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As her paralysis expired, the white-haired woman stood from her downed position. Ignoring her sopping wet clothes, she directed her focus to her friends list. Violently scrolling through the three people listed, she selected Ayame's username. The girl's location was displayed, quickly tearing through the twenty-second floor until it vanished at the teleport gate. It would then reappear at the thirteenth floor. 

She closed the menu, her fists clenching. She stood there for a moment, her heavy breathing becoming faster and faster. Until she let her emotions out all at once. A bloodcurdling scream passed through the air, ringing throughout the forest. Grabbing her hair, she began to pull as rage consumed her. 

'Why can't this damn world give me a break? First they come after me, and then after those I care about? BULLSHIT!' 

She turned her attention to the ground, picking up the dagger Ayame had dropped in the scuffle. Tears of both anger and sorrow streamed down her face as she looked down upon it. Clenching the weapon in her hands, she softly mumbled a promise.

"I'll save you. And I'll kill those who dared to touch you."

The evening sun hung low in the sky, though this had no effect on any of her actions. Tearing through the forest, ignoring every monster on the way, she would return to the Safe Zone. Stepping inside, she made no effort to hide from the NPC guards that protected the city of Coral. "Stop right there, Criminal!" The guard readied its spear to pierce the woman. Her eyes widened, her knuckled whitening as they tightened around the hilt of her own dagger. 

"Get out of my way." she stated coldly, provoking the guard's attack. Bringing her weapon down on the shaft of the guard's weapon, it would snap in two, breaking into data pixels. Activating <<Rapid Bite>> she would thrust the weapon into the guard's chest sending him sprawling to the ground. She would show no mercy to those that even attempted to get in her way. 

Standing on the teleport pad, her eyes that reflected her own anger would cast out on the Twenty-Second Floor. NPC Guards had begun to gather, but it meant nothing. She was already gone.

"Teleport Floor 13." 

_________

Appearing on the Thirteenth floor, her eyes cast up to the sky. Here, it was rather windy as if a storm had begun to brew. The skies appeared to be a dark green as it looked down on the Barren Floor. For a moment, a voice of reason spoke amongst the vexed chatter.

"Should you need a partner to walk this road you'd need only ask."

The voice was faint and easily ignored. She was in far too much of a rush for hesitation. She had to get to Ayame and fast. She couldn't let anything happen to the girl. She wouldn't allow anything to happen to her. 

Spoiler

Name: Hidden
Level: 65
HP: 1330/1330
EN: 130/130

Stats:
Damage: 18
Mitigation: 79
Evasion: 3
Accuracy: 4
BH:66
VAMP OFF:133
HLY:8

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: <<Nato's Might>> (T2/Demonic/Dagger): HLY II, ACC I, VAMP OFF I
Armor: <<Shadow's Silence>> (T3/Perfect/Light Armor): MIT II, EVA i
Misc: <<Shadow's Blossom>> (T3/Perfect/Trinket): ACC II, EVA I

Skills:
One-Handed Dagger [Rank 5]
Light Armor [Rank 5]
Battle Healing [Rank 5]
Hide [Rank 4]
Extended Mod Limit -

Extra Skills:
Familiar Mastery: Fighter
Survival
Disguise

Mods:
Athletics
Precision
Acrobatics
Assassin
Vanish
Ferocity
Blindside
Untraceable

Battle Ready Inventory:
Teleport Crystal*1
T3 Cold Brew Coffee (+180 HP)*5

Housing Buffs:
Rested: -1 energy cost for the first two expenditures of each combat
Filling: Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 T1 slot.
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Skylight (Hiding): +1 Rank to the Hiding skill.
Advanced Training: +2 SP to a thread. Limit one use per month [0/1]

Guild Hall Buffs:

Scents of the Wild: Kumatetsu

Wedding Ring:

 

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A faint flicker and pulse of energy as she wormed her way through the conflicts, dropping low and removing a skull which rolled upon the floor. Another swing casts a blade toward her, she becomes ethereal like smoke. The attack was on an afterimage, a convenient doppelganger. A late night on the trail of monsters in the dark, teeth bore and an expected easy meal. But what they found...

Was something worse.

The predator that was a small child in a torrent of blood, a single head upon the floor begins to fizzle out. The high pitch whir that follows a drawn katana, causes another to yelp in pain as it cleaved in twain. They wouldn't know her, disguise in full swing and they'd hardly live to tell the tale. A spray of red as its dissected in but a moment, another dies and she fades into it. They were trapped in her realm, her mists. The sounds of the screaming would soon fall silent, leaving only a child stained red with blood on her hands. Not that it was visible, but the names on the monument would speak leagues. She was serious, and was the creature in the mist.

Movements had failed, she'd slain them all without a second thought. They assumed they could take her, they assumed wrong. A lean down and a sharp phrase with a single defining line on her cheek in an intense aglow eye. Whoever they were, they'd been stopped. But the night was young, and these aggressors would not be alone.

New Names for the Monument:
Benai
Hiruka
Ulacil

Setsuna | HP:900/900 | EN:90/90 | DMG:16 | EVA:3 | ACC:3

Spoiler

Setsuna, The Creature in the Mist
Level: 45
HP: 900/900
EN: 90/90

Stats:
Damage: 16
Evasion: 3
Accuracy: 3

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Shiva's Embrace - Ancestry T2/Perfect/Katana [Damage 3]
Armor: Cold Fabric Kunoichi Wear T1/Perfect/L.A [+3 Evasion]
Misc: Kunoichi Wrapping's T1/Perfect/Trinket [+3 Accuracy]

Skills:
One-Handed Curved Sword [Rank 1]
Katana [Rank 5]
Hiding [Rank 4] +1
Light Armor [Rank 3]

Extra Skills:
Disguise
Familiar (Fighter) R1

Mods:
Finesse Rank 3
Ferocity
Athletics
Vanish
Surprise Attack (Assassin)

