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[Open] A New Predator on the Savannah

He had to admit, he wasn't really sure what to expect when he stepped into the gate, for that was what it obviously was.  Azrael had been teleported, frozen at absolute zero, and all manner of other things.  He supposed the closest comparison was Teleportation, but that was just instant, he didn't even really feel anything at all.  This though?  It was practically indescribable.  Azrael could feel himself getting moved, shifted and warped through well...he wasn't sure if time and space were the right descriptors.  Either way, he came out on the other side all intact, his clothing and hair weren't singed, his organs weren't out of place and he wasn't missing any limbs, all in all that was a plus.  He could also feel more than that white emptiness.  There was bright light, from an actual source, an actual sun looming overhead and casting a powerful, oppressive heat on the environment.  It was hot for sure, and the ground beneath his feet was hard baked, cracked stone.  He could see trees, sparse and separated by the cracked Earth, with short, dry brush occasionally hiding the baked stone from view.  All in all, it was an incredibly refreshing view compared to what he'd had to deal with for...over an hour really.

Azrael just took a few steps forward as he looked around.  His eyes adjusting to the light and scanning the landscape for any major signs of threats, civilization, or otherwise.  The horizon looked odd though, very odd.  Like it...went further than he was used to.  It was messing with his sense of distance.  Briefly Azrael looked down, one foot scuffing the ground and kicking a small rock, sending it skittering along the cracked stone.  His 'companion' had probably emerged by now.  He'd noticed that odd feeling when he passed her, but he paid it as much mind as he paid anything else, which was to say very little.  It had roused his curiosity, made him wonder if she might actually be worth consuming after all, unfortunately, she still had that blank, deadened expression, and the feelings were more the feeling of coming near something potentially dangerous, rather than anything she personally gave off.  So, he doubted he'd enjoy it.  A filling meal, but not an appetizing one.  Ultimately he was going to keep dismissing her on that basis until a reason came to do otherwise, but given his instincts were warning him there was at least some potential danger he'd still keep his guard up.  Right now though?  Now that he had actual terrain to deal with?  It was time to test something.

"You might want to take a step back."  Azrael commented without looking towards Rose, assuming she'd shown up.  Then he pulled his hands out of his pockets and cracked his neck, pushing fist into palm and cracking his knuckles before returning them to his pockets, as his eyes narrowed.  His knees bent before he pushed off, suddenly leaping up and forward into the air.  His coat pressed flat to his back as he went hurtling upwards, he looked up, eyes narrowed to shield from the sun, before he hit the apex of his jump, gracefully arcing through the air as his arms spread out wide as he looked down to see his height.  It was difficult for him to directly judge it, but it was high, it was roundabout thirty meters actually as gravity began to exert itself once again, dragging him back to the ground.  His coat billowed up, flying upwards and exposing the chiseled muscles of his back, and the darker lines of his tattoo running along behind it.  As he came down towards the ground though he seemed to almost pick up speed, before slamming both feet into the baked stone with a terrific impact, a dozen meters away.  The result was more cracks, the ground giving way slightly, leaving an imprint of his feet as he slammed in, knees bending until he was practically squatting, creating a small crater.  Anyone passing by afterwards would probably barely be able to tell, aside from the slight impression of his feet it didn't look too different from the ground around, just a slight dip in the rock.  

As if he hadn't just fallen thirty meters straight out of the air, Azrael straightened up, his expression tight, jaw clenched.  So, his weakness wasn't as bad as he thought.  His physical abilities were still far superior to the average human, his speed, jumping ability, durability and strength were higher than them, but it was still so much lower than his maximum.  His face had an angry look on it, brow drawn down low and his lips parted, showing white teeth as he started walking along.  This time he knew there had to be things here, and for whatever reason the horizon was expanded beyond what he was used to.  First order of business was finding water.  Even Azrael at his strongest had still needed to actually sustain his body.  He offered no explanation for what had just happened, no rationale behind why he'd just decided to leap into the air and slam both feet onto the ground, he just started walking again while the sun shone overhead.  As he started walking though, he would ask Rose one simple question if she decided to keep following after him.  "Know anything about where we are?"  If not, well...then they'd just find out together, given he seemed set on following him.

Rose felt sick as she passed through the gate, motion sickness that made her stomach lurch and pull. It felt like someone was threading her guts through her belly button and then feeding them back forcefully to her. She found it abruptly hard to breath like someone was choking her, and panic was beginning to set into her mind. Her neutral gold eyes turning it gold fleck against a porcelain white background! There was a pounding of blood in her ears and the darkness began to consume the hollow's mind.

And then suddenly she was on the other side. Azrael's warning falling on deaf ears, a high pitched ringing drowning him out. Gulps of air were inhaled and then exhaled frantically as the spirit's power spiked dangerously. The heat that burned into her body did not come from an internal fever, but the sun that soaked quickly into her cream colored skin. She could feel the hardened crisp sands solidly under the soles of her bare feet. All her senses being stimulated gently seemed to slowly bring her back from the brink of an anxiety attack. In her silence, she looked to her guide.

