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Northern Caves

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Northern Caves

Post by Seraph on Sun Jun 22, 2014 10:43 pm

Eventually Tara and Tsukiko arrived at the caves on the trail of the student council members, following Justine's directions. They found two men dead outside. They wore all black, and on each exposed right wrist was a red rose tattoo. The roses themselves had two petals each.

"And the petals fall..." Tara muttered darkly.

Tsukiko frowned in confusion at her words. “That mean something?”

Suddenly they heard footsteps. Tara turned to Tsukiko. "Be on your guard." He nodded and readied his wristblades.

A figure came walking out of the cave. "It seems we have some uninvited guests… I thought I would only need two..seems I was wrong."

Tara's face went white. She felt like the wind had just been knocked out of her. "Tsukiko,” she muttered, almost breathless. “Find those three and get out of here."

The woman chuckled. "I don't think he will be doing that." She threw a dagger almost faster than Tsukiko could even take a breath. However, Tara blocked it seamlessly.

Tsukiko's eyes widened. T-That speed just now....

The women looked at Tara, shocked. "How?"

Tara’s eyes darkened. "Your opponent is me." Even though her hands were still raw and sore from punching a wall out of frustration the day before, she drew both daggers and charged.

"I see...I guess this makes things more interesting..." the woman mused. She seemed to sink into the shadows of the cave.

"Tsukiko, GO!" Tara yelled behind her. Taking the hint, Tsukiko's eyes narrowed as he charged into the cave.

"The petals of death bloom across this battlefield...the Black Death awaits all!" A huge wave of shadow hit at Tara.

Tara flew back, crashing against the wall. "Nngh," she grimaced. "As potent as ever, it seems." She didn't have time to react before another wave of shadows threw her into the opposite wall. This happened twice more, each time with her dodging more and more of the main blast.

Every second she checked back into the cave where Tsukiko had run off. She could still hear his footsteps echoing further in. She kept dodging shadow waves and blasts as she monitored how far in he went.

“Pay attention,” the woman called out, catching Tara full blast with yet another wave of shadows. Tara managed to flip backwards in midair and recover to land on her feet.

She pulled a flashbang from her bag and threw it into the air. She squeezed her eyes shut. The cave lit up with a blinding light. When it died down, the woman was standing by a wall, blindly shaking her head. Tara charged in with her daggers, striking bluntly with the hilts to knock the wind out of her. It knocked her into the wall.

Tara jumped backwards. Tsukiko was finally out of earshot. She closed her eyes and crossed her blades in front of her. “Psych Lock release.”

“I won’t let you!” The woman called, regaining her senses. Shadows circled around her hands. “Sun that sheds no light-”

“Limit level three-”

“Moon that sees no shadow.”

“Limit level two-”

“Overlap, fuse, and become my power!”

“Limit level one-”

“Eclipse!”

“Limit lev-”

A sphere of shadow enveloped Tara. She mouthed a soundless cry as the spikes inside converged on her. The woman smirked. She drew a wakizashi from her back and charged the sphere, piercing through the middle. Tara cried out for real, though the sound was absorbed by the shadows. One of her daggers fell from her hand. After a second the sphere dissipated. The woman had stabbed through it into Tara, using the shadows to increase the power of the attack.

Opening her eyes, Tara choked out, “Level...zero.”

“Level zero…?!” The woman realized her mistake a second too late, her purple eyes meeting Tara’s now crimson red ones.

The dagger on the ground suddenly shot up. It lodged itself in her left leg. Tara slashed the dagger still in her hand across the woman’s side. Then the woman was shot backwards by an invisible blast, leaving the sword behind. She crashed into the opposite wall.

Tara pulled the wakizashi out of herself. “Good thing ya liked keeping your blade clean of ‘impurities’, otherwise I’d be dead right now,” she humorlessly joked. She pressed her other hand, still holding the dagger, to the wound, trying to keep the blood from spurting out. A crimson aura glowed around her hands.

“How are you alive?” the woman questioned, taking a step back out of shock.

“I’m not an S-Rank for nothing, ya know,” Tara replied. “Or have ya already forgotten my list of invaluable skills?”

“No, you’re- you, you can’t be her. She’s dead,” the woman denied vehemently. Despite not wanting to believe it, a look of recognition spread across her face. She reached down and pulled the dagger out of her leg, keeping her eyes on Tara.

“What, do ya not want my blood on your hands? Funny, ya were never this soft on me before, Miki,” Tara joked again through a wince. Her voice dripped with sarcasm and venom.

The woman’s eyes widened at the mention of her name. “Tara?” she asked tentatively. “How is this possible?”

“”What information did you want out of them?” Tara asked, ignoring the question.

“You should know I can’t share that information.”

“Then this is where I stop ya.”

“I hit you with my signature technique. You’re lucky you’re still standing. Why didn’t you even try to move?”

“I knew I had to release the Psych Lock if I wanted a chance to beat you.”

“You’re still using that old technique? It’s not healthy.”

“Does it look like I give enough fucks to care?”

“You certainly care enough to not interrupt me while I’m speaking. The old you wouldn’t have let me get two sentences out.”

“And the old you would’ve used a second Eclipse by now to put an end to little ol’ me.”

Miki hesitated. “I...should go report this.”

Tara’s face paled again. “Don’t do it Miki,” she warned. She took a step forward, but her knees buckled under her. “It’s suicide.”

“Good bye, Tara.”

“Ya know you’ll get killed for that. Don’t! Miki come back! Please!!” Her pleas fell on deaf ears as Miki disappeared into the shadows.

Tara cursed under her breath. This was the last thing she had been expecting to deal with. She was in far too deep with other matters for this to demand her attention. But since they popped up, they'd be at the forefront of what she was dealing with, whether she wanted to or not. She hadn’t figured out nearly as much as she would have liked from her little battle talk, but she had discovered enough. Someone needed to know.

“Chijinda.”

Tara forced herself to her feet, sheathing her dagger but leaving the shortsword on the ground. Tsukiko would have enough problems getting the three hostages back to town. A fourth person would only add to his troubles. Besides, if she went to the hospital, Princess would find out, and would do everything possible to nab her before she left. She couldn’t afford any more setbacks right now.

Gritting her teeth, she ran back towards Terminal City. Her body was screaming at her to stop. It took every ounce of her strength to not collapse on the way back. It wouldn’t be the first time she would be showing up on his doorstep a bit worse for wear, but it might count as the most deadly.
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Seraph
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