and she pierces right through the darkness like a bullet, headbutting his stomach at top speed.

He flies through the air and lands back onto his feet, he quickly slams his left hand to the ground while he runs, causing some rock to form out of nowhere and coats Drake like armour. He then dashes right into Kanashimi then kicks her in the side before uppercutting her into the air.

His fist smashes into her flaming shield, and she pushes him back while jabbing with her fire sword.

She manages to scrape off some of the rock armour on Drake's right arm which when revealed, emits a high bursts of flames to distract her while Drake slips away out of the armour and prepares an attack.

Kanashimi begins to flap her wings hard, which create gusts of heated air. She also begins to emit a powerful light.

Drake enters his half dragon form and floats up, chuckling. "It seems you're going all out, Kana. Reached your limit already?"

The light suddenly flares, blinding him.

"Welp... There goes my vision, where the hell..."

Kanashimi flies in from behind him and punches him in the head.

Drake falls to the floor, he groans and gets back up. "Ok, that was something..." He jumps back up then quickly turns and elbows Kanashimi on the side of her head, he then punches her gut then kicks her into the side of the tower.

She stabilizes just short of the tower, then fires bright pulses of light at him.

Drake shields his eyes then rushes towards Kanashimi, his rune circle glows as suddenly four rings of energy bind her hands and feet still just as Drake strikes her abdomen and headbutts her just as the rings fades away, causing her to get lodged into the tower. "Heh..."

"Oh? Did you smack me with a pillow? Cause that tickled!" She says, firing even more bursts of light, though with each flash he feels like he's getting sunburned.

"Ow! Ow! OW! OW! OW OW OW!" Drake flies up onto the tower's spire and looks down at Kanashimi. "Ok.. That form of yours has a lot of tricks, hasn't it?"

"Yes, run little birdy! Run!"

"...What did you just... Ok then." Drake's eyes soon have rune cirlces within them as he jumps down, suddenly phantom swords that seem to be made of just tribal patterns form out from behind Drake. He lands and strikes Kanashimi in the abdomen, then strikes two pressure points on the top of her arms which causes them to be limp for enough time for Drake to slam both his fists at Kanashimi's side. He then clicks his fingers and all the swords come speeding towards and past her, only lightly cutting her.

"Ooh, did I strike a nerve?" She has a shit eating grin on her face.

Drake doesn't respond to her comment, instead he throws Kanashimi over his shoulder then grabs her by the arm before throwing her through the tower. "I think that's enough."

She dodges suddenly and laughs. "Too slow!"

Another rune circle appears from under Kanashimi which fires a pulse of energy that knocks her up into the air, Drake seizes this moment by grabbing her and slamming her down onto the floor, he quickly unsheaths Kurai and presses the blade against her neck. "I said that's enough."

"...What's your problem? That's hardly anything close to training!"

"What is up with you, are you sure that form doesn't come with any changes with your mind or anything?" Drake asks, taking Kurai off of her neck and sheathing it.

Kanashimi gives him a look. "Really? Sorry if Mr. Hyperaggressive thinks just because I get to finally have a good sparing match with my old man and not get my ass beat to the curve, and I happen to get a little happy about it, I'm suddenly got mental challenges, like my dad who has murderous tendencies."

"...Like I said, are you sure that form doesn't change your mind or anything?" After a moment, Drake sighs and helps Kanashimi up. "If you're sure you want to continue, then just say. But I won't hold back this time, so keep that in mind."

"No no, go on your merry way, jerkface." Her form dissipates and she stamps off irritably.

Drake watches her stomp away as Kurai hisses in a laughing matter. "Well done, Dra--"

"Shut up."

"Well? Are you going to go get her?"

"No, just leave her be for now. She'll calm down..." He sighs once more and flies up to one of the spires, he takes a look around. "...Hmm, where exactly am I?"

Nobuyuki can be seen in one of the courtyards meditating, various monks are strolling around as well.

Drake rolls his eyes and leaps off the tower, slowly somersaulting down but lands on his feet perfectly. He takes a glance at Nobuyuki. "Hey you, do you know how far this place is from Moonlight Palace?"

"From my travels, the six regions of Echo are about as large as the North American continent that existed before the Mytho Human war. Sitting in the center of these lands, you would have to cross all of the North, Central, and halfway to the Southern Frontier to reach that place."

"Great... So basically, really really really far... Thanks."

"Any time..."

Drake gives Nobuyuki a sceptical look. "Hmph... Then what brought you here then."

"I've been here all morning."

"I mean to this tower, smartass."

"...Elaborate the question. Why am I here in this place to begin with, or why did I choose to meditate at this very spot?" Nobuyuki has yet to open his eyes and look at Drake.

"What. Brought. You. To. This. Tower. You say you've traveled Echo, so I'm assuming that you've arrived here as well. Or do you originate from here."

"I did not come from the tower, no. My business is my own. In this instance, I came to over see the boy's training. And to help you if it was needed. Sukina and I travel off and on together."

"The bo-- Kado? Seriously?"

The spirit opens his eyes. "Yes, seriously. We picked him up over in the East Flora along with the girl. Do you really find it so hard to believe I sought him out?"

"Because from what I've seen, he's fine, Kado himself doesn't need training. It's his souls that do."

"If he is intending to not progress at all, then sure, he's fine. But he wants to become stronger, and he has to. I know the enemy he faces, and he is ill equipped for the task."

"The enemy he faces... White. How do you know about her?"

"Consider it family business to know about Phoenix."

"...What do you mean, family business."

He closes his eyes. "Not your concern."

"Oh, let me rephrase..." Drake's eyes turn dark again. "You will tell me what you meant by family business..."

Nobuyuki looks at him, and one of his eyes turn red. "Guess what kid? You're not the only one who has a dark side. Problem is.... I mastered it." He says as a massive black clawed hand bitchslaps Drake several miles away.

Nobuyuki closes his eyes again and shakes his head. "Kids these days."

After he came down crashing to the floor, Drake growls as he gets back up. "What secret is that bastard hiding..." Suddenly, a small smirk grows on Drake's face as he creates another rune circle under him. "Oh, I'll easily find out soon enough... Corruption, how are you holding up?" Kurai hisses at him. "I am fine, I can tell what you're planning, Drake." Drake chuckles as the rune circle glows. "Oh I know, but I know you're gonna help." His eyes darken even more as the rune circle surrounds Drake in a pillar of light, soon after the pillar, the rune circle and Drake is gone.

Drake finds himself in a bottomless void that is beyond any measure of cold he has ever felt before.

He tries to light a flame but due to how cold it is, it can't even sustain itself. "D-Dammit... Corruption, insulate my body..." After a while, Drake glows with tribal marks which glow a strange black, he regains most of his heat but still wraps his arms around himself for extra warmth as he tries to take steps forward. "Ok... Where the hell am I?"

The cold saps his heat as soon as it returns. There is an incredibly horrible feeling of being watched dawning on him.

"Well... S-So much for that... Helloooooo? Anyone... Or thing, out t-there?"

Suddenly from the void, countless glowing red chains with hooks lash out at him.

"Oh give me a break!" He growls as he attempts to dodge, but only with some hooks piercing through him, causing him to roar in pain. "OK, WHOEVER IS DOING THAT, KNOCK IT THE FUCK OFF!"

The hooks that snag him begin to pull him deeper down in the the abyss, where it goes even colder and colder, and Drake begins hearing eldritch whispers of such magnitude that fear begins to creep into his system.

"Ooook... This isn't going to end well..." Drake mutters as he looks at the hooks, he eventually sighs. "Prepare for the pain..." Drake grabs hold of one of the hooks and tries to unhook himself, but still leaves a massive wound where it pierced.

The hook firmly remains lodged in place, and as he touches it, he begins to get horrible flashes of terrible scenes of disaster and pain.

He growls in pain once more then sighs. "Ok... Freezing my ass off, been impaled by hooks, starting to get scared... Which is new, and now trying to remove these are impossible... Great." He roars again. "SHOW YOURSELF, NOW!"

He hears a strange, haunting laugh, as the chains begin to pull him very. Very. Very fast.

"I guess we're going to meet it... Ok, don't be afraid, Drake... Do not be afraid..."

As he continues down, ten dimly lit cloaked figures begin to appear around him, circling slowly, the voices coming from them. Each of them has a chain that is attached to him.

"Hmm? Spirits..." He looks at the chains, curious enough to try to tug on them, but ultimately retracts away from them. "...What the hell are you saying."

"You're nothing but a coward." One speaks with the voice of Daikeim, shocking him.

"What the... Daikeim? ...No way, no fucking way is that possible..."

Another voice becomes clear. "You fail everyone and everything. You can't even save any of us." The voice of what sounds like an older Kado speaks up.

"Hmph... What are you supposed to be, phantoms of the future?"

The others disappear, leaving only one.

"No. We are your inevitable reality." It speaks with the voice of Noriko.

Drake goes silent as he looks at the phantom that has Noriko's voice. "It's been a while since I've heard that voice..."

"You can hear it as much as you like now..."

Suddenly the scene changes to a vision of Noriko and White, Noriko suspended in the air by a vast field of energy, and screaming in unholy amounts of agony.

Drake instantly tries to unshackle himself from the hooks, even tearing holes into his arm and chest just to break free from the vision, he roars in pain as he does so.

"Join her in her pain, join her as she becomes one of the Lost. You will see first hand as the last ember of her soul is devoured by her evil."

The pain Noriko feels begins to flow into Drake like a horrible tsunami, and he sees as she does, blinding scalding light of a thousand suns, as her soul is torn to shreds.

Drake's roars go on for the entire duration of the vision, right until the end. Just when it's finished, Drake is motionless.

The voices of the being continue relentlessly, tearing at him with accusations and mocking him. You are worthless. You can't save anyone... Weak...

Eventually, a light giggle can be heard... Then a chuckle... Then a mocking laugh. Drake's eyes coloured pitch black but still remains himself. "Haha... Me? Weak... Do you know who I even am? You can only look so far into the future before it becomes fuzzy, hell, ask Eien himself... These hooks, these phantoms, these visions... Heh, and it wasn't even the one I was looking for. Whoever is listening to me, you cannot break me, you will not break me, now I'm tired of putting up with your crap so how about you shut your mouth and pay attention to what I have to say. You think you can taunt me? To lash hooks into me, to freeze me, to put fear into me... Hmph, you make it seem that the lives of the ones I care about rest on my shoulders... WELL THEY SHOULD BE! I AM DRAKE RYUNEXO, AND YOU ARE NOTHING BUT A PRETENDER! YOU TRY ALL YOU WANT BUT I WILL TOPPLE YOU! DAIKEIM, KADO, NORIKO, THE MOONLIGHT FAMILY, KANASHIMI, SILENT ANGEL, HELL, EVEN KAGEROU! I WILL DO ALL IT WILL TAKE TO KEEP THEM FROM DEATH!" 

A moment of silence passes before the colouration in Drake's eyes changes, resembling burning embers of his pride. "You're a fool, instead of showing me the grim outcomes in an attempt to scare me, all you have done is energised me, given me more motivation than ever to reach my peak, if I have one anyways. You have no idea what I have been through, you think this is going to work now? I've been trampled and beaten to near death by Gods, lost fight after fight, tortured, put inside a damn tube and tested on, but here I still am, alive and kicking! Congrats, you've just fueled the biggest and brightest fire there is! And I promise you, no matter how cold this void is, you will get burned." 

"Hahahahaha...." The phantom fades, and a brilliant red light stands in its place. 

"Hear the Prophecy of the Void and despair... The spark of life hath wilted, and only shattered glass remains. To reach the piety of gods no small a task for one, yet impossible to escape, is death's cold clutches. Death by the coldest abyss for his who be soon to marry. Proud and resigned, one remains shattered. The death of a hero, or death of a coward? No matter the path, his lies in oblivion, resigned to become little more than dust. The three Wings shall each take to the sky, and each shall in time ascend to power beyond knowing, but each shall fall with the golden dynasty of madness. The third Wing wilts into obscenity and madness, the second shall be broken, and the first shall be as plain as clay.

It chuckles again, and what seems like a hand begins to stretch out to grab him, when two bright lights suddenly flash and shatter the chains, grabbing him and begin pulling him up and away from the abyss, Drake begins to fall unconscious, but as a faint roar of rage echoes from the endless chasm, two voices speak: 

"The fool will never learn."

"Master, you have no idea."

Minor Annoyance

Drake eventually feels his senses return to him, and he first notices he is lying on a rock surface.

He stands up and takes a quick look around him. "Well that was interesting, but where the hell am I now? ...Hmm, a rock surface, ok, I'm not at the tower, am I..."

A hand sits him back down. "Considering you just about had your soul completely ripped out, you'd better take it easy. And thank God while you're at it you're still alive."

"Wait wait... My soul? ...Corruption, hello? You there?"

"Don't worry about your fickle friend. You're more of a critical issue. Lie down." The voice begins to sound familiar.

Drake reluctanly lies back down. "This situation feels similar..."

Nobuyuki stands over him looking at him with a bemused expression. "You certainly like to get yourself in situations you can't get so easily out of, don't you? Almost poetic. Regardless, I believe you were told not to go using that sight of yours for a while, now you understand why."

"Hmph, whatever that thing was, it's going to try a little harder to effect me... Nevertheless, I have a lot of questions right now... Mainly, where the hell am I and why are you also here?"

"Somewhere private, and it's because my master told me to bring you here."

"Your... Master? Ok, why?"

"Maybe you should ask him that, not I. Though I should ask why you thought it was a good idea to try that."

"You said you have family matters which involved White, I intended to find out exactly what you meant by that."

"Have you considered the fact that I wanted privacy because I'm not proud of my family lineage? Did you consider the fact that I might not want to be reminded of the fact that she is my descendant, or that I am the son of the first Dark Slayer?" Nobuyuki is suddenly choking Drake with eyes burning red like coals.

"Most people think of their family and have warm fuzzy feelings, I however, rather wish I could blot them out of history!!!" He hisses murderously. "So thank you, but the next time you meddle with my personal life, I assure you, you will be buried ten feet under!" He snarls, dropping him and walking off into the shadows, a black aura around him.

"Ow... Hmm... The son of the first Dark Slayer." Drake gets back up and looks at Nobuyuki. "Then, are you somehow related to Kado?"

"Do not press his temper. You will regret it." A second voice, ancient and powerful, speaks. When Drake looks, it is the armored being that had dealt with Drekavas previously.

"Huh... It's you, surprising to find out that you two are connected somhow..."

"He is my pupil.You should take greater care to mind what he tells you."

"If I took great care to mind what people told me, I wouldn't have half the stuff I have now."

"And you wouldn't have been attacked by... ...him." His tone seems to indicate it actually knows the being in question.

"Him? You mean that thing that latched hooks to me? Well this will be interesting."

"The being that pulled you into Nonexistence itself and attempted to Erase you from existence and feed upon your anguish and despair. You must not take it lightly. The next time, it WILL have you."

"I must not take it lightly, or you don't want me too. Now I'm guessing we're here because this is where you two brought me, but I'd rather be back at that tower."

"...Do you even know how long you were down there?"

"...Fine then, how long HAVE I been down here?"

"There, not here. You were down there for a week. It's taken you five days to recover."

"Oh... Huh, not as bad as I thought then. Twelve days... So why was I brought to this location and not back at the tower?"

"Because we're not certain if you're safe. If it pulled you in, it could have infected you with its essence. Imagine an entity many countless times more potent than Corruption. You pretty much attracted the attention of such a being. And it might come to you on its own next time. These beings can infect beings of the universe and turn them into hosts, or even Avatars."

"Hmm... I think this is our second encounter then, I remember having a vision of two people who looked like White and Kado but older... As I was trying to get a closer look at them, I got interupted by a red static, then coldness, then a voice... I'm guessing this is the same person." After a moment, he chuckles. "So I've attracted his attention? Well then, I'm surprised I managed to get... Ok, who is this person then?"

"It has no true name. It can be called Void God, Pain, Itami. No true name applies to it. What is it, is a better question to ask."

"Void God... And you suspect that this... Thing, will hunt me down?"

"Suspect? No. It will. You were told you would open yourself up to it if you did it again too soon, yet you acted out of impulse, and were nearly destroyed. And no, not like the time you faced the Guardians of Yosai. If you don't watch yourself when you deal with forces greater than yourself, you will be utterly obviated. Devoured. You pretty much gave it your phone and address number, with GPS coordinates."

"Now I don't fear death at all, but getting devoured doesn't seem like the way I want to go..." Drake crosses his arms.  "So what if it finds me, I'm not letting this thing kill me... It's a shame it isn't made of darkness."

"There is nothing you would be able to do if it came to you. It is a being beyond even the capacity of gods."

"Ok, now you're just annoying me. It would be nice if you stop doubting me... So then, what do we do?"

"Doubt is not the issue. It is a being that literally can tear apart reality upon a mere whim. I do not doubt your strength. You have fought many powerful beings, but this being exists in a level outside of logic. It... makes its own. I myself have fought it since the first myths were born... I know its strength well. We out wait it... and in the mean time, we help you become stronger."

"...You will help, me?" For a moment, Drake looks offended before taking a big breath and exhaling. "Right, ok... Fine, I'll need it anyways."

"Is it so wrong for others to help you? Or do you truly believe you are invincible?"

"I would like to think I am, but considering I need to get Noriko back... I have no other choice, do I?"

In response to her name, the armored being only releases a heavy breath akin to a sigh.

Drake's expression instantly changes to a more hostile one. "What the hell does that mean..."

"That vision it showed you was real. And happened a week ago... while you were being tortured by it."

He doesn't respond, he just stands there... Silent, his expression wiped clean, blank... He tilts his head down and walks past the armoured being, it's only then where he decides to speak. "How do I get out of here."

"Drake. In the past, you got by with nothing but sheer determination and stubborn pride. Beyond Phoenix, you have yet even more that will follow. Look beyond the battle looming, but to the one that will test every fiber of your being..."

The armored being slowly stands.

"You need to reach new heights of power. That power which you got from Eien... originally came from me. The powers that White, Kado, and yes... even the Mythologic Adaption of the Chaos Engines... the very power of the Slayers, the Kanjo... they have all one common ancestor. Me. I can teach you powers to rival them all."

Drake just seems unphased and just asks once more. "Please... We can talk about this all later, just... I need to go outside for a moment." His voice changed to a sorrow filled tone.

The being says nothing, but walks toward what seems an inconspicuous wall, and opens a hidden door.

"If you need to be alone..."

He barely nods at the being and then walks through the door, a rune circle forms as a piece of earth blocks the entrance. Drake looks around to see he's in an empty cavern, a black draconic aura coats him as he enters his half dragon state, he clenches his fists hard enough to draw his own blood. He tenses up then lets out a angst filled yet saddening roar, black fire engulfs Drake as he begins to slam his fists against the walls and floor, causing small craters and large rocks to fall around him. He attacks everything that moves, from the other side of the sealed doorway, Nobuyuki and the being can feel shockwaves, rumbles and the muffled yet deafening roar. This continues for five more minutes then everything goes quiet, the entrance opens up and Drake walks back out, his head tilted down so that his face is out of sight.

The being quietly watches him for a moment.

"If this training will allow me to kill everyone at that fortress." Drake then looks at the being, one of his eyes coloured pitch black. "Then let training commence, where do we start."

"...We will start with dealing with that."

"That has a name... Call it Corruption from now on, and what do you mean we'll deal with him?"

"End your conflict here and today. Whatever power he grants you, does not make up for the fact he is essentially a crutch. A handicap. That needs to change."

"If you're saying you want me to remove him, then that's not possible. If you know how Slayers work, you'd know why."

"I mean make his power your own. End the pointless conflict between you."

Drake blinks is disbelief. "You think you can do that? I mean, good luck trying to contain him?"

"It is a matter of your own force of will."

"Right... So how are we going to do this? I can already tell this will not be an easy task."

"There are... multiple methods. Combining a soul with another, sealing one within another..."

Drake unsheahtes Kurai and looks at it, to the being, it looks as is Corruption and Drake are conversing with one another through their minds. After Drake sheathes Kurai, he looks at the being. "Combine the souls... Sealing will just cause even more conflict."

"It will be a matter of will, not just mere force by my hand."

"Hmm... Combining two souls..." Drake looks for an open spot then starts to create a rune octagon, with glyphs drawn on each point, inside the octagon he creates a five pointed star, the points just touching the inside of the octagon. Finally Drake creates a circle and some more glyphs around and in it, Drake places Kurai on one side and he sits down on the opposite side in a meditating postition. Corruption starts to form out of the blade and sits in front of it, in a meditating position as well. Drake's aura starts to form and it mimics Corruption, Drake then looks at the being. "This is a technique known to fuse two bodies or minds together, I've just changed some glyphs to see if combining souls will work, so it's a matter of will... Ok."

"Yes. The dominant soul will overpower and remain the dominant identity, while the weaker is submerged."

Drake's aura and Corruption press one hand into each other as the rune formation begins to glow, the two souls begin to warp and distort but they eventually break apart. The being can see Drake struggle slightly as Corruption and his soul merge, but where they're joining up seems to be unstable. "Corruption... Do not screw this up... We can't afford this to fail. Umm, I may need your help." He says to the being.


"You and Nobuyuki need to leave this space, there have been accounts back on Cyanic saying that people doing these similar practices have had some... Pretty bad mistakes, in this case, both of your souls may be effected."

"You will not be able to affect either of us."

"Who said anything about me? It's Corruption that I'm concerned about... Anyways, Corruption, mimic my soul's hand movements exactly." The aura begins to moves it arms and hands before making a series of unusal hand signs, Corruption copies perfectly, this causes the outer octagon to glow a red. "Good, now we need to resonate our energy to the same level, then we need to channel it into each other." After a moment, the being and Nobuyuki can see Drake's aura and Corruption fluctuate before they begin to stabalize as the star glows red. Drake smirks as he closes his eyes. "Ok... Now both of you stand and focus each other."