From her position, she watched every defined muscle in the man's core, legs, and back coil up. Then a second later she watched as he released the built-up tension in a high-speed explosion of kinetic energy, propelling himself high into the air. A moment of peace in the oddly up wound man that he found answers to his own questions while his jacket-cape lifted and fluttered about like a symbol of peace. Everything that this man clearly was not.

Beside Rose, out of the limited shadows, two fingers stepped through the portal and into her peripheral vision. She felt the hand of Evan as he placed it on her shoulder to reassure her. With a quick flex of her shoulder, she shrugged him off. Unwilling to admit that his touch was just what she needed to anchor herself in this reality. All sets of their eyes turn upward, watching as gravity reached up and grabbed the man by the ankles. She pulled him back to earth, where his mass left its impression in the form of more cracks that reach out in a spiderweb-like pattern.

Lilith gasped in her awe at his well-dressed despite seeing things far more impressive than that. A brief moment later the hot wind blasted past them from his hurried return to the ground. Lengths of rose pink and amber blonde whipped around madly. The childish girl lifted her sleeved hand in front of her face to shield it, but Rose boldly faced the storm. The calm and placid stare settled back onto his back.

Always a step behind him physically, it would seem.

His question finally breaking the silence, asked her another question she didn't have the answer to. She thought silence would suffice in voicing this fact, but Evan cleared his throat and made a signal that implied she should answer the guy. She glanced beyond him. Rolling hills of yellow-tinted sand stacked before them, the heat of the sun playing with the air gave the illusion that they moved like a golden sea.

It looked like a place she'd seen before, though not nearly as colorful. Even the faintest hues were loud in comparison to the flat white deserts of Hueco Mundo. The brilliant blue cloudless skies only mimicked its skies for being a solid color. Only it was a stark black blanket that covered the land of the hollows, a large inescapable full moon always watching from up high.

"Looks like a desert," Rose responded after a long time of not saying anything. She did not mock him though, the words she spoke were devoid of any sarcasm or jokes. A simple answer from a simple mind.

"Surely he can see that as well, Rose! You don't have to be so unhelpful!!" Lilith said, stepping out from behind her host and appearing between her and the man she was so fond of.

Rose's head turned just slightly to face the spoiled ghost, challenging her.

Lilith's defiance held as firmly as her hand held onto her own hips. She tilted forward as well, to prove she was brave, despite the shaking of her knees under all that fabric. She glared there in silence for a good long moment before Lilith's hands come up and she straightens her back, too. Her arms hug her chest and she twists stubbornly while raising her nose into the air again. "Don't look at me like that, just answer the attractive man!"

Rose blinked. A slow, five-second long blink that best represented her thoughts on all that. Their host then turned away from Lilith and to Evan, as if acknowledging that he would have more information on it all. To do so, she had to actually take a step from her stance to turn her attention to the well-dressed company. Without a word though, she expectedly stared at him.

Evan took a moment to notice, about as long as it took her to twist to face him. His head jerking up and his eyes locking in with hers. He had been admiring the view, and only barely understood what was going on. "Hm? Oh! Right." He turned back to Azrael. "What was the question?" He asked.

Lilith cried out in frustration. "You twit! What the hell do we know about all this!?" The young lady said, sweeping her arm across the verse they've come to.

Evan frowned at her. "Great. Twenty seconds in the desert and you've reverted to the mannerisms of a bandit. Demanding this and that of me. How charming you pretend to be when the moment is favorable for your whims, only for the truth to come out like the witch you seem to be!"

"That's nice and all, but can you just get on with it!" Lilith barked.

Evan's chin rose higher than Lilith's head and he imagined what it would be like to slap her.

"Nothing," he said bluntly.

The face Lilith made screwed up painted lips and scrunched her brows together in something that resembled insulted confusion.

"We know nothing of this place because we've never been here before," Evan spoke to Lilith, taking a few bold steps towards her before whipping back around to face their host. "It's not the hollow's desert, its not even the desert from which you lumbered your Gillian form from with that leech attached." Evan made sure to point to Lilith when he pronounced 'leech' with a proper English accent to the vowels.

Lilith inhaled sharply, and the exhaled in disgust at his less than flattering description of her. "The only leech I see here with us is the bottom feeder that latched onto us at the river!" She screamed back.

With another fight breaking out, Rose decided to just tune them out and take the necessary steps past them to face her companion. Her eyes came up and dared to look him in the eye. "No." she finally answered, flatly. Without anything else to say, she moved on, taking casual steps further into the new territory. Possibly the last place she would ever venture if what had happened at the gate ever repeated.
ATTENTION: Lilith and Evan are
manifestations of Rose's broken
mind, please do not respond to
them unless you have Telepathy.