Battle Ready Inventory:
Teleport Crystal*1
Vocal Augmentation - Resonation [T1/Perfect/Support/Instant] +60 HP*2
Bird Seed (T2/Rare/Snack) Vitality 2*1

Housing Buffs:
Well Rested: -1 energy cost for the first three expenditures of each combat
Squeaky Clean: The first time you would suffer DoT damage in a thread, reduce damage taken from DoT each turn by 25% (rounded down)
Hard Working: +2 EXP per crafting attempt and +1 crafting attempt per day
Filling: Increase the effectiveness of a single food item consumed in a thread by +1 T1 slot.
Item Stash: +1 Battle Ready Inventory Slot
Tasty: Turn 2 identical food items into a Lesser Feast. A Lesser Feast contains 4 portions of the food items sacrificed.
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.
Skylight (Hiding): +1 Rank to the Hiding skill.
Advanced Training: +2 SP to a thread. Limit one use per month [0/1]
Multipurpose: Gain +1 to LD, Stealth Rating, Stealth Detection, or Prosperity to one post in a thread. Can be applied after a roll
Decor [Potted Tanabata]: This buff affects the player and their choice of up to two party members.

Guild Hall Buffs:
Lucrative: Reduce LD needed for Salvage by 5 (10+ for Alchemist crystals, 6+ for everything else). +2 EXP per craft. Rank 9 crafters receive +1 crafting attempt per day. Rank 10 crafters receive +2 crafting attempts per day.
Col Deposit: +5% bonus col from last-hit monster kills and +10% bonus col from treasure chests.

 

Edited by Setsuna
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Their mission had turned out to be rather fruitful. While the two knew not where their comrades had ended up, they successfully managed to acquire the as requested by their client. It wasn't their business as to why their client wanted them to capture a small child, as long as the child bore them profit in the end. Upon reaching their destination, they tossed the child onto the ground at the feet of their client. 

The location to this drop-off remained a bit strange as well, an out of the way rundown building on the thirteenth floor. The settlement was at least a good ten-minute run away. Outside the building remained barren wasteland, plagued by the several Corrupted Humanoid enemies that littered the floor. 

"The girl as requested." The female kidnapper spoke. The client, lowered himself down to the girl's level and took a good look at the child. "That's her." He would state, a smug smile forming on his lips. "Assassin is her username, and she refers to the Shadow Walker as 'nee-chan'." He stood, raising himself back to the two kidnappers level. "You've been a great deal of help. With this runt, perhaps I could persuade Hidden into a fight. A fight that I've waited far too long to partake in. A battle where I can truly fight to the death with someone who refuses to hold back." 

The male kidnapper that had carried Assassin all of the way to the rundown location finally spoke up, however; in an impatient tone. "We don't really care much for the reason you want this girl. We just need the money we were promised." The client removed the fedora from his head, bowing politely. "Of course. One moment as I make my guest... a little more comfortable." 

He sat the girl up, chaining her arms and legs to the wall. The girl would still be able to move around, but each of her limbs wouldn't be able to reach over three feet away from the wall of the desolated building. "My apologies for putting you through this Assassin. You should come out of this ordeal unscathed, whomever the victory may turn out to be. Your 'nee-chan' and I have some unfinished business. Bringing you here was the only way to both get her to come and provoke her into a battle."  He replaced the fedora onto his head. "Should you need something, just call my name. It is Risque. I'll be chatting with the other adults now." The man walked away, to speak with the other kidnappers.

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Assassin was unable to move for the entirety of the trip. The paralysis lasted so much longer than she thought it would. The moment she had the chance to break free she would. Though before she even had the chance to, they would get her into their hiding spot and toss her onto the floor. She groaned as she collided with the ground coughing as dirt entered her nostrils. Her eyes looked at the remaining time of the status.

Before she had the time to react, the man would get her chained to the wall. The stun would wear and Assassin would snarl at the man before collecting all the saliva in her mouth a spitting it full force into his face. She said nothing in return, yet was left to dwell on how this man possibly knew her and Hidden's names and why he wanted her. She knew that Hidden would tear this man into shreds for what he did. 

The moment she was left alone, she would attempt to bring down her menu. No luck as her hands were too wrapped up to get the motion right. The best the girl could do was lay down on the ground. After all of the work they were putting in to finish that quest line, Assassin was tired. She didn't like being here, but she didn't have the energy to even be fighting back.

Spoiler

Name: Assassin
Level: 36
HP: 740/740
EN: 72/72

Stats:
Damage: 13
Mitigation: 30
Evasion: 2
Accuracy: 2
BH:7
PARA VEN
PHASE
BLD:24

Equipped Gear:
Weapon: Shadow's Infection: Bld; Para V.; Phase
Armor: Dark Cloak(LA): MIT II; EVA I
Misc: Fastening Belts(Tri): ACC II; EVA I

Skills:
Dagger [Rank 5]
Light Armor [Rank 3]
Battle Healing [Rank 1]

Extra Skills:
Familiar Mastery: Fighter
Survival

Mods:
Atheltics
Finesse <Rank 3>

Battle Ready Inventory:
Teleportation Crystal*1

Housing Buffs:
Rested: -1 energy cost for the first two expenditures of each combat
Relaxed: Increases out of combat HP regen by (5 * Tier HP) and decreases full energy regen to 2 Out of Combat Posts.

Guild Hall Buffs:

Scents of the Wild:

Wedding Ring:

 

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c938cf2bcf645fca294f9d58b057f3d5ec25b7bdRisque was somewhat pleased with the child as she reacted with anger instead of fear. Perhaps Hidden had rubbed off on her a bit. A smile came to his face. Perhaps after Hidden had expired her use, this little girl would rise to take revenge on him. The child's snarl would surprise him, especially when it was met with saliva that sprayed his face. He sighed, an annoyed feeling sweeping over him. "I suppose I earned that." He stepped away, wiping the spit from his face. 

