They were all gone. My friends, my comrades from UQ Holder, even Kitty. I was the only one left. Thanks to a one second miracle, Negi broke free from the Eternal Empathetic and used a prototype time machine to send me back in time to fix everything. Now I am ready. Now I am worthy of Evangeline McDowell. Now I am ready. Now I am ready to free my ancestors from their prisons!
I waited for what seemed like an eternity. The longer this silence continued the more nervous I became, to the point where I was wiggling my toes out of fear, not wanting her to see the rest of my body shake in fear of rejection. I wasn't nervous earlier when I proposed, or anytime I proposed/confessed to her actually. Well, maybe this was because this was the first time that I took the proposal seriously, bearing my heart to her, giving her a ring, and performing a proposal as it should be performed. I now understood how many men felt when they proposed to their partners.
I never once dared to look away from those crystals that made up the blue of her eyes, fearing the worst if I did. She was breathing heavily, very heavily, to the point where I could visibly see her chest rise and fall from the oxygen intake. Regardless of the outcome today, it was guaranteed that neither of us would ever forget this day.
Kitty finally moved, shaking her hand out of my grasp and taking a step back. Then another. And another. All while tears dripped off of her cheeks, a single delicate hand covering her mouth and her head shook from left to right over and over again. I took this as a queue to stand. I did not advance, however; I continued to stand in the place where I told her how I truly felt, waiting for her verbal response, refusing to accept any answer that did not come directly from her mouth. It took more than several minutes for her to stop the tears as well as compose herself to a reasonable degree. She turned her back to me, seemingly to keep herself from losing what little composure she managed to regain in that short period of time.
"I assume you did something similar to the me of your future, did you not?" she asked out of shaken curiosity, her voice barely holding the sentence together.
"Never to the extent I just did, but yes, I have." I responded truthfully, scratching my arm to try to override my embarrassment.
"I see," she said, shifting her weight from foot to foot, "then you already know what I am about to say don't you?"
"Yeah, I do." I coughed into my fist, using a little bit of magic to modify my vocal cords temporarily. When I spoke again, my voice had changed to match that of Yukihime when she first told me. 'I still love Negi Springfield.'" I saw her jump a little bit in surprise from hearing her own voice whereas she was expecting my own. Interested, she turned to see a small rotating magic circle on my throat. 'He's still being held captive by my bitterest enemy. That was the price he paid for saving the world. Until everything about that has been resolved, I can't move forward, not even with you.'" After I finished quoting her I used Magia Erebia to absorb the magic circle on my throat and get my normal voice back, a small black dot forming on my neck as I willed the Black of Mars into action. "Then you kissed me and apologized."
She continued to gaze in my direction for a few seconds before shaking her head with a weary smile on her face. "I do not even know why I am still surprised by anything anymore after what has happened today. More or less, that does sound like something I would say, although I think I would have elaborated on it a bit more."
She decided to face me this time, rotating the rest of her body in my direction so that we were standing vampire to vampire. I looked at her facial expression and saw that she was dead serious. "So, what makes you think, despite knowing how I would respond, that I would change my mind now?" This is it. I swallowed anxiously and took a deep breath to calm my racing heart. When I breathed out my heart was still beating just as fast but I felt a little more relaxed than I did before; albeit just a little.
"Because I know that I am the one you fell in love with first." She raised her eyebrow, questioning my logic. I elaborated. "Back in my future, the memory seal you placed on yourself never got broken, so the memories of me from your life until you met Nagi were kept sealed so you never remembered me. But the one mistake you made with that plan is that you didn't rewrite the events that happened, you merely covered it up with magic. That means that I still made an impact on you and I did make you fall in love me, even if it wasn't intentional at the time. So, when you finally meet Nagi and then Negi, you became attracted to them due to how much they resembled me and you started looking at them as men, not as comrades. What would have happened if you didn't seal your memories and you finally meet me again?"
She said nothing, looking down at the water, not denying what I was implying. She started walking towards it and got back in it, seeking the warmth of the hot spring to relieve her turbulent thoughts. I did the same, taking a seat right next to her, making sure we were close enough that out skin touched. She did not move away from me so I took this as a good sign.
"Do you remember our time at Dana's place?"
It certainly took a few moments, but I saw her begin to grin at the recollection. "Yeah, the first time I saw you I was trying to kill that witch while she was sleeping." She chuckled.
I also began to grin. "Yeah, and the next time we met you were trying to do just that again. Then you collapsed out of hunger and drank my blood." I took in the beautiful sight of her cheeks beginning to brighten.
"I am still embarrassed that I actually gave in to my hunger and drank the blood of a complete stranger so please don't bring that up again." She muttered cutely. I couldn't help put laugh at her as she blushed from the memory.
"Okay okay." I replied with a slight tease in my voice. "The next few times we met I was hula hooping and balancing balls. You even helped me figure out what the training was for."
"You have no idea how ridiculous you looked doing that. If I remember correctly she had you doing thirty hula hoops at one point."
"Yeah, so you decided to give me more and tripled the amount I was previously doing!" Not even she could not laugh at that, her graceful voice tickling my ears once more.
"Hey, I was just trying to help you." She countered, a toothy grin gracing her angelic face. Momentarily forgetting my anxiousness, I also showed her my best smile.
That smile didn't last long. "And then you told me to kill you to end your suffering." I told her, her grin also fading as her face took on a solemn expression.
"I was genuinely tired of living a life where everyone I ever cared for died and left me alone. No matter how far I walked, no matter how long I wandered the planet I met very few people, not even one of them I considered my friends. They were acquaintances at the best of times but there were still nice to be around and happily pass the time with. Then I had to watch them die and leave me alone again, plunging me even deeper into despair. It was honestly a nightmare, a living nightmare."
