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Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

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Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Tue Oct 31, 2017 2:02 pm

Twelve Hours Earlier

"My decision is final," Nocens said. She was in her Perfect form. She had been ever since her training with Death had finished. She found herself unable to return to her younger forms, but in exchange she recalled so much from when she had been alive. "I, and I alone, will infiltrate the Shinigami. While my younger self would have gladly allowed us all to charge in, ready to slaughter the Shinigami for their past crimes, we must take a more cautious route. I had fought the Shinigami before, having believed myself able to brush off their attacks. I know more about the situation, and have decided that this is the best way to tear them apart; from the inside."

Her Horsemen, of course, were standing before her. None of them were pleased by any of the recent events. They had all allied themselves with the young Nocens, and while they knew they were one and the same, this much older woman calling herself Azalea was so different from their leader. And they frowned upon her plan that required stealth, cunning and more than a small amount of luck.

"This plan of yours sounds fine now, but so much can go wrong, Noce-, forgive me, Azalea. You're under the assumption you can even join the Shinigami, or gain their powers. And, while you're there, you'd need to constantly hide your spiritual pressure, you'd need to return to Hell frequently without being caught, you'd need to return without being seen... And that's not even telling who will run Hell without you. There's too many unanswered questions," Pestilence spoke up. She found it unusual that Pestilence chose to speak up on this, having always been the quietest of the Horsemen. But Azalea nodded her head in acknowledgement.

"Hell will continue to function as it has ever since I took over. You each will maintain order within your respected Circles, with Death leading you without me. As for becoming a Shinigami myself, I see no reason I cannot. All Shinigami were simple Souls before being trained in their ways, and beyond my Togabito nature, I am still a Human Soul. As Quincy/Togabito exist, and Hollow Togabito as well, it is reasonable to assume that a Shinigami can be a Togabito as well, or in this case, the reverse. As for my returns to Hell... I'll find a way when it becomes prudent. No Togabito can live forever outside of Hell,
but you'd be surprised how long you can last before starving to death. And before anyone else speaks, I'll remind you all that though you are my treasured friends, I am, and always will be, your Emperor. And I say none of you are to enter the Soul Society in search of me. If I am needed, remain here in Hell and have Death pull on my Chains. I will feel it and return immediately. Do so only as a last resort. Now,
" Azalea said as she rose to her feet, getting out of her throne. The Emperor of Hell wore a black Togabito garment with a thick bandier. Her hair pooled at her feet when she stood, and she rested her hand on the handle of her glowing sword on her back. The Requiem-forged sword had a core of Kushinada bone, but the blade itself was one mass of many fused together Requiem gemstones, the chimeric remains of 'dead' Togabito, whose immortal souls fused together after dissolving to ash, forming gemstones with tortured skulls swirling over their surfaces. Her sword had grown since becoming Azalea, fueled by Togabito blood and death, growing to a sword almost as long as she was tall. The Requiem Zweihander was one of the largest concentrations of the gem in Hell, and she estimated thousands of Togabito resided in fragmented form within her blade. "I have a function system to destabilize. I'll return when I can."

Now

Azalea stood outside a gigantic gate. Before her was a giant of a creature, quite literally. "I understand you cannot allow me access to the city, Mister Seijinkabe Baozhai. But I am seeking to challenge one of the Captains of the Gotei for their position. I'm willing to remain here, but I was under the assumption your Captains were not cowards. Or, if you'd prefer, I could fight you first, but I'd rather do this as civilly as possible."

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:51 pm

Elsewhere, a cold chill ran down a certain officer's spine. It was the kind of sensation one got when something very bad was going to happen; the sort that he usually associated with deafening J-pop, unsolicited hugs or the end-of-existence-as-we-know-it.

He couldn't hear any music, nor did there seem to be fullbringer ladies lurking nearby to suck his lifeforce. That ruled out possibilities 1 and 2, which left...

--Oh dear

It was said that Retrieval never forgot a face, and this contributed to their reputation within the Rukon underworld. Not exactly true. Shiro forgot plenty of faces. All humans tended to look alike, after all. He could no more recognize the fellow squad member who said 'hi' to him in the division barracks, never mind a felon apprehended weeks or months before.

Reiatsu however, was something else entirely. All things considered, it made a better identification profile than appearance alone since no two people had the exact same trace--just like fingerprints. Nor did it matter the extent to which the overall power was suppressed, as long as a fraction was employed it would be enough to get a sense of the general aura of the whole. And here was a certain presence he had hoped to never encounter again:

Ryoka-chan. Apparently back for round two, or so it seemed.

"All units, stand by. Put me on Tenteikura check-in; fifteen minute rotation. If I don't report during that interval, dispatch priority one messengers and hell butterflies to the Captains and Commander, suggesting emergency measures," The memory of last time's death toll surfaced unbidden in his mind. "Unseated officers, prepare to evacuate. Don't engage,"

With that Shiroki made his way to the gate, snagging uniform and badge on the way. He was going to do this by the book this time, dammit. Not even Captain Hollow would be able to find fault with it.

