GYM: Way Too Early!
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Tatsuya walks into the building with a grin on his face, sure he can't sleep at all but... For some reason it seems like a good night to train. And now, the hunter simply waits at the counter having flipped the the sign to open on his way in.
A tired looking girl with bags under her eyes enters the cafe, a hoodie covering her head and most of her dress. She sits down at the bar, sighing. The girl seemed like she was looking for a soup kitchen, not a GYM.
Tatsuya glances over at the girl with a concerned look, for some reason he get's the sense she's in need of some help... Tch, not his usual line of work. But he won't turn down someone in need...
Especially considering it's someone he's worked with before.
"Yo Senri, the hell happened to you? Looks ya got in another round with my frigging shadow or something. Well nevermind that, usually I don't do much but fight here... So then can I get you anything!?"
The man grins at Senri and looks her over a bit more closely, wondering just what in the fuck made her this tired anyways.
A very groggy man makes his way down the flight of stairs and into the light of GYM. He lazily wipes the sleep from his eyes as he marches past Tatsu. With an overdramatic sigh he'd flip open a small panel by the door and punch in a code.
The man marches past Tatsuya again with death in his eyes. He rounds the corner of the counter and puts on the kettle.
He speaks with his back turned.
"You've fought gods. You've fought demons. You've fought shadows."
He turns around with pure anger on his face. His knuckles grow white as he grips the counter.
"You ever forget to turn off that alarm again, and no force in Heaven or Hell will be able to stop me from getting sweet vengeance upon you."
The kettle dings and Kalib's expression softens.
"That being said...nice to see you! Coffee?"
Turning his attention to Senri, Kalib smiles warmly.
"Friend of yours Tatsu? Hello there, Senri! I'm Kalib! Pleased to meet you. Coffee?"
Tatsuya shrugs and chuckles at Kalib, rubbing the back of his head as he speaks. Entirely too cheerful for someone who's just been threatened.
"Oh sure, hehe sorry about that man. Guess I just kinda lost with everything that's been going lately. Some crazy witch smashing up the city so bad even the frigging news talked about it. That mess where Senri and I met. The case Raidou gave me, and then there's your evil doub... Kalib, summon your Persona please."
The cheer drops from his voice as Tatsuya stops dead in his tracks, great. Now there's not even telling if it's just that fucking thing again, well. Gotta be a reason it didn't use Roland in their fight right?
He blinks a few times. Tatsuya was the type to be overly cautious, but they're friends right? None of that mattered to Kalib though, he believed in Tatsuya. So with a smile and a shrug, a small blue tarot card would appear before his face.
"I haven't had a chance to train with him yet, but here goes."
His eyes spark to life with an ethereal blue flame.
"To arms, Roland!"
Reaching out to the card and crushing it would unleash a sea of blue flames that travel behind Kalib. The towerung inferno felt warm and soothing, as if to juxtapose the relentless heat that would radiate from Leonidas. Stepoing out of the tower after a few seconds is a shadowy figure clad in red and black. The Persona stands proudly with its arm upon their blade. Its eyes a piercing shade of blue and shining like a sapphire.
"Welcome back buddy! See Tatsu? Here he is!"
Kalib grins at his Persona with awe. His new power was still a shock even to him, but he was beyond ecstatic!
Tatsuya sighs in relief and looks at the Persona, quite the impressive thing honestly... And proof that he's not dealing with a faker this time.
"Oh thank god, alright then guess I should explain why I needed to see that huh?"
Flames dance in the man's eyes as he speaks in a clipped tone, sounding just slightly more paranoid then usual.
"Like I said Kalib, there's been some copy of you running around... But it doesn't seem to be able to use Persona. Beyond that slight issue? Well, I can tell the difference pretty easily. Assuming it hasn't gotten any better at pretending to be you."
Tatsuya looks down at Senri, seems the girl fell asleep right on the counter. He sighs and mutters something about Chaos loving loons who don't take care of themselves, quickly grabbing her and placing the girl on GYM's unexplained couch before he looks back to Kalib with a smirk.
"So anyways, you say you haven't used him yet eh? Care to see what you can do with that power, after all. It's been quite some time since we bothered to have a match... When was the last time anyways?"