The aura and Corruption do as he says, Drake begins to speak in Cyanican as the glyphs and circles glow a strong red, suddenly a strange energy begins to form in the center of the rune formation. As it grows, Drake mutters one last thing in Cyanican before he creates a dome around the three before standing up. Corruption and the aura nod at one another before placing one hand onto the strange energy, their very essense begins to get sucked into the energy until only it and Drake remains, the energy is as big as Drake is. Everything seems calm for a moment, Drake even chuckles. "How I'm surviving his long without my own soul surprises me... Well, time to finish this." 

Tribal markings and rune glyphs form on Drake as he looks at the energy, he takes a deep breath and exhales before stepping into the energy, everything inside the dome then shines a blinding light. The dome shatters like glass and the entire area is covered in the same light until everything dies down. In the center of the rune formation stands Drake with his aura encasing him within it, Drake's eyes open as it shows that one of them is still black, the aura is split down the middle, with one side being draconic and the other being demonic. Drake's body tenses up as he exclaims. "This is my body, mind and soul, I am in control, I am the dominant!" A shockwave bursts from Drake as the demonic features fade away and the aura returns to its normal way, Drake chuckles as he also goes back to normal. "But we shall work in unison, Corruption."

The being simply is looking at him.

"Hmm... I wonder." One of Drake's eyes goes black as he enters his Half Dragon form, but only for any draconic features to be replaced with their demonic counterparts. "Huh... Ok, that will take some time getting used too." Drake reverts back to normal and looks at the being. "Well? What do we do now?"

It has lifted a boulder about half the size of the room.

"...Ok, that." Drake gets into a stance and smirks. "Alright then, this will be fun."

In less than a second, the boulder is sailing straight into his face.

Drake flattens his hands and strikes the boulder with both his palms then spreads his arms outwards, causing the boulder to split in two and fall past Drake.

The two boulder pieces grow spikes on their two halves and slam together at Drake.

As if by instinct, Drake reacts to the pieces as from his hands, dark energy bursts out and creates a wall on both sides, blocking the boulder in its tracks. Drake then jumps out of the way then the walls fade away, surprised at what just happened. "Woah... I didn't know I could... Wow."

As Drake looks at the being again, strange glowing orbs are surrounding it.

"Orbs of light? Or some kind of plasma." Drake asks as he gets prepared again.

The orbs rush forward at him.

Two rune circles form on Drake's palms as he begins to 'catch' them in one hand, they then spew out of the other hand, the orbs now racing towards the being.

The orbs seemingly ignore him and split up into many smaller orbs, which all launch forward like ballistic missiles.

Drake jumps back and puts his arms forwards, suddenly a wall of darkness forms in front of Drake and aborbs the orbs.

He feels a rustle of wind, and barely has time to dodge an armored Nobuyuki and a barrage of blades.

Kurai gets pulled out of its sheath and Drake begins to block and deflect the multitude of blades, he jumps back as Kurai malforms into a demonic greatsword exactly like the one he used against Kagerou. Drake smirks and charges towards Nobuyuki only to flicker like a flame and disappear, he instantly appears behind him and kicks Nobuyuki towards the being.

Nobuyuki easily grabs his leg and tosses him aside, then comes at him with a jab.

Drake sidesteps out of the way and knees Nobuyuki in the chest, he quickly grabs Nobuyuki's arm with his left hand and pulls down which causes him to fall down only to get kneed back up into the air.

Nobuyuki blocks all of these attempts to hit him and delivers a fast and punishing blow to Drake's stomach which sends him scraping across the rough rocks.

He flips back onto his feet and growls before placing one of his hands onto the ground, suddenly two rune circles appear underneath Nobuyuki as pieces of the earth latch onto his hands and feet. Giving Drake then charges toward him and strikes him in the chest hard enough for the armour to lightly crack and send Nobuyuki flying, even dislodging him from the rocks.

As Drake moves to strike him, Nobuyuki grabs his fist and dislocates his hand, then knocks him aside.

Drake stands up and and smirks as his hand begins to make bone cracking noises as only a moment after, Drake has full control over his hand again. Drake narrows his eyes towards Nobuyuki as he goes into his aura dragon form, suddenly Drake jumps away and makes the 'come get me' gesture.

Nobuyuki instead opts to slash his sword in Drake's direction, which causes a massive gash in the ground as the sword strike rushes toward Drake, annihilating anything in its way.

Drake's eyes flicker black as he swings Kurai, causing a wave of light to speed towards Nobuyuki but instead the strike and the wave of light cancel each other out.

A strike from behind hits Drake in the back full force, as the Ancient sneak attacks him with its own blade.

"Ok... Let's do this." Drake's aura separates itself from Drake and summons a copy of Kurai with its own energy, back to back, the two look at their opponents as Drake chuckles. "You ready, Corruption?" Once that's said, the aura changes into that of Corruption's shadowy form. "Yes, I am, it will be interesting to do this." 

The two stand guard.

Drake and Corruption flicker then appear right in front of their opponent's face and knocks them back. Drake grabs Nobuyuki and headbutts him hard enough that is cracks his helmet, meanwhile Corruption swings Kurai around which causes multiple spheres of light to form and charge at the being.

The being cuts the spheres which dissolve instantly at the touch of the blade, then it extends its hand and creates a forcefield that repels Corruption straight into Drake, ruining Drake's offensive just short of Nobuyuki, who stabs his sword into the ground, causing blades to begin erupting violently from the ground.

"SWAP!" Suddenly, Drake flips over Corruption as Corruption uses dark energy to divert the blades away from the two while Drake forms a rune circle underneath the being which causes him to get blasted into the air. Corruption and Drake then use each other to launch themselves towards their opponent, Drake grabs the being by the legs and slams him down to the floor while Corruption fires a multitude of black spikes directly at Nobuyuki.

The being seems to sheath its sword as it flies into the ground and slips right through it...

"Hmph, intangability..." A massive rune circle forms on the floor, covering it entirely as he turns and speeds towards Nobuyuki. "SWAP!" Corruption grabs Drake by his arm and throws him at Nobuyuki, Drake uses this to his advantage by spin kicking Nobuyuki in the chest thanks to the added momentum. 

Drake goes right through him and smashes into the ceiling. Suddenly, the ground cracks dangerously.

"God... Damn... Intangability!" Drake dislodges himself and lands next to Corruption, the two then nod and create a energy sphere around them. "Alright, this is either an earthquake or an attack..."

The whole of the floor collapses into what seems like an endless chasm, with the being leaping out and unleashing a flurry of slashes they barely have time to dodge, while behind them Nobuyuki attacks as well, effectively pinning the two with both fronts.

The two just manage to hold their grounds. "This is such a pain! Ok... Corruption, whenever you're ready--" Corruption quickly shouts at Drake. "Just do it already!" Drake rolls his eyes as Corruption seeps back into Kurai, disappearing, Drake then enters his half dragon form and smirks as tribal markings form all over Drake. He unsheathes Shizuka and spins the swords around his wrists, he suddenly drops deep into the chasm...

The two stand next to each other and watch.

The being and Nobuyuki suddenly get blasted from above by a torrent of black fire, just as they look up, they get blasted from behind. When they turn around, they see Drake in his Stage Two Primitive State, chuckling as he cracks his knuckles. "Alright, let's start sparring, shall we?"

Both attacks are deflected by a barrier of sorts. Drake can hear a scoff sort of sound from the being.

Drake teleports right behind them and elbows the back of their heads before spinning around and firing a blast right into their backs, causing them to get knocked forward a large amount.

The being blocks Drake again.

He looks over at Nobuyuki before sending a shockwave directed at the being which knocks him into a wall, Drake then speeds towards Nobuyuki and knees him in the gut before slamming both his hands onto Nobuyuki's back, sending him crashing into a wall.

Nobuyuki slices off the offending leg and cuts off Drake's arms. "Too predictable."

Drake grits his teeth and growls in pain, he gets consumed by black fire then disappears for a moment. Suddenly the entire area gets covered in tribal markings and glyphs as the floor slowly reforms back to normal, Nobuyuki can see Drake standing on the floor as he sees Drake's arms slowly regenerating, this includes the bone, muscle, veins and skin. "Ok..." Drake sheathes Kurai and closes his eyes for a moment, when he opens them, he gets into a strange stance, his expression looking too calm. "If you're going to go that far..."

"If you expect to win against your enemies with tactics like that, you are sadly mistaken. White will tear you apart in the first minute." The being intones.

"If you pitted me with White right now, I know I wouldn't survive, I would just have fun taking her down with me." Drake responds, still focusing on Nobuyuki.

"Is that enough for you? To be slaughtered like a lamb? To fail her?"

Drake closes his eyes once more and doesn't respond...

"If you don't want that, then I want to see the strength of your will to succeed." It points its sword at him, then charges him at near light speed. "Now try again!"

Just at the last moment, Drake turns to his side to dodge and directs the sword strike away by flattening his hand and pushing the sword by its flat side.

Nobuyuki charges from behind him.

Drake turns his head towards Nobuyuki, just at he closes in to strike Drake slides past Nobuyuki to dodge the attack. When Nobuyuki turns to see Drake, he sees that Drake is already a couple of meters away.

The being closes the distance in an instant and kicks the ground where Drake stands, causing a mountain to be formed from the sheer power of the strike on Drake's location.

He jumps into the air and begins to run down the side of the rising mountain straight towards the being and Nobuyuki, but instead he simply jumps above the being and lands in between them.

The two bring their swords down into the ground. "How familiar are you with spiritual manipulation?"

Once more, Drake doesn't respond to the two, he just retains his stance and stays quiet.

"Please answer the question..."

"I am familiar with it."

"You will need very precise control over it, if you wish to save her."

Drake simply looks at the being, a blank expression painted on his face.

The being opens his hand and a multi colored sphere appears in his hand. "Divide it by color."

"You are starting to really annoy me." Drake says, his eyes narrowing at the being.

"I do not care."

The being notices an energy spike within Drake as he simply closes his eyes and begins to divide the sphere by colour.

"More precise. You're leaving pieces mixed with the others."

"Be quiet and let me focus." Drake closes his eyes and starts to separate the spheres.

The being does not speak again, only because it is measuring how well he is dividing them.

He puts his arms in front of him and opens up his hands, he then mimics the action of pulling the spheres apart. The spheres themselves begin to divide with much more ease than before.

"Good... a little more steady."

The being notices that Drake starts to use each of his fingers to move the spheres as well as mimicing the hand action as before. "So what exactly is this for?"

"The girl's soul was merged with the Kanjo God Kaminari. Neither are themselves anymore. While an extremely difficult task, if you wish to save her, controlling and understanding the soul will need to become second nature."

"Kanjo God... Kaminar-- ...The girl that was by Eien's side back at..." Drake growls as he tenses his hands, causing some of the spheres to merge back together.

"This is the future Eien forewarned of. Now it is in your hands to make a new path. Now do you understand? In order to save her, you will need to first master the art of soul magic. We must also work on your anger... it is a vicious double edged sword you can't afford to fall upon."

After a moment, Drake exhales a large amount of air and focuses on dividing the spheres once more. "Trust me, my anger isn't something that can be suppressed, at least not for long. Hmph... I guess those visions of his aren't going to be kind ones now on."

"The future is rarely a pleasant sight."

"I'm aware of that..." A couple of minutes pass until Drake divides all the spheres apart.

"Good work..."

"Now what do I do with these?"

They fly into the being's hand and he mixes them again, this time incredibly complex. He hands it back to Drake.

"Try a more advanced mix. You will need to take your time analyzing it over time. The particles within are much more difficult to discern from each other."

"Oh... Great." He sighs. "Alright, give me an minute... Or twenty."

The being merely watches.

Drake divides them into three spheres and begins to examine the first one, two rune circles form in Drake's eyes. "Hmm... Now if I'm right..." Drake begins to tap on the sphere in multiple places, after a moment, he moves one of his hands away from the sphere causing a multitude of a similar colour to dislodge away from the first sphere. "Huh... Strange, it's so similar."


"Before I was able to create my own rune circles with their own glyphs and effects, I had to learn how to deconstruct one. Learn what every glyph, icon and symbol meant, the formation of a rune circle, the types of shapes and how to alter existing ones to see how they interacted with one another... With this, it just feels like I'm deconstructing a very complicated rune circle."

"Hmmm. The most complex version of manipulation is being able to control the nano particles of a soul... rather like counting the grains of sand on a beach."

"Will I really need to learn how to control nano particles of a soul?"

"Even the smallest changes of the soul can lead to major changes externally... it was no different with you and Corruption. It takes only the smallest of seeds... do you understand?"

"Yeah, I do." Drake says as he completes the first sphere and moves onto the next.

The being watches his progress, Nobuyuki's face a mask.

After a few moments pass, he smiles. "Just like deconstructing a rune circle..." He finishes the second sphere and begins the final one.

"The next version uses nano structure levels of complexity. You need to memorize each facet, each individual one. Your sight will not aid you in the task."

"What exactly are these spheres?"

"Replicas of souls." Nobuyuki speaks up.

"...Then this will be much easier than I thought." Drake closes his eyes and slowly divides the sphere.

"If you mean memorizing every aspect of a single person, including their thoughts, memories, emotions, physical condition, the aura, the attachments to other people, and most importantly, the Origin, then yes. Easy. The exact words I would choose for a scenario such as this." Nobuyuki's voice is dripping in sarcasm.

"Oh please, if these were the actual souls of people, then yes... But these are simply replicas, sooo..." Drake's fingertips form tribal markings on them. "A bit of soul... Editing, is in order."

"Remain at the task at hand..."

"Hmph..." Drake looks at the sphere for a moment. "If I have to do as Nobuyuki said, then this'll take hours..."

"The most important things are rarely easy."

"You don't say..." Drake sighs as he focuses on completing the sphere.

"You'll be happy to know Kanashimi has been getting training in while you were gone."

"From who?" Drake asks curiously.

"Me, Seriah, and Aza," Nobu explains.

"...Ok, now I'm really curious... How is she getting training from you?"

"While you were gone I trained her. I had told my master of your disappearance, and it was he who found you, I came as soon as he had."

"Yeah, and who exactly is your master? ...His armour feels familiar."

"...I honestly don't know who he is. He doesn't tell anyone his name. ...But apparently he is a human from the first days of Mythic kind, that is all he really told me."

"And he's aware of the thing known as Void God, Eien and some of Phoenix..." He looks at the being and glances back at Nobuyuki. "You people sure hide your history well, don't you."

The being says nothing.

"Pretty much. My master doesn't like to explain himself very well. He says no one would really understand."

"Either that or he just can't explain anything well."

"That certainly doesn't help. Please focus though."

"Hold on..." Drake looks at the being once more. "You said that you're the common ancestor of the power of the Slayers, and that you can teach me how to rival them, how exactly are you planning to do that."


"..." Drake rolls his eyes and continues on with the sphere.

"Now is not the time, lost child of Cyanic."

"Do not call me that." Drake instantly says, taking the phrase into offense. 

"*Sigh*. Look in my eyes..." The being's head turns toward Drake.

Drake turns his head at the being, an annoyed expression plastered on his face.

The being's eyes are strange, some sort of patterns can be seen in them. The feeling he gets is similar to how Eien sometimes looks at him, as though literally reading everything about him like a book.

"What you are experiencing is the original most powerful version of the bloodline trait of the Dragonclaw Clan. The Transcendent Eye. This is the same power that lets Eien see and manipulate time itself. It is how he saw the future of Noriko and you. However, his is a lesser version... as it does not come with the full powers of a true user.

Similarly... you have portions of this power in you, it is the source of the visions you have. This is just one of the examples of how you will eventually learn to rival your enemy."

"So I have a much weaker variation of the Transcendent Eye... I guess I can just see into the future though the visions, but can't manipulate it like Eien can... So what's the full effect of it? What can it do?"

"The Chaos Engines utilize one such aspect... the ability to copy any technique. It has many... abilities. Eien cannot manipulate it either. Like you, it was... ...given. There are... two... who you have met who bare a high class version of the eye."

"Oh? And who are they?" 

"...White and Shinwa... you have met both, yet none at the same time."

"I've met both? White, yes, but someone named Shinwa? How's that possible?"

"Because they were once one and same."

"Hmm... Guessing they were one and the same when I was trapped there? ...So how come they're separate now?"

"...It is rather like how she once said that there was always something you can't see. There are similarities you have with Shinwa you don't quite understand yourself... ...I realize you still don't know what I mean... Shinwa is the birthname of White the Eighth. In any case... is a powerful force. You only need look at yourself to know what I mean."

Drake goes quiet for a moment before speaking. "Love... White got angry when I mentioned Kado, and the fact that his room at Yosai was like new when he left... And even at the fight, she didn't kill him, only incapacitated him... Or Ace for that matter." Drake closes his eyes for a minute or so. "So, if Kado has three souls in him... Then White must have had something similar, right?"

"You are... very close. I suppose since you will meet her in time, I should tell you. The war, at least before the split, was a farce."

"What? A farce, you mean like it was just some masquerade?"

"She had... a very different goal than what you understood. She was... in fact making herself the enemy on purpose. It was her intention to make everyone see her as an enemy... ...because she wanted her brother to be strong. She wanted this so bad, she accepted being demonized by the world, potential damnation from heaven, and ultimately... being killed by her kid brother."

"She planned all of this? That entire fight, she was willing to do all this, just so that Kado could kill her... All of this, just to give Kado a damn morale boost." Drake growls in annoyance before sighing. "Then this split? I'm guessing this is what caused White to become... Another White and Shinwa, and I'm also going to guess that Shinwa is the friendlier one."

"I figured that would be your reaction... especially if I left out a detail or two. The split has a direct tie in to her actual motive... ...and also to do with the Yellow one."

"Ok, lot of questions right now... The split has a tie to her actual motive, hmph... What motive does she have? She's literally hoping her brother will kill her, and what does Eien have to do with any of this?"

"Everything. Shinwa, before her brother split apart, was selected by Phoenix to be the next White. ...She didn't want anything to do with it... until the Yellow One told her that one day Kado would turn to darkness, and become an evil, relentless, heartless force in the world. He showed her a vision of the future, as both Echo and Earth burned by his hand. ...She believed him. On the day she was to leave her village forever, she wiped Kado's memory clean of her, then set out to never return... ...but she was followed by her fiancee Furue. ...In their argument, he lost his life.

Years later, White, as she was named by the organization, took Kado to be a new apprentice. And from there, intentionally betrayed him, ordering him to be killed by the organization. ...That was the day Kado's soul was shattered, from the trauma of their betrayal, people he considered family. ...The rest, you know...

Shinwa remained buried deep beneath the cold exterior of White, beyond most people's reach... ...but not one man's reach. As I hinted before, love is a powerful force... ...and it, coupled with the revelation that the future the Yellow One showed her was in of itself, a facade made reality by her own actions, tore her apart... all of the years of self sacrifice, loneliness, finding love, and the knowledge that it was all based on a lie...

Her sheer desire to escape the despair and lies and loneliness that was her life broke her into a version of herself not unlike her self before Phoenix, and of course... all of her negative emotion transmuted into the personification of her sins and the deep dark nature that she was slowly twisting herself into."

"So as we speak, we have Shinwa doing whatever she's doing and we have White who's current at Yosai... Splitting your soul in two to become to seperate entities... That must have taken a lot of skill, so that was Shinwa's motive, right? To escape the monster she was becomming, while White's motive is to revel the twisted soul she became... But if these two are technically the same person... Then do they both wish to die at Kado's hands? Or is it just White now?"

"...It wasn't out of skill. When a Spirit Hybrid feels self turmoil, the ultimate consequence can result in the sundering of their soul. Unwillingly. Shinwa wishes to atone. White... no such thing. I am not sure what exactly her intentions are..."

"That's a first... Well honestly, I couldn't care if White's intentions are world peace... She's paying for what she's done, and nothing is changing that." 

"I do not know everything... besides, I ultimately do not have any personal interest in the battles ahead..."

"But I'm assuming you at least have curiosity for the outcomes?" 

"Partially. You will find most beings of my nature are... indifferent to the world's affairs..."

"That's a shame, they can get interesting at times." Drake turns his head towards the sphere and looks at it for a moment, he notices how he's only done a quarter of it so far. "...The Transcending Eye... The one I have, is it as good as it's going to get? Or is it possible to achieve more with it."

"Your proficiency with what you have can become far greater, but it can't become as powerful as mine or Shinwa's... Though it would still give you an edge. Be honored you even have such a power. By the way... the girl... your daughter..."

"Kanashimi? What, she has it too?"

"In the form of Mythologic Adaption. But... take care of her. She is special."

"Don't worry, Kanashimi means a lot to me, I'll take care of her when I can... So what is Mythologic Adaption?"

"It is an advanced ocular ability, derived from the Transcendent Eye. Specifically, the form Shinwa has. The ability has existed since the Epsilon generation. It allows a Chaos Engine to acquire any ability they see."

"Huh... Allows them to gain any ability just by looking at it... That's very handy for Kana."

"Aye... and unfortunate for you when you fight Phoenix's army of them."

"Heh, I doubt it... They'll only see it once." Drake says, chuckling to himself.

"Your friend Daikeim fought the one called Silent Angel even with the power of the Draconia and the use of Exeon. It was barely enough to dent its defenses."

"Silent Angel... Another one of my 'children', and there's a reason why. Despite everything, Daikeim is a good guy and would hold back... I'm not."

"And do you believe you could beat him then?"