Fortunately, the structure in question still remained intact...for now. The Gatekeeper too appeared to be alive as well. Would wonders never cease. Slowing from flash-step to a regular stride, Shiro made a detour through the much-smaller passage beside the great gate itself, an emergency exit known only to seated officers (there had to be a way for Shinigami to enter and exit after all, even in a wartime situation where main gates were permanently shut)

Closing the passage behind him, he strolled up to the hulking gatekeeper and tugged at the man's hakama, treating them both to his best I'm-just-a-little-kid-don't-mind-me smile. "Is there a problem, Baozhai-dono?"

Jii-san always did say first impressions were important.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:24 pm

Azalea turned her eye to the newcomer. The Empress was in her mid thirties, physically, standing at five feet exactly. She had a comely, womanly body with hair that pooled at her feet when she stood. Her skin was black as night, and coursing over her skin were golden veins and arteries, the majority hidden by a black uniform. She had switched from her typical Togabito clothes to ones she fashioned herself, modeled after Tanua's own. The garment was black and shaped like a Shinigami's, but had the tight fit the Togabito enjoyed, with rectangular buttons at the cuffs, down the front and at the collar holding it closed. Unlike the God of the Togabito, Azalea did not have fur lining hers.

The woman wore her glowing black-and-red blade on her back, her hands on her hips as she shifted her eye from the Giant to the Werewolf. "Are you, per chance, the 'Kenpachi,' I've heard so much about? I was hoping to challenge him for his or her title, but it seems they reside beyond this wall. Mister Seijinkabe Baozhai here refuses to let me pass.
Perhaps there is some way things can be arranged, for I sincerely doubt whomever lives behind these doors is truly the 'strongest of swords'.
"

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:24 pm

Did the ryoka lady look different from before? She felt the same, but not completely. The fact that she wasn't shouting at them and chopping heads left and right like last time was a giveaway. Was it even the same person? He was pretty sure. Make that fairly sure. One couldn't change their reiatsu, no matter how they tried.

Also, did she recognize him? She hadn't showed any indication of that, which was probably for the best. Having personal grudges be involved wasn't the best strategy for peaceful debate.

Well, whatever--

Shiro tried a courtly bow, not so low that he couldn't keep both eyes on her while doing so. "I'm sorry for the holdup, but our Commander isn't available at the moment. Is this an official challenge for the 11th? Baozhai-dono, have you made the arrangements?"

What he could tell from taking a glance at the Gatekeeper didn't exactly fill the Lieutenant with confidence. Seijinkabe appeared to be at a loss for words, eyes going back and forth from himself to the ryoka and back again like a spectator at an intensive tennis match.

Sighing, Shiro expanded Tenteikura to include the 11th Division and passed on a short message its Captain would surely be interested in. Grunt-work though it was, it was preferable to being involved in a life or death battle just because somebody got annoyed at the red tape.

Speaking of annoyed, the ryoka did appear to be somewhat miffed behind all that surface courtesy. Hopefully 11th responded soon. It would take a while to gather the required number of witnesses if a formal challenge was what she had in mind. Now all he had to do was make sure nobody got killed while they were waiting.

"I've notified the Captain of your challenge and they should be on their way," It seemed Gatekeeper-san wouldn't be much help in this situation, more's the pity. Shiro tried elbowing him casually, then not-so-casually, both times failing to get a response. He feared he might have to resort to using reiatsu at this rate. "Is there anything else we can do for you in the meantime?"
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Fri Nov 10, 2017 9:11 am

The Empress in disguise gave a polite curtsy, her back bending enough for her cursed-looking blade to be visible before she straightened. "If there is no way for the 'strongest swordsman' to get here faster while making the other preparations required, perchance we find another means to pass the time, if yourself is not busy. I'd invite Mister Seijinkabe Baozhai, but it seems he has a a duty to be as stoic as possible. Which does remind me, however, Mister Seijinkabe Baozhai, if you are the guardian here, perhaps you should not leave so many openings in your defenses. A smaller companion would be most beneficial to someone as large as a Giant, for with enough speed anyone could easily move between your legs or around you without your notice."

The black-and-gold skinned woman turned her red eye back to the Werewolf. She knew of Werewolves, of course, but they were rare in Hell. Not as rare as their bitter rivals, the Vastine Amorte, but definitely less common than Giants. In fact, the only Species had not personally met before were the Angels, the youngest species, the bastard children of Vastine and science.

"Perhaps there is something you can show me, not-Kenpachi," Azalea began before noticing the badge. "Or is it Sir Not-Kenpachi? Well, if you have the time, I could suggest a game while I await the so-called best swordsman in Soul Society."

