The youngest and the only female of Crudelis stood on a rooftop, her face covered by her hood, and her jacket concealing any figure she had. She was quiet as she waited for Vivian to catch up.
Vivian remained rather focused on her target- though she couldn't help but look rather solemn at this site. Vivian remarked to herself, "What are those beautiful eyes...They have the depth of a very deep well..." Of course, the 'well' part wasn't an exaggeration; water. Suddenly, the Solar Dragon Slayer called out, "Oi, you! Get down here and face me man-to-man!" ...She paused and then realized that both of them were female.
The girl removed her hood revealing neck-length blue hair, cut in a hime style, and bright blue-eyes that seemed to be miserable, brimming with fresh tears. She extended her hands, before releasing a massive amount of bubbles that shot like bullets.
Vivian gritted her teeth and released a burst of pure heat from her feet, jumping upwards to leap straight over the onslaught that the young girl had unleashed upon her. Now perfectly above her, Vivian remarked, "Now, how about you do as I say, eh? Solar Dragon's...Light Impulse!" Suddenly, Vivian released a burst of extreme heat from her arm in a swinging motion that spiralled towards the girl in the form of a deadly golden wind.
Wymp immediately back away, not dodging, but out of complete fear. "Too hot..." She muttered, tripping over her own feet until she fell backwards on her back, legs splayed in the air. One would think galoshes would help with balance...
Vivian just facepalmed at this sight. She merely felt sorry for this little girl and landed close to her, waltzing over to her and crouching down, extending her hand in a friendly gesture, but she simultaineously remained cautious. she questioned, "...Hey, are you alright...?"
Wymp took her hand. standing up and rubbing her eyes. She seemed to be crying a bit, and hiccuping. "I-I'm fine..." She replied, her voice cracking. "Thank you for being so nice...I don't want to...but my mission is to fight you..." She extended her hands, releasing a high powered jet of water towards Vivian.
"...Gh!" Vivian leapt back rather athletically without any time to waste; performing a series of backflips to evade this surprise attack. "...Dammit..." letting her guard down for a moment proved to be a rather grave mistake as she almost slipped off the building proper; leaving her right in Wymp's line of fire.
Wymp however, returned Vivian's earlier kindness, creating a water tentacle that latched onto Vivian's wrist, and pulled her back onto the roof, keeping Jason from being one girl short. "I-I'm sorry..." She muttered meekly before jumping down from the roof and landing on the ground. Less danger here.
Vivian was extremely surprised by this act of kindness- though she was expecting it somewhat. "T-Thank you." However, she remained wary, as she continued to approach Wymp, repeatedly offering the young girl her hand and a chance at redemption- even so, she refused to attack the girl at all. "Come on; you're not even like your other guild members. Maybe you could join us and-"
"-I can't!" She shrieked, water swirling around her in a giant torrent. A large spiraling sphere of water began to surround her in her frantic behaviour. "Laurent will kill me if I don't do as I'm told! And I can't leave Auffle!" The water began to form a large, howling dragon which matched the expression of insane misery on her face. "I can't lose!" The dragon shot forward, tearing into the ground, turning it up as it shot towards her, roaring mightily.
Vivian's eyes widened; this was the final straw. She WOULD recruit this poor little girl into Akatsuki no matter what. "Heh...heh... Wait a minute... All I want to do is talk to you for a bit. I have an idea though. I'm not some spoiled kid, so if you wanna fight for your life, let's fight. But if I win... Will you talk to me?" Her gaze became more determined "Solar Dragon's..." pure heat was amassed in her mouth. "...Roar!" suddenly, Vivian released an extremely large and sparkling blast of heat from her mouth, razing the sky and turning it crimson for a few moments, colliding directly with Wymp's Water Dragon in an epic clash of crimson and azure.
The heat became too much for the dragon of water, and it began to sizzle. The moment Wymp saw this, her eyes began to tear up again, and she absolutely broke down when the dragon fizzled out, falling to her knees and bawling her eyes out. "I-I c-can't do it...!" She hiccuped, rubbing her eyes as the tears poured like rivers.