Turning his attention to those he hired to capture the girl, he would open his inventory and send them a hefty sum of money. "Here you are. I can take on the rest from here. I'd make yourself scarce or you're going to facing a vengeful woman whom their level is far higher than yours." Nodding the two would begin to take their leave. He smiled. He had no need for the mercenaries anymore. If one could even call their work mercenary. He knew that he could easily take on the Shadow Walker alone. As one of the few players in the level 80 range, he knew he would have a distinct advantage. One thing was strange however... the fact she had yet to show. Did she not care about the young woman they had snatched from under her nose? He could have sworn intel had shown they were close. He couldn't help but feel uneasy about the entire thing. Or perhaps the uneasiness was caused by the adept feeling that he was being stalked... stalked by a predator who was ready to feast on its prey. He had realized too late....

"Oh shi...!"

 

 


<<Risque>>

____________________

8c1a27f8a246c939ac8afad78b95456e.jpgHer dagger plunged into the man's back without warning, sending him sprawling onto the ground. Seething with anger, her eyes fell on the creature as if she was looking at cockroach. "You made a mistake." she warned him with a glare. She watched as the man stood, his healthbar slowly climbing back up. The man let out a light chuckle as he turned to face his assailant. "Oh good! I was afraid after the changes in your appearances that you would change as well. It is still good to see that you haven't deterred from that path, Shadow Walker." He flashed a smile at Hidden who kept the same expression. "That's not a name I go by anymore." He smiled, a look that was somehow threatening on his face, although it created no reaction in Hidden. "Whether or not you use it, it doesn't change who you are. No matter what you do, there will be those of use that know who you are and the hand you were dealt." He bowed and began to introduce himself once again. "Risque at your service, no doubt you remember me from before." A dangerous glint in Hidden's eye stared forward as she looked upon the man. "I don't remember you at all and I see no reason to remember the name of a dead man." She raised her dagger, pointing it at him. 

"Umbra."

The name evoked the Shadow Fox to appear, whom instead of fighting at her side joined with Hidden. The Shadow familiar joined with her arm, covering it until all that was seen was black. The creature even joined with her dagger, covering its outline in Shadow. Hidden darted forward, activating <<Vanish>> to enter the shadows just before she collided with the man. She used the Shadows to divert her direction quickly moving around the man several more times before activating her attack. She jabbed her weapon forward, preparing to pierce the man and take him down in one strike. However, she found that her attack was entirely blocked as the man raised a One-Handed Straight Sword, the weapon intercepting the damage.

The two froze as a moment and Hidden watched as the weapon cracked until it shattered, leaving the man with nothing but a handle. Risque let out a cool breath of air before chuckling. "Won't lie, that was pretty terrifying. Feeling like I'm about to get torn to shreds at any moment has me actually excited to fight for once!" He tossed the broken weapon aside, pulling another from his inventory. "I hope you are warmed up, Shadow Walker. The real fight begins here." He extended his sword to the side, smiling devilishly. "Our final showdown is now! You and everything you've become against all that I am!" 

 

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1929620-bigthumbnail.jpg.260265023b24b0cbb94135bd8cf08c23.jpgSteps throughout the floor, through the limelight that cast the entirety of the floor into darkness. A single ball in the sky above, ushering the hunt to begin. There was strange silence that was settled among, a soft breeze as if all else held its breath within its clutches. The small child that aimed for her would be aggressors, their folly doing no more than draw a target upon their respective backs. Now the girl knew that they were on the prowl, now the girl was invested and made aware. In their haste, a grave mistake...

Each vault practiced, each ascend and descend a routine. Setsuna was and is that hunter. While the wolves would prey on those weaker, they would face one with larger teeth and a bigger hunger. The spray of leaves loomed in her wake, being sucked in behind her as every skill she owned continued to spin. An orchestra of spinning cool down squares, one after another when they would return to be used immediately. Deaf to all that transpires, deaf to the words that hoped to remove her from this path of destruction. Lost...

Words found, a conversation. Fire and brimstone, among the shade that claimed the night. A voice that she all but recognized, the safe one, the monster. But another. One that she had not. Through her obscurity among the flora, through the darkened burned trees a flashed pair of eyes. It was Hidden, and with it she plunges a knife into another victim. For a moment, Setsuna curses the fate listening. At first perceptions, the girl assumed that she had made what expected: The animal had killed again. A slow draw of her steel from its scabbard she waits, weighing the possibility of angering her masters.

unnamed.jpg.19ab43ad53afd627e085ff7620a84e9d.jpgThe soft glimmer on that edge matched that glowing ball, and with it came the mists. Pouring out of her weapon in billows, freezing solid the air that circled it and forcing it to fall. Heavier, as if she brought just a smidgen of Snowfrost with her everywhere she went. Setsuna was out for blood, but listening to the trades of words it became clear. That Hidden wasn't the monster here. That it was this other fellow, this other wolf that was the mastermind and the attacker here. Forcing her hand into his devices, his motives and his game. It sickened her hearing the game he had played.

A change in target, a shattered blade at his side. A faint recollection of one the same held by such an animal. Another glance to Hidden at that moment, weighing the scale in her heart at what she was capable. She did not care what happened to Hidden, but was tasked with leaving the girl be. Just how deep was her responsibility? Biting her lip, a turn for but a moment with a step to leave the bloodshed. A stillness and an issue that causes her to stop. "So be it."

Reaching into her the cloth around her throat and removing a vial of water, uncorking its top. Unsheathing her katana forces a swirl of exposure, it held solid the air around it at sub zero chill. Down the length she pours out her familiar, which rushes down to the point. The weapon becomes ever so cold, one touch would flay the skin. Rimeheart drawn and built, she'd embrace it with everything at her disposal that was left. Deliberately the ace in her sleeve, would finally be played.