Base Stats:
Atk 4
Def 5
Spd 1
Tec 0
[Image: 6EAE58367061BD66264BC0B456C8D7BD3F2D9658]

Though it was very possible for the two primes to make it home in one sitting, Serraph felt in unadvisable. Who knows what could be waiting there for them. The great king Gilgamesh had taken every prime he could muster to Dante’s Abyss leaving behind naught but a token guard comprised by secondaries. It would be enough to keep order within the confines of its rebuilt walls, but if it were to be attacked by just one prime, that ability would be tarnished. No, they would need to stop and rest for a time to recoup the energy lost during their horse ride across the dunes. Surely the pint-sized Shantotto would greatly appreciate this.

They rode until they found a space fairly flat for a considerable distance. Although still fairly dusty, the lack of dunes left Serraph’s eyes with an unblocked field of vision. If one would approach he may surely notice. The “horse” they rod clopped to a stop in the middle of his shallow basin, allowing Serraph to slide off with The tiny mage tucked securely under his arm.

“This godly mage, two legs hath been given. Unhand me, and you, sir, shall be surely forgiven.”, the Tarutaru’s tiny, but lyrical voice demanded.

Serraph’s chest heaved in his chuckle and he set her down into the dusty ground below. He turned his attention to the hollowed horse that carried them so effortlessly. It was a magnificent stallion clad in heavy plates of mask material that stretched over its body. Black flames emanated from its hooves, converting the sand beneath him to smooth glass. It nickered at Serraph as his hands patted the beast’s neck.

“Worry not, friend. Surely you are hungry after that journey?”, Serraph asked,  his head tilted inquisitively to the side. The hollow’d horse bucked his head and slammed a flaming hoof into the glass that had formed beneath him. Serraph laughed and stepped back from him, turning to begin working on the camp.  Surprisingly enough, Shantotto was a fast worker when taking in her size. Already she had a fire blazing and a couple of logs pulled up near. “Oh dear~”, he cooed, plopping himself across from the little one. “Guess you didn’t enjoy the ride then.”

“Nary a horse I’ve ridden have left me feeling comparable to a barbarian's midden”, Her voice rang snarkily. Serraph laughed and glanced to the horse, whose ears twitched in response.

“Careful. Had our ride not been so benevolent,  you may have likely drowned in the dunes.”, He winked and held his hand near the flames, a leg of an unidentifiable animal forming in his grasp. The flames licked over its flesh, burning away the fur to reveal the pale flesh beneath. Rather than continue to cook it, he tossed it over to the horse, who anticipated the action. It caught the hunk of meat with a maw that would put a shark to shame. Ravenously it bit and tore its way through the food.

Serraph’s eyes returned to the flames and the amber core forming at the charred wood within. “Relax, little one, but be wary of we may find at our doorstep. We have been gone for far to long.”

The Tarutaru’s ears perked with ancient eyes poised as curious as ever. “Nay, We have been absent for merely days. Surely nary have gone ablaze!”. She answered confidently, slamming the butt of her staff hard against the sand below. Serraph smiled and summoned a small porcelain cup within his gloved, slender fingers. He could smell the tea within it, a smell he had not forgotten. He sipped upon it and sighed, a single eye of crimson looking up at her through the flames.

“Did nothing seem different? After I was slain in Dante’s Abyss beneath the dreadful light of its moon, I lay within the space between worlds. I existed and yet I didn’t.”, He sipped again and cupped the glass within the palm of his hand. “Aye, I was a mere consciousness, but nevertheless my ability to count was not diminished, Isn’t that right Steve?”, he turned his head to the horse in which he had just named, who neyed and pounded the dust below in his approval. He smirked and turned his head to the small one. “And there you have it. Steve agrees with me. It must be true~”

 “If that is the case, so be it. Neither will leave me defeated.”, she boasted, causing that smile of his to spread.

“Perhaps. Just be wary is all. Time doesn’t flow as we expect it to. A day for you may be centuries for another.”, his eyes caught movement in the distance behind the small magus, a pair of figures, one large and one smaller draped in the shadow of the night. Naturally, his left hand fell to the basket weave of his rapier that hung lazily from his hip. “We’ve two guests. I’m curious about where they’re headed.”
"Mine eyes hath seen the glory of the presence of my Lord. He is sifting through the treasures in which his Gates of Wrath does store. He lets loose the righteous vengeance of his terrible swift swords. Gilgemesh has returned!"

