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 The Rising Darkness

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PostSubject: The Rising Darkness   Tue 24 Nov 2009, 11:49 pm

------The Seireitei: The Maggot's Nest------

Zeran could feel a darkness engulfing him as the Squad Twelve captain walked away, laughing in that harsh baritone, a laugh that would chill the devil to the bone. As the white fluid formed over the left side of the face, he coughed, he gagged, he struggled. The chains binding him started to feel heavier and heavier as his strength started to wane, the weight similar to that of lead. The fluid starting to harden and form a mask, his left eye starting to change to that of a hollow, an amber yellow iris with a partially black sclera, forming like a mist over the remaining white, he could feel his breathing becoming harder, almost gasping for precious air. Attempting to use gravity to his advantage, Zeran tried to fall forward, his eyes still on the traitorous captain, gritting his teeth while the white fluids formed around the remainder of his face, fists clenched hard enough for the knuckles to go white, and pushed against the back of the wall with his feet, trying to break the chains that bound him, even with his strength fading. Failing in his attempt Zeran felt his consciousness fading, faster now than before, and the darkness now engulfing his right eye. Cursing his exhausted body, Zeran cursed the man that had done this to him over and over as the darkness finally covered him, like the mask of death, bone white, and an unforgiving cold.

------Inner World: Port Town------

Something smelled. Something familiar, yet not familiar. It was a struggle just to open his eyes. First just orange, horizontal lines were all he could see, then they grew into eclipse shapes to see a cobble road against the right side of his face, a stone building on the side of the road, and an orange sky in the corner of his vision, fading into a deep blue and violet of night on the side. Feeling light headed, Zeran struggled to his feet, grasping his forehead with his left palm, while his right hung limply to the side. Unable to recognize where he was, Zeran turned his head, looking about the town. Where had he seen all this before? Eyes widening, Zeran slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand, sighing as he did so. It was Aki’s world, her home. Looking off into the distance, Zeran could see the large lighthouse, reaching towards the sky, across the blue sea which partially reflected the sunset, turning the waters a slight red-orange. This sight brought him happiness, but also confusion. He had just died…hadn’t he? Why the hell was he here? Was he supposed to go meet her? Why? Frowning at the beautiful scene, something didn’t seem right. Using an air walking technique, Zeran rose above the ground and rocketed forth, towards the tower that overlooked the port town.

------The Seireitei: The Maggot's Nest------

Revenge was his hunger, death was his purpose, annihilation was his goal. The one man embedded into his mind was to be killed, no matter the cost. Snapping the chains binding him with one swift movement, he looked around his cell. Outside, there were a few staring in horror at his form, and he grinned, oh, he so relished the idea of people fearing him. He could easily devour them all without much of a problem, but that one man hogged all of the attention in his mind, that one man that had caused him suffering. He…Would…DIE!!! Shattering the bars of his cell, he spotted two swords at the other side of the room. Moving to them, he picked them up with the upmost care, as if afraid to harm them in some way. Then, he grinned under that devilish mask. There had been a void in him that had been missing since his birth, but now, he felt complete. Letting a ghastly breath of relief, he took the swords with him as he went to kill that man, the man who had made him suffer, the man who must suffer for the rest of his pathetic existence.

------Inner World: Lighthouse------

Ascending towards the peak, Zeran felt something was wrong. Something had somehow left a taint in this world, something neither Aki nor himself could have set. Closer, ever closer, the taint seemed to ebb and flow from the top of the tower, something that seemed to have come from hell’s abyss itself. Rising up and over the stone wall that protected the top of the tower, Zeran landed softly on the ground, his senses on high alert, looking around cautiously, until he spotted a red-haired figure not a few meters away from his location. Eyes widening, Zeran ran over to the young woman on the floor, kneeling beside her and taking her in his arms. Her face was pale, cuts and gashes covered her body, blood slowly letting out from her veins. Her eyes closed, her breath was ragged, slowing, as if near death. Gripping her tightly, Zeran wondered who could have done this to her, to Aki?