Drake sighs. "It's not that, it's that I don't want to fight him... It's like with Kanashimi, she was a trapped Chaos Engine... After Daikeim killed her, I managed to revive her and promised that she'd never be put through that hell again. I don't know how Silent Angel would feel about that, but Kagerou? ...Well."

"Hmm. Defeating him would not be an easy task... his innate power is significant, especially for a mere Eta Class... it is like he is a Theta... were he to get upgraded... for the dark one... ...the sense of ill fate looms over that one."

"Great... You're making it sound like I have no choice but to fight them." He sighs once more but shakes his head. "Well that's fate for you, isn't it? But, as I said... Nothing beats the original, and it's certainly true in my case."

"I hardly imagine White surrendering them to you. Considering her, she'll try to dispose of you with them."

"I know she wouldn't... But if I have to kill them, then that's something I'll never recover from."

"Why is that? Are they really that important to you?"

"Yes, they are. It's unfair that Kanashimi gets to live, free from White. While Kagerou and Silent Angel are trapped there, I know at first glance it doesn't seem like it... But they want to be free as Kana."

"Hmmm... too brash for his age, but he possesses a sense of justice..." The being mutters.

Drake gives the being a look. "...You're referring to me, aren't you."

"Ignore me. Please resume where you left off..."

He just shrugs and continues with the sphere.

The being continues to observe him and his progress.

The being notices that Drake has done a second quarter of the sphere, and is now working on the third. "...What's your name?"

No response what so ever.

"Or do you not know your name?"

"Believe me Drake, I have tried. He won't say anything about his name."

"You don't know me at all, do you?"

"You're a white haired idiot who sticks his nose in people's business and as a direct result often gets his nose bitten off."

"Well, there's always a thin line between bravery and stupidity... I like to believe that I go over that line in paint."

"Uggh... why doesn't anyone listen...?"

"Because ignorance is bliss, and I am very blissful."

"Please focus..." Nobuyuki sighs.

Drake rolls his eyes and continues with the sphere.

Nobuyuki watches him quietly, his eyes studying Drake quietly.

"I could do without the staring, Nobuyuki." Drake says as he just about finishes the third quarter of the sphere.

"Blarg. Also, what do you think of the angel child?"

"Do you and him not know how to say people's names? Seriah was given to me by Eien, at first she was a small child, then we came here and now she's my guardian angel. I trust and enjoy having her around, even though she does have to keep with the law which as you can tell, causes some problems."

"I wonder who is the one causing the problems?" Nobuyuki asks in amusement. "What are your personal feelings toward her? I'm curious."

"That's funny, the man with a history and emotions he hides asking me all about my feelings and such... Don't make me laugh."

"One must give to take."

Drake simply rolls his eyes. "My personal feelings towards her are the same as my personal feelings towards Kanashimi, enough said."

"Hmmm... and how do you think she feels about you?"

"I'm not sure, because her mentality and personality changes quickly for her, apparently."

"Treat her with great care and respect. It's not just out of duty she protects you."

"Treat her the opposite way I would treat you, got it." Drake says blandly.

"Hmm. And one wonders why you have such strained connections..."

"Ok, I would prefer it if we stopped talking." He says as he almost finishes the final sphere.

Nobuyuki only chuckles.

About ten more minutes pass before Drake finally finishes the sphere and lays on his back. "There... Done... No more please... I'd like to rest... Or food..."

Nobuyuki arranges stones in a circle and takes out a large stone pot and sets a fire off underneath, pouring water inside, then slips some meat into it.

"Ok... Thanks... So. What's next after we eat?"

"That depends..."

"On what, what does it depend on?"

"...Things." He continues cooking. "Don't press the topic."

Drake gives Nobuyuki a skeptical look before shrugging and waiting for the food to cook.

After a while, Nobuyuki begins adding some choice spices, seemingly invested in what he's doing.

"Huh, enjoy cooking? I guess that's since you traveled Echo, you just learn how to do it."

"Yes... visiting the many cultures of Earth does not hurt either..."

"Where haven't you been?" Drake asks with curiosity.

"I have only visited the Earth realm and Fantasy. Beyond that I remain on Echo. I have visited realms before, but do not recall the names."

Drake chuckles. "Eh, realms for you... Planets for me."

Nobuyuki finishes, and presents him with a bowl with several pieces of the rather tender, well spiced meat.

"I hope you enjoy."

Drake smiles like a child and begins eating the food rather slowly, but can't help himself and begins to speed up his eating.

Nobuyuki looks up at the ceiling, looking at various crystals growing out of it.

After a bit, Drake finishes eating and puts the bowl aside. "That was delicious! Nice cooking..." He then looks at Nobuyuki then also looks up. "Uuuh... You fascinated with rocks or something?"

"I am merely thinking."

"Oh, you do that? Hm... What about?"

"I would get ready..." The being intones.

Drake looks at the being. "For what?" 

Suddenly the hair on Drake's body stands up, as a static like noise can be detected. 

"It's about time... he came later than we thought."

"It's him again, Drake..."

"I know." Drake stands up and enters his Half Dragon form, but as one of his eyes changes to black, one of his wings becomes demonic rather than draconic. He cracks his knuckles. "This bastard... He's going down."

The Chains of Despair

The air in front of them appears as though it is cracking, a red light beginning to spew forth, a static like energy is flowing from the crack.

"So... Came to hunt us down? Heh..." Drake stares directly at the cracks and smirks. 

A strange laughing noise can be heard, as a form begins to flow out of the cracks, slowly consolidating. With it comes a faint presence.

"So... You say he's a God, right?" He says towards the being, examining the form that's in front of Drake.

"No. It is not. It's something older than the gods... something as old as life itself." The being stops him from approaching it.

"Don't come close."

Drake reluctantly takes a couple of steps back, holding back his eagerness to fight the figure. 

The figure is now taking a humanoid like form, and as it solidifies, a large cloaked robe forms over it, and a complex series of chains forms around its body, causing its arms to cross over its chest in an X formation, bound in place. A total of six different chains however freely float about like serpents.

"...It expects us to fight the chains, if I see a hook on there, I swear..." Drake unsheathes Kurai and stands ready.

The hooded being seems to be regarding the armored being, almost with what seems like hesitation.

"Guessing that your master and this... Thing, has history?" Drake says at Nobuyuki.

"Yes. ...History dating to the birth of all Mythic kind, to be exact."

"Hmm..." Disregarding the warning, Drake takes a step forward. "You. You were in one of my visions, you filled it with red static so I couldn't see a damn thing... But I demand you tell me what exactly were you hiding from me." 

Once of the chains smashes him back, causing a burn on his stomach. 

Drake staggers back but stands back up, smirking. "Heh, what? No answer from you? ...Pathetic."

"Uoy kaerb lliw hturt eth." It begins to silently float in a circling motion around them, rather slowly.

"Repel." Drake utters as a shockwave knocks the hooded being back as a energy dome forms around the three, he looks at the hooded being, a focused expression on his face.

It doesn't budge, the dome begins to get sucked into the being.

"Hehe... A challenge." Drake places a rune glyph onto the top of the dome before pushing Nobuyuki and the being out of it. Just as the dome gets close enough, Drake shatters it like glass and unsheahtes Kurai. He manages to stick the blade through one of the holes in the chain and he pulls, causing the hooded being to get pulled towards Drake who punches him dead in the face.

Drake sails right through it, and crashes into the wall, feeling a powerful burning sensation from doing so.

Once more, he chuckles as he dislodges himself from the wall and looks at the hooded being. "Like I said... Pretender, prove to me that you're worth this much worry."

A pulse of energy comes from the being, and a grin light formation of light forms over the ground, the air, and even on the being, Nobuyuki, and Drake.

"This better be good." Drake says as rune circles form on his palms.

The air itself ripples, then bullet sized ripples begin launching at him, with near unavoidable speed, the impacts however leave much larger holes than the size of the anomalies.

After a few impacts, Drake begins using the rune circles on his palms to block the anomalies, he quickly speeds towards the hooded being and knees him in the gut.

Again, he goes right through it and this time gets severe burns.

"Hmph..." Drake growls at the pain before looking at the hooded figure. "So, who were you trying to hide? ...Was it the person who looked like Kado? Or did you just feel like dropping in."

Nobuyuki and the being both charge and swing their swords at it, but it floats out of their way with a quick movement. A burst of some sort of lightning flares at Drake from the center of the chains, which glows briefly.

A rune circle forms in front of Drake, blocking the lightning. Within the same moment, Drake flicks his wrists which causes black spiked tendrils to form out of the ground right under the hooded being, speeding towards it.

The cloaked being turns a brilliant red color, emitting nothing but red light. The chains are the same color as well.

Drake jumps back and prepares for the attack, focusing on the hooded being as its chains. "This... Is gonna hurt."

It suddenly warps into the same space as him, causing a burst of intense energy on a level Drake has never event felt before in the whole of his life to scorch him, until he is violently repelled by the intense energy, and smashed into the wall, which causes boulders to collapse on top of him. After this, the glow fades, and the chains become dull rusted red in color, sparking at certain intervals, slowly becoming more frequent.

After he dislodges himself out from the debris, Drake stands. "Ow... Oooow... My God this hurts... Oooow..." Drake hazily looks at the hooded being and notices the chains, despite the pain he's in. Drake clenches hold of Kurai and sprints towards the hooded being, once he gets close enough, he begins slashing and dicing the chains to pieces before creating a black fireball and slamming it into the hooded beings chest. Blasting it back. 

It moves out of the way of his fireball with ease, its pace fast enough to avoid him. However the pieces of chain fall to the ground, and the being falls silent, and then Drake hears a gust of wind, which seems to carry a rather dark growl amidst it. The chains on the ground dissolve in a red mist, the remainder reform, then begin violently lashing him like whips.

Drake uses Kurai to deflect or slash the chains until he decides to grab them and to stick Kurai and Shizuka down the gaps in the chains, pinning them to the floor. "Let's see if I can shatter your soul..." Drake's eyes now have rune circle patterns within them as Drake runs towards the hooded figure to place his palm on its chest, in an attempt to at least distort the hooded being's soul.

Red energy flows up Drake's arm all the way up to his shoulder, literally erasing it from existence, and his body can't remember how to regenerate it. A shockwave suddenly forces him back, smashing him into the wall again.

Strange enough, the hooded being can hear Drake laugh, rather insanely in fact. "Good, GOOD! Haha! Finally, now it's a fair fight." Drake's smirk widens as he dislodges himself out once more, suddenly the hooded being gets knocked back against a wall by a unknown energy. Black sharp objects fly past Drake and straight towards and into the hooded being, finally Drake presses his hand against a wall. Causing tribal markings to 'infect' his general area, he looks at the hooded being. "Now, let's play."

None of the attacks affect the being, then he hears a earth splitting howl that pierces his ears, and the whole chamber begins to turn red in color, bathed in a sinister light. The being and Nobuyuki seem concerned.

"We need to get out of this room!" Nobuyuki yells.

Drake glances around before he turns his hand clockwise, causing a section of the wall to break open, revealing one of the many caverns, a wall of dark energy forms in front of the hooded being for just a moment. "Through here." Drake quickly enters.

They barely escape as a massive blast of red light explodes from the surface, striking deep into the earth until at last a massive burst of lava surges forth from the wound, filling up the hole to the point they are concerned the lava might overflow. Standing in the middle of the lava pit is the being once more, unaffected. Its hand of shadows comes out of its sleeve and mockingly beckons.

"Well then... Any ideas you two?"

"We need to analyze him. Each form has a weakness. We need to hurry, before he can start using his more... dangerous, abilities."

"If that's your excuse for the fact that neither of you two were as helpful as a rock, then you're not forgiven... Howevef, you are right. But I doubt we'll be able to find the weakness this early on if this is a new form, we'll have to bait him until he reveals something."

The armored being seems to regard the chains in a certain way, before slashing one that comes too close, followed by an annoyed hiss from the cloaked figure.

"So... Those chains of his, do they regenerate forever?"

The being glows red again, and the chains coil up aggressively.

Drake sighs. "This is going to be a very... Very stupid move, especially since I have one arm." Drake unsheathes Kurai and takes flight, he moves Kurai in such a way that trails of light speed towards the hooded being and begins slicing the chains into pieces. In the same moment, Drake turns to look at the hooded being and flies straight towards him. "You better be made of pure darkness you bastard!" Kurai gets coated in light as Drake flies past the hooded being and slashes him across his chest.

It moves back at high speed, but not before the blade manages to cut the chains binding it at the chest. It freezes, and the air grows very heavy.

"Ok... I have the gut feeling to run..." Drake slowly hovers back towards Nobuyuki and the being.

The chains begin to violently shake and turn red.

"Oh great this again..." Drake hovers in front of the two and a massive rune circle forms in front of them, acting as a shield.

The chains all begin to violently shatter and explode, sending shrapnel flying, and a flickering red mist surrounds the being.

"I guess this is another one of it's forms?"

After the explosions cease, the figure reappears, the only differences being a lack of chains and the robe has opened, revealing a dark interior. Inside is a pulsating sphere, shining an infinite number of colors.

Drake looks at the new form, stunned, almost admiring it. "Huh... Well this is going to be difficult..." Drake notices the sphere. "...That explains the training I was doing."

Suddenly it appears right in front of him, and mauls him with a clawed hand, the strike creates a line of scars on his chest instantly.

He gets knocked back but kicks the hooded being. "Fighting him with one arm is going to kill me..."

A pulse of energy knocks him back, and it pulls back, and the sphere glows a crimson red.

Drake quickly knees the hooded being in the chin then punches grabs his arm and throws him into a wall. "HOW DOES THAT FEEL!?"

"I don't feel a thing." It says as Drake flies into a wall from his own velocity. This time, the burning sensation doesn't happen, but he can hear a strange laughing sound.

"Oh... Well at least that's a familar thing... Alright then..." Drake dislodges himself and looks at the hooded being with an annoyed expression. "You... Are a real pain..."

The sphere flashes, then fires a beam of fire over five thousand degrees kelvin at him.

Drake attempts to block it but to no avail, as severe burn marks form on Drake he growls in pain. "Just FUCK OFF!" Drake lets out a shockwave which knocks the hooded figure away, giving Drake enough time to create rune circles which fire phantom blades at him.

The orb changes blue, and shortly after shoots a spout of water with over 90,000 psi, the pulse of water powerful enough to slice through the rocks like a sword.

The phantom blades all form into a shield in front of Drake, but it soon shatters and Drake gets send through the walls.

The sphere turns yellow, and begins shooting bolts of multicolored lightning.

Drake sees the lightning speed towards him. "...That plus the fact I'm soaked... You son of a--" Before he could finish, Drake gets struck by the lightning. After a moment, Drake looks at the sphere. "Ok... Fuck that thing." Drake dislodges himself and speeds towards the hooded being, he punches him in the face and knees him in the gut. Drake then places his hand on the sphere and attempts to draw out one of the coloured spheres.

As he approaches, time seems to slow to a crawl, as a red eye opens in the hood, with the same eye design as the armored being, upon seeing it, Drake feels as though he's been plunged into ice water.

He practically freezes up, leaving him wide open for an attack. "W-What the hell!? This again?!"

Everything starts getting dark, save for the eye, until Nobuyuki slashes at it to break eye contact, and time resumes for Drake as normal, though he is shaken.

Within an instant, Drake flies back and sets himself ablaze in an attempt to heat himself up. "Ok... That sphere is a problem... Thanks Nobuyuki."

"Keep alert, it has more tricks up its sleeves than that."

The sphere is now turning a brown color.

Drake unsheathes Kurai and slashes the air, causing a streak of light to speed towards and strike the sphere.

It rapidly dodges and fires a blast of earth spikes at him.

Drake slashes the spikes into pieces before looking at the hooded being. "Hmm... Corruption, I want you to try something." Drake quickly flies right past, he then dives past the hooded being and impales his shadow with Kurai.

It abruptly turns and fires a blast of light squarely at his face.

Suddenly from the shadow, a wall of darkness forms and blocks the blast. "Heh... It does work then..." 

The shadow, as well as all shadows, suddenly vanishes, even from the cloak, revealing nothing but the cloak itself, and the sphere, though two very faint red eyes can be barely discerned from the head of the cloak, as well as a barely visible red fog inside of the cloak. 

"Huh? So there's no... Body..." After a moment, Drake blinks. "...You're just the sphere itself, aren't you?"

A flash flood of water is its response.

Drake quickly forms a massive rune shield in front of him, he chuckles. "Am I right then?"

The sphere turns a light green in color.

Within the same moment, Drake strikes the hooded being with constructs of energy that resemble spears, one of them scratching past the sphere.

It responds by compressing all of the light onto his location, and Drake feels an incredibly heavy crushing force.

"Dammit... A Light Slayer would be helpful right about now..." Drake gains rune glyphs all over his body as he suddenly teleports away, the hooded being then gets blasted in the back by a torrent of flames. 

He hears a laughing sound, and suddenly the cloak starts to catch fire.

"Laughing... Why is he laughing..." Drake quickly scans the area before looking back at the hooded being.

The scene begins to violently warp as the cloak continues burning.

Drake glances around but stands his ground, but creates a dome of energy around himself.

The area collapses into a endless field of red energy, and the cloak has almost burned up completely...

Rune circles form in Drake's eyes and soon all over his body in a symmetrical pattern. The done soon has glyphs coating it as Drake seemingly remains calm.

Suddenly from the remnants of the cloak, he sees a child's body with small horns on its head, which begin to burn away.

Drake begins speaking in his native tongue, the rune circles begin to glow faintly while Drake flickers like a flame. He looks at the child, his eyes seemingly examining it...

With a shrill laugh, it evaporates, but something else begins to form, much, much, much larger.

He looks up and sees the beast that the hooded being has become, he momentarily closes his eyes and tilts his head down slightly. "Remember why you're fighting... For who you're fighting for."

A monster with a feline body and serpentine tail hovers over him, its head a skull with glowing red eyes, baring seven pairs of gold and obsidian wings, with eight swords symbolizing the elements in a ring behind it, in the center is a yin yang.

Suddenly Drake sees a wave of red light spreading toward them from all directions.

Drake flickers like a flame and disappears just before the wave hits him, he then appears as far as he can away from the beast. The dome around him fades away, as this happens, he reverts back to normal, only using his wings to stay in the air. The fatigue finally setting in.

The energy condenses around the creature, as the eight swords spiral out and circle its maw, which opens up and begins charging a highly condensed beam, the sword spinning faster and faster around it as the creature locks onto him.

"I will not let you be the death of me..." Drake simply puts his arm out in front of him in an attempt to block the attack, his eyes flickering like firey embers. 

It fires upon him, blowing him back with great force, its strength empowered by the surplus energy, smashing him straight back into the cave with a mighty explosion.

The cloaked figure descends with its arms crossed, cloak fluttering silently.

The cloaked figure hears a growl, he suddenly feels energy spikes where Drake is. When he looks towards the location, he sees Drake with his right arm regenerating. Suddenly he roars, shaking the entire cavern to the point where rocks begin to crumble and cracks form everywhere, the figure can sense more energy spikes from Drake until it becomes a stable sense of power. Drake suddenly appears a couple of meters away from the figure, his wings stretched out and fully draconic, a tail swinging behind him, he then looks directly at the figure. His eyes draconic and have a flame like pattern, a fang showing. "This is for Noriko."

He hears a taunting, childish laugh.

"The truth will break me... Prove it." 

The sphere turns yellow. 

A rune circle forms on Drake's right palm as a breeze can be faintly heard.

The being fires a burst of lightning.

To counter, Drake swipes his hand across, causing a thick wall of hurricane like wind to disperse and divert it away from Drake. He then grasps his hands together then makes a pushing gesture, causing another wall of wind to blast the hooded being into a wall.

The sphere makes a violent keening noise, then an uncontrollable burst of lightning begins going nuts.

Drake manages to evade the lightning just as he creates a torrent of water that crashes into the hooded being being before Drake manages to redirect the lightning into the hooded being.

It phases through the attacks, its sphere now translucent, a faint red glow around it.

A white energy swirls around Drake as his eyes faintly glow. "Have you grown bored?" He simply says.

The orb turns a pale blue.

In Drake's left hand, a small orb flickers and becomes bright red as it turns into a fireball. While in Drake's right hand, a trail of fire circles it, Drake instantly runs and thrusts his right arm forward, causing the trail of fire to turn into a torrent of flames which engulfs the hooded figure.

The whole area rumbles.

Drake instantly flies up and covers the entire floor with a sea of flames.

The flames are frozen, as a massive burst of ice begins erupting like crazy, many countless ice spikes fly up at him.

Drake weaves and turns, dodging some spikes, he then creates a massive wave of fire which melts the rest of the spikes.

A huge blast of wind smashes him into the roof.

Drake swipes his hands down towards the hooded being, causing some rock to form out of the ground to trap the sphere as a massive cube of rock to smash into him.

The being simply phases through the attack.

After seeing the hooded being phase through, Drake lands, the rune circles on his palms rapidly changing colour.

He hears another laugh, and the sphere begins randomly changing colors.

Drake simply gets in a stance and focuses on the hooded being.

It abruptly stops on blue, and it starts raining....

The hooded being notices how when the rain touches Drake, it quickly evaporates. Drake's rune circles turn a light blue as he swipes his hand, the water turns into ice and grows in size then they speed towards the hooded being.

It abruptly dodges as a massive tidal wave surges over the ice and slams into him.

Drake quickly flies up out of the wave and fires bolts of lightning into it before managing to control the wave, smashing it into the hooded figure.

The area more violently shakes.

"I did say that you will not be the death of me... Now perish." Drake forms a orb of the white energy that swirled around him, he then begin adding ice, lightning, fire, water, air and earth in it, it begins to randomly change colour at a barely visible speed. The orb begins to grow in size before it shrinks back down to normal, condensing the combined energy.

