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...You Must Endure [Social | Akira]

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#1Hatsuharu 

on Fri Feb 02, 2018 2:39 am

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That evening was not just personally traumatizing for Haru, but it also confirmed his worst fear. The imminent attack on the kingdom was not just a rumour. What’s more dangerous than no information? Partial information! While the nobility he and Akira saved confirmed the attack, they still had no idea about the attacking party. Besides, the man was in no shape to be interrogated even after Haru’s healing; he had to be transferred to the hospital immediately. Once they admitted Ser Jackson at the hospital, it was time to rush to the Rune Knight headquarters to inform the higher officials of the night’s events.

The duo had used up a lot of mana and was barely in any shape to run; but they tried anyway. Half way along, Haru had to stop. The boy may be fast, but he was not cut out for marathons at his speed. “Sorry… Give me just a minute,” he said, panting. And that’s when the fateful night took an even bigger turn. If the two thought they had had their most difficult fight for the day, they were terribly wrong. As Haru sat down on the bench under a tree, a muscular red-haired man came into view from behind the tree. The healer wouldn’t be able to see him as the man was behind him, but he could definitely hear him. “You guys did quite the number on my friend back at the artisan’s,” the man said, his voice seemingly amused and friendly, but exuding danger. The man’s mere presence would send waves of fear through the duo, their every muscle screaming at them to flee.



#2Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:39 am

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She really had to be stuck with someone as righteous as Tsuru. No rest, at all. First the obligation to go turn the noble over to the hospital, where he was accompanied by that lanky man who had approached the duo and dragged them into this whole thing to begin with. Now... Tsuru wanted to go straight to the Rune Knight headquarter to alert someone high ranking enough... and trustworthy? Couldn't they just settle for some other fellow Knight? She wondered if his skepticism had blossomed and if he sensed corruption within the organization, something that had just been a given for her.

'Give you a minute?' she echoed, mocking his request and scoffing. He was faster and took longer strides, she had barely been able to keep up and even then, she was sure he had to be compromising on their speed to make up for the long distance. Her legs felt like lead. 'How about we take an hour instead?' she said, only half-joking because she did understand the implication of what they'd found out... But she was also panting so much, she wondered if her lungs were going to explore. After the battle that ensued to save Ser Jackson, she felt drained... She just fell splat, on her back under the tree and closed her eyes, couldn't they just wait till morning? 'Or the night?' At least it was dark now... was it nearing midnight? How long ago had the red orb stooped away and lost itself behind the horizon? Her eyes fluttered to a close.

She hoped, that the darkness may aid in her rejuvenation. At least the air was fresh, the night was moonless... There was a high chance she'd succumb to slumber, using her magic did make her drowsy... But then, a grating voice sent a chill down her spine. The eerily jovial tone, that was used to utter the very foreboding words. Her eyelids to snapped open wide. A very large figure loomed overhead. Her legs flailed till her feet found grip so she could scurry back to the tree. Leaning against it, she hoisted herself to a standing position, backed up against it, she watched him... And softly asked, 'And you're here to return the favor?' the fear was pretty apparent, that was it... She was sure, this is where she'd die. She just hoped he'd make it quick.



#3Hatsuharu 

on Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:29 am

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“Favour, yes. But not the kind you did to poor Valencia back there,” the red-haired man said, jerking his big head towards the direction they just came from. “That noble man did not deserve such great efforts to be rescued. I’m sure you know what I mean. His name and fame would have been more useful than he ever will be. But… No matter. I found something a lot more valuable today,” he said, in his eerily calm voice as he turned towards Akira with a smile. Haru jumped away from the tree in a swift move, thinking he had moved out of the man’s reach. Looking up at the man, he saw the smile he wore on his face. It was not one of those creepy or lunatic kinds that showed pleasure in playing with its prey. To his surprise, it was out of genuine curiosity and intrigue. But that didn't change the fact that they were his prey.

Seeing the man raise his left hand, Haru’s eyes widened and he yelled at Akira. “Get out of there Akira.” But Akira wasn’t his target. His hand instead pointed towards Haru and four large stone arms shot out of the ground and held all four of his limbs, completely immobilizing him. “I don’t want you meddling around. Thanks to you, I couldn’t see who really was the strongest,” he said, talking to Haru, but all the while looking into Akira’s eyes. Haru struggled and struggled, but couldn’t move an inch. “I wouldn’t recommend moving if you want your limbs intact. The more you struggle, the tighter its grip,” he said. His tone wasn’t threatening, but more of a mild concern. It would seem, he really didn’t want them hurt.