Vivian quickly exited her aggressive stance and ran over to Wymp to embrace her tenderly like a big sister. "You don't need to fight anymore." She thought to herself, "I think I know what she wants. Someone to share her feelings; somebody to protect her no matter what... Someone with whom she can split the loneliness and sadness in half... That's it. Now I understand what she wants. I want to share my feelings with this girl." Her grip tightened on Wymp's small body, as she told her honestly, "All I want... is to be friends."
Wymp hiccuped, still crying, though it was softer this time. She pressed her face to Vivian's chest, calming down with contact from this woman. "I-if...I go with you guys...I don't have to fight anymore?"
Vivian reassured her, as she looked up as her grip tightened on her, cradling her body. "...Yes. You don't need to worry about anything anymore; you're part of our family now...Don't forget that." her words were spoken tearfully and truthfully; she reminded Vivian of her adopted little sister so much.
"Onē-chan..." Wymp seemed reassured now, and was quieting down.
"Well well well..." A hissing voice came from behind them. "It seems we have a couple of birds too far from the nest..."
Blade of Flames
Jason eyed his opponent, gripping his blade. He was getting strange vibes from this man. Vibes of pure misery.
Auffle's mere aura managed to instill a feeling of despair in the immediate vicinity, as a vicious maelstrom of flames surrounded his body. "...Do you, honestly think that you, can trump the flames of despair." It was true- Auffle's flames managed to increase in flammability and power the more misery he felt. With a series of swift hand motions, the man released an impressive display of pyrotechnics towards Jason.
Swiftly, Jason thrust Gehaburn forward, releasing a blast of air pressure that put out the flames. Caught in the glow, he didn't pursue an additional attack. "Those flames..." He looked a Gehaburn. Not a mark. "There wasn't anything behind them..." He muttered this out loud so as to intentionally catch Auffle's attention. He vanished, appearing in front of Auffle and swinging his blade up at his torso.
Auffle blocked Jason's attack and retialiated with a powerful kick.
Jason caught Auffle's ankle, stopping the kick, before throwing him into the nearest building. He didn't bother pursuing, deciding to him get up and try and do something else.
Auffle hopped to his feet, keeping a rather swaying spin to his motions as he shot forward and imbued his leg with a massive torrent of flames, swinging forward with a rather dance-like axe kick that released the flames in a blazing arc towards his foe.
Jason raised his sword, using the flatside to block both the flames, and the brick-like kick. Despite being around only Jason's age and having no real artificial constructs, this guy was strong enough to send vibrations throughout Gehaburn. Jason forced him back, like one swatting a fly, and swung his blade, releasing a crescent shaped blast of raw magical power.
"...Tch!" Auffle was blown back by the extreme force of the blast; his slender, cut-ridden body tumbled along the ground before he quickly stood to his feet and released a crescent moon shape blast from his arm in a swinging motion- of course this served as a momentary distraction so that he could sweep around him and attempt to knock his block off with a swift kick. It truly seemed like Jason was cornered, for a lack of a better word.
Jason swung his sword towards the crescent blast, cutting it in half, but his reflexes, either by choice or because he didn't see it coming, failed him. He was unable to make a swerve, and the kick landed right in his side, sending him catapulting backwards. He caught himself, using his blade as a ground to keep from moving too far. He checked his side. No real damage done.
Auffle remarked, "...Your strength...it really is overwhelming." However, he continued to stand up again and again for some unfathomable reason, showing his tenacity- and well, his capabilities to take a beating shone through in any situation. Slowly, Auffle lurched forward like a zombie, swinging fireball after fireball at Jason like a berserker from Norse legend.
Jason used his blade like a racquet, batting away the fireballs one by one. "And this is only a fraction." Jason replied, planting Gehaburn into the ground. "I can feel it. You don't enjoy this." He closed his eyes. "You even want to die. But It isn't my way to kill someone so eager to throw themselves on my sword." Then an idea hit. "I'll give you a purpose. Join my guild. Akatsuki will see the birth of a new world, with us at the helm. Join us."
Auffle, for what was the first time in ten years, actually smiled; it illuminated his whole face. He agreed, "...To that new world, I will give everything-" suddenly... A snake struck his face, sending him flying. Jason, on a reflex, stopped his flight in one arm, easing him into a standing position, before looking up to glare at a man with pale skin and dark hair. He had one hand behind him, and was smirking.
"Two traitors in one day." He sighed. "So tragic. This is what my guild has come to? The weak and the mutinous!"
