Waking the Demon
It wasn't long until the group reached their destination. The ice around them certainly did set the stage; it was freezing; enough to actually cause Vivian's teeth to chatter- and she was the fire user of the group. Vivian held her arms, shivering.
Iris seemed to chuckle at this, finding Vivian's suffering rather amusing. "Harden up~ We're almost there, after all~ Cides, your body should keep you warm..."
Vivian growled, "Easy for you to say..."
Wendy had crawled back into Jason's kosode, somehow curling up inside and only keeping her head out to see where they were. Cute as it was, it was also hilarious but Iris had gotten through making gym jibes. "So we're here..." Jason looked around. If it wasn't cold, one could assume this was a mountain of pure crystal, diamond, sparkling as the light hit. However, this was a large mountain made entirely of ice, and it didn't have the durability of diamond at all. One wrong move and they could crumble down with it.
"W-w-w-where's the d-d-demon?" Wendy was still chattering, even though it was quite warm inside Jason's clothing. Maybe she was actually a bit scared.
Iris's ears perked up as she focused her vision. "We should meet it in a few moments...granted it suddenly doesn't jump out of nowhere. That tends to happen a lot..."
Jason's Gehaburn summoned itself into his arms, and it was trembling. Jason looked at the blade, curious. "Gehaburn...I see..."
"What's wrong?' Wendy asked, looking at up Jason.
"The demon is coming." Jason replied, smiling the smile he did when something was about to be slain by his sword. "Gehaburn is trembling with anticipation."
"SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" A haunting roar reverberated throughout the air, rustling whatever grass was there and cracking the ice through sheer force. This instilled a feeling of sheer terror in many of the members of the group. But what was worse...was it's demonic visage.
It was enormous dark azure, humanoid demon that towered over mountains. It had a large torso and two large arms that ended in large, scaly hands. In addition, it had two large legs that ended in feet that resembled the feet from a large bird, it also had large spikes on the back of its feet. It's facial features consisted of a wide, cavernous mouth with multiple rows of sharp, pointed teeth, as well as a spiked chin and crimson eyes, and branch-like spiky protrusions grew out of its back at a straight angle.
Vivian's eyes widened at the beast in front of them- in fact, they weren't even up to it's toes in height. "...Okay, this is very, very bad..." Flames ignited in her palms as she tried to swallowed her fear.
Wendy crawled out of Jason's clothes, landing neatly on the snow and moving back from the unholy beast a bit. Jason looked at Vivian and could see her shaking slightly. "Calm yourself. There is only one enemy, and one of you. What is there to fear? Abandon your fear. Look forward. Move forward and never stop. You'll age if you pull back. You'll die if you hesitate." Wendy looked up at Jason, surprised to hear something like this from him.
"That..." She murmured.
"It's something I heard from someone years ago." Jason explained, steadying his blade. "This thing isn't going tow ait much longer. It's merely surprised as the sight of so many humans. Everyone, ready!"
Vivian immediately began to think. "Who was this person?" Naturally, prodding and asking Jason about this wouldn't end well, so she decided to can it for now. "...But you're right. Worrying about stuff like this isn't going to help-at all. We're supposed to move forward without looking back."
Vivian amassed fire in her mouth. "Solar Dragon's...Roar!" Vivian gathered heat and light within her mouth and subsequently released it, forming an extremely large and destructive sparking blast, produced an immense amount of light that shot towards the beast, aiming to blow it away in one move.
Ulalia wrote in the air, "Solid Script: Burst!" She released an incredible blast of pure magic towards the beast at the same time.
The creature extended it's hand slowly, easily overpowering both the explosion and the Dragon's Roar, leaving nothing but a gleam on it's scaley hands. Swinging it's other arm, it's fist shot towards the group, intent on crushing them. "Tch!" Jason charged forward, swinging Gehaburn into the oncoming fist. However, the force overpowered Jason, sending him flying back, colliding with the girls and taking them with him.
"SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" It let out another massive roar, almost as it claiming victory already.
Iris's eyes sharpened. "This thing's nothing to the stuff I've dealt with..." She was right. She was a champion rhino wrassler back amongst her own kind. Nimbly, the squirrel demon evaded the sweeping legs of the demon with powerful leaping motions, zig-zagging around it while firing off burst after burst of magical power at it.
The demon seemed to feel almost nothing, and kicked Iris away with no effort at all. Wendy decided it was her turn and swallowed the chilled air. "Sky Dragon's Roar!" She released a huge blast of wind, a cyclone from her mouth at the legs and moved her head so the cyclone moved up the length of the mighty beast. It didn't make it flinch. "W-what!?" Turning towards Wendy,the monster sent it's fist flying towards her. However, she was knocked out of the way by Yasaka, who came barreling forward at max-speed, pushing her out of the way and taking the full brunt of the punch.