“Now! Before we begin… Introductions first. I’m Benjamin. You are?” he asked Akira. Once she answered, he wouldn’t bother asking Haru his name and continue speaking to her. “Time to see if you really are stronger than Valencia. And if you are… I have a gift for you,” he said, with that innocent smile he had all the time. It was not condescending or cunning, but a powerful mixture of charm and intimidation. Despite the warning, Haru kept struggling and he could feel the stone grip tighter and tighter. “Stay away from her!” he groaned through gritted teeth, but was completely ignored by Benjamin.



#4Akira Shimada 

on Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:42 am

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Akira swallowed, her eyes remained wide, much like a cornered animal, except she couldn't muster the energy to get aggressive and attack. Tsuru had leaped away, which she was glad for. Maybe their last skirmish had finally taught him that his protective instincts are better sated when he can actually help and for longer too. The only way to accomplish that was not to be in the thick of battle himself. The healer's strength was definitely in mending, boosting and aiding with tactics from a range. Either that, or he was scared shitless too.

While she didn't sense malice in her new opponent, it was apparent that he wouldn't shy away from hurting the duo if it served his purpose. The only thing left to determine now was what his purpose was. While fear still hosted itself in Akira, strong and solid, if he just wanted to kill them, he would've attempted that already, what more could two meddlesome Rune Knights offer anyways. She let his words linger in her mind as she observed his demeanor for clues. For the most part, the large man was... practical and confident, too confident. He must have had reasons too, from the looks of him, he had far more experience than they did in combat, he did look a lot older too. Was he really going to expect them to believe that he was here to aid after calling that Valencia woman a friend? It made no sense.

Akira was aware of the kind of use the man was talking about, he'd held the noble hostage for money. Threatening to inhibit him and his family from leaving the Capitol while the war was waged on it unless he paid up... Or something along those lines, she wondered if the man had a larger purpose attached to Ser Jackson, he sure made it sound that way. Akira attempted dashing away, heeding Tsuru's earnest suggestion but could hardly make it out of the large man's range.

Instinctively held her hands out protectively and flinched. But when nothing hit her, she wondered it if was a ruse before opening her eyes a crack and noticing Tsuru in the distance. If her lids opened any wider, they'd probably fall out of their sockets, those stone arms... It couldn't have been pleasant. She winced, as he strained. This guy was definitely not the average mage, she wondered if he was affiliated with some guild. They probably couldn't defeat him, not in this state... The only hope was to either give him what he wanted or hope to attract attention and get help. The second seemed unlikely, they were in a pretty isolated area this man had it planned.

'Tsuru... Don't move. You'll be of no use without your arms... Won't be as fast without your legs either.' she said, her voice still a little shaky. He offered her a gift, so this was some kind of a recruitment test? Well if he expected greatness or something, he'd picked the wrong girl. 'I'm sorry about hurting your friend, we were just doing our job. But I assure you, I am no great mage, and Tsuru's a bit of a loser too, sorry to disappoint, but I guess that makes us ineligible for your gift. If you have no other business with us,  can you let my partner go?' she said flatly, appealing to his apparent sense of logic. She wasn't sure what he wanted from her anyways? Did he want her to throw some punches at him or something? From the way he looked, her knuckles would probably break before she so much as elicited an ow from him.



#5Hatsuharu 

on Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:33 am

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The stone hands began to grip so tightly on Haru’s biceps and calf muscles that he was forced to quit trying to get out of it. Akira is right… He knew if he tried any more he would end up with broken bones and that was not going to help anyone. Helpless and exhausted, the healer slouched, resorting to his fate.

Meanwhile, Benjamin chuckled at Akira’s response. “Don’t apologize, please. I’m glad the fight happened,” he said. When Akira said neither her nor her partner were great mages, Haru frowned; especially because she called him a ‘loser’. He wondered if she felt that way because he didn’t fight. Even though he had worse things to worry about at that moment, for some reason, the fact that Akira had such low opinion of him took undue priority on his head. Benjamin laughed at Akira’s comment and waved his hand casually. Haru thought it was another spell he was going to cast, but it was a simple gesture of dismissal.