"I know. I remember. I saw your memories while you were sleeping. You should remember that. Something about the boundaries of time being weaker while Dana is asleep. The same thing would have happened had I touched anyone that was sleeping. But I am glad that it was you."
"Oh, so that is how you saw them…wait…huh?" Kitty asked, bewildered, wondering what the hell I was talking about. "Why are you happy you saw my memories?" My answer was instantaneous, not even thinking what came out of my mouth.
"Because I was able to see what you had to go through while you were growing up." I answered. "It only made me more determined to bring you the blue skies that you deserved to see after living in that hell of a childhood."
"Touta…" Kitty gasped. I didn't look her in the eye. I averted my gaze into the water and began twiddling my thumbs, waiting for what she was going to say next. An awkward silence took over, the only wounds were the birds chirping. This was how it was for about five minutes, the both of us enduring it like some kind of trial.
"…yes…" I looked over at Kitty, my vampiric hearing barely picking up the sound I heard her mutter under her breath.
"I'm sorry," I told her, "what was that?" She turned away from me before I could notice the state of her face.
"…yes…" I heard another sound, a little louder than last time, but not by much.
"I still didn't catch that." I let her know, anxiety building up in me. Was she going to give me her answer to my proposal? My heart leaped into my mouth at the mere thought, my anxiety shooting through the roof.
When I placed my hand on her should to gently turn her around to face me, she suddenly spun around, catching me off guard and surprising me.
What she did next, however, figuratively blew me out of water.
She placed her palm on my cheek and spoke, "Yes. Yes, I will marry you."
I was stunned. I mean, out of all the times I proposed to her in my timeline and after enduring all of the refusals I finally got a yes? It didn't feel real, I was having a lot of trouble just wrapping my head around the three words I ever truly wanted. "Not a single thing that came out of your mouth was wrong." She continued, "If I never placed the seal on my mind I probably would have ignored Nagi and Negi until I saw you again. Back when I first saw you I didn't think that you were anything special, just another snot nosed kid that Dana managed to wrap around her finger. But that changed the moment you stepped in front of Dana when she tried to force me out., no…even before then. I knew I liked you ever since I saw you that second time. But when you successfully managed to block her attack and force her out of her own dimension… that was when I knew that you were the one, that was when I first realized I loved you. That was why it hurt all those years, decades, centuries when I couldn't see you. Then just as I was about to get rid of any hope I had left, you suddenly appear out of nowhere, coming to my aid and helping me when I didn't even remember to see you again. And my reaction to your help was to deny you and block you out of my head, and then you went ahead and even denied me that. Geez, there are not a lot of girls that like men who don't know when to give up."
There really wasn't anything I could say to any of that, you know, besides scratch the back of my head with a goofy grin on my face.
"Well," I started, trying to think of something witty to say, coming up with nothing and just said the first thing that came to mind, "I wouldn't do all of this just because of some girl. I did all of that because that girl was you. I love you and I always have." I confessed again, my cheeks no doubt a brilliant tomato red.
"…And I love you to." She innocently smiled at me with a flushed face, making my heart beat pound inside my chest like a Cherokee drum. I watched as she cupped my cheek in the palm of her hand and leaned over to me.
That was when I felt her lips on my own, a kiss that I never thought I would never have.
It hasn't hot and passionate by any means. It was a subtle, intoxicating kiss that lasted forever. Her lips were warm and soft, tasting like the freshest vanilla that I wanted to covet for all eternity. Her breath contradicted her lips, ice cold and refreshing as I felt her gasp as she took a momentary break from our long, slow kiss. When I felt her tongue slither out of those red, velvet-like lips and brush against my own seconds later, I could feel my head begin to fuzz over from the sheer sensation.
From the very first instant out lips touched I could tell. She was putting all of the emotion she had been repressing into this kiss. It was a kiss of longing, sorrow, happiness, anger, and so many other emotions I couldn't keep track of them all. I was almost overwhelmed by her acceptance of my proposal and the emotional kiss that I actually forgot I had a role to play in this kiss.
Seeing as that was not acceptable in the least, I straightened myself and wrapped one of my arms around her waist and the other I threaded through her hair, pulling her closer, wanting to feel her warmth against my chest. She groaned in appreciation, starting to apply a little bit more force behind her kiss, almost making my eyes roll into the back of my head. I reciprocated her increase in motivation, licking at her lips and fangs, requesting entry. She opened her mouth to grant me access, our tongues waging battle against each other, the both of us refusing to back down from this new and, rather invigorating, challenge.
After kissing for the longest time did we finally separate, our lungs begging for air. We didn't rest for long, however, going back at it with increased vigor not even a few seconds later. My hands, eager to explore her body, ran across her back, spine, arms, cheeks, neck, even her ears. It was as if I was trying to make a mental map of her body and my hands were what I drew with, eager to recreate the perfection that was Kitty inside my mind.
Speaking of whom, she was not any better than I was in this situation, mischievously exploring my body as if it was her first time touching me. Her hands brushed against my back, shoulders, arms, chest, abs, and hair with an expert touch, turning me on in the best way.
We were pushing ours bodies into one another, disapproving of any space that existed between us. Our tongues were wrestling with a ferocity we didn't know the other had. Pleased by what we were discovering, we wanted to know more about the other. More… I need more.
We separated once again, our chests visibly rising as we panted to regain out breath. We did not so much as say a word to each other, just longingly gazing into each other's eyes, neither of us satisfied in the least.
My eyes, wanting to see more than just those beautiful sapphires, traveled across her face and taking in her elegant, childish jawline, slowly following her tempting neck down, taking in her collarbone and casting a fleeting glance at her shoulders and…
I gulped. I continued to stare for a second longer before looking back up at her face. Judging from the way she held my gaze for a fraction of a second before looking away, she knew what I wanted. I could tell that she was thinking the same thing I was, if her fleeting glances were anything to go by.