So, his companion didn't know anything about where they were.  Wasn't that just wonderful?  Normally Azrael wouldn't be bothered by such trivial things, but unfortunately, as this new realm seemed so eager to remind him every other minute, Azrael was not in his usual position of overwhelming superiority.  It was unpleasant, but those were the facts.  As a result, he had to care about his environment, extreme heat and cold could actually hurt him, at least he was pretty sure, and even back at his full strength he still needed to eat and drink, so water was going to be a concern.  There was also still no Seithr in the air, and this definitely wasn't a high altitude.  Did Seithr not exist in this world, or did it only exist in trace amounts?  Well, he never used Ars Magus to begin with, Dragunov was the closest he ever came and it no longer existed, so providing it with fuel was now a non-issue.  He rubbed his chin thoughtfully as he looked over the environment.  "Mmm, looks like there might be Savannah nearby too, hard to tell though.  The horizon's screwing with me.  Either way, we need to find water first, then see if there's anyone else in this place besides us."  Maybe there was some kind of civilization, a city or town would have someone interesting to fight, they had to.  Azrael could feel that psychological hunger gnawing at his mind, that native urge to fight, to feel his blood boil in battle with a worthy opponent.  If nothing else it should be a lot easier to find one of those now that he was so much weaker.

He scanned the horizon again, making sure the odd perspective hadn't made him miss something, and that was when he spotted them.  Two other figures further ahead.  His eyes narrowed, trying to make out the details, but in the end it didn't matter.  He was going to walk closer, hands in his pockets as he began his advance.  As he neared, Shantotto and Seraph would be treated to the view of Azrael, his tall form, his rippling muscles, and his oddly refined sense of fashion, even if he didn't wear his coat properly.  If one just fixed that and got him an appropriate shirt he might actually qualify for rather snappily dressed.  He wasn't moving quickly at least, so that might alleviate their worries somewhat, if nothing else, it meant he wasn't attacking them immediately, or rushing to do so.  No, Azrael was simply going to walk up to where they had set up an entire campfire seemingly, unafraid, unconcerned, why he'd even flash a smile as he approached, lifting one hand from his pockets to gesture with in a relaxed fashion.  Although there was something...off about the smile on his face.  Maybe it showed too much teeth, maybe it was just thanks to the natural set of his eyes that gave him a cruel, almost feral look to most of the things he did.  Maybe it was the way his eyes roamed over both of them, cold, piercing and lacking any sense of warmth or compassion.

"Hello there, name's Azrael.  Pardon the interruption, but me and the girl there are new around here.  I'm afraid I don't know my head from a hole in the ground and was wondering if you wouldn't mind letting me know if there's any kind of town or water source anywhere around."  A simple enough offer, his tone was even a bit jovial!  Yet he hadn't stopped examining them.  The small one was a curious figure.  She seemed almost certain to be a beastkin, she had everything down, the ears, the nose, he would place money on her being a mouse type beastkin if he was actually in his world.  However, she was small, smaller than any beastkin he'd ever seen.  Of course, that didn't rule it out, but given everything else?  It was likely just an unusual similarity.  She had an interesting air to her, she looked like a confident woman, if she had any strength it was probably in magic.  Beastkin were usually superior to the normal human physically but with the proportions of her limbs that seemed pretty safe to rule out. Which still left magic or...honestly he shouldn't rule anything out in this place.  Not when he still had very little idea of what was going on.

The other one was less visually interesting.  A man of average height and build, unusual hair color.  He did have a weapon nearby though, and as Azrael scrutinized them, for some reason he felt there were similarities between this man and Rose.  Were they the same species?  Was he imagining things?  He supposed it didn't matter, what intrigued him most about both though, was that they had fire in their eyes.  The very thing Rose lacked that ensured she was safe from Azrael's hunger.  Honestly, it left him a bit conflicted.  The kind of confident air that the small one possessed was something that wasn't often borne by the undeserving, while the man with the weapon presented a more reliable opportunity for the kind of fights that Azrael preferred, in theory at least.  He needed to test his abilities, see just where he was at from a combat perspective.  There was a strong temptation to challenge them here, or at least one of them.  

He'd wait, for now.  At least until he got his questions answered.  Two on one was rarely fun even with good competitors anyways.  Maybe he'd try for a 'friendly spar' afterwards.  Now there was an alien thought.  Azrael hadn't had a 'friendly match' with someone since he was a teenager, and that was quite a long, long time ago.

While the strongest, broadest, and the gruffest of the group sauntered up less gangster style, even grinning like the wolf in sheep's clothing he was, Rose kept her nondescriptive walk. Her bare feet touched the hot sands of the desert, the scorching heat that they reflect from the sun's burning warmth did little to bother her. That with her dead gaze might bring about the idea that she was a simple zombie lumbering behind her master. Except her steps were boringly normal. Her walk, normal. Her stance, attractively straight, but also rather normal.

She came to a normal stop.

While very normal from afar though, she didn't appear to be especially normal to the others. The nineteen-year-old appearance was completed with a strange haircut of half her golden hair cut sharply and at an angle, not a bad one at that, while the rest of her hair touched the back of her knees. Two of the most extreme hairstyles, she must have just been interrupted in the middle? If so, it might be considered stranger that she did not go back to it or fix it yet.