Suddenly the lightning and water begin to get cut into nothingness, and when everything is clear, many streaks of red light are flying around the being, cutting even the air as they fly. It abruptly starts charging forward silently at incredible speed.

Drake's eyes glow a pure white as the hooded being gets close, Drake quickly sidesteps and flaps his wings once, causing him to fly to the other side of the cavern. He turns and looks at the hooded being, the orb begins to float around Drake. "Soul Arts..."

The being suddenly dives into the ground, leaving a faint red mark.

Drake looks at the hole for a brief moment before flying up to dodge the hooded being's attack.

A few seconds later it jettisons out of the ground again, right below him.

"Embodiment." Suddenly the small orb sinks into Drake's chest, this causes Drake to get engulfed in the white energy which sends out a shockwave that knocks the hooded being away. To his surprise, he can sense Drake becoming a constant sentient energy, two glowing red eyes look at the hooded being.

The being is not impressed, and fires a dense beam of matter.

Drake places both his hands out in front of him and manages to absorb the matter and convert it into energy. "I'm not boring you... Am I?"

In response, a large red shadow in the form of a clawed hand swats him into the lava.

Drake raises up from the lava, it dripping off like water, he then swipes his hand in the direction of the hooded figure. Which causes streaks of the energy to speed towards him, crashing him into the wall.

It seemingly slips in half, the two halves make two different ones, then repeats the action, until there's more than ten.

Drake has a small smile on his face as more of the white spheres begin to emit around him, he looks at all of the hooded beings before taking a breath then exhaling.

Each of them suddenly starts randomly warping around the area.

The spheres begin to spin around Drake before he clicks his fingers, thin energy constructed spikes stretch out of each sphere, some of them impaling any duplicates and keeping them in place.

They continue unimpeded, then one teleports into his space and blows up, sending him flying like a ragdoll.

Drake manages to stop himself before he smashes into anything, the spheres tracing back to him, once more spinning around him but much faster this time.

Another one teleports into his space, eating up some of the spheres in the resulting explosion.

The rest instantly form a shield in front of him, protecting him from the blast. He then suddenly teleports to the other side of the cavern and grasps his hands together, draconic wings and tail made of the same energy forms on Drake.

The others begin firing multicolored beams while continuing their teleportations.

Drake puts his hands out in front of them and absorbs the beams. "Now you're boring me..."

A crimson blade erupts from the ground and impales him in the stomach, sucking away the power from him he had channeled, and is causing a red light to spread in his body.

Drake quickly places both his hands on the sides of the blade and manages to snap it off before it could infect Drake more, soon, the red light fades away as Drake seems to be breathing heavily. "That... Hurt..." He regains his posture and looks directly at the hooded figure. "...Do you have a name."

"Itami Pain Suffering Agony Misery Negativity Void Despair Hate Rage You Her It Everything Nothing-" It begins spouting what seems like an endless line of words.

"Void..." Drake ponders the name before tilting his head in a sort of bow towards the hooded figure. "Well, you certainly are a respectable fighter, even if you do have a sort of intangibility." 

"Is that all you have I'm getting rather bored I thought that was a flea biting me just now you fight like my mother-" It has now switched topics, seemingly bombarding him with insults. 

"Tell me, Void... What do you compare yourself to." Drake simply asks, seemingly unphased by the insults.

"Everything nothing void pain beginning end alpha omega existence nonexistence fate time space heaven hell eternity life death-"

"The only time I understand you and it's a constant barrage of nonsensical words... Typical. Although how you can call yourself Void and also compare yourself to everything, I'm starting to forget who's the fool here."

Another sword impales him.

Drake pulls out the sword and chuckles. "I told you... I'm not going to die by your hands, I will not drop as long as the lives of the people I care about rest on my shoulders... Don't you remember that, Void?" His smirk widens. "That was quite a hell you put me through back then, and I seriously doubt that I could do the same to you... I'm not proud to say that I haven't achieved that level yet, but please don't underestimate me. Got it?"

"NameMyNot Void Be Erased Be." It fires a massive beam at him, the orb is now changing colors again.

"I'm calling you that anyways..." Drake unsheathes Shizuka and slices directly in the middle, spliting the beam in half, just narrowly missing him. "Heh... Nice forging, Hoshiko." Drake then slides his hand across the side of Shizuka's blade, covering it in rune glyphs, it begins to change colours exactly the same way that the hooded figure's orb is.

The orb suddenly flashes crimson.

The runes on Shizuka glow a deep azure as Drake flies towards the hooded figure, he swings Shizuka which creates a tidal wave to crash into the hooded figure.

The area temperature heats up dramatically.

Drake narrows his eyes as he swings Shizuka a couple more times, causing some smaller waves of water to ripple and slice through the massive tidal wave, slashing against the hooded being's orb.

It gets evaporated by a wall of fire with a similar temperature from the first fire attack, which scorches the rocks black.

The sphere is brown once Drake sees him again.

Drake jumps back as the runes on Shizuka change to a light green, he places both his hands on Shizuka and does one almighty slash towards the hooded being. This causes what seems like a rupture in the air before a wave of wind suddenly slashes through the rocks but through the hooded being without harming him... Then the resulting gust of air that followed bashes into him and slams him to the wall.

The whole cave begins rumbling and shaking.

"I guess you're not bored anymore, Void." Drake prepares himself for the hooded being's next attack.

The whole of the ceiling starts to crumble.

In response, Drake uses Shizuka to fire waves of air to slice any rubble that comes close to him.

After a heavy bombardment, most of the ceiling is gone.

Drake rises from the rubble unharmed, he takes a look around in search of the hooded figure.

It is already charging a green shot.

Drake creates dozens and dozens of fireball and flamelances and launches them right into the hooded figure, with the fireballs exploding on impact and the firelances pinning him to the wall.

A violent hurricane force wind blasts him, blowing out the fire in mere moments, and he feels a bombardment of many windblades slicing him to ribbons.

Drake flinches towards the pain but then a dome of earth forms around Drake, protecting him from the windblades. Inside the dome, Drake coats himself in armour made of rock, he then bursts out of the dome and speeds towards the hooded figure. When he gets close, Drake jumps over the hooded figure and swipes his hands down towards him, causing massive boulders to crash into him.

The being is now glowing red, something like a sphere forming over it.

Drake quickly flies back and looks at the hooded figure, he lands and stands still, examining the hooded figure.

It starts circling him at a moderate pace, as it collides with objects, the sphere seems to eat anything that touches it.

"There's no way to get around that... There is that small window of chance, but I need to be really lucky to get a blast in... I guess I'll have to just wait it out."

The being does little else than circle him for a good couple of minutes, until finally the barrier falls and it begins more aggressively circling him.

As the hooded being circles him, Drake finds his window of opportunity and quckly leaps between the gap of the hooded figure circiling Drake. He then fires a beam of energy directly at the hooded being and jumps far away from him.

Drake runs right into a crimson blade, as the being has instantly teleported behind him.

"Heh, I should have guessed the teleportation..." Drake places his hand on the side of the blade and it turns white, the energy flows back until it reaches the hooded being's hand, he's forced to let go as the energy feels like it's tearing him apart on a molecular level. Drake quickly steps back and turns so that he's looking at the hooded being.

Instead of affecting the being, Drake suddenly feels a powerful force sucking him dry of energy, it isn't even trying to fight the attempt, instead using it to its advantage.

Drake chuckles as he flickers like a flame and disperses, leaving only a burn mark on the floor. Soon Drake forms quite a while away, spitting out a small bit of blood. "Ok... Letting him near you is a very very bad idea..."

A multitude of blades starts appearing in mid air, floating silent but deadly in front of the being, all tinted red.

"Yep... Really bad idea." Drake mutters to himself, he looks at the hooded being before swiping both his hands away, causing a similar set up from the hooded being. With white blades forming and hovering around Drake, spinning before they all point towards the hooded being.

The being and its weapons begin randomly teleporting again.

The blades spin around Drake once more as he closes his eyes. "Let's see... If I can do visions as easy as focusing... Let's hope this works." 

A blade erupts from the ground at his feet. 

Just at the last second, Drake quickly steps back, the blade just scraping a single strand of his hair. "Ok... So that works, just need to act faster..."

A great many blades erupt from nowhere.

But regardless, Drake still just manages by the skin of his teeth to dodge the blades. The swords around him strike the crimson blades, shattering them like glass as he goes.

He hears a high pitch noise as the orb suddenly turns green, but it continues teleporting at random. Drake sporadically looks around before he stops, he closes his eyes and tracks the noise, he focuses before he quickly raises one arm, causing a boulder to smash down exactly on top of the hooded being when he teleported.

The air starts compressing rapidly, then many bursts of wind like bullets begin launching at him, even as the sphere turns white.

A wall of earth quickly forms in front of Drake, blocking the 'bullets'. "Ok... He's done with earth, water, fire, air, lightning and ice..." Drake smirks as he unsheathes Kurai and Shizuka, the runes on Shizuka turn brown as he hops over the wall and charges towards the hooded being. "You've made a big mistake my friend!"

It begins firing rapid pulses of light at him.

Drake spins Kurai around and slashes the pulses of light, a dark aura surrounding the blade as it splits the light away. "Learn this, Void." He slashes across the orb with Kurai before jumping far back.

Many millions of spikes of darkness begin stabbing at him as the orb turns black.

As he gets impaled, the hooded being can see a smirk on Drake's face. "You power pales in the comparison to the potential I hold within." A bit of blood drips onto Kurai's blade as the runes glow, suddenly Drake's eyes have red rune circles formed in them. This causes the blades around Drake to become phantoms of Kurai, they all hover far away from Drake and begin to multiply by the masses.

They all then speed towards the spikes, once they touch, the spikes dissolve into ash that floats away. Drake flicks Kurai and Shizuka, which causes a small shockwave, he looks at the hooded being once more before the mass of phantom Kurai swords hover around Drake. He points at the hooded being with Kurai, and the blades all flicker like flames then almost instantly speed towards the hooded being.

The sphere changes to white as it begins avoiding the blades, though a stray one manages to scratch the sphere, which causes the being to freeze and hiss as white sparks of energy violently spark around it.

Drake flaps his wings just once, and he suddenly appears right in front of the hooded being, time seems to have slowed to a crawl for the two of them, this only lasts for a few seconds as the hooded being feels a strong pain as Drake impales the sphere with Kurai and Shizuka. Time then resumes back to normal as Drake continues to fly, with the hooded figure still impaled on the blades, Drake then thrusts the swords into a wall, pinning him to it.

A powerful explosion of white blasts him, Kurai and Shizuka are both violently ejected, as a volley of black spheres begin attacking faster than Drake can follow.

Drake flips and grabs Kurai and Shizuka before sliding across the floor on his feet, despite Kurai in his hand, Drake keeps getting pelted by the black spheres until he gets smashed into the wall. "Hmph..." Shizuka runes glow white as it gets encased in a white aura, while the darkness around Kurai gets destroyed, having a similar 'aura'. He quickly jumps into the air and begins slicing through any black sphere that comes close to him.

A strange armor forms over the cloaked being, as the sphere disappears, and the black spheres stop. It suddenly spawns two greatswords in its hands, and before Drake can even blink, he is being hacked and slashed repeated at violent speeds by the being, then after a multitude of slashes equaling over twenty, he is repelled by it into a wall.

Drake dislodges himself from the wall as he looks at Kurai, Drake's eyes pulse black as Kurai transforms into a demonic greatsword, while the runes on Shizuka begins to glow every colour, it then forms into a greatsword of its own. Drake looked at the now armoured being. "Don't think that you're the only one who can pull off that trick." He flickers like a flame and suddenly appears in front of the armoured being, with Shizuka already striking down at him.

It easily dodges him, and with a glowing red clawed hand, it rips open Drake's chest with a single swipe, his heart, lungs, and rips now visible amidst the heavy blood.

The resulting attack launches Drake straight to the floor, his view becomming hazy as he looks down at the wound, his eyes open wide. Struggling to breathe, struggling to move, struggling to survive, a black substance forms a makeshift ribcage to cover the wound. "I'm sorry but currently this is the best of my abilities, Drake..." He stands up and looks at the armoured being, something in Drake's eyes glints, something that Drake hasn't experienced for a long time; fear. His mind is telling him to attack, but his instincts are telling him, pleading him to do the opposite. Run...

Drake's form fades away, forcing Drake back to nomal. "No... There's no way I can..." He takes a couple of steps back before he takes flight and tries to evade from the armoured being.

"Yesssss... runnnnn...."

As he flies, large explosions begin going off, he is going just fast enough to avoid getting hit. On his back, a white cross begins to form.

Drake quickly uses his blades to carve an opening into the cavern, he tunnels his way around the cavern, panting as he closes his eyes once more. "Please work please work please work..."

After a few more explosions, he hears a laugh from the creature as its sphere appears again, charging.

The overwhelming sense of power from the sphere alerts Drake, he speeds up and quickly turns around but still managing to keep his speed regardless. Drake takes a deep breath and starts to send waves of darkness out of Kurai, all targeted on nothing but the sphere.

The being manages to avoid the majority of them, but the very last attack strikes it, unlike the other times, no retaliation happens, instead a ear splitting scream of rage and pain erupts from the being as its eyes glow very bright red, and the whole area turns blood red in color, drowned in red light. The sphere is stuck on a iridescent color, brimming with multicolored energy, its form sparking violently with red static.

Drake quickly points both of his hands towards the sphere, Kurai hovers around him, his eyes faintly pulsing white rapidly, he goes completely silent. He focuses on the sphere, his eyes narrow in concentration as he seemingly grabs onto nothing. He then slowly moves his right arm away, this causes the essential life energy of the sphere to separate from the main one. The small sphere hovers behind Drake, he then repeats the action with his left arm, with the same effect happening. He continues to pull the multicoloured spheres out of the main sphere until it's completely drained and all of the smaller spheres are behind Drake.

Kurai goes back into Drake's hands as a voices form in Drake's head. "You're nothing but a coward." "You fail everyone and everything.You can't even save any of us." "You are worthless. You can't save anyone... Weak..." '"Is that enough for you? To be slaughtered like a lamb? To fail her?"

Those last three words keep repeat repeating as Drake sheads a single tear, his iron grip tightens on Kurai. "No... I will not fail her, I will not fail them, I will not fail myself." Drake's wings stretch out as wide as they can then flap once, sending Drake flying towards the sphere faster than sound itself. He places both his hands on Kurai as phantoms of the blade form around it, with one warcry, Drake slashes the sphere as he flies past, splitting it in two. The phantoms arriving soon after, slicing past the sphere as well, dicing it to pieces.

He hears a violent rumbling as flaming cracks begin to form on the being, a fanatical laughter beginning as giant white cracks begin forming in the space around them. Suddenly a massive giant red shadow hand lunges out of the cloak to grab Drake, but Nobuyuki and The Ancient suddenly appear and block, the force of the blows shattering the broken landscape, and everything is white.

"Get back, Drake Ryunexo! This is the final leg of the fight, but you must stay back!"

"We will deal with Itami. Rest for now, but be vigilant. Seriah will tend to you." As Nobuyuki says this, A apparition of Seriah appears next to him, placing her hand on his shoulder.

"Come on, I'll help you when we get further away." Her voice sounds distant.

He looks at Seriah with concern in his face. "Seriah... What's just happened?" He says as he lightly holds Seriah's wrist and flies as far away from the battle as he can.

The cloak completely burns away, revealing a red shadow like humanoid over a thousand feet tall in its place, which glares at them with deep, smoldering red eyes, absolutely dwarfing them all.

"You're still in a coma, Drake. Before was a simulation of the environment we were in to put your mind at ease so we could lure the energy it planted inside you out of hiding and remove it. In order to force it back into its energy form, you had to be the one to force it to that point. It's almost over, Nobuyuki-sama and the other one will soon drive it out."

Even though the two knights in their armor are far smaller, they appear to not only be doing well, but actually forcing the void being back.

"Energy it planted inside me...?" Drake just shakes his head. "So, we just get as far away as we can from them?"

"We need to remain close enough to see them. Now hold still." She begins to purify and treat his wounds.

Drake hovers in place for a moment before he tightly hugs Seriah. "You do not believe how happy I am to see you"

"It's alright, you're going to be ok. I'm glad you're still alive... I was scared..."

"Yeah... So was I..." Drake lets go and lets Seriah heal his wounds, he chuckles lightly.

As the fight continues on, the red shadow being seems to change forms different times, until after many hours, the last of its energy is dispelled. As everything begins getting whiter, he hears Seriah say,

"I'll see you when you wake up."

He nods once more before he closes his eyes. "See you soon..."

When Drake finally comes to, the first he feels is a massive chest pain.

He grasps his chest. "Oooooh God that hurts..." He sits up and takes a look around, waiting for the pain to go away. "Feels like I just died."

"You almost did." He hears The Ancient speak.

He looks at The Ancient. "Oh... Well, thank you for saving me, you and Nobuyuki."

"It is my purpose to fight him. Do not thank me."

"Nevertheless, thanks... So, are we still underground?"

"Yes. Like we said before, this is a special place for the master." Nobuyuki speaks up.

"Ok... If you don't mind, I'd like to rest." He smirks. "I still have a lot to learn, don't I?" He asks.

"Most never stop learning til the day they die. You earned it. Rest."

Drake nods before lying back down, he closes his eyes and rests.

Seriah, sitting next to him, summons a blanket and lays it over him gently.

"Seriah... I'm sorry for worrying you." Drake says, his eyes closed, his chest still aching while he's sleeping.

"Don't apologize... all that matters is you are safe..." She mutters.

She sees a small smile as he makes a light purring noise before fully passing out.

Seriah remains faithfully by his side.

A few hours pass when Drake finally wakes up, his yawn seemingly draconic as it vibrates the floor around him. "Ooooooooh that's so much better..." He looks at The Ancient, his eyes show that he's seemingly forgotten about the previous battle. "So, what are we learning next?"

It points to an incredibly large boulder. "Lift that without using your muscles."

"That seems to easy... There's no catch?"

"You must only use sheer strength of will."

"Alright..." Drake turns towards the boulder and looks at it, at first he have a puzzled expression on his face before his gaze narrows down to just the boulder itself. A few moments pass before the boulder nudges multiple times before it slowly levitates in the air, it jaggers around, unable to keep steady, but in the air nevertheless.

"Focus on what you were taught before... you may find something to help you..."

Drake doesn't respond and focuses on the boulder, he notices the similar pattern with this and the spheres. He closes his eyes, The Ancient can see Drake struggling slightly but he manages to slowly stabilize the boulder.

"A steady stream and a steady breath will aid you. Stabilize your heart, your breathing, and your core muscles, and focus on nothing but the boulder."

Drake's breathing slows down to unhuman levels, his hearbeat seemingly growing more quiet, he relaxes his muscles. A few moments pass before Drake's eyes shift left, causing the boulder to move in that direction, he then shifts his eyes up, right and down before looking straight forward, the boulder follows the movement of Drake's eyes with ease. When it stops, it's completely still, not budging at all.

The Ancient slashes at him without warning with its sword.

Drake tenses his body at the slash but seemingly shrugs it off and casually launches the boulder at The Ancient.

The boulder doesn't get close and shatters, then is re pieced in front of him.

"Avoid me while being able to lift it."

In response, Drake lifts the boulder up once more and nods before jumping away from him instantly. "Alright."

Several boulders flies after him.

Drake jumps onto one of the boulders then leaps from one to another, his boulder following above him.

A boulder that he dodged wheels around and smashes his boulder to pieces.

"You call that escorting?"

"Hmph..." Runes form on Drake's hand as he constructs another boulder, the runes fade away as Drake lifts the boulder once more. "Ok then..."

The Ancient comes after him, along with what looks like actual warheads...

"I wonder..." Drake doesn't move, instead he looks at the warheads and focuses... Then to The Ancient's surprise, the warheads completely divert away from Drake and the boulder. 

To Drake's further surprise, the warheads only accelerate toward him faster, ignoring him.

"Don't even bother." The Ancient appears to look up toward the surface for some reason.


Drake eventually creates a wall of earth to block the warheads, after they explode, Drake hovers up in the air. "What are you looking at?"

"There is one who brings with him an omen of misfortune... ...innocent blood is about to be spilled."

The wall comes down, as does the boulder, Drake sprouts his wings. "Then why are we down here..."

"...It is not your business, nor mine."

"So you'll be more than happy to have innocents die, when we can clearly take action?"

"Intervening will inflate the issue when it arises..."

Drake gives The Ancient an annoyed look before sighing. "I'll apologise for doing this later, but I'm not standing around while people die..." Drake goes back onto the floor and opens his HSC and takes out a piece of chalk and begins drawing an elaborate rune circle, he then bites his palm and drips some blood into the circle. "There, if it gets too much, I can get back without any hassle." Drake looks at The Ancient. "Is there any way to the surface from here?"

The Ancient lets out a sigh, then taps Drake's forehead with a clawed finger.

"Way of Binding: Tenfold Repentance." Chains suddenly form around Drake, and he finds he is unable to even make them move, they are so heavy and restricting.

"I might as well go... ...I have something... ...or someone... see." The Ancient vanishes.

Drake growls loudly. "That... Fucking... Asshole."


The Ancient returns. "We're going..." The chains fall off.

Drake glances at The Ancient and quietly growls. "It's about time." 

"I can always contain you in a sphere of lava..."

"Just take me to the surface."

"You won't be so eager once it starts..." They disappear.

To Change

Ace continues training with the Queen and Akami for the next few days, the progress starting out very slow, but Akami starts to notice her improve faster over time.

Akami: Ok, do you know what a plan position is?

"What's that?"

The Queen looks at Akami. "Perhaps for the sake of time, you could focus on combat skills, rather than tactics."

