Imaginary Vision - The Pale Cloud Above and a Last Stand
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[Their mind was set, they were to go back to the base and finally figure something to do in the incoming disasters. Some had gotten there first; such was the case of Rowan and the people he had saved back in Yongen-Jaya, but later on, Tatsuya and Raidou would get back with a group of injured people, including Yuka's father. Rowan had gotten there are around 05:30pm, meanwhile the other two had gotten there an hour later, at 06:30pm. It was now about 06:45, and the civilians were finally getting some quick treatment thanks to Yuka's father quick actions. It was interesting to note however, that only these three had made it back, with everyone else completely missing; not even some info had gotten back from them.]
So that's the situation on the others, we had calculated more or less when they were supposed to get back but...nothing, so we may have to fear the worst for now, as we must keep moving.
[Would say the Resistance Man. All three of them were back at the main conference room they were using to give their debriefing. While patients were getting treated, and Boss and his friends were finally resting and eating rations, a single mature woman would be crying awfully, with such desperation that it just became one with all the other people in grief.]
Still, there is one pressing issue and that's the fact that demons are gathering nearby. We've had some people scout the area and we've learned that a creature wearing a large, black robe and holding a giant scythe is getting them to do this... and interestingly, he's riding a horse, a quite pale one.
If I didn't know any better, I would refer to him as some kind of "Horsemen of the Apocalypse", and...at this point it may be just that.
[He would point to the North on the map.]
They are definitely going to attack, some weaker demons have come before and their numbers are increasing, so I can tell you now we will not survive a full-scale attack. So, our options are these.
[He would then point to the West, a specific way that may take them a place faraway.]
We will get civilians on trucks and only get within them a handful of soldiers to make guard. Meanwhile some of us will stay and get enough time for people to get ready, get out and get as far away as they possibly can before we get overrun.
Still I believe we can win., no matter what. Our leader Yuka is with us and went off to deal with Thorman just 40 or so minutes ago with that kid Kazuya. I can believe we can do this because they defeated Gouto's forces.
[After this, he would take a sip from his beer.]
The operation will begin in 15, perhaps 30. We are already preparing and...
The question now is… what will you do?
You are certainly strong, but I cannot ask you to stay here and possibly lose your lives.
That "Pale Rider" is certainly the main guy in that small army, but the most dangerous part of all this is the incredible number of demons around.
Whatever happens, whatever you decide to do, even if it is going inside the trucks.
[Tot and Penny had finally made it back to the Imperial Palace, which meant that they were something around an hour before they get back to the base. They had met not a single demon on their journey, and in fact the streets were getting cleaner, as if the demons, not finding any other humans, had turned to eating each other or even eating the rubble and garbage. The path ahead is still long, and it is possible they feel a tad more rested.]
It had been a long journey, and thankfully an eventless one ever since they left Destinyland. The sun was setting over the horizon, and Tot had little she could do about it. By this point they wee going to be late to the base. And if that army was legit they may not even be back in time to help out. For now she'd set Penny down by the Palace wall, taking a moment to stretch
"Man what a drag. You rested kid?"
Tot would ask her young companion, Penny, before she takes a quick look around the palace garden. There didn't seem to be demons anywhere nearby, and the palace was huge, so its totally possible that some things were missed. So, Tot would start sneaking along the Palace Wall, just to be safe as she checks if its still occupied or not.
When Rowan had arrived at the base, he first went to make sure all his gear was in proper condition, then going outside to patrol for any demons that had strayed within the area of the base and potentially picking them off. He had returned just before the resistence man had begun giving his speech
Penny, being asleep for the whole time that she was being carried by Tot, didn't really know what had actually happened during their journey. Even though it was luckily a total bore of one, since nothing really happened that warranted an occurrence of anything. Penny woke up once she was set down, yawning. She covered her mouth with one hand and immediately snatched up her Bugsbear in her other.
"Mhmm. Penny's bored again."
Knowing Penny, she probably forgot about how she was almost killed with Tot, but thankfully the bear didn't. While the Destinyland fiasco is somehow not fresh in her mind, her legs not working sure are. She tried to get up, but only fell back down sideways, her body down on the ground with her head looking towards the left.
"Oh, wait...that happened..."
Her bear drooped it's head in disappointment, wiggling out of her grasp and making her sit upright with her back on the palace wall once again.
Raidou nodded as the debriefing concluded. Pale Rider...not an enemy to mess with. He motioned to Gouto, who spoke up from Raidou's shoulder.
"Demons of that variety, we call them "Fiends". You can pick them out of the crowd with their skull-like faces, no skin, just a hollow skull that sends chills down yer spine. Tatsuya and Raidou took one down but, not to discredit them or anything, the Pale Rider is on a whole other level. If you guys plan to send us out to take him on, I think the best we should hope for is stalling him while you all make your escape."
While Gouto spoke, Raidou picked the cat up and set him on the ground. Meanwhile, the summoner would walk towards the sobbing woman. He didn't need to guess her relation to Ryoko, and he felt horrible seeing the state the woman was in. Realizing something, Raidou took the floral bracelet on his arm off, and considered giving it to the grieving mother.
As he did, flashes of his time with the girl flashed in his mind, and even more vividly were flashes of the scene of her death. He couldn't bear to part with it. Instead, he placed the object back on his wrist and gently bent down to kneel next to the woman and showed her the bracelet.
"...I was Ryoko's classmate for a time. She gave me this as a parting gift, to remember her. Your daughter was a kind soul, you were on her mind right up until the end."
Raidou stood, and, not really being socially adept enough to know how to follow that statement up, would turn away from the woman. He didn't have the heart to tell her the grim reality of Ryoko's final moments.
"I know who took her. I'll make them pay, I promise."
Pale Rider... A demon like that is serious business to say the least. In their current state he is unfortunately forced to agree with Gotou on the matter.
"Yeah, the sad fact is that our options are limited at the moment. Unless someone has a secret weapon of incredible power I doubt we can take down the Pale Rider."
He takes notice of Raidou, deciding not to interfere with it beyond silently nodding to the younger man's final statement. A reminder that whatever may happen, he's going to help with that too if he's able. He turns back to Gouto and the other man.
"Regardless of what we do, I think that we need to act with haste. And that we should try to find the most solid shelter we can. If the US does the worst on behalf of Thorman... You know what the worst case scenario there is, yes?"
It's a pointed question, one said in a tone which clearly indicates he'd rather not have to spell it out.
[Rowan's advantage was that he had gotten back to the base way before anyone else. He had time to replenish his energy, to heal his wounds and repair his entire gear. If anything, he was in a better shape than Tatsuya or even Raidou were in.]
The worst-case scenario? I would not want that, for the Americans to bring out their tanks and planes into the mix. Of course, with Gouto gone all we need now is to convince the Americans that there is no need for conflict, since the main guy was taken down along with the demons he was summoning.
Regardless, I have some other information regarding the demons and that Fiend.
If you say you cannot beat him and at most stall him, chances are that he won't be getting close. He is the "General" of them all, somehow, and while the other demons are moving, he is staying in the back, cackling as if he was nothing but an spectator.
What you would have to deal with is wave after wave of demons until every civilian is out, now...whether those who stay behind will be able to get out at any point...that's on you.
[He would clear his throat.]
I will stay, but this is a suicide mission.
At best we'll have just one truck left for extraction in case an opening reveals itself, but just AFTER the people have escaped.
Of course, the option of taking on Pale Rider would have probable been a succeed had we more people like you, but with just three...yes, as you say, there isn't much else to be done.
So I need you to decide now, will you stay here with some soldiers and myself to hold off the countless demons.
Or will you evacuate with the civilians in order to guard them. Some members of our group already decided to leave while others are staying, mostly the older ones.
[The man would move towards the Armory.]
Whoever wishes to stay, I would recommend following me into this room.
Anyone else will find the soldiers and people preparing to go on the West Exit.
The choice is yours to make.
[Ryoko's mother would simply take the flowers bracelet and compare it to one of her own; the signature of her daughter. She would look at Raidou and nod weekly before being taken away by a man with empty eyes towards the West Exit, presumably, her husband.]
Please, avenge my daughter.
Send them back to hell... !
[She says the last few words with a furious, palpable venom.]
---------- O ----------
[The Palace, at least from the side they were on, did not seem occupied at all. In fact, the aura that it was giving off was far more similar to that of the rest of the street. Preceded by a large, beautifully kept garden and a large pond, the building itself was a massive three-story structure surrounded by other smaller edifices that were absolutely obliterated and crawling with the remains of humans and other demons. It would even seem as the Oni before liked the Palace itself so much they made sure no blood stained was too close to its grass. Everything outside of it was a mess.]
The palace seemed to be clear for the time being, and since they weren't going to be getting back to base anytime soon, it seemed like a good spot to wait things out. After that brief bit of scouting, Tot'd go back to pick up Penny, wiping off her brow right quick as she notices the kid is awake.
"Oh, hey, cool. You're alive. Sorry about that mess, we're gonna take another break around here. I'll help you out."
Once again, Tot bends down, now letting Penny grab onto her shoulders so she can carry the kid more easily, before heading back to the palace gates, walking through the gardens and towards the main building itself.
"Little weird how they left the palace intact. Think they can feel how holy its supposed to be or something? I mean.. That didn't help the emperor of course. But its still pretty nice. And hey, with any luck they might not have found some more supplies."
Penny's eyes are half shut right now, still a bit groggy from sleeping. At least her bear is there to keep her comfort. The palace being empty, however, just makes her a bit suspicious, but there wasn't really much of a need to show it.
"Penny's fine. Penny's alright. Totally."
She grabs on to Tot's shoulders so that she can be carried. The bear follows them as it rests on Penny's back, like it was a backpack. She yawns a bit more, before replying to Tot.
"Penny want supplies. Those meanies don't deserve it. But Penny wants to go home most."
Rowan glares between Tatsuya and Raidou, furrowing his brow determinedly and deeply breathing.
I got an uncanny feeling I may die today. I'm sure I can take out enough to let the rest of you get away, at least. Do what you will."
He grunts and grits his teeth, following the man towards the armory
The man stares at Rowan leaving, an eyebrow raised at the man's departure from the area. Here's the big thing to wonder about...
"So... I feel like out of everyone here I might be the most capable of handling that big crowd. That said, my odds aren't great in my current state. Here's the question do we think that he can hold off them? I... Honestly, don't know much about what he can do. And I can't say I love the idea of leaving it up to someone we've got no ideas on, even if he can at least obviously handle himself some to have made it back."
For now the man waits, lighter held open in his hand while he stares into it and just ponders their options. There is also one more matter though... The utter worst case. Should he follow after to present that theory...? Or is it simply far too late for coming out and saying that's possible to matter? He can't really be sure of it for now, and at the moment he'd just await the reply of Gotou and Raidou while posing that question of if they should speak up or not to them.
(edited by Tatsuya)
Raidou rolls his neck idly, trying to focus on the troubling matter at hand; and not the one involving Ryoko. He sighs, and presses a hand to his chin as Gouto begins to address him and Tatsuya.
"Hate to say it, but I think keeping our mouths shut might be the best option here. We might have some luck letting the people in charge know that it may
be possible...but, I think we all know what's going to happen today. Truthfully, I don't think there's much we can do about it, and if we alert everyone now it would only panic them further."
"How's about this: We help with the evac, while you go out with that Rowan fella to stall for time. It's like you said, you're the most experience with being outnumbered and all. You're our most valuable piece on the board, as things are."
Raidou nods, and stares in the direction Rowan left towards the armory. He hadn't seen the man before, but he looked like he knew how to handle himself. Raidou points to the sword Tatsuya had been carrying, the Espada, before pointing back in the direction of the armory with his thumb.
"Ah, good point Raidou. That sword isn't anything incredibly special compared to Kusanagi or Gram, which only speaks to that Fiend's skill, honestly..."
"Still, it IS an asset, and if you're volunteering to go out there with that guy, might consider letting him take the thing for a test drive. I know we don't know a ton about him, but he must be skilled to have made it back alive, as you said."
(edited by Raidou Kuzunoha)
[While Tatsuya and Raidou remain in the Conference Room as Rowan moves in with the Resistance Man. He would look at the young man and try to keep his own spirits up, but it was too difficult to even try such a thing. If anything, no one will survive such operation, and if they are lucky, they will have to retreat faster than they can resist the demon assault. He would look at Rowan.]
Are you sure about this, kid?
I'm giving you a chance to escape among the civilians, there is no shame in staying out of this, no one wants to die. But I am the one in charge still, and some of or older members have nothing to lose anymore but their own lives, some just want to get back at the demons who took everything away.
[From his pocket, he would take out a small hip flask and drink plenty, letting out a sigh as he tries to calm down. After this, he would offer it to the young man in front of him.]
Go ahead, there's no point in holding back anymore.
---------- o ----------
[Tot and Penny brave it into the main building of the Imperial Palace, which has been left intact and quite tidy. Going inside the massive residence, they would find another imagery entirely, but not too different. The beheaded bodies of the imperial family were all sitting next to their very low table; their hands sitting on their laps. In front of them laid various plates of warm, and seemingly delicious food only the greatest of chefs in the world could pull off, perhaps only the greatest in all of reality. The smell was quite enticing, the vegetables, meat, rice and potatoes making one fine buffet, not to mention the wines and water in every cup of different sizes and shapes. To their left, there was a stairway leading up. Quite close to the table, there was a TV. It had a VHS under it and they were both plugged in and working, as the electricity was not gone.]
Tatsuya nods to the pair, their analysis matches up with his own thoughts on the current events quite well all told. He begins walking off for the armory and with any luck catches up to Rowan. But not before offering some parting words to his friends.
"You two make sure this goes as well as it can, as for me... Well, I said it against Matador too didn't I. Those who live by the sword..."
He rubs the back of his neck for a moment, stepping away slowly and with a slight grimace on his face.
"Do me a favor by the way, if you make it back and I don't. Mind finding someone to run that damn weapons shop of mine? Be a shame to see the place just go to waste."
With that he steps away, walking into the armory shortly after and greeting the pair within before holding out Espada to Rowan.
"Sup, I'm helping too. And if you want it, take this. It's called Espada, should be able to carve even the flesh of demons who resist physical attacks. Can't hurt right?"
"Ugh... Why would anyone do that..."
Tot shudders a bit as she walks inside, shaking Penny as she does so. Pretty sick of someone to leave a bunch of bodies arranged like that... Though Tot had seen people hurt or killed before, usually they didn't mess with them afterwards, no point to it.
"Not enough to kill 'em... Or even eat 'em I guess since they're monsters, but to set it up like this?"
With the great smell reminding Tot of her hunger, she initially goes to pick up the plate.... Only to realize how warm it is. Instead, Tot backs up a bit and sets Penny down near the wall.
"Think you can walk yet kid? We're not alone in here."
Tot would wait to confirm Peny's condition before doing anything else, the VHS seemed like a good place to start, as it was obviously left there on purpose too.
Penny's honestly still pretty stoked about the whole situation, the only thing bothering her being her legs. The dead bodies aren't really seeming to startle her, and she yawns once again as if this little display of corpses perfectly arranged to be seated is a bore to her.
"Penny thinks it's something else...but Penny doesn't know what."
As she gets put down near the wall, the bugbear goes right next to her once again. Penny grabs it and hugs it as she always does. When asked about her legs, she tries to sit up, but ends up falling sideways once again.
"Nope. Penny's down again."
The Bugbear makes an effort to make her body sit up straight like it did before. She leaned on the wall with her back turned, keeping her Bugbear close to her for comfort.
"Daddy could probably fix it."
Rowan partakes of the drink offered him, sighing and opening his mouth to address the officer before being interrupted by Tatsuya.
"Thanks, i'll be sure to remember that."
He takes the sword before returning to face the soldier again to respond.
"No one wants to die, but there's no point in running away. Even if I do, who's to say you'd be able to hold back the demons long enough without me? This is my resolve, to turn back now would be to betray my own self. So, i'm ready."
He hands the flask back, feeling up the sword and practicing a few slices in the air, pointed away from everyone.
Raidou gives Tatsuya a resolute nod, and a thumbs up as he begins to turn away. Gouto decides to give what very well could be his last word to his friend.
"...Die by the sword. Easy enough to remember. Just...don't actually do that dying bit. We need ya around, buddy. We'll get everyone outta here as fast as possible, and as soon as things start to look dicey you get your ass somewhere safe, got it? I'll make sure your afterlife is one of constant teasing if you bite it, hear me?"
Raidou can't help but smile at Gouto's words, and he begins to wonder what might happen if one of them actually didn't make it back. Knowing Tatsuya, he's probably the type to go out in some blaze of glory that annihilates whatever it was that got in his way. What a joke. Though not very loudly, Raidou can't help but mutter his own response to Tatsuya dying in that manner.