“Lack of confidence? Or is it humility?” he asked, grinning. “No matter. Besides, if you feel that way, then all the more reason you shouldn’t deny my gift. It’s not optional anyway.” His tone and expression changed just a little for the last sentence, proving that he was not kidding around with anything he said. “First… Hand to hand combat,” he said, and immediately charged towards Akira. Haru did not see the movement at all. One moment he was five feet away from his partner, and the next, he was right in front of her with his fist at her gut. He would moderate the power of his punch such that it doesn’t do great damage; but if it connects it would definitely knock the wind out of her and she would find herself knocked back about ten meters. “Come on! Don’t be shy… Hit me with the same punch you hit Valencia with,” he said, stretching the arm he punched with and removing the long cloak he was wearing. “Been a while…”



#6Akira Shimada 

on Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:48 am

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The girl didn't respond, to his first assurance, she didn't need to apologize because she was going to be sorry anyway... seemed likely. It was just worth the shot to try and wriggle out of this, the odds of it working were next to nil, she was aware of that. She wasn't sure if this man was using this gifted story as an excuse to get her to fight... But that was her assumption. 'Neither... just the truth.' she said, as clearly as she could, when he asked her to explain whether it was underconfidence of humility... The girl tried keeping her voice as level as possible.

'Right.' the girl said. So there was no choice after all. Slowly, she walked in an arc around him, like two fighters would in a rink, except at the moment she was the only one moving. She maintained the same distance between them, but moved towards Tsuru at an angle, to see if she could find some sneaky way of freeing him. Also, to prevent herself from being cornered by the tree behind her. The plan she had brewing in her head now was the riskier sort... And it would require her to... endure, or die probably, one of two. She sucked in a lot of air, as he relayed the first test he had in mind. Hand to hand? What a fair way to start!

When in an instant, he flashed towards her, she was sure... she was a goner. Besides, even if she could dodge, the plan was to not anyway. She hoped, that maybe if he had evidence that the two of them were, in fact, not too skilled, he'd move onto bigger prey, from what they knew of his plan with the noble, the man should want bigger fish to fry. Of course, this did come with a very large risk attached, he could still get frustrated and choose to break them like toothpicks... She clenched her eyes shut tight as she braced herself. One hit... you can take one hit... she chanted in her head

When his knuckles made contact... A wave of anguish overwhelmed her. The long breath she'd inhaled, was expelled in an instant. Her eyes rolled back into her head as she flew. Thank god there was no tree, otherwise, this would have meant death. The pain was intense and she landed on her side with a thud and then skidded on the ground. She felt the minor friction burns beginning to sting, on the outer side of her limbs, which she'd extended at an angle in an attempt to minimize the damage from the fall. More than anything she felt the nauseating pain on the inside.

No! He's such a Liar! All this was just play for him! Ruthlessly toying with his prey before taking his slow sadistic revenge! He just hid his cruelty better than the other! her darkness screamed, condemning her for her stupid plan. Her eyes were red, the pain had caused tears to roll down the side of her face. Her new plan was to play dead, like any other poor prey, which had happened to garner the attention of a predator it had no chance again. She laid there motionless. I'm going to be... unworthy and hope that it convinces him, that he... gets bored... she retaliated against the dark entity inside of her. The large man mocked her, lucky for Akira it had no effect on her, upon taking a hit like that, it definitely wasn't out of shyness that she wasn't fighting back...



#7Hatsuharu 

on Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:30 pm

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Benjamin watched as Akira stepped away from the tree and slowly made her way towards her partner. Seeing what she was trying to do, he dashed and punched, sending her far away from Haru. He did not want her to be handicapped with her feeling the need to protect him. “You can’t get him out of it. Don’t concern yourself with his safety. I have only immobilized him,” he said, taking one step after another towards the curled-up Akira.

Seeing how Akira was motionless on the ground, the old man chuckled. He knew the girl wasn’t knocked out; after all these years of combat experience, he knew what would knock someone out and his punch couldn’t have done that. “You can either fight me and it will be a simple spar… Or… I could hurt your friend there until you get angry enough to come at me,” he finally said in a very bored tone. “I would rather not do that,” he added, sincerely hoping it didn’t come to that.

