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This article A Mother's Embrace is property of Phantom. This article cannot be edited by anybody except for those who are collaborating with me.

Cast in the Name of God; Ye Not Guilty

This article, A Mother's Embrace, is property of Firegod00

This article, A Mother's Embrace, is the property of Another Poetic Spartan

Grand Entrance

The winds and skies howled at her foul presence.. They rejected her, and yet they welcomed her presence. The self-proclaimed - no - the true god of the night had made her presence known. An impeccable laughter broke through the silence of the still winds, and the flapping of two majestic crimson wings simply laughed at mother nature's incompetency. She flew, and she flew, with nothing but a hue of blue and white. Yet even then, the entire world had briefly subdued itself. Blocking out the presence of the sun, there was nothing but darkness. Where the nocturnal thrived, and where humans had cried, this was indeed the Bloody Red Night.

Elegance. Nothing more could be said about her, for those footsteps had said it all. The tapping of heels had even possessed the mischievous - or perhaps evil - aura that this woman contained within such a beautiful frame. To humans she appeared as a goddess, an all-knowing being of beauty, but they knew what she was, yet they couldn't bare to state it. And so, the beings of the night looked on, their crimson eyes awakening at their progenitor.

Hisashii knew all along that she would appear. It was...strange, but there was no avoiding it. Kounaki was an inherently unique Reikon Kyuuban, and thus their lord would indeed come to investigate.

"My, my Hisashii. You haven't grown at all!" The voice of Katsumi Scarlet pierced through the snow of these mountains as her laugh encompassed it. "Oh wait! We do not age! How silly of me~" Katsumi's behavior was strange for her status, but it was indeed refreshing.

As she spoke, a silver haired woman, a god of death had appeared next to her. Leaving her head bowed, she waited until Katsumi gave her the instruction to stand. "Stand, Hitotoki." Her voice suddenly sharpened, and eyes became more ferocious, leaving even Hisashii paralyzed for a moment. "I wish to meet the rest, take me to them." Was all that Katsumi needed to say, and Hisashii began moving towards the house, leading the way.

Myst was sitting in the house sipping tea when a sudden chill crawled its way up her spine. Either the world is ending or Lord Scarlet is coming. As ammusing as the thought was, it was true. She always associated the feeling that the first Queen's arrival heralded with something of apocalyptic proportions. "Kain...I suggest you make more tea."

"You are absolutely right, My Lady." Kain smirked at the prospect. Who knew the very progenitor of himself and his brethren would be here simply to see a Newborn. "It seems...today really is an interesting day." Kain muttered to himself, as he was off to the kitchen.

"So tell me Hisashii, what news do you bring?" Katsumi asked as they made their way to the entrance. The Queen Mother walked in a somewhat regal matter with a peculiar jump to her step. Hitotoki walked besides Katsumi, her facial expression unreadable. "I'm sure it's q uite interesting; you never fail to disappoint me with news." She finished with a smile, nonchalantly baring her pearl white teeth.

"Then I hope this news doesn't disappoint you as well. Your chosen second turned a child no more than two nights ago. From what I've seen, this Reikon Kyuuban is wildly different compared to any I've ever met before. You might be interested to know, the Newborn already eclipses fifteen percent of my full power as of just a moment ago. It's not something I'd expect, but it is true. I've seen this with my own eyes." Hisashii said, before opening the door to the cabin. "Please, come in from this cold, make yourselves at home.

Kain appeared abruptly in front of the door, bowing towards his Queen Mother before he stood. "Lord Scarlet, your arrival was unexpected! However; your favorite tea is on the stove, and will be completed shortly. As such, excuse me while I attend the stove." Kain's voice was unusually formal, and as he stood, he strode off with strange elegance to the stove. 

In the meantime, Kounaki was shivering slightly, as she stood next to Myst. The presence from this woman was quite intimidating, and she knew it was almost impossible for her to avoid suspicion. "Um...Myst-san, who is this woman...?"

Myst noticed that Katsumi had walked in. "Kounaki, that woman over there is Katsumi Scarlet, the first of our kind, the Queen Mother herself, and the only person who outranks me. But trust me, she's not scary at all." After she answered the question, she bowed to the First Queen. "Your Highness, I take it you're here concerning my Newborn?"

The Queen Mother smiled knowingly at Myst and opened her mouth to say something. But it was not what they expected. "The Newborn? Oh no, you must be mistaken; I came here at my own leisure. Hitotoki told me that there were some exotic sweets here!" She cried out. But then. She suddenly turned to face Kounaki in an abrupt manner, a devilish smile forming on her lips.

"So this is her I presume?" Katsumi asked, whilst she twirled a lock of her hair under the bonnet. "She is definitely gorgeous to say the least. And along with beauty, comes great power as well? Hehehe, how wonderous this must be! Hisashii! If you don't take care, this Newborn will surely surpass you!" She finished with a mocking yet loving tone, giggling with glee as she teased both of them.