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Mon Nov 13, 2017 1:00 am

And with just that one astute observation, the female stranger had just pointed out most of the existing flaws in their security formations. Why did they only set one sentry to guard each gate anyway? To lull trespassers into a false sense of security? As a foolhardy statement of challenge? Whatever the reason was, it sounded pretty silly. Especially when anyone with half a brain could easily circumvent all four guards with enough rope and basic climbing skills. No sentry could be everywhere at once. He had a vague impression that there were safeguards around this in place, and reaper foot soldiers responsible for patrolling the perimeter, but couldn't remember which squad they were from. Whichever squad was responsible was going to face the music

He hoped it wasn't Second. Nothing in the job description mentioned anything about watching the wall. Not his problem.

A quick glance at the Gatekeeper confirmed that said individual was still gawping speechless at the pair of them. There would be no help from that quarter. Given the situation, it was probably best to keep an eye on things until the captain arrived.

"Sure, why not?"
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:15 am

The Empress-in-hiding smiled, moving away from the nearly silent guardian to converse more easily with the youthful Werewolf. She led the Werewolf away from the Gatekeeper and closer to the district's edge.

"If you're willing to pass the time with me, I could suggest a quiet sparring match as a warm-up before I defeat this Kenpachi of your Gotei, or a race if you're not the battle oriented type. Or, possibly, a game of questions if you're the type of fellow whose curiosity is stronger than his body," the woman said, her voice seeming more at ease than when the five-foot tall woman had been looking upwards at the Giant gatewatcher. In fact, she had posture and carry of a woman used to being in charge and not needing to look up at all. Which was, in truth, partially accurate. In Hell, Azalea rarely had to crane her neck when her tails were so much more flexible. But here, wearing the strange Shinigami/Togabito hybrid clothes that hid her torso, lower body and up to her chin, leaving only her hands and face exposed, she felt so different. The golden lines on her hands and face flared dimly as her pulse quickened with the excitement of this all; the prospect of a good fight, and an even better victory against those whom wronged her so long ago.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:21 am

Intriguing possibilities all, if not for the nagging sense of dread he was getting off this lady. Only it; and the fact that they had been on opposite sides of a battlefield not long before (an eternity wouldn't be long enough) kept the reaper on his guard. She had mentioned three diversions to pass the time, each one set up as a sort of contest: of brawn, of speed, or of...wit? And what was a contest without stakes and prizes?

Brawn was probably out. Assassins didn't 'do' fighting. Straight up murder from the shadows was more his thing, which had no place in a formal duel of equals. He even had trouble wrapping his head around the concept. What was the point of playing fair in combat? When you were forced to fight, you either killed or got killed, and you did whatever it took to make sure it was the former. Limiting oneself to duel restrictions seemed like a one way ticket to the nothingness of the beyond. Also, if he was being entirely honest with himself his chances in a one-on-one encounter with somebody like this wasn't great. It was combined effort that won the day in the end, and even that had been due to some technicality he didn't fully understand. Until he did, and better yet--could reproduce the conditions causing that technicality at will--agreeing to a rematch probably wouldn't be the smartest idea.

Which left speed and wit; neither being much of an improvement. What he could remember from their earlier encounter suggested that the lady was both powerful and fast, which was a pretty unfair combination. Then again, losing a race would probably hurt way less than losing a duel with a cosmic horror so that was still on the table.

As for wit... That seemed the most obvious choice, hands down. Which probably made it the most suspicious. It was disturbing to be read like an open book. Where would the downside lie? Did the stranger intend to learn classified secrets through a game of questions? Would it be set up like a contest of riddles where the loser had to give up some key fact, or would she somehow be good enough to infer things from the answers he was giving away? Thanks to Captain Oshime, Shiro had recently been acquainted with something called 'The Internet' and a certain forum where people told scary stories which had many things in common. Among those things was: Do not play games with supernatural entities who likely know more about trickery than you ever will.

"What kind of a race?"

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Wed Nov 22, 2017 9:41 pm

Azalea smiled softly, reaching behind her to fasten her great blade more tightly. The glowing sword was on a tilt, but fit closely to her back. The parts of the blade that were visible showed many moving, tortured faces slowly drifting across the red and black weapon with its bone handle.

As she did so, she stretched slightly, the form-fitting fabric clinging to her body with the movement. "A simple foot race. From point A to point B,
like any other race. In this case, from here to,
" the woman paused, looking around with her sole eye. The red eye blinked as she focused on a distant object, to which she pointed. "Down these streets,
there's a shop right across from us, seven blocks away. Can you see it there,
with the green colored roof? We can race to there, then back. I'll even give race with a handicap, if you think that'd be more sportsmanlike.
"

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:34 am

Wow that was one seriously nice sword. For some reason, it seemed as though other people got dibs on all the nice things. Why couldn't his soul manifest itself as something like that instead of some emo goth mass-murderer?

Because if l did, your limp weedy arms wouldn't be able to lift me.

Nobody asked you

Pointedly ignoring Inukaze, he gauged the distance between their current position and the store's banners. Seven blocks could be covered in a flash step or two. Was shunpo even allowed? He had a feeling it would be a pretty boring race if so, since it came down to who managed to cheat by starting first. Better to ask.

