Light falls! The Witch's shadow lurks with death following closely!
I find myself in a large, fine bed with a rose-themed accenting. I rose out of bed, covers slipping from my fine body, with a solid tone built into my core, dressed in undergarments.
Right. It was insisted I stay the night here... I would have just left, if Doctor Vindreil didn't ask I stay on Rosalia's behalf.
I return to my horse, dressed in my armor and cape once again, and mount up. Doctor Vindreil appeared briefly to see me off.
"Doctor, it's likely that Rosalia's sister is too far in the Makai to recognize much. Do you have something that belonged to Rosalia that she may remember?" I would ask, glancing over at him.
"Hmm... Lady Rosalia had a dagger in her old personal chambers... Looked plenty old, but it had a sense of... nostalgia to it," He went back inside "I'll get it for you if you need it."
"Thank you." I nodded with a subtle smile. I glanced back up into the night sky, gazing at the Big Dipper Constellation. All the stars were flickering rapidly.
The Heavens... they are scared. Scared of the fate that awaits me... .
Once Doctor Vindreil returned, he handed me a dagger in a fine cloth scabbard. I take hold of it with determination dripping from my grip.
"I will defeat her—For Rosalia—For the mother."
"Hm? You... Please do take care of yourself, Madame Bethena." He seemed to have seen something, but I didn't mind not asking.
I tap the horse's side with my boot, and take off. "Farewell, Doctor Vindreil," I went onward, and leave the capital facility.
The horse galloped for a good while, heading South. In half a week, I traveled horseback to "Witch's Brew". I would finally arrive to a large forest, and trot through until I find a squared town with several houses, and essential buildings for an organized community. I glance around a bit, trotting down the streets still on my horse, which left its large hoof prints embedded in the street. I would just go round the town a bit, and head back into the wilderness.
I went deep in, and found a medium sized lake with a peninsula sticking into the lake. The horse stopped before the water at its shores as I observed the area. I continued down the peninsula, and stop at the end of it.
"I see them..." I still was observing the scenery, the sorrow in my eyes weighing heavily. I heard the phantom echoes of combat. But it was gentle, and filled with nostalgia. The images of two little girls were appearing, play fighting it seems. "So this is where you grew up, and trained... Rosalia..." Yes, one of the girls appeared to be a small Rosalia, her bright blue eyes were recognizable from a mile away, just like her blonde hair with brown highlights and tips.
Her beauty still appeared more natural than the parts she had installed. The other apparition appeared to be a girl identical to her, but with slightly longer hair, despite being smaller, and younger. Her little sister then?
I could only hear and see them so clearly as an Elf, because Elves have more acute perception abilities, and a more powerful mind's eye.
"… Take this as a homage. As my promise to defeat your sister, Rosalia!"
I take the dagger I was given by Vindreil, and pull it from its cloth scabbard, a curved blade with a somewhat decent, yet aged, edge, and with a handmade grip. I took my left glove off, and grab the blade with my left hand, pulling out, and slicing open my palm. I clenched a fist hard, drizzling blood into the lake water. Once the bleeding stopped, I lowered my hand aside, and turn my horse to take my leave. When the sun's grace sliced through the breaking dawn, and just as its clear warmth touched the landscape, the apparitions changed, taking back my attention to look back at them.
Rosalia appeared there, but she was missing parts. The synthetic parts she had were missing, each and every one of them. She looked up at me with sadness in her eyes, and went to speak.
"Kill her, please... She is not my sister anymore. My sister died a long time ago. She's now a witch—No, a devil. I don't see her face anymore. All I see is the face of a Majin."
"No—She still has a chance. I won't kill her—I can take care of her!"
"...You remind me of my real little sister, the one I knew. So full of life, and so naïve. She was so alive. You. Were so alive. Just please, put her down."
"Rosalia..." I stared at the apparition, extremely determined.
"… If you believe in her so much, then who am I to deny her? I will live on within you. Allow my heart into your's, and I shall lend you the power you will need to defeat her." She would vanish.
I turn, and continue to walk away on my horse "Rest in peace, Rosalia."
I would return to town to find a place to stay in, but immediately something caught my eye on the way. I eyeballed a group of people down an alleyway, a woman being grabbed with a cloth wrapped around her mouth. My horse stepped down before them with its powerful hooves embedding themselves into the concrete.
"What do you think you're doing?" I leveled my glare over them as they release the woman.
One of them spoke to the rest briefly before turning back to me.
"We're just bringin' this girl in for a bounty—Big price stamped on her head alive," He would start "We ehh...-"
"Is that so? She seems more scared and confused than desperate and regretful," I would analyze the woman "She must be wondering why this is happening. In fact she seems new here. What did she do, she may ask, to deserve this."