I wanted to but I wasn't sure what she was going to say and I damn well didn't want to say it out loud and risk hearing her voiced displeasure. Seemingly reading my thoughts, with a deeper shade of red across her cheeks, she reached for my hand. Grasping it, she guided it towards a certain spot on the opposing side of her figure.
The spot where her towel was folded in on itself.
I stared at the spot she placed my hands, my eyes widening at the implication of what her actions meant. Looking down to see her face, I saw her look back up at me. With an open and honest smile, she gave a small peck on the lips and nodded, reaching for the same spot on my own towel.
We were both quite hesitant for the other to see us in out birthday suits, I didn't have anything Kitty has never seen before, but then again, she never saw me pitching the tent before! Likewise, she has shown me her body plenty of times before…her older form's body that is. I have not once seen what she looks like without taking those magic aging pills or whatever the hell they were called.
I wanted to see what she really looked like.
I hooked my finger into the small gap in her towel at the same time she did mine. We both looked at each other one last time for a final confirmation that we were really going to do this. Seeing that she wasn't expressing any denial and I sure as hell wasn't, we had each other's approval.
With a nervous swallow and a lick of my lips I finally started to pull at her towe- Clank!
A sound. Like rocks smashing together.
The both of us, shocked and surprised, instantly looked in the direction the sound came from, leaping away from each other as if we kids with cooties with each of us holding our loosened towels up to make sure nothing showed.
Over by the cliff, Kuromaru had his arms and shoulders stabilizing his position on the edge of elevated land we stood on. His eyes were locked on the both of us and his mouth was moving but no sounds emerged. He had obviously been watching us for quite a while; his face was beat red and I could see the bottom of his arms starting to turn white from the lack of blood running through that specific part of his arm from being pressed into the ground for so long.
"Kuromaru~" I smiled at him, the way I was feeling and the bloodshed oozing towards the immortal indicating that the reason why my lips were curled up in what normally was an expression of happiness was anything but. The black-haired swordsman emitted a high pitch squeal upon watching fearfully as I cracked my knuckles quite loudly.
Or…not? Our unexpecting and soon to be traumatized third wheel was looking behind me. And, after seeing what was behind me, I too would be squealing in fear.
What was once a cute little blond girl was now a pissed off vampire, complete with claws, one and a half inch long fangs, hair that was once wet was now dry and slowly billowing from the updraft caused by the increase in magic energy escaping her body. Oh, did I forget to mention that she already cast the Sword of Retribution and was now charging our new recruit with an outrageous amount of bloodlust!?
Deciding that I needed this to feel better about myself, I sidestepped her advance and watched as Kuromaru scrambled to jump off the cliff before getting struck with the burning/freezing blade of his certain doom. Luckily for him, he managed to jump off and dodged the sword by less than a hair's breadth. Watching this, my anger didn't fate, oh no, not that easily. I just decided that it would be more fun to get payback later on when he least suspects it.
"Whoop, not so fast." Kitty was about to jump off and continue to give chase. Moving quickly, I wrapped my arms around her waist, catching her mid leap and dragging her backwards a bit, much to her protest.
"Touta! What are you doing!? He saw us! I swear I will make him pay for peeping on us! I won't be satisfied until I kill him at least a few thousand times!" As good as that would be to train his regeneration factor, I would rather you not do that just yet. I thought, deciding to calm her down by being the bold one this time. I put her on the ground and before she could run after him I gave her a good peck on the lips to get her attention.
"Huh?" she asked dumbly when I pulled away a few seconds later, confused for the sudden intimate action.
"I got an idea on how to deal with him." I got closer to her ear and whispered what I had planned. When I pulled way, her signature smile was in full force.
"One of these days I am going to find out how you know that…and I would love to see that happen." I mimicked her smile to the best of my ability.
"And I would love to see your reaction when that finally happens. But I need you to hold back a bit and let me deal with it." I warned her lightly.
"I-I can do that, obviously." She stuttered, obviously seeking her personal brand of retribution.
"Oh really?" I slurred, raising an eyebrow. She said nothing, deciding to play with her hands and whistle rather than answer. A few entertaining exchanges later I had an epiphany. "Hey Kitty, shouldn't we be visiting the rest of UQ Holder soon?"
Her eyes widened, and her breathing hitched. Then, suddenly, a dust cloud had taken the place of my wife. Looking in the direction she ran, I heard a few curses being muttered under her breath. "Damn, you are right. We can make it in time if we try." I heard her say, guessing she was getting dresses as fast as she could without destroying her clothes.
"Heard and acknowledged, princess." I said, still feeling giddy from our make out session. Enjoying this feeling, I performed a dramatic backflip off the cliff.
"What did you just call me!?" I heard her screech, most likely in embarrassment.
I couldn't help but laugh as I feel through the air. This was going to be fun. Now to test how strong I have become against the best of UQ Holder. And I know just the person for the job. You better come at me like you mean it Karin. Whether you like it or not, here I come! I am not a wimpy kid anymore. I will make you acknowledge who is better for Yukihime…me!
We were running. Yukihime, in her adult form, and Kuromaru and I were fully dressed, despite the torture they went through as us immortals almost tore our own clothes apart just trying to get them in we were in such a hurry; Kuromaru unintentionally showing off multiple red marks on his face. Apparently, Kitty headed my wishes…for the most part. When I wasn't looking, she managed to get a few slaps in, much to the former Immortal Killer's dismay, but I pulled him away and explained why we were treating him this way, much like a father would to his son after dishing out his castigation.
We were not that far away from the designated meeting point in the first place, it was only a hop, skip, and a jump away for an immortal with any form of speed. Only problem was, Kitty values punctuality quite highly among those that she gathered. If she did not set an example for her organization and demonstrate the perfect punctuality she demanded, how would the members react? By asking her questions about what made her late. And I can't have anyone asking questions that might throw her off of her groove any more than she already is.