Akami: I'll get to it. After this, she should be good to go. It goes like this. *she gets in a push-up position, but ins stead of of using her arms, she's on her elbows and stays in that position* Just stay like that and keep your back straight.

Ace quietly starts to copy Akami's posture.

Akami: *gets up* Alright. Stay like that for at least 10 minutes, then you can take a quick break, then we can begin training you.

Ace nods quietly.

10 mintues later

Ace can feel her arms almost give away and her back aching


Akami: You can get up now, Ace. There some water on that bench for you.

She collapses, panting. "Uuuuuugghhh...."

Akami: Don't give up now. I'm giving you only little time so we can do your fighting.

She makes her way to the water and drinks greedily.

Akami: Slow down, geez. Don't want you to choke.

Ace finishes in a few couple large gulps, then lets out a contented sigh.

Akami: Ok, then just sit for awhile and rest. Catch a breath.

After a minute, Ace sneakily makes a snowball and gets Akami right in the face with one.

Akami: Yea. Save that when there's actual snow. It's not fair if one's armed and the other isn't. *slightly smiles. She then looks down and sees she ankle deep in snow* Wow...on how did I miss that?...Eh whatever. *quickly takes a scoop snow and throws it at Ace*

Ace has built a snow fort and ducks under it.

Akami: *makes a snow pillar with a snow block on both sides* Would've been great id Dad were here. We used to make forts together...I can see why...

After a few minutes Akami hears some strange noises.

Akami: Hm? *turns towards the noise*

Ace's head pops out of the snow behind her, and she quickly tosses a snowball at the back of Akami's head before popping down the hole she came out of.

Akami: *ducks her head and scoops up some more snow*

She hears more noises a few minutes later.

Akami: *looks around for a moment, then begins to slowly trail off towards the sound*

A hand pops out of the ground and grabs Akami's ankle, and Ace can be heard giggling.

Akami: Not now Ace. I'll be with you in a moment.

Ace pulls her leg down the hole she's in.

Akami: *pulls her leg up with Ace still holding on to it, and then shoves some snow in her face*

"Don't be mad Akami..."

Akami: Who said i was mad? *smiles*

Ace looks up. "...Isn't that rather heavy snow...?"

Akami: Like what do you mean?

"...There's so many snowflakes... this what they call a snow storm?" As a blizzard comes blowing in.

Akami:Oh wow, yea it sure is. I've never been in one of these before. We should be heading inside.

The two make it inside just as the snow falls.

Akami: *blows some fire into her hands and rub them together*

"That was cold..." Ace complains.

Akami: Well it is a blizzard. Here. *blows fire into her hands and rubs them together* Hold my hands.

She does so.

Ace can feel arms begin to warm up


Akami: I wonder if there's some sort of fire place here?

Ace lets out a stomach growl.

Akami: Hungry again, huh?

She nods.

Akami: Come on. Let's find something to eat.

Ace follows her.

Akami: *looks around* I wonder where's the kitchen around here?

A servant points them in the right direction.

Akami: Oh Thanks. *enters the kitchen* Is there anything specific you wan to eat, Ace?

Stomach growl* "Anything..."

Akami: Okay then.

In less than 3 minutes, she makes spicy sweet and sour ramen noodles and hands Ace a bowl.

Akami: Eat up.

Ace digs in.

Akami: *slowly eats her own bowl of ramen*

Ace yawns sleepily after she finishes eating.

Akami: No sleeping just yet. You gotta work that food off.


Akami: *sign* Fine go ahead. But just know im going to work you out double. *picks her up and haead towards their room*

Several weeks later...

Ace and Akami are having a spar, Akami with her fists, and Ace with blades of blue spiritual energy, with Sukimu and Azayakana overseeing. The past few weeks, Drake has been absent.

Akami: I'm about to it speed up. Be ready. *slowly begins to up this pace on her punching*

Ace begins to speed up as well, still within a comfort zone of speed.

Akami: *makes and abrupt stop and punches the ground, causing a shockwave, knocking Ace back some*

Ace manages to land without complication and fires bolts of blue energy at her.

Akami: *deflects the bolts and rushes at her*

Just as Akami is about to get close, Ace creates a blue shield which repels Akami and makes her land on her back a few feet away.

Akami: *puts her fists together and a green energy fills them. She then punches the shield with both of her fists, breaking it She reaches Ace, then follow up with attack combinations*

Ace countermeasures with small shield projections in coordination with her attacks, allowing her to more easily foil Akami's offense.

Akami: *her gauntlets glow again, and continues to throw her punches, only now every shield is breaking upon being hit*

Sukimu smiles. "Let her have it Ace," She says.

"R-right...!" Out of nowhere, Ace hits Akami with a full on puppy eyed face, and suddenly Akami is slammed with a massive wave of guilt and severe reluctance to even think about hurting her.

Akami: *feels sad*

I swear to God, Akami. If you do not deck this girl in the face, I am going to tape your eyes open and force you to watch me twerk! NAKED!

Akami: NO! *decks Ace in the face completey knocking her out* My apologies! I just...I just had to!

Your still gonna watch me for apologizng.

Akami: Oh...*bows her head in shame*

Ace disappears on hitting the ground.

Akami: Where she go?

A barrier appears below Akami's feet and launches her into the air as Ace pops out of the ground, shooting projectiles up at her.

Akami: *dives back down, dodging as many projectiles a possible*

Ace waits until the last minute, then jumps over the descending Akami and lands on her head with a tap, just as Akami lands on the ground.

"Giddy up horse!" She says as she pulls Akami's hair playfully.

Akami: *rolls over on Ace* This horsey has a bug on it's back.

Ace sinks through the ground.

Akami: *gets up on her feet*

Akami starts feeling a tickling sensation.

Akami: *begins to giggle* Ace stop that.

The feeling gets stronger and more persistent.

Akami: Ace! Stop!

She hears giggling.

Akami: Come on, Ace. You need to stop. I need to think for a moment.

Ace reappears upside down, floating in the air a few feet away, still giggling, though she has stopped.

Akami: *pulls her down and hugs her*


Akami: *smiles and rubs Ace's hair*

"Hee hee."


Akami: Hm?

"Don't forget to bring me a souveniiiir... It's been 4 weeks past my birthdaaaay...And I know your lazy-ass forgooooot..."

Akami: Oh...My apologies.

"You betteeeer...Obi Ouuut.."

Ace takes the distraction to slip out of Akami's grasp and thows a snowball.

Akami: *blocks and throws one back at Ace*

Ace catches it and returns it to sender.

Akami: *catches it and throws it back*

"Girls just wanna have fun. Girls just wanna have fu-un."

When she throws it, Ace is gone.

Akami: *sigh* Stupid move.

Ace is now sitting on her head, and drops the snowball onto Akami's face.


Akami: *smiles* Hey. *wipes the snow off of her face* Is there anything else we can do?

Ace taps her forehead. "Tag! You're it!" *Is gone in a flash, only a cloud of snow remains.*

Akami: No not that. I mean, anything rather than playing games. Something that's productive or atleast interesting.

Her head appears behind a corner, looking dejected.

Akami: I'm 19, Ace. You can basically see I don't play alot, especially when I was your age and younger. I was only used to doing something that isn't wasting my time. Not saying it has anything to do with you. But it's just that i'm that kind of person who wants to do something important with the time she has.

Ace slinks off. Sukina, standing by, has a slight smile on her face.

Akami: *lays back in the snow and slowly beings to make a snow angel*


Young Akami and Obi are making snow angels

Young Akami: Dad?

Obi: What is it, child?

Young Akami: Why are we making snow angels?

Obi: We sort of have nothing better to do with our lives at this moment, but it's also sort of relieving. Like when you look at the snowy sky, it brings a certain joy and happiness to life. And you know how 'charishing' life can be.

Young Akami: Yea. Do snow angels go to Heaven, Dad?

Obi: In snow heaven where snow Jesus and Snow God will be withing there for them, but that's only if you can make a better snow angel than me.

Young Akami: You're on!

Flashback ends

Akami: *has a small smile*

The spirit watches Akami quietly.

Soon, Akami falls asleep in the snow

Akami feels a tap on the forehead. "Don't sleep in the snow."

Akami: *wakes up and slow gets to her feet*

Sukina is standing over her. "What was that about wastes of time?"

Akami: My apologies, ma'am. I'm not trying to mean any offense. But I need to do something with myslef that'll actually mean something. All I've done these past several weeks was train and play with Ace. I just need something else to do. Something productive or meaningful.

"How is either of those not productive or meaningful? Her skill in defense and combat were absolute zero, I should mention. As were her spiritual powers. Now she can levitate with general ease. Her movements are fluid and with more self assurance than when she started. Even renegades fighting for a cause need their down time, Akami. And play, is actually both productive and meaningful."

Akami: But it's not the same. I'm at the point where I'm past playing and playing...It's just that it doesn't appeal to me. Not as it should.

Sukina sighs, and simply starts walking on. "Have it your way. Understand there's more to life than fighting... when you finally attain that equal world you envision so dearly Akami, what's the point?" She asks, stopping.

Akami: The fighting never stops. I doubt I'll live to see that day.

"So you believe equality will never be possible."

Akami: It will. One of these days. But even after we achieve that, there will be battles to be fought even then

"Akami. You cannot fight forever. You have no life to live, there is no reason to fight. If you think otherwise you are wrong. Cause is not enough. You also must live."

Akami: I'm not in this life for myself. I'm not doing this for me. I know I can't fight forever. But I am fighting for something better. I have a responsibility and an image to uphold for my family. They all look up to me, and very soon I'm going to have to lead them. I was brought up to sacrifice what little I had for others to enjoy in the future. I'm ok with that. You'll probably see me as a fool for concluding with this, but if this must be done for the better of our world; then I will do it.

"Image... don't believe in such nonsense." Sukina's face is slightly more stern, perhaps even bitter. "Family image and responsiblity is trash. Make your own image, don't follow the shadow of another." Sukina silently walks off into the tower.

Akami: *walks inside and makes it into her room. She gets in her bed and goes to sleep*

Taming Dark Fury

Drake later feels a faint cold sensation, then later, a sharp tugging sensation begins to affect him.

He doesn't bother going against it, he instead moves towards the direction of where he's getting tugged from. "Huh, I need to find a way to prevent that from happening..."

You might as well not bother. It comes with being one with the spirit of your blade.

The Ancient's voice seems much louder now.

"Hmm... Increased strength and absolute control over darkness but with the downside of you may become someone's weapon... I don't know if that's fair or not, so how exactly are you getting me out of Kurai?"

Tug of war.

It says as suddenly Drake lands face first in the snow, Kurai clanging next to him.

"Oh... Ok then." Drake says, his voice muffled by the snow, he sits up and sheathes Kurai. "Thanks for that... ...Is there something I can call you by?"


"Trust me, a simple name or I'll have Kana give you a name." He says, laughing.

He notices one of The Ancient's hands are blackened and withered. "..."

"...Oh right... That... I could see if I can fix that."

"No need. I am going." He disappears, though Nobuyuki appears in his stead.

"Shall we go?" He indicates the Tower of Heaven in the distance.

"And just like that, he's gone..." Drake looks at Nobuyuki and then the Tower before nodding.

Halfway there...

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!" He hears a roar, and a plume of snow erupts at the entrance, and before long Kanashimi is seen sprinting toward him at high speed.

"She seems happy... And pissed... ...I'm gonna say she's just pissed... Oh fuck."

She suddenly tackles him to the ground in a massive hug, angry and loving at the same time, and they skid across the icy ground.

"You're late, old man."

Drake just laughs, slightly in pain while hugging Kanashimi just as tight. "I know, sorry for just leaving like that."

She punches him in the jaw. "Next time don't be an idiot!"

The punch hits hard enough that Drake smashes his head against the floor. "OW OW OW OW OW OOOOOW... Huh, that was a really hard punch... Nice one." Drake says as he jokingly flicks Kanashimi's forehead.

She helps him up, flicking him back before taking off like the roadrunner.

Drake looks at Nobuyuki. "I guess I'll see you there, I have a race to win." He says before sprouting his wings and taking off after her.

It takes him a while to even get neck and neck with her, and she's already more than half way. "Getting old there? Don't worry, I'll get your cane!" She goes faster.

"Heh, she's really improved..." Drake does one almightly flap with his wings and quickly speeds right behind Kanashimi. "Oh don't worry about me, Kana, I have your pacifier right here for when you lose!" He manages to reach neck to neck with her, he smirks before flying around Kanashimi.

As the two continue racing, Ace is sitting on the top of the tower with the queen.

"The loud people are here again." She says, yawning.

"Indeed. Shall we go greet them?" Azayakana replies, standing up.

Drake just manages to get past Kanashimi just by his head, he suddenly divebombs and hugs Kanshimi which causes the two to fall. He makes sure that he crashes to the floor, taking up all of the damage. "Ha! Got you!"

"YIKES! ...AGGGH, Don't do that!" She pants.

"Heeeey!" A girl's voice speaks up, and two snowballs splat them in the face.

"...Oh, it's Snowball."

Drake stands back up, helping Kanashimi up. He then looks at Ace. "Oh hey there." He then looks at Azayakana and nods. "And to you, Aza."

"It is good to see you alive. Ace's training went well while you were gone. I have faith she will develop beautifully."

The queen frowns. "...The next part..."

Nobuyuki nods. "I know. I'll make sure it doesn't get out of hand. I have the knuckle head to help."

"Hmm? The next part? Now you've got my attention, what's Ace's next session?"

"We won't be training Ace anymore..." Nobuyuki says grimly. "We'll be training the other one."

Drake looks at Ace and focuses on her.  "Oh yeah... Three different souls, so this will be... Neo, right?"

"...Right. It'll be... a very different kind of training."

"I see." A moment passes before Drake suddenly claps his hands together. "Well, let's get started then."

Nobuyuki sighs. "How about you rest for a little before we do that?"

"Pfft... Buzzkill... But then again, maybe rest is what I need considering what's been happening." Drake ruffles Ace's hair before walking past the group. "But before I go to sleep, I need to clean up... Oh! And please cook something, I'm starving!" He laughs as he enters the Tower and goes to his room to tidy himself up.

A little bit after he finishes, he hears a knock.

A moment passes before Drake opens his door, still trying to reach for his jacket which is just out of view.

Ace is holding a platter of food for him.

He smiles and takes the plate. "Thanks Ace... And how did your training go then?"

"Very well, and you're welcome." He remembers vaguely the last time he had seen Ace, when Kado had come to Fantasy to recover, but she had been a child then, and looks more like a young teen now. She seems to radiate life and energy, even in her smile.

"Huh... I guess that training really did improve a lot about you, your soul seems more lively than the other two." He looks at the food and his pupils dilate, making him seemingly cat-like, he takes a bite out of the food and makes a draconic purr before swallowing it down. "Ooooooh that's amazing after what I've been through... Who cooked this?"

Ace blushes slightly and looks away. "...I did. I was worried, and thought it would be nice to make something since you were gone and injured so long..." She says timidly.

Drake laughs. "Yep, I already like you more than Kado." He says heartily. "You did a great job, it tastes amazing, Ace."

She blushes again with embarassment. "It-it wasn't that good...." She excuses herself, and leaves.

"Huh... Seems to have a bit of Kana in her, without the hostilities." He goes back in his room and finishes the food, around ten minutes pass before Drake leaves fully ready. "Right... I guess it's off to the courtyard... No wait, gotta rest... Aza will kill me if I don't." Drake quietly yawns as he puts the platter aside and walks towards his bed, only to collapse on it fast asleep.

When he next wakes up, he feels a slight poking on his forehead.

He makes a draconic yawn and opens his eyes, he looks around for a quick moment before seeing Seriah, he yawns again. "Oh hey there Seriah."

She hugs him tightly.

"Thanks for helping me back when I was facing... Whatever that thing was." He repsonds by chuckling and hugging her.

"It's my job, isn't it? Besides, I'm happy to..." She hugs him tighter. "How are you feeling?"

"I'm feeling great, besides, you really don't have to... But once more, thank you." He smiles as he sits up and stretches. 

She whips out a hot bowl of meat and vegetables. "Hungry?"

Drake nods and takes the bowl. "First Ace now you, thanks!" And without hesitation, Drake begins to feast on the food, it doesn't take long until the bowl is empty and a pleased draconic purr emits from Drake.

"When you're feeling ready, head outside the gate. Nobu is going to get to work soon."

"I'm always ready... Most of the time." Drake puts the bowl aside and stands up, he stretches once more before heading over to the gate.

Nobuyuki is standing at the gate, with an unconcious Ace slung over his shoulder.

"We'll be going out into the icecaps away from the tower."

"...Care to explain?"

"We're going to be transferring Ace into Neo. Neo is as friendly as a dragon residing next to a town with a literal mountain sized pile of gold. Or a demonic horde with the desire to burn and destroy everything. We do not need him anywhere near the tower."

"That I'm aware about, I'm talking about the unconcious girl over your shoulder... But nevermind that, let's go, shall we?"

"I made her sleep. It'll be easier to switch. and speaking of... ...DRAGON GIRL! AKAMI! GET OVER HERE!" He barks.

Akami: *soundly sleeps*

"...Excuse me." Nobuyuki flickers, then is gone.

In Akami's room...

"WAKE UP!" Nobuyuki barks with a megaphone at full volume, holding a bomb.

Akami: *soudly sleep*

"Akami! Wake up! This faggot wants you!"

Akami: *opens up her eyes and gets out of bed* What is it?

Nobuyuki tosses the bomb up and down.

"Neo's training starts today. I want your help. And yes, this is a real bomb. Which I will blow you up with if you don't get out of bed, get dressed, and are ready to go in the next minute."

The fuse ignites on its own. "Starting now."

Akami: *in now less than 20 seconds, she gets fully dressed*

"Good. Now get going to the gate. We've got a long day."

Akami: Fine fine. *rubs her hair*

"Bomb is still ticking." Nobuyuki says casually.

Akami: *runs towards the gate and makes tere in less than 30 seconds*

"Good. I guess I don't need this." He tosses it above their heads, where it explodes, a firework.

"We all ready to go then?"

Akami: Well I have no other choice but to be ready.

Drake looks back at Nobuyuki and Akami. "I'm waiting on you two, but yeah, I'm ready." He says before stretching his wings out as far as they can. "So, I'll be flying there, and unless you have your own ways, I'll be waiting for you two."

Akami: You go on ahead. We'll be right behind you.

An invisible hand grabs him.

"You will be coming with us. You don't know where we're going."

Akami: Ok, nevermind then.

"It's the icecaps... We just head North, nothing difficult or confusing about that, is there?"

"We're going to a specific place." He says, dragging him along.

"You don't need to drag me along, Nobuyuki." Drake nudges off the invisible hand and walks besides the others.

Drake gets the strange sensation of someone wanting to drop kick him.

Drake slows down his walking pace and closes his eyes for a moment. "...Incoming."

Kanashimi is now attempting to dive bomb him. "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!"

As she dive bombs, Drake manages to catch her, causing him to skid across the floor. "Ha! Got you again, Kana!"

"Hmmph, thought you could leave me again huh?"

"Hey, it's not like 'i want to go as well."

"I'm coming with." 

Nobuyuki sighs. "Alright, have it your way." He begins walking out into the ice.

Drake chuckles and high-fives Kanashimi before walking along. "Sometimes being really stubborn works great with you, doesn't it?"

"Hee hee."

Nobuyuki leads them across the flat ice plains, though the way he travels seems to convey he knows exactly where he's going and where he wants to go.

"So Nobuy, why exactly are we going to this specific place instead of anywhere in the icecaps?"

"Because it is abandoned."

"...So you're saying in the icecaps of all places, this specific location is abandoned..."

"Well, you can't see them, so I wouldn't blame you. The North is inhabited... ...but not by those you can see or touch... to my eyes, we are in the middle of a great capital city. One that you cannot see or sense."

Drake looks around for a moment. "...Spirits?"

"Yes. Millions. While you cannot see them, they can still be impacted if we are not outside of the Spirit Capital. ...Particuarly by the beast we will be unleashing soon."

"You make it sound like Neo is a monster... Although..." Drake thinks back to the time in Upnation. "...Maybe you have a point."

"If you've not been told, Neo is Kado's dark side, his equivalent of Corruption for him. I say this as a comparison, not fact. All of Kado's darkest emotions fed Neo, so he inherited a lot of rage and violent emotions... this training is less improving combat skill and more taming a near mindless rage that has burned a whole lifetime."

"Ah... Nothing new then, we just have to put a beast into its cage." 

"No... that would just be doing what was already done..."

"So are we trying to get the two on common ground? Like, make their... 'Relationship' similar to mine and Corruption's?"

"Simply make it so that he doesn't attack everything in sight... would be a great start."

"Ok then... So you've experienced Neo before then?" Drake asks while getting his spellbook.

"No. But I'm like Kado, so I can grasp his dark half well."

"And not the person who literally has a dark side? ...Also, if you're like Kado, then God help us all."

"...What I meant is that I am a dual nature spirit, but not in his specific case. I have one soul, with positive and negative traits."

"I don't completely understand, but I think I'm done asking questions."

They continue walking, but Drake can gradually see a faint dark area up ahead in the horizon.

"Guessing this is the specific area you were talking about?"

"Mmmm... we have a ways to go..."

"...And we can't fly there... Why?"

"No particular reason... ....except the intensive wind. Feel free to get bombarded by the high wind and ice particles."

"Wind and ice... Right." Drake rolls his eyes as a moment of quietness passes. "...So then, care to explain your history?"

"Do you want the eight hundred year long version or the single paragraph version?"

"Do you want to also carry Kanashimi along with Ace there?"