As Azrael attempted to be friendly, she did nothing to even greet the two except acknowledge that they exist with eye contact. Her amber colored eyes glowing faintly to those who are most observant, but then she focused on what was just an empty spot. Keeping her attention vague and ambiguous.

"Aren't you going to introduce yourself?" Came Evan's voice from that spot, his hand on his hip.

"You said yourself, Evan, it is the gentleman's job to introduce a lady when in the presence of more people." Lilith echoed from beside her personally claimed 'gentleman's side.

"Generally, yes. But that is exceptionally harder when the..." he trailed off here to lift both his hands up to use air quotes. "... 'gentlemen' doesn't know her name. Unlike most people, your unsuspecting suitor generally asks for a name back." Evan lectured Lilith, before turning back to Rose. "I think you should take note of the surroundings though, my dear. After all, we have entered the domain of another hollow," he explained mysteriously and gestured to the horse that looked straight back at Rose.

Lilith screeched out in fear and used this as good of an excuse to duck behind Azrael, more out of want than a need.

"That horse?" Rose softly asked, in a dry monotoned voice. Only Evan understanding she was questioning if that was the hollow he was speaking of.

But it was the man with platinum locks that spoke. He didn't need the supernatural ability to see or feel Rose's hollowfication. "It's mine, miss Arrancar. A faithful steed."

His eyes were drawn to her the moment she appeared. He stared at her with a look not of lust, but the attention of a man who's found something very interesting to him. Though anyone could mistake it for the former if it weren't for the powerful mage beside him that new that look all too, well.

The mousey woman had also seen the gaping hole in the girl's chest. Medically it shouldn't exist. If it did exist, she should not exist. Even in the Omniverse, this was a strange occurrence, but not one she had not seen before. The eyes of the doctor slid over to her companions to secure her suspicions, and then back to the girl who ought to be dead. No, that's incorrect. She was dead, just not dead. Undead, like the zombie she mimicked on the hill. But very different. She was a spirit, the saddest of her kind.

And yet, one of the most powerful.

"Wait. That gruesome creature is yours!" Lilith cried in displeasure from behind one of Azrael's massive arms. She clung to the limp arm of his jacket, but with the barest of grips. She didn't want to wrinkle it and put on a bad impression. Especially after the trash that Evan said about her! "Gross." She ducked deeper into hiding.

Evan's glare chased her even further. "It's rude to call a peer 'gross', Lilith."

"I don't care! It's looking at me with its dead, cold eyes. At least Rose's moves... It's just watching me even from behind here."

Evan rolled his eyes very obviously. They landed on their host. "I wager that if he's throwing around words like Arrancar, I'd say he's a big deal. I can't imagine Akumu being happy with us if we were rude to someone like him." the man said as he watched Rose very carefully.

With that dangerously risky nudge, life swirled in the empty look as Rose's heart fluttered with admiration. Something that might alarm the man who'd seen nothing of the like from his traveling companion. She turned back to Serraph with a small smile that wasn't exactly meant for him. Toxico's blade was lower even closer to the sand as a clear sign of her guard lowering and she physically took small steps to face her new friend.

Then she froze, not knowing what to say to him at all. She panicked and glanced over at Evan.

"Your name, always start with your name."

"Rose." Her tone lifted as she announced to them all her name, as well as volume. Not so loud that she was yelling at him, but much louder than Azrael has ever heard her.

Evan shook his head and chuckled to himself. At least she was back on track. Perhaps this place, this... Omniverse, would break her of this spell the group had forced upon the girl. For now, he would confidently use Akumu as a tool to sway their host in the right direction.

"Serraph," he responded with a more comfortable smile. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Rose. Honestly, I am glad to find another hollow. Please, sit with us."

The man that introduced himself to her, motions for her to take a seat anywhere she'd like. If only because of there as no claim on any of this land.

The scorpion hollow came closer to him in particular. She stabbed the sands with the back end of Toxico and then fell to a sitting position beside her fellow Arrancar. Her knees together and her feet tucked behind her but not in a way that she sat on them. She placed her hands on her bare legs and her hips were just the slightest twisted for comfort and to further conversations.
ATTENTION: Lilith and Evan are
manifestations of Rose's broken
mind, please do not respond to
them unless you have Telepathy.

Base Stats:
Atk 4
Def 5
Spd 1
Tec 0
[Image: 6EAE58367061BD66264BC0B456C8D7BD3F2D9658]

The mouselike mage hid her immediate distrust of the pair of desert wanderers, the unnecessary brashness of the male and the reluctance of the woman seemed like total polar opposites. Of course it was of little consequence to the mage, how these two strangers maintained a relationship was none of her business.

Her small amber eyes looked on at the sitting arrancar, her appearance was not particularly one that the magus understood. The girl was barely covered at all. So far she has sensed little hostile intent from the woman called Rose, but for the one called Azreal there was a odd vibe the mage got, she was going to need to keep an eye on him, if not for her own sake but for Serraph’s as well.