As if on cue, Zeran’s head rose as footsteps echoed from below, rising, coming closer to the top of the tower. Turning his head slowly, Zeran saw a white clothed figure come up the stairway. It was the exact opposite from his shinigami uniform. What was supposed to be black was inverted to white, and vice-versa. Even the bandages he had tied about his forearms were just an inverted version of Zeran’s own. But there was even more. The figure had the hairstyle, the same body shape, the same zanpakuto… Eyes widening, Zeran looked at the two swords, the longer on the figure’s back, the shorter on his side. What was the guy doing with Zeran’s zanpakuto? Especially when his were right at his side? No, he thought as his eyes narrowed in anger, they weren’t the same, but the similarities were unmistakable. The sheathes on the figure were bone white, black bandages wrapped around the ends, and black caps on the end of each sheath, and the guards and handles of the swords were white, the exact opposite, just like Zeran’s own clothes. As the figure stopped, it turned and faced Zeran, a crazed grin on its face. Wide eyed, Zeran looked at what looked like a mirror reflection and spoke in a confused tone, “The hell…?”

------The Seireitei: Fifth Division Barracks------

Pitiful fools, the lot of them. One after another, they came towards him, swords ready, but all of them were trash, trash to be thrown aside as such. So small, so weak, hardly worth the trouble. Not one of them died by the swing of his sword, nor by the slam of his wing. His intent was still on that man, the man that must suffer. Suddenly, another of them appeared with a strange sword in the male’s hand, much like a butcher’s cleaver. He was stronger than the others, but still merely trash. This time he reached out with his clawed hand and grabbed the cleaver, stopping the man in midair. Not even effected by the blade, he crushed the cleaver, then kicked the man into a nearby wall. He wasn’t even really trying, only a bare minimum of his power was being released. Only that man would deserve his full strength, in his demise. Ruffling his onyx-black wings for a moment, he started down the walkway, only to have more men and women block his path. “Geh…” he breathed out annoyingly. So small a threat, yet so annoying… Then the sword drew blood.

------Inner World: Lighthouse------

Zeran glared at the man who resembled him, unsure what to think about him. It made no sense. Why was there a man who looked just like him here? Why did he reek of the taint? How the hell did he get here? And what did he do to Aki? Examining the face more, Zeran noticed the amber eyes surrounded by the black sclera. He had seen those eyes many times before, those dark familiar eyes. A hollow. Gritting his teeth Zeran asked in a furious tone, “Who the hell are you?” The man, still looking at him with that sadistic grin, raised an eyebrow, and his grin wavered, being replaced by an intrigued look. After that, however, all the man did was keel over and laugh, his baritone voice distorted, a mockingly devilish laugh. Shifting his weight, Zeran knew something at once. The captain’s laugh wasn’t in fact one that would chill the devil; it was this man’s. Just his laugh made Zeran’s blood go cold, as if that was enough to spread the taint in such a way.

Watching with a neutral mask, Zeran watched the man throw his head back, still laughing, and with his right hand on his forehead. Taking his left hand away from Aki, Zeran clutched his wakazashi zanpakuto, the shorter of the two. This was about to get messy, he just knew it… As the man finally stopped laughing, he looked down at Zeran and stepped forward. “Why do you care for that piece of trash?” Wide eyed, Zeran looked back to Aki and then to the man. “So you did do this to her!” Zeran growled through his teeth. Aki was like a sister to him. The man would pay if was truly the one who did it to her. “Yes…I’m the one who cut her pretty face up…” The man grinned as he said this, obviously enjoying Zeran’s distress and anger. “Such delicious blood…” He said as he drew the wakazashi from his side. The blade was black, in opposition to the original’s sliver, and it was covered in a dark red substance, which the man licked straight off the blade. “…for a piece of trash.” Setting Zeran over the edge, Zeran drew his wakazashi with an astounding speed, laying down Aki simultaneously, and shunpoing up to the man as both of the wakazashi impacted one another creating a burst of reishi and reiatsui spiraling around them. In his rage, Zeran demanded, “Who the hell are you!?!” as he push forward. Grinning sadistically, the man responded, “Degaro…”