Jason began to speak, but he raised a finger for silence. "I already know what you're going to say. You won't let me hurt you friends and family. Really, it's a tired old phrase. But tell me..." He pulled his hand out from behind his back, showing Vivian and Wymp, knocked out cold and bound by snakes. "Which would these two fall under, friend or family?"
Auffle looked truly astonished by this turn of events- without any warning, he yelled at Laurent, truly outraged. "...Bastard! How dare you...!" His eyes blazed crimson as he leapt at his foe swiftly.
Laurent chuckled, releasing several snakes from his sleeve that surrounded Auffle, and sunk their fangs into various arteries and veins throughout the body, especially the neck. The bites instantly numbed him while the poison spread, and he fell, only for Jason to catch him once again. "..." Jason was speechless, but he managed to find his voice. "I'd ask if you're fine...but that question would be pointless. Instead I'll ask...if there's anything you want that girl to know." He jerked his head up towards Wymp, bound by Laurent. "It's obvious she means something to you."
Auffle clenched his teeth, "Gh...!" as he spat, blood trickled down from his mouth to drip on the cold, hard ground as he struggled to stand; though both he and Laurent knew that he wouldn't be around too long- though still, he somewhat miraculously stood to his own feet, firing off one more crescent blaze at his former master before suddenly losing his life to the snake bite wounds. His last words were all that Jason heard, "...You have to...you have to save her, no matter what..." after this, there was no need to express confirmation that Auffle had moved on to the next life.
Jason placed the body away from himself and Laurent, before standing up and gripping Gehaburn. Within a second, he'd cut the snakes binding the girls, catching them each before Laurent could react and placing them up against a house. He checked for vitals, and was relived to see they were still alive.
"Now...for the serpent..." He walked over towards Laurent, raising Gehaburn. "I can feel your arrogance. But you don't seem to understand. You are a NUISANCE!" He yelled, fully losing his composure in this one instance. He swung his sword in an arc, releasing a blast of energy in a delta formation. The sword magic Trinity Sword.
Laurent's eyes widened as he was blasted by the attack head-on. Tumbling along the cold, hard ground, he noticed that upon the moment of landing, a shockwave from below to above was unleashed on the hard surface; an enormous crack appeared in the asphalt ground, and noise was created from all the buildings around. The frames of the buildings were bent, a large number of glass windows were shattered, and the pieces of glass fell down like torrential rain, mixing with the actual rain and creating a truly hazardous maze in the sky to navigate.
"As…As expected from you!" Laurent gazed up at the sky. The 'rain' formed by the pieces of broken glass came from all the buildings, scattering on every corner in the vicinity. As the area was too big, he could not escape. Attempting to escape into the buildings was not a wise option as the distortion of the building structures had caused all of the glass to be shattered, so the interior wouldn't be the same. If the target of his movement using Speed Magic overlapped with the collapsed wall, he would be buried.
"If so…The only way…is up!" Utilizing a high-reaching flip, Laurent quickly passed through the glass pieces and arrived in the night sky, several meters above the ground. Doing this provoked a sense of vomiting in him as he attempted to suppress this feeling. Moving his own body consecutively was an extremely tough challenge for him. But, at this moment, Laurent's mind turned blank. All the values he worked so hard to calculate vanished without a trace. Swinging forward, Laurent released a volley of snakes from his arm.
Jason stood in the rain of glass and debris, unfazed by the slicing fragments that brushed his skin. Jason raised his sword, gritting his teeth and slicing the snakes into what would be perfectly sliced food for sushi.
If Sushi used snake anyway.
Jason then jumped into the air, away from Laurent. He briefly looked down to make sure Vivian and Wymp were alright and swung his blade. It glowed as it moved, before summoning what looked like one giant spike in the air, but closer investigation proved it was made of various separate blades. "Pluvia Laminis." At those words, the blades began to rain down like the wrath of God, spearing everywhere they landed. Each blade was half the size of Gehaburn, and even a graze would cut.
"...Damn boy...!" Laurent spat rather angrily; it was immediately made clear to him that Jason was a one-way road. He couldn't advance, nor take another route; all he could do was put his tail between his legs and return to where he came from. Of course, Laurent wouldn't do so- he was so arrogant that he couldn't see himself losing to this impassible one way road, only demolishing it and getting on his merry way. Quickly, the Dark Guild Master nimbly dodged many of those holy blades with his quick footwork; though after several evasions, he was struck by a sole sword, which caught him off guard.