Heh...I don't think I'd ever forgive you.
Steeling himself, Raidou straightens his hat and heads towards the group of soldiers and civilians preparing to evacuate, and would see what there is that he could do to speed the effort along.
(edited by Raidou Kuzunoha)
[The Resistance Man would then take his flask back a place it next to the gun closest to him. He would take a deep breath and let out a scream, something akin to a war cry, but also as a way to get rid of his anxiety just so he doesn't doubt himself anymore. There were seven other men besides Rowan and Tatsuya, all of them with pitiful expressions, darkened imitations of what used to be hopeful humans.]
The demons are brutal, they are nothing but violence and hatred. If you had seen the eyes of those who left war, they could tell you that a enemy soldier and a demon have much in common.
Even if they can explode buildings, we will retaliate with dynamite.
If they flap their wings and send winds at us, we will shoot back.
If they dare to use lightning, then we will make the ground crumble.
Their fire against ours, let it ignite the candle of hope that is people's lives.
[He would then gulp down the last remnants of his flask and throw it at the other side of the room. Taking his guns, making sure he's ready, he would take a step towards the exit of the Armory.]
If the demons want to destroy us, then we will fight like a devil.
[The faces of the man had not changed, some were even tearing up, but they stood up and decided to follow their leader outside of the Armory and towards the East Exit, from where they would move North towards a small blockade.]
[Raidou on the other hand would quickly move towards the West, where the civilians were being grouped in such a way that they would fit in all of the trucks. Between a limited number of Resistance members and civilians, there were barely over 400 people, but just enough for all to board trucks, buses and small cars. Among these was a giant reinforced truck that would move towards the streets first, steadily accelerating; it had one driver and one soldier, both ready to head out alone to clear out a path so they can get out as quickly as possible. On the one side, Raidou would see the soldiers loading all the supplies they can get into the trucks, as well as prioritizing the injured and children. On another side, a group was apparently discussing plans. And finally, some of the younger members were readying up to escape with the other civilians, not ready at all to face anymore demons were they to show up. Some were embracing their families. What Raidou could do, it was all on him.]
---------- O ----------
[Checking the VHS would immediately turn on the TV as it broadcasts a series of different news reports. The first one, around November 2nd, talks about the radical increase in disappearances of young teenage women. Another one, November 3rd, would talk about the sudden panic among the people and mass murders; the person talking about this was acting rather anxious. Later, the same day, the video would move on to a man reporting on the streets acting as his own cameraman, after his partner was "killed by a demon". The next images would show the result of the demon's massacre, and one live execution in the form of the reporter when he meets a dog with large wings for ears, mauling his neck. After this the video would shift to a man in black robes preaching about the coming of the great demon lord, who will liberate humanity from all strife; for "we" are slaves. It would then change to a nun who would preach about the coming of the messiah in these times of hardship. It would then cut back to a ghoul imitating the man telling the news from before, as others of his kin lay waste to everyone else inside. The VHS tape would then end, and the screen would be turned off. The tape leaves the machine, and the reflection on the dark screen would reveal a rather skinny leg go up the stairs opposite to where they are.]
"Woah, they got all that on one tape? Seems prett..."
Tot exclaims in surprise, it seemed like some kinda series of events leading up to now.. Kinda, it was an old tape after all. Tot kinda seemed to miss the point though, as she doesn't fret about the issue. However, she does notice the leg going upstairs, whoever it is that's sharing this place with them.
"Knew we weren't alone, hey, get back here! I won't hurt you as long as you come easy."
It wouldn't be good to rest when they could be attacked at any time, so Tot would chase after the foot, running to and up the stairs, but ready to duck an incoming attack, without paying attention to the kid she was abandoning.
Tatsuya nods at the Resistance Man grimly, the speech brings to mind many a hunt he himself has performed. In the end, he follows along with the group and scans the area as they start to exit the base. He'd also offer a few words of his own, hoping to if not raise their spirits at least motivate them a bit.
"I can't promise you that we'll win, but I can damn well promise I'll try and make it happen. The odds are grim, but count on this, all of you. My name's Tatsuya Suou, I've fought demons most of my life at this point. And I'm still right the hell here. It isn't easy, it isn't safe, but never give up, fight smart, and we might just pull something out!"
Regardless of how they react to it, the man draws out his rifle and prepares to begin what might be his final fight. From his view, ranged attacks seem like the best way to start off, perhaps imbued with magic if needed. But just rushing in close sounds like a bad play, so he waits. Unless anyone has something else they need specifically from him, which he'd be sure to ask of the Leader.
While Penny couldn't see the VHS tape playing on the T.V as clearly as Tot would due to her distance, she'd be a bit memsmerized by everything that happened. But not because it's grotesque, but because she's seemingly being satisfied like jingling keys in front of a toddler. The little girl even seems to laugh at a few parts...
"That's pretty cool. Penny likes. Penny also saw that stranger."
...and watches until the end to see that she'd see the figure's reflection going up the stairs. However, since Tot has functioning legs and Penny doesn't, Penny would let out a bit of a sigh as she sees Tot practically fly by from where she is. Due to this, she starts to crawl on the floor, complaining a bit as the bear stays close to her because of how stupid doing this would be logically.
"Hey, don't leave Penny! Penny's gonna catch up...maybe...don't go!"
Rowan listens intently to the leader's speech, grinning and raising his rifle in preparation.
"These demons don't stand a chance, when i'm through with them they'll be the ones on the run!"
He waves his gun around carefree before noticing Tatsuya's own peptalk, albeit only catching the end of it. He mutters his own thoughts about the man afterwards.
"Suou, is it? Seems like a good man to die besides..."
He then accosts Tatsuya, speaking in a cheery upbeat tone.
"Hello there, just wanted to ask that if I die -I mean, not that I will -that you report my death to the hunter's association. It would save them the trouble of looking for me, for sure. I don't have any friends or family, so don't worry about that."
Raidou looks over the depressing sight. They didn't have much time to sit around waiting before the fighting started, and he wanted to make the most of the time the other group was buying him. As such, he'd usher Gouto over to go join in on the planning meeting the group seemed to be having. Hopefully, the pair can figure out some way to coincide their own actions with that of the group.
Meanwhile, Raidou himself would close his eyes and engage Raiho's summoning. Once the little guy appeared, and hopefully without any of the terrified soldiers or civilians freaking out at the sight of him, he'd send his companion over towards Tatsuya and Rowan's group as they depart, ordering him to take orders from Tatsuya for the time being.
"Hee, understood Rai-dho! Raiho Kuzunoha XV, on his way!"
And with that, he'd prance over towards the brave party in hopes of providing some assistance.
[Heading upstairs and following the strange leg, Tot would find the stairs making an awfully loud sound with each step, which the previous rather creepy being didn't do. On the second floor, and being the first one to arrive, considering that Penny was dragging herself along the floor, Tot finds a rather simple, ample room. It was as clean as the one downstairs. The room itself was, to be expected, of traditional Japanese fashion, with two sliding doors that lead to different rooms. The bedroom of the emperor and his wife; and the bedroom of their children. At the other end of the room, and right in front of a balcony, a set of black armor and a simple katana would be in display.]
---------- O ----------
[Thanks to the words of Tatsuya and Rowan, the rest of the men get a bit of a more hopeful and even more determined demeanor. The group would stand behind the vehicles and junk used to create a barricade to make sure the demons don’t get through so easily. But in the distance, hundreds of them await. Fairies, Brutes, Beasts, Fouls, Yoma, even Undead. They were all waiting, waiting for the final trumpet that would pierce the skies. As they all get in position, and Raiho makes his way to the group as well, a voice would be heard by them all.]
Today is the day of judgement.
[A humanoid being wearing a black robe and a scythe would hover above them, riding a Pale Horse.]
Humans are to be judged, and so it begins here in the so-called land of the rising sun.
You have shown great resilience, but no matter how strong... death cannot be stopped.
So it was written in ancient times...
In the book of the apocalypse.
[The Fiend would very easily send shivers down the spine of anyone, and everyone. He would make his way back to the group of demons, who are starting to become more and more impatient. As the sun finally goes away, and the full moon shines above, even the stars can be seen, as if standing in the countryside.]
---------- O ----------
[Gouto would get closer to the group of men devicing a plan.]
The demons haven't just gathered on the North, according to our guys down the road, at least some flying ones like Harpies, Lillim and others are lurking the area. What this means is that they won't get in the literal way of the vehicles, but they will definitely flock around them and try to kill everyone inside.
Think of it as flying through a bunch of mosquitoes.
Due to that, I advise that we all focus on using those... spell stones our leader gathered and focusing on out guns.
Take as much ammo as you guys need and be prepared, because chances are we will have to gun them down on the move.
[The men would keep discussing their course of action. Gouto would learn that each military truck will be equipped with different types of rapid fire guns, as well as a limited supply of Ma- grade spell stones.]
Now, we just need to decide how we'll separate. The first convoy will go right away, and they will no doubt have to deal with the flying demons, but the remaining ones will have to keep guard here and make sure none of the left over demons of the other group get through.
Those who go first need to have the best aim.
Those who go after need to be good up close.
[The North path was blocked and soldiers were guarding, hoping for no demon to get through. Whether they do or not, however...it depends entirely on the ones who took the suicide mission.]
"Woah, getting a little weird up here."
Tot speaks mostly to herself, having not heeded Penny earlier, she continues walking forward. Though she was not Japanese herself, she lived there long enough to recognize the style. These were bedquarters, and since she saw the royal family executed earlier it was safe to say they're dead. Not wanting to disturb the ghosts of the recently departed, Tot walks over towards the displayed armor to investigate it closer.
"Definitely looks like a rich person's... Wonder if they ever used it..."
"Penny wants to see too!"
The girl said from downstairs where Tot was, still dragging herself across the floor nonchalantly. Though her figure was light and small, her limbs were also not that good considering that her build was that of a child. Even though that there might be things that still lurk, Penny seems not to really care at the moment as she approaches the staircase.
"Penny wishes something would pick her up. Penny hates staying on the floor."
As the demon appears before him, Tatsuya would grin to them and offer up some orders for Raiho.
"I assume Raidou sent you right pal? So, I know you can heal some and I want you to focus on that. Don't waste your magic attacking unless the enemy is already weak, extra vulnerable against your ice, or someone especially needs covering... And stay careful too, I want you to get back to Raidou if at all possible."
Of course, the Fiend appearing with its damn army draws his notice. The Pale Rider, at his full strength this would be a tough battle, but one he'd have solid confidence he can manage with the current allies at his side.
As is though he really isn't too sure about all that, but his first move here... Is to raise his arms up into the sky, a wave of green energy rushing out of him and enhancing the attacking power of the group that's gathered on his side. Which is quite the trick considering their numbers, that's why he used Matarukaja after all. He also reaches into his coat and pulls out a grenade, best to try and get the crowd down when he can.
"Heh, let's get right to it."
Rowan gets up to the front of the barricade, wailing at the foes in the distance
"Demons, I challenge thee, rip the flesh from my bone; for every minute I stand, I swear to be the bane of your existence above all else!"
He prepares for the oncoming onslaught by loading a magazine into his gun and pointing it towards the space in front of the group
Gouto departed to report the information to Raidou, who stopped to think about where he would fit in most. He was confident in his shooting, that was for sure, but only with handguns. As it stands, he'd be pretty useless on the first convoy. That said, he was worried about leaving them on their own. Thus, he and Gouto approached the men, and Raidou placed his hand on the table as Gouto spoke.
"'Scuse me, we're one half of the group that took down the sword-wielding fiend in Kichijouji. We'd like to offer our assistance here, but we got a question first..."
"...How many men would you say we have to work with, in total?"
[Sadly, Penny's request would not be heard by anyone, and as such, she would still need to make her way upstairs on her own. On Tot's end, it was similar. Nothing at all was really-]
"You, who dares intrude on the palace of the Emperor, of he who was chosen by the skies and gods. State your name."
[The moment Tot got close enough, she would realize the armor set itself was speaking to her; a strange, and quite visible aura would surround it and its sword.]
"I feel you and your friend are both outsiders, just like the demons who dared trespass and severe the family's legacy. Are you allies?"
[The spiritual power coming from the armor would increase in power by the second, so as the disembodied voice would show itself more and more angry.]
---------- O ----------
[The group of soldiers would all prepare and feel empowered, way more capable than before thanks to Tatsuya's Matarukaja. Everyone prepared, the seconds would pass slowly. Each second of waiting felt like an hour as the demons prepare. Pale Rider would make its way behind the entire force he had gathered, and next to a flying being with a trumpet on its skeletal hands. Pale Rider would lift his hand... and Trumpeter would fill the air with his sound. Then, the voice of Pale Rider would fill the air.]
The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.
And so, judgement cometh.
[The waves of demons let out a massive howl and quickly run towards the group. From the North itself, and all with red eyes, 5 Pixie would move in quickly and blindly, not even bothering to cast magic. Closely followed by 3 Pretas, 7 Knockers and a mere pair of Zombies. They do not seem very strong or smart.]
---------- O ----------
[The group would give Raidou and Gouto a couple of weird looks before realizing who they actually were. Of course, the Kuzunoha. In this couple of past few days with the demons all around, they had run into members of such legacy, although it probably was only on Kuzunoha and a bunch of companions.]
We must have about...32 left.
16 will go first.
4 are already making guard over there.
5 others are quickly moving all the remaining important supplies.
The remaining 7 are preparing their weapons, they decided to stay behind and go last in case anything happens.
Of course... that's not counting the others who went to the-
[A loud trumpet sound would fill the air around them, quickly followed by the howling of demons.]
What's your idea!? Hurry!
"Oh, woah, lets chill for a sec, sorry I didn't notice ya."
Tot would put her hands up at first, before realizing her mistake and bowing to the armor instead as a sign of respect. she's still pretty casual about the situation, but she at least makes sure to follow honorifics as she explains.
"I mean, sorry great family spirit. My name's Jessica Praise, I saw what happened to the Great Heavenly Emperor, so I had thought that once the demons were gone it'd be good to hide here. Its just me and.... I forgot the kid!"
Tot glanced behind her, eyes wide as if hoping for Penny to simply be there somehow in spite of their injured legs. But worried she might be overstepping her bounds she'd go back to bowing to the armor.
"Anyways, I was hoping to seek refuge here for a bit when I thought I saw a survivor. Please forgive me for barging into your private quarters."
Penny simply whines a bit from downstairs, throwing a quiet fit that isn't as effective as it would usually be due to her legs being damaged to the point she considers them obsolete. Though she would normally just give up and stay downstairs, she heard the voices and got excited.
"Is that another person? Penny says hi!"
The little girl said, super excited even though she shouldn't be right now. With that statement out of the way, the girl now gets to going up the staircases in a painfully slow speed, similar to a slug trying to get through a pile of salt. Her bear still keeps watch from behind Penny in the case that something tried to ambush them from downstairs.
"KILL THEM ALL!"
Rowan swivels the end of his M16 with his right hand around the enemy, creating a crossfire in the area around the pixies with his rapid and unrelenting trigger. He persists with this until the faries fall to the ground, then moving his aim to the next group to draw near.
Raidou looks out at the distance, furrowing his brow at the increasing tension of the situation. Slamming his hand on the table, Raidou looks at the man who told hiand Gouto spoke what he was thinking.
"I'd say the numbers need some adjusting. Send as many as we can fit on the first run out of here, civilian or soldier, ASAP. You'll need all the firepower you can muster to deal with those demons, and saving lives should be our top priority. Anyone with the resolve to stay and wait will hold out with Raidou here and prepare the rest of the supplies to be loaded as soon as the convoy returns. Anything that happens after that..."
Raidou points to himself, drawing his gun with a twirl.
"...Is all on us."
As Gouto concluded, Raidou looked at each of the men around him. He glared at each of them, his eyes sharp and focused.
We don't have time to make two or three runs out of here, we need to make the most of the chance those on the front lines are buying us. I shall remain here, with as few or many men as I get. One, two, even three men are more enough. I am a man of the Kuzunoha lineage, making miracles is what I do!
Raidou turns from the group, pointing his revolver skyward.
Those of you with the resolve to stand alone with me, come. We shall forge a miracle in this hell with our own hands! Anyone else, take your friends, families, loved ones, and get out of here, now!
Tatsuya's eyes search the area, both glancing around for any more hidden foes. And hoping to spot the best possible place to strike. In the event he didn't find yet more targets lurking though, the man would start off by pulling a grenade's pin and holding it for a second.
Along with of course, giving it a quick mighty toss straight towards the group of Pretas. Burning heat blasts out from the weapon along with a wave of concusive force, but if it'll hit or not he can't be too sure of.
