This article, The Stains of Time, is property of DazzlingEmerald.

This article, The Stains of Time, is property of SixpathsofSamoa.

Quite Before the Storm

The night was young, the world was still. A page was turned, a grin was forged. In roost upon this throne was the nobleman --the one commended as The Prince; a drink in his offhand, he held with his other an adult magazine, one flustered with photos of lush women. His leg crossed over the other, he brought his cup towards his lip to have some more of the cherry liquor, a most suited color, almost as a tribute to the girl in the image. A tingling sensation took over him next, and an all too familiar smug expression appeared across his face. Setting the fine text upon his lap, he ran a single stroke through his hair, before reaching in through his shirt collar to tickle his chest hairs. More or less, this was a casual evening for Cuda. Time to himself was scarce, so he often made the best of it, by doing what he enjoyed most --peering at naked women. It seemed as though those fairies were as scrumptious as ever; oh how he contemplated transferring guilds so as to be with them! The room in which he was situated was scorched with intricate designs. The walls filled with his shirtless portraits, each individual piece of furniture adorned with ancient ornaments, and yet, this was only a spare room, one he had created merely out of boredom only a week prior. His entire mansion may very well have covered a total of five acres, though it was meaningless, seeing as though he lived alone, without the assistance of a butler or any such attendant to maintain it. As the grandfather clock beside him ticked away, Cuda yawned. Perhaps it would be time for bed soon enough. Perhaps.

The night was indeed young and still as a corpse, the moon touching down on it's shift to relieve the sun of it's duties. The ambient silence of the night was simply the silence before the storm that was rapidly approaching. Among this storm two individuals weathered it among the center and stood at the helm of it floating within the confines of the area and coming closer and closer to the ground. The approaching dark nearly made the eyes of the two glow with anticipation of the murder of another one of those corrupt council members.

"Super Archive works like charm don't it". The male among the two said, the darkness subsiding around him revealing it to be Sub-Zero, among his allies he was mistaken for tempesta the former Nine demon gates member, their uncanny resemblance was indeed crazy, but they were two very different individuals. From time to time Sub-Zero played the role of Tempesta, but the image was the only thing they had in commin. Beside him floated a crimson fiery red head green eyed figure, a demon etherious from the book of Zeref who came in seeking the same thing he sought. Blood

Their target was a man among the council. Named Cuda, he was among the Fiore representatives and too had a hand in nefarious actions the Neo Arcadian Council had their hands in as well. him being listed was all Sub-Zero needed to see, having tracked down his mansion and his magical signal via his Super Archive Magic. Retribution would follow.

Cyclone Alley!!! Naaza swiped her arms and the natural disaster of tornados came to life suddenly spinning violently and ripping the house to pieces as if the house was made of paper. The three angry tornado ripped pieces and sections of the house off turning them into violent guided missiles and launched them in various directions tearing through the ground. The rotational winds roaring as they made their round to pulverize the mansion to it's basic foundation.

Ice Devil's Blizzard Funeral'!!!Sub-Zero said following up directly after the formation of the tornados. Creating a near unison raid of a curse and Devil Slayer magic working in tandem. The temperature of the area plunged rapidly as the area began to become rife with sub-zero winds, cryogenic energy and snow as it blistered across the area mixing with the deadly tornados and enhancing its range of the effected area double fold. The area of darkness now appeared to take on milky purplish back ground as the pissed off blizzard combined with the tornado to have it's say in the matter. The area becoming frozen instantly as the blizzard swept over with intense freezing sub-zero winds and snow being released, the visibility of the area decreased and became less and less reliable. The tornado continued spreading the effect of the punishing cold further and further below the negatives as the the ground beneath them and now broken pieces of a home were covered in the thick but powerful layer of Ice Devil Slayer magic eventually subsiding. Pleased with their work they were sure the person within the establishment would survive and above all would not take kindly to his humble abode being trashed in such a fashion. Far as the team known as Winter's Calamity was concerned about their target. Fuck his feelings.

As the mountain of dust slowly dissipated to reveal the once opulent mansion, Cuda was still but within his seat, not having budged so much as an inch from the incredible display of fireworks. While his mansion may have been in ruins around him, there was not a single scratch on his being. With his eyes sealed, he very calmly emptied whatever was left of the cherry liquor down his throat, whilst tapping the knee of his folded leg with one side of a rolled up magazine.

