When the fight had ended, the screens disappeared, and a shadowy figure seemed to rise from the floor of a nearby dark alleyway, their eyes shining brightly as they walked towards the trio. When they emerged into the light, however, finally revealing themselves, they looked rather bored.
"That seemed rather sloppy. Have you no method of defending yourself?"
The fox-person navi spoke directly to Altair, wondering why she hadn't tried to block anything.
"Oh, But don't mind me, I'm just a representative of SleekWorks, a lab concerned with designing a more evasive navi with each build."
The cackling "crazed one" bounced around with glee, watching as the fight began. As the little screens moved up on all sides, however, his attention was diverted, as he began slinking through the shadows in search for whoever had entered the Network without his knowing.
Constantly losing track of his own thoughts over the wails of combat in the background, StrifeMan eventually gave up his honestly-not-even-half-hearted search in favor of the fight. He watched the pair dancing around one another, Altair seemingly going out of her way to get pummelled, StrifeMan watching with glee as she bled her code all over the Network - but just as rapidly healed it away. He could almost feel the twinge in the air as fate struggled against the duo, and he knew that she had far more evasiveness than she was letting on. Grade, however, seemed to bend fate instead with his endurance, much as StrifeMan was cursed to do.
To his greatest pleasure, every now and again they threw out a maelstrom of force that StrifeMan could pointedly dash out into the middle of the battlefield to wrap himself up in, feeling their energy and power - and at least a few swords - crash into his body before he was away from their struggle once again, the howling laughter and cries of joy grotesquely mixed in with his rapturous, agonizing squeals. No matter how hard the two pushed one another, however, StrifeMan's wounds would heal in moments, feeling none the worst for his wear.
The show Altair continued to provide was much appreciated - Grade also had a show, taking the brunt of her efforts head on and suffering through it quite nicely, but, he didn't quite scream or get stabbed as much as he was looking forward to. As the fight seemed to reach its conclusion, StrifeMan was left wanting more, but, of course, he was truly a glutton for punishment. When asked how he felt on the matter, StrifeMan just did his little jig once again, bouncing up and down in his armored boots and clapping together his serrated claws. It appeared at some point that he had reverted to his more humanoid state, but that he still had horns sprouting from his head, although they had become more curled and ram-like over time.
"Oh, yes, yes! StrifeMan is very, very entertained - but, StrifeMan is also sad! There is no clear victor. One sought only to entertain and show off, the other sought barely to survive! How is StrifeMan to choose which one to train and which one to be made slain?"
At this comment, he slinked uncomfortably close to the "Sleekworks" representative, recognizing them as the one who had summoned all of the screens. He cackled ominously and moved a hand up to trail his claws across the side of her face, if she wouldn't shrink away, and placed his muzzle - which had fully protruded and grown matted grey fur - right next to her face. His eyes, a scarlet vermillion, beamed with psychotic interest and ill-begotten intent as he wrapped his tail out from around his waist. The long, coiling spades extended out much farther than first seemed, easily able to wrap around all present multiple times as it looped about like a stalking predator.
"Especially when considering the uninvited spectator . . . StrifeMan doesn't like the idea of his private show being on display for others. It was his entertainment; HIS, HIS, HISSSS-HAHAHhahahhehahahe!" His face shafted to release a serpent's tongue at the last bit, as he once again into a cackling, coughing mess, wheezing and letting out little coos in response to whatever pain he seemed to be holding in his chest, his hand hammering against his stomach to cough up a little more. Once the fit was over, he looked back up and trailed his eyes over the three of them, his vision suggesting that he really was contemplating which ones to maim and which ones to accept.
Post by 🆃ʀɪɴɪᴛʀᴏᴛᴏʟᴜᴇɴᴇ 🅼ᴏɴᴏᴍᴀɴɪᴀ on Jan 28, 2020 6:22:59 GMT -8
Barely surviving, huh... That low appraisal hurt Grade a bit. He looked away, focusing on commanding a virus to drag Legion's half-dead corpse to his location.