Raiho briefly salutes the man, nodding to his orders with a hee-ho and preparing. Not a one of these demons is all that hurt by ice, and may even resist it. So the Jack Frost doesn't waste his magical power yet, instead, he's aiming to step in when it will count more.
[The voice coming from the armor would ignore the faraway sound of the trumpet. He knew exactly what it was, but he would not reveal much more. Instead, he would take a moment to calm down, and then speak.]
"My name is Taira no Masakado. I am a warrior of old who ascended into a spirit with the sole task to protect Tokyo from others such as myself."
"Although your name is not that of a native, I can see you don't mean evil, as I know you have told me the truth. You must excuse me; the current situation gives me nothing but anger. Anger at my incapacity to protect Tokyo any longer from spiritual threats."
"All I can possibly do now is to access a different place of existence, and simply watch."
[The dangerous aura would leave the armor.]
"Despite being an emperor in life, these people are not direct descendants. My armor and blade are but sacred spoils of war from a time long past that their ancestors kept under lock and key."
"But after their death, there is no one worthy enough to protect such artifacts."
"Still, I somewhat feel the presence of someone who can. I remain unsure"
[He would keep silence for a moment before speaking in a somber tone.]
"You may stay. However, I cannot guarantee your survival just like this. After all, it is only a matter of time before the city is wiped from existence."
---------- O ----------
[The assault had finally begun, and the Resistance would give it their all.]
[Rowan would first focus his fire on the Pixies, and as they are not guarding themselves at all, would all be purged by his Crossfire. The three soldiers on his side try to do the same to the Knockers, but 4 of them get pass them and go towards the West side.]
[Tatsuya would throw his Grenade and inflict some awful burning damage, killing them all in an instant. As they seemed to be weak to it, Tatsuya is able to quickly move to a new target. Deciding to use his gun against the pair of zombies, it results very ineffective. 1 Zombie gets through. On his side, he had three members of the resistance, one of them being their current leader, the Resistance Man. They would try to hold this particular Zombie but were unable to kill it, so it rushes to the West barely hanging on.]
"Not bad, but not good enough. You have merely scratched the surface of this abyss."
[Pale Rider would speak once more as a new wave of demons approach fast, but not with the intent to go through primary, but to kill the men. First comes a new set of Zombies, 6 of them this time, all of them having been policemen in life; they aim to attack Rowan's party. Next, a new group of 4 Preta; looking for vengeance, they rush at Tatsuya specifically with their claws. Close to them, 2 Ghouls and 3 Ghosts; they are aiming to attack Tatsuya's party. If they are to attack and survive, they will rush towards the West.]
(edited by Melbourne)
[The soldiers would consider this new strategy for a good few moments; some were considering staying too. But then they would hear the sound of firearms, but not those from the North, rather, it was right next to them. The ones already guarding the entrance would shoot down something.]
We have to move now, a Zombie got through and other small ones are getting closer!
[Perhaps it was lady luck helping them, but they were able to shoot 4 incoming Knockers down before getting too close.]
We'll make guard for as long as we can, so move out already!
[The apparent leader of the smaller group would nod and quickly move out to the bigger group and speak loudly.]
That's it we're moving out, if we have the time, we'll make one trip back for the remaining supplies and our guys here!
The vehicles are to leave in five minutes tops, so anyone who wishes to stay can do so!
Three volunteers is all I will ask for to accompany the ones guarding the gates. The rest will get on the trucks and make sure none of the flying demons get to us.
[As told by the man, people would board the trucks, cars and buses more quickly, and the supplies would be at best moved out of the way. the Group Leader would then approach Raidou along with three others, one young, barely out of high school and with very short hair. Another, a man on his early 30s and a scruffy beard. Finally, a man on his 50s and a shaved head.]
They volunteered to stay with you.
These three, along with the four guarding the gates and of course you make 8 in total.
[He would then hand him a radio.]
I will get back to you once we get there, so when that happens, we'll know which type of vehicle to send back.
So, assuming the lot of you manage to hang on, you can expect one or two trucks to pick you up and the remaining supplies.
But the truck will be enough to fill it with such valuables.
The second vehicle...it will depend on your report, and how many are alive by then.
For all of this to work out, we're taking the one truck we left behind for the group at the North.
So... you know what this means.
[He would look down before looking at Raidou again to his eyes.]
Anyone not here by the time we come pick you up, or not accounted for... will have to be assumed dead or left behind.
[With the rather ruthless course of action, the man would head towards one of the trucks, readying his rifle. Soon after, the vehicles would start moving out. Civilian filled ones would be surrounded by the ones with guns and in position to defend them from any attack. However, the process was still rather slow and would take a couple more minutes before it could be safely said everyone got out fine.]
(edited by Melbourne)
Raidou takes the radio with a nod. He looks over the three men with him now as the people begin to evacuate. He sizes each of them up, and points to each one at a time.
First and foremost, I'll need your names. Whichever of you is most confident in how much you can lift, I'd like you to work on moving any loose supplies into one place. I doubt we'll be able to move everything out when the convoy comes back, but having everything in one spot will speed the process along for later. if it's too heavy for you to move by yourself, leave it for now. If you see demons coming or feel like you're in danger, don't be afraid to shout for us. You'll be defenseless, so put your trust in us for now.
The summoner would draw Kusanagi, and plant the blade on the ground to rest his hands on the hilt.
The rest of us will need to watch over the evacuation and make sure no demons get too close. One of you, stay near the guy moving supplies, but don't take your eyes off the evac. Just be nearby in case anything happens. Whoever's left over, you're with me. We'll fan out slightly, staying withing eyesight of one another, to get a better overall look at the evacuation while it's going on. We'll need to watch the convoy's back, as well as each others'. I hope you're confident in your shooting.
Gouto was taken slightly aback at how vocal Raidou was being, but he's never really seen the man lead a group like this before. Raidou would cock his head, keeping an eye on his new teammates.
Any questions or objections? We don't have a lot of time, so let's get this going.
The man isn't too shocked these Preatas don't like him much. And considering the fact, his sword is also roaring to a bonfire while he quickdraws it in a blur that'll likely piss them off even more.
"Come on guys, I know that you can understand me, right? Maybe if you give up I'll let you live instead of doing this!"
He's fast, but not fast enough to be unharmed while in the process of drawing out Gram. One of the thing's is able to claw him some, though if a Preata's claws are as weak as Tatsu recalls then his armor should block most of it. The hunter counters with a wide slice of his sword, Agilao flowing into it and stoking the weapon's natural magic into a raging blast that flies out from his horizontal slash. If they didn't dodge it, the group of demons would likely be left turned to dust.
Assuming that happened then his next course of action would once again be to strike with Gram. Not aided by his own magic this time, but still blazing up and slamming straight towards one of the Ghouls at the least.
Raiho for his part would look around the field and search out those in need of healing. Preparing to cast Media upon the soliders as soon as possible if anyone looks to require it.
"More worthless pawns..."
Rowan grumbles, jumping in the path of the demons approaching his group and shouting towards the general direction of the Rider
"After I get these out of my way, i'm expecting a real fight."
He then unsheathes Espada, rushing towards the centermost zombie and jabbing it in the gut, swinging towards the neck of the zombie to his right almost immediately. With efficient swordsmanship, he aims to go from demon and cleave, rip or pierce any of their vitals in one stroke of the blade. Lastly, he would tear a single zombie in half, striking vertically from the middle of their head down to their torso.
Tot breaths a sigh of relief at first, only to jump at Taira's last sentence.
"Eh? I.. I'm sorry you said the whole city's gonna blow?"
now that she's alarmed Tot slips out of most of the mannerisms and bck to her usual, casual-sounding self.
"That can't... There are a lot of people living here, if the whole city goes kaput they'll all die... "
Tot takes a deep breath, focusing for a bit before putting in one last request for Taira
"If nothing else surely the imperial family has some kinda hidden bunker or something, right? There's a kid here with me, I have to... I'll be right back."
Tot would leave them for a bit to find Penny struggling on the staircase, she winces a bit to see Penny further straining her legs before bending down to pick the kid up, bridal style
"You really shouldn't be moving right now, couldn't you just wait a bit? I'm not gonna leave ya."
if Penny is cool with it Tot would return back upstairs to Taira, now carrying the 10 year old in her arms.
From downstairs once more, the little girl says her little statement in a bipolar tone, as if she's actually struggling on what to feel about the situation.
"City go boom?...That's not good."
She tries to go up the stairs once more, but then sees Tot. She smiles again, laughing a bit even with the little warning she gave her. It seems that she still doesn't get how much no legs screws over a person.
"Penny got bored. And lonely. Oh yeah, get over here, Mr. Bear!"
As she was being carried by Tot, the Bugbear got snatched up into Penny's arms once more, giggling as she was finally brought to the second floor.
Was all she said, in a quiet and polite voice, much to the shock of Tot who would be much more familiar with her being ruefully loud, joyful, and uncaring.
[Pretas are of course too weak and Tatsuya's fire deals an incredible amount of fire. Anything they did, was simply not enough, and so Tatsuya was able to move on to the next enemy on the list: Ghouls. They were two of them, and the sword attacks don't do much to give it enough time to quickly move to the next enemy. And so, 1 Ghoul gets through, and so would the 3 Ghosts. The Ghoul would be swiftly eliminated by their guns; however, the 3 Ghosts not only are able to land at least one hit on each, they also manage to get through the defenses. Since they were hurt but not badly enough, it would be for the best to let Raiho decide if they require healing.]
[Rowan's use of the Espada would prove to be more effective than guns, not counting magic. He would quickly dispatch one of the Zombies, and then another, leaving it at 4 total. However, he finds himself unable to reach more due to not landing any "critical hit", or rather, was not fast enough. And so, one of the Zombies would simply attack him and leave a scratch on his face; superficial and nothing to worry about. The remaining 4 Zombies would approach the rest of his party and 1 would be completely eliminated, but their guns are completely unable to hurt the rest much more, and in turn, are attacked by the passing demons. All three of them end up with weak scratches similar to the one Rowan has. The 3 Zombies get through the defenses.]
"The demons only grow in strength and numbers. You, whoever, shall remain stuck in your despair."
[Pale Rider's voice would fill the air once more as the next wave prepares. This time around, it was nothing but flying demons of all types. 3 Oshichi, 2 focus on launching Agilao on Raiho, and the remaining 1 casts Pulinpa on Tatsuya, which luckily for him, fail. Next, 3 Furiae will simply do as the first wave and attempt to get through the defenses as Oshichi get all the attention. Next on the line is 2 Fuxi, both cast Garula on Rowan. Similar to the other case, 3 Harpies rush in, trying to get through the defenses for as long as the Fuxi remain a hassle.]
---------- O ----------
None, I will move the supplies.
I ain't the youngest but I've been on constructions for as long as I can remember, I can take it.
The name's Kouji by the way, and you better keep it together.
[The older of the trio would quickly move out, not taking his sunglasses even though it was almost night, as if he could perfectly see even with them. The man in the middle would soon follow him, preparing his rifle. All he had going for him was a black beanie over his head, besides his scruffy beard.]
I am Kazuma, I'll do everything I can, so you better hold them back.
I don't wanna end like a painting on the floor.
[The youngest of the group would stay with him. He had a collar with a pick around his neck.]
My name is Tsukasa, and... I barely know how to shoot this thing, but I'll try, I don't want to die.
[He would gulp down his fears as best he could. The first few trucks finally leave but some still remain, and people are still getting in. Soon enough, the ones keeping guard would have to shoot yet again, as new demons would approach.]
[All 4 of them would try to shoot down the group of 3 Ghost and 3 Zombie that was quickly closing in. 1 Zombie was damaged enough but got through without damaging anyone else, going straight towards Raidou's group, the only one standing between the demons and the civilians. The other 2 would also get through, but mostly untouched and having managed to damage bad one of the guards, also moving straight to Raidou and Tsukasa. Finally, the 3 incoming Ghost would assault the other decently healthy guards, all getting hit by their magical aura. All 3 go towards Raidou quickly, somehow luck being on their side so far.]
"I indeed heard this from the angels when they came here, after the Oni took the lives of the family."
[The sound of a faraway battle would permeate the otherwise silent place.]
"Something called as an 'ICBM' will soon be launched and hit the city. The United States of America is the one to launch it, but who knows how much time is left until it comes."
"As it stands, there is not much to do. We have no such thing as a bunker."
[After the small explanation, he would finally address the girl. His aura would spark a bit more.]
"She... her spirit has a strange feel to it, like it's dirty, about to fall into a dark abyss."
"It feels similar to the Oni, in fact."
"Are you affiliated with them?"
[The aura surrounding the armor would appear once more, but it would be dark green in color. Just like before, it should be clear it will pick up on their actual intentions and any attempt at lying.]
Tot pauses for a moment with the mention of ICBMs. She obviously hadn’t dealt with one before, but with the whole wiping the city business it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out it was bad news
“Surely they’re not that careless right? We should have at least got a warning to get everyone out. That’s just basic decency.”
Tot would immediately jump to Penny’s defense, calling her one of those Oni things definitely seemed like an insult, especially with the menacing aura’s return, and she’d be damned if she stood by and watched her crew get insulted
“‘Course she’s not. We’ve had to run from those things all day. You can’t just go around callin’ people monsters.”
Tot would let out a puff of air, it’s not enough for this armor guy to be no help, if anything they just seem to be getting more hostile
“If you can’t do anything to help us, the kid and I’ll just have to find something on our own. Thanks for the intel, whatever it’s worth.”
Finally, Tot would turn around, at the very least they now know that there’s no reason to stay up here and wait for the inevitable. They might be hurt but remaining in place is a death sentence.
Penny didn't really know that the armor seemed to have insulted her, nor did she know that her Bugbear seemed to have made the armor get a bit hostile. Dangerous aura or not, it seemed Penny didn't actually care, but nevertheless, she slumped in defeat.
"Penny is sorry. Mr. Bear doesn't like the Onis. They're meanies. But since Mr. Bear is bothering you..."
Her Bugbear turns into a bunch of pixels before disappearing, Penny having a bit of trouble with her little computer before she finds out how to get her Pyro Jack. It took the form of some pixels but eventually made itself known. Excitedly, Penny grabbed it and hugged it as she was being held by Tot.
"Penny got him before her legs got busted. He helped make some Onis go boom."
Not like she herself was there for it, nor did he actually do it because she told him to. But what matters is that she saved him and recruited him. But since it seemed that Tot was leaving the place, Penny whined a bit before waving back to the armor. The Pyro Jack was immediately substituted for her Bugbear as she held it close to her for comfort.
"Bye Mister, thanks for letting us visit!"
Raiho is able to evade some of the flames, the other however... Is quickly met by Tatsuya, he isn't immune to fire without his Persona's power of course. But the man's at least able to block the second Agilao with his blade and suffer only minor burns thanks to that. Far less than his ally would have been hurt.
The Jack Frost then shouts out hee-ho and grins a bit, countering toward those who'd launched fire at him with a few icy spikes that rush throughout the air at a rapid pace and try to impale. Bufu to be exact, but he's hoping the fire users are as weak to ice as he is to flame.
Finally, the hunter would draw out his gun in a rush and aim to take some shots toward the Furiae all while doing his best to remain in the way of those demons he can. He's got little doubt some will get through, but his efforts are going toward making that number as small as possible for now. Along with shouting out toward Pale Rider in defiance.
"Remain stuck in despair? You're making me laugh Bringer of the End! Even if your numbers keep on getting stronger, that's fine. We all knew the score when going upon this job... Our goal here is to keep you halted, and we will manage that!"
Upon being pushed back by the destructive force of wind, Rowan stabs the ground with his sword and tries to use it as a crutch to resist the knockback. Switching focus between his assailants to the pawns getting him, he realizes the possibilty of his allies getting overwhelmed. Running towards the harpies, he quickly sheathes his sword and sprays bullets behind him randomly. Not slowing down, he tries to run as fast as possible to pass the harpies. Using the barricade as leverage, he tries to climb up anything he can in order to get as high as possible, eventually jumping off towards the nearest Harpy and trying to grab onto its back to climb on it as well. Using his bare hands, he would attempt to strangle the neck of his mount to forcibly get it to act whilst also straining it in an attempt to redirect any attack towards the other enemies.
Should he suceed in this endeavor, a smirk would be drawn against the hunter's face as he would snarkily taunt the demon
"You are mine now, demon."
Or in the probable case that he would miss his mark, Rowan would simply loosen up his body and try to roll along the ground, preventing as much self-inflicted injury as he could.
Raidou, acting primarily on instinct, draws his remaining summoning tube. Tsuchigumo would appear soon, but for the time being he tossed the glowing object into the air and lept toward the weak zombie approaching them. If luck allowed, he'd simply cut the thing down with his sword, cleanly and calmly. He'd then back up a bit, hoping to get a decent line of sight on the ghosts.
