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"Now, it's showtime!"

This article Strength, is the sole property of Per and as such, no user may edit this article without explicit permission from the aforementioned creator. If you wish to use this article in any way, please ask me first.

"Hey. Super Galaxy King—" As Kirika Hotsuin and Deen Lhant walked down the bustling streets of Hargeon, Deen noticed how disinterested Kirika was. "Why me of all people—"

"My name's Kirika Hotsuin." Kirika interrupted. "I don't think I ever introduced myself properly. And before you ask, I chose the name of my Soul Armour. It's my goddamn armour so I can name it whatever the hell I want. So shut up about it."

"Geez..." Deen sighed. He wasn't even going to ask about it. "Anyway, I was going to ask; why me of all people?"

"That's simple." Kirika chuckled to herself. "I'm impressed by your strength of conviction."

"Huh?" Now this was confusing.

"When you took that fool's belt and became Zero...that was enthralling."

"Oh lord," Deen immediately cringed. "Do you want to kick my ass?"

"One day, maybe!" Kirika laughed again. "The way that you, an absolute weakling, took an object of immense power not for yourself, but for somebody else, and you didn't let that power to get to your head, it's something amazing! You really are interesting, you know. It's as I say, if there's someone you need to fight, then fight. If you don't, you'll regret it for your entire life."

"...Uh, thank you...I guess?" Deen wasn't sure whether to thank her or not. "That's...surprising, coming from a bad person like you." Crap! He forgot to hold his tongue. What would she do now?

"Well," Kirika pressed her finger to her right cheek, explaining defensively, "I wouldn't say I'm bad, but rather I'm paid to do bad things."

"Yeah, but you like it."

"It's important to enjoy what you do!" Kirika's appearance was almost vulnerable as she told Deen bluntly, "Or rather, you get used to it. It's just part of my day now."

Deen was utterly horrified by her words—what the hell made Kirika like this? "...I'll make you see that you're wrong. Killing doesn't get easier."

Kirika smirked rather crazily. "Mm, I'd like to see you do your best. For the record, I still have no idea what you see in that purple-haired goody-two-shoes. She's denser than a neutron star. Not to mention that she's nothing but a flat, waist-less little stump."

"Why are you trying to deflect the subject!?" Deen snarled at her; though he did appreciate her help, she was a bit of well...a rotten bitch. "And because Tsuruko is nice to me...and she helped me remember what I always wanted. I want to be a superhero."

Kirika cackled in response—she saw "because she's nice to me" as a fucking stupid reason. The way that she saw it, if you liked somebody simply for their kindness, you honestly didn't love them. "Go on. What else?"

"....Er." Deen didn't have anything else. "You don't need a reason to love somebody."

"My, my, you were dropped on your head as child, right? That is one of the dumbest things I've heard. Are you sure she could even return those feelings? She seems pretty fixated upon the old Soul Armour Knight Zero." Kirika went on to explain casually, "More accurately, she doesn't love him genuinely, but rather, she's chasing ghosts of the past in an attempt to reclaim her old life."

"...How do you know that?" Deen was utterly perplexed.

"It's the little things. You need to keep a watchful eye on everything about a person; even the things that shouldn't matter. While you can get a superficial glance into the minds of somebody just by listening to them, to know their true character, you'll have to pay close attention."

"...T-That's amazing." Deen was pleasantly surprised; he had no idea that the enemy that plagued them was a superhumanly good judge of character. It was so superhuman that it wrapped around back to terrifying.

What else did she know about them?

Kirika cackled; she leaned closer to Deen, grasping his chin with her left hand. "You're certainly an exciting man, Deen. You're completely unlike any other I've met."

Deen couldn't tell if she was joking or not; it scared him a bit, really. Shrinking back, he uttered, "I-I've got to go do something- don't go anywhere!"


"You're not going to get anywhere by crying, boy. You have a choice to make. Jump down now...Or remain trapped in that tree all day."

The child looked down at her; eyes full of fear; not saying a word; before taking a deep breath and leaping down.

Kirika instinctively caught the boy in her arms. "You're definitely strong." Kirika tousled the hair of the young kid, actually showing a smile on her face for once. "That could have been bad...But don't forget, boy - in the end, all you can count on is your own strength."