The phantom of floor 4, the very same that had skinned Hidden's back reluctantly. Odd, that she would be aiding the monster. A single tear through the twilight at such a speed that nothing could slow it. A surgical slice, a tool to which to remove the cancer with finesse. Setsuna lands that blow, across an unsuspecting victim and fades out as if she was never real. That brief stillness, the words had come to a stop. It is broken, with a spray of red data like a hose. Risque's back becomes like fire, not even survival could stop that bone cold trade as it tore the side of his neck like a disease. Forming crystals around his windpipe, Setsuna had chosen her target.

Edited by Setsuna
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Assassin's body was starting to calm down enough to fall into slumber. With everything happening, the fatigue she felt was hardly noticeable. The moment that she was chained down to a wall and unable to move, she realized just how worn out she was. Just as she was about to drift off though, the sound of clashing steel and fighting woke her into alertness.

"N-Nee-san?!" The girl said, sitting up slowly with blurred vision. She could barely lift herself up. "Nee-san, help me.. I'm strapped down and lost my dagger... I'm sorry, I got captured..." The girl apologized, tears starting to well in her eyes. Again she was causing unnecessary distress for her older sister. "I'm still not strong enough.."

Soon, she would attempt to remove the shackles clinging to her limbs, if she could get free and equip one of the daggers in her inventory, she could help her fight. Though someone else was here, a blue blur slashed open tears Risque's back open. Who was this?

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The two players now stood face to face. While Risque's face displayed glee, Hidden's hatred was almost enough to deal physical damage. "Don't look at me that way, dear. An expression like that doesn't match your pretty little face." A yellow-light emitted from his blade, brightening the room that had been darkened by Hidden's mood alone. Charging forward, at alarming speeds he began to strike. Hidden weaved through the attacks, Risque's sword making no direct hit. While his attacks were fast, her speed was equal to that of his. 

"You can't dodge forever, soon I'll get lucky!" he said with a laugh, thrusting his weapon forward. Hidden leapt back, giving the two fighters space in between eachother. He turned his amber eyes on the child as she began to speak. "Hush now child. You are ruining my marvelous show down." 

Hoping to strike him while his guard was down, Hidden struck forward, aggressively making attack after attack. However, the attacks seemed not to worry Risque as he easily glanced her dagger away with his own weapon. "You don't get to talk to her." She warned before barraging him with another volley of attacks. "I do believe she is my possession, meaning her disposition is up for I to decide." He held off another few angry strikes. While he hadn't managed to make an attack connect, Hidden also had managed nothing. 

The attacking ceased for a moment, as Hidden seemed to begin come up with a new plan for her attacks. Or perhaps she was waiting for Vanish to cooldown? Of course, he would undoubtedly be able to spot her among the shadows. Unless she somehow managed to hide in the thick light blue mist that came from a source he knew not. Was this something that Floor Thirteen did? It certainly fit the creepy theme of the floor, but why now? When the battle he had sought for so long was at hand?

"It seems even after this time, you haven't become good enough to hi-"

His words were cut short by a sudden attack to his back, he turned quickly swiping his weapon behind him. However, all he managed to get a glimpse of was long white hair before it vanished into the mist. "Wha-" Another attack, Hidden had taken advantage of his moment of confusion. Her dagger met its mark, throwing him back into the wall. His health too a dip and he held his sword in front of him as he pondered what had just transpired. 'Was that something to do with her stealth skill? She managed to attack me from behind while I thought she stood before me. Then she moved fast enough to attack me from where she had stood. Information over has been scarce as of recent... but how is this possible? Has she managed to receive the Shadowed Path skill from Hikoru without anyone knowing?' His health slowly kept climbing back up, but Hidden had dealt serious to him between her two attacks. Perhaps he had underestimated her. Excellent. It wouldn't have been any fun if she had just fallen immediately. He just had to learn to see through her attack. 'Her attack from behind has one distinct weakness. She won't appear to be moving while she's doing it.' 

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setsundisg.thumb.png.867d273bf0059d1516bace4c0d6771fa.pngA glint in the shade, the blade in her grasp still scorched the air around it in that chill. The fog produced lingered with a thickness, strangling the woods the fight was held. A glance from where she stood, an earnest peel to see what was playing out. This character, this long winded creature. This was a game to him, the woman in white a toy to play with. "I will take that from your lips." Setsuna whispered into the branches, allowing only them to hear her ire and her disgust. "Let this final day for you to know fear, that it would rob you of what you so desperately cling to. But I find it fitting, that it you believe it your own hand."

That little globual lantern like heart, she pulls it free. The wisps heart, its body held to her steel. The katana almost melts, the very few fragments dropping like snow. Setsuna needed it to take another shape. Taking that little red light in her hand, she raises it in front of her and corrects the mask on her lips. The fog thickens around her, chilling and making her skin numb. Her eyes begin to burn bright, taking on the very hue that her weapon did when swung.

A skill trigger...

"I'm just not playing any games, you are part of Firm Anima. Which means that you are close to someone..." She listens harshly to the recount, malforming her voice with the skill as she tempo'd and recreated the imagining. Like tuning an instrument she fiddled with memories playing the shadow, as requested by her master. The pitch changes constantly, shifting like the dial on a radio as she searched for that correct tone. "You see me all the time, now look at the meteor shower." Closer and closer the tone was getting where it needed to be, the familiar forces the very air around her frame become like glass. A capsule at which the player was within. A single hairline crack on its surface, a snap as she steps free raising her weapon.

Through the fog as it lingers around skin that was not her own, a skill hidden completely and none but Freyd knew her use of it. A total clone, a niche usage that was obtained through a trip of fishing. She had become the wolf, and in that little flicker as the lumps of frost cascade down in a pile "I see no reason to remember the name of a dead man." Sliding the katana back into its steel, a paled image forced on her frame through a fog that stuck to her like glue. Setsuna takes a step out before lunging into the brush with a high pitch whir playing away, at the inch exposed.

 

"She won't be your property once I kill you."