While StrifeMan contemplated on... whatever he was contemplating -- Grade himself didn't really understand -- he turned around and straight up dug a charged hand at the breathing corpse that floated beside him, held up with a shadowy meat hook by an unnamed Nightmare. Legion, as he was called long ago, gasped with what little energy he had left, his one remaining golden cat-like eye idly scrolling up to his assailant's face, trying to recognize him.
Once he did, he let out a faint chuckle. "Aahaha..hah... My time is up then, is it... Fiiine... You can have your body back..."
"No, first off, yuck, I don't even wanna know what you did to my body at this rate... No, I'm just here for this--" and Grade tears Legion's crest out of his body, killing him for good. He then crushed the crest in his hand and shoved all the bits straight in his mouth and gulped it straight.
"Mmh, that's that good crap." Lightning crackles mildly around Grade, fists clenched and smirking at the power boost he gained, although... His smile faded as he looked at his hands, realizing something.
"Odd... I haven't regained my Dark Soul from that at all... Feel like I gained something else though, but definitely not of a karmic variety. I think this body just cannot have a Dark Soul."
Altair let out a released sigh and closed her eyes, taking the moment to rest. Hearing Grades engagement with a zombie wasn't exactly what she had on the agenda, but the rest was results she could live with.
"Well, I would say the kid needs the training more than I do. Especially since he is a little weird to boot. Regardless of your decision, you have found a companion in me since the day you have intrigued me, StrifeMan."
Forgetting the intruder had spoken to her, she simply wouldn't humor her and give her nothing more than her favorite blunt answer. At the minimum, she opened her eyes to do so.
"I am but a mere tactician. Nothing more.. nothing less."
Last Edit: Jan 31, 2020 19:41:33 GMT -8 by xoDeathy
Trebuchet MS Navi Info -The Fatebringers- Mayura V1 -Rosario's Followers- Rosario V5||Labrys V6||SILENT_CLOAK V9||Altair V7 -Neutrals/Unaligned- Navi Joe V1-(NormalNav1)||Rosary V15||Commander Kraft V3|| Sierra V1||Lalonia V10||Flame Hyenard V12-(BURN, BURN, BURN TO THE GROUND)||Keksis V8||Illia.KIL V10
Post by 🆃ʀɪɴɪᴛʀᴏᴛᴏʟᴜᴇɴᴇ 🅼ᴏɴᴏᴍᴀɴɪᴀ on Jan 31, 2020 20:03:43 GMT -8
"Wouldn't a tactician actually be more on the defensive in a fight if it specifically benefited him? I can't get a read on you at all." Grade scratched his cheek, visibly confused. He glanced at StrifeMan, stared at him for a while, then turned back at the floating corpse of his old self, still being held up by a Nightmare virus. "I don't really understand what this 'training' entails, but I've already finished my business in this network, as far as I'm concerned."
He murmured to himself. "Nonetheless, what a waste of chassis... Hm." Grade held Legion's limp corpse by the neck and ordered the Nightmare gone. His power surged through his arm, reconstructing the body rapidly. Its black metal shifted and turned into a more natural silver colour and then coated in by white robes akin to Grade's own. In moments, the corpse was then almost his replica. Grade turned around and phased himself into the body, being one with it for the time being.
He glanced at the fox-eared intruder and winked, smiling. "Hello."
In a beam of light, Nightshade found himself in an unfamiliar place. It was a barren town, a delapidated city. Looked pretty undernet-ish to him. Well then, time to get to work.
Wasting no time in sightseeing, the navi started going through the rubble. He was bound to find a hub or something that would point him in the right direction. He wouldn't have to search long though. A few minutes in, he would hear squabbling nearby, which prompted him to look for the cause. He would then spot a group of navis bunched up. Only one of them looked like an actual Undernet denizen, so he would start with him.
Walking past the others, Nightshade called for Strifeman's attention. "Is this the Undernet? I need to find the Cybeast statue that's around here." He asked, firm yet neutral to whatever was going on.