"Okay! Thanks, lady!"

Kirika turned around, looking at her wristwatch—only to notice Deen watching.

"...How much did you see?"

"Enough." Deen laughed. "See, you're not a bad person."

"I never said I was bad. But I also never said I was good." Kirika brushed her hand off. "It's up to you to decide." She always sounded civil, but in a mocking and not-really-empathic way. It certainly gave a far more sinister edge to everything Kirika said and did.

"Yeah, yeah..." Deen had to ask, "What happened with you and the Zodiac Knights, anyway?"

"Does it bother you?" Kirika simply replied; there was a pretty obvious answer to that.

"Well, yeah. I know we've been through this before, but I want to know why."

"It's simple!" Kirika laughed, "I didn't betray them. I found something more interesting, so I left."

"And that 'something more interesting' is?"

Kirika simply shrugged enigmatically. "Who knows."

"....There you are, Virgo."

Kirika paused briefly; in front of her and Deen were...

A jester-like golden and black being and a giant crab demon.

"Ah, Gemini, Cancer." Kirika sighed, scratching her head casually. "What are you two mooks doing here?"

"Tch!" Gemini snapped at her; she always hated being played as second best to this maverick. "You know damn well why we're here! Joker wants you back, dead or alive!"

Kirika simply smirked. "That's amusing. I thought I told you—your loser's club isn't interesting to me anymore. Besides, I have something more interesting to go after."

The jester known as Gemini snarled like a wild animal at her mortal enemy. "Damn you..." Her face contorted into one of pure hatred. "But with this..." Gemini withdrew a monochrome belt from nothingness. "...I can surpass you!"

"Wait, how do symbiotes use Driver Belts—" Deen was absolutely flabbergasted.

"Little miss jokey-pants here probably had an awakening like snakey did." Kirika stated matter-of-factly.

"Awakening—"

"Shut up, now. Drive...on." A frown forming on her face, Kirika withdrew the GingaOh Driver as it was ablaze with a purple flame—as she wrapped it around her waist, scanning a black ring over her belt. Black light surrounded her body, engulfing her momentarily and forming a cocoon around her body, which quickly shattered; transforming into a golden and raven textured elegant gold Übermensch; dressed in the holy robes of a black sage showcasing its divinity, with a jagged, black wings, as the golden helmet's cold, azure eyes stared straight at Gemini. "Super Galaxy King."

"Drive on!" Gemini shouted to the heavens—the monochrome belt unleashed a miniature sonic boom from the symbiote's body, converging upon her figure to transform her into an armoured being; black on the right side, white on the left, Gemini now had elongated claws and jagged, red eyes; along with a toothy grin of shark-like teeth. A sextet of scarlet spheres surrounded her figure. "Soul Armour Knight...Pierrot."

Kirika motioned to Deen. "Stay out of this. I want Gemini's head. Hell, go kick the ass of Mr. Krabs there."

Deen meekly nodded. "Yes, ma'am...." He shrugged at Cancer, who shrugged back.

Couldn't argue with women who hated each other, of course.


The distance between Kirika Hotsuin and the Gemini Symbiote was ten meters.

But in an instant...Kirika closed that distance; with an audible *WHIRR*, she revved her High-Frequency Blade, aiming it straight at Gemini's throat.

Gemini barely maneuvered out of the way, leaping to the side with a dynamic side-flip. The spheres that whirled around her body formed themselves into lancing objects, spearing at Kirika, chasing after her determinedly.

Where had Kirika seen such a thing before? It was certainly a level of Shape Transformation beyond any other she'd faced. Swinging her chainsword around, Kirika deflected the assault easily, slicing through the lances with relative ease.

Gemini rushed forward- grasping one of the spheres, she formed it into a sword.

CLASH!

Kirika's chainsword and Gemini's blade locked together, sparks radiating off of the weapons...

"Do you really believe that this movie-esque tactic actually WORKS!?" Kirika snarled like a wild beast—while the two were in a clash of steel, she used her left leg to kick into Gemini's knee, crippling her as it bent forwards with an audible *SNAP*.