"No abilities allowed then? And what's the stakes?"
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:01 pm

The woman of black and gold looked at the young Werewolf, noticing his gaze upon her sword."I suppose we could make a small wager on who'll win. If you think you can beat me using just our legs, that is. Though the only thing I can offer as a prize, currently, is my sword, or rather, I'll make you one like it. The ore comes from my homeland, you see, very far from here. You'll be hard pressed to find another of its kind."

In a practiced move, she swung the strap around her body and held the nearly five-foot long sword across her arms, letting him look more closely at the bleached bone handle and large gem-stone blade, with a razor edge all the way around. The tortured faces slowly drifted across the weapon's surface and as a whole the weapon simply felt wrong.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:11 am

He blinked, then blinked again. This lady was certainly not from around these parts if she considered a weapon like that as a 'small' wager. Given how she seemed to be okay with risking it, it probably wasn't anything like a zanpakuto. But neither was it any run-of-the-mill blade though, if those screaming skulls were any kind of indication. It looked suspiciously like a soul-cutter in shikai release. And if there was one thing worth learning, it was never to touch anybody's zanpakuto in shikai release. Who knows what could have happened to the fool who'd try such a thing?

The fact that he hadn't exactly come across a zanpakuto's who's ability allowed it to steal souls of anything it came into contact with was irrelevant. The point was that it could happen. Might happen. If something like the Commander's release existed, then so too might this.

"Won't you be needing it for the Kenpachi though?" He humored the ryoka by leaning forward and giving the sword an exploratory sniff. "Bit unfair to be unarmed against some psycho with a sword, isn't it?"

Yep, there it was: blood, frenzy death--not recent enough to stain, but the traces were there. Shiro had no doubt that this lady--whoever she was--would be able to give the 11th a run for their money. From what he could tell, the smart money would be on her to win. It might be a close thing, but intuition was rarely wrong. The only question was--how did he feel about all this?

He supposed he knew what a particularly patriotic member of the Gotei would do--take the ryoka up on her race wager, try as hard as hell to win that nasty blade off her and therefore force her to fight Kenpachi at a disadvantage...making it more likely that Seireitei wouldn't be affected too much by that musclebound poser's defeat. Kami knows there had already been enough interruptions that they couldn't afford even minor ones like changes in squad leadership.

All very well and good...except to be entirely honest he didn't care very much who led the 11th, as long as they kept far away from him.

He was also fairly certain what most others would do. If he were from Squad One he'd be obliged to win to keep status quo, because those stuffed shirts were all about the big picture. Squad Four would politely decline, more out of awareness of their limits than anything else. Squads Five, Twelve, and his old Division 3 would leap at the chance to win a mysterious relic for SCIENCE! purposes. Squad Six didn't approve of pointless bets, and Captain Seven would probably be ecstatic to get his hands on a potentially-cursed artifact. Come to think of it, Kei would as well. Kei would be happy to obtain any weapon his internal filing system defined as 'super-cool' regardless of whatever curse or limitation he inherited in the process. Shiro suspected that attitude had played some part in getting him Hollowfied in the first place.

That made a majority of 6 for, 2 against and the rest undecided. Which meant that he probably had to try for the big score at least. Dammit. It was such a pain having to be responsible.

"And what shall l put up to match your bet, ryoka-sama? I'm not sure l have anything to interest you,"

...or of equal value. But because that wasn't what a salesman should admit while bartering, he kept his mouth shut.
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:00 pm

Azalea shifted her weight, slipping the huge sword onto her back. "What do you say to this: if I lose, I'll make you a sword just like my own, but if I win, you tell me something about this 'Kenpachi' that I challenged earlier? Information is the greatest weapon in anyone's arsenal, after all." The Togabito smiled with small, even teeth. The golden lines on her pitch-colored flesh glowed softly with hidden excitement as her pulse quickened. She didn't care what she won. She simply wanted to win. Win this race, win her fight. To achieve her goals, one small victory at a time.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:59 am

So she wanted dirt on the Kenpachi, did she? If so, the stranger was welcome to it. Even more so since she hadn't exactly specified the 'something' that he was supposed to reveal if he lost. Worst case scenario: lose and give up some irrelevant info that would be old news to them but fresh from a stranger's perspective. And if he did luck into winning, he couldn't deny that 2nd's trophy cabinet had been looking preeeeetty empty recently, what with Cap'n missing and all. A skull-motif, possibly soul stealing sword would make a fine addition to the collection. Very fine indeed. Once a scavenger, always a scavenger.

Information was indeed an important weapon, and one thing weighing in his favor. However way you looked at it, regardless of outcome it would be a win-win.

He smiled back, but not to the extent of showing his teeth. Humans could get creeped out by that, apparently.

"You're on,"
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:30 am

Azalea smiled, making herself seem younger as the stress left her face. The mid-thirties woman nodded her head to the Werewolf, her eye turning to look towards their destination.