He would pause, starting to pale since standing before him was such an enormous horse.
"Your forked tongue is doused in venom. Nice try."
He begun to chuckle "So what! We'll just have to get you off that horse! The Witch'll be comin' soon this week, and we gonna beat the strong spirit out of you both for 'er!"
I raise an eyebrow as they pull out guns and crossbows before one of the stockier thugs got stomped on by my horse, crushed immediately. A gun was fired, and I held a hand radiating aura to deflect the small caliber projectiles. I project the aura forth, plowing through the other thugs, and flushing them down the alley. The man who tried to excuse them was left. My horse approached as he tried to make a run for it until my horse stomped down on his legs hard, and crushed them mercilessly.
"So now that you're going to bleed out, do tell me what it is you're up to, you filthy sewer rat." I leveled my glare over him.
"The... the Swamp Witch who comes by... three times a month... She's lookin' for strong willed... sacrifices. Any... one... She wouldn't mind them bein' brought to her... She should give us somethin' for it...," He would explain, appearing more vain and maybe delusional than he was already "I heard it... as clear as day last time she came... "You trash aren't worth dirtyin' with, I want a strong willed fellow who can fight against my power—Any will do, so long as my appetite doesn't stop"…-"
"You misheard her," I stopped him "She said she wouldn't dirty her hands with stupid, inbred cowards like you."
My horse lifted its hoof off him. He begun to chuckle as he tried to crawl away, but was cut short by my horse punting him, the kick cleaved his head off, and embedded it into the wall. I shook my head before looking over to check on the girl. Now that I had a look, I see that she was an ethnic mix; Caucasian, and African American, with jet black hair, and ember eyes.
"Are you well? Did they harm you in anyway?" I leaned down to her.
"...N-No... I'm okay! Thank you for saving me!" She would light up.
I reached my hand down to her, and she grabbed hold of my hand to being pulled up effortlessly to clinging to my back.
"I'd like a place to stay, so if you'll just point me the way to your home I'd be happy to stay."
"O-Oh uh... Just head this way," She would point the way. "Say, aren't you the Elf who appeared a week ago? The tanned brunette with freckles and braids?"
"Well if you put it that way I can't say I can really answer your question." I giggled a bit.
"Hoh then you are—I also heard about how you made a mess of yourself with a can of cola. Are you straight from the wastelands away from here or something?"
"Y-yeah... That really wasn't necessary to mention... Does everyone gossip about even the simplest folly happening? I was simply curious about this ancient soda drink from the late Eighteen Hundreds—I didn't know it would be some awfully sweet, over caffeinated drink that burns your tongue off." Again, acute perception skills including taste and smell.
She would laugh a bit "I don't think you're really the first, but you seem so well composed I thought it was worth mentioning for some laughs."
"Well if you're happy about it, I guess it's okay," I excused her humbly.
Once we got to her home, I took my cape off and rested it on the coat hanger, proceeding upstairs.
"You wouldn't mind I use your restroom real quick?"
"Oh uh no go ahead. Make yourself at home—My house is open to you anytime, so feel free."
I went, and tended to myself in the restroom. Eventually the girl came up here to join me, tending to herself as well, mainly fixing things since she was roughened up by those thugs.
"Say, where did you get that huge horse of your's?" She would start some brief conversation.
"Oh Nadine? I grew up with her. There's rarely ever a time I travelled without Nadine. We're actually from Europe, so you won't be seeing any enormous horses around here in South America."
"Well it's a beautiful horse either way—Strong and beautiful like you. I couldn't say I've seen the likes of which before."
"Oh, why thank you~" I smiled at her.
Once we were done, I got myself a different outfit, something more casual with a violet sweater, a dark colored, layered skirt, and a pair of stockings trimmed with a rose pattern. She insisted on having me over for dinner as a guest. I agreed, and seated myself with a patient composure on the couch in the living room, which was right beside the dining hall with an open doorway dividing the living room, and the kitchen. I observe my surroundings, finding some things are put into place, but others are still in boxes.
"Sorry if it's a mess—You were right, I am new here—I just moved in this morning. I came from further down South. My old home was near an old bomb site that had a rad leak, so I had to move as soon as possible before it spread. By the way, one of the boxes near the shelf is full of books, feel free to grab one for a quick read."
"Say, I didn't catch your name."
"Oh sorry, I'm Bünÿ -" She would introduce herself.
"I'm Bethena." I would as well.
"-Nice to meet you, Bethena~" She went back into the kitchen "Read one of the books if you like, I'll be cooking for a bit. And again, thank you so much for saving me back there."