The paper swordsman however seemed to have no issue with the eccentric duo, his gaze watched every movement with no scrutiny that the pintsized woman could see.

"If it is shelter and liquid that you wish to seek, The dunes are not a place for one so meek. Preparation is the key to a long life in this heat, succumb to the sun and you shall be beat." the rhyming tarutaru chided, her amber brown eyes danced in the firelight

"but an question was asked so answer shall be given, There are two places one may go to keep ones life for sure, the firs, the town with no name and the second Nippur." her words danced around the empty expanse as little more than an echo that was soon lost in the very sands.

The Mad Dog of Ikaruga responded quickly, a single eyebrow raised in question to the peculiar way the mage spoke but overall not all to much bothered by it. "So, in which direction is the nearest?"

The mouse-like mage didn't hesitate with her answer her staff dancing artistically in her hand as she shifted it around and pointed ahead in the direction she had been traveling before Serraph had snuck up on her.

"The town lacking a name is a bit closer if that is what you need, but the city of Nippur has more grandeur indeed."

Rose said nothing listening to the exchange, her eyes darting between the other three individuals. Unbeknownst to them she was listening and paying attention to Evan and Lilith

My, my, my

Wasn’t this the most interesting interaction Serraph has witnessed. Eyes of crimson flicked over to the small one, fully aware of what lay behind those honeyed words. Surely one of her age could see one of less quality demeanor without batting much of an eye. Serraph didn’t have that particular experience, yet. As close to humanity as she ever was, he was still so far away from understanding them. This in on itself intrigued the former Espada to no end.

The king’s servant rose his gloved hand to stifle a laugh, his eyes returning to the pair before him. What interesting things could Serraph learn from them? From Azreal, his confident demeanor paired with his flawless physique led the arrancar to assume a warrior out of him. Like a Greek god, each muscle seemed strong enough to snap the former Espada in two. Judging from his question, he must not be too familiar with how a Prime’s power operates. A prime could live out in the most inhospitable of environments on its own. Hunger and thirst become mere inconveniences to ones such as Serraph, Shantotto, and the two guests.

If they weren’t gods in this plane of existence, then they certainly were close.

His eyes fluttered over to the fellow Arrancar. Even if her actions so far hadn’t spoken for it, she too shared similar confidence in herself. It was clear as day to the king’s servant. Her clothing, or lack thereof, told him that she wasn’t afraid of people thought of her appearance, or perhaps her hierro was strong enough to withstand deadly blows. It couldn’t be the temperature. The endless dunes grew quite cold in the dead of night. A normal person would be suffering without such coverings. What intrigued Serraph most so far wasn’t Rose’s obvious beauty, nor was it the Zanpakuto that stuck from the ground near her. It was the blatant display of that mark that identified her as a Hollow, her hole. Many of Serraph’s generation distasted what they truly were, and took steps to conceal themselves. Alas, those were dark times where human dweller and Soul Society scum alike sought their destruction. Perhaps she came from another time.

“Now isn’t that food for thought”, he thought aloud, drawing the eyes of their guests. He grinned and let his hand fall from his lips, draping his arm across his knee. “The nearest place for you, is our home, Nippur. Do you wish to accompany us there?” Shantotto kept her mouth shut, but he knew he’d be getting an interesting talk later, one in which Serraph wasn’t curious to see. However, even the Magus knew of their King’s nature. He was a unifying force, able to gain respect, obedience, and, from some, even worship from those who wouldn’t give those particular things to another. Serraph was confident King Gilgamesh would accept these two potential allies.
"Mine eyes hath seen the glory of the presence of my Lord. He is sifting through the treasures in which his Gates of Wrath does store. He lets loose the righteous vengeance of his terrible swift swords. Gilgemesh has returned!"

It was quite an interesting situation, and an interesting pair of individuals too.  The small one actually spoke in rhyme.  It was curious, but frankly it still didn't hold a candle to the black blob that could barely speak at all.  He'd met plenty of eccentric individuals, a tiny mouse that spoke in rhyme was...interesting, but not noteworthy for that alone.  No it was her confident, unflappable air that was still the most interesting thing to Azrael.  If nothing else, even with the admonishment about arriving unprepared she still told him where the nearest towns were.  'The town with no name' sounded like a fun place.  It reminded him of something, although he couldn't really pin down what.  Something he'd seen long ago as a child, a relic from the old world before the Black Beast.  Although apparently Nippur was a more grand city, and then the other one spoke up, the one that for some reason reminded him of Rose.  The man seemed to be trying to convince them to go to this 'Nippur' apparently it was the home of both of these.  Interesting wording  'the nearest place for you.'  