------The Seireitei: Eighth Division Outskirts------

A lesser hunger, a hunger to feed, a hunger to devour, to devour their souls! He loved the screams of the wounded he had struck down thus far, such an enjoyment that was wasted on such trash. He needed a stronger, more powerful prey to satisfy him as he approached his target. No, he needed to focus only on destroying that man, the others could wait for later, then he would feast upon the numerous souls that had already been defeated. Another came at him, this time with a spear-like weapon, aimed for his side, which he easily broke in two before slicing at the torso, both cutting the person open as well as throwing them back into another. Looking at the sword, he could see all the blood that had accumulated on this one. The other was still in its sheath, ready and waiting for blood. Chuckling at this, he advanced forward, step after step, the man’s death approached.

------Inner World: Lighthouse/Sky------

From the port town, everything could seem peaceful. At least, almost peaceful. With a large explosion from the lighthouse’s top, navy-blue and crimson-red flames danced in a flurry of might against one another, Zeran and Degaro locked in a struggle for dominance.

Zeran swung his sword and the flames created and recycled from reiatsui launched from the wakazashi, or what had become of it. A brilliant sword, only a couple inches longer than the original form, though a little broader, curved, the blade now a brilliant crimson, seeming to glow in the massive amount of light. The flames launched however, were easily repulsed by Degaro’s own flames, dark and sinister, flames of destruction and death. His sword was much like Zeran’s own, yet the blade was jet black, the corruption flowing through it unmistakable. Charging forward, laughing like a maniac, Degaro got in close to Zeran, drawing the second of his two blades, black, same as the first, only for it to change into a longer twin of the other, the navy flames bursting from it as it did so. Zeran, who by this moment had drawn his second blade as well, now changed into its Shikai state, impacted Degaro’s swords without hesitation, parried, and then attempted to slice the man’s jugular. Degaro, still laughing his maniac laugh, simply dropped down towards the base of the tower, launching more flames as he did so. However, they weren’t aimed at him; they were aimed at the tower.

Eyes widening, Zeran saw the dark flames impact the tower below him, making the lighthouse crumble and fall. Knowing what it meant, Zeran shunpoed up to the top of the tower again, running as soon as he hit the ground to Aki. Sheathing one of his zanpakuto, reverting it back to the sealed state in the process, Zeran picked Aki up with one arm and put her over his shoulder. Turning, Zeran jumped into the air and glided away from the lighthouse as it crumbled beneath itself, crashing into both the islands and the bay beside it. Gritting his teeth, Zeran looked away from the devastation and headed down towards the port town, only for Degaro to appear infront of him and strike out with both blades. Shifting Aki out of the way, Zeran parried the first blow but got his leg caught by the second, creating a large vertical gash up his thigh. Blood spurting out from his leg, Zeran moved backwards in midair, groaning slightly with the wound slowing him down. Grinning Degaro licked Zeran’s blood of the black blade, his amber yellow eyes shining with anticipation and delight. Scowling, Zeran unleashed a blast of fire from his blade, then turned to escape, only having Degaro appear right in front of Zeran before he could do a thing. “How pitiful…” He spoke in his distorted voice. “You and that trash you’re carrying aren’t even worth living.” Zeran glared at Degaro’s fowl grin. “Now…DIE!!!” With a mad look in his eye, Degaro swung while speaking the words, “Fire Devil!” unleashing a spiraling blast of dark flames in Zeran’s direction, the air pressure ready to suck anything close into it. Readying his sword, Zeran swung his own sword and cried out, “Ignition!” creating a flame-like sheathe around his blade and forearm then impacting Degaro’s flames with the enhanced blade, causing a split in the flames and making them disperse. Narrowing his eyes, Zeran noticed Degaro had disappeared from his original position, and was now above him, readying a second Fire Devil. Moving around Zeran dodged the Fire Devil that tried to come down on top of him, only for Degaro to appear behind him, slashing at Zeran’s back. Now spurting blood from that gash, Zeran quickly turned and backed away from Degaro, who was now frowning.