"Oi, oi, that wasn't very nice," he said at last, rising slowly to his feet. He left his glass laying on the chair's arm, the magazine having been stuffed into his pocket. Looking around at the remains of his home, he plunged the tip of his pinky into his ear, before looking upward at the two floating demons above. "Really now, could you have been any louder with those chants of yours? Gives a sucker such as myself all the knowledge he needs to determine the kind of magic you have within your arsenal." His eyes narrowed, taking notice of the woman's inhumanly shape. "Or, was it even magic at all?"

Cuda smiled as he glanced between the two, recognizing a familiar face. "Oh? Raido-san, if I recall? How convenient, so very nice of you to join me! Saves me the trouble of looking around for you myself, really."

"Allow me to explain. You see, ever since Gaelon-dono went missing, your name became quite… "popular" around the Magic Council. Naturally, I was assigned to hunt you down, though, with my busy schedule, I never got around to it. You coming to me like this makes things so much easier." He paused, turning his attention to his finger, which by now had made its way from his ear to the front of his face, housing a rather impressive cloud of wax. He flicked it towards the ground, which, like the rest of the area, was now tainted with ice; while the attention remained on the ice, Cuda snapped his fingers, causing it to vanish.

"Not too shabby! Though, not exactly my funeral either" he exclaimed, referencing the name of the technique Sub-Zero had just utilized, after the rest of the ice disappeared from around him. "If I allowed it to hold out for a little longer, I may have even caught a cold! However, unfortunately for you, that kind of magic simply won't work against me; and now that you're within my sight, well, you'll see soon enough."

Pulling the magazine from his pocket, he took a seat back down within his chair, reviving his previous posture. His eyes fell down upon the image of a nude Titania, and he seemed to almost deliberately be allowing them to escape his line of sight, when only mere seconds prior, he had claimed to have had them trapped. It was an incredibly bizarre sequence of events —did this man even want to fight? If so, why the hell was he sitting in a chair; and most of all, why was he looking through a magazine?

Sub-Zero made only one expression and it was one of a slight sigh and a ominous smile, he was tempted to brag about what he did but giving information hell even sharing it in a setting like this was pointless, if he didn't see the move not his problem. Even the blatant ignorant banter from the human did little to ruin his mood, nothing new he had seen it from humans, demon, and dragons. Same Circus different clowns at this point.

Your missing the point Sub-Zero spoke releasing his deep voice in between the smile that remained plastered on his face, as the whites of inhumanly sharp canine teeth reared their head from the corners of his mouth. Sub-Zero simply pointed to his head with his index finger and pointed to it as in reference to think smarter not harder. The aura around him began to drop appear more and more pronounced the vapor literally seeped form his pores and into the atmosphere stating how much colder it had gotten. The demon within him itching and scratching for action, the calm in him spoke of yet another soul to wind up beguiled by the funeral.

All the while Sub-Zero maintained a nice smile before he backed off with his hands in the air and placed them behind his back, the vapor seeping off of his body as the smile remained. His own body getting colder as his darkish tan skin turned a shade purplish and grew foggier and foggier, black marks becoming visible on his skin as as his eyes seemingly changed color from blue to yellow upon the marks spreading over his face.

"No you didn't, no the fuck you didn't". Naaza said in disbelief at what Raido just did knowing what he did via the telepathic link between the two, right before her eyes he really pulled that stunt and tried to be smooth about it, clearly he forgot who wore the fucking pants around here. "You litt- fine you deal with him, I've got bigger more important prey to like I don't know the the dragon we still ain't find, fuck I look like dealing with another one of these tried ass council members wasting a good days destruction for nothing". Naaza said as she floated upward into the air, the cold gust of wind lifting her upwards, stepping away from the immediately area and lifting herself toward the darkness among the sky. To where she felt alive most, close to nature, she did her best to hold her temper in check to not zap the Devil Slayer for robbing her of the chance to fuck this entire landscape up.

"When you done playing with the appetizers and looking for a real main course you , you know where to find me. Your gonna make this up to me you can bet you ass on that". Naaza said calming down officially washing her hands of the fight. All but out of view as he voice trailed on. They both knew the drill.