I took a quick glance over at her face. She was wearing a stoic expression, her eyes, lips, and facial features not giving anything away. With that mask on, she could easily act as she always had and not have her subordinates pester her with unneeded questions. This was a very good thing. No matter how good a mask she was wearing, however; it didn't change the fact that I mentally rocked her world today, and that is putting it on a mundane level. Under her skin, I knew her emotions were still running rampant.
I faced forward once again, shaking off any worry I had. Yukihime has been living for seven hundred years, she is strong. "Looks like this is the place," I announced. Taking in our surroundings and verifying that this was indeed our destination, we started putting on the breaks, moving out of super speed and slowing into a stop exactly where we were standing the first time around.
"Just in time too it seems," Yukihime stated, looking off into the distance. I followed her gaze to see a bunch of black vehicles heading to our location.
"Good thing I remembered," I said, "otherwise you would have lost your perfect punctuality record." I teased, elbowing her in the waist. She didn't show in exterior change to my statement, much to my disappointment. I liked getting a rouse out of the blond beauty.
"Can someone explain to what is going on here?" Kuromaru exclaimed, drawing our attention.
"Oh yeah, we never told you did we?" Yukihime asked. She turned to face the man who spoke and crossed her arms, shifting her weight onto her left leg. "Once upon a time, there was this man who had an idea about gathering all of the immortals together and making a team out of them. I was friends with this person and this is what we created." Just as she ended her sentence, one of the vehicles we were watching sped up and traveled right at us going at speeds most cars on the market would be envious of, spinning in circles the entire way.
I knew who was in that vehicle. Also knowing what was going to happen if I continued to stand here, I jumped backward a bit, the car coming to a halt where I was previously standing. If I didn't know any better, I would have sworn that Karin told the driver to hit me on purpose…wait a minute I don't know better. Did she tell the driver to hit me!?
Putting that thought aside, I walked back to my wife's side…wife…wife… I got red just thinking of the word! What am I, some kind of pure maiden?
Shaking my head, I watched as a brown-haired man, whom I haven't bothered to learn the name of, step out of the vehicle and address his superior.
"Mistress Yukihime," he spoke, "We have come to-" Before he could finish his sentence, a girl stepped out of the car, bumping his aside and interrupting him. The girl had black hair that was not even neck length, wore what looked like some kind of red school uniform, complete with black socks that traveled up some of her thighs and brown shoes.
"We have come to get you, Yukihime-sama." Karin stated with a professional tone. Gaze never leaving her leader, she strode up to her with confidence and got on her knee, similar to how I was not even minutes ago. "I waited so long for the day we would meet once more." It's been two years compared to my one thousand Karin! You are five hundred times to early to be saying something even close to that! I exclaimed in my head, irritable that two years makes her bend her knees. Makes you wonder what she would do if she were in my shoes…
I glanced over at…my wife…to see no evident change appear on her face, save for a single drop of sweat drip down the back of her neck. Well, she did change her facial expression into one of exasperation. She is trying so hard to keep her mask on…
The sound of multiple engines and car doors opening ceased my thoughts, so many people exclaiming that it actually hurt my ears a bit. They were all coming over to us, every single one. I started to get very, very anxious.
All of them…
Men in black…
Lots of black fists…
Dana's fists…coming straight at me!
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my shoulder. My head swiveled, expecting to see yet another one of Dana's hands, preparing to throw me into the array of punches. What I saw, however, was a blond angel looking at me with worried eyes.
"Touta, are you okay?" As soon as she spoke, I knew something was wrong with me. I looked down at my hands and saw them shaking, fists clenched to the point of my hands were bleeding. I loosened the tension in my fists and watched my hand regenerate at speeds I wasn't used to seeing. I took in my surroundings. The black fists that were coming at me were gone, instead, I saw the worried looks of the grunts of UQ Holder, as well as Karin looking at me out of the corner of her eye, accessing me as if I was some kind or threat. Kuromaru had also took a step back and was eyeing me cautiously, as if I might explode any minute. I blinked and rubbed my eyes, realizing that I had shrunk into a stance and was letting off a small amount of bloodlust, trying to loosen up.
"Yeah," I responded, sounding tired. "I think I am alright. Just having a flashback is all." I saw her raise an eyebrow at my statement, but, to my great relief, she didn't comment further.
"And who are these two, Yukihime-sama?" Karin asked, standing to face me and Kuromaru completely, giving me a dead stare with an expressionless face. Yukihime placed a hand on my shoulder.
"This is the charge that I have been looking after for the last two years. His name is Touta Konoe. Due to some incidents we ended up having to live together so we are pretty close. When everyone came running to me, you made him a little nervous and he got ready to defend himself. There was an incident not long ago and, as you have seen, he is not really trusting of large numbers of people. Try to be nice to him. The other one is a fellow immortal we picked up on our way here." She finished with a smile as she addressed the crowd.
I couldn't help but feel a little awed at the explanation Kitty gave them for my little…episode lets call it. It wasn't entirely wrong and had some truth in it, making it easier to say to others and not unconsciously look or sound guilty while doing so.
"I see," she responded, not changing her expression…as she pulled out a hammer from God knows where! She pointed her hammer towards me and spread her legs to shoulder width, taking a stance. "To have such an enviable posi- *cough* that is, to be such an outrageous person, I shall kill you where you stand."
After recovering from my flashback for about a minute, I was feeling a lot better, to the point where I was comfortable exchanging word play and, actually, in the mood for a small skirmish.
I raised an eyebrow. "I thought Yukihime said to be nice to me? How is intimidation, which is a punishable crime in some places, your way of being nice?"