Saiya probably should have been at least slightly intimidated by the clear threat that Strifeman had tossed at her. But for some reason she felt completely calm in this dire situation. The new arrival certainly provided a good distraction, as she slipped into Strifeman's shadow to hide out for a bit when he took his eyes off her. If she played her cards right, she could get out of here unscathed. When next he moved, she would move to the shadow of the one known as Nightshade, though she did not know his name. She would be relying on him to get her out of the network, or at least out of view so that she could make her escape back to her PET. In her place, she left behind a business card, with a note on it.
"for the cute one with the cool sword attacks"
On the business card was the IP address and physical address of SleekWorks LLC, as well as her true name "A-000", and that of her operator "Sylvia Daniels". The IP, if looked up, would be registered to Gigamerica. Sylvia, however, was in Netopia.
Grade moving caught StrifeMan's attention, and like a whip his tail arced around and wrapped menacingly around his form, just barely getting in between him and his prey. It did not stop him from claiming his prize, but, StrifeMan's tail splintered off into two pieces as Grade punched through it - one remained wrapping through the air, while the other wrapped around Grade's hand to almost give it more force as he impaled his imperfect twin. As Grade pulled out its power source, he would feel something else - perhaps the soul code - be ripped from it. The screaming voice trailed throughout his extended tail until it reached an impossibly loud pitch as it collided with StrifeMan, his grin widening as Grade noted that he did not regain his darksoul through the endeavor.
He kept darting his eyes around, listening to Altair's report and seemingly releasing a laugh without ever moving his body. StrifeMan could sense the change of fate rapidly approaching, and kept his tail ever arcing around the group, even as Saiya dipped into his shadow; a far worse fate than she had probably intended, as his shadow had a mind all its own. The coiling gloom wrapped up and around her legs as she stepped into it, the weight of the shadow seeming impossible for something that should be without substance. A hanging despondency seemed to crash down upon her as she stood in it, finding it far more difficult to wrest herself away from the shadow than first intended - but not impossible. She was still allowed her escape, albeit the weight of the shadow would carry itself with her. For a brief moment, she had shouldered the burdens of StrifeMan's pain, his accursed weighted shadow casting his woe upon her. For a brief moment, StrifeMan knew her reprieve, before the weight of her own suffering found its way back into himself - his grin only widened and he cackled further as his knees slightly buckled; he had nearly doubled over with a heinous cry and laugh. He knew she was slinking away, but allowed her to get out, his own minds still racing on what exactly to make of his little predicament.
That was when the other arrived. Before the beam of light had even deposited its passenger, StrifeMan had arced his impossibly long tail further in order to also include Nightshade into its circumference. As he formed, StrifeMan's ears - which seemed to spontaneously sprout from the scales on his head, lupine in nature - perked up in interest and concern, both. "StrifeMan recognizes you, yes . . .
It was said under his breath, but loud enough for everyone to hear, which made the point that it was said under his breath meaningless. His question pointed him directly to what StrifeMan expected of him, and placed the appearance with the name. This was the cat with fewer friends than lives, and his presence made StrifeMan instinctively inched just a little closer to the spire that he had never really gotten far away from. He was on strict orders not to let anyone into the Undernet - the man with the ribbons simply wouldn't have it! And what the man with the ribbons said . . .
"You have found yourself before the gateway to the deepest depths the Net does know! No deeper depths than this to be known, StrifeMan thinks so. The melody of this world is of darkening silence, cacophonous madness, deafening darkness and cackling slaughter, hahahaehaehhahehahe!" StrifeMan seems to introduce Nightshade to where he has found himself, bowing slightly and losing himself to yet another laughing, coughing and dancing fit. All the while, however, StrifeMan's tail does not waver, hanging in the air, the spaded tips looping around each of those gathered, threatening, everpresent, and foreboding.
He stands before the spire, the void in his chest churning rapidly as he considers his next words, knowing who it is that he represents. "The problems of those without are of no concern to he who is within! StrifeMan speaks on behalf of the man with the ribbons - tied oh so beautifully, gracefully, and so very kind to StrifeMan he is to give him this honor - when StrifeMan says that none are welcome within the depths of the Undernet.
"What you seek is beyond the gate that StrifeMan has been placed to guard! A guard is to protect and to keep out those that wish to be let in but do not belong! StrifeMan, the guard, and the gate, StrifeMan's guardee, you see! So . . . no. You are those that wish to be let in but do not belong. The Undernet will not open before you!"