"I take it you want it short. I am the son of two of the greatest prodigies of our history, and now my father is a dark overlord of the south. I want him dead, mainly because he disturbs the balance of the world, and I have only appeared to the world when such threats occur. Otherwise, I remain hidden doing whatever I care for. At some point I trained under The Ancient, and learned how to use my power to its fullest extent, and I was named one of the Sword Sages, as well as one of the Balance Knights."

"Hmm..." Drake looks at Nobuyuki, exmaining him rather. "Yeah... You do look similar to that man in my vision." Drake then chuckles. "So The Ancient is his name, nice to know... And Sword Sages and Balance Knights?"

"It's not really his name as it is a descriptive word to use for him. He won't tell me his name. He prefers no one knows. I am a Sword Sage, someone who fights with mainly or exclusively their sword. We are typically either spirits or people very attune with the spiritual side of the world, and we use both aspects of our training to our advantage. Balance Knights... ...are basically just me and The Ancient. We try to make sure the world remains in balance, and deal with forces that unbalance it."

"...And this is why I prefer to be a mercenary, not as much work as you and his have... Whether that's a good or a bad thing, you decide."

"There are other beings of balance, but you're not ready to know or meet them yet. We do certainly have our work cut out for us..." The dark spot is now close enough to be seen, a massive huge crater valley that drops many miles down, an abnormal feature in an otherwise seamless icesheet. 

"Yeah, if they're as buzzkilly as you and The Ancient, I don't think I want to meet theeeeemwoah... Are we going down there?"

"No, we're going to the other giant crater in an endless ice sheet." Nobuyuki says with sarcasm, then effortlessly begins scaling the face of the crater like a spider, having no issues traversing it all the way down.

Drake instead simply tags Kanashimi before jumping down the crater, his wings stretching out as he laughs.

The winds suddenly snag him and whip him around, before eventually smashing him into the ground. Kanashimi meanwhile skates her way down to the bottom, laughing at Drake as she travels down.

"Ok... Wind tunnels... Lovely..." He stands up and wipes any dust off of him. 

"That was a very lovely performance, Ryunexo."

"Ask for an encore and I'll turn you into a tube... So now we have to wake Ace up and get her to swap souls with Neo now, right?"

Nobuyuki turns toward Akami. "Get down here sometime today!" He then turns toward Drake. "Technically speaking the vessel is already empty. I haven't allowed Neo or Kado to surface." 

"You haven't allowed it? ...Ok then, so what do we do then?"

"Well, simple. I allow Neo access and grant him status as his own being. ...It could get ugly very fast."

"This will be fun, won't it?" Drake says as some runes form on his palms.

"Hardly. I would get away once I started." 

Kanashimi doesn't seem concerned. "Can't be that bad...."

"It's Kado's evil self so... Let's just assume, shall we?" Drake takes a couple of steps back.

Nobuyuki places Ace on the ground in a sitting position, putting his hand on her head.

"I wouldn't say evil, but more like senseless."

Kanashimi rolls her eyes and backs up.

Drake crosses his arms and waits for the change. "Not trying to sound impatient, but please speed this up already."

He feels a sharp stabbing sensation in his foot.

He quickly steps back. "Ow! Nobuyuki, I swear, I will break you if you keep that up!" Drake growls at him as he rests his hand on Kurai, he then looks at Ace and watches.

"Don't be impatient with me, this level of Soul Manipulation is much more difficult than you realize. Keep quiet, or I will break YOU." Nobuyuki's voice gets malevolent and dark.

"Wait hold on, how was Kado able to swap himself out for Ace."

"...He didn't. We completely removed Kado from control over the vessel. The body for the past couple of weeks has been Ace. What we did was not simply making her manifest in his body, we made her a proper being and made ownership change to hers. Now we are doing the same for Neo. And Kado will be last. Now if you don't mind..." A dark aura forms around Nobuyuki, and Ace's silent body twitches immediately.

Drake glances at Ace once more and slowly shakes his head. "My God, Kado, you're just a heap of issues..."

The body begins to twitch more aggressively as the black aura spreads to her body and red angular lines flow across her body, replacing the soft blue curved lines. She is soon engulfed in the aura, blinding them from seeing her, and Nobuyuki seems to quietly retreat back.

In preperation, one of Drake's eyes changes to black as the rune circles on his palms faintly glow. "Corruption, prepare some restraints." Drake then looks at Kanashimi and smirks. "Well, we get to see the doom and gloom of Kado, if he gets out of hand, I'll let you knock him out, ok?" He chuckles.

The dark aura grows more massive, swirling violently, and Drake feels a strong negative presence.

"The restraints are ready." Drake's smirk widens as he begins to sense the change of soul. "Thanks, now all we have to do is wait..."

Suddenly a large black hand grabs his face and throws him into the crater wall with the owner's roar shaking the crater.

"Ow..." Drake lightly shakes his head and chuckles as the rune circles begin to spin wthin his palms. "He's gonna be hard to predict, so..." The other eye begins to faintly glow white as Drake begins to walk around, keeping his eye on the soul.

A teenage male figure stands between him, Nobuyuki, and Kanashimi. In its hand is Dark Slayer.

"I'm just gonna say this once, not only are you outnumbered, you're outpowered and I would say outclassed but who knows? ...Just stand down already, kid." 

Something like a dark armor begins to form over him, it has the energy output of a Phoenix Mode, but many, many, many, many times more dense than either Drake's or Kado's.

"Huh... Ok, I feel like we're the ones outclassed now... Oh, and Nobuyuki, please try to help more than you did with Void." Drake blandly says as he unsheathes Kurai and gets into a stance.

"Why did you think I brought all of you here?" Nobuyuki says as a hundred swords appear behind him.

Kanashimi pulls out a greatsword with flame like designs and a red glow about it. "Don't fall behind Tankman."

"Oh don't worry about me, I'll be fine." Drake says as he spins Kurai around, seemingly mocking the teenager. "It's him you have to be worried about."

Neo sends a huge wave of dark fire several feet high surging toward Drake.

Drake slashes Kurai through the wave, causing it to disapate entirely before lunging towards Neo and clashing blades with him.

Neo is strangely absent, and suddenly the whole crater bottom gets very dark...

Drake closes his eyes for a moment before suddenly jumping up to the side of the crater, he clings onto a rock while looking at Kanashimi and Nobuyuki. "Both of you, up, now!"

Nobuyuki charges and launches straight at the darkness and destroys it with a slash, who then spars with Neo, who kicks him back down.

"Hmm..." Drake looks at Kanashimi. "...Let's put our sparring to use." Drake then launches off of the wall and straight towards Neo, he grabs both his arms and throws Neo over his shoulder before kicking him towards Kanashimi. "Kana, your turn!"

She decks him with multiple punches, but he seems to tank them easily and punches her in the cheek, sending her flying, but she manages to land on her feet.

"Huh... A lot of power in that... Ok then." Drake jumps into the air and dives down at Neo, slamming the back of his heel against Neo's skull.

Neo isn't even budged, and he makes a large smirk. "That all...?"

"...Alright, I'm not gonna bother taming you now." Drake lands and slashes Kurai across Neo's chest before kicking him into the side of the crater. "If I kill you now, then that'll be a shame but I couldn't care." He spins Kurai around before growling at Neo.

Neo's body phases in and out of transparency, making it difficult for Drake to hit him.

Akami: *is sitting down just watching*

Drake bounces back to the edge of the crater, he smirks as Corruption forms beside him. In just a blink of an eye, they're already up close to Neo, Drake hammerfists Neo up into the air as Corruption jumps up, grabs Neo's arm and throws him into the wall just before Drake and Corruption suddenly appear in front of Neo and strike his chest, lodging him further into the wall.

Neo dismisses both attacks by shattering both of Corruption's and Drake's arms, then shattering their jaws with a simple blow to each. When they strike again, they are repelled by a force that shatters Corruption into glass and breaks every bone in Drake's body.

"Hmmph. Pathetic."

"Hehe..." Neo can hear the sound of bones snapping back together as Drake stands up, both his eyes dyed pure black. "Child's play..." His smirk growing sinister as the rune circles on his hands glow as bright as they can.

"..." Neo summons a dire mace twice the size of Drake's height.

Two shields form and hover around Drake as he starts taking steps towards Neo, a small cackle of sorts emitting from Drake.

Neo simply strikes the ground with the mace, causing the crater to become twice as large and over four times as deep, causing magma to erupt from below in great heaving pillars of heat.

Small rune circles form underneath Drake's feet, allowing him to stay in the air while he walks. Kurai slowly transforms into a demonic greatsword as Drake keeps his eyes on Neo.

"The first phase, it encompasses all, precedes all. Hungering, it laments, yet despises that which gives it sustenance."

Kurai explodes into ash, reforming into its normal form, with the Kanji: Sealed. Applied to the blade. Drake feels his power drop tremendously.

He growls as he sheathes Kurai, tribal markings soon form all over Drake as his wings stretch out. "You're a pest, you know that, right, kid?" Drake mutters as the runes on his palms glow again before Drake flickers like a flame and suddenly appears a couple of feet away from Neo.

He is impaled by a barrage of black spikes the moment he appears.

"I can see your movements..." He dodges as Kanashimi lobs huge fireballs at him.

Drake flies back as his wounds heal up, he glances at Neo before getting into a meditating pose, Drake closes his eyes and sits perfectly still.

A black blade impales his shadow, and it rises up with a clone of Kurai and Shizuka, with inverted colored tribal markings.

Drake still sits perfectly still, but slowly opens his eyes, looking at Neo.

The clone attacks with the same skill and capability as Drake. Neo's eyes have closed, yet is still easily able to dodge Kanashimi.

Drake is on his feet instantly and begins to counter his clone with relative ease, being able to predict his clone's movement and acts on them accordingly.

Nobuyuki goes to work attacking Neo with his many swords, while Kanashimi makes him dance about the crater floor from her fireballs.

Drake looks at the clone, his eyes narrow down at its weapons just before the clone lunges towards Drake and slashes both blades across his chest. Drake then quickly knees the clone, uppercuts it then grabs both of its arms and pulls it down fast enough for Drake to headbutt it. The clone staggers back but then returns with a barrage of attacks that sends Drake flying into the side of a crater.

The clone is blasted by bursts of holy fire by Kanashimi.

The clone makes a sound that resembles a draconic hiss before it suddenly speeds towards Kanashimi and tackles her into a wall before striking her and blasting her with a torrent of flames.

Kanashimi swats the clone with her flaming shield then impales it in the side with her flaming sword, the sword's flames erupting and engulfing the shadow in flame.

The clone shrieks in pain as Drake looks at it and Kanashimi. "...Of course, light!" Drake grasps his hands together before pointing them at the clone, suddenly a cube then forms around the clone before it begins to glow and blasts the clone with light from every angle, destroying it completely.

Nobuyuki is still keeping Neo occupied, who appears to be having a great amount of trouble avoiding his attacks.

Drake looks at Kurai and sighs. "Sealed... Ok, Shizuka, you're up." Drake unsheathes Shizuka and spins it around before it starts the runes etched onto the blade begins to shine, he then speeds towards Neo and slashes across his back.

Neo jumps straight up, Shizuka clashes with one of Nobuyuki's blades.

Without any delay, Drake shoots straight up and knees Neo in the chin before headbutting him, he then grabs Neo and throws him into the side of the crater.

A thick black rope of shadow wraps around Drake as soon as he does, smashing him into the crater along with him. Before he can recover, Neo is on top of him and punches him so hard it smashes his stomach into bloody paste.

Drake coughs the blood into Neo's face, blinding him for a moment which gives Drake enough time to coat his fist in flames and punches Neo off of him. Drake stands up and clenches his abdomen, growling slightly. "Bones? Easy as all hell, but a stomach... Ugh, this'll take time."

Neo suddenly smashes Drake with the dire mace, crushing his chest cavity. He then kicks Drake into the center of the crater, dodging a volley of fireballs from Kanashimi.


"This... Fucking... Kid..." Drake stands up as rune circles reform and glow a bright white, he then forms the same cube around Neo and begins to assault him with pulses of light.

With a faint pulse of energy, Neo unsheathes Dark Slayer in a massive burst of darkness which doubles the size of the crater from its force.

"Seriously Kado... Remind me to kick your ass for having more spirits than the usual being..." Drake's eyes suddenly widen. "...Spirits... Nobuyuki, you may as well put your blades away, physical attacks will do nothing against him. Let's hope you know how to casts spells and fire a weapon, because that's the only way we're harming him." Drake's wings stretch out as he flies up, once he reaches his desired height, runes begin to form on Drake as rune circles emerge all around him.

"Hey, Neo!" The runes and glyphs begin to glow different colours as Drake's right hand imitates a handgun, he points it towards Neo, a small ball of spiritual energy forming at the fingertip. "Bang." The ball of energy suddenly expands and is fired directly at Neo, with the rune circles around Drake form their own spheres of energy and fires them at Neo, each one rapidly changing colour.

Neo seems to give him a bored expression.

Drake smirks. "Seal." The spheres enlarge and ensnare Neo's arms and legs, restraining him as the main sphere strikes him directly in the chest, Neo's energy slowly drains as Drake chuckles. "Soul manipulation is a bitch, ain't it?"

"Idiot." The spheres are absorbed and dissolved, and Drake suddenly finds his energy being drained in mass.

In response, Drake simply chuckles once more and looks at Neo. "...I wonder... Seriah, if you're there, come by my side for a second."

He feels a cold chill.

As if by instinct, Drake slams the shields down, forming the familiar impenetrable around Drake.

The real Neo's attack bounces off just in time, but Drake still feels far weaker than when the fight had first started. Neo suddenly dodges another sword from Nobuyuki.

Drake rolls his eyes and opens his HSC, he grabs his spellbook and reads through it.

Akami: *gets up* Wait! Let me give him a try.

Drake begins to feel a painful burning in his eyes.

Drake's reaction is too slow as his eyes get ripped out by a mysterious force, they hear Drake's growl in pain as he covers his sockets with his hand. A small moment passes before the dome around Drake shatters like glass, he stands up as the eyes roll away, Drake has his eyelids closed but some blood still leaks out, he turns his head towards Neo but doesn't seem to be in a hostile stance.

Neo abruptly slams his knee into Akami's head, ignoring Drake now.

Drake glances at Nobuyuki before looking back at Neo. "Keep him still while you attack with your blades, I assume that's you were planning."

"Hmm. I more intended to get him to lower his guard by having to deal with all of us, rather than strictly having one on ones."

Drake reaches his hand out towards Nobuyuki. "Those blades, give me one." Drake then turns his head towards Kanashimi. "Get behind him and prepare to deflect any attacks with your shield, afterwards you can help." Drake finally turns his head to Akami before a literal wall of wind knocks Neo away from Akami. "And you better be ready, because I think you're his target."

Akami: *rubs her forehead* It's ok. I have an idea. *makes her way foreward towards Neo and stops a few feet away from him* I have a challenge for you.

He regards her with a bored expression, then creates a dagger of pure darkness.

Akami: I want you to fight me with the only weapons being your fists and your feet. The challenge I issue to you is to punch me. Square in my face. *points to where he needs to punch. In between her eyes* In less than 5 minutes. If I win, you come with us. You can name your own terms if you win.

Akami is sent flying from a punch square to her face straight into the crater. Neo casually dusts off his hands.

"I offer that challenge in reverse. If you all can honestly injure me and make me fold, I'll listen. Otherwise you'll die. And none of that one on one nonsense. You'll never beat me."

Nobuyuki makes a separate sword and it levitates toward Drake. Kanashimi places her shield behind them, and places her hand on Drake, a furious burning begins followed by a heavy soothing sensation.

Akami: *gets up from the crater* I didn't say anything about beating you. But since you don't like playing by others rules, then we won't push you then. You're still coming with us one way or the other.

"Uh huh. And pigs fly. Make me, bitch."

Akami: *narrows her eyes* We will.

"Alright, Neo... I think we've heard enough from you." Drake quietly says as he grips the sword, any leftover bandage from Drake's arm is now wrapped around Drake's head at a tilted stance, covering one of the eye sockets while a fresh eye looks at Neo. "I think I'm done being negative for a bit, funny enough how losing your sight gives you a bit of clarity." Drake clicks his neck once more, his expression is surprisingly calm considering the situation. 

Neo merely gives them a bored look.

"On your mark, Nobuyuki."

"Go." Nobuyuki sends a swarm of blades after Neo.

Drake speeds towards Neo, the sword in his hand seemingly duplicating itself, hovering around Drake but all pointing towards him. They all mimic the movements of the sword Drake is making with a slight delay, Drake then begins to rush Neo with multiple attacks.

Neo dodges both of them, but then scowls when Kanashimi begins raining down pillars of fire around them at random, making it very difficult for him to continue dodging.

Akami: *crosses her arms and a green energy fuels her gauntlets. She disappears and re-appears several feet behind Neo* Hana-ken! *fires a green triangular blast*

While Neo is avoiding the pillars of fire, two phantom blades along with the sword Drake is using make three light scrapes across Neo's chest before more phantom blades quickly shield Drake from any potential attacks.

Neo begins to cackle and spawns a black staff, and begins spinning it quickly, deflecting the triangular blast, before dodging some of Kanashimi's attacks.

"Nobuyuki, go around!" Drake quickly sidesteps and begins to attack Neo from his right.

Neo doesn't retreat, but instead presses the attack, swinging the staff repeatedly at Drake's head, the staff seems to be able to block his phantom blades.

After a bit of beating from the staff, Drake manages to be able to narrowly avoid each subsequent attack from it. Opting to block the attacks with his blade afterwards, he then quickly sidesteps once more behind Neo and quickly scrapes the blade across his back.

Akami: *appears in front of Neo with her arms crossed* Hana-ken! *fires a green triangular blast*

Neo jumps up between the two combatants and kicks both in the face, Akami flies into Nobuyuki, and Drake into Kanashimi.

Akami: *hoists herself over Nobuyuki's head and lands on her feet. She summons two baseball-sized fireballs to her side and rushes at Neo* Follow up behind me!

Drake jumps back up onto his feet and spins the blade around before speeding off towards Neo, in his free hand, a black fireball that's strangely smoking more than it should is beginning to form on Drake's palm as he gets close.

Akami: *engages Neo throwing swift fire punches and even swifter fire kicks*

Neo pulls out a red katana and begins countering the two, Drake with the katana and Akami with snapping his fingers and creating explosions in her direction.

Akami: *rolls out of the way and fires another a green triangular blast* Hana-ken!

While Drake is clashing blades with Neo, he throws the fireball to the floor, causing the entire area to smoke up thickly. Drake seemingly becomes one with the smoke as Neo slices where Drake was but with no effect, soon Drake speeds up from behind and slashes the back of Neo before seemingly disappearing into the smoke again.

Akami: *appears from right behind Neo and wraps her arms and legs around him and lock them together tight* If anyone of you guys have plan, now is the time to exxecute it!

Neo suddenly vanishes with a 'woosh!", and the air suddenly gets very cold, and very heavy.

Drake scans the area, looking for Neo until his senses pretty much kicks him in the teeth. "...We need to move, now!" Drake quickly picks Akami up and speeds towards Nobuyuki and Kanashimi, a wall of energy seperating them from Neo. "Ok... We're in trouble now..."

Akami: We're gonna fight him anyway. There can always be something worse.

The area gets distinctly darker.

Akami: *aborbs more green energy into her gauntlets* Let's go ahead and finish this. It may not be long until there's only one of use left.

"Trust me, that won't do much against this...We need to plan what we do."

Akami: I'm waiting to hear it. You guys look like you have more of an idea on what to do than I do.

"I need the seal from Kurai to come off, without it, I can't exactly go against Neo right now... Can't go into my Dark-Fire Phoenix form either... Though everything is going darker, so maybe we need light to counter it."

A dark fireball crashes further away from them, and Nobuyuki seems to tense up.

"...This is going to be stupid... But." A black draconic aura begins to form around Drake as the aura itself makes a loud growl. "Since I'm more brawn than brain, I'll distract Neo for as long as it takes for you guys to come up with a plan."

Nobuyuki pushes past him, his armor turning black with crackling red lightning coming off him.

"Hmm?" Drake examines Nobuyuki and chuckles. "So, brawn over brain for once?"

"Keep back, or you will not survive." His voice comes out dark and sinister.

Drake looks into the darkness, where Neo is, he then looks at Nobuyuki before taking steps back, smiling. "Ok, have fun in the spotlight."

"When I say, move in. If you miss your timing, this battle will take longer than it needs to. I'll only be able to exploit this once..."

The draconic aura finally completes itself as Drake's own voice becomes draconic. "Alright, I won't miss." He says as his eye glows white while two red glowing spots form on the aura, resembling eyes. Drake spins the blade around and prepares himself.

Akami: *gets into a Muay Thai stance* Whenever you're ready.

Kanashimi's shield comes around them in a bright flaming dome, as Nobuyuki charges forward toward the dark fire with a single greatsword.

Akami: There he goes. Now we just wait for him give us the signal.

"Whatever you say, Butterface." Kanashimi says dryly. 

Nobuyuki appears to be engaging with something invisible now that the darkness has dissipated.

Drake just keeps quiet as he focuses on the fight, seemingly seeing the invisible force.

Drake finds it very difficult to follow, as it almost seems to have more than one 'presence' to it.

"...And he expects me to land this attack." Drake says, trying to focus in on the main spirit.

Nobuyuki suddenly slashes at one of them, and for a moment, a gash in the air forms, revealing a black flaming suit of armor dueling with him, but it fades soon after.

Akami: If I know one thing, if one of those M.C.C.P. soldiers were here, they would've been getting this on...Those square things they use. I think those things capture movement.

A strange feeling begins to stir in air, as the air grows heavier and darker, and flashes of red lightning start to appear. Nobuyuki seems to pause, deathly quiet. Neo seems to have stopped as well.

Akami: *looks at the red lightning* Oh no. What is that-W-What is that!? Nobuyuki what's going on!?