"Hehehe, thank you..." Kounaki said as she bowed her head in gratitude. She felt slightly flushed by the sheer personality of this woman. And then she looked at the silver-haired woman that stood next to her, "A...maid?" Kounaki thought, and then left it at that.

"Lord Scarlet! Miss Itoshii! Your tea is ready~" Kain exclaimed as he carried the cups, saucers and the tea on a single tray. Despite this enclosed setting, Hisashii had impressive furniture and kitchenware. "Please, do take a seat." Kain said as he began to pour out the tea for the two guests.

Myst smiled. "One of these days Kounaki, you'll get used to her. It's like, she's crazy one second, then she's suddenly serious. And to be honest, when the Queen gets serious, it takes an iron will to not freak out. Last time, she sent me one what I'm sure she knew was a suicide mission. I'll be frank with you, I'm pretty sure I'm still not fully recovered. But anyway. Enough about that. Why don't we pester Kain for a bit?"

The Queen Mother noticed Kounaki oddly glance at Hitotoki. "Oh, you must be wondering why Hitotoki is dressed as a Maid I presume? Don't answer that, cause I will. She is my Super Maid! A Killer! The Ultimate Assassin! Decimate entire armies at my command! All while she serves me tea and crumpets! Hehe!" She remarked with a smug expression.

"It is. A pleasure to meet you." Hitotoki said to Kounaki, formally bowing in the process.

"U-um...same here..." Kounaki was still a bit uncomfortable, but she was going to get used to the new arrivals, eventually. Though the Queen Mother's attitude was a bit...deterring, she found herself having a natural admiration for the woman.

"Huh? Pester me? Naww, that isn't very nice, is it?" Kain said, in a very childish manner, proving all old vampires were somewhat insane. "In any case, Lord Scarlet, would you like to take a look at Kounaki?"

"Aren't I already looking at Kounaki?" Katsumi replied with a smile, her red eyes seemingly glistening in the light.

Myst walked over to Kain. "I think you used the wrong words." she told him before turing to Katsumi. "I'm sure he meant if you would like to see what Kounaki is capable of. Of course, I suggest that wait until later so she has a chance to recover from training."

"O-oh...I'm sorry about that..." Kounaki said, still a bit nervous from her presence, and then asked. "How about we all just sit down, and enjoy our tea?" Gesturing for everyone to take a seat.

"Oh? She has quite the hospitality~" Kain noticed, as he continued Kounaki's gesture of politeness. "The young girl is absolutely right! How about we all enjoy this occassion?"

Katsumi sighed indifferently and shrugged her shoulders. "If you insist Kain. Hitotoki!" She said, her face turned to the expressionless Shinigami.

Upon hearing her name, Hitotoki stood at attention. "Yes Mistress?" The Maid asked quietly with a bow.

"Prepare my seating arrangements!" Katsumi commanded gleefully.

"As you wish." As if time stopped itself, a fantastic and majestic chair and side table had suddenly appeared underneath and next to Katsumi Scarlet. She had a smile etched onto her face as she had already started to sip her tea. Looking at everyone with an amused look on her face, she said, "Well..what are you waiting for? I've been waiting for the lot you to get started! BWAHAHA!" Hitotoki stood besides Katsumi, her eyes closed. It seemed like she was casually ignoring the eccentric Queen Mother.

Myst grabbed her tea from the table and sat on the couch. She was lost in thought, so many things came up out of nowhere. First, a group of werewolves that she never heard of before suddenly springs forth from the fountain of history, then her latest Newborn turns out to not quite fit the description of what Reikon Kyuuban were supposed to be at that stage. It made absolutely no sense, although it wouldn't be the first time she couldn't find a reason for something. Her insane desire to drain a certain Quincy was a good example.

"Don't worry about this, Kounaki-chan, this is Lord Scarlet's normal habit. How about we sit down?" Kain suggested, as both Kounaki and Kain sat in their respective seats. Kain then chuckled slightly, picking up his cup of tea and asked Hisashii, "What are you doing standing, Hisashii?"

Hisashii turned to face Kain. "Simple. If I sit down, I'm liable to fall asleep, and if I don't remove my mask, it leaves a massive knot in my neck muscles. I'll rest later."

"Why won't remove the mask then Hisashii? I'm sure everyone here is dying to check you out, especially our dear Kounaki." Katsumi commented, taking a sip of her tea. "Or you can come over here and stand next to me and look all mysterious, like you always do. HAHAHA"

Kounaki chuckled alongside Katsumi, albeit silently. She knew it was inappropriate, but couldn't help herself given the situation. And then, Kain brought up an issue. "Oh my, I forgot to tell you Lord Scarlet. I'm sure you must have noticed already, however...Fane is on the move again, it seems."

Hisashii perked up at hearing the name of Fane. "And here I thought the flea-bag was already dead. After all, he's only human. Is his equally annoying brother still there too? Or did we lose a clown over the years?"

"Ohhhhhh? Who is the Fane you speak of? Have I forgotten something I shouldn't had?" Katsumi questioned, reflexively tilting her head in interest. She placed her cup down on the table beside her, and politely waited for an answer, even if she already knew what it was. "Well...go on; I'm waiting.."