"Yasaka!" Wendy cried and Jason looked at shock to the Exceed.
Iris growled, "...This isn't probably the brightest idea I've had, but still...!" She slammed her fists together, "Ice-Make...!" she summoned a volley of missiles composed entirely of ice. Each missile contained the properties of targeting and propulsion, always condensing the magical particles that compose it, before spreading them out to the tip, coating the outer surface of the missile, enhancing its penetrative qualities. "...Gustaf!" She made a swift movement with her hand, launching the missiles towards the beast with the force of a heavy sledgehammer.
The missiles hit the beast, collided with it's chest. However, it barely seemed to notice them...except one, which caused it to halt for a moment, as if it was finally registering some sort of pain. However, it proceeded to move, and opened it's gaping mouth, charging a massive amount of chilled magical energy.
Shatter My Soul
"Shit..!" Jason growled, gripping Gehaburn and immediately switching into his demonic mode, swirling with dark energy. As the demon released the energy, Jason countered, expanding his energy blade into a shield of sorts, taking the brunt of the blast of cold energy. "Try and attack it while I have it distracted!" He ordered, focusing on keeping the shield of energy up and the blast at bay.
Vivian's eyes sharpened. "Solar Dragon's ....Blast!" She released a burst of fire from her palm at the demon, spreading in intensity while it neared the demon.
Iris leapt up. "Hyakuretsu Ken!" She focused her magical energy in her fists, unleashing a powerful barrage of diamond-shattering punches towards it, increasing in power with every successive blow that was released from her small body.
This ice was apparently sturdier than diamond, as the demon quickly bat Iris away with it's arms, taking multiple blows with no problem before it managed to slam her into the caveside. The blast of flame collided with it, causing it to gleam but nothing happened. Such flames could never melt this ice.
Jason was panting, the energy beam had ceased and his blade returned to energy sword form. "What...is this thing?" Wendy, unbeknownst to the rest, took to the underside of the demon, drawing her Ruyi Jingu Bang. Increasing it's size to be relative to the demon, she swung it at it's feet, causing the demon to tip over.
"What the!?" Jason, unable to see Wendy behind the beast, assumed it tripped of it's own accord. However, now the demon was falling back to the child. She inhaled again. "Sky Dragon's Roar!" She released a stronger blast than before, forcing the demon to forwards instead of backwards, though causing no visible damage.
"Jason, get it!" Wendy called over to him, and Jason gripped Gehaburn, and swung it in an arc, releasing a black delta formation of magical energy which flew towards the demon, straight at the head, and collided head on in an explosion.
"...Grrrrh...!" The demon let out a slight roar as it stumbled forward, growling. Even so, it didn't seem to be harmed all too much.
Iris gritted her teeth while dashing forward, undeterred by it's imposing presence. "All we have to do...! Is attack it! Until it gives in!" She had the right idea- she just wasn't good with showing it. It was all they could do in a situation like this."Musou Tensei!" she shouted, and with a snap of her fingers, she managed to create several doppelgangers of herself, which shot at the beast, kicking down with powerful blows.
Ulalia wrote on the air, "Solid Script: BIND!" She summoned a myriad of chains to lock the beast's legs in place.
"SKREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" The monster let out a roar, fighting against the chains, but they seemed to hold...for now. They were quickly cracking. What was this beast!? It raised it's hand into the sky, summoning a huge array of iccicles that fell like hale, impaling each and every clone of Iris, and was about to impale her as well before Jason swooped in, grabbing her and sliding just out of the way, into the cave and out of the demon's sight. Outside, the battle continued to rage.
"Are you alright?' Jason asked, checking Iris for signs of injury.
Iris's ears bobbed up and down. "Y-Yeah. I should be fine." She dusted herself off rather nonchalantly before hopping to her feet clumsily. "I think we're slowly wearing it down...Though I'm not sure. Bur we're chipping away at it..."
What she said seemed to register with Jason. "Chipping away...Iris, do you remember when it reeled back from one of your spells?"
Iris nodded. "Exacta. That means...we need to aim for that same place." She called over to Vivian, Wendy and Ulalia. "Oi, you guys! Remember where I hit that critter!? Attack it there. It should make the job a little easier." She charged her own magic power up and tore through the air as a streaking flash of crimson light, throwing a flurry of punches enhanced by Drill 'n Rock.