"I have two responses to your question," she stated, not once lowering her hammer. "My first response is that, by giving you a painless death, Yukihime-sama will not be anguished by you screaming in pain. My second response is, seeing how you call her 'Yukihime' and not 'Yukihime-sama' you deserve nothing but death." If you think in-proper address should be punishable with death then wait until you see the ring Kitty is wearing underneath that camouflage magic she cast on it. Indeed, when I was looking at her while we were coming here, I noticed that she wasn't wearing her ring. Naturally, I grew worried and looked a little bit harder and, using a spell that allows you to see what normally can't be seen called 'True Sight', saw that she had never taken it off, but hid it with magic. Very smart decision in my opinion. The last thing we need is for everyone to know that we are married. Speaking of which I better start making some arrangements and get some preparations ready…
I gave a helpless shrug and looked over to my bride-to-be, since we haven't had the official ceremony performed yet, and gave her a small smile. "Seems like it can't be helped," I told her. "I guess I am going to start the initiation test early."
The blond vampire let out an exasperated breath of air. "I suppose so. Well, I will let you two get to it. Just take it somewhere with no people around." She told us.
I grinned and raised an eyebrow, implying that that was obvious.
"Allow me to verify." Karin interrupted, lower her hammer and walking towards me, getting intimately close in my private space. "Not only do you not show respect for our leader, you also intend to join us?" Her voice was still the same neutral tone that she first spoke to us with, but I could feel the frustration and anger building up inside of her. I did not back down and gave her the answer I knew would annoy her the most, feeling just like a kid again.
"That's right." I retorted, the fattiest grin on my face.
To my great satisfaction, she gave me the best glare she could possible manage and just walked away. 1-me. 0-you. I thought, giving her the victory sign inside my head. Will you be all right? I heard a voice say. It sounded like Kitty's voice. I turned my attention to her and watched as she began conversing with the brown-haired man in the tuxedo that we first saw exit the car, telling them they should start getting back to work. She didn't look like she had just asked me a question. Then again, she did know how to perform telepathy…
Oh, so that is it. Ya, I'll be fine. I said inside my head, knowing the connection was still there. I needed to get a good warm up anyway. Its been ages since I fought anyone that wasn't Dana. YOU FOUGHT AGAINST DANA? She mentally exclaimed. Oh, wait. Now that I think about, you did say something like that when you proposed to me. That reminds me, when you get done here, meet me in my room. I assume you know where it is? Ya, I know where it is, I verified. Glad to hear it. But be careful, she warned me. She isn't Dana by a long shot, but Karin is powerful. She isn't a number just for show. Don't underestimate her. Kitty, I know how strong Karin is. That is why I am looking forward to this. She is strong enough to get my blood pumping and keep me entertained for a while. I also know about her immortality so it's not like I will give her any lasting damage. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to rough her up a bit. There is some venting I need to do for some stuff she did to me in the past. Oho? And what, pray tell, would that be. Well, one is her holier-than-thou attitude that used to drive me absolutely bonkers. Secondly, for hitting me in the head with her hammer once upon a time. Lastly, I need to repay her for scrubbing my back with one of those long ass push brooms. That fucking hurts! Hahahaha. Yeah, that is just like you, holding grudges through time and space itself, and always finding some way to repay the favor. In that case, have fun. I noticed that she was getting into the vehicles with the rest of the boys. Just as I was about to face Karin again, I had an idea that might be useful latter. Wait a minute. Could you make sure to send another pair of clothes for Karin? Her body is undamageable, her clothes, however, are not. Hmm. Yeah, good point. I will make sure to send you something. Just let me know where you guys are and I will send it to your location once you need it. Gotcha. With that, the vehicles pulled away, leaving me together with the moody hammer user.
"If you are done saying your goodbyes, follow me. I will take you to a place where we can have your…test." She turned away from me and sped off at super speed. Grinning like a maniac, I followed suit, easily catching up to her within the span of a single second.
We ran side by side through various terrain: plains, valley, tall grass, woodsy area, hills, we ran past cities, we ran past towns, through flatland and through a few lakes. After running for a little while, we came to the ocean. Glancing over at my soon-to-be opponent to see if we were stopping, I saw that she was looking dead ahead, not intention of stopping. So, we continued to run until out feet hit the water and, without wasting stride, sped off on it; running across the liquid body as if it was solid, our feet splashing ever so slightly on the ocean below. We both powered through one of the five oceans as I continued to follow Karin to our unknown destination. After what seemed to be hours of running, did she finally stop. I skimmed to a halt, making a medium sized wave as I slid to a stop; silently casting 'Fly' so I could stand, hover rather, on the water while Karin supported herself by casting a magic circle under herself.
"Do you know where we are?" was the first thing that left Karin's mouth. Slightly curious about our location, I took a look around. I could see nothing but water, even with my vampirically empowered vision.
"Nope," I answered. "Not at all."
Karin took out her hammer and pointed it out and motioned around us while she spoke. "This is the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle. This is a famous fighting arena for almost all immortals on the planet. While humans use these waters to deliver products to one another, we use these waters to test each other and handle disputes of great importance. On occasion, some of the immortals get carried away and smash into a nearby boat or get sent flying and knock an airplane out of the sky. Needless to say, once this happens we immediately vacate the vicinity, postponing the match until a later date."
I frowned and folded my arms, flabbergasted by what I just heard. "Okay~…let me get this straight. We ran halfway around the world to the Bermuda Triangle, a place where immortals handle very big disputes and humans consider to be full of paranormal activity, which is also true, seeing that you yourself just admitted to it, to handle an administration test for the immortal family UQ Holder?"
"That is correct." She replied, not denying my assessment of the current situation. "I am glad that you are aware of the situation. I dislike having to explain myself more than once."
Ignoring that last complement, I exclaimed loudly. "How is some stupid admittance test remotely close to any kind of big dispute?"
In response, she shook her head solemnly, much to my annoyance. "This is a matter of great importance." She corrected me, her hammer raised over her shoulders, squatting while she did so.