[color=blue]“Resilient little bastard…Aren’t ya…?”[/color] Degaro sounded disappointed, trying to impact Zeran’s ego, and went on. “You’d do much better without that bitch…” and Degaro’s grin returned, “But who’s complaining?” Narrowing his eyes, Degaro pointed both swords out to his sides, and then his reiatsui started skyrocketing. Eyes widening, Zeran moved away from what would happen. “Ban…Kai!” The navy flames then shot out around Degaro, engulfing him and where Zeran had been before the release. Taking this time to move, Zeran shunpoed down to the ground, laying Aki on the rough desert sand. Gritting his teeth, Zeran moved back up into the air, drawing his second blade in the process, just as the flames around Degaro started to disperse. Not letting any gap start up between them, Zeran started raising his reiastui for his own ascension. “Bankai!” And the crimson flames started to roar.

------The Seireitei: Squad Ten Barracks------

Such enormous power… Where it came from…he didn’t care… All he knew was that his hunger for souls grew, growing ever closer to being dominant to the want of that man’s death, along with the power he received. The blackened armor over him seemed to resonate with power, drawing more powerful opponents as his form started to complete. Even those dressed in white as well as black started appearing, their strength impressive, but his strength was even more impressive. He made their blood flow free as much as the others, though he had finally sustained some damage against their attacks, but to no avail to them. Nearly as quickly as they had come, the wounds had healed themselves and he still had plenty of power. His amber eyes aglow, he spotted another in white, and grinned. With a directed hand, the crimson blast launched.

------Inner World: The Sky Over the Port Town------

Impact. The crimson flames that had manifested from Zeran’s Bankai impacted Degaro’s, the fierce clash immense. Manifesting a sword similar to the longer of his Shikai, Zeran sliced through an open point in Degaro’s defense, only to receive a cut from something else. Backing away, Zeran realized that Degaro had manifested a black lance, definitely different to Zeran’s usual fighting style. Manifesting the wakazashi version of his shikai in his free hand, Zeran charged forward again, only for Degaro to direct his free hand to gather a dark blue ball of energy in his hand. Wide-eyed, Zeran swerved to avoid it, only for his left arm to get caught, causing Zeran’s flesh to burn and blister as the crimson armor and sword on that side cracked. Letting out a yell, Zeran toppled sideways in mid-air, the blast throwing him backwards, downwards, and to the right. His left eye closed, Zeran dispelled his katana version shikai and had four small blades of condensed reishi appear in the spaces between his fingers. Back flipping in midair, Zeran stopped, using the air-walking technique, and rocketed forth, the flames encircling him as he went. Then, as expected the hollow appeared before him, lance at the ready.

Moving slightly to the left, Zeran pasted by Degaro without new wound, and threw the reishi blades at Degaro. With a swift movement, the hollow swung his spear at the blades, grinning as all except one were repelled, the remaining stuck in the lance’s shaft. Grinning himself, Zeran snapped his fingers in his free hand and muttered the word, “Cataclysm…” Only then did Degaro’s eyes widen and look in the direction of the lodged blade, which started to pulse, as if in a countdown. In a desperate attempt, Degaro tried to throw the lance, only for the blade to cause a high-grade explosion.

Stopping after he had gotten much farther away, Zeran manifested, yet again, the katana version of his Shikai creating a mass of flame spiraling about both blades. All he needed was a moment more… In that, Degaro’s distorted baritone rang out, “AFTERBURNER!” Out of the smoke that had come from the explosion, the navy-blue flames came, flames that engulfed the hollow himself. The attack seemed strange somehow though. Finally done readying his attack, Zeran shouted out, “Infernal Tempest!” and Zeran’s Bankai version of ‘Fire Devil’ came forth. The flames shot out into a large area, to great for Degaro to escape. This didn’t stop him though, Degaro kept coming, until, out of the blue, he manifested a second lance, and ran Zeran through. Coughing up blood, Zeran looked at Degaro, wondering ‘How?,’ only to see the dark nimbus engulfing him. Finally realizing what it was, a shell of reiatsui, enhancing both piercing power and defensive capabilities, Degaro spun Zeran around and threw him into the desert below.