"...Negative Spirits. And I don't know why they are here."

Akami: Don't tell me we have to fight those too...

A powerful gust of wind blows straight toward Akami.

Akami: * blocks the wind from her face with one arm* What should we do?

Drake looks up at the red lightning. "...Why do I have a feeling I know who these are." Drake finally takes off the bandage around his eye, the two fully regenerated, he glances towards Nobuyuki. "You don't think Neo attracts Negative Spirits, do you?"

"Not in this case. They wouldn't come this far.... ...not normally."

"We need to focus on these Spirits then... But Neo can't exactly be trusted... Guess we have to take a shot." Drake unsheathes Shizuka, wielding both the blade Nobuyuki gave him and Shizuka, Drake's eyes flicker white as he scans around the area.

The wind collides with Akami, a terrible claw mark rips her stomach open, and an invisible force pins her to the ground with incredible strength.

A similar wind rushes toward Drake and Kanashimi.

Akami: AAAGH! *falls to her knees and puts her hand over her stomach. She tears off her gi tail and wraps it around her stomach*

Drake spins both blades around before slicing in a cross pattern, tribal markings begin to appear all over the floor. "Ok... Kana, keep that shield up, I'll alert you when any Spirits are nearby." Drake walks over to Akami as rune circles form on Drake's palms, they glow bright as he hovers them over the wound, slowly reparing it.

A green aura surrounds Kanashimi, and the wounds of Akami being to close, much faster.

"This shield will keep them out physically, I can't stop them as they are. Besides, I'm faster."

Neo seems to be eyeing Akami as he stands motionless.

Akami: Thanks. I can work myself up now. *gets on on her feet and rubs her healed stomach* Damn...Dad's gonna beat me for this...

Drake glances around once more before he swipes his hand across the air. "Trace." Suddenly the tribal markings on the floor light up as faint outlines of the spirits are seen, Drake chuckles as he spins the blades around once more. "Ok, that's all the information I need."

Two are charging Drake and Kanashimi, while the one on top of Akami swipes him away from her and tries to bite her throat.

Drake slashes Shizuka in the air, causing a wave of earth and fire to spew out from underneath the floor, engulfing one of the spirits. "Kana, you're up."

Akami: *blocks the spirit's bite with her arm* Grh!  Endokuken! *she takes her other fist and fires a green fireball in the spirit's face, repelling it back. She rubs the bite marks on her arm*

Kanashimi swings her sword and unleashes a wave of fire that annihilates a decent amount of spirits, including the one attacking Akami.

"Alright there Butterface?"

Akami: Yea. I'm fine. Just haven't fought spirits before.

"Well try to stay focused, there's a shit pile of them."

Akami: Atleast I have something productive to do. *returns to her stance*

"On your right." Kanashimi intones.

Akami: Hana-ken! *fires a green tringular blast at the spirit to her right*

Kanashimi slashes a spirit in half. "A turkey could hit better."

Akami: There's nothing wrong with my punches, thank you very much.

"Left. Except that you're slow as a tortoise."

Akami: *fires a green triangular blast to her left*  I can't exactly tell where they are. I did say I don't fight spirits often, right?

Drake chuckles at Akami and Kanashimi's bickering before he speeds towards a group of Spirits, he begins taking them down one by one before he glances at Neo and Nobuyuki. "Hey, you two want to participate or are you just going to stand there like idiots?"

Another spirit comes toward Akami from behind, but a wave of darkness destroys it, with Neo being the source, showing a black expression. He holds Dark Slayer with an air of boredom.

"Little brats have come to ruin my fun... they will be punished..." He charges into the group of spirits and begins slaughtering them.

"This will help." Drake smiles to himself before he takes out a few more.

Akami: *punches one in the face and fires a green triangular blast at another* Hana-ken! Nobuyuki!? Are you gonna help any?

"....No. I cannot."

Akami: No? W-why not?

"Diplomatic matters."

Akami: Man, Forget Diplomacy! We're getting ganged up on! *fires another green triangular blast at a spirit*

"So you'd be willing to put the lives of everyone on this planet at risk because of your own selfish desire to live?"

Akami: I don't know. Are you still gonna be an ass-hole?

"Mmmm, a lady who doesn't give a damn. Score one for me," Neo gives her a shit eating grin as he passes by, mowing down spirits left and right.

Akami: Oh what? Are you gonna start in on me too?

"Well I don't know. You could probably kill a horse with that punch." He says, sitting on her head and light as a feather.

Akami: Get off me! *swats Neo off her head when a spirit bites her in the back* Gah frick! *back-hands the spirit*

"Hee hee hee." Neo simply jumps off and slices the spirit's head clean off. "Fiesty." He returns to the main group of spirits and engages once more.

"Besides, I think he has you covered." Nobuyuki says dryly.

Akami: Well, at least someone does... *punches another spirit*

"I'm trying not to start a war, complain later."

Akami: Whatever fine. *fires another green triangular blast* How many of these things are there?

"Few hundred."

Akami: Damn...We'll be here for awhile. *fires a green triangular blast in the air, stretches her arms apart, and the blast disperses at the spirits*

Kanashimi flames another spirit that comes from behind her. "Bet I can kill more."

Akami: Girl pleeease. *fires another green triangular blast*

Kanashimi slashes in the general direction of at least fifty spirits and ignites them until they are no more. "Oh yeah? What are you gonna do? Punch them all?"

Akami: I could do that. Or this. *takes a deep breath and blows fire at the spirits killing about fourty five*

"Pssssh." Kanashimi engulfs the area in a huge firestorm.

"HEY!" Neo yells, barely avoiding the huge blast.

Akami: You better watch out.*takes another deep breathe and once she exhales a sawm of fireballs lauch at the spirits*

"Am I sensing a slight rivalry between you two?" Drake says before he glances at another group of Spirits, he speeds towards them and slices a multitude of them in twain.

They soon manage to finish the last of them off, leaving the group alone with Nobuyuki and Neo. Neo regards them in a bored manner.

Drake looks at Nobuyuki and Neo. "I swear, if both of you begin to fight..." Drake just shakes his head after a moment while the tribal markings and aura fade away. He hands Nobuyuki back his blade and sheathes Shizuka, he looks at the seal on Kurai and sighs. "Neo, mind taking this thing off."

Neo looks at him. "No need. I've had my fill." The seal comes off, and Neo suddenly falls into the snow head first, turning back into an unconcious Kado.

Nobuyuki looks down at him for a moment, then picks him up quietly. "It's time we headed back. Good work. All of you. We need to prepare somethings... then the last part of his training shall begin."

Akami: *coughs* 2nd most intense work-out I've done in my life...Whew. *puts her hands on her hips*

Return to the Dawn

"Speak for yourself, I have a place I need to go to." Drake sprouts out his wings and takes a flew flaps to prepare them. "I'll help bring Kado up out of this crater, but I'm not going back to the tower for a bit."

Akami: Where are you going?

"Just visiting a family, that's all."

"I need no help bringing him." Nobuyuki begins walking up the side of the crater, walking with ease even when the walls become completely vertical.

Drake just shakes his head again before looking at Kanashimi. "I don't know how long I'll be so..." He gives Kanashimi a hug. "I'll miss you."

"Oh, so you're just gonna leave me with Dragon Girl and Unconscious Blondie? No way that's boring...."

"Look, I'd love to bring you along... But as cheesy as this sounds, I need to do this alone, it's kinda... Personal."

Her head sinks, but she says nothing.

Drake looks at Kanashimi with slight sadness. "I'm sorry, I promise I'll make all of this up to you..." Drake then flies up out of the crater, he takes a look around before realising. "...Wait... I woke up in the tower... I don't know how far away they are..."

He hears a flutter of movement, with Sukina standing nearby. "A bit turned around?"

"Just a moment," a rather relaxed voice calls, though it seems to echo from all around as opposed to having a definitive source. "I'd like a word or two or several hundred with you, as proper explanatory dialogue often suggests, before you handle your business."

Drake looks around in confusion before looking at Sukina. "...I'm not the only one who heard that, right..."

"A visitor." Sukina says impartially.

"I'm starting to wish I wasn't so popular..."

"Comes with matters concerning gods."

"I see... Well then, what do you want?" Drake calls out in an impatient tone.

"I highly doubt you are popular on a large scale, maybe infamous at most. Speculation aside, it is painful to see such a finely crafted tool used in the most base and simple of ways, especially by its chosen heir. Obviously that is not your fault, but one would think that the descendant of one of the four, even if from a branch family, would have an inkling of understanding about the proper use of it. I blame the dilution of knowledge over several generations." The voice gives off the impression of shrugging as a figure seems to form from the cosmos, yet directly in front of Drake and Sukina. "Also, not a god... Well actually that isn't entirely true, but in this case nope."

Drake glances at the figure for a moment, his eyes narrowing at it, he goes quiet for a moment before taking out the shield. "I assume you mean the shield... Then I guess we do have a couple hundred words to exchange, first of all; one of the four? ...You're one of them then? Also, chosen to me? ...It was more or less thrown at me." Drake says dryly, his stance returning back to normal as his eyes widen slightly.

"Yep, your great ancestor, was probably a dragon-tortoise, rather the Dragon-Tortoise," explains the figure, coming into view. He has shoulder length pink hair with golden streaks and eyes the color of molten metal. He stands a good foot taller than drake and has copper tinted skin akin to metal in some places, while in others it appears to be a tan. His digits are slim, as is his figure, but he appears to be on the lean side of the spectrum as opposed to the scrawny side. He wears a heavy overcoat that reflects galaxies and stars over simple white pants and what could have been combat boots, if not for the odd rings on the bottom of the soles that glow with an eerie blue light. "As for your other question, nope, only created the shield from a piece of said tortoise given by it willingly. As for how you got it, the old wielder probably relinquished his contract with it, allowing it to go to its chosen wielder." The figure shrugs nonchalantly.

Sukina merely looks at Drake. "It would appear that there is a reason for you being slow after all. You're part tortoise."

"Nah, the big guy was fast enough to disperse all forms of particles around him and render the concept mortals refer to as time redundant by moving faster than its laws could regulate... Similar to what you're doing, but you aren't the size of a small planet and lack its gravitational pull."

Drake looks at Sukina. "Coming from someone who's as blank as their old title would suggest, White." He says with an annoyed tone before looking at the figure once more. "First of all, I don't appreciate you telling - lying to me about my ancestors. Second of all, I have no need for this thing, I don't see why I have it. And third of all..." Drake's tone gets a little more agressive, his glare returning as his body seemingly tenses up. "Who or what the hell gives you the sense to come and tell me all this crap in the first place." Drake tosses the shield to the figure's feet. "If you came here to take it, then have it."

The shield floats back to Drake before it can even halfway reach the figure. "Not telling an untruth, nor am I twisting it. I can see his lineage in you, if diluted to almost unrecognizable levels. Secondly, it wasn't my idea to bring you the shield, it was its own will. Besides, if you can't even see past the facade that is a 'shield', you really haven't seen even a fraction of its power- Ahem, his power. The shield's just a bit testy about being referred to as an it. And lastly, it isn't my place to take the little guy, only show you how to use it so that you do get the most out of using him." The figure is unaffected by the glare, only wagging a finger at Drake. "Besides, if I wanted to take him, you'd be crumpled on the ground, with shredded lungs, internal organs and a pierced heart." The figure shrugs again.

Drake growls at the figure. "If you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly a fan of shields." Drake notions towards his signature blades sheathed on each side of his hips. "So I couldn't care that this shell has to offer, besides, even if I wanted your assisatance with learning how to use a shield, you've chosen the wrong time to do so." Drake glances once more at Sukina before he begins walking South.

Sukina looks at the figure with an impartial gaze. "It is misplaced judgement to work on the side of veils and obscurity with this one. He has no tolerance for things that lack clarity. You will get nowhere. One would say he speaks with actions, and less with words."

She then looks at Drake. "That's North East."

"Maybe the Slayer, or former,  was right, you are slow." The figure rubs his temples and mutters something under his breath, causing the shield to shift into a scarlet, more condensed shield with a strong hexagonal pattern across the shell. Drake immediately loses the feeling of being protected by the shield, and instead feels the blood lust of something ancient and powerful beyond his comprehension seeping from it, though not directed at him. He gets the impression that the shield could be used on par with Kurai as a weapon, though how so isn't clear. "I'm not obsfucating anything or being vague."

Drake in frustation fires a blade that just misses the figure. "Read my lips. I. Do. Not. Want. That. Shield." Drake then gets engulfed in flames and disappears.

"Then he realizes that the shield is clinging to him on its own volition... At least I hope he can do that..." The figure sighs. "Might as well forge a few Living Weapons in the mean time, probably until he realizes he has about fifty thousand blades attached to his off hand, terribly guising themselves as a shield."

"He won't get far... teleporation is utter garbage in this world. It probably just dumped him inside the middle of a glacier." Sukina disappears in a flicker of movement.

"And I was going to offer to make her a 'less powerful' weapon to suit her style... Ah well." The figure only shrugs once more before his eyes take on the same appearance as his coat. "Thema: Worlds. Cosmos Forge Awaken."  A fair chunk of space around the figure turns black, separating it from the outside world as an iridescent flame flares to life in front of him. Soon an anvil, perfectly unmarred by work, rises from the black space, followed by a cauldron filled with crystal clear liquid akin to water and large  stony structures lined with molds and powders. A large array of minerals and ores appear and float above his head, as do essences and groups of particles akin to embers of ever color imaginable. Last to appear is a furnace to contain the sun hot blaze.

Content, the figure draws a worn looking hammer from his coat as various tools appear on it, He dons a visor to protect his fac from the heat- really a formality and sign of his own seriousness and dediction to his craft as he was long immune to even the hottest of fire. A pale ore and ablack essence float into his reach, followed my silver and rose gold particles.

"Forging Commencing."


Kado remains asleep for the next couple of days, with Kanashimi stalking the grounds, grumpy.

Akami: *is training in Tae Bo*

Sukina sits nearby. "He should be waking soon."

Akami: Good. No doubt he'll be fine once he awakes.

"He'll still need a few helping hands. No one is perfect. You're a good friend for him."

Akami: We're in this fight for the same thing. It's in my best interest that I help him in anyway I can if it'll help him out any.

Sukina looks back at the tower. "He's awakened." She flickers and is gone.

Akami: Ok, don't take me with you. That's good too. I'll just...Walk there then?

She finds Kado's room well enough, just as he is starting to rouse fully.

Akami: Glad to see that you're back, Avo.

"Funny, Ryu." He returns with a faint jesting grin.

Akami: *grins and ruffles his hair*

"So what all happened?"

Akami: Trained Ace for months. Fought Neo. Then fought alot of evil spirits. You know the gist of it.

"Not really. I've been.. 'asleep' that whole time."

Akami: I know, I was kidding.

A distinct grumble comes from Kado, who winces. "Ermmm.... any chance I could... ....get something to eat....?"

Akami: I can make sweet and sour ramne if you'd like.

"...I'd like that, thanks."

Akami: No problem. Sit tight I'll be right back.

8 minutes later

Akami: *comes back with a bowl of steamning ramen noodles* Back. *hands Kado a bowl and some chop-sticks* Eat up. Nothing wasted, thought I probably don't have to tell you that.

He quietly begins to eat.

Akami: I don't know how much longer we're going to be staying in the tower.

Sukina looks at Akami. "He has another round of training left. The rest is up to him."

Akami: *nods* Well you know I'll be here whenever you're ready.

Kado soon finishes and puts the bowl down on a small table next to him, looking down at his hands for a moment.

Akami: You ok, man?

"...Yeah. Just thinking."

Akami: *holds both of his hands* Look at me.

He looks up quietly.

Akami: You are going to to get through this. You have me right here to help you out. If you want to beat Phoenix then you have to pull through for everyone who's going to be behind you. You can't let them down and you certainly can't let them die for nothing. This is the turning point for our history. You have the trust of the world in your hands. These hands. These mending hands. This is the chance you wanted. The chance you needed. But this is more than just you know. Don't let yourself be broken again. You need to come back as strong as a rock and twice as steady. You aren't in this alone, because you have my trust. You have everyones trust. And I know that when you fall down, we'll pick you back up, and we'll fight together. With you.

A faint twinkle can be seen in his black eyes, and he smiles softly, giving her an unexpected hug.

Akami: *embraces him back* I know you can do this...

Kado starts to rise. "I assume there is still training to do?"

Akami: It's not like we ever stopped.

"What do I need to do?" Kado asks Sukina. She looks off to the door.

"Nobuyuki will take charge of your training."

Akami: Well that sucks. Really wanted to punch your face in some more for worrying me.

"You can assist if Nobuyuki is willing."

Akami: Then I still have my chance then. Blessed me.

Sukina claps her hands. "Then let us be on our way." She starts out the door.

Akami: Let's go, Kado. *puts her hand on his shoulder and they walk out together*

Out in the courtyard stands Nobuyuki.

Akami: Do you need any help?

"...In a sense."

Akami: Then what is it?

"You can help with everything but one thing."

Akami: Ok. You still haven't told me that was.

"And it's not your buisness, it's between Kado and I."

Akami: Ok then. You heard him, he has some stuff to tell you. *walks several feet away*

"Not now. Later. It's... advanced... ...thing. Get back here."

Akami: *walks back over* What is there I can help you with?

He begins whispering in her ear. "You test his defenses, I test his offense. He's going to learn spiritual manipulations."

Akami: Alright. I can manage that.

"Now Kado, focus on your emotional connection with positive thoughts, and slowly tune out negative." Kado nods slowly.

Akami: *gives Kado a nod*

Kado's hair slowly turns snow white as a blue aura begins to form about him, at first meekly.

Akami: *dashes him and throws a perfect straight punch*

Kado dodges back as the aura grows stronger.

Akami: *stays on him as she follows up with an upper-cut*

He blocks her with a simple block with his arms, the aura seems to dull her blow.

Akami: *follows up with a round-house to his side, knocking him several feet away from each other*

The aura grows stronger and dulls her blow, Kado rushes her and begins exchanging blows.

Akami: *is blocking and counter most of Kado's blows, while throwing a few pucnhes and kicks in between*

Kado abruptly makes a pulse of blue energy that is shield shaped which pushes her back.

Akami: *blocks with her arms but still get's pushed back*

Nobuyuki joins in, attacking with blades, while Kado falls back into a defensive stance.

Akami: *rushes at him and slides towards him on her side*

He evades, kicking at her side as he does.

Akami: *catches his legs with hers and trips him*

He grabs her arm on the way down and brings her down with him into the snow.

Akami: *takes a handful of snow and shoves it in Kado's face*

He creates another shield which bounces the snow into her face.

Akami: Well you're no fun. *throw him up in the air with her legs, she then charges green energy into her guantlets* Shoryuken! *uppercuts him in the stomach so hard, he is launched up into the air until they can only see a dot*

Nobuyuki looks at her. "A bit too strong, dragon girl."

Akami: My apologies. I had that pent up for awhile.

Akami feels a tapping from behind her.

Akami: *breaks Kado's finger, karate kicks him in the groin, flips him over her head and has him ni a head-lock* Welcome back.

Akami only grabs air.

Akami: Hm.

She feels a tap again.

Akami: I'm waiting.

She feels a third tap on her head, and Akami realizes Kado is sitting on her head. "Sup."

Akami: *high kicks Kado in the groin making him fall over* Still waiting.

He dodges with a jump. "Good to be back." He says, landing in front of her, out of range.

Akami: Not just yet. Not until you show me what you've got.

He smirks. "Haven't changed at all."

Akami: I thought you liked me just the way I was.

"Didn't say I changed my mind." He lunges forward with a blue flickering aura.

Akami: *rushes towards Kado with her her gauntlets charged*

Kado jumps back as his aura gets stronger.

Akami: *connects her fist together and an energy barrier takes shape in front of her fists*

He too makes a barrier in front of himself.

"Akami, check yourself. This is training, not a slug fest. He needs to grasp a strong control over his energy."

Akami: Ok then. *the points her fist down caqusing an eruption of rubble. Once the dust clears she is seen standing* I'll give him a moment

Kado has managed to block most of it, though his eye twitches, irritated. After a moment, his aura flickers red.

Akami: *breathes steadily as she watches*

Kado launches a crimson blade at her from the aura.

Akami: *bends backwards as it passes the midddle of her face*

With surprising speed Kado kicks her hard in the stomach and sends her flying.

Akami: *manages to block his kicks but is still knocked back*

Covering the distance quickly, Kado presses the attack, his body flickering with lightning like red energy, contact with this energy burns like touching lava.

Akami: *only manages to dodge his attacks*

Kado kicks her legs out from underneath her.

Akami: *lands on her hands and hoists herself back on her feet*

Kado hurls a spear of red energy at her.

Akami: *one of her gauntlets charges with green energy. She then raises her arm as the spear hits her charged gauntlet and dissipates*

Kado closes the gap again and punches her in the face.

Akami: *manages to punch him square in the face*

He catches her fist in his palm.

Akami: *twists her arm to where his elbow is face up and holds his arm up while she punches him in his back*

Kado stops her with a punch to the jaw, which floors her.

Akami: *headbutts his fist and flips Kado to his feet and gains her distance from him*

Kado is unaffected by the action, rather Akami finds a fierce gooseegg on her head afterwards, and he evades her attempt to break his ground. He stares after her with a neutral expression.

"You know it's a dangerous game to flaunt your strength so carelessly," He remarks.

Akami: And it's also dangerous to assume too much of an opponent you haven't fought.

"That is the basic summary of my own warning to you." He says neutrally.

Akami: Well I can see it now.

He casually launches a flaming spear of red energy at her.

Akami: *blocks with her gauntlets*

Kado kicks her in her stomach, closing the distance with speed.