I could not hide my surprise from the look in her eyes. The red-robed woman glared in my direction with a mighty rage. "Touta Konoe," her voice rang out with unhidden ferocity. "In order for you to enter UQ Holder, you must defeat me. But, before we begin the test, let me make this clear: I don't like you, I don't want you in UQ Holder, and I don't want you anywhere near Yukihime-sama! I will destroy you so completely that you will wish for death!" She kicked off, dead on sprinting, my face full of outright shock. Jesus! Where did this come from all of a sudden? Is this what she was really thinking when we met the first time around? Does my being near Kitty make her so upset it draws out this much aggression out of her?
Sticking close to the water, I sidestepped her advance, hands in my blazer pockets. She put her foot down, halting her advance, swinging her hammer at my head, seriously attempting to remove it. I bent backwards and watched as it sailed harmlessly over me, deciding to put my turbulent thoughts aside.
Suddenly, I felt my feet get pushed out from under me. I was using 'Fly' so I didn't fall…that is, until Karin lowered her hammer down upon my abdomen, my body crashing through the water, speeding through it like a bullet leaving the chamber of a gun. Not at all stunned by the impact, I let my body be pushed deeper into the ocean as Karin broke through the surface and followed me in pursuit. She once again struck my stomach, the force behind her blow sending me deeper into the large mass of spice water.
Feeling like this battle was going to be taking place underneath the water for a while, I exhaled the air in my lungs, inhaling the blue liquid into my lungs. Having to adjust to the strange sensation of having water in my lungs and not breathing, Karin struck me several supplementary times. Before I knew it, I collided with something, kicking up a huge cloud of brown.
Still on my back, I punched the water in front of me, my strength pushing the water away from me and making a hole in the upturned ground material, trying to establish where my opponent was. Upon finding her location, I sped through the water and began my counter attack, speeding towards Karin like a torpedo. We collided, sending her down into the ocean floor this time, kicking up another cloud of sand and feces and carcasses.
Deciding to repay her for taking us down here, I punched the water in front of me multiple times, each punch carrying water into the sand cloud, making it bigger and bigger as each one met its target.
Being forced a stop, I was abruptly halted by one annoying hammer.
I retaliated with a kick to her hip.
We exchanged blow after blow, punch after punch, strike after strike, the female integrating her hammer into her fighting style.
I was getting bored of having the aquatic substance slowing my movements. Dodging an overhead hammer strike, I grabbed the collar of the loyal follower's shirt and swam for the surface, dragging her against her will.
Breaking the surface, I threw her into the gray expansion above, clouds rolling in. Still using 'Fly' I quickly caught up and struck out at her midriff, sending her higher.
Using her magic circle, she caught herself and slowed to a stop, not before I was on her again, letting loose a flurry of attacks.
She dodged, blocked, knocked aside, and countered most of my attacks, but some slipped under her guard, not like you could tell.
Shaking me off, she retreated, venturing a safe distance away whilst laboring large breaths.
Gurgling the water out of my lungs and spitting it out, I spoke. "Have you calmed down yet?" I inquired on her sanity, the salty feeling in my lungs not going away, much to my annoyance.
I received no response aside from a hardened growl. "I will take that as a 'no'."
"Hmph," spoke the cursed individual, "I will admit that you are stronger than you let on. Your battle sense is remarkable, your instincts impeccable, and your fighting style is amazing." Seems like I earned her respect, if only as an ally.
"However, while I have no qualms over you joining UQ Holder after witnessing your combat prowess, I simply cannot let you stand beside Yukihime-sama." She persisted, face as unreadable as ever. "Comply with my demand and I shall report that you have passed the test." But it seems she isn't all the way there yet…
The winds were beginning to grow vehement, gusting and blowing in our faces. Similarly, the waters below began to crash and rise in response to the accelerated breeze. Facing the sky, the clouds grew dark and small flashes of light sparked the surroundings, lasting not even a second, followed quickly by a thunderous boom.
"Yukihime told me a little bit about you." I proclaimed loudly, my un-zipped fabric billowing in an intricate pattern, almost as if it was dancing to an unheard melody. "That you cannot be injured and suffer no physical harm."
Her eyes hardened and lips furrowed, hands tight around her weapon of choice. "What of it?" she asked rather harshly, perhaps disliking the fact that one of her secrets was told to her 'enemy'.
"Don't you think that having to fight you is just a little bit cheap?" I inquired, hardening my voice to notify her of my change in attitude. "The normal test is for one of the Numbers to engage in combat against a new recruit and, if the recruit can land a single blow, they are admitted. I know that much. However, I have to fight someone who, even though I landed some heavy hits, shows no evidence of anything of the sort. In addition, you can simply deny that I ever landed a blow on you in the first place, thus ensuring that I cannot join UQ Holder and staying away from your precious 'Yukihime-sama'."
She grimaced, eyes lowered and teeth bared, almost as if she was some type of wild animal. I was not intimidated, thinking it was rather sad that her plan was to fight me and attempt to wear me out and then report back to her commander and lie in her face.
"Well, now that you know I know what your plan is, why don't you tell me a little about myself?" Karin's stance slackened ever so slightly, astonishment evident upon her features as she took in what I conveyed to her. "Do not continue to play me for a fool. Despite your attempt at sabotaging my entry, you are an experienced veteran who has been living for at least several centuries. You can learn quite a lot from your opponent in a fight. Now tell me what you learned."
There was a speck of silence that hung in the air like a heavy fog. The obnoxious thunder and lightning of the storm above didn't keep it that way for long.
Something softly landed on my head. Then another. And another. This did not brighten my mood, rather hoping to keep my now dried clothes water free.
"I can that you have been well-trained." Karin began, loosening her grip on her weapon of choice, letting it slide downward some ways. "Your master must truly be a monster for you to have acquired such techniques. You have also lived for several centuries… same as I have. You lost something… that means a lot to you… and have endured hardship that others would simply never place upon themselves, all to achieve one goal. To get back what you lost. But you already got it back…but feel like it isn't enough…"
Feeling confident that the fight has been briefly paused, I floated over to her side, stopping a few inches away from her.