Kalib turns his attention back to Tatsuya as he speaks. Each word out of Tatsuya's would have been met with myriad remarks about lost sanity, however, Kalib remains motionless at the mention of the doppelganger. Tatsuya wouldn't spew nonsense like this without reason, so Kalib listened to every word before speaking.
"So let me get this straight...a new enemy has appeared and they decided that imitating me was the best course of action?"
Kalib's brow furrows as he brings a hand to his chin.
"It actually makes sense... I'm the last person people would expect to be a crook. So, this guy, he's stomping around the Nexus with my face and is causing trouble?"
He smiles at Tatsuya and cracks his knuckles.
"Guess we gotta stop this no good face-stealer before he does anything else!"
A small twitch comes from the corner of Kalib's smile. For just a moment it was though he was keeping a front. Could he be...scared? It matters little as the grin wins out in the end.
"Last time we fought, huh? Well last time you fought this body...was after Nyarly's little trick. However the last time we fought was a bare knuckle brawl almost eight months ago."
He whistles softly as he gazes upon his Persona.
"Eight months, huh? I've come a long way since then. I've laughed, cried, smiled, frowned..."
He looks at the GYM in it's silent glory.
"...I've made bonds that can't be broken, tested my mettle in the Metaverse, faced myself in the TV World..."
He looks up at his trusted trident in its mounted state upon the wall.
"...I fought for my friends, I cheated Death to save someone I love, but most importantly..."
He turns to Tatsu with tears welling in his eyes.
"...I lived. Huh? What am I doing? It's too early and now I'm getting all sentimental."
He'd eagerly wipe away the tears before looking back to Tatsu with a fierce expression.
"Alright! I'm all fired up now! I can't sit here and be a sad sack! Tatsuya, I challenge you!"
Tatsuya nods at Kalib in agreement, dealing with that faker somehow... There's gotta be a better way.
"Dammed right we will! Nobody gets ta use my friend's name for whatever they want."
He raises his hand to his chin in thought... 8 months huh, where's he come in all this time since then?
"I guess I've done that too, here in this madhouse filled with demons and gods... I've been happy for the first time in all too long."
Tatsu draws a pair of gauntlets from his coat and places them on his fists before moving towards a sparing ring. the look on his face showing happiness that for once doesn't feel tinged with sorrow.
"I've felt like things are actually getting better for the first time in 20 freaking years."
The man finally drops into his fighting stance as light covers his fists and smirks at Kalib.
"Anyways! Like ya said it's too early for all this and... I accept you challenge!"
With that the man would send Kalib a bring it on gesture, opting to show some small courtesy rather then pull his usual sucker punch.
He looks at his trident for a moment, but something feels off.
"No. I'm done relying on risky maneuvers."
He turns to Tatsuya with a grin as he slams his fists together, a small blue flash taking place.
"I'm going to use everything I've learned. It's time I reach a new height!"
From his fingertips to his shoulders, the flame would spread before becoming rigid and moulding to his body. As the light begins to fade, he can be seen with wispy, blue steel gauntlets that lead to deep blue pauldrons.
"Oho! Nifty! Now let's turn it up Roland! Hero's Rally!"
As Kalib hops into the ring, his Persona would reach for his olifant and blow into it. The sound was enough to heighten a warrior's abilities and would proceed to enshroud Kalib in prismatic light.
"Don't you dare hold back. Neither of us would be satisfied!"
Kalib shouts to his opponent through a wide smile.
Tatsu smirks up the trident, that thing did quite a lot... But it really is a pain to use without getting hurt.
"No more risky tricks all the time huh?"
The man examines Kalib's armor for a moment, his eyes going over it to search for weak points.
"Well then I guess we'll see how far you've come here and now!"
With that he'd dash off in a blur, Hyperion appearing behind the man as the light of Heat Riser engulfs him for a moment causing Tatsu to pick up speed.
"You might even have gotten stronger than I am by now! At least physically... But let's you match my speed!"
Tatsuya's charge reaches his opponent, a quick momentum driven kick flying towards the other man's left knee to try and set him off balance as Tatsu grins back.
"And as for holding back... I wouldn't dream of it this time! There'd be no point to this if I don't give it my all."
He had a point, in a battle of speed Kalib is severely outclassed. So needless to say, the kick connects and drops the man to a knee.