Haru watched as the fight moved further away from him. Now, he had no chance of doing anything. At least before, he had hoped Akira would come close enough to his hands when she was in need of healing and he would provide assistance. But that no longer seemed to be a possibility. Angry at his severe lack of strength, he struggled against his binds violently, but had to stop again as it gripped him tighter.

If Akira did not get up and agree to fight him fairly, Benjamin would sigh softly and point his hands towards Haru. Another stone hand, similar to the initial four, would shoot up from the ground and this one would curl its way around Haru’s neck. The healer’s eyes widened as the cold stone snugly fit between his shoulders and jaw. It was only mildly uncomfortable at the moment. But if this one was just like the other four, which Haru reckoned to be highly likely, it would slowly begin choking every time he makes even the slightest movement. Haru gulped out of fear and it made a momentary bump in his throat; even this slight motion caused the stone hand to grip tighter. Realizing the implications, the healer relaxed immediately, not moving a muscle. He knew he couldn’t even talk anymore if he wished to live through the night.



#8Akira Shimada 

on Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:17 pm

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She could barely inhale still, for a moment it felt like she'd die from lack of oxygen. She had no strength to gasp or heave though. So she lay there curled, her hand clutched against her abdomen. But slowly, as she recovered, it actually made her feel better, to just stay on the ground... It was peaceful, the smell of wet dirt, the smatterings of cool grass. The girl could just stay here. She had all reasons to believe the man was lying, she had all reasons to be concerned for Tsuru, even with him just being immobilized, but there was nothing she could see herself doing.

Then came the ominous chuckle and the threat. Mentally, Akira recoiled at the harsh sound of his chortle, at the thought of him hurting the helpless Tsusu, she did want to spring up, her spirit tugged at her, to rise and just obey... But her darkness and her muscles screamed in protest. By the time she accumulated the strength to begin sitting up, it was too late.

A rumbling sound marked the fifth arm of stone, that held Tsuru's neck. He was rendered speechless and his life was completely in this man's stone hand. From the distance he had put between her and the healer, she could only see silhouettes, the darkness made it even more difficult to gain clarity... She rose, time for plan C. All her plan revolved around the same basic idea of proving to him that, she, in fact, wasn't worth all this effort and neither was Tsuru. She definitely didn't want him going after Tsuru's eclectic piece of magic, it was rare and had too many potential uses, most of them devastating.

'Ok... Whatever.' she said, with not much emotion in her voice, as she began pulling herself off the ground, slowly. She didn't want him to continue using her partner as bait. 'I don't care if you kill, hurt him or whatever because it won't change anything.' she said softly 'We were forced to work together, I couldn't care less...' but at the last line, her voice cracked, she couldn't mean those words anymore, she did care. 'They might give him that medal for dying on duty, that may annoy me...' The girl tried making up for the slip. She could just try and hope that it went unnoticed. She was crouching now, slowly rolling up her spine to stand. One hand still wrapped around her abdomen, the other hanging limply by her side.

'But your punch... That kind of hurt my pride.' she said flatly, stupidly trying to distract him from the healer. She hoped he'd just stick to taunting her, which wouldn't really get a true rise out of her anyways. She growled. She sputtered the exertion already reminding her of her state. Nonetheless, she took a deep breath and walked towards him. Frowning to pretend like she was mad she said. 'Now you've really got me riled, you should not have, punched me out of nowhere like that...' she muttered while keeping her eyes downcast, hoping to hide her panic and set up a sinister feel.

Lifting a shaky arm and curling her fingers into a fist she dashed towards him and attempted to land a simple jab. 'Now you're going to get it!' she exclaimed while charging so. If it would connect, he'd have enough proof of her inadequacy in hand to hand combat... Despite her alleged anger... Maybe then...



#9Hatsuharu 

on Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:36 am

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For a moment, Haru believed that punch had knocked his partner out. After all, she was extremely tired after that fight at the artisan’s and this man just sent her flying ten feet away. The healer could no longer hear their conversation properly. “Stay away from her. I’m the one who chose to help the noble,” Haru attempted to yell, but his voice croaked and all it accomplished was a tighter hold of the stone hand around his neck. Now, it was pressing on his throat with significant pressure, making him gasp for breath every now and then. If something wasn’t done soon, it wouldn’t be long before Haru blacks out.