Azrael lifted one of his hands, rubbing his chin as he considered the situation.  The man sounded like he wanted them to go to his own home.  Of course, he could always be pretending to be cooperative to try and kill them while they slept and take their belongings.  He didn't look like the man that would do that, but the best thieves and bandits could be pretty good actors.  They often had to be.  The immediate follow up question was: did Azrael even care?  It was a simple answer, not really.  If the man tried to betray them he would get to fight him.  Then again he could always try to fight him now.  Actually, given Serraph wanted them to travel with him, perhaps that could be used to Azrael's advantage.  Perhaps he might actually try to do something he had scarcely ever done before.  Ask someone for a "friendly" spar.

"Perhaps I will."  He replied, lowering his hand, giving another smile, it seemed to show a bit too much teeth.  "Although, if I could trouble you for something, I've been itching for a fight ever since I woke up at that fountain.  If we'll be traveling together, how about a...friendly match?  Really I just want a little help guaging where my ability lies.  It's a bit...different from what it used to be."  He was still being polite, but there was something strange here.  The words 'friendly match' seemed to come out like someone trying to speak a word in a foreign language, and there was an...air to him.  A strange, not quite oppressive aura, a feeling of near palpable excitement the moment he started trying to convince Serraph to engage with him, to entertain the Mad Dog with a fight.  It could be perceived as a bit threatening.  If one was more optimistic however, it might simply be taken as eagerness.  Serraph had already pinned Azrael as a warrior, and this would certainly confirm that notion, and oh he could hardly wait for Serraph's response.

"A friendly match?" The arrancar made no effort to conceal his curiosity on the matter, but glanced to the Tarutaru mage at his side in concideration. "I personally wouldn't mind a friendly spar, but I am not sure my companion would be all to grateful of it. I leave the decision to the little one."  

The answer only made Azrael's grin widen further as his eyes immediately slid over to Shantotto, staring at her as he waited for her to decide if Azrael would get to sate his appetite in at least some small way, or if she was going to be a spoil sport.  The mage seemed a touch disinterested, but she did still answer, "I don't have any qualms with you both enjoying a fight, just know if it gets out of hand you will feel my bite."

There it was, the confirmation that Azrael needed.  His head lowered as...rather unsettling laughter rang from his chest, deep and quick, and then suddenly he leaped backwards, body lifting off the ground and hurtling upwards as he distanced himself from the small camp that Serraph and Shantotto had set up.  He slammed back into the ground, resting in a squat, a good dozen or so meters away, give or take.  It would be impolite to just start fighting where the two women were sitting after all, so at least a little bit of distance was needed.  Slowly he straightened up, cracking his neck audibly as he waited for Serraph to walk over and get ready.  

Finally, a fight!  He couldn't take things as far as he usually did, he'd actually have to show some consideration for what his opponent could handle without serious injury, but by the same stroke?  It was a perfect situation to test out just what Azrael's new limits were, a friendly match right?  That meant Serraph would have to show a similar level of consideration.  Honestly Azrael wasn't sure it would bring the level of satisfaction and hunger that he usually got out of his battles, but there was that hope, and that anticipation was still thrumming through his body, turning that toothy grin downright feral as he waited to get started.

If his eyes hungrily absorbing her physic and mannerisms bothered Rose, she didn't show it. Admittedly she had a light behind her eyes she didn't before. In fact, she even showed her own simple smile as she tried to be friendly to someone who Evan has deemed worth their time. She looked as though she was waiting for him to invite her to tea, some residual manners creeping in from her time with Keyno, perhaps. Or maybe it was the fact that he radiated some kind of air that reminded her of a life beyond her broken mind.

The conversation of water, food, shelter... It just didn't cross her mind the way it did the ones around her. Azrael apparently more brains than Evan would give him, was thinking of survival. Not exactly in the same civilized way that a man like Serraph or like Shantotto would, but in a simple thought sort. He knew you needed water to survive in the dry desert lands. He understood that while this camp had its comforts of flame and company, one tended to need a roof and blanket. Much like cavemen sought out holes in the earth to keep them from dying like animals.

As the frosty air creeps into their souls, she seemed unfazed. If it was the heirro her fellow Arrancar hypothesized it to be, it was hard to tell. She did not shiver, shudder, or shake like a human did when they were cold. However, if one was brave enough to examine further, there are goosebumps all along her skin. Not much different than when she had met Keyno... Another mystery about her to unfold, but for now, it was her companion that had everyone's attention.

"And who wouldn't want to pay attention to him." Lilith sighed longingly as she touched the side of her warm face.

"How you can stand his arrogance, I'll never understand." Evan sighed with a shake of his head which sent his unique earring swinging.

Lilith turned her fire onto him once more in the form of a glare, but it was short lived because her desired man decided he wanted to fight the other hollow. This made Lilith's heart flip from admiration to a need to cheer him on, only for it to flop on its side into fear. He was a human after all, and if the fight with Keyno had any barring on her opinion of hollow vs human, it wasn't pretty. She bit her shaking lip, but couldn't find the words she wanted to shout to him the most.

As he leaped backward to make space for their spar, her heart squeezed tightly in her chest.