That blinding speed, a rampaging trigger of multiple skills in a flourish. Everything that made her hit harder, faster and without response. It forces her into a blur, leaving a trail of vapor in her wake. Risque could all but appreciate a single moment of pause between the gaping wound left by Hidden, trying his best to find out how before another spray in red tears from his right hip down to his left thigh. Pixels wash the place, the very frame beneath his digital skin exposed in a flash. An ethereal form that was his worst nightmare, and Setsuna could not wait to hear him beg the 'Shadow Walker' for his life.

 

Edited by Setsuna
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Assassin struggled with the chains attaching her limbs to the wall. After several seconds of flailing and trying to break them, she resigned to the fact that she wasn't going to break free. Not only were they too durable, but she was too tired to even come close to getting them off. With her energy completely depleted, the child collapsed on the ground with a soft thud. Her rasped breathing could be heard between the song of singing steel.

Witnessing the battle was difficult as she was continuously phasing between total awareness and her brain just completely shutting down, Assassin laid there quietly rooting for her sister's victory. She couldn't really even tell if the second Hidden that she was seeing was real or if it was her seeing things.

Soon, her sister would get rid of this guy and the both of them could go home, the she could spend a week in her bed sleeping forever.

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An unknown voice spoke from the mists, capturing Hidden's attention. This unknown variant had tampered with the battle. While she hadn't caught it, she noticed the blur that struck at Risque's back and distracted him for her to get her attack in. For the moment, the entity had turned the tide in her favor. However, this unknown factor wasn't to be trusted. She knew not who it was. Ayame had remained chained down so she was not the culprit. 

The entity's voice spoke, slow and softly. The voice was almost unheard by her. 

"I'm just not playing any games, you are part of Firm Anima. Which means that you are close to someone..." 

Hidden frowned. 'Firm Anima? Why is that name showing up here? Don't tell me this man is somehow a part of it.' However, judging by his expression. This voice was recognizable to him either. He remained confused and for some reason unknown to her he kept looking back to her as if ensuring she was remaining put. 

 "You see me all the time, now look at the meteor shower."

Hidden's eyes widened. That sentence was familiar. So familiar... it was as if she said it herself. The outline of a figure approached from deep within the reaches of the mist. Hidden herself took a step backwards, her fury ceasing temporarily as she attempted to discern exactly what she was dealing with. 

"I see no reason to remember the name of a dead man." 

That was something Hidden knew she had said because it was something she spoke mere moments ago. The odd thing was that the words weren't just her own. The voice was also her's. 

"She won't be your property once I kill you."


A chill fell down his spine as those words reached his ears. 'How is she doing that? Her voice is coming from a different direction altogether. I'm not aware of any skills to control a duplicate of oneself. It would be game-breaking.' The unseen figure suddenly darted forward, slashing fervently at his form. However, he had grown accustomed to this trick. Whatever this skill was, Hidden was unable to control the other version of herself. Perhaps the one he had originally been focused on was merely an afterimage created by shadows. He drew his weapon on the attacking Hidden, glancing her dagger off of his blade. He couldn't help but notice the cold feeling that surrounded the woman. Perhaps the mist and the cold were created by this skill that Hidden was using. "It is going to take more than a little party trick to k-"

Suddenly, the real Hidden struck him, sending rolling onto the ground. He stood, biting his bottom lip. His eyes widened as he found two Hidden's staring mercilessly at him. He wiped the dirt that had collected on his face from his fall and remained deep in thought. 'She can control both forms at once? No. There isn't any way that could be possible. Back then she used her familiar to create a shadow of herself. Could this be an advanced version of that? If so, how would that even begin to explain the fact that her familiar is talking and doing nearly the same amount of damage?' 

He tipped his hat to the woman(s). "I certainly underestimated you Shadow Walker. I hadn't heard of this skill of yours, perhaps you only bring it out when your situation is dire?" His health remained over half, but if the battle continued on like this he would have to resort to actually fighting at his fullest and use the consumables he had readied. He had yet to bring his familiar into play, despite his circumstances. 'I was cocky to think my intel had informed me of the entirety of her battle prowess. This is simply the price I have to pay for that. However, one of her forms has the orange cursor. That one is the real Hidden. If I bring that one down, she won't be able to operate her second form.'

 

 

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Raising the mirrored hand, standing loosely some odd 10 feet from the real one. A single glance out of the corner of her eye, Setsuna looks deeply into the woman's eyes. Risque was struggling, but putting on a brave face. After all he had to keep up this illusion that everything was fine, else he'd lose control of the situation. It had yet to dawn on him that he already had. "People really have a way of underestimating me, it pisses me off more than anything." Setsuna mimicked in perfection to the real Hidden and to the idiot that hadn't yet realized he had lost.

"You must be deaf, I thought I made it clear." Her head shifted back in a sudden intense snap back to the man in the hat. "I am not your plaything, your shadow walker. If anything." Setsuna raises her hand just a bit higher, the fog beneath her feet began to build up like a mound. It becomes thick like cotton, so much that Risque loses all vision. Only faintly could Setsuna see the woman at her left, hearing her breath through. The creature in the mist could hear her confusion, although she attempted to conceal it. Setsuna barks at Risque through the forced blindness, toward the player that could see neither girl or attack of what he hoped to stop.

"You're my toy today, I hope your feet move as fast as that mouth of yours. I am going to enjoy this."

Sliding behind Hidden, she'd lean ever so softly forward and mutter in her ear in the voice that was her own. "Cut him down, the monster doesn't deserve to live...." The words came off slow and an obvious tell, if she was a wise one it would be obvious. "And Raidou sends his regards." Hoping that Hidden would remember the turn of the phrase, from the tailoring store to which it was spoken. A violent hum of her katana builds, and with a sudden tear, causing Hidden's hair to flutter, Setsuna slams into his weapon as she listened to the air from his lungs. There was nothing but silence now, in this atmosphere like a cloud where only the faint silhouettes of trees could be made out. The place shakes and a flash causes the fog to become solid white, as Setsuna checks his steel grinding her blade along his in a brief instant before disappearing back into obscurity.