Cuda looked up with a raised brow. If he didn't know any better, he'd have thought Sub-Zero was checking him out, with all that smiling he was doing. He eyed the demon from within his seat. "Is that some type of curse mark, now?" Sighing, he shook his head. Without his doing anything, his chair began to levitate, soaring into the sky to be level with his two opponents. "I think it's you whose missing the point here. I know all about that 'purple haze' of yours, it's more than likely your trump card, yes? Well, that doesn't pertain to me any longer. Here, allow me to show you why."

He snapped his fingers again, and within an instant, the mansion the two demons had invested their efforts in destroying had once more returned into the picture, as if nothing had ever happened. "Do you see now? Go ahead and destroy it again if that's what'll allow you to sleep tomorrow night… in prison. But as you can see by now, it's all very pointless; both your coming here and your plan to defeat me by effecting this atmosphere, when it only takes so much as this to revert it back to its previous state," he explained, snapping his fingers again, though this time around only for demonstrative purposes.

He turned his gaze towards the woman. "It appears you're having trouble keeping her satisfied. Don't worry, I'll take good care of her." His lips turned into a smile. Out of thin air, a canon ball appeared beside Naaza, and just as quickly as it came into picture, it erupted into a triumphant rage of power.

The explosion rocked the area but Naaza flew through the blast as if it was one of her storms, not even the slightest effect on her. Naaza while still flying figured that was meant to be an attack on her yawned as she kept flying. "Human and their toys, sorry, but only two types of magic work on me and you ain't got either of them" Stay in your place. Naaza said waving Cuda and his attempt off as she went about her business.

Sub-Zero looked the mansion and among his eyes he waited for the grand finally and the punchline but only saw the mansion come back together. Perhaps he missed something. "That's it?. Oh I was suppose to be impressed by that right, perhaps feeling as if all the hard work we did was for naught?? You did miss the point". Sub-zero raised his eyebrow and pointed to the mansion and mockingly snapped and the molecules around the and near the house instantly froze as a giant geyser of ice rose instantly from the ground underneath the house splitting it. Balling up his fist the large glacier exploded violently ripping the house back to pieces becoming random missiles that harmlessly flew into the air each looking for a place to land. The explosion caused the area around them to grow colder touching well to the Absolute Zero point.

"I can do the same shit, not really impressive. Semantics Cuda, Same circus different clowns, not the first time I saw this magic, wont be the last time. Just another mage with suped up lost magic and a fancy title". Sub-Zero said tapping the super archive clock that was on his wrist, mocking the mages Arc of time as the timer on his wrist said held four zeros and glowed a dark deep red, an ominous alarm blared from his wrist twice before going off. He began to swaying back and forth shifting, feinting changing direction, misdirection and changing his area by flipping to the side and landing, doing the same. it had been a while since he fough a human, he got so use to fighting Archdemons and Etherious that fighting a human didn't seem to have the same thrill as it once did a long time ago.

"That wasn't half bad!" Cuda chuckled at Sub-Zero's impersonation of him. "But either way, aren't you part human yourself? Why are you trying so hard to be something you're not? Just look at how far you've taken this! I know that face; did you honestly believe the Magic Council wouldn't have any knowledge on Tartarus by now?"

"Oh, yes, we've run thorough checks over the entire Balam Alliance. That name you're so proud of, 'Sub-Zero', it doesn't belong to you, either. In fact, both your name and magic are taken from Silver Fullbuster. You're nothing more than a sly fraud." His tone had grown fierce. Everything Cuda had said was true —that could not have been denied.

"Here you are now, trying to recreate Tartarus; you've even gone the full extent of labeling everything as 'the second'. How repulsive. It seems you've forgotten who you really are, that much is obvious. You've even allowed it to get to your head, evidently. But see here, Raido-san, no matter how many layers of ice you encase yourself within, you can't hide the past." It was then that Sub-Zero suddenly started moving about, refusing to remain idly in one place.

Cuda looked at the man with widened eyes. "Do you need to use the bathroom? What's the matter with you, all of a sudden? Are you unable to withstand your own freezing temperatures?" He shook his head. "Well, whatever. Apparently, according to you, I'm missing some sort of 'point' here. I'll be the first to openly admit that I can't completely comprehend what you're saying at this point, literally. The words that are coming out of your mouth lack education; there, I said it. But, that's enough of that. Even I don't have enough time for this."