Alright, Tsukasa! I know you aren't confident in your shooting, so handle the zombies on the ground. I'll do what I can about those ghosts, I have a demon companion of my own on the way, so just tough it out until he shows up!
Gouto remained poised on Raidou's shoulder as he fought, thinking about the three men accompanying Raidou. Kouji, Kazuma, and Tsukasa, huh?
[Masakado would try to bargain with the girls before they left, as he knew there was something to be done, at the very least, for he had a friend from ages past, and whom he had never met until after his own passing.]
"There is indeed a way for you to survive, but it's not something I can manage in my current state."
"This residence has been filled with the negative emotions of its previous owners, so savagely killed. It is indeed haunted, and quite possibly casting a false image of what it once was."
"As such, I cannot use the full extent of my powers, not inside here. I must be moved to the nearby shrine that was built in my honor. It is laid inside these grounds, and it will make me recover my strength, and in return, the ability to pull both you and that small girl into a safe haven."
[His aura grows in a dark green color.]
"However, there is a catch. Your soul must be worthy. If you are to move me, then you must have the right spirit, otherwise you shall be cursed; such is the will of the Goddess."
"The soul of the small girl is tainted, although not affiliated with a demon of Chaos, it bears great potential for it."
"You, however, the American... I cannot read yours; I cannot tell if it's worthy or pure, but I feel no inherent malevolence, not even light."
[The armor would wait one final time.]
"If any of you can safely pick me up along with my blade, then I can save you. But if you fail to do so... I'm afraid you will meet your end... along with the city, and myself."
[Raiho's Bufu against one of the Oshichi proves to be of decent power, but the demon is not weak to it and it's ready to keep fighting. As Tatsuya fires at the Furiae, he would come to notice that the particular move is especially effective, and as such, he and his party are able to defeat all 3 Furiae. Rowan is also lucky at first, as his random firing kills on Fuxi quickly, giving him enough time to jump at one Harpy. However, and although he is able to eliminate one, the lack of effectiveness in using the sword against them would make his companions' task all the more difficult, and as if t was a bad joke, they would all miss. 2 Harpies have managed to get through, but 1 Fuxi has stayed on Rowan's side. On Tatsuya's side, no Furiae gets through, but all three Oshichi remain, just 1 still hurt, preparing to attack once again.]
"No human would oppose death like this if not for the sake of another. But if you want me to prove you wrong so badly, then so be it."
[The air around them would become extremely heavy, as even more demons approach, all of them far stronger than anything they had faced so far. Quickly approaching Rowan's side, 4 Yomotsu-Ikusa and 4 Succubus. 2 of the Yomotsu-Ikusa would try to overwhelm Rowan with Eigaon, the next 2 would attack Rowan's party, two different individuals of the complete three with Mighty Gust. One his companions is left heavily wounded, and the other is quickly killed by the strike, as it had been critical. 3 Succubus would simply try to get through the defenses, the last 1 remaining would join in and attack Rowan with Eiha. Finally, the Fuxi would attack him with Garula.]
[Approaching Tatsuya's side, 4 Momunofu and 3 Taraka. All 4 Momunofu would close in on Tatsuya; 2 would cast Tarukaja on the ones that are about to strike him. The attack choice of them would be a heavy attack known as Brutal Slash. Next, 1 Taraka would attack him with Zionga, luckily not shocking him. The other 2 would approach his party and they would lay waste with Heat Wave. They would not kill them, but most of them would barely be above the 50% mark. Finally, the 3 Oshichi would keep firing Raiho their Agilao.]
---------- O ----------
[Indeed, Raidou is able to quickly take care of one Zombie, as it had been heavily damaged prior. It would seem Zombies can take bullets rather well, and although they were not weak to blades, they could be hurt badly by them. Regardless, Tsukasa would then move and follow Raidou's advice. As if lady luck wanted it, he was able to critically wound and kill one of the incoming Zombies, but the remaining one, who was still mostly okay, closed in on him and attacked rather weakly. Moving closer to the people who were still trying to move out, the last Zombie would find itself defeated by Kazuma's weapon.]
Kazuma: "Get a grip, more will come!"
[Kouji kept moving the supplies around, being about a 30% done with them. But this was not all, for the 3 Ghost still remained, and all 3 attacked Raidou at the same time, going right through him and towards Kazuma and Kouji, who are not prepared to attack just yet. Their strikes are not particularly powerful but still hurt more than it should.]
Front Guard: "These are not getting through!"
[1 of the Front Guard soldiers had to lay low for a moment as he was badly hurt by the Zombies, but the other 3 completely annihilate the incoming 2 Harpies, all of them weak to guns. The people were indeed getting desperate, as they were able to see the demons already breaching.]
Tot actually breathes out a sigh of relief, practically bouncing as she turns around quickly enough to bring Penny some discomfort, and smiles back at the armor
"Honestly, I didn't really have a plan, so I'll take it... I don't really think about that light and darkness stuff all that much, I kinda just wanna get through it and see better days. The more get there with me the better, ya know?"
Tot jumps a little again, jostling Penny once more before she realizes she's probably causing the younger girl some discomfort.
"Oops, sorry 'bout that Penny. I dunno if I can carry you both, and even if I could it might not be a good idea, with the whole you maybe exploding part."
Tot would slowly set Penny down on the ground a bit away from the stairs before she turns and gets back up.
"So all I have to do is carry you a ways, then let you recharge while I pick up Penny and we'll be good to go? Its better than waitin' around at least."
She doesn't seem very concerned about the consequences to herself, instead Tot simply trots on over to the armor once more, before slowly, carefully, moving to pixk it up. Assuming no divine retribution strikes her, she'd do the same with the sword, sort of hugging the armor while holding the sword out ahead of her
Penny giggles, giving a smile at the armor since he decided to stay. Of course, she feels pretty uncomfortable when Tot jumps, but it was only because she tried to jump too before realizing why she can't. Either way, her response for her soul bearing great potential for holding a demon of chaos was already set.
Though she winced, she was set on the ground, pointing at the ceiling for no real reason other than to count the amount of things that she sees in a row. At this point however, she felt a bit sad. Even if her voice didn't really express it in the best way possible.
"Penny wants her legs back. Penny's sad now."
Being the little girl that she is, seeing Tot grab the sword just made Penny want to do it too, even if her limbs are most likely not strong enough for weapons like those. If her father had anything to do with it at least.
"Oooo, Penny wants to try! Please?"
The man snarls a curse in reply to this ongoing attack, he knew that it would be bad but still. Very bad luck indeed to have so much fire rushing for Raiho. Two of the attacks are dodged thankfully, but the third would slam into the Jack Frost and cause some solid damage. Some of which is healed moments later when the light of Media emits from him in a wave and restores a bit of health to himself, Tatsuya, and anyone else fighting on their side nearby.
It's not all of it though in his case, and likely not all of it in anyone else's case either. As for the demon hunter. His move is simply to use a flashbang toward the Oshichi, shouting out to his allies that they should be wide open as the bright light engulfs their foes for a brief moment. The attacks aimed at him, however, are quite an issue. Zionga is evaded, a quick step to the side ensuring that. One of the Slashes hits him though, not dead center but it's enough to do some decent damage. And finally, the Heat Waves both hit him, albeit only striking armor thanks to some quick movements as he raises his blade up again.
Having no magical aptitude, Rowan is hit straight on with the flurry of attacks. The curse starts to wear away at his soul while he is violently knocked back by the wind. He responds in kind by unleashing a crossfire upon the nearest approaching group of demons.
Gouto was holding on for dear life as Raidou darted around, shaking around wildly in the air as he clung to his partner's shoulder.
"Might want to start that miracle sooner rather than later, Raidou! Things are getting hot!"
The summoner nodded, and right on cue Raidou outstretched his arm to catch the glowing summoning tube between two fingers. The ritual concluded, the spider demon, hide as rough as stone and roughly the size of a small car, Tsuchigumo would appear with a mighty roar. Raidou couldn't help but smile at seeing his old companion, and he gestured to the attacking Ghosts with an open palm. His demonic ally got the message, and fired off strikes of lightning from its body towards each of them. Mazio, never fails.
Afterwards, Raidou took aim with his Python, aiming a shot for the remaining zombie's head as the revolver glowed with the Kuzunoha's signature green aura. Two bullets would be fired, each shot imbued with the lightning Tsuchigumo stored within its soul. Raiho named this technique "Boogie-Woogie", and it just sort of stuck.
[Tot approaches the armor and sword, and they... do not react to her touch. In fact, it would fill her with a strange sense of belonging and happiness, peace. There was no easy way to describe it, but holding on to the armor made it seem like she was right at home. The dark green aura surrounding the armor would combine with that of her own, but not perfectly, her own aura was of a regular, lighter green.]
"Luckily, you are not being rejected by the spell. This means you can be saved, because your soul is still your own, independent from outside interference, not blinded by light, but also not consumed by darkness. Still, I can feel a kind intent."
[As she hold on to the armor and sword, she is able to see the true image of the residence. As one would expect, it's ruined; the wooden floor is cracked and moldy; the walls have seen better days, and if she were to go downstairs, the place would share a similar intent. The bodies were missing and so was the food, the TV was cut in half.]
"The shrine it's not far from here, it is in the back of the residence, where the family was executed."
[As she hold on, Tot would notice Penny's own aura, although the girl would be unaware of her own. It was grey in color, with some reddish tints. Penny, would still see the entire place as they found it, and in fact, only she could her a distant singing voice coming from one of the two nearby rooms, but there was no telling which it was.]
"There is not much time left."
[The situation was dire but the team would not give up. Rowan's Crossfire barrage was enough to finish off the last remaining Fuxi easily, and so easy it was to kill that the damage received by the 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa and the sole Succubus who had attacked him was considerably, leaving them at about 50% of their capacity. Although one of the members of Rowan's team had been killed, the remaining two rained hell on their 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa, leaving them barely hanging on for dear life. On Tatsuya's side, the flashbang works quite well on the 3 Oshichi, so even if they are not damaged by it, they will not attack this time around. Tatsuya's party, that had been attack by the Heat Waves, retaliate with their guns and do some decent damage at the 3 Taraka.]
"And so, one finally falls. One shall follow this time around, and it's only a matter of time before you also fall. Give up, then it shall be painless."
[Pale Rider would speak, quite confident of his success. And so, it was time for the enemies to make their move. A total of eight demons would join in after the 3 out of the 4 Succubus on Rowan's side make it through, and the 3 Taraka, who had attacked with Heat Wave once more, but just hitting one of the members, also do. On Rowan's side, 2 Weredogs and 2 Kobolds join; on Tatsuya's side, 2 Andras and 2 Cu Sith.]
[The 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa and 1 Succubus on Rowan's end attack him with both Eigaon and Eiha, next, the 2 Kobold would Lunge at him. Rowan's party would face even more, as the 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa on their side finish off the heavily injured member, leaving just one person besides Rowan on that side. Furthermore, the 2 Weredogs would inflict Rakunda on the last one.]
[Tatsuya's side was a bit more lucky but quickly getting overrun. The 3 Oshichi were blinded but no one else was affected, and as such, 2 of the Momunofu Charge and the 2 others simply attack him with their lances. Tatsuya's party was barely holding on, two of the members still barely above the 50% mark and another closer to 25% would get some semblance of rest as the 2 Andras launch Agi at Raiho, and the 2 Cu Sith use Masukukaja, which affects every single demon on Tatsuya's side.]
Resistance Man: "I'm unsure of what to do, should we begin to retreat back to the place everyone is leaving... !? Should we remain here... !? We've already lost two men and we are barely holding out!"
---------- O ----------
[Tsuchigumo was indeed a great choice, including his attack, as all 3 Ghosts die, such demons being incredibly weak to magic of all kinds. Following, Raidou's own Boogie-Woogie ends up making the Zombie nothing but a memory.]
Tsukasa (85%): "I have to stay calm; these are not really all that strong...!"
[The Front Guard would begin firing again as 6 demons quickly close in. The incoming 3 Taraka would take all the damage, protecting the 3 Succubus coming straight at them. All 3 Taraka had been reduced to 50%. 1 of such Taraka would attack with a single Heat Wave, which injures everyone at the front, killing the man that had been badly injured previously, and also hurting the other remaining 3.]
Front Guard: "What can we even do...!?"
[The remaining 2 Taraka get through their defenses and fire two Zionga at Tsuchigumo rather quickly. What is worse, all 3 Succubus get through unscathed. First, 2 attack him with Eiha, and lastly, the remaining one attempts with Dormina, which has a 25% chance of hitting. Sadly, it lands true on Raidou, forcing him to fall asleep on the spot.]
[The people were almost out, just one truck needed to go and Kouji was about 50% done with the supplies, having gotten slower due the amount of demons quickly raising and not being able to keep his cool all the way through. Still, he pushes onwards despite his fear.]
Tot would breathe out a sigh of relief. Getting smitten wasn't really on her to do list for today, and with that threat apparently over, she could breathe easy.
"Is this how you see things Taira?"
Tot would ask the armor as she looks around, she'd focus mostly on Penny, and even she has to admit that's a kinda ominous aura around them. Still, Tot wouldn't let it bother her, instead telling the younger girl
"I'll be back in a little bit, just gotta help this guy out and we'll all be safe, cool?"
she doesn't really wait for Penny's reply before heading down the staircase, slowly and carefully, the girl steps lightly in hopes of not breaking through the floorboard. Once she's back on the first floor, headed towards the back of the residence, Tot would ask
"So, uh... What're your plans, once we get to the shrine anyways. I mean, Penny and I are probably gonna take you up on that offer, but are you just kinda gonna... Wait for it?"
Penny would tilt her head in confusion as she looked at Tot putting on the armor. She was about to object Tot leaving her all on her own, or as she says, "with no one to play with", but something came over her that just made her give her a thumbs up.
"Fine with Penny!"
When they had left the room, her pupils started to flash blue instead of yellow, another voice taking over the girl. While it was actually kind of similar to the original, the extended vocabulary and condescending tone was clearly something to be of suspect.
"Ugh, I hate that her legs are broken! Daddy, when is she coming back? This is stupid, and it needs to be fixed."
Her head tilted to the side, and then another voice popped up. One of an ominous old man whose focus was seemingly on something else entirely different. After his said his piece, the two began to argue once again, and then Penny herself started to hear the voice, and made a horribly slow crawl towards it when the two weren't paying attention. At the same time, it seemed to be even slower than it usually is, as if she was trying to delay it actually coming, since she was barely even out of the doorway of the room she was in right now.
Tatsuya's face is one of pain, but despite that pain he isn't about to give up on the fight for the moment. Instead glowing hot nuclear flames begin to form all around the man while he stares onwards.
"I don't think that falling back would work out, they'd overrun us as we try to move away from them more than likely."
Mafrei, nuclear magic designed to strike at foes all around bursts out from Tatsu even as he dodges backwards to evade one of the lances. It spreads out with several bursts, enough to at least do something to all of the demons gathered on his side assuming they're hit and not defended against Nuclear. The spear he didn't evade, however, would slam into the man's chest. It isn't able to get all the way through his armor and impale, but he's clearly a bit more hurt.
Raiho, on the other hand, has begun aiming to move back a bit, a move which would allow him to be merely grazed by the two Agi attacks. A graze is still enough to hurt, however, and he's still focused on trying to keep the team from going down.
More healing light rushing out of the jack frost as Tatsuya hopes that they can get some more kills Though his expected odds of living are low, it'd be nice to at least do some more good. And get the demon back to its master of course.
Feeling his soul slowly being eaten away and the death of two of his allies, Rowan desperately tries to make the last men last. Raising his right hand into the air, he ignites a blue spear of energy into the sky, abruptly stopping high into the air. An aquamarine dome falls down from the spear's tip, covering Rowan and his allies. The dome dissipates into freeflowing magic energy which pours into everyone encased and giving them the effect of Makarakarn
"Nothing worth doing is ever painless. When you're done talking shit, maybe you should come down here and die yourself!"
Raidou curses as he sees an all-too familiar spell being cast on him. Despite his resistance, he could do little to resist the sudden urge to collapse he felt. He propped himself up on his sword, trying to force himself to stay awake. The act was futile though, seeing as Raidou fully crumpled a moment later and drifted off. Gouto jumped off of Raidou's shoulder, and began pawing at his face, his little cat claws extended to make it extra hurty.
"Damnit, Raidou! This is no time for a catnap, get up!"
He turned towards the remaining men and shouted, such a booming voice a bit shocking to hear coming from a cat.
"Grrr, damn! Hey, everyone! Stick with it, we're barely scratching the surface here so don't start giving up now!
Kazuma! Stay on Kouji's ass! Gun down anything that gets too close, you're almost done so just hold out a bit longer! Tsukasa, focus fire on the closer ones, the Taraka. Keep your cool, and aim steady; we're gonna make it through this!"