Kain sighed, and quite literally at that. Though then again, he knew that she was likely feigning innocence, but thought it best to give an exposition anyway. "Romulus Fane. The first of his kind, known simply as the Werewolves. Leader of the Wolf Rain, otherwise known as Order of the Wolves. They were the one powerful race that existed as we attempted to take over the world. The first thorn in our path, that was quite easily exterminated, mind you. It seems they have been building power for quite some time. So...what shall we do?"

Myst stood. "You want to know? I say we get ready for war. If the Reikon Kyuuban could destroy a group of overgrown dogs before, maybe they're going to target our kind in retaliation. Three of the people in this room once heard me say that a chain is as strong as the weakest link. That means we're in trouble unless we can be ready for anything. If you've got a reason why we shouldn't go kick their butts back to whatever hole they crawled out of, speak up."

"Oooooh. You mean those Dogs that rebelled? Such a shame, they made really good guard dogs when they were in the palm of my hands. I thought the Thirteen Dracula and I exterminated the lot of them, guess I missed a few. Whoops." Katsumi said lightly with a small tone of embarrassment. "Well, since they've been off the radar for thousands of years, I assumed they would've been planning their vengeance ever since. Who knows, they could possibly rival the Atlantean Quincy now."

"The Atlantean Quincy, huh? Hm...it looks to be the case...they might not be as easy to exterminate this time around. We might have to recreate the Thirteen Dracula, Lord Scarlet?" Kain suggested, as he looked towards Kounaki who seemed to be quite nervous at the whole prospect. "Don't worry Kounaki, Hisashii and you will stay here to continue your training."

Kounaki responded rather meekly, "U-um...okay!"

"Thirteen Dracula? Did you get the idea for that from the Gotei 13 or something?" Myst asked, completely confused at what was taking place.

"Of course, they were stupid back then. They probably learned to fear the almighty power of my Blood Moon." Katsumi casually said to Kain., taking a modest sip from her tea cup. "But I do agree, it's time to round up the Thirteen Dracula once again. I do hope they're still alive though. I didn't give them permission to die yet." She then turned her head to face Myst and immediately broke into a wide smile, a portion of her fang jutted from the side.

"You can say that my dear. Th Gotei 13 served as a basis for the Thirteen Dracula. But in all honesty, it was just done to piss off that Old Man in Soul Society. HAHAHAHA." The Queen Mother finished with a haughty laugh.

The Search For Thirteen

Kain sat and sipped some tea. He chuckled briefly, but then had a slightly solemn look upon his face. "Do you not remember, Lord Scarlet. Only a few of us survived that War...and the years after that. I believe it is time...for a new generation of Thirteen Dracula to take the stage." He looked up, waiting for his Lord Mother's reaction.

"I hate to butt in, but earlier you made mention of Atlantean Quincy. I vaugely remember Kain-sensei telling me about them during our first training while he taught me the Natsumi Engi. Were they really that big of a threat?" Myst interrupted, her curousity getting the better of her.

Katsumi clicked her tongue. "Is that so? I thought the majority of the Thirteen Dracula would survive, they were some of the strongest under my command. But I suppose the centuries won't act kindly to everyone. Hopefully, a few of them still remain, and we'll just fill up the empty spots with some new "stock"." Katsumi replied to Kain, a thoughtful expression on her face. "Do you have any clue if the surviving members?" She asked.

While she waited for Kain's answer, Katsumi turned to Myst, her two hands resting on her lap. "I'm surprised that Kain had not told you about them... My dear, the Atlantean Quincy were the Quincy of Old, the Ancestors of Modern-day Quincy, and our Mortal Enemies. Only they rivaled our rule and claim of the Human World. We were constantly at odds with each other, until I won and caused the destruction of their homeland of course. Hehe." She commented with a sense of glee..

"Hm...according to my knowledge, Isshuku and Relena Corvinus are still alive. Any others that are still active aren't to my knowledge...though...I believe Mr. Tepes had been sealed permanently by...Hellsing..." Kain commented, as he then looked at Myst and apologized, "Forgive me for not telling you about the Quincy beforehand. I didn't think you'd take to it nicely, considering your Quincy friend."

Myst was both impressed and horrified that Kain knew about Ryuichi. She was so careful to conceal her connection to a member of the Ishida family, let alone a Quincy in the first place. "You knew about him then? Is it that painfully obvious that I happen to have a friend who is a Quincy? I hadn't expected you to figure me out so quickly Kain-sensei, even with your unerring skills of deduction. I was hoping the secret wasn't out of the bag. Too late now." her words were calm compared to the sudden jolt of fear that flashed through her mind.

"Don't worry Myst, if I didn't like you, I would've exterminated that Quincy Boy and his Family ages ago." Katsumi said offhandedly, waving what they said away.