Meanwhile, about fifteen feet away, Benjamin was focused on Akira. He cocked his head and furrowed his brows when he heard her say she doesn’t care about his partner. That was not what he expected to hear, but he was glad to hear it. If what she said was true, then all the more reason she was a better candidate for assassination training. After all, the very first step in his training is to detach oneself from any kind of emotional relationship. “Good! I’m glad you fight for yourself and have not fallen for the fallacy of ‘protect the world’,” he said, smiling. He stood there as she charged at him with a weak punch. Once she was in range, he would attempt to simply parry the punch, catch her punching hand with his left hand, and then throw her over his head to the other side using his other hand. “Are you sure that’s all you got? I was sure you packed a lot more in your attacks than that. After all, you did knock her out with a single punch,” he said, wondering more to himself than her. “Anyway… Let’s move on. What about your magic?” he asked, before placing one hand on the ground.

The instant he put his palm to the ground, a huge stone pillar will rise from under where Akira was and attempt to knock her high up into the air.



#10Akira Shimada 

on Sun Feb 04, 2018 11:08 am

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Tsuru protested in the distance, Akira mentally beseeched him to stop talking, since she couldn't take the risk of showing any concern anymore. He was happy she didn't care... It seemed there was no displeasing this guy, she realized as he praised her for her lies. At least her attack was assessed and proved to be a disappointment in his expectations. She wondered how he seemed privy to her actions in the fight, he wasn't there... at least not within any distance to get a close enough view... She recalled having her lens on.

She didn't get a chance to ask, of course, he just blocked her punch, held her fist and hoisted her overhead. She let out a girlish shriek of shock, it was a real one, she didn't expect to be plucked off the ground again. As he threw her though and placed his hands on the ground, the air was torn with the rumbling again. She didn't want to take the chance to hit the ground hard again... Plus if he was using his magic, whether she wanted to or not, she'd have to do enough to keep herself from getting hurt.

She rubbed her hands to create her trusty chain Kunai, and mid-air she threw it, near enough to the man, but missing him entirely. It was meant for a branch in the tree, the moment the kunai lodged itself in, she rotated and pulled herself towards the tree again, now hanging off of a branch and swinging, while the stone pillar erupted from the ground where she'd have fallen, she stared at it white eyed... Imagining the bloody mess she could have been had she hit it. Breathlessly she clung to her dark chain, surprised that her she had managed to curb her darkness and have it aid her, maybe because their goal was aligned... To live through this somehow. So he really was making this do or die... Guess she'd have to try.

The girl let it go and fell to the ground in a bit of a slump and pulled the chain out of the tree, this swinging the kunai at the end as she whirled the chain. She let it lose just as the Kunai was aligned towards the large man. 'Take this.' she growled.



#11Hatsuharu 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:15 am

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Benjamin’s eyes followed the dark kunai’s trajectory and it was immediately apparent that it wasn’t headed for him. He turned to look at Akira’s actual target and realized that she was aiming for the tree’s branch to avoid the incoming stone pillar. The beefy man was impressed by her quick reflexes. “Not bad!” he said, as he watched her pull herself towards the tree. “Not bad at all,” he added with a smirk.

However, the following attack with her kunai was a little too direct. Benjamin simply side-stepped to avoid the kunai flying straight at him and shook his head. “Your attacks are too direct. You should attack from my blind-spot if you want to hit me with it,” he said. Immediately after saying that, he would point one of his palms towards where Akira was and then pull it back swiftly; this would cause the ground under her to move like a wave, pushing her forward towards him. The man was testing her battle aptitude, to see if she knows when to defend and when to attack.
--

Meanwhile, the Ser Jackson’s old servant had just left the hospital and was about to head home. On his way, he noticed that there was a fight going on ahead. He squinted his eyes to see who were fighting and was shocked to see Haru immobilized and in the verge of losing consciousness. The old man knew he would not succeed if he chose to run in and save them. So, instead, he chose to run the other way, go around town to reach the Rune Knight quarters to warn the officials.

Now, all the duo had to do was hold on for a few minutes before back-up arrived.