It was a straight shot, but the path was full of obstacles. Pedestrians, small stalls, boxes, even a few outdoor house decorations all made the path more dangerous than a simple straight line.

While it was true she could simply plow straight through anything in her path, as her younger self would have, she was mindful of the damage that would cause. The sheer velocity of her body colliding with anything would destroy anything outside that her eye could see. People, boxes, decorations; all crushed as her mass would speed into them, far outweighing whatever was in her way, body spurned on by its momentum.

No, no. She'd have to be careful. Unnecessary damage was beneath her, and would raise too many questions. But the same problems arose for why she couldn't run the rooftops; he doubted any could support her. No, she'd need to run along the ground, weaving through the crowd. Which meant she couldn't use he top speeds.

Without warning or announcement her body sprung forward, the short woman leaning forward into the run, her arms at her sides. Her head was forward, her eye ever vigilant. She needed to predict where everyone and everything was going to be, to avoid incident. Yes, she could do this, she thought.

Skills:

Hoho- reduced to Master by self-handicap.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Thu Dec 28, 2017 6:08 am

To all accounts it might have been a foregone conclusion: An adult competing with a child? No contest. Clearly the ryoka thought so as well, if that smile emerging on her features was any indication.

So she thought she would win easily, did she? In a footrace against someone who'd once led Inuzuri's major triads on a wild goose chase for three nights running? Against the Getaway Kid?

It would not do to underestimate her, of course. Their last encounter had taught him that much. She was fast, to be sure. Maybe as fast or even faster than him. But this was the Rukon, and raw speed did not always determine the victor. He knew every one of these alleys like the back of his paw, having made use of its culverts and canals as alternate routes on many occasions. This was home territory, where every cobblestone spoke volumes to any werewolf willing to listen--whispering of shortcuts and quarry in their secret language of scents and sounds. Here, he was almost a God.

Better yet, it would appear that his rival was taking a lot more care this time to avoid collateral damage than she had in the past. That would slow her down considerably, if she intended to weave around every obstacle in their path. Nor would she be able to use the rooftops, since few buildings would likely support her weight. Already he could see the imprints her feet were leaving in the ground itself.

It was annoying how she'd gotten a headstart like that, but he was in no position to complain. Especially with her unexpected departure making it easy to overlook (and unable to object to) a certain puppy shimmying up a drainpipe, feet darting over roof shingles in an effort to catch up with the ryoka's early advantage. In this regard he still had a chance. Rukongai rooftops were relatively open and clear of obstructing debris...of which the streets themselves were most definitely not.

From his vantage he could hear the tempo in his competitor's footfalls shift awkwardly as she compensated for some apparent obstacle--a very slick maneuver to be sure; hardly even a slip, but one that might cost precious milliseconds nonetheless. And apparently the ryoka was not as uninformed of her own limitations as all that; as her alertness and posture seemed to suggest. Likely she was casting around for signs of his location as well, to know where they currently stood in the race.

Or she could try anyway, but he wasn't about to make it easy. It wouldn't do to lower one's guard, since the rooftops weren't without distractions of their own...an observation he arrived at when a Rukon resident stuck their head out a window to investigate the rooftop commotion without warning, forcing a certain cub to use his conveniently-placed noggin as a footstool in vaulting to the next ledge--with predictable sputters and curses trailing in his wake.

Hopefully that wasn't anybody important, like a noble or something. Else there would likely be hell to pay. Nobody would bat an eye to him using civilian heads as stepping stones in district 78, but 1st was a different matter entirely. With any luck whoever it was hadn't gotten a good enough look to identify him to Captain Hollow--knowing her she'd likely stick him with enough paperwork to last till Doomsday.

Now that was a sobering thought. But it was one he'd worry about after winning this footrace and then rubbing it in the current Kenpachi's face. That big oaf would probably be steamed if somebody else beat their official challenger before they could do so--and even more embarrassed if they actually lost to a ryoka recently defeated by one of those 2nd squad sneakers 11th so despised. Maybe he should be rooting for the ryoka after all; it'd be fun to see the Kenpachi get their butt kicked. Well past time too, in his opinion.

But first, he had a race to win.

This was going to be fun
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:19 am

The problem with Soul Society, Azalea decided, was a population issue. Why in the Seven Circles were there so many people in this street? She was a Togabito who prided herself on her speed; even others who achieved the same unholy level as her failed to match her speed in a race. But her speed, so legendary in Hell, was useless in this simple pathway.

Pedestrians, homeowners, shopkeepers, messangers, decorative plants; all things she had to weave and wove herself around, slowing her down to what she personally thought of as a snail's pace. While the untrained around her would be seeing a blur, and only hear the crack of heel on stone road, she was only as fast as a sixth circle Togabito escaping its hunter. She was thankful that her recently official wives could not see this embarrassment.

Though Azalea was hard on herself mentally, she was doing fairly well, just staying ahead despite the obvious differences in the two's paths. As a man emerged from an alleyway ahead of Azalea, however, pushing a wooden cart that blocked her path, she was left with no choice but to go over.