As she continued to check his defenses, when it fell she'd draw the steel across his skin and drain what little he regained. The girl was always striving to put them down, and as such she excelled at doing just that. It would be hell for Risque to take just one of the white haired females. But two? The man had been dealt a hand that was instantly facing a flush.

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1000.pngAs the fight went on, the child felt the energy leaving her body, but she couldn't just allow herself to fall asleep in this situation. Hidden would hate her for that. Slowly, she would sit up, looking at the chains holding her down. Which ever one on her hands looked weaker, she would place bother feet against and push as hard as possible with her back against the wall. The moment it broke free, she would open her menu and pull out her teleportation crystal.

"Floor Thirteen: Angel's Point!" She called out and with a whir of colors, she was gone from the battlefield. The iron clasps that were attached to her limbs clanked against the stone. The moment that she was on the teleportation pad, she would start running. The flash of colors had woken her up enough to get her feet moving. With her blinding speed she would return to the fight within an instant.

Over the shroud of darkness, a figure would emerge from the mist. Her hand outstretched, with a fierceness in her eyes and a dagger in her hand. "I won't stop you from helping anymore. You are around the level of being able to decide what you can and can't take on." The familiar words repeated from the third copy of Hidden, word to fuel herself. The child struggled to reach a similar tone of her sisters.

"I'll kill those who dared to touch you." Words to fuel the original Hidden. The dagger is one that Hidden would recognize, the dagger that her little sister had used long before she was gifted Shadow's Infection.

Spoiler

Assassin uses a Teleportation Crystal to teleport to floor 13's teleportation pad and returns to the scene with Disguise active, looking just like Hidden.

 

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Her other self stepped beside her, conjuring more of the mist until not even the original could see through it. Her double continued to threaten Risque even through the mist until she decided to turn and whisper to her. 

 "Cut him down, the monster doesn't deserve to live... And Raidou sends his regards." 

Hidden's eyes widened at the final words the woman spoke as the terrifying reality came to light. 'Setsuna... the tailor girl in Firm Anima.' The two had never gotten along, so why was she here now? Why was she here when she wasn't supposed to be. 

"You can't be here." 

Hidden's words were whispered back but were disregarded entirely. The disguised girl vanished into the mist, remaining unseen to anyone. The clatter of weapons revealed her new location. Sighing, she darted forward. She had to make sure nothing happened to Setsuna and that this ordeal ended here and now. If Risque found out who Setsuna was, it would bring Raidou into the mess. She couldn't allow him to die for her problems. They were her own to bear. An orange light casted by her dagger blazed in the light blue mist of the area, becoming the only indicator of her approach aside from her footsteps. However, even if Risque had picked up on these cues, Setsuna ensured that he was unable to attack. 

Her dagger plunged into the man's chest, forcing him away from the two's onslaught. With the man blinded, he stood no chance against his two opponents. It wasn't long before he succumbed to their combined efforts. Or so they thought...

________________

Pushed into the corner my a succession of attacks, his mind would race to begin to think of ways for him to fight back. Hidden wasn't just powerful... she was a monster. From her words, it sounded as if she wasn't exerting herself in any way. He hadn't been able to make any attacks of his own, rendered incapable. "Well, if you think me as a 'toy'. I'd better stop playing around then." He shouted into the mist. His ears searched for the sound of approaching footsteps. Reaching into his sleeve, he pulled out a small vial filled to the brim with a dark liquid. He dropped this vial onto the floor, shattering on impact with the ground. In doing this, he had brought his familiar into the fray. 

The dark liquid condensed into the shape of a large black snake coiled up his leg and body until its head rested near its master's. "Consume." He commanded the creature. A hissing noise would break the silence of the area as a black liquid would fly as small particles through the air. While seemingly harmless at first, after a short time they would find that the mist that had hung in the air had become thin enough to just be considered Aesthetics without having any actual hinderance to their eyes.

The Black Serpent, the great beast in which his familiar derived its power from, had two distinct abilities. The ability to consume the life from anything it touched. The power it just exerted. The second a venom able to render its hapless victim helpless. These two abilities made the original beast unstoppable. His familiar was no where near the strength of the original, but it was able to render the Heart in the Jar useless. However, the situation hadn't bettered after removing the mist. Now, a third Hidden had stepped up to challenge him. Her words were just as threatening as the previous two.

"Just how many damn copies can you make of yourself? This is just way too damn..."

He had noticed something. A fatal flaw in whatever plan that was now underway. The original Hidden adorned an Orange cursor. The second Hidden which he had assumed been created through a skill bore no visible crystal. The third Hidden had a bright green crystal spinning carelessly over her head. The voice was off as well. His eyes fell on his poisoner who was now missing. The third Hidden must've been his escaped poisoner. The second was some other player that Hidden had brought along. He was sure of it. 

That pissed him off. 

6f41b2b881f8294e1720c8b0ee9df6ee.png"Hey. This battle was reserved for just the Shadow Walker and I. My months of patience and planning are not going to be wasted by some brats that wish to interfere. I don't give a damn about you are thinking. This stage was meant for two."

His familiar hissed as he stepped forward, his weapon extended. "Pardon me, but you've forced me to break character." A malicious glint flashed in his eye. Licking his lips he pointed his sword forward. "If you all want to get in my way that bad... I'll have no choice but to consume you." He pulled a crystal from his pocket and activated it before tossing it into the air. A piercing screech rang through the air, deafening everyone in the room and reducing their accuracy. He would be the first to take advantage of this moment.  Like a snake, the man snapped forward. His blade pierced through the mist as it traveled straight towards the newest Hidden. His familiar coiled around his arm as he made his attack. The Black Serpent lurched forward, attacking as he did. However, instead of striking the newest Hidden, his blade instead pierced the original. His snake ripped forward, sinking its fangs into the woman's neck. 

