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[Dead] The Blade of Cthulhu

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Stared at the white horses. Clearly, something is wrong with this development but the Dead Mistress could not figure it out. It seems that even her cognitive functions were being affected by the weirdness of this place Or she's prolly low on nicotine. Producing a stick of cigar from her coat's pocket, she place a lighted stick between her lips then inhaled deeply. Her eyes briefly closed as she relished the flavor, the smoke filling every fiber of her being. A moment later, her focus was back on track. Sort of.

"Queer place," she mumbled at the sight of the wildy varying colors of the flora before her. These trees did not seem possible or did she smoke way too much last night. Whatever it was, she mostly ignored it and trailed aftet the others hoping thing would get clearer the farther they were into the island.

“Next riddle.” said Void Cain, plucking a low hanging fruit and biting his sharp teeth into it. “I have cities, but no houses. I have mountains, but no trees. Water, but no fish. What am I?”

Her lips frowned at the riddle. A rather odd question but not impossible to answer. Her dainty fingers gripped on the hilt of the weapon kept inside her coat as she drew power from it. Her mind raced with all the possibilities, the calculation speed greatly amplified by the sealed artifact Baeoi. A few seconds later her eyes opened and she mouthed a single word.


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“Why is he killing the horses? Seems more off than normal for Shikai.”

“BECAUSE WE NEED THE HORSES!” For just a moment as Void Phoebe looked back, regular Phoebe would swear she saw the purple eyes of a viper and a snake tongue lashing within her heretical lips. She definitely broke character from her faux image of the real Phoebe’s personality. Something more carnal was obviously at play. “WE NEED TO FIND ALL OF THEM AND EAT!”

The sounds of horses dying in the background intensified as they walked through the forest.

"I'll shut that thing up, then ram that copycat blade up that monster's ass."

Cain didn’t stop Shikai from following his Void counterpart, except to say a meaningful “Be careful, we don’t know what’s ahead.” As Shikai ran ahead, he would notice that blood painted the trees the way Void Shikai went. Shikai broke out on a clearing after running for a few hundred yards where there are hundreds of horses. Void Shikai danced around the field of horses ripping them apart and showering in their blood.

The others were still far behind.


“Very good!” said Void Cain through the juices of the fruit he gobbled up, core and all. Now the sounds of horses dying was a screeching neigh in their ears, and it looked like music to Void Cain. He posed his next riddle just as they broke out on the scene of the two Shikais and the horses.

“Next. I am not only alien, and not only bee, but Taen is a home to me!”

To the North, it appeared that horses were fleeing from the Northern hills and gathering in this field.

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Phoebe stumbled, a half-step unstepped as her void counterpart's face vanished as the mirage it was, discarded in a flourish and cast aside to momentarily reveal the wicked serpent beneath.  It was unsettling, to say the least, and after a blink to clear the after image, she moved to retake Cain's side, a frown drawing down her painted warrior's face.

"That is not a good look.." she advised Void Phoebe cooly, in measured words that were designed to wound and intrude, like the embedded thorns from a barberry bush.  With the Void Thing rattled, she picked at it like a scientist, experimenting with icy precision and a detachment sunk into her expression as she was able to view the Thing as less Her and more It.  What could she learn if It started reacting-- she wondered, and having sensed a weak point, honed in on it like a laser. 

I mean, if It were Phoebe, did the same things annoy It as annoyed Her?

Time to find out.

"Very transparent, not useful at all.  Honestly, it's inferior," she commented, continuing without pause, "What if I kill a horse?" came the next question to her would-be clone, "Would that help you out?"

Or not?

"Or all of them.  I could just.."  She lifted her hands, snapping her fingers as she watched the Thing through a narrow, examining gaze.  The suggestion was that she could simply end them all - turn their lights off, plunge them into the void, as easily as one played the simplest of percussions.  

Could she?  

Maybe, but she could definitely bluff.