Falling, Zeran felt his body weakening, nearly unable to keep his Bankai up. Zeran wondered how he could lose against a hollow. A damned hollow! Was he going to die? Get devoured? What? He kept wondering this as he impacted into the desert sand, not far from where Aki had been.

------The Seireitei: Twelfth Division Outskirts------

Suddenly, the urge to devour souls had risen to equal the urge to destroy that man. Now they competed for dominance, the hungers. Back and forth they raged. So many were near him, so many to kill… No! That man was his only target. He shrieked, the chaos about him raged, and the end closed ever nearer.

------Inner World: The Port Town Outskirts------

Zeran felt the darkness getting lighter, as if a mountain was being taken off his shoulders. His eyes opened slightly, and he could still see the orange sky melding into the blue. Looking to his side, he could see Aki leaning over him, red specs flying from her to him, only then did he notice; she was transparent! What the hell was she doing? Bending over, Aki whispered in his ear, “Just go along with it, gain my power. If you reject any of it, you won’t gain the power you need to win.” Eyes widening, they saw the tears running down Aki’s face.

Smiling, Zeran closed his eyes. She thought he had died. She was almost right, at that.
As her power poured into him, her form vanished completely, and her consciousness spoke out from within his, ringing out the information needed for him and her to win. Eyes opening again, only now did they turn the brilliant crimson, the unity between both him and her complete. Getting up off his back, Zeran examined his weakened state. His wounds were covered in burn marks, an emergency procedure so to help him survive. As for his Bankai, most of what was left was a minor piece of the left greave, most of the armor over his right arm, hardly any on his left, the wheel on his back, and part of the tasset. Plenty left for what he needed.

Looking up for Degaro, Zeran saw him off creating destruction over the town, laughing as he did so. He thought he had died as well, and he had gotten so caught up with it that he couldn’t even sense his reiatsui. What a joke. Zeran chuckled at this, and realized that his mood had gotten better. Must have been that he knew Aki was okay. Lifting off the ground, Zeran stood on a plane level to where Degaro was and simply, in a non-sarcastic manner, said, “Yo!”

Stopping abruptly, Degaro turned slowly and starred in disbelief, which made Zeran say, “Ya miss me?” Narrowing his eyes, Degaro roar, “How are you still alive!?!” Grinning, Zeran managed to say, without laughing at Degaro’s humorous change of expression, “Let’s just say you should have killed Aki when you had the chance…” Gritting his teeth, Degaro’s scowl turned to a grin. “So what? You can’t beat me…You never will!” Manifesting his lance, Degaro gathered that nimbus around him again, ready for Zeran’s attacks. Or so he thought. Putting his hand out, Zeran manifested a sword, a sword directly from most of the remaining armor over his body, but nothing like his Shikai. It looked like a katana. A normal katana; silver blade, gold guard; It was more like his sealed zanpakuto than anything, yet the crimson flames . Laughing, Degaro charged at Zeran. “You think that toothpick is enough to stop me?!” Still grinning, Zeran spoke clearly, “Slayer…” With a single swing, Degaro had lost his right arm, his lance along with it. “Wha…?!” Zeran’s katana had grown, much larger than it had been before. His hand was actually inside the handle; the blade now much longer and wider, a sword which a giant may wield. “Meet a technique you will never know… Degaro… A sword forged through our unity… Slayer…” Zeran then directed the large sword at Degaro. “Now…disappear…” Raising his sword, Degaro charged in a last ditch effort to strike Zeran down. “Oblivion…”

Slicing straight through Degaro, a flash of light ensumed, gone in a blink, after which Zeran appeared back in the realm of souls.
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