"You stupid girl. You're supposed to be the one who cares not for others. The famous Shadow Walker that killed without mercy.... AND NOW YOU'RE PROTECTING A LITTLE GIRL?" He ripped his weapon from where it rested in Hidden's chest. She fell to the floor, having fallen victim to his snake's second ability. "Your sacrifices are for nothing. That's why people like you and I only look out for ourselves." He looked to the other Hidden's. He doubted they would be able to keep up with their facade with the constant ringing in their ears distracting them and impairing their hearing. While Hidden was incapacitated, he would have to deal with them. 




<<The Green Gourmet>>

 

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With the newest arrival, the player that stood against them named her as the prisoner. This one must have been taken, the one that Hidden was seeking. That reverberating sound causes her very shape to begin to form small lines in cracks along her silhouette. Her disguise was ice, and with this sound it worked to destabilize it. As they formed like veins across the pale reflection owned by the real one. "Found out the secret have you? A pity, but if you wish to see me for real." The voice beginning to twist back into neutral.

A slinking coil, a high pitch sound causes her to become deaf. Through the dim speaking, she could make out, she yells to the other as a sinister coil lunge from Risque's outstretched hand. "Keep him busy!" Setsuna barks barely able to make out her own voice. The figure she had taken shatters, she needed her familiar for a different purpose. It morphs and drips down toward her right hand, within an instant she slides behind Hidden. She hoped that Assassin could keep him at bay, she had been damaged in this brief flash but was not without her uses. It solidifies in a white glow around that palm and as she wraps her arm around, she grabs the familiars head still clutching the girl's neck. A harsh snap, like dipping something in nitrogen it squeals and breaks in solid pieces. Without warning, Setsuna slaps her lips on the Hidden's neck, sucking aggressively like a vampire. After all, A serpent was only as good as its venom and she was no fool.

In this strange embrace, Hidden would surely be uncomfortable but alive. Setsuna's glare over her shoulder with a flare of blue in her iris, staring down Risque with an intensity as the ichor would paint her tongue black. It would be on Assassin now to slow him down while that toxin was removed in full, Setsuna was out of commission until her hearing returned.

Edited by Setsuna
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Assassin moved to dodge the strike, unknowing that it wasn't even meant for her. Risque's blade had plunged straight for her sister. Nothing woke her senses more than that. Hidden fell to the floor falling victim of the venom of the snake that was his familiar. I quick blur rusted through the door in the moment, a massive leopard cub. "Ryou, fetch!" She called out as she herself rushed the man who dared fuck with her sister. Still assuming her guise of her sister at this point, Assassin's white clothing frolicked behind her. The darkened blade slashed through the back of her opposer. "If you think I'm going to stand watch, you're sorely mistaken. You've fucked with my family, I'm going to kill you." She stepped back quickly, throwing her dagger straight at him. Ryou had returned to her side with Shadow's Infection. Since the item was locked to Assassin's inventory, Hidden was unable to pocket it into hers. It was surely strapped to her somewhere and Ryou had fetched it. The familiar grip of the blade in her hand was refreshing.

"Let's see how smug and confident you are when you're stun-locked forever." The form of her sister disappeared, meeting it's time limit to reveal the tiny child of a girl she was. A blur of speed that may have been hard for even him to track circled him like a wildfire. "Ryou, attack." The leopard did as it was told, reaching out for Risque's snake familiar. In the same moment, she began to slice at him with every pass of her circling strike around him. Assassin was becoming a massive whirlwind of steel and rage. The moment her paralytic venom took his body, he would be done.

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A feverish feeling over her body as the snake's paralytic venom seeped into her body through its punctures. She fell to her knees as Risque pulled his weapon from her chest, his words signifying his anger. HIs words meant nothing to her. An attack like that might have been the end for Ayame. The ear-splitting ringing caused by the recording crystal began to fade, but her body remained hot and immobile. That was until Setsuna began to charge her instead. 

'She's going to attack me now? She hates me that much? She would risk herself just to end me?' 

However, instead of reaching out for her, the girl grasped the snake that leeched on her neck, crushing it. It would fall into pieces that would litter the ground. However, these pieces would liquify becoming a small dark pool on the ground which would slowly begin lurch away. Setsuna than quickly embraced her neck and sucked like a vampire. Hidden's eyes widened at the girl's touch but her body was incapable of movement. However, the hot feverish feeling in her body began to fade, replaced with a cold sensation. Her eyes returned attention to Risque, who now for a moment turned his attention on Ayame. 

"He'll kill her..." Hidden said faintly, her body attempting to move in that direction. If Ayame perished, this entire fight was for nothing. 

__________________________

A sinister smile remained on his face as the young one he had captured moved on him alone, mouth foaming with meaningless threats. "Kill me you say? I don't think you'll get that chance. You all have only done this much through trickery and numbers. None of you stand a chance when you stand alone." He allowed the girl to move in on him, her dagger ripping through him. However, the damage was ignorable. 

"Let's see how smug and confident you are when you're stun-locked forever."

A laugh roared from his figure. "How naïve you are! The dagger skill only gives access to stun when paired with the use of martial arts! And that dagger? Don't think this is the first time I've seen it. It was the very same dagger that Hidden used so long ago. What was it? Phase, Paralytic Venom, Bleed? If that is the case than allow me to introduce you to..."

"This!"

He holds out his finger, a golden ring with the etchings of a snake. "This ring dropped from a secret boss, only accessible to the first who killed Amphis Serpens ten times. I had been trying to make it my familiar, but instead I found a boss hiding behind it. The Ring of Serpent's Venom dropped from it. Antifreeze, Paralytic Immunity, Bloodclot and Accuracy. I won't be locked anytime soon." In a single swipe, he would attempt to remove the girl from the fight and end her bloodlust. A strike not aimed like the others, but instead for the woman's sword hand. HIs blade met its mark with the help of the song he had played previously, easily severing the girl's limb from her body. He cackled, pulling out a healing crystal which he would crush in his hand, bringing his own health back over the 75% mark. "Our promise remains true, Assassin. Stay down and your life will be spared. Surely your pretend 'family' isn't as important as your own life is it?"