"...Tch! Sleeved Fangs!" Laurent declared furiously; in the span of an instant, he used what distance there was between him and Jason to his very slight advantage and released an entire hoarde of his little childen towards this orange haired nusiance, which splayed out to the sides, above him, and below him, in a futile attempt to catch his foe in an inescapble net.
This wasn't good news for Jason, as he was falling in the air and since flight wasn't exactly common magic, these snakes were going to get him at some point. He swung his sword around him, incinerating the snakes on the sides of him with pure, and proceeded to do the same with the upper onslaught. However, tending to three sides left him time to barely attack the lower half, and a couple of snakes managed to make contact with the skin, puncturing a vein with their fangs before he managed to slice their heads off. He landed on the ground, and, without flinching, dashed forward, releasing a wide strike to torso.
Laurent laughed insanely; bragging, "There's not much time left...! If you manage to accomplish the impossible task of defeating me, then you'll still have to deal with the poison, boy...!" He was stark raving mad. Struggling to deflect Jason's strike, Laurent then declared, "Diver!" and shot underground; suddenly, underneath Jason, a myriad of snakes attempted to drag him down rather violently.
The snakes entangled his legs, but Jason, surprisingly, let a smile slip onto his face as he slammed Gehaburn into the ground. "Hiding like a worm..." He funneled magical power into Gehaburn, which glowed blue, and released a large blast of energy all through the underside of the ground where Laurent chose to hide, chopping up the snakes, and obviously spreading out to catch him as well. "You made yourself an easy target there, hiding underground. Properly controlled, my energy would go everywhere but up."
Laurent couldn't believe what was happening; he was being defeated so easily it wasn't funny. "...Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaamn boy!" he cursed and raged; his mentality was breaking down so easily- it was so easy to see why he was a laughing stock of Dark Mages. "Snake Head!" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he was smashed through the air by the blast as it tore him from underground; regaining his balance mid-air, he stretched out his neck and grew his fangs out, giving the exact visage of a snake while he attempted to chomp down on Jason's neck.
Jason raised his blade, and his intent to kill rang throughout the area. "Your stupidity knows no limit." His blade began to glow, stocking up magic power. "If you had a hint of a brain, you would have run and hid. Pluvia Laminis - Sagitta Magica." He swung his blade and it created a blue line as it moved, forming into a small sphere. The sphere rocketed towards Laurent's head as the head moved toward's Jason.
Laurent gasped, "Im...impossible...!" -there was no need to express that Laurent, the Guild Master of the Dark Guild Crudelis was dead as the sphere impacted, utterly obliterating him- the sphere caused a chain reaction that destroyed his head, his neck, and most of his upper body in a glorious flash of azure. After standing motionless for twenty seconds, the rest of Laurent's body collapsed on the ground.
Gehaburn vanished as Jason relished in the feeling of victory. He waved his hand, the rest of Laurent's body vanishing like the shopping had earlier. Mr. E would want proof that the job was done. While he had been unable to obtain the head, the rest of the body would work fine. Suddenly, he swayed on the spot.
"The...poison..." Naturally, all of his moving had spread the poison through his blood faster. "Shit...I'm...going to die..." As he fell to the ground, Wendy and Vivian flashed in his mind, then the young girl and Auffle's face. He'd sworn he'd protect her. "...Damn...i.." All went black.
"...Please,I'm trying Iris!" Wendy insisted. She was bent over Jason's body, her hands glowing as she placed them over the wounds, trying to extract the poison in his body. "I can't go any faster than this."
Iris marched back and forth, panicking rather uncharacteristically. "...Can you seriously not heal any faster!? It'll be your fault if he dies, you know!" her big, bushy tail seemed to stand on end as her ears perked up and down in worry.
"D-don't say that!" Wendy stuttered, trying to ignore the fact that her slow healing could very well lead to this. Her magic began to spread throughout Jason's body, and she could feel the poisonous invaders inside his body. She began to extract them, the poison slipping out as a purple coloured liquid floating under her hands.