The short woman's left foot tore the large stone slab from the ground as she pushed herself into the air. Her right foot landed gracefully atop the cart's roof, pushing her higher into the air as she launched herself off the seller's cart. The civillians wouldn't be able to see, but the Werewolf most likely would have had he been paying attention. The woman leaped just shy of twenty feet, sailing over the heads of the civilians as behind her the cart was shattered to pieces by the weight and force applied to its roof.

When Azalea landed at the front of the agreed upon store, she stabbed her sword into the stone road, swinging a circle around the handle while still in the air, killing much of her momentum, though her feet still sank two inches into the rock, and her sword was buried three feet deep. She looked around with her single eye, looking to see whether the Werewolf had beaten her or not.

Stats:

Hoho reduced to Master by self-induced handicap.

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Thu Dec 28, 2017 11:53 pm

He heard rather than saw the unfortunate accident below, practicality overwhelmingly crushing any remaining urge to drop everything and go help. Said urge was little more than a whisper these days anyway, an impulse easily ignored.

Whichever resident involved down there was no doubt having a pretty bad day, but since the shouting didn't sound any louder than normal it was unlikely they were seriously hurt. And this being the 1st rather than 80th district, Shiro intended to assume the guy probably had his cart insured anyway. Not being a pauper and all. Because that was what people with money did--insure stuff. Yep.

Meanwhile, he did not intend to be distracted. They were now neck-and-neck, with his rival's earlier headstart somewhat negated by the obstacles in her path. He might even have won, had it not been for her changing the rules at the last moment and sacrificing an innocent cart for added distance rather than swerve around it as she had done previously. That maneuver had turned what could have been a victory into something more uncertain, especially with the last remaining distance between racers and objective being an open run. The way they both were going suggested it would be a tie after all.

--or would it? There was something else he could try, something that wasn't exactly cheating but probably close. Even if it didn't work, they would tie and so the attempt wouldn't hurt his chances

Gathering inner reserves, he separated a portion of spiritual power from the whole and sent it ahead of him, willing this fragment into existence. It was little more than a variation of controlling and directing one's spiritual pressure--mandatory knowledge officers Lieutenant-class and higher had awareness of; and ones that Captains probably did automatically on a daily basis. And while there were various ways of suppressing one's spiritual pressure, one of the most common was through a breathing exercise that allowed its user to harmlessly vent excess power into their surroundings and retrieve it without anyone being the wiser. Essentially, the Shinigami employing such technique would purposely 'leak' minute quantities of power everywhere they went, allowing it to be dissipated and distributed through their immediate surroundings instead of building to threatening levels capable of crushing less-powerful individuals by their mere presence. Ordinarily, the practitioner would concentrate on slow, safe release of this power as well as its distribution--in case they needed to recall it at short notice. Beyond these variables, however, few people really cared where all that power actually went. It was there when you needed it, and gone when you didn't.

Shiroki wasn't 'most people'. Life in the streets did wonders for instilling somebody with certain levels of paranoia and avarice. With nobody to turn to, one tended to rely on self-resources--which could oft times be crucial to survival. And isn't reiatsu the greatest resource available to a Shinigami after all? It made no sense the way everyone was so carefree with it. On the contrary, he'd always made it a point to be aware of ambient reiatsu around him; others as well as his own. Maintaining such awareness was second nature now, and even imparted a deeper understanding on how it could be used.

He applied this awareness now, starting with the standard pressure-suppression technique and taking it one step further: Instead of venting into his immediate surroundings, he chose a specific location--the shop they'd agreed on as a race marker--and funneled reiatsu towards it, allowing it to build, until--

--an identical copy of himself lounged casually at that goalpost, awaiting their arrival.

It was not a speed clone, of course. Like any self-respecting member of the 2nd squad he could do those too, but not during an all-out race that required his full attentions. It was not even a clone; more of an illusion--one that would only be perceived by the spiritually-gifted. Ordinary souls or those lacking in awareness would not even 'see' this image. Only exponents who 'saw' with more than their eyes, those skilled in their own way would be susceptible to the illusion since it was nothing more than collected particles of reiatsu in the first place. If nothing else, it would satisfy his curiosity. Would the ryoka be able to see it, or not?

If she did, she might make the mistake of assuming he got there first and leave him the winner. If she did not--an outcome that was also possible; given her perceptiveness at their last encounter--they both would still tie, which was fine with him. And if she did 'see' the illusion but also recognized it for what it was? That would be fine as well...especially since it offered him more insights about where her limitations stood. Was perception one of her attributes, or was it not?

Either way, Shiro stood to gain--as he usually did in any wager he participated in. As it should be.

So he was unconcerned when both he and the ryoka arrived at their destination almost in the same moment; the latter in a most-convenient explosion of rubble created as a result of a sword being used as a brake--clouds of which continued to hang in the air and provide cover for Shiro to casually sneak in and take his reflection's place.