"He's not even eating them.." she pointed this out like she had found some great flaw in their logic.  Gods, the incessant interogative had to be irritating - - just the class pet, in the front row, interrupting every two seconds with a question or a statement that was only slightly applicable to the situation.  Of course, the difference was the intent- Phoebe intended to frustrate, rile the Thing up and knock its senses into emotional overdrive in the hopes it would lose its edge and tell her something useful.

"What, are you going to slurp the intestines up like spaghetti?  Why not eat fruit like Void Cain? 

What's north of the field, anyway - it seems to me that the horses want to be eaten.. since they're running straight to their own deaths.

Do you only eat the dumb ones?" she wondered provocatively, her dark brows faintly arched as she looked back to Void Phoebe and casually slipped her hands into her pockets.  Keeping step alongside Cain, she carried a diffuse air of amusement alongside, and the conversation hoisted far above like a kite that never lost the wind. 

"Do you think that transfers?"

Did she just call them dumb?

Edited by Noko

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The screams of terrified equines grew louder and louder as Shikai made his way through the forest in pursuit of his twisted doppelganger. Pursuing the freakish being was as simple as following the blood that soaked the earth and stained the trees. Every passing second the shinobi grew more agitated; each horrible screech causing him to grit his teeth. Soon his pace quickened from a cautious walk to a full-on mad dash through the foliage. He needed to make the screaming stop; needed to destroy that hideous thing that bore his likeness. Every second it lived was a reminder of things he hated about himself; and it needed to die.

Emerging into a clearing, Shikai found his clone rip apart more horses in a brutal ballet as it moved with surprising grace for something so large. The sight of the creature turned his stomach, and boiled his blood; and soon he was clutching his sword so tight that his knuckles would pop. He smiled; an expression more resembling a predator bearing its teeth than an expression of happiness.

"I've dreamed of meeting you," he growled, "Of coming face to face with the worst part of me... and cutting it out!"

Dimly aware that the others had arrived, he charged his clone; aiming to skewer it through the gut with his Legendary blade.

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The Dead Mistress sighed as she witnessed Shikai charging prematurely. Surely the man could wait for a bit longer before taking any drastic actions? Well there's not much point in peaceful negotiations now that her companion had made his choice. She could only roll her eyes in exasperation.

"My, my! Rushing off as usual," she spoke while placing another lighted cigar on her lips. She already lost count of how many she had smoked at this point but she never cared for the consequences of her vices. The place was starting to get to her, not because it felt queer or unnerving but because she was no longer in control of the situation or even her own person. Something else was in control of this realm and that did not sit well with her. However, she should stay put for now-

On 2/6/2021 at 5:01 AM, amenities said:

“Next. I am not only alien, and not only bee, but Taen is a home to me!”

The man's words made her pause. Only for a second.

"Actually, fuck that!" she spat as she realized she did not know what the answer is. Instead, she sashayed towards her clone, menacingly. "I'd rather play with you instead."

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Overlooking the field where Shikai confronted his ill-formed twin, it was clear that the horses were in utter terror. More than anyone here, even the Dead themselves, their maned friends seemed to be the greatest victims; but wouldn’t the horses be fake too?

Were Void Cain and Void Phoebe any actual representation of the real thing, Cain would have expressed surprise at Phoebe’s losing her cool but he didn’t, he just kept eating the luscious and increasingly-obviously immaterial fruit and riddling away— and that was just it. These things weren’t their real counterparts. Void Phoebe didn’t act like Phoebe, Void Cain acted only slightly like Cain (except more riddly) because of greater interaction over months past, and Void Shikai and Void Mistress were practically bears and flamingos compared to what they were supposed to mirror.

“They— it— may have spent more time with me than you guys,” said Cain to Phoebe and the others as the former, the First, came to the Architect’s side. Strangely, he felt compelled to, and raised his hand gently to run in a plane one half-inch from her cheek. In that space, there was a special type of electricity. He examined the ring finger with a perfectly preserved hole in the middle, and let the hand fall to his side.

“But they’re nothing like us.”

"I've dreamed of meeting you,"

Meanwhile, Shikai faced off with the beast in a clearing at the center of the massive herd of horses that grew and grew every instant, funneling in from— running away from—the North. It seemed as if whatever fate they held here with Void Cain was better than whatever lie North.