Jason began groan, and his eyes shot open. He was alive. He immediately sat up, but then winced. It seemed the poison still had done some damage to his body, however, he hadn't much time to consider what damage as Wendy wrapped him in a rather vice-like hug.
"You're alive!" She was loud with her relief, happy that Jason had not died on her. "I didn't know if I could do it...and Iris was rushing me and guilting me and I nearly missed the poison and..."
Jason placed a hand on her head. "Quiet now...I'm not dead, thanks to you. I can't be more grateful." He looked up at Iris. "An impatient one, I take it?"
Iris couldn't help but stare at Jason, dumbfounded by this. "...Well, as you know, anger is usually born from worry, as so..." Her fluffy ears sort of just relaxed down as she offered him her hand, to attempt to assist him in standing up. "Well, now that that's settled, let's get outta here, shall we..."
"Hey, you...!" Vivian snapped at Iris, pretty miffed about forgetting her. She carried an unconcious Wymp on one arm; and she appeared as if she'd only recieved minimal damage.
Iris froze up, rather comically. "...Oh, yeah. Sorry, Viv."
Wymp's eyes fluttered and she woke up in Vivian's arms, looking up at the woman. "O-Onē-chan...?" She seemed groggy. "Where are we now?"
Vivian pressed her finger to her lip, immersed in thought. "...Well, I'm guessing that Jason just dealt with that jackass of a Guild Master for you. Relax, honestly. We're here to look after you. And now..." she smiled gently at Wymp. "...You're free. You're no longer under that bastard's dark hold- you have a new family- a loving, caring family." She declared, "We are Akatsuki- we'll smash any boundaries and ascend to the highest peaks as long as we're together."
Jason took Iris's offered hand, Wendy sliding off him. He pressed a hand to his neck as if cracking it. He turned to Wymp. "I'm going to be very blunt here. Auffle is dead." He raised a hand and pointed it at the house where he'd placed Auffle's corpse. "Laurent killed him."
Wymp was stunned, and her eyes began to water again, showing she was about to cry. "D-dead? Auffle!?" And she started to bawl once again, her emotions causing water to swirl in the air every now and again as she cried out her emotions into Vivian's chest.
Jason sighed. Grief, one of the human emotions accompanied by the death of another person. He'd never felt grief, anger was always ripe. He placed a hand onto her head, which elicited a jump from the girl as she looked in his direction.
"I told Auffle I would keep you safe." Jason wasn't smiling, he wasn't frowning, his face was stoic. "I will protect you. You will be safe as long as I am around."
Wymp couldn't believe this. She could believe that Auffle had asked such a thing, but, after spending so much time in the Crudelis Guild, having two people be so nice to her in one day...she couldn't fathom it.
Iris ust held Wymp tightly with a big smile plastered all over her face. "...That name, it's...rather unfortunate. Really, Wymp? Sounds just like wimp... Oh, oh sorry."
Vivian smacked Iris in the back of the head. "...Iris! Stop that..."
Iris comically cried, "Owowowowowowow...! Sowwy..."
Jason brushed his hand up against Wymo's face, his expression either sympathetic or mocking. One would assume it was the former, but it made Wymp slightly unnerved. Was he cannibalistic?
"She is right. Your name..." He began.
"...it wasn't my original name." Wymp interrupted. "Laurent made us all take on new names when we entered the guild. I can't remember my own name anymore..."
Jason decided on something that would work. "How about you choose a name then? One you think suits you best?"
Wymp thought it over, no one seeming to pay attention to the fact that she was still in Vivian's arms. "I'll settle on Mary. Mary Jane. It was my mother's name."
Vivian rested her hands on Mary's shoulders, remarking, "...Well, welcome to our little family, Mary Jane."
Iris began to grumble. "...Heeeeeeeeeeey! What about me~!? You guys aren't fair...!"
Vivian couldn't help but apply her palm to her forehead in exasperation at this. "...Alright, you can join too, Iris..." She was an elephant in the room, after all.
"Two additional members. We're starting to become quite the force." Jason mulled it over, and then looked over at Wendy. "Is something wrong?"
Wendy looked almost unhappy, and her cheeks were slightly puffed. "Two more girls...." She grumbled. "More...." She knew the two additionals would be taking up Jason's time, just like Vivian.