The rain was getting heavier. Both of our clothes, once dry, became wet again as the sky continued to cry on us.
There was water on Karin's face, her features hidden. Wanting to get a closer look, I leaned in, the immortal female turning away, not meeting my gaze. I placed a hand on her shoulder in an attempt to pull her back to me. Upon contact, I stopped. Her body was shaking.
This perplexed me greatly. It wasn't all that cold out, despite our being wet and the wind wafting over us. I once again attempted to face the girl, once again failing to do so via not meeting my gaze. The bottom half of her face still in view, I closely observed what I could. Her face was wet and streams of water feel down her cheeks, down her throat, and down into her cleavage. Wait a minute.
I reached out and wiped one of water lines onto my finger, tasting it.
She was crying.
"Why are you crying?" Was the obvious notion to take in this scenario, my mind coming up blank as I failed to think of a reason why Karin, UQ Holder Number 4, was weeping before an opponent.
"Who was it?" she asked, ignoring me. Obviously, Karin was in distress. She was remembering something, that much was certain. I just couldn't figure out what. "Was it Eos? Helios? Maybe Athena? Who was it!?"
I was forced away as she thrust me away from her, more questions in my head with no answers for any of them.
"What do you mean who?" I asked, bewildered.
"You know exactly what I mean!" She screamed, grasping her hammer with unrelenting fury, shouting to the heavens.
I was blinded. One second I am questioning the follower's sanity and the next thing I know she is admitting so much light I had to turn away for fear of being blinded. Just as I did so however, I felt impact across my cheek.
Unable to respond in time, I got sent flying. Less than a second later, another impact. Then another…and another.
Soon, I was being pelted with strikes that I previously thought beyond the fourth's capability. Unlike when our battle began, these attacks hurt.
They actually hurt.
I could do nothing to defend myself, blinded and taken by surprise. The only thing I could do was cover the areas that would be harder to regenerate and endure.
"Who was it!? Apollo? Anyanwu? Yhi? Surya? Etain? Olwen? Horus? Athena? Atum? Ra? Hyperion? Ushas? Amaterasu? Sol? Koyash? Athena? Helios?" With each name she listed off, I was struck. With each second name, bones broke. With each third name, a part of my body was destroyed, regenerated in less than half a second but still. She was in a fury of abandon, loosing all grace her previous fighting style had as she simply lashed out at me.
Finding the smallest of openings, I reached out and grasped the damned hammer, striking at what I hoped was her hands as hard as I could.
"Tch." The light began to dim, Karin temporarily retreating. The hammer still in my hand, I opened my eyes slightly to test the waters. Comfortable, I opened my eyes all the way and saw a star not that far away from my current position. So that is what Holy Light looks like. That must have been her Holy Hammer, a technique that uses Holy Light while wielding a hammer. Can't say I've ever had the honor of seeing something like that.
I could see her clearly now. Her entire form has donned a white aura, making her clothes appear closer to pink then red and her hair more indigo than black. There were three halos that surrounded her, one around her calves, one around her waist, and one over her head, her clothes billowing under the power her new form gave her.
Now to get some answers. "Now that I have room to speak: why are you listing off light gods from various mythologies?" I demanded vehemently, wondering what the fuck set her off like that. She was never like this in my timeline.
"Like you don't know!" she shouted angrily. "I can tell! The amount of hardship that you put yourself through could only be caused by a god! So, which one was it!?" They say nobles are equivalent to Demon Kings but Dana is more Demon God equivalent than an actual God.
"Hmm, let's just say I sought the help of a certain Demon God who was willing to train me." I voiced my thoughts, leaving the majority of the story to her imagination.
Karin did not take this information lightly. Her eyes widened, pupils constricted, and her Holy Light faltered, a sign that she was mentally shaken. Her entire being literally spoke disbelief.
"You…you were trained by a…Demon God?" she asked, speaking slowly, as if speaking one wrong word would incur my wrath.
"And what about you? Listing all of those gods off the top of your head. I'm guessing you were trained by God of Light?"
She seemed to be drawn back out of her thoughts as she resumed speaking to me with the same kind of attitude. "No, I did not get trained by someone as low as a Light God! The reason I am like this is because I drew the attention of someone much higher…"
I raised an eyebrow. "Higher than a god?" I began to think of beings that could possibly be higher than gods. The only things that comes to mind is are the Old Gods. Then again, in Greek mythology, the gods were born from the titan of time, Chronos. But I can't think of anything else that could possibly be above… Light Gods? Higher? Old Gods… Titans… ! …Creators. The Creator of Light.
"The Creator of Light, Horakhty." I spoke the name aloud in shock and awe. The look of Karin's face when the name escaped my lips only verified it. "Horakhty is the one who made you immortal?"
"Immortality is such a loose word for the definition of what I am." Was her response, sorrow unhidden. "I am 'unchanging'. Forever stuck. My body will never change. You can cut me, blow me up, and even pierce me, my body will remain intact without so much as a scratch.
I feel everything. Once upon a time, I was deemed a witch and brought to the guillotine. Their shock when I didn't die was almost funny. Since then, my village sought all kinds of ways to try to kill me, everyday for a whole year. When they found that I could not be killed, the resorted to abuse, discrimination, neglect, sexual humiliation, some even had the nerve to rape me since I am forever a virgin, no matter how many men were forced on me. My body doesn't change, and that included my hymen. They did all of that and more for at the very least a decade."
"But why would Horakhty make you unchanging in the first place?" I asked.
"Because I was already going to be put to the guillotine. My father was already married to a woman but had sex with a widow. So, the village council gathered and deemed us unfit for the world because we were born outside of wedlock. They killed my mother the day before. On the day of my execution, I prayed to the highest god I knew to spare my life. I put my entire soul behind that prayer, fearing death."