Vivian looked at where Iris was attacking. "Solar Dragon's...Beam!" She released a thin piercing beam of heat and light towards the beast's weak spot at high speeds, aiming to hit it dead center.
At the moment, the best shattered the chains that bound it, slamming it's foot into Ulalia's torso and sending her hurtling backwards and nearly off the cliff. It wasn't going to give in easy, and actually twisted it's torso to the right, letting Iris and the Solar Dragon's Beam slide right by it, before it slammed it's fist into the ground, cracking the cliff like a giant quake, aiming to take down it's tiny opponent's.
Vivian leapt back, producing wings of flame on her person to dodge the monster's blows. In an instant, the cliff began to shatter and break apart from the force of the impact, returning in the form of numerous large boulders which rained down from above, aiming to crush them all.
All that was needed was quick thinking. Iris performed a series of powerful leaps, jumping from boulder to boulder to reach the top of what was left of the cliff. Ulalia slowly, but surely managed to stand up despite her incredible wounds, and erected a barrier with her magic to shield her small body from the onslaught of rocks plummetting down upon her.
"Sky Dragons Wings!" Wendy enveloped her body in wind, allowing her to take flight. She flew straight at the demon, dodging boulders and flying towards the spot where Iris had made contact with the demon before. "Sky Dragon's Brand!" She drew her staff and release a compressed blast of wind magic at the beast, hitting it square in the weak point and causing it to roar and stumble. She struggled to maintain afloat, fighting and flight were difficult.
Jason swung his sword, releasing a blast of energy at the beast, and it stumbled towards the edge of the cliff, roaring like it was aflame. "Iris, finish it now."
Iris charged up magical energy in her fists. "Shining Meteor Fist!!" In an instant, she let her energy fly forward in the form of hundreds of punches at the same time which converged, making it seem like she had launched a massive meteor at the demon which shattered it's form utterly. CRACK! It was like a sledgehammer striking an ice cube, breaking it into innumerable fragments which scattered throughout the area, making it seem as if an incredible amount of debris rained down from the heavens.
The cliff began to crack under the force of the fighting, and the debris, despite being small, seemed to contain force as it hit the rock, destroying most of what remaind of the cliff, leaving Akatsuki to fall. Jason looked over at Ulalia. "Ulalia, create a large platform." Calm as ever.
Ulalia wrote on the air, "Solid Script: PLATFORM." Quickly, below them all, an azure standing manifested, stretching out to accomodate all of them with ease.
Iris nonchalantly remarked with a bored expression, "Alright, brace for landing in 3...2...1..."
They crashed into the icey ground, but the platform kept them steady. Akatsuku proceeded back to the village, to meet with the village elder. Jason opened the flap to the tent where she stayed, bringing the girls along with him. "It's dead."
The village elder slammed her staff on the ground. "Most excellent. It saves us from doing the dirty business and treacherous act ourselves. Thank you for your assistance." Several minutes passed.
Iris questioned, "....What about the reward?"
The village elder paused for a moment. "...About that....we ran out of finances a while back when we made the request. So...I can only offer you our most valuable asset."
Vivian seemed skeptical. "...That is...?"
The village elder bluntly told them, "My granddaughter's hand in marriage."
Wendy frowned, not liking the sound of adding another girl to the mix. Yasaka was unconcious on the girl's arms, and wasn't able to contribute any snarky remark, which was a pity. Jason didn't really think about it, before nodding his head. "Alright. I'll deem that suitable."
The elderly woman clapped her hands in slight glee. "...Wonderful. Now, to inform her of such a thing..."
Vivan muttered, "...Alright, this is too good to be true..."
"What do you mean?" Wendy asked, looking up at the older woman.
Vivian's lips curled as she spat, "...This has to be deliberate. They somehow magically ran out of Jewels to give us as a reward just before we got here. And now as compensation, they want Jason to marry the village elder's granddaughter. I think they're trying to pawn her off for god knows what reason, honestly."
The elder smiled and replied, "Ah, but that is untrue. Only the strongest man can marry our strongest fighter and princess, for a lack of a better term."
"I don't like it..." Wendy murmured, but it was too low for anyone to hear. She wanted to grow up fast, and then Jason's attention would be locked on her.
Jason placed his hand on the child's head, a comforting gesture he made when he knew she was stressing out. She breathed easy.
The village elder seemed to realize what was going on here. "...Hahahahahaha. This reminds me of a certain predicament I faced myself several decades ago..." she paused for a moment. "Anyway, moving on. The wedding will be hosted in two weeks from now."