The feline veteran angled his head towards the guards near the front, shouting orders at them as well.
"You guys guarding the front, keep your focus on the ones coming in. We'll handle anything that gets through, but you're our first line of defense. If things get too hot, don't be scared to take cover and just let those bastards through. The civis are almost outta here, so we can afford messier fights!"
Tsuchigumo, meanwhile, would roar as the elemental attacks barraged him. His electrical resistance kept those attacks from doing too much, but the Eihas hurt him more. The big guy could take a lot more punishment than Raiho could, though. The spider's war cry echoed throughout the area as it loosed another Mazio at the surrounding crowd of demons.
"I see the true nature of everything and everyone, but lately, my power has been disappearing. I can no longer protect this city."
[The surrounding areas to the residence, which remained apparently untouched when they first got there, is revealed to be as much of a hell hole as the rest of the city. The illusions keeping the facade in place were gone due to Masakado's inherent powers. Tot's body would feel a bit of heat coming from the armor.]
"I am to follow the same fate as Tokyo. If it is to perish, then so will I. But rest assured, as long as one person remains alive and ready to fight, so will I."
[There was no clear road ahead, but the abandoned, headless true bodies of the Imperial family were now clear to see. Their heads had been placed on spikes, like trophies. All that was left was the small forest close-by, and the road leading to the main entrance.]
"...Such a pitiful sight."
[Once again, voices would be calling from inside the house for Penny and only Penny to hear, those were coming from the rooms, but it was hard to tell which one of the two it was that it was beckoning for her to approach. Right, or left.]
"Poor thing, why are you crawling on the floor?"
"Where are your parents?"
---------- O ----------
[Tatsuya's Mafrei had been useful, for 1 Oshichi had finally died, injuring also the other 2. In fact, it damages all of them but 1 Momunofu who manages to dodge thanks to the Masukukaja provided by the Cu Sith. Tatsuya's group would growl and keep firing, damaging the group of 4 Momunofu. On Rowan's side, his desperate action would be providing a shield for the one remaining man on his side, who by himself manages to shoot down the 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa who had killed his friends previously.]
Resistance Member: "Suck on that, you damn monster!"
[Back on Tatsuya's side, another Member would slowly lose composure.]
Resistance Member 2: "Sir, you said that would be turning back soon, that we had to. There is no way we will die here, right!? The evacuation must be done, right!? If we stay here, we-"
Resistance Man: "I know that! Just a bit longer, there has to be a way for us to leave alive... isn't it... ?"
[Despite the Media, their health is slowly going down faster due to the unrelenting demon attacks. Then, Pale Rider would speak.]
[Before any of the demons attack, a great bunch of them run past the defenses, for the group's energy was low regardless. The ones to leave are 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa, 2 Kobold, 2 Momunofu and 2 Cu Sith. Making the ones remaining and still fighting on Tatsuya's side: 2 Oshichi, 2 Momunofu and 2 Andras. On Rowan's side: 1 Succubus and 2 Weredog. A distant rumbling could be felt quickly approaching, the sound of at least 50 demons coming at once, although it would take a bit more before they got here.]
[On Rowan's side, 1 Succubus would quickly approach the last remaining member of his group and try to use Eiha, but thanks to the Makarakarn shield, it's rebound back to her and leaving her badly injured. Following this, the 2 Weredog Lunge at Rowan once more.]
[On Tatsuya's end, the 2 Oshichi and 2 Andras attack with Agilao and Maragi respectively in order to hit both Raiho and Tatsuya, the 2 remaining Momunofu who had stayed behind would attack one of the members of the man's group, as they had charged, their attacks immediately kill the soldier. ]
Resistance Man: "This is too much, we won't last much longer... !!"
[Tsuchigumo's Mazio hits the mark, dealing some nice damage to every one of the enemies around the area, both the Succubus and Taraka. Furthermore, Tsukasa is able to take down 2 out of the 3 Taraka, Kazuma finishing off the last remaining one as he stands closer to Kouji. Raidou stays asleep for the moment.]
Tsukasa (85%): "Yeah, just a bit more, the others must have reached the place by now, or at least should be getting there soon."
[Kouji would keep working hard, Kazuma staying close and watching the last few people getting on the bus.]
Kouji: "What about the others at the North? That one man said they should be coming back as soon as they could but if they don't hurry..."
Kazuma: "See how many demons are getting through? I doubt they would even get the chance."
[The Front Guard would fire once more as numerous demons would approach once again. This time, 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa, 2 Kobold, 2 Momunofu and 2 Cu Sith. The Guards would fire at everyone for as long as they could, hitting first of all the 2 Kobold, who quickly die, as they are weak to such weaponry. Every single one of the demons are hurt but decided to run forwards to Raidou, Tsukasa and Tsuchigumo, so the Front Guard remains safe.]
[All 3 Succubus would join in with the 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa and ravage Raidou with both Eiha and Eigaon, which should also be enough to take him out of Sleep. Next up, the 2 Momunofu would approach Tsukasa, one would cast Tarukaja on his friend, who would quickly attack with Brutal Slash, leaving a terrible wound on his left leg the moment he tries to dodge. The 2 Cu Sith would then follow up with Garu directed to Tsuchigumo.]
[The last truck was about to leave and Kouji was done with the supplies somewhere around a 65%.]
"But you said you'd get a little better once I get you to your shrine right?"
Tot tries to keep a positive tone as she looks around the area. Tot saw the bodies earlier, so its not a surprise, but she still feels a little sick looking at them.
"Plus you said there might be someone able to protect these things. Maybe he'll show up, right in the nick of time!"
Tot would normally have jumped there, but weighed down with all the armor she doesn't manage much more than a little hop. Taking one last glance around the area, and doing her best not to look at the severed heads, Tot'd naturally notice the small forest that looked almost untouched and decided to head that way.
"Looks like they couldn't get close to your shrine at least. Good thing too eh Taira?"
"Daddy's back at home, and so are my sisters."
While the girl grew to hate crawling on the floor, she doesn't really care about being suspicious of strangers. Especially since the only one that was probably supposed to be in this house as of now was in fact the suit of armor that Tot had taken off with.
"Penny hates Destinyland now. Penny wants to go back and make it go BOOM! Right?"
Her bugbear sitting in the corner had slouched down in disappointment, because her owner might get herself killed again. Though it didn't really want to intervene right now seeing as how she's only making it so far as to the doorway right now, it decided to check outside and scout for any potential threats. Meanwhile, Penny herself was nowhere near the two rooms yet.
"Thanks Alice, thanks Daddy, thanks Mr. Bear, thanks Pumpkin Head. Tee-hee! Tee-hee! Penny's legs are broken, tee-hee!"
"Back, foul beasts!"
Noticing the creatures' approach, Rowan tries to hold up Espada in front of his chest in defense with his left hand. Holding the M16 in his right, he is knocked back by the lunging creatures but counters by shooting rapidly at the leg of the first one while kneeling on the ground, tilting the gun slightly in the hopes that the spread would cover both attacking demons.
This entire thing is just... it's insane. Tatsu's move is simple, he uses Gram. The blade is able to turn its own natural fire to defense somewhat, a wall of fire shooting up in front of him that pushes back against the spells of these demons as he pants heavily. That almost surely won't stop all the damage, but it would reduce things enough and give Raiho a bit more time to keep moving back.
As usual for him though, defense turns to attack soon enough. The flames desperately conjured up blasting outwards while Gram thrusts forward quickly to motion his magic onward. He isn't sure how much longer this can keep up though.
Raiho's move is focused nearly entirely on defense, it isn't Media this time. But Bufu, rather than using the ice to attack however a barrier is conjured. A barrier that would inflict horrible chill and slowness upon those who walk into it, but do no direct damage. It's placed to make approaching harder for the landbound demons though, and if any were fool enough to be near when it rises up they might be struck with some blunt force.
"We'll last long enough... And that's all I can promise right now honestly, I won't allow those lives lost to be for nothing!"
He can't believe that it'll be for nothing, not their lives or his. To think that is admitting total defeat, and as such is unthinkable.
Raidou was blown back by the magical attacks bombarding him, sending him rolling along the ground a few feet away. Tsuchigumo took the brunt of the wind spells as well, his lumbering frame didn't make dodging things very easy, after all. The wind corroded his stone-like skin rather harshly, wind being his natural elemental weakness and all. The summoner struggled to his feet, still shaking off the grogginess from earlier and gauged his surroundings. Things were getting rough, and he had to do something fast. He saw his spider companion in danger, and darted to catch up with it, leaping upward onto the demon's back and raising Kusanagi skyward. Seeing as a good amount of the supplies were in place by now, it was time to execute the second part of this plan.
Tsukasa! Fall back to where the supplies are, use what Kouji has managed to move as cover and keep yourself safe behind them while you cover the rest of us! Kouji, Kazuma, keep doing what you're doing, stay sharp!
Having given his orders, Raidou, riding atop Tsuchigumo, charged forward and would attempt to run the Momunofu through on Kusanagi's edge as a short trail of sparks followed the demon as it charged. Afterwards, he would train his revolver on one of the Cu Siths and fire at its head.
"I mean that in the general sense. Tokyo is not a city, but its people. Although I would imagine such an idea is rather common in today's world."
"As long as one person remains alive and has the determination to fight, I shall aid them."
"That is... if their soul is worthy."
[Tot's walk through the forest may prove to be a bit difficult with the armor and sword on her. Which also was getting hotter by the minute, so much now that it would keep her warm in the rather cold and dry wind. It would not burn her... yet, but the chance was certainly increasing. The trees themselves were not big, but they were many. The way towards the shrine would not be quite simple.]
"If you truly are worthy then you will find your way. Close your eyes, no matter the path you take, you will meet with destiny."
[With no clear road, only general directions remained. East, West, and North. South of course, was the way from the which she came in.]
[Mr. Bugsbear would not find anything too strange as he keeps guard. Only the distant noise of battles to the death and desperate men trying to stay alive for long enough.]
"Oh dearie, then we must help you."
[The voice said once again to Penny. The voice was that of a mature woman, and a very kind one at that. It was coming from the room to the left.]
"If you can reach us then we can certainly treat you well, your legs must hurt so bad."
[Yet another voice, this time that of a mature man, also coming from the left room. It continues.]
"We are no medics, but we can try to fix your legs, if you stay for a while..."
[Then, from the right room, a third, younger sounding voice speaks, perhaps that of the same age of Penny.]
"You said you wanted things to go BOOM! right!? Then I'm sure I can help you, even if it's Destinyland!"
[Rowan may have gotten hit but his choice of attack is excellent, for the 2 Weredogs were extremely weak to gun attacks. Both die and that only leaves the Succubus alive, which is finished off by the one remaining member of his team that was alive.]
Resistance Member: "There's nothing! Rowan we can book it! The other horde is coming but there is NO way we can take it! Don't you think the same!?"
[Tatsuya's own actions would poor choices, for the 2 Oshichi and 2 Momunofu were damaged, but not much, not even the 2 Andras, who choose to laugh at his attempts. Taking the chance, the Resistance members shoot at 1 of the Momunofu and quickly kill him.
Resistance Man: "Stand your ground, soldier! I know that what's coming is a bit extreme but...!"
Resistance Member: "BUT WHAT!? Every single one of my friends just died, here, by my side. How long before we all follow!? This is our chance; we have to escape!"
[Indeed, the sound of coming demons was a big concern, for what used to feel like 50 demons, now felt closer to 80. Their footsteps were getting louder and it was clear in the hazy figures in the distance. Pale Rider would yet again cackle.]
"And so, you cannot even come to face me. I do wonder, where shall you all go. To heaven, or perhaps..."
[Although Rowan's side was out of demons, this was not the case for Tatsuya's. The first ones to continue the barrage of vicious attacks were the ever so annoying 2 Oshichi who focus Raiho with their Agilao. Following this, the remaining Momunofu would actually risk it all in an attack that should completely waste Raiho's ice. As if lady luck herself wanted to see the human’s dead, Momunofu is successful in using his Brutal Slash against the ground and shattering it all away. Although Tatsuya's plan makes it so that the remaining shard hurt the demon. Finally, the 2 Andras decide to attack the resistance member that was the most hurt. Somehow, they both land some massive, critical hits to him, taking his life and allowing them to get past the defenses.]
Resistance Man: "Shit!!"
Resistance Member: "I told you! Just how long!? We need to get the hell outta here!!"
---------- O ----------
[Raidou's combo attack with Tsuchigumo is only capable of properly taking down 1 of the 2 Momunofu, as the other had dodged in the nick of time. Luckily, Raidou's bullet would quickly take care of the Cu Sith, who simply drops dead without any fanfare. Tsukasa would crawl his way back before slowly getting up and behind the great pile of supplies. From there, he would take a lucky shot at the last Cu Sith who had gotten distracted with his friend's death, killing him on the spot.]
Tsukasa (45%): That was too close, but I got that one... !
Kazuma: "You're too young, kid. Too much."
[Kazuma from there would then take aim at the last remaining Momunofu and land a lucky headshot, killing the demon instantly. Kouji would simply whistle at such skill before going back to work.]
Front Guard: "Why do they even have wings!?"
[The Front Guard sees 2 Andras approaching. Although they manage to damage one of them, it is not by much, and what's worse, they attack with Maragi before going directly to join the 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa and 3 Succubus. The 2 Yomotsu-Ikusa would then move closer to Raidou and Tsuchigumo. One would attack the demon with Eigaon, and the other would attack Raidou with a heavy strike, Mighty Gust. 2 of the Succubus would stay in their place and attack the duo with Maeiha, meanwhile, the remaining 1 would move closer to the supplies and attack Kazuma with a single Eiha.]
Kouji: "Crap, we need to take them down faster!"
[Kouji had reached about a 75% of completion in his task, and the last truck with people had left the area just a bit ago. It was clear that the call would come soon.]
“I’m not really sure I get it.... but it’s kinda like your power depends on who’s left to help, right?”
Tot willingly admits, she was never really much for big thinking
“But it’s kinda like your power depends on who’s left to help, right? So then we’ll be just fine!”
Tot notes the increasing heat, but shuts up to let Taira continue her instructions, just as asked she’d close her eyes.
“That’s pretty specific, but hey I’ve trusted ya this far. Let fate guide me...”
If it didn’t really matter what direction she went, Tot would simply go straight ahead to theNorth with her eyes closed, as it didn’t require her to turn. Presumably she’d either bump into something or Taira’d let her know when it’s safe. Loathe to let the air hang she’d continue talking
“You’re starting to get kinda warm Taira. Is this that curse you were talkin’ about or a sign of you getting better?”
"Tee-hee! Tee-hee, this is so confusing, tee-hee!"
The little girl laughed as she dragged herself, tears almost came out and wetting the floor. At this point, it seemed that she was mostly lost, but in the midst of some of the maniacal laughter, some other distorted voices came from the girl.
"Why the hell do literally all of you sound suspicious?"
Was one of them that could be heard, contrasting the carefree attitude that Penny herself has going on. There was also another one that sounded a bit different from the two feminine ones, in which it said-
"Tabitha, let Penny make her own decisions. I want to see how this all plays out."
In which the extended vocabulary was clearly contrasting from the two that spoke prior. After it said that, the two started arguing again, and Penny was inching towards the two rooms, but couldn't actually pick one. Meanwhile her Bugbear was actually trying to inch her away from both of the rooms, but couldn't really do it even with her current condition.
Turning to his last ally, Rowan rashly shouts back to him, taking a step back from the demon horde.
"Heh, you're right. Let's get out of here!"
He turns his back on the horde and begins marching towards the base, looking back to make sure the resistence member was in tow.
Falling back, that's suicide though isn't it? The problem with running away, anything like a demon is faster than they are anyways. Running makes you sitting ducks of course, but staying is also suicide at this point. Dammed if they do, dammed if they don't.
"Get out of here, how. You do understand, of course, that trying to just run away will simply leave us wide open?"
The tiny demon is able to evade one attack, and the other isn't quite a direct hit. But he's at best around 45% by now, maybe less. Raiho is still trying to move back, but this time icy energy bursts forward in a ball from his hands while doing so. Tatsu after being struck by some bits of the now shattered wall would let loose with another burst of glowing nuclear energy, it mingles with the Bufu fired off in a display of power that would send a larger wave of magic blasting out. Greater power than either of their spells could reach on their own, but the demon hunter as well is clearly growing tired and wounded. He does take some steps back, but they're slow and careful while still facing his foes.
"Turning tail and rushing away, that's a bad move even against wild animals. And I assure you, these are more dangerous than mere animals."
Raidou was thrown off of Tsuchigumo and sent careening into the air by the attack from that pesky Yomotsu-Ikusa. Tsuchigumo growled loudly as the attacks tore into the earlier chinks made in its stone hide, getting dazed momentarily. Hearing Kouji's words, Gouto leapt off of Raidou's shoulders and onto the ground below.