As Katsumi rearranged her position with the seat, she stared at Kain with an expressionless stare. However, it felt like that there was something disapproving hidden within the look. But all the Queen Mother did was sigh and click her tongue. "Mmmm, I'm glad to hear that Isshuku survived; I can easily find and revive him. He'll be glad to be under my service once again." Katsumi said with a half smile. "I assume you know Relena's location; you did seal her afterall. As for the plight of my poor former Husband, it is quite unfortunate and a shame to hear that. He still has a place in my heart. Fufufufu. But who the devil is Hellsing? Did I miss something again?" She finished with a question, looking at Kain and Hisashii for an answer.

"You were asleep when his rampage began, my Lord. Master Vlad was unable to overcome that man, the immortal Quincy known as Abraham Van Hellsing. The Devil himself rode at his heels, or so it seemed. No Elder had the power to stop him, and much of the Reikon Kyuuban loyal to you fought to defend your chosen mate. Only a handful remained after that. I fear, and I will admit this seems illogical, that Hellsing will strike again, and soon." Hisashii said, his voice shaking as he recalled the tragic night.

"I see. So Vlad's Legendary Guard is all but diminished to a few lowly and scattered remnants. That is ominous news to say the least, I was looking forward to bring them into my employ once again." Katsumi stated, tapping her finger on the chair's arm.

"I do in fact know where Relena's location is, thankfully my memory hasn't deteriorated as much as I thought it had..." Kain muttered, before he continued. "Now that we have established both Fane and Hellsing as imminent threats, what do you believe the next course of action should be, Lord Scarlet? Would we possibly...have a Calling?"

"Hmmmm. Threats you say?" Katsumi pondered thoughtfully. "That would indeed call for a Calling, but that was only possible in the old days Kain. The Reikon Kyuuban are too fractured and self-serving to effectively summon a Calling. I'm afraid that if it were to come pass, we may have a Civil War on our hands again. But this time, we would not recover." The Queen Mother stated, her voice solemn and sincere.

"Our best course of action for this Kain and Hisashii, is for you to find suitable replacements for the Thirteen Dracula and have them swear loyalty to our endeavors. While the Thirteen Dracula were predominately Elders, I would make an exception in this case; too few of the Elders remain nowadays. I myself will go and search for the surviving members and have them join me once again." She dictated thoroughly, waiting for a reaction.

"Then I'll stay behind and train Kounaki myself. Besides, you three are much more skilled and more knowing of what an ideal member of the thirteen would be, right?" Myst asked, sure of the answer that would proceed out of their mouths, but felt that the question had to be asked anyway.

"Um...this works with me...." Kounaki interjected, slightly flushed thinking it might have been the wrong time.

Kain then affirmed with Myst, "Yes, she is right. It'd be best if you stayed behind with Kounaki...though the chances of attack are slim, they're notable. Perhaps I should isolate you...in my dimension. Do you remember, Lord Scarlet?"

"Of course I remember. But last time I remember, it was hardly furnished. I could died of sheer boredom from that! Hahaha. But I do hope you decorated the place much more suitably, especially for ladies such as ourselves."

"Your dimension? Now I'm curious. How exactly are we getting there? I've never heard of anyone dragging another into any personal spaces like that. It's one thing to send someone or something to another place, but to draw them in is different." Myst was puzzled and no matter how hard she tried, no answer came. She supposed that because Kain was an Elder, maybe he had a means to do such a thing.

"Quite simple, actually. Before we go, I shall enter my true form, exude an enormous amount of spiritual power and cause a momentary rip in space-time. From there, I'll push you two in there, and eventually you'll find a strange, red door. Don't worry, time won't move at all here until you find the door, though I can't guarantee you'll find it instantly. It is quite the risk, after all!" Kain chuckled, though he was strangely serious about the method actually..

Myst cocked her head to the side in confusion. Even though she knew Kain wouldn't lie, especially now, when time was of the essence, it was still hard to grasp the notion."I was expecting something long and drawn out. When can we get started? I'm itching to see this done, cause quite personally, I still can't fathom it being done."

"If you wish so, I can start now, though we'll have to go somewhere a bit less...fragile." Kain suggested, and Kounaki shuddered at the mentioning of it. He gestured to Hisashii and Katsumi, and asked, "Would this be appropriate?"

Hisashii shook his head. "If you release that power in my house, I'll gut you. And even if I can't kill you, I'm make you pay somehow. Even with my power this shack was hard to build the first time around. I don't care where you do it, just..get far away from here." For the first time in ages, Hisashii snapped at his teacher, albeit for a good reason. He knew what the Elder was capable of, the devestation it can cause when his full form is unveiled. 

"My my Hisashii, no need to get angry. I was only asking if I could go away from here. You took this the other way around~" Kain chuckled, knowing full well that if he released his power here of all places, it would crumble to nothing but debris.

"The both of you, stop your bickering. It isn't helping the situation we have before us. While I'm all up for watching Hisashii fight Kain in a duel to the death, now is not the time." Katsumi stated, her facial expression disinterested yet it was etched with a sly smile.