He snapped his fingers again, reverting whatever tweaks Sub-Zero had made to the battlefield. It simply wasn't going to work, no matter how many times he did it. They were now back to ground zero… yet again. Only this time, Cuda planned to take to the offensive.

"Shall we play a game by the numbers?" Within the next instant, thousands of the same cannonballs from before appeared, surrounding Sub-Zero, leaving no angel forgotten. Escape now was impossible, though whether or not his opponent could endure such a vigorating blast was yet to be seen. "These are ten times more powerful than the one I summoned earlier, and as you can see here, clearly, they've now just multiplied in number. You're welcome to try and freeze them if you wish, but I'll tell you now, that won't be enough to stop them."

He snapped his fingers again, causing the hundreds upon hundreds of balls around in the sky to erupt at the same given time. It was the power of an entirely military unit placed together by one single man.

The explosions rocked the area hundreds at a time completely leveling everything a poor man's attempt to get the atoms kinetically flowing faster again, but to Sub-Zero it was a trivial matter. Leaving tattered remains thrown about, dirt, dust and echo's simply remained. The sheer sound of the explosions was enough to wake the dead hell even scare them to life if possible. Also made for a nice flare from the distance and a great campfire.

Amid the dust that quickly cleared a form of mist remained and it began to piece it self back together forming Sub-Zero all over again, appearing as he did before he was blown to bits, the dragon Kronus also attempted to do the same wide scale attack, it served him nothing but broken ideals of victory. The smoke around his body quickly turned to vapor that leaped off him. Being a master of cryokinesis he worked with molecules and atoms, the explosion just blasted the energy apart and separated himself. His Croyokinesis used Cryogenic Energy and energy can not be destroyed.

"Funny you mentioned education and second in the same sentence after listening to you babble and banter I actually find your lack of education to be worst than your second hand time magic. Either you are as dumb as you look or not quite as smart as everyone gave you credit for". Sub-Zero said as the smoke quickly vanished as he released a tad more of his aura overpowering the smoke away leaving nothing but ruins and the two men.

"It doesn't surprise me that you are the child left behind with the current events of the world. More importantly it aint my place to bring you up to warp speed either, I don't really do special education. However so you can redeem yourself your intelligence somewhat there is a huge difference between Absolute Zero and Sub-Zero. Do try to at least remember that much". Sub-Zero said with his usual flippancy and poker grin

"The louder the dogs barker, the weaker the bite". Sub-Zero flicked his wrist carefully and quickly causing a blur or motion due to the speed he moved at, the flick did not release a wide area encompassing freeze spell instead it released a dark purple wave of cryogenic energy which sliced through the air and whistled calling for the neck and upper jugglar area of Cuda's throat. The cold energy blade cleaved cleanly through rocks and debris making precision cuts as it dove to eviscerate the the council member. Give him a different view of life from the ground level.

Cuda's eyes twinkled. He was now beginning to understand it. Before him, the worst mistake any opponent could have made, was to be his opponent in the first place. Any attack that was utilized before him, he not only memorized completely, but analyzed to another entirely separate degree; eyes that saw into the future, he had gone through the various scenarios that existed several times, with the attack Sub-Zero had presented before him; within them, he had dictated the best way to counterattack, while also decoding the magic for what it was —Cryogenic Energy.

He had memorized the concept, and now he was going to erase it completely through what most Memory-Make magicians would have referred to as "forget". Before him, the wave crippled away, vanishing from existence.

"All jokes aside, I must say, I'm quite impressed, really," he chimed. "I was under the impression that you were some basic ice molding mage, but no, this is something on an entirely separate level. Your magic allows you to play through an anatomical field, wow! You yourself are a fluster of those same atoms, it seems. Truly, I am grateful to you for showing me this magic of yours, it will be of great use to me in the future."

"Atoms cannot be destroyed, however…" His body started to produce a red aura composed of flames, oozing out of him as if he had complete dominance over the element. "Tell me now, what would happen if I were to negate that ability of yours? Say, by altering the particles in your body to my liking, perhaps?" He smiled. "I imagine you were going to try the very same thing on my body sooner or later. However, I've already shown you that my magic allows me revert whatever changes you may plan to make here. You on the other hand, aren't nearly as fortunate."