"He's right, Raidou! It's now or never, do it!"
Raidou, understanding what Gouto was saying, righted himself in the air, and almost seemed to be floating as the usual haunting green glow surrounded him and Tsuchigumo. He was hoping to save this for when things seemed unwinnable, but the way things are, he didn't see any other way to reduce the damage on his team. He had to buy time somehow, so it's now or never.
He who strikes first...
Raidou pointed his sword skyward, as lightning arced around his sword arm, violently fizzling around his body as the summoner's glare hardened. Then, quick as a flash, he zoomed toward the ground, gaining speeds so fast that to the naked eye, he seemed only like a streak of light. He darted past the group of Succubi, the pair of Yomotsu-Ikusa, and even the two Andras approaching the group, before the light darted back to Tsuchigumo and took the form of Raidou Kuzunoha once again, his face stern. The spider-like demon lowered its body as Raidou raised a hand to the sky.
Raidou snapped his fingers, as Tsuchigumo bellowed to the sky. Lightning, fiercer than any the demon could produce on its own, raged across the path Raidou had drawn, tearing through every group of demon Raidou had passed by and violently shaking the ground with a sound not dissimilar to a cannon firing. If Gouto had to put a measure to the power, he would compare it to something like Maziodyne, but outputting that level of destructive power took a toll on Raidou and his partner. The pair were noticeably winded after that, and likely won't be pulling off another flashy stunt like that for a good while.
"It's indeed the curse, or rather, protection cast on me. Those with a weak spirit are to be burned away by forever flames. Anyone who has tried to use me or even carry me is burnt to a crips. Not even the ashes remain."
[Tot can't exactly tell where it is she's going, but she can feel it somehow deep inside, that she's getting closer. With eyes closed, she could somehow even make out a faint path that ignored any of the trees; this only with both eyes closed. The armor kept getting warmer, really close to starting to burn a bit. Just inches away from pain.]
"Do not misunderstand, however. A spirit can be made stronger, and I suspect that yours is just not yet ready to hold on to me for too long. I would recommend moving faster, who knows how long you can last."
[Penny, on the other hand, would be trapped between the two doors. For some reason, the voices had become quiet, and a strange kind of atmosphere surrounded the area. Penny would feel something strange on her right arm. It was pulsating, vibrating from the inside, like the bone had become sentient and was trying to break out. The feeling got worse, and in an instant, the bone splintered, piercing the flesh and skin. After this, the "atmosphere" left the area and the voices came back.]
"Oh dear~ That must hurt so much, come to our room!"
"No, come to mine! We can destroy it all!"
[The voices would want her to choose.]
--------- O ----------
Resistance Member: "Now we're talking, I'm not going to die here, we already did our job!"
[Both Rowan and the Resistance Member, Hideyuki, are successful in their escape. The go through their own defenses and will be able to reach the West Area without much of an issue. Pale Rider would then speak again rather loudly.]
"It would seem that at least two are foolish enough to keep escaping death. It always catches up, however. Every human has to face it, some will way before others."
[Tatsuya's and Raiho combined efforts are able to finish off the last few demons on Tatsuya's side of the battle. The fusion of Ice and Nuclear energy was certainly a good choice, even if none of them were weak to any, it did the job. The Resistance Man, and the last remaining member exchange a single look before turning to Tatsuya and Raiho. It was a grand total of 4 people left.]
Resistance Man: "...Alright."
[The incoming horde was red in color. First was a group of 23 Oni all incoming at once. As they got closer, they would simply throw a barrage of Rakunda at every single member of the group. All of them were laughing loudly, but above it all, Pale Rider laughed even harder.]
Oni: "Shit, I wanted to eat some sexy lady, but I guess these old men will do."
[The one closer to them would say as he wipes his drooling mouth.]
[The Goddess was on Raidou's side, for the lightning he and Tsuchigumo created completely annihilated all demons in the area. None could null such strength, much less reflect it, not even resist it, and their wounded done by the Vanguard, the Front Guard and his companions worked wonders in finishing them off. As it stood, the entire area was safe. Tsukasa would let out a sigh of relief and laugh loudly.]
Tsukasa (45%): "What the hell!? That was awesome, are you telling me you could have done that from the start!? The demons have NOTHING on us!"
[Kouji just looked in amazement before remembering he had a job to do. He smiled and his morale was certainly raised. He was a 90% done. Kazuma, on the other hand, would approach Raidou and tap him on the shoulder. The man was glad it was seemingly over.]
Kazuma (85%): "Alright, I think you should tap out and let your uh... demon guy, guys? I have no idea how they work, but they should rest too."
[The minutes would pass and no demon was in sight. It almost seemed as if the Vanguard was successful in their endeavor. But no one was coming back. They could hear a distant rumbling, but that was it, no more fighting, no sounds of struggle. For a moment, the night sky above would let them know they were indeed still alive, and they just had to make their way back. Eventually, the sound of footsteps would quickly close in on them. The Front Guard would slowly move up from their cover and point their guns.]
Hideyuki: "Wait! We're humans we- we're from the Vanguard!"
[One Member came running that was injured, as well as the young Rowan, who also quite possibly looked like hell. The Front Guard would lower their weapons and let them pass. Tsukasa and Kazuma would look at them and wonder why exactly was it that there was only two who made it back instead of the eight they had sent before. But of course, the answer should be obvious. Just a moment later, the radio Raidou was given would finally make a noise. If he were to pick it up, the man he talked to before would speak.]
Group Leader: "Raidou! The truck to pick up the supplies is about to go and so are we to pick you boys up! The people made it out safely with minor fatalities; they were brave soldiers. How many of you are there left?"
"Maybe I could if you weren't so heavy."
Tot would resist the urge to open her eyes, at least for now. She was surprisingly good at following orders given her rowdy personality. Instead she'd try to focus on what she can feel, the heat of the armor.
The girl simply goes where she feels she needs to, following a faint path that seems to tug at her, unable to see any potential obstacles.
"So this spirit thing... Is it mostly like, meditation and things like in the movies, or is there something more to it? I don't usually work with this kinda stuff, its more about doin' something wild with what you have than getting stronger and all."
Her maniac laughing fit was a bit strong enough to make her forget about her arm, but at the same time it was at least powerful enough to interrupt it. The girl screamed as she hit her head on the ground once, before going back into a fit of laughter.
"Ha ha, Penny's arm's now gone BOOM, Tee-hee, tee-hee! TEE-HEE! TEE-HEE!"
Despite all that's happening to the child, there was a horribly unreadable look in her eyes that couldn't be deciphered whether she really hates it or really doesn't care. Even if her laughing really suggests towards the latter.
"Ha! Ha ha! Tee-hee hee ha! Penny, Penny, Penny, why is Penny such a dummy? HA! Penny's a dumb dumb. Penny can't open door when everything's broken! Tee-hee, ha ha ha!"
In the midst of the dying girl's mental breakdown, Penny was already making her choice. She didn't feel like trying for the other option. It was almost over, after all. All that's left was to do what she wanted. The girl crawled closer to the right door, weakly smacking the frame of the door with her healthy arm. With a bit of reluctance, the Bugbear used it's stubby arms to try and twist the doorknob so that his owner could be let inside.
(edited by Penny)
Tatsu's magic rushes out, Tarukaja this time as he begins moving shockingly quickly.
"Know everything I just said about running? It's still true, sadly. But we can't win a straight fight, so I'm gonna try something."
Raiho was a ways back from the hunter and resistance man, and as the magic raises his attack power Bufu would rise up once again. Taking the shape of one more wall, this time greater thanks to the added power from Tatsuya's spell. Even as the tiny demon flees. He stares to the solider with grim eyes.
"Gonna try and get you out of here, Raidou's demon too. That'll buy us a few seconds I think. If we all make it, great, if not... I've had a good run."
He's moving quickly, but if it's quick enough even with the precious few seconds their thick icy wall will add remains to be seen. He doubts it, but maybe with some luck at least the tiny hat wearing Jack Frost up ahead can get back to his partner. That'd be nice.
Raidou collapsed, taking a knee and leaning against Tsuchigumo. The demon growled lowly before laying down in a resting position as well. The summoner was sweating profusely, and standing seemed like a bit of a tall order right now. He raised an open pal to his comrades, an exhausted smile on his face. Sure, things were far from over, but he earned a chance to sit down and breathe for a second. In this bit of downtime he did decide to reload his revolver, and make sure everything was still intact. He and Tsuchigumo were still in fighting shape, but they definitely won't be safely pulling off something like that again. He perked up as he saw the front guard let a pair through, including a familiar kid. Raidou immediately jumped up, and ran to meet the two. Gouto hopped up on his shoulder, and addressed them.
"T-the vanguard? Wait, Hideyuki, Rowan, where are the others? What the hell happened out there?!"
At that moment, Raidou's radio signaled, and he drew the device out in a hurry. He listened attentively to the man on the other line, glad that their escape seemed to have gone somewhat smoothly. He looked out over his own group, one down from the front guard, but everyone else was still in one piece. Still, given Rowan and Hideyuki being here, he didn't quite know how many people they'd have to evacuate.
...We lost one on the front guard, otherwise we're fine. Seven of my crew is still kicking, but it looks like the vanguard is getting pushed back. I'd expect a bigger load than we had originally expected.
"Meditation is one of the ways indeed, quite popular among the peaceful ones that would rather not dirty their hands with blood. Idealistic, but respectable, nonetheless. There are infinite ways in which a human can attain great spiritual power, it is not unlike the capacity for one to build muscle and become stronger."
[Tot would feel something breathing down her neck with a repugnant intent she was able to feel all around her body; her lips, her chest, her waist down to the hips. The breathing was accelerating, getting heavy, repulsive in every way. For a moment, perhaps, she was able to feel a pair of big hands grabbing onto her legs, the fingers feeling out her thighs before the sudden feeling dissipates, like fire had burnt to a crisp whatever it was that was next to her just moments ago. Masakado was unaware of whatever it was that happened, but his spirit would certainly start to burn the girl.]
"Training and perfecting a style of battle with discipline; empowering your will through acts bound by it. These are the two more popular forms in which a human can becomes strong in spirit. IN short, one is to face their own weakness and become courageous."
[The pain was not too great but it would take some willpower to keep moving.]
"We are close, child. Do not lose focus."
[On the other side of the Imperial Residence, Bugsbear would indeed move the sliding door that separates the hall from the room, and as he does, nothing happens. The voices are gone, and the illusion of a well-kept house, or rather, mansion, is gone. All that remains is the broken, wooden floor, and the ruined walls that are filled with scratches, holes and dried blood.]
---------- O ----------
[Tatsuya's plan is able to work for a moment as it stops the incoming attacks of the first few Oni.]
Resistance Man: "This is... there is no way. We have to... there has to be way..."
Resistance Member: "Oh my god... ! What are we going to-"
[A massive naginata, the main weapon of any Oni, broke right through a section of the wall and thrusted itself into the chest of the man right behind the Resistance Man. The giant blade would cut off the right arm in its one thrust and would leave the rest of the torso completely mangled as the man falls pitifully, without even letting out a cry. Puking blood, in absolute shock, still shaking and not quite gone just yet, he would look at the other two men.]
Resistance Member: "He....lp....mo...daa....aah..."
[Agonizing, the floor would be filled blood quickly. The walls of ice that Raiho had made would tremble violently, and so would the ground as even more Oni would quickly join in the efforts of the ones already planning to terrorize the last remaining men of the Vanguard. Raiho, with the advantage of being further ahead, would see a clear way to get out. Tatsuya and the Resistance Man would see the same, but 5 Oni would quickly get in their way over the wall that still hold most of them.]
Oni: "What, ya running away, you cowards? We still want to taste your meat, asshole!"
[The 5 Oni simply taunt the duo as the wall behind them starts to crumble, shards of ice starting to pile up. Raiho has a clear way to get out and follow the same way Rowan and Hideyuki did, he would simply need to run for it. Pale Rider speaks.]
"What is the matter? Do you not feel the need to keep up your arrogance? You humans sounded so confident in your victory before. But death cannot be bested. Let it take you."
[If Tatsuya looked up, he would see the Fiend hovering above his horse and holding his scythe, ready to reap the lives of those who had been lost. Still, even in the night sky, his seemingly small figure would cast an overwhelming image.]
[The man known as Hideyuki would sit on the floor catching his breath. It was clear both had seen hell.]
Hideyuki: "It was wave... after wave of enemy. Just demons of all types attacking and trying to break through, man. Uh...cat. Whatever."
[He covers his forehead and tries to breathe again.]
Hideyuki: "Two of my friends got killed over there, and Rowan is the only reason I'm even alive. After we got rid of some demons, we just booked it because..."
[He would points at the North.]
Hideyuki: "It's over a hundred of Oni. All at once, they should be coming soon but that guy, Tatsuya, our leader, some other guy and that weird Jack Frost stayed behind. They couldn't escape and they were too far from us."
[The man would cover his head with both hands and hold his own tears.]
Hideyuki: "There's just no way they are still alive. There's...no... we must leave. Now."
[Over the radio, the sound of a truck revving up could be heard, followed by it quickly moving out.]
Group Leader: "The supplies truck is on its way, you boys better be ready to go when we get there because we aren't waiting at all. It's too dangerous."
[And right on cue, Kouji had finished to pile up the supplies. The trucks would arrive shortly. The old man would approach Raidou and let out a big sigh of relief.]
Kouji: "Thanks kiddo. If it weren't for you, we would all definitely be dead. But now, I'm guessing you'll have us all move the supplies into the truck when it gets here? There aren't any demons around and honestly, they would kill us all anyways if what the Vanguard lad is saying is true."
Raidou looked downward at Hideyuki's words, if nothing else, he could feel that Raiho was at least still alive. That was something, if Tatsuya did die, the little guy would be back by now. So, for the time being, they have some degree of safety. Raidou desperately wanted to charge out there and help Tatsuya in any way he could, but one look at the faces of the men around him told him that he needed to be here. If Tatsuya didn't make it...surely he'd understand.
He nodded to Kouji, and turned to the rest of the men.
Yes, that's the plan. With all of our supplies gathered in one place, we have a central point to focus our defenses around.
He'd raise his voice at this point, for those on the front guard position to hear him.
When the truck gets here, I want to front guard to pull back, and for everyone minus Kazuma and Kouji to focus on loading those supplies as quickly as possible. If we don't see any demonic interference, then you two can go ahead and move the supplies with everyone else, if not, I'll need some help in holding back anything that's coming.
He'd then place a hand on Hideyuki's shoulder, his expression and tone softening.
Hideyuki, Rowan, if you two can't fight, then I won't force you to. However, if you're still up to it, I'd like you two to help me defend everyone as well. You especially, Rowan; I need your strength.
The tiny Demon keeps on running, he's gotten his orders and he knows that not getting back isn't an option. But he doesn't leave without giving Tatsu and the remaining solider one final gift, a large blast of ice flying straight through the air towards the remaining group while Raiho flees the scene.
"Sorry, but I don't really want to play with you guys. Some other time perhaps, when I've got more time and energy to spare. NOW GO!"
He speaks in a calm and even voice, before bursting into a shout and thrusting Gram forward and sending a burst of flames flying out of the weapon straight at them. But killing his foes isn't the true design, it'd do more pain than damage despite the two attack buffs on him. The real design becomes clear when his firey magic slams into Raiho's last move, a huge cloud of steam busting into existence and obscuring everyone.
Just like a makeshift smoke bomb going off, with any luck between that and the pain it'd leave them distracted enough for Tatsuya and his ally to flee, feeting moving as rapidly as they can. Though either way Raiho is by now long gone. And not a word is spared for Pale Rider, their goal has been reached after all from his viewpoint, so there's really no need to spare thoughts upon that while trying to escape with their lives intact.
Tot would jump a bit when she feels something touching her, but by the time she’s noticed it the feeling and breath are already gone. Just thinking about it sends a shiver down her spine
“Did you feel that? We’re supposed to be alone here, right?”
For now continuing to talk would distract Tot from the worsening pain. It always made her feel a bit better, whether in training, fighting, whatever.
“This willpower thing’s just like training to be a hero. Teach always wanted to train one of those, but I guess I’m not quite there yet.”
Tot keeps moving forward, holding her eyes closed as long as she can. It was starting to get tiring, but now we can view it as a sort of training
“Maybe I’ll come back to see ya sometime when I’m stronger just to see what ya think?”
“Close? Close to...Penny?”
The girl spoke quietly, almost bursting to tears again when the whole house around her changes. They said not to lose focus...right? Sounds like something Daddy would say after all.
“What’s gonna happen...now?”