"Thanks for letting me stay." I smiled gently, then look down to one of the boxes. I open it, and pull out a randomly selected book to read. "By the way, if you don't know this already, you should watch your back here in this town—It's not just thugs and psychos you should look out for, nor bandits. There's an awfully dense supernatural population here," I would warn.
"Oh thanks for warning, but I already know about that. I stopped by the local bar after I moved in, to get some bare essential info and advice here."
"Okay then," I nodded, and went to read.
"Hmm..." She has some rather steamy tastes in books, but at least it isn't nothing but romance... . Well let's just hope I don't get caught with my skirt down with this by Rosalia's sister visiting the town.
After dinner, we got ready to go to bed, me being given the master bedroom again. Except this time it's because of my size. The guest bed is small for me, since I'm an Elf I would stand 6'3" ft. Bünÿ didn't seem to mind thankfully. She's awfully casual, and too open toward me it seems.
I wouldn’t bother questioning it, so long as she doesn't mind.
I fell asleep soon, and deeply in sleep I lay in bed, given ordinary dreams so far into the night, until late midnight, I would immediately feel the atmosphere turning darker and darker as an ungodly presence came down the streets before the house. I woke, and went downstairs, seeing an enormous shadow casting down. It was completely unnatural, and donned the face of a demon. It could be mistook for a magical spirit almost, but my trained eyes locked onto the source, a figure pacing down the streets in the window. No matter what, though, I couldn't take a step.
Standing in the shadow sent chills down my every bone, and my instincts are redflagging desperately, telling me to turn and leave. I would go to take a step, but then the wall before me blew inward, an impossibly ginormous, demonic aura appeared from the figure. A Matoki, and it was almost identical to Rosalia's, except it was a dozen times larger, and much more dense, even tearing apart the remains of the wall between me and the figure. The figure begun its approach, the stench of death polluted the air, and grew so viciously it was unlike any other before. In its approach, one of the light posts flickered on in the streets, and appeared a girl in the light, almost identical to Rosalia in every way.
Her eyes were more so of a turquoise color, and her hair was longer, but awfully greasy and stringy, and she wore a tattered up, soggy dress that went past her bare, grimy feet. Her skin was poorly conditioned, as if it was constantly exposed to water, but her body was fine, and built in physique. The look in her eyes was rather peculiar, and misleading, since her body was pumping out Matoki to such an absurd scale, even oozing from her every breath. But her eyes had an absent minded look, yet she still seemed to be well conscious since she's looking right at me. I could feel a murderous intent, her malice was almost more apparent than her Matoki, and yet she hasn't done anything.
I stood, and readied stance, immediately being punted out into the backyard by this woman through the wall. I recovered immediately, and rose my stance into defense, managing to catch another merciless attack, and then attempting to counter attack, automatically missing vital points on her. My fist broke skin, but barely. I was pushed off from countering her, and then had a slicing kick unleashed through my chest, slicing off one strap of my bra and spraying blood everywhere. I will myself through the dealt damage, and catch another merciless attack to counter, managing to fein an attack to catch her off guard.
I missed another vital point, only piercing her skin with force.
What's going on...?! I can't target her pressure points... Her Matoki is getting to be obnoxious as is, but now it's alluding me?! If I can't strike any pressure points, then I'll crush her body...!
I somersault back, only to be imprisoned in a darkening atmosphere, suspended in a disorienting vortex. I rose my voice into shouting, spinning rapidly, and regaining my own footing. Rosalia has used this technique on me already, I know how it works.
Despite regaining balance and awareness, I was overrun with blasts of Matoki going into me. I managed to deflect most of the Matoki, releasing my own aura to better fend it off. I would still be penetrated by the Matoki in some places, my bra getting sliced off by the last strap. I managed some recovery in the onslaught, and bounce off the rest of the Matoki before it went through, and fell back down to land, holding a chest wound. I stood up, and rose my voice into a shout, my aura turning violent and full of strength.
My body's overall muscle mass begun to increase, and raise my physical abilities as well as speed.
"Go no Ken techniques are that of pure force without retreat! It utilizes a special version of the breathing technique, "Tenryu Kokyu Ho", and makes the practitioner twice as strong as their opponent!" I exclaimed, utilizing said breathing technique that even sent out waves of my aura into forceful blasts that slammed against the Matoki.
"Hoh is that all?" Her voice boomed in a warped, demonic manner "You fight well against my techniques, perhaps the strongest to fight against them. But for how long will you keep me? You won't be able to hurt me, only delay me... Once I'm done, I'll see to her for a strong will... ."
She readied a stance as did I, her Matoki boomed into a more volatile manner.
"Your Toki is nice..." She commented, regarding my growing aura.