Without moving his head, Cuda focused his energy. Beneath him, a large pit of fire was suddenly born from thin air. "Yes, the combined efforts of both fire and telekinesis; what shall we call it?" More and more fire appeared, turning what was once a barren ice-land into the inside of a volcano. "How about Pryokinesis? Yes, that shall suit your theme rather well, don't you think?"

The flames rose up around Sub-Zero like walls, before coming down towards him at astonishing speeds. It was the antithesis to his magic; this should have finally allowed Cuda to deal some meaningful damage to his opponent.

"See now your just flirting but you are more than welcome to try. You think these molecules you just learned to use is your ally, you merely adopted it. Its where I thrive personally". "However I gotta give credit where it's due, you adapt and adjust well yourself Cuda, your not like Gaelon, see you know how to use your power, but your going to need more than standard flames". Sub-Zero keeping track of the wall of flames around him that seemed to encroach on his position. You don't earn the name Sub-Zero for nothing, having faced fire on scales with Kronus The World Eater, faced and fought Hell Kirin Cleanser Magic and Flame God Slayer Magic (SixPaths) he was quite knowledgeable on flames of different origins. Meet the right conditions and Ice Trumps Flames

Using his body as an epicenter her extended his arms outward. Ice Devil's Fury!! By channeling his magic power into the Blast version of the spell rather than creating a simple wall of cryogenic energy he switched the nature of cryokinesis. Creating a rushing tide wall of snow, super-cooled air and frost that shot from his body like a pocket sized Avalanche, the sheer pressure and weight of the blast was fired as if a multiple Fire extinguishers went off in every direction, which rather than simply matching the flames. It worked to snuff the flames out, extinguishing them by smothering them with the weight of the snow, frost and cooled air that backed it approach. Frost and Snow were much closer to relation in water than ice but when their weight is combined with more of its mass and pushed forward with super cooled air which propelled all that weight forward would ensure it had enough bite to snuff out the flames. The two forced collided like two prize heavy weight fighters and instantly clash into each other. Both sides stating their cases but being in equal force they canceled out. Leaving the Devil Slayer standing in the middle as the only person to tell the storm. The air around him was teeming with the steam that evaporated from the clashing elements. Giving Sub-Zero plenty of time to make note of something and make a move.

Memory-Make Sub-Zero mentioned to himself having finally noted that was the other ability Cuda used. Kaine Bridgefoster and Gaelon's son Gideon Riott came to mind one of which Sub-Zero worked with back in Neo, the other he killed when he came looking for his father. Having knowledge on the said magic was great, but by no means was he assured of anything. Arc of Time on his half could hamper his Ice Devil Make quickly. Memory-make was easier to deal with because thanks to Cryokinesis and his dominion over ice he could create endless offenses by recreating the magic aesthetically and visually, but no combinations. Either way this battle would become one that would linger on, both men used attacks they were comfortable with not expending large amount of energy, nor showcasing anything grand. Lingering would not play to his advantage, that large scale blast could be heard for miles on end, and seen from damn near anywhere and if reinforcements came they would quickly side with Cuda. His new image was still under radar. To many he was tempesta, Sub-Zero, Raido was listed as M.I.A, but the fact that fact that Cuda discovered him despite the new look was the first red flag, but the estimation of the battle was not to his advantage. Well thought out, but execution long term was not,

"I've only had to retreat from a fight twice now, once from an Archdemon from my own family and now yet again to you. I don't know if that big blast was your plan to bring me out into the light, but a drawn out fight isn't to my best interest or the guilds. You and I will finish this conversation later, but I will say this you earned my respect, I damn sure didn't think you would take this long to freeze out and destroy. Just too bad you waste your talents with the council". Sub-Zero said as a purple light sheen began to shine on his body, he crossed his arms over his chest before falling backwards dead man style shattering himself into the ground and using his own unique Cryoportation to quickly escape the battlefield. The cost outweighed the benefits and should he bet caught, game over. The council would kill him no sight, and Tartaros would do far worse since he is the least trusted member of the New Nine.

Resting his back against his chair, Cuda scratched his chin. "Oi, oi, what is this now? You came here to kill me, yet you're the one running away?" Along with his chair, he descended back to the ground floor. "Well then, perhaps you're not as dumb as you look, Raido-san. However, know this; the next time we meet, I won't let you get away so easily." The front door to his mansion flung open by itself, and he flew inside.

Day of Heralding

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