"Eeeugh." Deen shuddered and cringed, watching on as he casually deflected one of Cancer's weak (to him) blows.

"Oh, come on!" Cancer called out—irritated that, well, as the crabby man put it, "Before, I was kicking you around until you put on the armour! Now...I'm just a crustaceous punching bag."

"Is that a new record?" Deen asked him honestly. Really, he felt kinda sorry for Mr. Krabs over here. "...That's kinda sad, bro."

"Yeah, sometimes I think about just leaving. It's obvious now that I'm out of my league." Cancer stopped in his tracks; ceasing to attack Deen. "Anyway, I'm gonna leave now."

"...What?" Deen was utterly perplexed; maybe even the Zodiac Knights knew how irrelevant they were now? "Wait, where are you going!?"

"I'm going to the deli." The crab demon called out to his companion. "Do you want anything?"

"Kinda busy here!" Gemini snapped back; the spheres surrounding her body formed into cannons which fired upon Kirika. "Also, I can't move my leg, do something about it!"

"Pathetic!" Kirika snarled like a wild beast ready to pounce—indeed, with a forwards motion, she released a tessellating hexagonal barrier that deflected Gemini's attack with relative ease. Using the shield as a propulsion system, Kirika launched herself towards the other knight like a bullet.

"MY LEG!"

Deen was squeamish at the sight of Kirika thrashing this poor symbiote so badly. Even though Gemini was one of the catalysts for Tsuruko's mental breakdown, he couldn't help but feel sorry for her—fighting Kirika was one of the last things one should ever do.

"Kirika, stop." Deen simply sighed. "...Why are you so...well, brutal?"

"Hey, you." Kirika took a momentary break from laying the smackdown to lecture, "If you let up for even a second, if you do so much as show mercy, it'll be like that story about the farmer and the viper."

Speaking of letting up...

Taking this chance, Gemini quickly recovered from getting her goddamn leg kicked in to lunge forward, securing her razor-sharp claw around Kirika's neck momentarily.

Even though she was drastically outmatched, Gemini could still have the last laugh.

Darkness began to seep from Gemini's jagged fingernails—

SWOOSH!

The blade of the Soul Armour Knight known as Zero pierced Pierrot's side before any further damage could be done; Kirika returned the favour immediately while clutching at her neck; she revved her GingaOh Driver thrice, causing the belt to sound out in a suave tone;

[LIMIT BREAK]

Darkness charged within Kirika's chainsword- this negative energy intensified until it appeared as if a black mist was all that extended from the hilt.

Kirika grasped her blade with both hands—swinging down with all of her might; unleashing a stygian torrent of hellish energy that devoured her enemy with extreme prejudice. Every atom that composed the Gemini Symbiote was exposed to this howling power, seemingly consuming her.

Kirika's Soul Armour vanished in a flash of light; as she slumped slightly. The vigilante (for a lack of a better term) utilized her chainsword as a crutch, barely managing to stand. For some reason, she couldn't force herself into an upright position—something was definitely wrong. "...What the hell is going on...!?"

She felt a sharp surge trail down her back—instantly, Kirika pulled her shirt up slightly (causing Deen to immediately turn away; a bit embarrassed), noticing a spider brand having been pressed into her skin.

A burning sensation emanated from her smooth yet fairly toned stomach; the brand's legs seemed to be moving, slowly crawling towards her neck.

Deen deactivated his Soul Armour; which was absorbed into the Chimera Driver in a burst of silver energy. His pink eyes fixated upon the mark transfixed upon her belly, slightly widening in surprise. "...Is that...?" He moved closer; swiftly pulling out his holo-phone and holding it up to the left side of Kirika's stomach.

"W-Watch what you're doing." Kirika let out an inhuman snarl that sounded like something a wolf would do while attempting to push Deen away; a bit pissed, though she didn't raise her voice. "Get that camera away, pervert."

"Hold still," Deen calmly affirmed his intentions to her. "I'm going to take a photograph and send it to a friend so we can find out what the damn thing is. So if you keep complaining, we might never find out, and then you could die. Understood?"

Kirika simply sighed. "W-Whatever."

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