She laid on the floor, too hurt to turn her body around and look at the ceiling face up. While the Bugbear would keep a close eye on Penny, it didn’t even bother to try and see what’s behind the other door, instead staying near her and preparing for anything bad that might happen.
"...Right, I want to go back and help Tatsuya... but that may as well be a lost cause."
Rowan looks at the ground solemnly for a moment, putting one foot forward towards Raidou and clenching a fist.
"Okay. I'm ready for the next battle. I can be wherever you need me."
Looking up, he furrows his brow and wraps a hand around the hilt of his gun.
"We are indeed alone, child. Do not worry. Just a bit more."
[Masakado would say to Tot as she keeps moving forward despite the sudden fright and the increasing pain. The road she had been following with both eyes closed was even clearer now, as if her having both eyes shut was the same as them having the clear view of natural light. But the pain was not going to have any mercy. Her arms felt like they were slowly getting on fire. It would take focus to notice the road slowly separating into two. One of crimson light, another of azure light, and the last one, dark green.]
"I do indeed hope that we can meet again at a time when you can use the full extent of this armor and blade. Anyone who does will gain the power to protect Tokyo. But perhaps... they who use these pieces were already strong enough to do such thing."
[And on Penny's side, silence. Until the very same exact silence talks back to her.]
We can make a contract.
You, child of man, are so broken down, both mentally and physically.
What would you say if I offered you a fix?
I can restore your arm, your legs... and your mind.
[If Penny were to look at the place from which the silence was coming from, she would see the man without a mouth and void eyes, he who wears a suit covering his pale, dead body and uses a hat to cast a solid shadow under his rotten orbs, Melbourne.]
You will only need to pay me back with something at a later date.
What do you say?
[The man would kneel besides the small girl.]
---------- O ----------
Hideyuki: "I get it, I get. That's all we can really do now..."
[After waiting around for a couple of minutes, the group of men would hear a distant sound, the most heavenly sound they could ever get. It was a single truck approaching in the distance at incredible speeds. It would seem that, since the road is all cleared out and there is no actual speed limit in place, that going through a few kilometers or miles isn't a big deal. It would only slow down as it got closer to the group.]
Kouji: "No more rest. Alright everyone, get ready, you heard Raidou's plan!"
[Tsukasa couldn't really move at all, so he would limp his way closer to the group, so he doesn't stay alone near the supplies. This time around, it was Kouji and Kazuma the ones that would change places with the Front Guard that had already rested some. The pair of named human weren't exactly at the gate but close enough so not to be too far away from the people they had to cover.]
Tsukasa: "I can barely walk, I'm sorry I can't help much right now, but uhm...I can shoot if you guys need that."
[Tsukasa would prepare his rifle from where he's sitting as the truck quickly parks close to the supplies. The man from inside the truck would tell them to hurry up, because the other truck that was there to pick them up was coming soon and that would not wait for anyone. As the men begin to load the goods inside the vehicle, they would find themselves quickly at a 30% done with so many working hands.]
Kazuma: "Is that something coming over there?"
[He would say to himself as he saw a small figure approach. Readying his rifle, he was ready to shoot at whatever it was that was coming.]
Kazuma: "Heads up guys, a demon! Just one though."
[Raiho would indeed make his way back after a single action. His ice would collide with Tatsuya's fire, and that would create a perfect smoke screen with zero visibility for the five Oni that had approached the duo of adult men.]
Resistance Man: "Amazing, that's a great idea, there is no time to waste!"
Oni: "You fuck! Where are you!?"
[The wall was still holding on strong and the five Oni would try to find both Tatsuya and companion within the smoke. Both men would move quickly and attempt their daring escape from horrible, violent death at the hand of the demonic brutes.]
But it's never that easy, is it.
[A voice all too familiar to Tatsuya would say, Melbourne. The smoke screen would suddenly disappear and in whatever takes for the human eye to blink, the Oni were already on their back. Luckily, Jack Frost was gone, but it wasn’t the case for the pair. Tatsuya would be grabbed by the foot and thrown with great force against a faraway wall opposite to the direction they were going to. Tatsuya would slowly feel his consciousness disappear, but not quick enough as to miss what was going to happen to the Resistance Man.]
Resistance Man: “Tatsu-”
[An Oni would punch him harshly in the stomach before another kicks him on the head. The older man would fall to the ground already bleeding, and trying to craw his way to freedom, he would be strongly grabbed by the leg, so hard the bone had certainly shattered. The man would let out an awful scream before he is slammed against the concrete which covers the ground, which would be enough for him to lose consciousness for a moment. Taking this moment to plan something else, one would crack the floor with a powerful strike, followed by a second which would keep on of their horrible weapons in place. They would forcefully rip off his clothes and then, a pair would pin him against a wall. Sadly, the man would wake up in the worst possible moment. Trying to break free to no avail, he would even go as far as to try and bite his own tongue, but there were not enough teeth to commit such suicide.]
Resistance Man: “Oh muh goh! Goh! Ah duh wanna die!!! Heeeehp, ahsuya eedeh, huuka!!!”
[But Pale Rider, who is still watching, would simple reply…]
“But He wants you to die, so has been declared. You shall meet your friends in Paradise once this is all done.”
[The Oni would use their weapons to skin the man alive, forcefully, like it was time to prepare a lamb, or perhaps a pig, for it to be served in the table for dinner. Eventually, the weapons would be too blunt, and they decided to use their teeth and claws. The result would be a still tearing up body with no skin but some stripes of it left hanging from the flesh tissue. In some areas, even the flesh had been bitten out. To complete the heinous act, they would impale the still somehow alive man on the muramasa they had planted on the ground. Letting out one final, pathetic whimper, the man would die of blood loss, and perhaps of horror, too.]
For once, Tot stops talking. She grits her teeth and keeps her eyes closed, imagining what her teacher might think of her.
"You wanted to change the world right? Couldn't bear to watch those in power do as they pleased? Goo but if you want to succeed, then pain must be nothing."
"Pain must be nothing."
she says to no one in particular. The girl runs ahead, eager to get to the shrine and end the pain. However, she is soon confronted with three paths, rather than one. Tot doesn't put much thought into the issue, simply running forward down the Azure path. Supposedly as long as her eyes were closed she'd end up on the correct way anyways, so there's nothing to do but go with her gut.
Rowan grunts heavily, tensing up his muscles and holding up his gun across his chest. He paces around and looks over the area for any nearby demons.
When it just so happened to be Melbourne kneeling next to the girl, she finally burst into tears. Penny tried her best to keep speaking as "normally" as she could though. Her bugbear was going to try and attack him when he suddenly appeared, using her uninjured arm she immediately grabbed it out of the sky and hugged it close to her.
"It's not you...isn't it. Daddy?"
The girl on the floor asked weakly. Even with a blind hope, she turned her head to where the silence replied to her and was left corrected. Her demon tried struggling in her grasp, but she kept on going with this conversation. She cried more, but the only thing that stopped was her ability to know whether who's with her is suspicious or not.
"Mister, help Penny please. Penny won't mind."
Raidou patted Tsukasa on the shoulder reassuringly. No need for him to work himself to death. As the truck arrived, Raidou would keep his eyes trained on the scenery, keenly waiting for a sign of life. As he saw the small figure approaching, he readied his revolver, but hesitated as Gouto tensed up on his shoulder. His eyes widening, Raidou held out a hand as he stepped forward.
H-hold your fire, men! I think...no...no, please no.
Raidou would approach the figure slowly, both out of wanting to be cautious, and being rather worried if the figure approaching really was the demon he thought it might be.
[The moment Tot attempts to go down the azure way, she finds herself unable to do so. Although she wills it, she can't move forward.]
"What is the matter? Don't tell me the curse is already too much for you."
[The pain would not get any better, but luckily it hadn't gotten any worse. It would seem that the armor was actually reacting to her current mindset. It was like her own spirit, something very deep within her was letting her know, almost like getting the hang of standing on two legs the moment one is about to walk for the first time ever.]
---------- O ----------
I will help you, Penny. Don't worry about that.
[Melbourne would place a hand on top of Penny's head and her vision would make some sense of him and his voice. She would start to see some semblance of familiarity with him. Although she knew this wasn't her father, he seemed almost related, like she could see bits and piece of him there. It must be the eyes that had no shadow anymore, or the lips, perhaps even the hair color. She would almost even call him "Uncle". Then, her mind simply accepted Melbourne as her uncle; a failed clone of his father.]
You father and siblings have put you through so much, even ordering you to die...
What a terrible man.
[Her fragile mind would allow him to do something he can't ever do, to modify the mind state as he repairs it. She would suddenly feel a weird distaste for her own father, and her sanity would quickly expand itself within her psyche. As it stood now, Penny kept her memories as they were, but regardless, she was a sane girl. The only differences is recognizing the man as her uncle, and disliking her father.]
I wonder, will curing you modify your morals?
There are grown-ups around that will question you on them.
This may not make sense now, but do what you want, even if it's saving people or wishing to destroy them.
[And with that, the pain would become happiness, and her entire body would be healed. He would then offer her his hand, which had a small card in it.]
Grab my hand and stand up, Penny.
[Rowan would look around for any other demons approaching but he would find nothing at all. Except, of course, the abandoned corpses of the demons. Burnt, electrocuted, sliced up and full of bullet holes. Rowan would recognize most, as they had gotten through the defenses before. For a moment it would seem as if they tried to stand up all at once, but they could not. Any demon hunter would be able to tell they are completely dead now.]
Kazuma: "Ah? You sure about-"
[Kazuma would respond to Raidou's plead with confusion before looking at him and back at the quickly approaching Jack Frost who may look more than a bit tired. He quickly realized that, taking into account how the demon dressed up as his companion, they were all allies.]
Kazuma: "Alright, I get it. Good thing you got here when you did. I was ready to shoot to kill. Surely you will understand."
[The group had loaded about 80% of the supplies, and that is when the second truck would arrive. It would drift and park closer to the group of men who had seen hell. From the co-pilot seat, a familiar older man would come down and yell at them.]
Group Leader: "Alright! We need to get moving so hurry the hell up because we are not waiting on anyone, we'll leave in the next two minutes!"
[The entire group was glad. Tsukasa would shoot a single bullet at the sky and try to stand up but finds it difficult thanks to his injured leg. Kazuma would get closer to the truck that will pick him up but has decided to get on it last, making sure no stray demon gets to them. Kouji on the other hand would help the young Tsukasa get on it. The Front Guard would hurry up with the supplies so they can load as much as possible before leaving, and it would seem they would finish their task in time. Hideyuki would also follow. The Group Leader would look at the singular dead soldier and simply look back at Raidou.]
Group Leader: "I'm guessing the Vanguard... didn't make it...?"
---------- O ----------
[Tatsuya would be waking up at last, the imagery not having changed at all. The Oni were ignoring him as they laughed at the massacred body of the Resistance Man, and the wall of ice was about to break in a few moments.]
Raidou knelt to tenderly pet the terrified little demon on the head. He was sure what to think about Raiho being sent back. Whether Tatsuya was dead or alive right now, him sending Raiho back sent one clear message to Raidou; an admission of defeat. Yet, even still, it was one last, terrific showing of defiance on his senior ally's part. Even when everything is lost, even at the expense of himself, he still chose to save another life. With that thought in his mind, Raidou smiled, and returned both of his demonic companions to their respective tubes. The young man stood, adjusting his hat and looking out beyond the wall they defended earlier. What had happened out there? Deciding he'd rather not know in full detail, Raidou turned away, and walked toward the convoy.
I...don't want to admit it, but with the retreat of my ally, and the survivors of the vanguard being scarce in number, I would advise against getting your hopes up for them. Still, they did their jobs, and we need to make use of the time they've given us. Let's move.
Drawing his sword in a flash, Raidou slashed at the ground by his feet. The almighty energy within the blade searing the ground. Two slashes, three, and more were compiled on one another before he had scorched a clear symbol in the pavement; A simple five-pointed star. Perhaps a sign of a job well done, perhaps a sign to Tatsuya should he come out alive that their mission had succeeded, or even still, perhaps the gesture was nothing more than a way for Raidou to vent his anger a bit. No matter the conclusion, Raidou stepped up into the truck, and stayed standing as he turned to make sure everyone got in safely. They had won for now, best to relish it while they could.
“Oh please, I’d be a laughingstock if I let this slow me down!”
Or so she says anyways, Tot still finds herself having a hard time moving forward. But now she knows why. At first she didn’t want to move forward. Because sometimes that hurts. And knowing that much makes her ashamed of herself for letting something that simple stop her. So once more, she takes a deep breath and starts talking.
“You know, it’s funny to think of it like this, but one of my pals back home is supposed to take her college entrance exams soon. They’re hoping to become a doctor because healthcare was super expensive back in their hometown, wanted to set up a practice there.”
As before, talking helps keep her distracted, making it easier to ignore the pain. Talking about some of the cool people she’d met and worked with got her to start smiling again. It’s a reminder of why she started working as a Magical Girl to begin with.
“I’ve always loved hearing people’s stories. And I want to help their dreams come true too.”
Finally, Tot would start to move again, this time focused not on the pain, or even the three paths. She’d find her way home anyways, the direction didn’t matter
"You're my uncle?...uncle..."
The girl was healed in every way possible, overflowing waves of doubt and confusion are washing over her like the memories she experienced. Her newfound disdain for Caulder and the sight of the man now being her uncle simply would be something that she accepts as she takes his hand...but-
"...if he sees me like this...he'll try and change it all back. I know he will..."
She immediately slips the card in her grasp as she goes in for a hug, tears streaming in her eyes. The girl never would've thought she could be like this again, even if the way she was before she didn't really care for anything but chaos and death. All the more reason to hate her father, but she still had doubts with her siblings.
"Either way, thank you...uncle. It's alright if I call you that?...of course it is. But what will everyone else think? Must I put on an act?"
Questions upon questions, it's like being suddenly transferred into a new body. Penny herself backed away a bit to give Melbourne space and letting go from the hug. Her bugbear is as confused as she is, but doesn't want to actually say anything about it, inching away from the two and looking around the area in hopes that there are no interruptions.
Rowan looks on in confusion as Raidou strikes at the ground. He hastens to see what Raidou was striking, rubbing his forehead to see that he was merely writing in the ground. Breathing a deep sigh, Rowan continues in the truck as well. He then looks for a container of water, taking a huge drink and splashing some over his back. He then glances over at Raidou, approaching him and grabbing his shoulder gently.
"So, how long have you been in this business?"
There's a lot Tatsuya could say, he could burn himself and with a bit of luck these Oni down to ash. All while screaming in rage at the injustice of their existence, at the fact they got to do... That. Instead though he simply begins moving, blade at the ready and prepared to defend as best he can if needed. But for now by far his beat bet seems to be hoping their 'process' is too involved to pay him much mind. He moves as quick as he can, and silently of course, but if it will work is anyone's guess.
He hates it of course, would much rather kill them. But at the end of the day, revenge solves very little, and with the job done he'd rather have a chance to live and fight another day.
[Tot would find herself able to go through the azure path, and as she does, the pain does in fact worsens, but it comes from the area around her, the azure that gets in the way of Masakado's and her own green. Step by step, her determination would be the only thing keeping the curse at bay and the pain. Eventually, her resolution would lead her back into the path of dark green. The vision of her closed eyes would disappear and Masakado would speak.]
"You got a bit lost on the way, but regardless, you managed to find your way through the forest in the dark."
[If Tot were to open her eyes, she would find a small, forgotten shrine covered in moss and fallen leaves. Right in the middle of its rocky structure, ancient candles surround the flat wooden table with the word "Armor". The pain would leave Tot's body.]
"Your spirit is certainly stronger now; you went through a great ordeal. It saddens me that perhaps we won't meet again, or that this may not work. Regardless, you did your best, child. If you were to die, I pray for us to meet after your reincarnate. Place me and the sword on the pedestal. From there, I can recover."
[Tot may even see the faint image of a man in front of her. On top of that, the sky above would still be clear. If she looked hard enough to her south, she may even see very bright stars that slowly grow in size, seven of them.]
"There is no time, hurry."
---------- O ----------
Penny, my name is Lester.
But if you so desire, you may call me "Uncle". Whatever makes you feel comfortable.
[The man so familiar to Penny would stroke her hair lovingly, and even smile at her. After this, he would finally speak so she knows what to do.]
It is true that they will find it weird that you became like this after meeting with a man that showed up suddenly. So, you should not reveal this information. Rather, if you wish not to act, you will say that it was a benevolent demon that healed you. If you do wish to act, then no one must know of our encounter.
[The man would then lead her to a nearby window and point at the sky, specifically at seven stars that seemed to be descending.]
You may now already, but this city is moments away from being torn apart by the Americans and their nuclear weapons. This is to take out the demons that were terrorizing this city, and yet... they would rather destroy it all, so it doesn't leak into the rest of the world.