Now to wait

'Technique':
The technique described is something similar to Kyoraku's shadow-tag game used against Sternritter X; where opponent is deceived by their own reiatsu-perceiving ability. Except that the one described here is a much more basic version, with no direct combat application since it isn't from a sword ability. More of a party-trick kind of illusion
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:40 am

Azalea heaved her sword out of the ground, frowning at the deep, somewhat wide hole she had made. Looking over her shoulder, she saw that the cart was totally destroyed, the seller's merchandise scattered all over the street. It'd been some kind of food cart, she noted.

But then her gaze turned to the Werewolf, finding him in only a moment. "If I'm not mistaken, I believe we both lost. I had to draw my sword, and I doubt whatever your copycat was, that it was simply leg work.
So, I owe you a sword, and you owe me something about this 'Kenpachi' fellow. Though, you'll need to give me a moment.
"

Azalea had been holding her sword in one hand, her gaze slowly drifting to a very angry looking shop-owner who had stilled when he saw the black-and-gold swordwoman and a Shinigami on his doorstep. Azalea braced the tip of her weapon on the stone before quickly stomping on the blade.

There was a loud sound of crystal breaking, and the exceptionally perceptive would notice the whiff of blood in the air mixed with traces of a power spiritual energy. Whatever the sword was, it was no simple blade.

But when her foot came away, the tip of her weapon was split off. It was noticeable that the blade was actually formed from something white inside the sword, which the handle seemed to be made from as well. Azalea knelt and picked up two fist sized chunks of her broken sword.

Azalea handed a piece to the shopkeeper, bowing slightly at the waist. "This is a rare gemstone from my homeland. I hope it is enough to pay for the damages to the entrance of your business, sir." The second piece she turned to give to the cart-owner, who until then hadn't known it was her who destroyed his cart. Again she bowed before turning back to the Werewolf. In her hand now was a six inch long sliver of her sword, with a short piece of white material to use as a handle. The front of her weapon was severely damaged, the core broken to provide a handle for this knife.

"This short blade is all I can offer you right now, until I return to my homelands. I must warn you, be careful no blood or bodily fluid touches the blade itself; the gemstone grows slowly when it touches such things."

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:38 pm

Oh well. Fair's fair--at least he tried.

Also, note to self: remember to add this place to the steadily-growing list of establishments where tiny destructive Shinigami weren't welcome. Aforementioned list might grow to encompass half of Soul Society at this rate. Which was a shame, because there were only so many places with halfway decent ramen.

Of all the times to be seen with uniform and badge...

A deal was a deal though. And anyone able to keep pace with him certainly deserved a drink. A handful of coin surreptitiously passed to the proprietor of the nearby bar bought them seats at a secluded booth as well as drinks; all without the bartender batting an eye. Setting up shop in the highly-desirable and profitable first district wasn't without drawbacks, apparently--with Shinigami as clientele being chief among them.

Many of the bar's patrons wore the black shihakusho as well, and their passage to an empty booth drew a number of curious stares. These he did his level best to ignore whilst etching patterns on the tabletop with a claw and idly wondering how practical it would be to assassinate everybody in a thirty foot radius. Didn't hurt to dream.

Meanwhile, the exotic relic representing her half of the stakes rested on the tabletop between them; bearing mute witness to the terms of their wager. The lady had been true to her word after seeing his conjuration for what it was, and it was his turn to do the same.

"Kenpachi is...kenpachi," he volunteered at last as they waited for their drinks. "It's a title given to the strongest fighter among the Gotei, and one earned only by defeating the previous holder in formal combat. They pride themselves on being undefeated, and I guess they are...until the right person comes along," their gazes met. "But you probably know this already,"

"Here's what most people don't know: home team always get an advantage," paws fiddled with the tiny umbrella that came with his virgin White Russian as the barkeep arrived with their orders: non alcoholic cocktails for him; and whatever-it-was the lady decided on--beer tended to all smell the same anyway. "And let's just say those advantages...can really add up,"

Leaving the umbrella aside for the moment, he wondered if she had successfully read between the lines. While Shiroki hadn't explicitly stated that the Kenpachi would resort to cheating, the implication was definitely there if one cared to look. Probably not a very loyal thing to admit, but sadly true: what with all the requirements necessary to make a duel 'official', it would be easy to disqualify a challenger on a technicality if they had half a mind to. He wouldn't be surprised if the so-called Kenpachi had actually been defeated 'unofficially' a score of times or more--all on occasions that conveniently did not 'fit' the requirements stated in challenge guidelines. Heck, Captain Taiyo had held her own quite well against that barbarian back in the day--before her latest unexplained absence. He remembered that encounter all too well; and short as it had been was willing to bet that Taiyo would have won if they kept at it. Too bad there hadn't been the 100 or so witnesses there that day.