"Oof! That one tickled! Come on then!"
Using his left leg as an anchor point, Kalib would try to sweep Tatsu using his right leg. Hit or not, he'd proceed to roll backwards as the kick finishes and hops up to his feet.
Clearly favoring his left leg, but his eyes burn a bright blue as if to say, "I'm still getting started".
The kick does slam into Tatsu, however it strikes the man's arm as he drops down to the ground. Rubbing at the impact point for a moment as he darts away.
"Heh, I didn't expect to win this with martial arts anyways... COME OUT HYPERION!
As usual a blast of white bursts around Tatsuya and a giant made from pure light appears behind him. Hyperion raises it's right hand up to summon a hardlight wall directly behind Kalib. Tatsu darting towards the man and aiming to send a straight punch into his upper chest at the same time. Hopefully his instinct is to dodge back, if not the wall still isn't wasted.
Kalib whistles as he prepares for the coming strike.
"You might be faster, but it'll take more than speed to take me down!"
Kalib actually walks towards the man as he raises his dukes. Something happened, but it wasn't in Kalib's peripheral or main field of vision. Hyperion did something and that means it could only have taken place in one of a few places. Kalib smirks as the punch is about to make contact.
His eyes roar with flames as his arms brace his attacker.
The punch hits home and causes Kalib to slide, which is just according to plan! He uses the momentum of the slide and the punch to twist his body and attempt to toss Tatsuya behind him.
Kalib does succeed in grabbing into Tatsu, however... For some reason the man smirks as he's sent flying backwards. Tatsuya himself tumbling into the wall with a groan as Hyperion floats away from the battle at hand a bit further. The summoner himself getting up and dusting himself off with a sure grin.
"You aren't the only one with a neat plan here. IT'S SHOWTIME!"
The Persona snaps it's fingers and almost seems to smirk at Kalib. The energy built up from the wall quickly shifting form, jagged arrows of light bursting out towards Kalib and Tatsu from where it once stood. The arrows themselves shooting through Tatsuya on the way there as he sighs in relief.
"Isn't being able to absorb your own magic helpful? I get to pull off neat tricks like that where I'm healed and attack someone all at once!"
Kalib shakes in fear for a moment before a wispy blue light surrounds him.
"Another skill? Time to try it out!"
He closes his eyes and breathes deeply as a blue tarot card floats before his face.
"I am thou, thou art I. Your power is my power, just as my power is yours. I will stand fast in the face of adversity. I will not falter before despair. This is our oath."
The arrows grow ever closer as the man opens his eyes suddenly and bows his head forward. The touch of his forehead causes the card to burst into azure flames and coalesce into Roland's form.
A mass of energy streams from Roland and into Kalib, coating him in blue light just in time for the arrows to strike him and deal a fair chunk of damage. After the dust settles, Kalib can be seen standing slightly staggered but grinning like a madman!
"Aha! Keep it up Tatsu! There's more just below the surface!"
He raises his dukes once more as he eyes his opponent. His armor also begins to change, the blue begins growing in intensity.
"So then... That tough huh? Well then I guess I've no choice but to use that trick... Alright then time for my best trick!"
The man reaches down to the left side of his waist and quickly draws a familiar fake gun from a holster, the Evoker twirling to his head casually before Tatsu slams down on the trigger with a grin and the sound of shattering glass.
"We are 3 as we are 1, now come out and show them our true power APOLLO!"
Hyperion glows brightly for a moment, a light appearing in Kalib's eyes akin to a flash bang that only he can see. Apollo on the other hand burst out behind Tatsuya as Nuclear energy glows in it's hands, Tatsu matching that gesture before an oversized blade forms between the two of them. Persona and summoner quickly grabbing hold and leaping into the air, before tossing the thing straight towards Kalib's Persona. Regardless of it hits or not, Tatsu would then flick his lighter and cause the magic holding the blade together to burst outwards in flash of burning white energy.
Blinded by the magical flashbang, Kalib is unable to aid his other self from the incoming assault. The blades are met by Roland's shield but the explosion proves too much as he fades and Kalib is tossed away and rolls to a stop.
"For someone who enjoys being flashy..."
He begins to regain some vision and squints at his foe.