"And you prayed to Horakhty, who was moved to the point of granting your wish and making you an eternal miracle." I concluded.
"…" She did not deny my claim, instead turning away from me once again.
I couldn't say anything.
I literally couldn't say anything. I mean, what could I say? My one thousand years of training was physically and mentally taxing sure, but I asked for it. Plus, I had to do what I did for Kitty and everyone else. She didn't have a choice. She only asked to have her life spared. Out of all the ways a god can influence the mortal realm, The Creator of Light decided to bless her with Holy Light, a light so bright and pure that it was eternally unchanging?
I finally understood why she always said that her being loved caused her despair.
"And that is when Yukihime-sama saved me." She turned once again, her eyes red from the now nonexistent tears, hard with resolution, the Holy Light beginning to grow brighter with each word she spoke. "Just as I was about to give up and start selling myself to stop the torture, she came out of nowhere, took one look at me, and helped me leave that hell of a village, freezing anyone who attempted to stop us. Yukihime-sama saved me! She is my Hero! My Savior! My Everything! And I will be damned if I let some no name little boy from some no name Demon God try to take her from me!"
She rose her arm into the air. The hammer in my hand flew out of my grasp and returned to its master's side. The Holy Light that encased her body began to grow violently, moving away from her and condensing around the hammer, the hammer growing in size and becoming a large mass of white light.
I watched as one of the halos surrounding her body disappeared, the hammer suddenly growing ten sizes larger. So the halos represent the amount of Holy Light she has. And she is sending all of the Holy Light into the hammer for one, final attack.
I felt sorry for her. I truly did. But what she said…the way she said it…
Pissed me off. Guess its time for me to stop holding back.
"!?" I didn't notice Karin's response to my roar or anything she may or may not have said. I was trying not to get devoured by the darkness. Not wanting to open the seals and literally send out a beacon to my grandpa that glowed with neon lights' I am here', I dived deeper into the black magic, becoming one with the madness.
"Do not think that you are the only one who has experienced hardship, Yuki Karin!" My voice had become dual layered. One of the layers was my normal voice. The other was a deeper voice that represented the madness that Magia Erebea induced when it corrupted the soul.
The black gauntlets that normally occupy my transformation materialized instantaneously, but didn't stop there. The sigils that accompanied the transformation sprouting just a short distance behind me, spreading like wings. My canines sharpened and my clothes inverted. I felt the magic creep into my eyes, changing the white to black and my iris to white.
The new, incomplete armament was on. Now, to gain another power for my fight against Ialda.
I began chanting in Latin, "Qui facti sunt et qui manducat me in tenebris lumen auferat. Cum potestas magica nigra, et facti sunt malleo percutit, quod angeli in caelis et pulsat super genua sua!"
As I chanted, a black mass materialized in my hand, growing at the same rate as her hammer, which has taken another halo away from Karin's body, now twenty times its original size.
That black mass took on the shape of a hammer identical in every way to my opponents.
Precious seconds later, our attacks were ready, all three of the girl's halos gone and both our hammers thirty times the size of Karin's original hammer.
Neither of our supersized weapons we held in our appendages, the tips of the handles floating some ways above our bodies.
In unison, with our arms stretching towards the sky, we brought them down with intent of defeating our enemy.
"Holy Hammer!" "Hellborne Hammer!"
Both of our weapons, one the color of creation, the other the color of the end, descended upon the other. It was no time at all before the two met. BOOM!
The clouds above disintegrated, the force of impact so great, the storm became nonexistent and the waves below parted, effectively cutting the entire ocean in half.
Winds became hurricanes as tsunamis began to rise from the separated ocean, going off in all directions.
"You will not win!" Karin shouted over the gale, sweating profusely, struggling to match my output.
"No, I have already won." "What?" she exclaimed.
"Look." I nodded in the direction of the point of contact. Karin, confused, looked in the direction I indicated.
"!" The surprise on her face was paramount.
Our hammers were breaking.
The weapons were still advancing on one another but were disintegrating as the two opposing forces met.
"Impossible!" Karin cried loudly, not believing her Holy Light was breaking apart.
Her attention was drawn back to me. "Stagnet. Complexio. Holy Hammer. Supplementum Pro Armationem!" All of the magicks that composed our two sledgehammers, once floating down into the ocean, began to converge on me. I welcomed the black and white magic inside my soul. The black magic was returning home.
The white magic was making its new home in my soul.
I began to glow.
Brighter to the point where not even I could see, and I was the source of the light. We covered our eyes, although I couldn't see my opponent do so I knew she would not be able to look into the sun like structure I had become.
I was now donned with a golden breastplate, my abs laid bare for all to see. I wore white linen pants that were quite soft to the touch if I had to say so myself. A headpiece of the finest golden material that would make the Greek Goddess of Love Aphrodite go crazy. Finally, wings made of the graces of hordes of angels and the hope of all of humanity protruded out of my back as if they were always there.
Karin was frozen. She had expended all of her magic and stamina with that last attack. The only thing she could do was watch as I offered my arm up into the sky. As if the sun itself bowed to me, I could visibly watch the rays of the sun focus themselves where my hand was: molding. Once the process was done, I held in my hand another hammer. However, this hammer glowed twice as bright as the Holy Light and was double the size of the hammers we had conjured previously.
"This hammer is made out of True Light, a step above the Holy Light that is offered to angels and those who receive Horakhty's blessing." I informed her, gaining knowledge as well as power with this new form.
I brought my outstretch arm down in the exact manner I had done earlier. The mass of True Light sped down upon my opponent. With a large sound similar to that of an explosion, the hammer struck true, sending the personification of devotion down into the ocean at speeds shy of mock level, the ocean rising up in an attempt to swallow me in response to the force of impact.