Hisashii nodded. "Sorry, my Lord. I let my temper get the better of me. Kain-sama, it would be wise for you to take the Second Queen and her Newborn to your world soon. Time is wasting. With the dogs still on the loose, along with that hunter running about, things are more grave than they seem."

While Hisashii talked, Kain stood up and began to walk out of the house. "Myst, Kounaki, follow me. We have quite a ways to go." Kain used a single, powerful leap that left a cloud of dust from his initial position, causing Myst and Kounaki to cough slightly, before following suit.

Kain's expression was grim, for he knew the risks of this plan. However; he had no other option but to trust Myst and Kounaki with their lives, hopefully leaving them in the safe hands of his dimension...despite the risks within it. "We are here." Kain stood upon a strange cave-like formation within the mountain, that appeared to be of his own design.

"Come with me." Kain gestured, as Myst and Kounaki followed. They appeared in a virtually boundless area, and Kain then looked towards Myst and Kounaki. "Brace yourselves...this will be a dangerous sight." Kain then clutched his shikomizue, and then told Myst and Kounaki, "Any last words?"

Myst thought of the demonic man she called her brother. She had looked to him for answers ever since she became a Reikon Kyuuban, and he only ever told her to decide for herself the path she would walk, to stop chasing his damned shadow to the abyss. Now, he was gone, and she had to decide what was best. Then she thought of the scar on her right wrist, the one injury that never healed right. For that, Ryuichi was to blame. He reminded her that she was immortal, not unkillable. At any rate, she knew what had to be done.

"You think telling me it's dangerous will deter me from going in there and getting to the door? Do you forget who I am? I learned your seven spells in a matter of hours, I fought a hybrid Reikon Kyuuban Quincy to the brink of death, fighting beside my best friend and still overcame the most powerful opponent I've had to date. Not only that, I stood my ground against someone on par with Lord Katsumi. There is nothing you have that can scare me."

"You would think so, wouldn't you?" Kain commented smugly, and then chanted the words:

Throughout the heaven and earths, there is a boundless infinity, and point of zero. Within the untraceable lines, let there be nothing but chaos!

Drawing his blade and slicing horizontally and vertically once, Kain ripped the dimensions...and exuded spiritual energy beyond anything that Myst has witnessed. The skies crackled as thunder and lightning launched into the cave. An aura of crimson surrounded Kain, and condensed into a cocoon of blood.

It shattered. It revealed a young figure. A figure of lean build and adorned in refined clothes, green eyes were opened as lenses framed them. He then uttered a few words, soft words, "What you see here...is Kain Daisuke, the Trickster." He said, before clutching the dimensional rip he created, and shearing through it with a single hand. As he held it, he told Myst and Kounaki, "There shall be an opposition there...one whose strength can only be tested against time!"

"I'm still better." Katsumi interjected with a smile.

"So that's your true form? Your title fits you well, Sensei." Myst said walking forward. "Kounaki, this is it. If you want to turn back, I won't stop you."

"...No. I will not be a burden. I will help you and assist you in any way I can, Myst-san..." Kounaki boldly stated, as she began to get ready to walk into the portal. "Thank you, my Queen. Now please enter...I can only hold this for a brief period of time." Kain told them, as he struggled to keep the portal open.

Myst walked into the portal, expecting something simple, but instead, she could only guess it was most compared to a overdose of LSD, bright colors, lots of them at that, each forming abstract shapes. Finding a door in this place is like finding a brick in a cinderblock factory. She didn't move too far from the entrance and waited for Kounaki. Nobody except Kain probably could understand the physics of this place. For all she knew, one step could equal miles, or maybe distance was only what the mind made it to be. 

The Trickster's World

Kounaki stepped in through the portal, and seeing the bright colors...she nearly collapsed! Though she regained her senses, she was still shocked at the...eccentricity of the dimension. Where would they find a room in all of this chaos? "U-um...Myst-san, do you have any idea where to go?" Kounaki asked Myst, keeping close to her.

Kain closed the door to the dimension, panting slightly at the effort needed to open it. As he closed it however, he sheathed his sword, and walked back to Hisashii's house as a trail of blue spiritual power followed him. As he stepped into the house with his fellow Elder and former apprentice, and current Queen Mother, he asked them, "Shall we head out?"

Myst shook her head. "This place is twisted, designed to throw off intruders. HOW you could intrude is beyond me, but anything's possible. It's like he doesn't want anyone to find that door. My best guess is that we walk forwards and keep an eye out for anything different than the rest. Like a puzzle." she said, wondering what different honestly could mean in a place like this. 

Kounaki looked around, as both Myst and her walked. She noticed that some of the patterns within the walls of this dimension had some words engraved into them. One reading "Blood", the other reading "Joy", it was as if they had no relevance to each other. She then pointed these words out to Myst, "Myst-san. Can you see the writings on the wall? They spell out, "Blood, Joy, Incarceration, Extinction. What do you think they mean?"