A small, yet fierce voice called out, "...Wait, what? Darn it, I didn't agree to this...!!" It sounded positively fuming- before the group knew it, the young woman who attacked Jason and co. barged in, with a red face, panting heavily.
"Ah...." Jason looked over the woman. "I remember you, we met. Leeroy Jenkins, wasn't it?" Classic snark, Jason-style.
The woman pouted at him. "Silence, you fool. I had my reasons...!" She spat ferociously at him; it seemed that she had a bad case of Grumpyitis.
Vivian just shot daggers at her. "....She reminds me of Gaikou for some damn reason..."
"Reasons or otherwise, apparently, you're the reward for my guild's defeat of the demon in the upper mountain range." Jason told her, though she already knew. "Judging by your general demeanor, you're quite aware."
She crossed her arms haughtily. "...I guess it can't be helped. But yes, I guess I am your reward. I'm not coming in a nice red ribbon; here I am, and by god I know we're gonna hate it, but we'll be married soon. You better be good on the honeymoon or off it goes."
"She's going to be annoying..." Wendy, who was usually really nice, muttered this under her breath, earning a chuckle from Jason. Jason looked over at the Elder. "Are we expected to stay here for the wedding, and if so, I am curious as to how long we'll be required to stay. I'll have to leave someone in charge of the Guild."
The elder simply responded, "...Yes, it is required that you'll stay here. Sorry for any inconvienences."
Iris' ears continued twitching; her eyesight sharpened as she fixed upon the woman. "...I can't really tell what you're thinking here~ It's because of the darn mask." She creeped closer to her and attempted to remove the mask forcibly- though the woman dodged and spun around Iris, letting out a low-pitched sound that was similar to a growl.
"Don't touch the mask. That would ruin the whole deal, you know." She spat at Iris.
Jason appeared at her side, looking at her with sharp eyes. "Please avoid addressing Iris or anyone who travels with me in such a manner. My protective instinct might take over...the end result would not be fine." This was very clearly a firm warning to the woman.
The woman hissed through her silver mask, "Silence, you. This is an ancient tradition that's been held up for centuries. Defying it would result in death by my hands...but I lose, I'd have to pledge eternal love to you anyway. So yeah, win for me, not much changes for you."
"I see." Jason cricked his neck. "Then I suppose we'll enjoy our stay until the wedding. Naturally, we'll pull our weight around here until it's time to leave." Jason clicked the transciever on his ear, and began to speak. "Len, It's Jason. No, don't cause yourself stress, we're fine. Of course I'm unscathed. We'll be here for awhile. It seems we're bringing someone new home. The guild is under your charge." He hung up, since he knew Len would follow an order if he gave it.
"Well now...what is this?" Mr. E was once again sitting in his ever-dark chambers, concealed from view to anyone. "A member of the Dragon Clan is to be wed to Jason?" He chuckled, seemingly delighted. "Such strength...it will be a great addition to our plans. Wouldn't you agree, Exialia?" He turned his head towards a woman sitting across from him. They were playing chess.
Exialia's lips curled and formed into a smirk as she moved her pieces across the board. "Exactly. This could prove...interesting." More than that though, she was rather amused at how Vivian, her little sister, would react to Jason's ever-increasing harem- especially now that more members with personalities she didn't like were falling for her beloved. "...But it really is amusing; don't you think? They're all so quirky, and yet there's no-one better to play a part in this game."
"It makes it lively." He agreed, egging on a particularly foolish Pawn that was in a tussle with one of Exialia's Bishops. In this chess, the pieces were alive. Hidden beneath the shadows, he smirked as the bishop crumbled beneath his feet. "Promotion." He chuckled, his pawn changing from a simple pawn to that of a Queen as taking that Bishop had allowed it to advanced to the edge of the board. "I guess you could say such quriky pieces allow for a game with more variety. I look forward to using them in equal measure."
To tell the truth, Exialia wasn't too hot at chess; and by god it showed perfectly. Her eyes swept across the board several times, attempting to determine a proper move. "....Tch. You really are a planner beyond compare. In fact, you could just say that I'm the muscle." She moved her own Queen two spaces so that it was about to fight with E.'s Pawns.
"There's barely a challenge in facing you." He replied, moving his new Queen merely one space over, so that his Queen was two squares diagonally from her King. The King in question was blocked by a Pawn she had yet to make any use of, and the Pawn now served to give him advantage. One square diagonal from the Queen was a Rook, which had been placed there by Mr. E two turns prior. The King couldn't make a move.
He flipped the piece off the board.