He stood at the gap between the floor and the monolith behind him, speaking in some ways to the cat and in many other ways to anyone else that may still be flitting about the Network, wondering if there was a way in. There was not - not without first getting through him. In truth, his whole body was twitching in anticipation. While it would be easy for StrifeMan to just get straight to the maiming - he quite missed the maiming - the Underking had set up a careful plan for him, and he had been very careful thus far to follow the man with the ribbons' plan. He had to at least give them all a chance to see where they were wrong - and they had to throw the first blow.
StrifeMan found it difficult to hide his glee at the thought of a fight; to take his time and break a spine, or stab a jack right in their back! Oh, yes, fate may for once smile upon him.
Nightshade closed his eyes and huffed. "You're making this much more tedious and difficult than what it should be. I know you're listening." He stated, firm. "I need to examine the Cybeast statue. Nothing more. Once it is done, I will have no reason to remain nor bother you."
He looked straight ahead. "So we can both waste our time being a pain in the ass for eachother, or you could solve the problem that is me fast and we go separate ways. As per the little pup hiding in my shadow, you will find out that those who stick around me won't march for long."
He frowned as he watched Nightshade huff and close his eyes, his keen ears picking up the words he was speaking.
Did he dare attempt to speak to the man with the ribbons? StrifeMan felt a flare of indignation at the thought - what would the Underking have need for a flea trying to get into his domain? StrifeMan puffed himself up - quite literally, his void seeming to produce a thicker hide and stronger, more pronounced muscles to ripple over his body, as he felt his anger at the thought swelling.
He didn't allow it to boil over, though. He would maintain his composure - the man with the ribbons would be unhappy if this escalated farther than necessary. As he put it, once this whole issue was resolved, Nightshade would have to be on his way - unfortunately, the issue would be resolved with the answer being resolute, and Nightshade being forced to deal with it! "Oh, StrifeMan is very serious. This is no waste of StrifeMan's time; this is all StrifeMan's time is for! The Undernet will not open its borders to the filthy and unclean! A flea-ridden pest, you are, like a mangy cat left out in the rain, you carry with you all of the outside world's pains! While StrifeMan delights in the thought of others suffering, we does not delight in you entering the domain of he who rules with his ribbons of pink! Surely you must understand . . .
". . . The Underking only allows his loyal and trusted court before him. The only way into such graces with his eminence of through StrifeMan's approval! And as some might tell you, hahehahaheh," he shrilled, motioning to Grade and Altair, "StrifeMan does not make it easy for the lazy to please he, no, no, no!"
Nightshade's gaze hardened and focused onto Strifeman. His eyes flashed red there. "So am I. I would watch your mouth if I were you. I'm no pest, and I certainly do not need my beast powers to 'entertain' you. But you can thank the Underking, for he's the sole reason I am trying my best to remain civil."
He stopped thinking for a moment, then shuffled around. "You know what, actually? I am indeed a pest and I won't stop pestering until I get to examine the Cybeast statue." He added, sitting down on the ground. "And since I can't get in, I will wait until I can. Unless you can bring the statue out here. That works too. As I said, I have absolutely no reason nor need to venture any deeper in here but to see that statue."
"That statue is known to have a pretty deep connection with Cybeast Gregar and Cybeast Falzar. That's the reason." Nightshade spatted, still down on the ground, arms and legs crossed, staring at the door and Strifeman.
"In case your sensor scans here did not pick it up already, I'm part Gregar or something like that, the specifics do not matter. It's nice little parting gift it left when it bit my arm off, with a side of pain and permanently bugged code. I need to know if the statue can activate my latent Gregar code and give me my BeastOut form back, which in case it does, I have a score to settle with a certain someone that used me, made my life a living hell, costed me everything I have ever had and was the one that took what was rightfully mine in the first place. I might not be able to kill him, but I'll make sure to leave a permanent mark in his smug face before I go."
He didn't even bother hiding his motives anymore. Not like people would not figure them out anyway.