Is this right? Is it wrong?
The forces of Law are to blame of this coming tragedy, in which over 5 million people shall die.
The forces of Chaos summoned demons to prevent this world’s tomorrow, and for that over 3 million perished across the last two weeks.
Before the world comes to an end, what will you do?
[If Penny payed attention, she would see that her "uncle" would have a colorless aura, but her own would be of color grey.]
With this in mind, what will you try to achieve?
Group Leader: "... I see. Well then, if you are all ready, then we are leaving."
[The men would finish to load up the supplies, and letting out a collective sigh, the Supply Truck would quickly leave the area. Following right behind Raidou, the three survivors of the Front Guard would get on the truck with Rowan, and sit down, glad it was all almost over. Tsukasa would simply look down with Kouji sitting next to him.]
Kouji: "We did our best, no idea what's going to happen now."
Tsukasa: "I just want us all to go back to how life used to be, before the demons."
[Kazuma would also get on the truck and simply tap Raidou's shoulder before taking a seat himself.]
Kazuma: "I don't wanna go back to my office job, it was hell on Earth times two."
[The group would chuckle at this, even Hideyuki. After this, the truck would simply follow the one that had left before, and began its escape at great speeds.]
---------- O ----------
[The Oni seemingly ignored the man, or maybe they just didn't even see him as the Full Moon clouds their general senses. Dancing in a circle around the flaming corpses and destroyed city, Tatsuya would be able to understand in full the true malice of demons once they can run free and kill like deranged animals, maybe they were even worse than that, but the greatest reflection of human nature, what deep down is being chained down and suddenly broke out, looking to destroy the guard that kept them under lock and key. Pale Rider would see Tatsuya off, and would spare a few words that the rest of the demons, who had destroyed the ice wall, would ignore.]
"Run, run far away if that makes you feel better, for it is all the same. Death gets to everyone, even Oni, even Oshichi, all demons, all men and women, every animal, every plant, and even us, Fiends, are to perish in battle one day."
[Tatsuya was able to escape from the area, and under the night sky, if he were to look up, he would see seven shining stars that would be moving in a straight line, going down.]
"We shall meet soon enough, once you've decided you should rest. Until then, I pray for your trip to the other side of the river to be a peaceful one. Your mother must be worried."
[With that, the Fiend would simply vanish as Tatsuya makes his way to the West Exit.]
Tot would stumble through the pain, but she was much too far to stop. For a time it felt like she might be on fire for real... But as quickly as the feeling came, it went away. Once Masakado begins talking to her once more, she breathes out a sigh of relief and opens her eyes.
“Hey, don’t talk like that ok dude? We’re all gonna be just fine. Made it this far after all, nothin’ stoppin’ is from moving forward.”
Tot’s usually cheery demeanor is back almost instantly, though with Masakado reminding her of her job Tot hurried over to the shrine, almost running, before she carefully sets down, first the armor standing up near the back of the pedestal, then the sword shortly in front of it. Swing the candles, Tot looks around for a way to light them. Whether or not she finds one, Tot would quickly sit down in front of the armor and bows. Though she wasn’t Japanese she had lived long enough to catch on to this tradition.
“May we meet again, in this life, or the next.”
Penny would feel comfortable being with her uncle, but what she wasn't comfortable with was the choice that she needs to make. She gives Lester a slight giggle before continuing.
"In all my life, my father taught me the same things that me and my sister Tabitha loved dearly. Relish death, crave destruction...and other advanced military tactics. But now...my morals are confused....and so is Penny."
She beckoned for her Bugbear to come over to her, and that it did. It rested in her arms and she held it, proceeding to playfully move it's stubby arms around as she started to sound like she's delving back to her roots.
"Eeeee! Mr. Bear is confused! Punch god in the face! Mr. Bear hates him! All of them are gonna go BOOOOMMMM!!! EE-"
The demonic teddy bear slouched it's head as it was being toyed with by her master, and it seems that the girl was starting to have fun in a dark conflict such as this. But as it turns out, she stopped and sighed out.
"Or at least that's how I'd normally go with things. Now, I just say...leave. Don't come back. Nukes are gonna go boom, and the meanies are gonna keep killing until they go boom. How is Penny gonna stop them?"
Just the way she's acting with her expanded vocabulary thanks to her mind being in the "right place" would also tell Lester how she'd handle the situation with how she's gonna move on afterwards. It better work anyways.
Raidou sat down last, taking a load off as he stared in disbelief at the survivors. He smiled at Rowan's gesture, replied with shaky, exhausted breathing. He knew Rowan came to "this time" with him and Tatsuya, so no point hiding who he is.
Oh...hard to say really. Started when I was in highschool, it's probably been less than a decade since then. Never really gave up the uniform, though. With all the time-hopping I do, I guess I've forgotten how long exactly I've been at this, or how old I am for that matter.
He chuckled a bit to himself at that remark, looking down a bit sadly. He snapped himself out of it pretty quickly though, and looked at Rowan with a raised eyebrow.
What about you? You seem experienced enough, you did good work out there.
The demon Hunter does indeed keep moving away, he needs somewhere safe to rest, supplies... Something that could survive a damn nuke going off. He spares some words for the Fiend before it vanishes though, calm and respectful in contrast to his earlier tone.
"You aren't wrong, one of these days I'll die in battle of course. Everything does if you look at it the right way... I won't die for nothing though, that I simply can't allow."
As the Rider disappears and he reaches the West Exit, Tatsuya sighs heavily. He's unsure of where to go next, but staying still in the open won't help. His goal simply becomes to find some shelter that might allow him to weather the oncoming nuclear horror. All he can do beyond that, is hope for the other's success.
Rowan listens intently to Raidou, chuckling at his praise.
"You really think so? After all, it wasn't too long since I first began -uh, hunting. Guess I just got good instincts."
Rowan then wipes his forehead with his hand, creaking his neck back and stretching out most of his muscles.
"So, what happens now? Do you think we're safe?"
"Although you are ignorant of rituals and of the spiritual, you've done all you can. Now it's my turn to do it."
[Deep blue sparks would cover Masakado's armor quickly, and so the image of the man would gain a much more clear appearance. The armor would remain of the same color, but it would begin to shine in the middle of the dark, polishing itself by sheer willpower. Soon enough, a tall man would be standing in front of Tot. His face was white and had red markings over it, a pattern of red that was also on the helmet of the black armor. His hair, long and aquamarine, would adorn his green vest and yellow tunic.]
"Although the spirit of Tokyo is weak, it retains the will to live, to survive. This is a sign of strength, perhaps it comes from you, too. But no matter the demons, the Americans, or even the horrible tragedy that is about to fall on all. The people shall not give up the fight to survive."
[Masakado would place his hand on Tot's head and she would see all the black and darkness be replaced by white. For a moment too, she would feel as if she had seen a even brighter flash.]
[And so, Tot would see nothing but white, and in a few moment, she would find herself in a strange realm of diamond walls, surrounded by the people she had seen before; Primarina, Quintus, Punk and Ene.]
---------- O ----------
That's right. Now, it would be a futile endeavor. No matter how much of a blessed or horrible life you've led, no matter how incredibly hopeful or even if you are drowning in despair. It is all the same once a nuclear bomb goes out near you.
[Penny would start to feel lighter, and her vision would get clearer. "Lester" would smile at her.]
Oh, time's up. It seems like your friend Tot, or was it Jessica...? Succeeded in her endeavor and restored some of Taira no Masakado's power. For now, we say goodbye.
[In the distance there would be a very intense flash.]
I will be fine, I promise. We'll meet again soon, so for now, do your best to survive, whatever you decide to do about anything if at all.
[Soon enough, Penny's vision would go white and her body would feel as if it was floating. Eventually, she would find herself on the floor, in a room of diamond walls and surrounded by people she would recognize from before, including Tot.]
---------- O ----------
[Tatsuya would reach the West Exit to the Shinjuku Underground Mall, and therefore, the only possible shelter he could ever get. For in the open, nothing had remained. There was nothing but the body of a single man and countless eliminated demons. As he was looking for shelter, the Underground Mall would be the only place he could even use. The interior was vacant, with only the remnants of the people that had once used it as a shelter from the demons. Silent and dark, Tatsuya would simply see shadows of people he had once met, like flashes of a past life, one he had abandoned so many years ago, one that was even taken away from him. In that moment, he would understand something very clear, far more than ever before in his life. "Those who live by the sword, die by the sword."]
[In the distance, the falling stars are but cylinders with a spiky head that cuts down the air as they go down. Some would be smaller, and others would be bigger; a sign that they are closer that one could possibly think. For a moment, the collective voice of Tokyo shut down and not a single soul would even dare to cry out. In that split second, what were they all thinking? Perhaps the demons were not even aware of the incoming fire, the pest and death that far surpassed any of them, being prey to their instincts, they had been trapped in incredible, merciful ignorance. The Oni danced slowly around the flaming corpse of the Resistance Man, who had lost his life violently in a way he did not deserve, that no one did. “If it’s the nature of death and they who deserve it what comes into question, then why must we all die in the end?” Were the thoughts of the scattered survivors of Tokyo, which still had plenty of people hiding and untouched by the demons. What sin could have humanity committed to be forced to confront death again and again, watching the people you hold most dear slowly drift away into nothingness, or them taking your hand as all feelings are nulled. Even the buildings once stood as the symbol of human advancement and the countless of lives that dedicated themselves to the betterment of it all, of their own nourishment and the future of their children, we, who live in the present as they stayed in the past, already waiting on heaven or expecting for their heart to stop. “Why is it that we deserve this!?” Tokyo cried out as the bombs got further down, like rain. Surely, the streets would be flooded by names and ages. Most surely, even the red that now paints it all shall be turned to ashes and then, into a void. “Tis but a simple crime”, the angels would reply. “You lived carelessly, away from your true nature. You own yourselves to God. Return to him.”]
“For so long, have the 9 million of people in this city lived in sin and pointlessness. So much have the demons made these people suffer; in two weeks, 3 million.”
[A flash of light would blind those who still had eyes to watch. Seven pillars would extend themselves into the sky, piercing even the clouds and trying to reach out to the sky, trying to escape from themselves, wanting forgiveness for being brought into this world; the deadliest of hunters, the greatest tool, they who would see their creators off.]
“Today, everyone rests from this hellish Earth. Lay in your dreams, for those who remain are in nightmares.”
[Those who watch from the outside, would see the seven clouds extend high above all the crumbling skyscrapers. Those who are below, would be blinded and then see the monstrous chaos that had taken then the form of a titan crushing the soil. Brick would crack and stone would melt. Wood shall burn away. And the unlucky; perhaps the luckiest; would never know such a shape, for those still in Ikebukuro, Akihabara, Destiny Land, Yongen-Jaya, Shibuya, and Shinjuku would all die instantly. Their bodies would be obliterated by the incredible air blast, the shattered glass, the crumbling metal and cement, and the fire that roared straight out of the inferno. Only those who the Resistance had saved were spared, and so those who were lucky enough to be on the right truck, at the right time. Seconds would pass, and it would not be until 40 seconds later that they would hear the blast of the bomb. Even more seconds would pass, and the sound of each of the missiles, which were even further away. Each time, it would be followed by a horrible howling. As if the city was screaming in pain, for several seconds, they would hear the ghostly remnants of the spirit of Tokyo and its people. Indeed, even the planet was weeping. The soldiers around Raidou and Rowan could not believe their eyes. Some of them would even be unable to stop the tears coming from their wide eyes.]
Well, I th-
Raidou's sentence was cut off by a piercing scream. The sound you might hear when a firework takes liftoff, or when something sharp comes crashing down at a breakneck speed. Raidou almost turned his head to look behind him, for the source of the sound, when Gouto spoke.
"Don't look Raidou. Just...just turn around. You already know."
The summoner's heart skipped a beat. Of course he knew, he knew this was coming; but being here, in the moment, it terrified him. Raidou closed his eyes, and turned back around to look away from what was surely a terrifying sight. His old stoic habits were rearing their heads, and Raidou merely looked down at his right hand, his sword arm, decorated in colors that only brought to mind more tragedy. Strangely, one man's face crossed his mind. The man who stood against an army for his sake, who stood by him through thick and thin. The man who was caught in the midst of death itself. Raidou's eyelids narrowed, as he muttered to himself.
Those who live by the sword...
Carrying what were once brave men, who stood against all odds, now nothing more than bystanders before the horrifying explosion, the Resistance trucks carried on through the calamity, their journey chillingly uneventful. Without any issues at all, the truck would arrive at its destination, the passengers safe in body alone.
Upon hearing a sound so terrifying one would not hear it in their worse nightmares, Rowan lost all control in his body. His jaw dropped open like he was just told something unbelievable and his pupils began dilating rapidly. He looked down shakily, tears pouring down from his vacant eyes to his hardened chin. He stood there as if he was a statue.
[If the men were to leave the truck, they would be surrounded by people in complete silence. Some were openly weeping, some had nothing but rage in their eyes. Whatever was the case, no one could look away from the gigantic pale cloud above. Whatever was that the people were feeling when they finally gazed upon it? There is no way of knowing, all one can truly understand is that countless lives have been lost. The Group Leader would leave the truck shocked, trembling. Kouji would simply have a face of disappointment; of frustration. Kazuma was crying quite horribly. Tsukasa, on the other hand would, kneel down.]
Tsukasa: "Thank god we're alive..."
Kouji: "Is that...even a good thing?"
Kazuma: "...and I was supposed to go pick up my little boy two weeks ago."
[If they were to look among the crowd, they would perhaps recognize the face of a man with a hat and void eyes, of mouthless face. He would simply lock eyes with he who dared to look at him. Whatever the case, eventually, they would start to feel lighter and lighter; their eyes going white. This would take a couple of seconds, but after it, they would be transported somewhere else. A room with people they should already know, and that had diamond walls.]
Tatsuya Suou, Hunter, Persona User, Blacksmith, Slayer of Demons and Gods alike. He could list off the madhouse things he's lived through with a grin on his face to be sure, but he knows this is the end of the line. Despite everything that's tried and failed to put him in the grave, even a man like him can't hope to survive something of this scale without fucking divine intervention. And he stopped thinking the divine gives a fuck long ago.
The man walks forward, heading downwards into the mall and laughing at the shadowy faces flickering before him. In moments, his lighter is drawn out and burning brightly which reveals the room to him. Most of them are gone, but one now illuminated shadow remains, a woman wearing a brown jacket with hearts upon it who stares at him casually. He chuckles bitterly, unable to tell if he's merely going insane or dealing with a ghost that shouldn't exist. Either way, she greets him with a cheery smile.
?: "Ya know, I'm a little bit curious now that it's all coming to a close... Was it worth it to you, Ta-chan? Did you do anything you set out to?"
He'd pause for a second, almost wondering if talking to either a ghost or manifestation of sheer madness is worth it. His final choice is that yes, it is, if only for the fact that he really has nothing else to do. So his feet beat against the ground, walking towards her with a smirk on his face.
Tatsu: "Heh, yeah I think so. I didn't live, won't rather. But that was within accepted outcomes here, there's shit I would have liked to do naturally, people I wanted to see again, monsters that needed to meet my steel... But this is fine, an error was made upon my part Maya. But it's an error that could be worse, all things considered."
She'd burst out laughing for a moment, shaking her head and walking up to him with a gleaming smile over her face.
Maya?: "Hah, somehow I knew you'd say something like that... Well, I guess as long as you're fine with it that's something then Ta-chan. Kinda sad that things come to a close like this, but hey at least you aren't gonna go out without any grace."
The man shrugs a bit, lighter starting to flicker in his left hand. His right-hand reaches up to Gram, stabbing it straight down into the ground with a shocking force that leaves the blade embedded deeply. With that, both of them take a seat upon the ground as Maya's arm rests upon his shoulders.
T: "Heh, I guess so yeah. But ya know, I can't tell if you're real or not. Don't think it matters much now, though."
M?: "No, it absolutely doesn't make a difference. Real or not, kinda wish we had met again at a better time."
The dying flames cast shadows upon their faces as eyes meet, there's a shrug from the man as he ponders something.
T: "Yeah, me too. There was... Some crap that happened, thought we did, but whatever. Those who live by the sword..."
His words trail off, the woman nodding with a solemn look on her face and a bitter tone in her voice.
M?: "Die by it too, yeah. Goodbye, and love you."
He simply nods in agreement, not really sure or able to care if what he's hearing is real. The fires of his long cared for lighter finally go out moments after. Ones which happen to be right before an earth-shattering blast goes off, the entire mall rocks and shakes, much of it turning to dust in brief seconds. Tatsuya Suou is dead, who or whatever he saw is gone, but resting in the ground lies a glowing rune marked blade, the last remains of the now vaporized warrior.