#12Akira Shimada 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 3:59 pm

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He appreciated her dodge, though any skill Akira displayed paled in comparison to his brute power and experience, so she was bound to color his words with disdain like he had to be mocking her. When he simply dodged her attack, she almost smirked, while he seemingly was serious about this, offering her constructive criticism and all. She wondered if he knew any other details about their spat with his friend. The way they'd set up their attack from behind a wall... That was a pretty big blind spot right there. In all fairness she was glad if he didn't know of it, that may steer him towards the healer again.

From the sheer difference in the aptitude of that darkness wielding woman and this earth-shattering man, Akira gathered that the one guarding the noble had worked for this large man. But then, maybe that fight had been easier because she was fighting with Tsuru... 'Too bad, direct attacks is the best I got... Told you this wasn't my thing, I've practically never fought before... you and your friend.' she tried. This man wasn't letting up. She groaned in frustration as he lifted his arm, it was safe to assume he had another trick up his sleeve.

She jumped in the air as high as she could to avoid the first rumbling waves under her. But if she landed there was no escaping the second. Sighing softly, while still in the air she held out her hand, straight in front of her to create the dark disc of darkness underneath her opponent. The sky had already pulled the blanket of darkness over itself, hopefully, that would have made it She tilted it away from herself, to knock him back and hopefully stop him from channeling his spell briefly enough to step down and get out of his range.



#13Hatsuharu 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 5:32 pm

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The old man ran around, taking a long detour to ensure he did not get caught in the fight. After about ten minutes, he finally reached the Rune Knight quarters. He explained the situation, panting heavily between words. While the guards were sceptical and thought the old man had gone senile, a tough-looking scarred lieutenant took his words seriously. “Hmm… I’ll go take a look,” he said, as he walked past the man, ready to head to the location.
--

Meanwhile, in the secluded street where the battle was going on, Benjamin watched as Akira jumped up into the air and was eager to see what she would do to avoid the second wave. He expected her to make a defensive move, and was surprised to see she went on the offensive again. As the dark disk under him knocked him behind, he smirked and used the incoming earth wave to not only stabilize his fall, but also used it to push himself directly towards where Akira. While they were both in mid-air, he clapped his hands in front of him and two long stone arms protruded from his shoulders and proceeded to do the same clapping motion, with Akira between their stony palms. Although he moderated the stone hand’s rigidity and power, it would still probably break her ribs if she let them crush her.

“The first thing we are working on after you become my trainee is on that low self-esteem of yours,” he said.



#14Akira Shimada 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:40 pm

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What the hell? she didn't expect him to fall over, but to use her destabilize and fall into his own wave of earth, this guy had reflexes that were perhaps even beyond her overestimation. She watched horrified as he jumped to her level and clapped his hands together, summoning to rocks that were about to smack into her. The girl had to react in a split second this time. She was really hoping to save the spell she used next, for the time that he decided to grip her with his stone limbs... But if she didn't pluck out her ace now, she'd suffer massive injuries, which would basically render her absolutely useless... the internal damage from the bone breakage, could even prove to be lethal.

My job is to prove I'm not as talented as he's assumed, which shouldn't be tough because its true, but I can't obviously give up my life for it.

She clasped her fingers onto the opposite forearm, breaking into darkness, just as the rocks came in touch with her, they smacked each and crumbled to dust, while she reformed into herself about five meters diagonally downwards and collapsed onto her knees upon hitting the ground. Her energy was running on empty, it physically hurt her upon trying to gather her darkness to cast spells. She heard the man's words, there was no if or when in his sentence, it was apparently a given that she was going to be his trainee.

The girl wondered if just complying will end this misery. She could find a way to escape betwixt here and whatever destination he chose to take her to... As his trainee. If she could find a way to leave Tsuru some clues, maybe he'd be able to get help too. 'Fine then, if that is all you want, tell me what I have to do to become your trainee... I'm convinced that you can teach me great things...' she muttered, croaking, her tone quite dry, she hoped he'd assume it was her exhaustion and not because she had no intent to become his minion. He looks like quite the slave driver... It'd be a drag...