"Knowing Kain, there's something we're missing. I think it's the fact Joy represents something happy while the other three are negative. Maybe it means we're going the wrong way. I'm guessing the door is close to somewhere where all four words are happy. Plus, look at the alignment, Blood is to the direction we're headed, Joy is to the right, incarceration is back the way we came, Extinction is to the left. I say we head right, and pray I'm right."

Kounaki followed meekly, surprised at the sheer deductive ability of her senior. As they walked, the entrance behind them closed up, and arrows begin to brighten. Kounaki and Myst followed the arrows, knowing soon after that there were hundreds of monsters that attempted to devour them. Soon...they found, a door? Immediately Kounaki jumped in, with Myst diving soon afterwards. As they rolled on the floor, a being before them grinned devilishly.

File:HenBlack1.jpg

"Why hello...Queen of the Reikon Kyuuban, Myst." His voice echoed within the entire structure, which appeared to be nothing but a blank space of sheer red, and nothing more. The man was fit, but strange. He had several stitch-like markings on the parts of his body that could be seen, and had strange gray hair, along with a large bolt through his head. "I am here to greet you into the dimension of The Trickster, otherwise known as Wonderland..."

"Why does that name not surprise me? Although, I think it's more important if I ask who you are and how you know my name? I'm guessing you're a part of Kain's subconsious, in charge of this Wonderland." Myst wondered exactly who the man was, and the bolt in his head was rather disturbing. She couldn't come up with anything it could be for, at least nothing that made any sense at all.

"Oh my, such a young and naivete girl. You know nothing, do you? Then again, that fellow is easily one of the most secretive individuals in the entire planet." The man chuckled as he said so. "Part of his subconscious? A good guess, but just a bit off. I was dragged here. Yes, you heard me correctly. Kain Daisuke forced me into his subconsciousness after my...transformation. Wanna know why his appearance has white hair? It's because of my presence! Though, I won't rattle on about this."

The man moved his hand downwards, causing a scythe to erupt from the ground and rise into his hand. It was entirely black, and about the man's height. "Oh, and as to who I am? You may call me...Cheshire Cat."

"Alright Cheshire. I think I know why we're here. You're the training Kain told us about." Myst said, trying to manifest her Zanpakuto, which for some reason didn't heed her call. Until just then, she could summon the sword at will. Perhaps it was due to the nature of the world they were in. "Kounaki, move away from me. If we're seperate, he won't be able to get us both in one swing."

Kounaki immediately moved backward, and this time she suddenly felt a pang towards her consciousness. Something arrived from her body, and suddenly a figure walked out of her. "Hehehe. Hello, my lady."

Myst sensed another person appear in the room, but the signature was almost a perfect match to Kounaki's, only slightly different. It didn't make any sense at all. She turned around to face whatever just appeared, yet remained ready to react should Cheshire make a move. "What..what are you?"

"What am I, you ask?" Cheshire asked another question her question. He then responded, "I am...one of you." As soon as Kounaki heard those words, she was utterly shocked, but soon turned to the being who arrived from her body. "You...you're...part of me, aren't you?"

The being simply chuckled, and touched Kounaki's chin, "Yes, I am." Kounaki was visibly disturbed, and immediately drifted backward. "Why...have you shown up now?!" She demanded an answer, and though calm, the other being gave her one. "I am a part of you that you have rejected. Without any remorse, you have left me to rot within your meek soul. However; in this world...I am beyond you."

"Ah...so that's the case with that girl..." Cheshire noted, smirking as aimed his scythe towards Myst. "Shall we begin?" He charged towards her, hoping to immediately land a fatal blow. All the while, Kounaki's opponent materialized a blade, the exact blade she materialized in her fight against Hisashii, to be precise. "Before we begin, let me tell you. We call ourselves, 'Akujin'." As soon as he said that name, an overhead sword strike was made, aiming to cleave through Kounaki!

Doubt in a Queen's Reign

Myst wished Gesshoku would respond to her calls, but nothing came of it. He still refused her, for whatever reason. She ran close to Cheshire, trying to get too close for him to properly swing his scythe. She knew the sheer size of the weapon would make it a difficult tool to use up close and decided to capitalize on that single fact. On the other hand, it made a perfect opening to test out her latest technique, the Tekketsujū Unsan, a shotgun-like variant of the original move. Blood red energy gathered around her fist almost instantly. In a single punching motion, she sent the energy straight ahead in a wide, yet short range, wave.

Cheshire instantaneously knew how to avoid a simple technique like that. Stabbing his scythe to the ground, he used the momentum to propel himself upward and avoided being injured. As soon as he landed on the ground on the other side of Myst, he lifted his scythe and placed it at Myst's neck. "I'm assuming you wish to know why your zanpakuto isn't manifesting? If you want to know...listen carefully." Cheshire whispered maniacally, as the odor from his smoking could easily be smelt by Myst.

"I'm guessing your doing something to keep him suppressed, right? Any other time, he responds to me. So what could you know that I don't? He's my Zanpakuto after all." Myst said. The smoke smell was highly annoying. It smelled like death, and not a quick death, but one that always came slowly.