Akami: *holds on to his leg and brings them both downto the ground. She then wraps her leg around his leg and cracks his knee*

Kado breaks her arms and kicks her away, his leg regenerates.

Akami: *regains her footing. The manages to tswing one of her arms under her neck and snaps it back into place. She takes her other arm and snaps it back into place too. She stretches her arm out.*

Nobuyuki shakes his head. "No no. Press him to be defensive, don't try to beat him to death." He chides.

Akami: I know that. Give me a moment.

"Then why did you do that?" He says impassively.

Akami: You take a guess.

A large rock collides with her forehead. "I don't take back talk, only straight answers." He says with an equal amount of indifference as before.

Akami: *rubs her head* Well the defensive approach isn't working. He's being offensive aswell. I won't be able to put him on the defensive if he's using offense.

Nobuyuki punches Kado straight in the nose. "Only parry attacks, focus on defense."

Kado silently curses him as he resumes his stance.

"You may begin. Don't make me deal with you two."

Akami: *rushes him and starts off throwing a few punches*

Kado begins blocking again, using the blue energy from before to shield himself.

Akami: *slight begins to pick up the pace of her punches*

Kado relies more on the blue energy to ward her off, the efficiency of which begins to increase.

Akami: *begins to kick*

He continues to block her with more ease.

Akami: *slowly begins to pick up her pace*

Kado finally pushes her back with a push of his shield.

Akami: *blocks with her arms and manages to stop herself from being pushed back any further*

"Now focus only on absorbing damage instead of deflecting attacks, it will help conserve energy and reduce damage from one on ones. You may hit harder Akami."

Akami: *punches Kado's shield, which knocks him back some feet*

Kado recovers easily.

Akami: *runs towards Kado and throws a punch at him*

They continue training for the next couple of days with little breaks, until finally Akami can't seem to really even hit Kado anymore.

Akami: *is still engaging Kado* Still waiting Nobuyuki...Been waiting for the past several days...

"Enough, I am content." Nobuyuki speaks.

Akami: But you didn't- *sigh* Nevermind.

"Now I will be doing some training with him. In private. So stay at the tower." He says simply.

Akami: *sighs* Dang it...Do good, Kado. *pats him on the shoulder and makes her way back to the tower*

Nobuyuki has him come with him to the crater, where for the next few hours, Akami can hear faint explosions and rumbles from it.

Akami: *is practicing her martial arts in her sleeping clothes* I seriously can not believe they'd side-line me like this...

"It's better if you don't know what they're doing." Sukina speaks up nearby.

Akami: Why is that? Are they hitting it off or something?

"Please don't talk about my great great grandchild like that. You're an inappropriate child, you know that?" Sukina says with a light tone of irritation.

"It's training Kado can take that will give him power which will allow him to defeat his enemy, but likely will destroy what's left of him with only a few uses." She adds after a moment.

Akami: Then why teach him this if that's the case?

"Because otherwise he won't know what it's like to be himself. The power I speak of is the ability to remember himself, the power of will, and the power of balance. In his current state, he will fail. He must be himself. He cannot hide in the past."

Akami: In my mind I thought he already had that power.

"No, as far as he's come, he still has his weaknesses he doesn't want to accept. There are things in a fighter's heart that are hidden to all but himself. There was once a time that I had the power to aknowledge myself, but that time has past." Sukina looks away.

"Sometimes there are those who abandon their hearts for power. Power to save others, power to rule absolutely over others, it matters not. See that he doesn't fall off the path he walks, else he'll lose the last bit of himself he has. Like I have." She walks away.

Akami: *watches Sukina leave and looks back out the window*

She hears a knock on her door.

Akami: Hm? Come in! *continues her excersices*

Kanashimi comes in. "Mind showing me how you do that?"

Akami: To do what? Excercises?

"Your martial arts or whatever."

Akami: You don't know any yourself?

Kanashimi punches Akami in the nose. "That's pretty much it."

Akami: *wiggles her nose* Well, that isn't half bad of a start. Tell you what, I can you a few moves tomorrow if I'm not training anyone.

"Ok." She fiddles with her red hair.

Akami: What made you come ask?

"Because I want to kick ass."

Akami: Just about everyone wants to these days. I'll see what I can do.

"Yesssssss!" Kanashimi crows in delight.

Akami: Anything else you need?

"The guy with the mask, he's given me looks like I'm the devil or something. Any clue what's eating his bull nuts?"

Akami: Probably Rev. *smiles to herself*

"Have no idea what you're on about."

Akami: You weren't supposed to. Maybe there's something familiar about you that sparks his fuse. You shouldn't worry about it unless he confronts you. I can talk to him if you want.


Akami: Is that ok with you?


Akami: Alright then. *continues her excersices*

Kanashimi stalks off.

Meanwhile, after countless hours, Nobuyuki and Kado stop, blue and red lightning erupting throughout the crater.

"Remember what you have been taught. Your final test is nigh."

Suddenly the window of Akami's room blackens for a moment as something huge flies by it.

Akami: *is startled and backs away* Oh what the-?!

She sees what look like white scales flying by in the window.

Akami: Dragon. Definitely dragon. *grabs her gauntlets and runs out of her room*

A breeze blows over the crater. "Hmm, on time." Nobuyuki remarks.

Akami: *is outside and begins to look around* Now where did you go?

A huge Asian dragon with white hair and scales soars overhead, headed off into the icy plains.

Akami: Ohhh...Not over there...*sighs* *begins to follow it in that direction*

The dragon flies overhead of Nobuyuki and Kado.

"Ah, she's here. Time for that last test I mentioned." Nobuyuki vanishes as the dragon descends and comes to a stop just above Kado.

Akami: *jumps and rams her shoulder into the dragon's lower jaw, redirecting it into the ground*


Akami sails right through, and when she looks back, the dragon has become a woman wearing a oni mask.

She seems more interested in Kado, who stares at her. She appears to have white hair and golden eyes, but he can't see her face due to the mask. She wears a white kimono and has a pale white sword at her side.

Akami: *skids across the ground, then works herself to her feet, then get's into a defensive position* Do you know who she is, Kado?

"No. Nobuyuki said she's here to test me. This is my fight." He replies, not taking his eyes off her.

Akami: *breathes* Then I won't get in your way. *straightens up* Do what you need to do. I'll be here.

The two quickly clash swords, though Kado doesn't seem able to get an advantage. She soon deflects Kado with a burst of spiritual power.

Akami: You've got this, man. You've worked too hard to lose now.

Kado and the woman clash, but she is evidently more proficient than him, and easily fights him off.

Akami: Break free from the chains that bind you. Be renewed.

The two of them both begin to use positive energy, but she once again holds steady.

"What is the strength that guides your heart? What is true strength?" The woman finally speaks.

Akami: Your strength lies not within your powers.

Kado begins fighting back with his spiritual powers, though while his advantage grows, it doesn't even the odds completely.

"There is only one way to look, any other direction at all leads to regression, mistakes, and failure. What is it?"

Akami: Your power lies within your faith. It may sound ridiculous, but I was taught that believing in the flesh does not bring you blessings. Don't rely on yourself and don't look back. Look ahead of you and keep going.

Kado begins fighting the woman with more assertive force and is starting to beat her back. From under her mask a pair of dragon horns sprout and her tail is seen again.

Akami: Don't discourage yourself. Don't let the problem deter you.

All of a sudden the two clash blades and create a powerful burst of energy that blows Akami back.

Akami: *skids across the ground on her feet until she stops*

The two continue to clash with similarly powerful blows for a while.

Akami: *sits on the ground watching them* Side-lined again

Nobuyuki is sitting next to her.

"You're more helpful than you know. Be proud, you've had a good impact on this boy."

Akami: Thanks. Making a break-through to someone isn't the easiest thing to do, but I was glad that I made a difference for him.

"Even the smallest butterfly changes the future for decades to come by the simplest flutter of a wing."

Kado and the woman continue to clash.

"Causality is a fickle thing."

Akami: I guess you can't rush a butterfly to fly.

"No, you can't."

Kado finally manages to land a hit, but the action continues unabated.

Akami: Once he finishes here, will we be able to go home?

"Indeed, but he may have unfinished business here."

Akami: *sigh* How much of it is unfinished?

"That is up to him."

Another mighty set of blows echo.

Akami: Hmm...

Finally the two's clashes are so powerful their swords fly out of their hands. The two seem to stare at each other for a moment.

Akami: *stands to her feet and watches*

Finally they exchange fists multiple times, until finally Kado strikes her mask, sending her to the ground on her back, her mask shattered like glass.

Akami: Damn, Kado....

The woman rises, the mask falling off her face, and Kado freezes, petrified. "You're....."

Akami: Kado! *runs overto him* oh my God? How did this happen?!

"...She's my... .......mother..."

Akami: *looks over at the woman* Your mother? I thought she would've been dead. No offence.

The woman slowly begins to rise, her face soft and beautiful, though Akami can see years of grief and bitterness has worn her as well.

Akami: Do you need me to do anything, Kado? If you still have things "under control" I can just hang back.

The woman silently embraces Kado, who is still shellshocked. After a moment, she places a hand on his forehead, and begins to silently speak to him words Akami can't hear.

Akami: *rest her head in her hands*

After a moment, she feels a hand on her head.

Akami: Hm? *turns her head*

The woman stands over her, with a smile on her face. "Thank you for taking care of my boy."

Akami: Oh. Well, no problem.

"Be brave, you will face things you can scarcely imagine."

Akami: Bravery is all I have. I can't afford to lose that now.


Kado looks at his mother, finally coming to his senses. "...Mother. ....You should visit father. ...Haven't you been alone long enough?"

She seems to freeze, her eyes sink with regret.

Akami: You should. Mr.Kyoshi is sitting in a rundown, but sturdy enough house by himself.

She closes her eyes sadly.

Akami: He regrets everything just as much as you do. No need for both of you to suffer this way.

A soft wind begins to blow, as she begins to fade among the snowflakes.

I love you, Her voice echoes across the wind.

Akami: Where did she go?

Kado closes his eyes. "Doesn't matter. It's time to take you home." He waves his hand, and a large portal of darkness appears, an image of The Party can be seen.

Akami: Finally- Wait. Wait Wait Wait Wait. You are staying behind aren't you? 

"That's right. I have something I have to do. I might be a while, besides, our family needs you there."

Akami: You should already know that Dad won't let me come back without you. We left together, we return together.

He gives her a faint smile. "Ryu, don't make me man handle you. Besides..." His smile fades for a moment as he looks at the portal. "...They really do need you. You're the leader, aren't you? ...Something isn't right. I'd go, but I can't return empty handed to the President. I'll be a joke. This is the best I can do to support the dream of the Party. I hope things won't take too long, but I can't make promises."

Akami: And you don't think the same won't hapen to me? Obi will probably beat me down when I get back and I'm the last person you want to see get torn up by Dad.

Kado's eyes narrow slightly. "...Fine." Kado suddenly swings at her, and a katana flies out from his robe in a sheath. "You're going to learn how to use a blade though. Also, if you get lost, you better know how to survive on your own until I come find you. This place is not exactly easy to keep track of directions in."

He swishes his hand, somewhat angrily, and the portal disappates, not before a small bolt of darkness flies through it.

He looks off toward the south. "First off, we need to get out of this icey hell."

Akami: Oh thank God!

"Keep up, Akami." Kado suddenly begins to sprint off at a rather swift pace.

Akami: *sprints behind him , catching up with him in a few seconds*

Kado smirks. "Wanna see a cool trick?" He says as he runs.

Akami: Like what?

Kado flickers, and is several miles ahead, just barely visible on the horizon, waving.

"What's the matter slow poke? Only several thousand miles to go!"

Akami: You know...Somepart of me knew I wasn't going to like the trick. *she continues to run* 

After a few minutes go by, her vision blackens for a moment, before she appears next to Kado. "Sorry, I had to try and see if I could do it. Won't do it again."

Akami: *punches Kado square in his face* You need to be asking for that type of stuff! I didn't know what was happening! Damn! *rubs her eyes* I almost panicked. Thought I was going blind.

"Owwwww! You were miles away, it would have taken forever anyways if I let you just run."

Akami: Awww, how sweet, but you still frickin' ask!

"Ok miss 'I don't want free teleports'." He gets up, and starts dusting the snow off himself. "Come on, we have a lot of ground to cover..."

Akami: *walks beside Kado*

After a while, he stops. "Keep back, this is important."

Akami: *sighs* Alright...

A magic circle soon forms around him.

Akami: What's this for?

"Ancient Phoenix ritual. Don't distract me."

Akami: Oh. My apologies. *sits down and watches*

Kado takes Dark Slayer out of its sheath, and impales it into the ground, and the emblem of Phoenix appears in the magic circle.

Akami: *looks impressed* Duuuuude...That is pretty cool...

Kado begins chanting. "To seek answers in the darkness, to expose the truth in light, finding foundation in the earth, diving into the calm waters, to strike lightning upon the world and give it life, to subdue violence with numbing frost, bring about a changing wind, and burn the world with eternal fire, and rekindle hope. Together we thrive, together we burn. To be consumed by the flame, burned to a cinder, and revel in the Second Birth.

Now I call upon thee, sacred spirits, hear the call of the first and the last, the one whom houses the fire, one who consumes the ashes, one who reaps all that stands before him, and to live, a forgotten sacrifice. Hear my call, and begin anew, just as the Phoenix burns to ash, so too does it come again, blazing in new glory. Guide my blade to the followers of Nhil."

A multicolored light erupts from Kado's form and tears into the sky, a massive pillar of light that stretches out in five directions, and soon disappear. The magic circle remains for a moment, before subsiding as well, and Kado remains quiet for a moment.

Akami: *looks around confused* Is he...done?

Kado quietly pulls his blade out of the ice and begins to continue on. "We're off, Akami."

Akami: Oh? O-okay... *gets up and follows Kado*

After a while bit longer, Kado stops and turns toward Akami. "Do you want to do this the quick way, or the long way?"

Akami; Depends, how long have we've been walking?

"Several hours. It'll take us an eternity to go on foot. That said, I can speed up how far along we get but..." He looks away for a moment. "I'll need more energy than usual to transport us. Basically, I'm asking if I can borrow your energy."

Akami: Alright. If that's what you need, then take it.

Kado puts a hand to her forehead. "I'll see you tomorrow then." She quickly grows faint.

Obi and young Akami are walking through a snow-covered town reduced to ruin

Young Akami: Dad, how much longer?

Obi: We don't have a clear destination.

Young Akami: Yes we do. It's always going to be some scary house that we're not even going to stay in until morning...

Obi: That is wat you call a pit stop.

Young Akami; But I wanna stay in a house that's ours and not someoe elses scary house.

Obi: We can't really do that right now, Akami.

Young Akami: Why not, Dad?

Obi: War, Akami. I don't wanna live in a house in a world where we could both possibly blown to smitherines.

Young Akami: *moans* Did you used to travel this much when you were younger, Dad?

Obi: Heck yea, I did! Me and my brother. Usd to travel stat-to-state when we were kids. It was tough then since we were a couple of kids with no parents, and ain't no one was about to take care of any mulatto child at the time.

Young Akami: Mulatto?

Obi: When you're older.

Young Akami; *sigh* Ok...

Obi: *enters a leaning broken down house* We'll sleep here tonight.

Young Akami: *looks inside it and sees torn up furnishings and antiques all on the snowy ground* *groans*

Obi: Some of this could help us start a fire. *begins to pile together fabric, stuffing, and wood from the furnishings* Ok Akami. *takes out cantine* Gulp it down.

Young Akami; Awww, but gulping it hurts my throat.

Obi: It's oing tog get cold tonight, so we need to keep warm. It's only a sore throat. Come on.

Young Akami: *sighs* Alright... *takes the canister and takes a big sip of water from it and gulps it all in one go* Ow!

Obi: Ok waaait...

Young Akami: *hiccups and a ball of fire sets the pile ablaze*

2 minutes later

Obi and young Akami are warming their hands by the fire. Obi notices that Akami is looking rather down.

Obi: What's wrong, Red?

Young Akami: I still don't like it, Dad...All this...Surviving. Eating rats, lizards, dirt. Constantly walking for weeks with barely any rest. Hidig from bad people. Walking through and sleeping in destroyed houses that belonged to people like you and me...Seeing those people...Not moving...The skies...

Young Akami looks up through  large hole in the roof above her head. She sees the snow falling and a cloudy sky

Young Akami: So bleak...That it's like the Sun just went away...And all those popping noises...Those yellings....The red... *her eyes narrow*

Obi: *has a sorrowful look in his eyes. He gets up and sits next to Akami, then pulls him close to him* I won't tell you 'That as long as we have each other, we don't need a home' shit, ok? We will find a place to live and....If you want...We can change the way things are.

Young Akami: *looks up at Obi* Really, dad? Do you really think we can do that?

Obi: Think? *smirks* I know we can. Shoot, I know we will. All it takes is 1% out of 99% to change the world. That 1% can change everything. You and me are that 1%. And that 99% can change that. Nothing can change that.

Young Akami: *smiles warmly and hugs onto Obi*

Obi: *ruffles her hair some as they both continues to look at the fire*


When Akami wakes up, there isn't any cold in the air, in fact, it feels much more temperate. Kado sits next to her with a small campfire burning, they are on a high cliff overlooking a vast valley of green and trees, with dotted lakes and ponds and rivers scattered throughout.

"Take it slowly, just in case you haven't recuperated."

Over the valley wall, faint colors can be seen in the sky, as the sun appears to beginning its rise from the horizon.

Returning To The Tower

Not far off from the tower, an arcane circle forms on the ground and melts the snow around it, two figure flicker into existence until it's made clear who they are. Drake instantly notices the tower not far off from where they arrived at, he stretches out his wings and sighs. "Right... Forgot that teleporting on Echo is a pain..."

"B-B-BRrrrrrr...." Kanashimi shivers.

"And somehow despite having control over fire you can get cold... Alright." He coats Kanashimi in an aura of fire to keep her warm, Drake begins to walk. 

"That makes as much sense as saying penguins don't get cold..." She mutters.

"Fair enough, then again in my defense, other than very rare occasions I always have some sort of exaggerated heat coursing through my body in one way or another... So before you were so rudely dragged along with me, what exactly were you doing here?"

"Maybe I'm still developing," She grunts in return. "Being bored, frustrated at being left behind."

"...Tell you what, how about after we're done here, you can tag along with anything I do, alright?" He suggests the chuckles. "Maybe you still are... Sixteen years of age and you still have a lot to go... Although, you may outlive me... I don't know if I would be proud or embarrassed if you surpassed me."

"I guess the only thing to do then is surpass you while you're still kicking."

She sees a small smirk on his face. "That sounds like a challenge."

"And what if it is?"

"Then you better have a way to beat a god, but until then, may the best Ryunexo win."

"I seem to recall doing a hell of a lot better at it than you."

"Yeah yeah." He glances up at the tower. "...Still a ways to go."

She races off. "Ok thanks bye!" She yells, running at top speed toward the tower.

"Oh alright then." He stretches out his wings and flies after her, he easily overtakes her but then uses his momentum to sprint ahead.

Kanashimi creates a flaming lasso and catches his leg and trips him up, she laughs as she runs past.

Drake gets back up and wipes the snow from him, he clicks his fingers as a pillar of snow hardens and launches from the ground, sending Drake speeding past her. "Nice try, gotta think faster!"

A icy hand grabs him and yanks him back down and buries him in the ice.

"Can't hear you!"

He quickly combusts into flames, melting the ice with ease. "I said..." He flaps his wings once and flies towards Kanashimi and uses her as a springboard, getting high into the air. "Think faster!" He gives out a laugh before landing on his feet, the small shockwave knocking snow into Kanashimi's face.

The ground freezes him in place, and at the entrance they can see Nobuyuki with crossed arms.

Drake once more thaws the ice then begins to walk his way there.  "I guess you win."

Nobuyuki is giving Drake a critical eye. "So you've returned."

"Yeah, I'm sure Kanashimi still has training... Plus I'm looking for The Ancient for a little training of my own."

"Real world experience is just as important for her. I have managed to awaken part of her spiritual side, but there is more within her genes locked away. It is more likely that she will awaken them if she finds other instructors. ...As for him... what is it that you want to learn?"

As if on cue, Drake violently distorts as the runes on him glow a pure red, he then gives Nobuyuki an obvious look. "...Take a guess."

"Further instruction on soul manipulation is it?"

"There's a lot more I need to learn than just manipulating souls. But regardles, have you seen him then?"

"He'd prefer a more private location to conduct buisness."

"Glad to see you still like to make my life as tedious as possible, Nobuyuki..."

"Blame him. He doesn't like being observed. You'll have to meet him away from the Tower."

"Fine, any suggestions?"

"Somewhere warmer, I would imagine."

He hears Drake just sigh as he looks at Kanashimi. "So, you staying here then?"

"Hell no."

"Then it's settled, we're hunting down The Ancient." He looks back at Nobuyuki. "Assuming somewhere in Echo then, or on Earth or Fantasy..."

"He's staying out of sight from the main course of events."

"So... Somewhere in Echo then."

"That is correct."

"Right, going back down South it is." Drake begins to walk away from the tower. "Lets go, Kana... And thanks, Nobuyuki."

"You're welcome."

Kanashimi gladly follows.

As they walk off, Drake looks at Kanashimi. "So, since we're going down, do you wanna pay the Moonlight family a visit? Sooner or later I need to rest..." His stomach rumbles. "...And eat."

"...Yeah, I guess I would."

"Ok, we flying there or would you rather teleport?"

"The last thing I want to do is get wound up in the heart of a volcano because this realm is plain ol' crazy!"

"Flying it is." Within an instant he springs up into the air, he hovers around then flies off but keeping to the same speed as his daughter.

She follows him at a comfortable pace.