"Well, I believe its time to finish this little dance. One more white-haired brat to deal with before the main course right?"

 

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A rip into her armor, a peel of a strange looking gold stone and a little glimmering star. A bright blueish crystal the same. Setsuna's hearing began to return and she slides Hidden down prone "No he won't". The response was adamant and her eyes were ablaze with skills triggering. "He made a mistake" Setsuna muttered coldly and softly to Hidden "He forgot to keep his eye on me." Pushing the <<Rising Sun>> into the floor as the <<Golden Star>> triggers and strengthens her power, two could play at this little game he was playing. A spin of her wrist as she pulls out a bright red crystal and places it to Hidden's chest, dividing this strange object to the girl.

"This is from death, from the corruption. When his health gets low. Use it. It only lasts for a small amount of time."

A flicker of her frame as she releases the girl, and a second later she vanishes completely out of view. Within the brush she sizes him up as he removes Assassin's arm, a blinding slam of her katana through his spine and out the front of his chest, releasing the handle with her right hand and grabbing <<Shadow's Infection>> from the floor behind Risque. "You've bitten off more than you can chew." Setsuna snaps in his ear as that chilling burning at his back begin to tear away at his skin. An underhanded toss toward Assassin as the glowing aura rebuilds her arm, her wish from two boys heard as the hole in Hidden's chest fills rather quickly. Once the weapon is passed, Shiva's Embrace swells and is tore out the right of his ribcage in a spray of thickened red. 

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With her arm ripped asunder, Assassin's eyes grew wide. The pain was non-existent. An entire arm removed from her body and it felt no worse than getting pinched. She turned just in time to watch her appendage flail against the ground and her dagger plink against stone.

Nothing could have been worse than the words he spoke, though. Losing an arm was nowhere near as rage inducing has just hearing Risque's stupid voice. "'Pretend family'?" She repeated under her breath, scooping up her weapon. If there was one thing Assassin was good at, it was playing pretend. She would know if her love for her sister was fake or not. Spoiler alert: It's not. This was about when the child started regrowing her arm and Setsuna's bloody attack had gotten his attention. Assassin charged the moment he focused on the other girl and clung to his back with her legs and the nub of an arm that was slowly growing back.

"You picked the wrong 'pretend' family to mess with. Was worth the fact that you'll die here by the hands of a twelve year old girl?" 

Clung to him, the girl would stab like a maniac into the chest and neck of the man. Maybe even try to cut off his own arm.

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The Gourmet stood confidently overlooking his feast. He just needed to wait for the second one to come to him. Of the three of them, she was the wolf. The one that would wait until the prime moment to pounce on its prey. Assassin was low enough level that she was the low-tier threat. However, her presence still proved to be a nuisance. Setsuna stood, leaving Hidden and vanishing. A hungry grin rested onto his mouth. He had the health pool and restoratives to take the hit. If there was anything he knew about these women, it was that they never attacked head on. They always attempted to back stab him. He understood as someone who had once passed the time ambushing players. 

 "You've bitten off more than you can chew."

A familiar attacked struck his back, the icy chill felt even at his fingertips. This battle would have gone differently if he hadn't been immune to such effects. Ignoring the damage from the attack on his back or his ribcage, he spun quickly, his blade slashing Setsuna across the chest. A sadistic smile spread across his face. "Thanks for the meal!" He shouted, diving forward with his blade outstretched to cut the girl in two.

That was, if it wasn't for an unexpected little guest. Something grasped onto his back, pulling him away from Setsuna, an angry voice screaming into his ear. HIs health began to take considerable dips as a dagger sank into his chest and neck repeatedly. HIs anger rising, he grasped the little girl by her hair, slamming her onto the ground in front of him. 

"DO YOU WANT TO DIE THAT BADLY? DAMN YOU, STAY OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY!" He thrust his sword into the little girl, the blade sliding through her until it sank into the ground holding her. Helpless, her health bar quickly began to drain from the blade implanted into her.  "Die. Die. Die. DIE!" He said excitedly as her health began to drain. If she was too stupid to live, he would add her to his body count. 

___________________________

Her grip on the crystal tightened as she watched Risque fling Ayame into the ground like a ragdoll. The grip was tight enough to almost shatter it as he plunged his sword into her. A twinge of pain was felt in her chest before suddenly she could feel nothing. Empty. All that she felt was the desire to kill him. The desire to rip him limb from limb. For her blade to rip him into small pieces while he begged for her mercy. 

"I've been hurt enough."

Hidden darted forward, slamming her foot into his face to knock him away from Ayame. Removing the blade, she would drop it to the ground where it would fall with a clang. Her eyes, void of life fell onto Risque, the source of her hatred. 

"And now..." 

With another dash forward, she reached forward, clawing at his neck with her free-hand while she tore at his eyes with her dagger. Managing to grab the man, her dagger would cut out his avatar's eyes, flooding the air with red shards. 

"Its my turn." 

She threw him to the ground, her dagger carving into his avatar as she uncontrollably attacked. The air became lit with a fly of orange colors. Finally, she thrust her dagger into his head where it became lodged. 

"Any last words before I dismember you? Before I rid this world of your pitiful existence?"

Laughter filled his lungs at her words. "Dismember me? That sounds more like you. Maybe you still are the monster that I thought you were inside. Perhaps we will have to finish this another time. However, before I go allow me to remind you of something. Don't depend too much on anyone. Even your Shadow will leave you when you are in Darkness." A grin flashed on his face before a flash of blue absorbed him. 

Her dagger clattered onto the ground, left with nothing. Her eyes widened as she realized what had just transpired. He got away. He actually got away. She stood, the disbelief settling in. He would be back. And now, he knew something of Setsuna. What if he traced her back to Raidou? What if she were to lose everything again? She had lost. She had one chance to rid of him and she blew it. She crouched, holding her knees for a moment with closed eyes. 

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