"...I never thought you'd do something this cheeky. I guess you really aren't holding back."
By now he can make out where Tatsuya is stood and a card would appear in Kalib's hand.
"Another one? Here it comes!"
He crushes the card as all of the bright blue energy in his armor flows into the summoning of Roland.
"Roland, show them our might! DURENDAL'S FURY!"
Roland would draw his blade and it would become infused with all the energy from the previous arrow volley.
The Persona stands at the ready as he performs a quick diagonal slash at Tatsuya. As he slashes, a large wave of energy seemingly slashes through reality as it barrels towards Tatsuya.
Apollo conjures up a pair of swords made from flames, the blades clashing against Kalib's attack for a moment before the strike breaks through Apollo's defense. The Persona vanishing from sigh in an instant as it's master whistles.
"Damm, so that really worked even against Apollo huh... Time for some gunfire!"
Tatsuya's Silver Revolver appears in a blur, shots of ice blasting from it right towards Kalib's knee as the man backs away. Hopefully he'll be too distracted too defend from Hyperion's attack.
"NOW HYPERION UH... COOL ATTACK NAME ONCE I COME UP WITH ONE!"
Hyperion rushes at Roland, moving right at the word now in fact. A glowing hammer formed from light appearing in it's hands. The thing quickly floats upwards above Roland before allowing gravity to effect it once more, hammer and Persona both being slammed down at the earth towards Roland's head, assuming that it hit the shield however his Persona would then send a blast of magic at Roland's chest by quickly pulling the left hand off it's hammer.
The frozen round hits its mark and Kalib is caught off guard for a moment, however he speaks a command to Roland.
"THE OLIFANT! HERO'S OLIFANT!"
Roland simply nods as he looks up at the descending Persona. He blows into his horn and a mighty blast of energy would expand from the horn in an attempt to compete against the hammer only to lose and have the unfortunate scene play out where Roland is crushes.
Kalib struggles to stand up as he raises his dukes one last time.
"A lot of people seem to think I can just smash stuff ya know? But just because I choose to employ my power most times... It doesn't make me incapable of anything else!"
Tatsuya smirks as the gun vanishes once more, Lucifer taking the spot of Hyperion as dark tendrils shoot from the Persona aiming to grab hold of Kalib's hands and pull them out of the way.
Regardless of Lucifer's success or failure however either way, he'd quickly dash in and aim a kick to Kalib's knee again, this time the right however. And rather then giving him time to react Tatsu would then try to send a pair of jabs at the other man's face. Aiming to take advantage of distractions rather then perform some over the top finisher.
"This is it. This is the limit of my power," he thought.
The tendrils binding his arms, the man is left open to the kick and is dropped again.
"I really can't do it on my own," he laments as the first jab connects to his face, causing his glasses to go flying.
"I'll always be a step behind the pros," the thoughts are the only thing he can grip onto as the fists keep coming.
"But I don't need to be the strongest. I can feel it, even now," the man begins to smile as the flurry continues.
"Even now, I can feel the difference. I'm not weak anymore. I've changed and Tatsuya is my witness to that,"
he can't help but start laughing through his bloodied lips.
"I....guess....tha-that's it? Ha....ah...ahaha..."
Tatsuya nods, in spite of not having been hit overly much... He does still look pretty worn down, Hyperion let's out a burst of healing light that washes over the two before Tatsuya. walks over to a chair.
"I think so yeah... Geez I really had to get serious there ya know? I dunnon where I'd be without this little toy gun but uh, doing that with one Persona would a been tough."
The man yawns and sits down in the chair.
"Well anyways... Good match Kalib, Christ having Apollo taken down like that took it outta me. Think I'll just take a nap..."
And with that? He's out, hopefully Maya's not going to hear about him passing the hell out in GYM but uh... Could be worse he guesses.
"Hehe! It was a blast Tatsu! Thank you so much!"
Kalib smiles like a child at the praise as he lays down. He didn't need the confirmation, but it made him so happy. But that same twitch hits the corner of his mouth.
"So...they were more than nightmares."
He takes a deep breath before standing up once more.
"Not yet. I can't...no, I won't!"
Speaking to himself with conviction, he quickly returns to his apartment upstairs and begins tinkering away behind closed doors.