Speaking of witnesses... "If you're trying for the title you need everything to be official, with witnesses and judges. An' maybe check that those witnesses they bring you aren't all from 11th squad as well--most people don't bother to, then get all surprised when those witnesses disqualify them for some stupid reason or other. Definitely pick a good area also--it's the challenger's right so might as well use it; not sure why people forget to and just fight in the 11th squad barracks,"

He ticked off the points on his claws: Location, witnesses... "It's the Kenpachi who sets the combat rules, so nothing you can do about that. Except make sure that they follow whatever rules that they decide on. Like...if they say no hakuda allowed but use it anyway; better make sure the judge knows it's a foul,"

Those seemed to be the main points in a nutshell. As for specifics. "I only 'fought' the jerk once, so I'm not familiar enough with their style to describe it. It was over too fast and neither of us even got to shikai. Lots of heavy swings...so maybe watch out for that? But then everything looks heavy to me,"

Had there been anything else? "Sword's big, so she's got pretty good range...if you care about such things. Likes catching everything around it in one sweep. Defense's pretty lousy though--hard to block low attacks with somethin' that big," He'd gone for the ankles and jumped around a lot the last time, as he usually did against bigger opponents. Which was nearly everyone to be honest. It was an approach few people expected, and one that usually worked--most blade styles focused on defending the body above the waist, where all the important organs were situated. Not many were devoted to blocking anything below the belt.
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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Azalea on Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:15 am

Azalea nodded her head, her mass of silky hair cascading over her shoulder. When she nodded, there was a faint clinking noise, metal rubbing on metal, but after a moment it was gone. She brought her beverage to her lips, sipping the iced water. It was colder than she expected and she set the glass aside.

"She's a powerful fighter, who relies brute force. I used to know a person quite like that; the trick is to get past the first blow and attack them while they're open. The more powerful their first strike, the longer they'll be venerable afterwards, and the more pregnable their defenses." Azalea's eye shifted to her drink as she thought over this information. While there was nothing she could do to force the Kenpachi and their subordinates to fight fairly, she was confident nothing a Shinigami did would be fatal to her. In a worse-case scenario, she would rely on her Nefarious to protect her, though only as a last resort. But, she did have her own tricks as well. The Requiem blade's unique properties, how it was actively drawn to and fed on blood, meant she could always trust her swings to steadily grow in damage. And, in a true fight for superiority, she wouldn't be handicapping her speed.

And she was no slouch when it came to dealing powerful blows either.

"I am sure this information will prove most helpful. Before the fight, however, I am afraid I must ask if their would be consequences if,
through either accident or otherwise, the Kenpachi were to perish in the fight?
After all, a fight with swords is bound to have casualties and injuries, which may prove fatal if too severe.
"

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Re: Azalea's House of Jumpscares (OPEN)

Post by Shiroki on Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:06 am

"Oh, no problem. Ain't murder if that's what you mean. Not if it's done properly," That part of honor still confused the jackal, to be honest. Killing people was killing people; why would it matter how the killer did it? Was there a difference between overwhelming someone directly and slitting their throat in the dark? One took more effort and was way messier, but both ended up with the victim dead either way. "No need to hold back if they're gonna be doing the same thing to you,"

Although... "Best not to try directly attacking judges or audience, though. They'll do a barrier to avoid that sorta thing...but if it's crappy work it wouldn't stop either of you if you were really trying. Bad idea, don't do it: innocents getting hurt could disqualify either of you; and worse--if the bosses complain enough our squad would have to step in--"

Meaning he would have to step in, being acting Captain and all. Having to arrest and/or do away with both the Kenpachi and their challenger would really really suck, assuming such a thing was even possible in the first place. Well, at least if it came to that he definitely didn't need to play fair.

"...and I'm sure nobody wants that," Shiroki treated the ryoka to his best innocent smile, whilst subtly increasing his reiatsu output to a level she was certain to notice. The fact that she was able to perceive and identify his construct earlier for the illusion it was gave him some idea of where to pitch the range this time. Not his 'full' capability of course; because revealing that would be pretty stupid--only high enough to present a credible obstacle. Which was also pretty high, judging from the way the restaurant was emptying. Few patrons seemed keen to be anywhere near Inuzuri's hellhound when he was beaming like that.

Then it was gone as suddenly as it had arisen, the atmosphere returning to normal. "I'll be rootin' for you of course," he informed the ryoka cheerfully, pushing an untouched saucer of milk to one side but pocketing the cocktail umbrella as he did so. Trust issues made it rare for one to eat or drink in public, but he really liked those fancy little umbrellas. Pretty convenient to have as makeshift shuriken in a pinch, if weapons were confiscated. If only they sold them in bulk.

"Looks like we're just in time too," large ears swiveled to track some elusive sound. "Someone from 11th should be here soon,"

--or even the Cap'n in person, especially with that message he'd dispatched at the Gate. For months the Kenpachi had been complaining about how they hadn't been included in the infamous Academy Incident; how it was an insult that nobodies from Squad 2 and 13 had stolen the limelight and spoiled everything by letting the invader get away. This newest report; in which Shiroki specified that the same ryoka was requesting a formal challenge, would be sure to get the Captain out of bed. If not, nothing else would.
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