#15Hatsuharu 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 7:55 pm

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Haru watched helplessly as his partner was forced to fight and couldn’t do much beyond dodging his attacks. When he saw the two big stone hands about to clap with Akira between them, he tried to scream again. The moment he moved his jaw, the stone hand around his neck tightened its grip and that was the last straw. The healer lost consciousness and would have probably been choked to death had it not been for the Rune Knight lieutenant who rushed there. The bearded and scarred Rune Knight unsheathed his katana and slashed at the five hands gripping on Haru, releasing him immediately.

Meanwhile, Benjamin grinned at Akira as she dispersed out of his attack. Even though he found her lack of drive a huge negative, her basic survival instincts and reflexes impressed him. Besides, he saw great potential in her darkness magic. He would have loved to push her further and see where her limits lie; but it seemed he had run out of time. He ignored Akira’s muttering and looked towards the new arrival. “Well well… What do we have here?” he whispered. He then turned towards Akira and spoke apologetically. “Looks like we have to end this dance sooner than I thought,” with those words, he dashed next to her with all his speed, which was a lot faster than what he had displayed so far. Once he was close to her, he would put his gloved hand on her head and the other hand on the ground. A huge stone dome formed around them, and if the glove hand touched Akira, she would experience a splitting head pain; like someone was hammering her head incessantly. Soon after, her darkness magic would begin to go haywire and an internal battle would ensue. “There… It’s a painful process. But you will thank me later,” he would say, before leaving her head and walking out of the dome. Once he was out, the dome would immediately seal itself back.

Murasaki, the Rune Knight lieutenant would attempt to cut through the dome with his katana, but it wouldn’t even make a scratch. Gritting his teeth, he dashed backwards and away from Benjamin once he got out. “Who the hell are you? And what do you want?” he would ask the red-headed man. Benjamin would simply ignore the man and walk towards his cloak. Angered at being ignored, Murasaki would dash towards the enemy with his Katana at the ready.



#16Akira Shimada 

on Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:05 pm

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Yes! she whooped internally as she noticed the RK uniform on a formidable looking guy. She wasn't sure if it was enough to take out this guy, but if it'd provide enough of a distraction maybe she could get Tsuru out of here and run. She chanced one glance at the healer's figure and was horrified to find him unconscious. She looked away quickly though, hardening her gaze, she couldn't risk betraying concern now. It was almost over, she didn't want to send him into some berserk frenzy and hurt them before the real fight began. Akira pulled herself up slowly, slouching, attempting to show some resilience. 'Go on... Tell me what I need to do...' She asked the man, Akira hoped to give the Rune Knight a small advantage, perhaps the element of surprise if she could hold her opponent's attention just a little longer...

No such luck. He noticed the guy pretty quickly, given his control over the earth, it was likely he was attuned to the vibrations that the man's steps created. Despite his fair warning, Akira could barely finish her startled backstep before his palm made contact with her forehead. Is he going to crush my head? He didn't. But it sure felt like he did. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head and a soft shriek escaped her lips as the pain made her vision blurry. Her eyes wouldn't be necessary anymore anyway... Considering the dome that closed over her... She crumpled to the floor again, her cheek against the ground once more, hopelessly she watched as he left the dome, the light from outside shrinking till it vanished altogether.  

She clenched her eyes shut. Fear engulfed her, her fingers twisted into her hair as she was left alone with the worst headache... There was no sound, there was scent or sight... Just her and her darkness... and something else. It invaded her mind, like headlights in a pitch black tunnel. She pulled her knees up, feeling the need to curl into a tight ball, to avoid the explosive feeling of discomfort that welled inside her... I'm going to die. she thought, convinced this was officially the end...



#17Hatsuharu 

on Tue Feb 06, 2018 6:32 am

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Lucky for Haru, Lieutenant Murasaki came on time to save him. Although unconscious, he was not the one in danger anymore. However, he was too late for Akira. She was locked in an impenetrable dome and was put through the worst transformation. Benjamin ignored the lieutenant until he couldn’t. As the Rune Knight charged at the beefy man with his Katana, once he was in range, Benjamin simply waved his hand, and another earth wave erupted, pushing his pursuer back several feet. “I have no interest in you. Stay away!” he said, picking up his cloak and dusting it.