I close the distance immediately with great speeds, and threw an attack at her, catching her off guard briefly before she countered me, a simultaneous hit with as much resistance as possible. We stumbled a bit, trying to get a solid opening out of each other, until we collided again with another simultaneous attack. We both barely connected. It seems that as masters of almost the same style, we can hardly read each other at all, and intercept the attacks at the last second, only minimizing the damage to an extent. We went into a non-stop onslaught of attacks at a rapid succession, only intercepting attacks of each other through different attacks, making it much more difficult to actually hit each other, and avoid taking any damage all together.
In the instant, we both fell, the woman started to pump out more Matoki, and got up immediately, blood trickling down her body, and dress. I barely managed to stand back up, drenched in blood, her's and mine. Her Matoki kept growing, becoming more vicious, and unleashes into a massive explosive wave, clearing the whole backyard, and almost destroying the house. I was sent several yards into the air, but dozens of meters away from the scene of the battle. I crash into the streets, standing back up slowly with the Matoki lingering on me, and starting to burn my flesh.
I shook off my exhaustion, and ran back immediately, seeing that the woman was about to head into the rubble of the house to find Bünÿ. I rose my voice into a shout, and thrust a fist at her hard, unleashing a massive forceful Toki at the woman, shouting "Hokuto Gosho Ha!". It plowed through her, and lifted her off her feet, soon stopped by the constantly oozing Matoki that was weakened by the blast. I charged after her, and unleash a fury of a hundred fists, however I am forced to recoil off her by a deadly counter attack. When I got ready to try for another attack, dozens wounds popped open all over my torso.
I stumbled, blood spewing from my body rapidly, and go to take a step, only to fall back. The woman began her approach. Her warped voice cackled loudly. Her Matoki started to harm my body again as I lay still on the ground, bloodied and beaten. She raises a hand, collecting her Matoki at a controlled manner, surprisingly somehow mastering the demonic, unstoppable Matoki that was thought to be uncontrollable.
I faintly overhear commotion coming from the rubble of the house, and out of the corner of my eye I see Bünÿ emerging from the rubble, awake, and soon to be frozen with fear. The woman's shadow constantly warped to cast down the ground in every direction, coming up on Bünÿ as well.
No... no no no don't you dare even look at her...! I... I can't get up... That girl's going to be killed if I don't get up...! Get up... get up... Stand! Stand! I still have strength I... I need more... I can't win like this. Bünÿ is going to get killed. I refuse to let any of this happen...!
I glare at the woman as she went to deliver another attack. I started breaking down into desperate tears, trying to will forth the strength to stand at least, to escape her finishing blow, and move Bünÿ away from the battle.
Rosalia...! I need your strength...!
I am embedded into the ground by the finishing blow, caved deep in by that single, powerful punch. When I opened my eyes again, I find myself behind the woman, multiple images of my own fist attacked her in the instance between her attack, and my miracle. There was no action taken, I couldn't have moved on my own, and it was too late for anyone to have saved me. It was an unforeseen willpower that brought me into miraculous maneuvers. It could have been only one thing that could have saved anyone from an attack like that.
An ultimate technique that cannot be taught by anyone, anyone alive that is. It is to carve the sorrow and anger of others into your own heart, and transform those emotions into nothingness, and transmigrates the practitioner beyond death to fight with those who have entrusted their heart into the practitioner against the adversary. To even so much as see the technique, requires to truly, and genuinely, understand the sadness of others.
The woman stood, covered in the new wounds left by my Musou Tensei. She turned to unleash another powerful attack. My eyes glowed brightly, as I turned ethereal immediately, and vanished into thin air without a trace. Countless images of myself appeared to surround the woman, and met up behind. All my images closed in to attack immediately, only to be caught by the woman shouting "Anryu Tenha!"
All my images were suspended in a void-like atmosphere that was several times worse than the technique I was used to already. I was blasted straight out of the transmigration, and forced to rematerialize, and fall back down from the Anryu Tenha. I stood back up, my wounds taking a toll on me again before I entered Musou Tensei again. The woman thrusted forth Matoki toward me that went off too fast to avoid. I readied a stance to try and counter, until something appeared out of nowhere and intercepted the attack.
It appeared to be Niall, whom was about to lower its hand from its forehead before getting hit. It took the attack head on, being pierced by seven stars that formed the big dipper constellation. Niall fell to the ground, its present Toki vanishing immediately. It remained unconscious there.
"N-Niall!" I called out, reverting from Musou Tensei, and collapsing to my wounds. I shouted its name as the woman vanished with her reappearing Matoki, and dragged Niall away with her retreating shadow that left fast. I soon fell to my unconsciousness as they left. The last I would hear was the woman's warped voice cackle maniacally.