"Of coming face to face with the worst part of me... and cutting it out!"

Void Shikai’s lips began to grin. The stitches holding its lips shut strained, tearing through the flesh and falling away to expose fanged teeth clenched around the violet gem.

“We need to get those crystals off our mirrors,” said Cain to the others, pointing as Void Shikai did so and Shikai charged and raising the black rose in his other hand. Within the black rose, there sat a small crystal exactly like the one Void Shikai carried. Void Cain looked at this crystal with envy, with anger.

It would perhaps strike Shikai as amazing that, with his first swing of Mykur, the Void Shikai was able to use his knock-off blade to knock the Legendary blade aside to slice into the earth beside it. Now Void Shikai’s voice could be heard as it grunted with demonic strength, aiming its massive elbow for Shikai’s chest in a counter-move.

"I'd rather play with you instead."

“Ah?” said the freshly engaged Void Mistress, who had seemed very much to travel like a super-extra NPC until she noticed the real Dead Mistress heading toward her. “No hey! Waddayou want?”

Perhaps Cain’s words would paint the way the Dead Mistress approached her Void twin.

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Only silence answered the bevy of questions Phoebe shot at her void counterpart-- silence and a mimicking smirk, one that did a fair job of mirroring the First's in the way her lip curled fully at its tip, and her eyes thinned to a narrow edge that scraped its target raw and left it bare for the acid that invariably lined her words.  It was an admirable attempt but devoid of life and spark-- in the end, no more real than Sierra, or Michelle, or Ana, and its dullness shattered the illusion.  

It had no answers, no wordplay, no counter to Phoebe's cloaked insult.

It was nothing, not even as real as the mask called Phoebe.

She shook her head, and from behind a war line painted black, her dark gaze turned sour.  "Xer'Orians," she stated flatly, effectively ending the conversation in a single word.

So disappointing.

She turned to Cain like the other Thing didn't exist.

"They-- it-- may have spent more time with me than you guys,"

Her lashes lowered, contemplative and sinking into the sensation of energy that swelled as Cain brought his hand to plane across her cheek.  A smile rose, unbidden.

"But they're nothing like us."

"No, they're not," she answered as her eyes trailed off after Shikai and the Dead Mistress.  A breath followed, a beat, as the General and his Void self engaged.  The Mindgorger dangled loosely from her fingertips, reflecting the passive, languid expression that draped as she cocked her head idly to the side, shifting to watch the Dead Mistress do the same.  There was little suggestion that Phoebe would assist; little heat in her face or her blood at the thought of sending the Thing wearing her face to whatever pit it came from.  She'd moved past the insult, past the rage to the realization that it was just a Thing wearing a mask for a purpose, just like she was, and that the best move was often ensuring your enemy didn't fulfill their purpose.

"What do you say we trade?" she wondered abruptly, dragging her attention back to the Void version of herself and its too-flat, too-manufactured amusement.  "We could all save ourselves some pain-- I could give you all the horses, and you could give me that crystal in your eye.  We finished your game; I feel like it's only fair."

As if fairness ever mattered to Phoebe.

Edited by Noko

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Perhaps Shikai should have guessed that his meat slab of a doppelganger would be as strong as it looked; but he certainly didn't expect it to be so fast. It moved with speed akin to his own, easily parrying the originals strike, and sending the blade spinning out of his hand. The clone then moved to follow up by driving a massive elbow toward his sternum. Fingers on his off hand blurring as he weaved signs, he was able to get a shadow clone up between him and his dark mirror. Even so, the impact was enough to knock both clone and original flying backwards. But at least he had managed to lesson the impact, and was able to use the momentum to roll to his feet. 

"Damn, this freak is strong, and fast..."

“We need to get those crystals off our mirrors,”

"Perfect, I'll just have to cut his ugly face open and take it!"

But how to do that? If the dark version of Shikai shared his physical capabilities, what else might it be able to do? Charging in blindly would only succeed in getting himself killed; possibly dragging his comrades down with him. For now, he would simply stand ready, and see what his clone would do.

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