The lieutenant was an extremely short-tempered one and was not at all pleased that he was being treated like a pest. Once he rolled out of the wave’s path and got back on his feet, he gritted his teeth first, but then breathed and calmed down. “I would have stayed away had you stayed away from my men,” he said. “Now… If you don’t want a problem here, you better free the young lady inside that dome immediately.” Benjamin simply smirked and shrugged. “What’s done is done. Even I can’t stop it now. Her magic is powerful… and after this, it will only get stronger. If you are here, then that only means there are going to be more on the way. You Rune Knights are annoying… Guess I’ll have to come back for her later,” he said, sighing heavily.

The huge man was about to leave without another word, but the lieutenant wouldn’t have it. He charged at him again, and this time jumped up into the air to avoid the earth wave; there was no way he was going to fall for the same trick again. Benjamin did nothing but stand as the lieutenant thrust his Katan through his chest. “Like I said… So annoying,” he muttered, before hitting his attacker at the back of his neck, knocking him unconscious with a single strike. Murasaki’s vision blurred and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. The man he just impaled with his katana was not bleeding, but was simply crumbling into sand. As he fell down losing consciousness, his katana fell beside him on top of a heap of sand and earth.

All along, it had been nothing but a clone of the real Benjamin.



#18Akira Shimada 

on Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:46 am

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The invading entity penetrated through the fortress of her mind, of her soul. It was a bright force to be reckoned with. Her darkness shriveled and while it did, her pain started waning. It recoiled and recoiled, seemingly accommodating this new light presence and Akira was utterly bewildered. She didn't really have the capacity to analyze exactly what was happening... The darkness wasn't making space at all... It was just rearing for an attack, pulling back and pressing itself tighter so it could snap back and push all this new energy out.

It was only after her darkness began fighting back, that she realized this allegedly foreign entity, had actually appeared from within her. It felt alien and something like a contagious infecting pathogen, only because of the immediate insecurity the darkness harbored towards this power. It brewed negative feelings inside her... The battle that ensued threatened to tear Akira apart. As the warmth of her began feeling more like a burning sensation and the darkness elicited the feeling of being frozen. It was darkness on the fringes and light in the middle now, expanding, taking its revenge... It felt like molten lead in her chest cavity, being surrounded by liquid nitrogen in her limbs...

Akira's nails clawed at her scalp she screamed quite a few times, but they just echoed hopelessly with the dome. She was alone in enduring this, no one could even hear her. The feeling built and built, till all of a sudden there was a crack... The dome above her began crumbling and then vanished. She felt herself being swallowed by a silvery-grey light... And then there was nothing... No more feelings, no more sensations... No more fighting... Just nothing. Am I dead then?

The noise from commotion outside had barely been registered and recognized by her brain before she faded into unconsciousness. To anyone watching, there appeared to be a silhouette of a dark dome left behind, accentuated by a glowing silvery white light behind it. Like a section of the new moon had sprouted from the ground...

~~Exit~~



#19Hatsuharu 

on Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:06 am

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The guards at the Rune Knight quarters had begun to take the old man seriously by now. They couldn’t ignore the fact that the lieutenant who had gone to check on the situation never returned. So, they finally decided to go to the scene themselves. When they arrived, they witnessed the huge dark dome around Akira crack open with rays of white light piercing through. At the end of it, all that remained was three huge heaps of sand and rock; one around the dark-haired girl, another next to the lieutenant, and the last around the healer. All three Rune Knights were unconscious and had been lying on the cold ground for almost an hour.

The guards rushed to the three of them, checking each one’s pulse. While Haru’s and Murasaki’s pulses were weak but stable, they were very worried about the waning erratic pulse of Akira. “This one is in a much worse state than the other two… Go get help! Quickly,” one of them said to the other. It took another fifteen minutes; but, finally, the three of them were at the closest hospital being treated at the emergency rooms.
--

Haru woke two hours later, with his entire body aching like hell. Despite the nurse’s advise against getting off the bed, he couldn’t help but rush to Akira’s room. He entered her room and saw the light and dark mist twist violently around his partner’s restless body, sparking and flashing occasionally. The nurse began explaining the situation carefully, trying to break the news that his partner might not make it through the night. No matter how hard she tried to ease the news in, it hit Haru hard. The scarlet-haired Rune Knight refused to leave his partner’s side and stayed by her bed through the night, even attempting to learn how to heal her himself. But eventually, his body couldn’t cope with his will and he slumped in the chair next to Akira.

-Exit-



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