"Suppressed? Oh dear, what a bad guess." Cheshire said, as he placed his hand on Myst's back, causing a strange pulsation within Myst's body. From this, arrived a spirit, a spirit that only Myst recognized completely...the spirit of Gesshoku. "You may ask him yourself, Myst."

Gesshoku walked forwards, banging a staff on the ground as he did. Light brown hair trailed from a grey helmet with a cross pattern on it. His skin was white as snow with strange black rivets on his left side. His left shoulder had a strange sun-shapped disk, like a guard of sorts, and he possessed six white wings.

"You wish to know why I stopped answering you? Simple, you stopped listening to me! Why should we live in a one-sided relationship, you and I? The vampire you've become isn't the same person I gave my power. You're so different, I can barely see you." His voice was loud and booming, befitting his angelic appearence. "I refuse to work with someone who abandons me for the darkness you now embrace."

Cheshire found the whole situation quite amusing. And he commented on the situation with a rather sour remark, "Oh, but Gesshoku, are you not proud of your master for gaining such power? After all, she rules above so many beings who are much like herself!"

"I never wanted to see her fall like this. I thought I alone was her power, not out of a sense of self-worth, but knowing her better than anyone, I thought I was her partner, not a tool!" The angelic spirit shouted back.

Myst walked towards Gesshoku. "And you honestly thing me becoming this was planned?! Every one of my friends in the Soul Society turned their backs on me. What else could I do? Shinigami are dirty, foul lies that need to be either changed or destroyed. All of their uselss rules! And yet you accuse me of abandoning you? You're a part of my own soul, I can't just cast you aside without destroying who I am. You, Gesshoku, should know that as well as I do. I regret that I made you feel this way, but until you stop thinking as nothing but my tool, that's all you can ever be."

Gesshoku hung his head, shaking with anger. "You didn't WANT THIS?! You draw upon your cursed powers without regret, you can't pretend you don't enjoy being a monster. You kill to live. Yes, you can restrain that desire, but when you can't, so many innocent people die at your hands. You know this. You pervert everything that being a Shinigami was supposed to mean. And don't tell me you aren't one anymore. You are still you. Not just a devil of blood, but a Death God, no matter what you think. That is the only reason I let you carry my sword."

"Why did you wait to tell me how you felt? When we used to talk, you never showed me anything about who you were, you left it all to guessing. So give up trying to get me to abandon who I am. I'm not about to toss aside my so-called 'cursed powers', not after the good they brought me. In fact, you're jealous that I could beat you without your sword. Admit it. You forget that we're supposed to work together, no matter what we become. So what if I'm a monster. You're an angel who can hurl fireballs and trap people in a sealed box that slowly kills them. We are what we are, there's no changing that. So, like I said, stop acting all high and mighty."

"If there's no way I can make you accept me as your only power, I'll just kill you and hope that when you reincarnate, you'll still be my host. You have no idea, to serve someone so different from yourself, it's maddning. I won't let you fall any farther into the darkness Myst, I won't be myself anymore if you do."

"Gesshoku...I can't go back. I've fallen too far. If you refuse to accept this, I'll fight you." Myst entirely understood the jealousy her Zanpakuto felt, but like she said, there was nothing that would stop her from seeking the power to change her own fate. 

Not taking any chances, Myst made the first move, lashing out with a sudden fury, throwing a pucnch straight into Gesshoku's chest, forcing the spirit to double over in pain. He never expected her to honestly intend to injure him. 

"Fine then, if th..that's how it has to be, I won't hold back. Light the Sky." Gesshoku's spiritual energy shot up as a small guage appeared, wrapped around his hand by a chain. Unlike Myst's version, it wasn't connected to the weapon. Rather, it was attached to the spirit's chest.

Gesshoku had to make some distance between himself and his mistress. Almost all of his powers were meant to be used at a range to prevent recoil. He couldn't afford to be injured just in order to make sure of a solid hit. Once he backed far enough away, he swung the staff, producing a fireball that homed in on Myst's current location, the Hoshi, simple and effective.

Myst rolled out of the way, expecting Gesshoku's action the moment his Shikai activated. The smoke produced from the fireball's impact was a perfect cover, providing a shadow for Myst to phase through using Kūmikadzuki. With no warning, she connected to her Zanpakuto's shadow and burst back out into physical form, rising into the air with ease. 

The angelic figure didn't seem to be phased at all by what was occuring, in fact, he simply jabbed the staff downwards, knowing that Myst would never be able to escape his attack. 

The wooden staff functioned as a spear as Gesshoku's attack slammed into Myst's skull, sending her spiralling back to the ground with enough speed to crack the ground upon landing. The Vampire Queen looked back up at the one who just injured her, her vision blurry. Slowly, she pushed herself back up and already tried to predict what Gesshhoku's next move would be. If her guess was correct, he'd skip using Uchuu  and focus more on activating Bouyou to increase his physical attack range. Some part of her prepared for that eventuality, already forming an effective counter strategy. 