Iris' ears perked up as she jumped into the air rather cheerfully, doing a weird victory dance of sorts. "...Okay, then! Next stop, is for Jason to become the Harem King!"
"Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?" Vivian's jaw just dropped; rather irked by her friend's words.
Iris grinned. "…Soon, Jason here will have all the women…" her voice lowered, "…and some men in the land, and together, we will have a multiple of a thousand kids! The future will be glorious! Think about—"
WHAM! Vivian smacked Iris across the back of the head again. "…Shut up, that's enough Iris."
"It's like a Boke and Tsukkomi Routine." Jason noted watching these two. Sat down for a second, like he was thinking. "I'd be...willing." He muttered, but loud enough for them to hear.
Iris had the biggest shit-eating grin about her. "...Excellent! It's settled then! Now, to assemble an army of willing -or not so willing-" Vivian raised her eyebrow at this, "...women to make up our main strength! This is all going to plan..." she seemed to brush her hair back and gain an evil glare, very similar to another evil mastermind.
"What's a harem?" Wendy asked, confused.
Jason waved the question away. "I'll explain that to you when you get older. Though...children these days...you'll probably find out before you're fifteen." Iris was still grinning and cackling rather madly in the background. Jason grabbed her tail, figuring it would stop that noise, even if it brought about another.
Iris froze up as her normally pale skin turned a bright red; sweat beaded on her forehead as she began to pant heavily, letting out a joyful, "Haaaaa...! Ennnn- Ma-Master, stop...!" Her knees knocked together, as she slowly began to sink to the ground.
Vivian just pouted at this. "....You know, you should really stop doing this. It's degrading and I'm sure Iris doesn't appreciate it..."
"...Grab it harderrrr-"
"....Alright, this is just downright embarrassing." Vivian almost slapped Jason.
Jason released her tail, catching her in one-arm as she slid to the ground weak-kneed.
They then tended to Auffle's funeral, burning the body since there was no place to bury it. Mary looked into the flames, the flames of determination in her own eyes. "Auffle...." She choked on his name. "Thank you. I'll forge a new path in the Akatsuki. I'll see you later."
Vivian leaned down beside Mary, wrapping her arm around her in a rather sisterly fashion. "...There's no need to cry. Of course, rain really does wash the tears away."
Meanwhile, in the background, Iris was picking herself up off the ground, still rather...distracted by Jason's actions. "Okay, okay. Tears are for queers. Do you ever think we need some constantly available transport?"
Jason looked down at her. "That would be ideal, but none of us have any magic for such an item."
Wendy was now definitely clinging closer to Jason. These women were a threat. And she wanted to know what a harem was. She hated being in the dark.
Iris seemed to still be running around, thinking of something. "...Wait, who could have Re-Equip?"
Vivian just facepalmed. "...If I remember properly, YOU do."
Iris froze up and laughed. "...Oh-oh right...! Sorry. Nyehehehehehe."
"If you have transportation, let's use it." Jason suggested.
Iris snapped her fingers, using re-equip to materialize a four-wheel vehicle that was mostly black and gold in colouration- it looked like a carriage of sorts. Iris remarked, "...If we get more haremettes, then it'll increase in size. Lacrima really is wonderful. She hopped to the front and wrapped the SE-plug around her arm. "Now, let's get going, shall we~"
Jason escorted his girls in, taking special care to make sure Vivian sat by him. Her motion sickness was a permanent affliction after all. As they sped off, a figure, cloaked in blood-red, emerged from the shadows. He was chalky white, and his glasses glinted, hiding his eyes.
"Excellent. He will be most pleasssssed." The voice hissed, a tongue protruding, almost snake-like. "Akatsuki...a most interesting guild indeed."
A fire was crackling merrily in front of a man, who watched, holding a glass of cognac. "So...my my my. Jason actually managed to take Laurent down. And yet I'm not further into seeing what interest the Council had in a lowly foot-soldier of a Guild Master like him. What connection is there?" He drunk some of the cognac, leaning back in a chair. "Akatsuki...you'll unfold these secrets as I watch from the comfort of my reclined."
Over in the corner, Laurent's halved body was in a canister. It had been thoroughly inspected.
He chuckled. "I will remove all obstructions. Change is coming, according to my will. Akatsuki....we have a lot to do together, you and I."