"And seeing as I have no other thing to lose or do with my stupid life, I'm more than happy to wait here until I can see that statue."
StrifeMan narrowed his gaze at Nightshade, the cat flaring up his eyes as though in a threat. He couldn't help himself from flying into a laughing fit, throwing himself onto the ground and kicking his armored legs as he buckled over in pain, coughing and spluttering out of his laugh and just ending up wheezing in glee. This little feline was funny, he was!
He stands up, brushing the dirt off of his body, his runic carvings glowing a sinister purple as he dusted himself off. His body seemed to be rapidly shifting between different personas, his form rapidly shifting between musculature, stature, protrusions, demeanors, and general physique, his rapid shifting seeming almost painful as they could hear the musculature reattaching itself, hear as the bones snapped and realigned, watch as the skin shrunk away before reforming. He finally settled on a decidedly human shape, without any deformities to the body, his chest free of the scars but still incredibly well built and lean. What he was not free of was his constantly spiraling void, which suddenly seemed to stop spinning and slice into him, creating a kaleidoscope of forms that stretched across his physique, each angle a separate and wild geometrical and biological shape.
"StrifeMan thinks that you are the one who should watch his tone," he responded, each and every different mouth etched across his fractured face releasing a different register and style. "You see, StrifeMan knows more than you care to share lest the others stare! Yes, yes, StrifeMan knows of the stabbing and the scabbing, the seeing and the saying that was done, the darkness and the barkness that you hide!" StrifeMan taunted, pointedly making a barking noise as he said the word. "StrifeMan won't be letting you into the Undernet. These orders are from on high! None are to enter except those that the Underking approves, and who is approved does not include you!" He sat down to pointedly glare at Nightshade, more than willing to join the feline in these childish games. StrifeMan understood being childish! He quite enjoyed rampages of ceaseless, blissful ignorance, screaming without reason and lashing out without discernible goals or purpose . . . it was only by the graces of the man with the ribbons, just as the mangy cat said, that StrifeMan was holding his hand thus far!
Then, more questions were raised, and StrifeMan heard yet more interesting things to work with. He couldn't help but laugh again, all the stranger through this alien geometry he had adopted. "Oooooh, what about that other thing? The part of why you aren't allowed in, even in comparison to the others? Don't you want to share with everyone why StrifeMan cannot let you in? You haven't been very kind nor honest since you got here! StrifeMan thinks you've been very, very rude! StrifeMan doesn't appreciate such rudeness one bit! He's been very, very understanding! It's been difficult, listening to you threatening people, throwing around demands, as though you have anything of importance to say!"
StrifeMan was hinting at something here, making it clear that he knew something. What did he know, though? Easy! He knew nothing! Which meant he knew it all! Yes, yes, he knew very well that Nightshade simply was not allowed; he could not be let in, for he is the one that Serenade has specifically said is not allowed past! No others are allowed in, either, but, this one in particular!
"Allow StrifeMan to be made very clear, clear as shattered glass: The only privileges held here by you are the demands to be escorted out by choice or force, whichever the boys want worst!"
Nightshade was about to shank his razor sharp claws in that horrid thing the darkloid called a face, but decided against it. He would retract them, for now. So, the guy knew everything. Or rather, he was trying to provoke him into saying things. Rosso did the same once. Caliga too. Fool him once...
"So you do work for the Underking. Even then, I seriously doubt "the man with the ribbons" or whatever you call him told you anything other than "do not let people through." But hey, if you do know about then you should also know that I am no longer under influence of the DeathVirus." Nightshade stated, not missing a beat and certainly not scared about the threats of a fight. He had been flailed around by things far worse than that sorry excuse for a Navigator.
"In the end, you are but a lowly doorkeeper and a bad one at that... considering I had the pleasure of meeting both Forte and Caliga, both of which I am sure are long time denizens of the Undernet. If you were supposed to keep the Undernet shut, well...you failed that task miserably." The feline navi spatted, glaring daggers.
"And as I said, I refuse to leave until I get to see that statue. Waiting here until I am able to do so matters little to me. I have nothing else better to do and nothing else to lose for doing it. I can wait." He remarked, arms folded and standing his ground.