"Give up now, bloodsucking devil. I'm simply not ready to kill you. Rather, I'll let you see the error of your ways. Do you accept?" In truth, Gesshoku was hoping she'd deny him again and again. It didn't matter if she ever repented, his distrust of her intentions was more than enough to rekindle his anger at her current state. 

"Shove it. I already told you, I didn't want to become this, but since I am, I'll make the best of it. So what if I broke my oath to the Gotei 13? I changed, they rejected me for it. Where is the error at? I can't even open a Senkaimon because of the purist, facist nature of all Shinigami. Impure beings like me, we're shunned by them because we don't fit the standard. I can seriously count on one hand the number of Shinigami who haven't turned against me. Meanwhile, you preach about how I'm supposed to go back to that Hell." Myst couldn't believe what Gesshoku expected. She wasn't about to stop living her own life to feed the ego of a Zanpakto that would turn against her for it. 

"I figured as much. You're still angry at them, the people who altered your memories to suit their own plans. I still remember everything, secrets of how you could be so unnaturally powerful​. You can't remember because they were stricken from your mind, but I remember because I am a part of your soul. They left your soul alone to prevent you from losing all of your 'gifts'. But when I saw the monster you were, I didn't ever want you to have to kill again."

"You talk too much, but you say so little. I would like to hear what you know, including why you assume my grudge is related to a few people rather that the brainwashed masses? The worst part of it all, I once trusted in the same lies they still pass around as truth." 

Sick of talking, Myst fired a barrage of Tekketsujū, an entire wave of the crimson blasts filled the distance between the duo, spiraling around before completely overwhelming Gesshoku in a blinding flash of light. The shockwave from the explosion had enough force to hurl Myst back despite being decently far from the blast. "There. I win."

"Not so fast. I said this was a duel to the death, didn't I? Just because you injured me doesn't mean a thing." Gesshoku said, flapping away the smoke that obscured him. Burns of various intensity marred his skin, along with a visable crack in his visor-like mask. "You've yet to begin to see my true power. Allow me to show you the power that easily overpowers Shikai. Bankai..." His voice trailed off as a bright white pillar erupted from the ground beneath him. His form was entirely different, a giant white knight-like golem which had overly large hands shaped into claws and huge knee plates. Two pillars extended from his back. 

With a simple swipe of his claw, he caused a gust of wind, fast enough to turn even the smallest bit of broken tile into small razor blades.

Myst was able to avoid the larger tile fragments without any problems. The smallest ones were moving too fast for even her above average sight to notice. Some of them managed to zip past her, leaving a small number of little cuts on her body. Small droplets of blood leaked from the deeper ones. 

"So, that's our Bankai. I always expected something a little, I dunno, smaller." Without skipping a beat, she activated her 'Kyūketsuki Sutēji', Transcending Pawn, Coronation of a New Queen. An explosion of rose colored energy swirled around her, slowly turning crimson. Once the energy faded away, one could see that her hair had turned white and her eyes became red.

"So, you finally reveal your true form, Mistress. That means I can crush you without regret." Gesshoku's egotistical words echoed about in the mostly empty room. 

"Koushigyorai." Energy sparked between the pillars on his back before arcing to Myst like a bolt of lightning; Just a bolt of pure energy.

The generated blast was comparable to a certain man's freezing cold Cero blast, except in a brutally hot flash of light. Myst fired off her Tekketsujū in retaliation. As she had expected, the now corrosive nature of her energy allowed the blood-based beam to completely swallow the incoming attack with ease.

Gesshoku toppled over when the attack hit, crashing into the ground, sending a small plume of debris into the air. He could feel his body falling apart from something he didn't recognize, that he'd never felt. Something like a disease, attacking the very bonds of his spiritual body. Strangely, he felt no pain, just a disturbing sensation, slow disintegration. Not wanting to be beaten so easily, he forced himself to stand again.

Growth of a Newborn

Kounaki was nearly hit by Akujin's assault, and only barely escaped by a hair's breadth as she used a swift backflip to regain some distance. "He's fast." Kounaki thought, as suddenly, the man stopped in his tracks. It was as if he was just fed up of fighting, and simply kept the blade on his shoulder. "Hey, Naki-chan, why did you stop talking to us?"

"Naki-chan?" Kounaki thought at the man's words, and wondered what he...no, they meant. Where did she hear those words before? When? Why? How did she feel so compassionate towards this man? "You...who are you, anyway?" Kounaki responded to the man's question, having truly no idea of the man's existence.

"Who...am I?" He responded, as visible anger appeared in his spiritual aura. "You've forgotten the promises, haven't you? You forgot everything from that one moment in your life. Beneath the bat and the demon, I'm something else. Remember, Naki-chan!" He charged towards her, and Kounaki attempted to brace herself as she clasped both her palms together to intercept the sword strike.

"Tch..." She groaned as she intercepted the attack. "They preach out to me as if I am forgetting something...but what could be so important that I have forgotten it?" Kounaki repelled Akujin with a kick to the abdomen, causing him to be blown aback.

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