Evan's emerald eyes land on her with a subtle hint of concern. He sighed very loudly. "Please, Lilith. A man like that doesn't carry himself in such a confident way for nothing. I hardly can believe him a simple human." He rolled his back and folded his arms over his leather vested chest, taking a step closer to Toxico and Rose to watch. "At least try to like someone for a bit more than just an attractive body. Men are simple creatures of habit, not children to be watched over helplessly."

Lilith had enough of that, whipping around hard enough her strawberry hair is thrown into the cold air. "Well if some of you didn't act like nit-witted babies, I should think you wouldn't need fair maidens in your lives to clean up after you once you've had your tantrums!"

"Are you arguing that you are not only pure and fair but not guilty of throwing a fit when angered?" he tossed back at her, bored of these fights.

Heat flooded her face, turning Lilith red with rage and embarrassment. Her cheeks then puffed out as she tried to pretend to be bigger than him. It boiled inside her and eventually bubbled over. "I HATE YOUR FACE YOU STUPID BLOODY COCKALORUM!!" she screamed with all her being.

Rose who had been watching wordlessly while Serraph stood up, now turned her eyes on a particularly empty spot of desert with murderous intent. Her gold eyes' faint glow could be seen much easier in the evening light as she shot Lilith a killing glare. She stared intently at the pink colored fragment that had her outburst very close to them.

Lilith's mouth snapped shut, her cherry blossom pink lips curl into a clamp to show that she understood that it was her who displeased their host and that she didn't plan to defend herself. Like a child, the girl closed her fists around her dress's skirt and took a couple steps back before bowing her head like a hand-madien and her queen, shrinking back to stand next to the other mousey girl.

When Rose thinks she has gotten her point across, her face relaxed and a pleasant look settled in its place as she waiting to watch what would happen.

Evan hadn't meant to agitate the scorpion hollow, nor did he think Lilith meant to. However, he was left to force himself to relax and also get settled to absorb the information that the two men were about to display. It would be keen to understand the world they'd been sucked into a bit more. While Rose didn't particularly like tactics, his mind was already setting up a scoring system.
ATTENTION: Lilith and Evan are
manifestations of Rose's broken
mind, please do not respond to
them unless you have Telepathy.

Base Stats:
Atk 4
Def 5
Spd 1
Tec 0
[Image: 6EAE58367061BD66264BC0B456C8D7BD3F2D9658]

the bumbling muscle head and the paper swordsman were set to square off in a "friendly" match, of course Shantotto was once again on the sidelines, seemingly underestimated due to her short stature or perhaps it was her mouselike features. whatever it was the pint sized mage didnt dwell on it, rather she went and sat herself down next to Rose, whose stinger like sword was still stuck in the sands. she opened her mouth to say something however closed it when nothing came to mind. she was just going to have to watch and see what happened as it unfolded. a small ball of fire danced inbetween her fingertips as she watched the two fighters take up ready positions

As Marisa entered the portal to the Endless dunes she felt the blast of much too warm heat hit her as she sighed as she started to fly towards Nippur. And on her travels, she came across a odd group of people who seemed to be watching two people prepare to fight. Probably against her better judgement she landed near them as the sand was kicked up into a cloud around her. She began to cough as she waved her hand around to disperse the dust and sand. She walked up to one of the people and began to speak. "Hello, do you mind if I sat here for a few minutes before I head off to Nippur?" The witch asked the short woman as she pulled out her communicator and began to get recalled back to the city.

"If not that's fine, I just had a very interesting day today." The black and white witch said as she leaned on her broomstick stretching and enjoying the sun with her sack of stolen goods in tow it was a very successful day for her. Hearing her communicator buzz she picked it up before talking. "Nitori, where do you want the equipment for the Agriculture system?"

Nitori chuckled before replying. "Marisa just bring it to your house, i'm just finishing up the papers to fire the people who worked for me. Plus it isn't like you have to return to Coruscant anytime soon, they don't have jurisdiction over anywhere besides maybe the Vasty Deep's but even then it's not a complete hold on the verse."

Marisa slightly nodded as she continued to talk to the cucumber eater. "I understand your concern, but it's fine i'll deal with this alone." She smiled as she talked. "Yea, i'll be over there in a few minutes don't you worry Nitori, don't worry."

Looking over at the tiny woman she spoke directly towards her. "Oh sorry, the name's Marisa Kirisame. what is your name?"
                                            [Image: tenor.gif?itemid=10243242]
"While shooting concentrate your mind, gently muttering the spell to the Mini-Hakkero. Aiming at someone you don't like, a magicannon of love will be unleashed!"

Serraph stroked idly at his chin as the muscle bound fighter took his position, ready for the bout he desired so. The Arrancar, however wasn’t as enthusiastic about this fight as Azreal and such took the time to analyze him and reflect on the encounters of the past. Serraph was a decent fighter, even if many of his battles resulted in a loss. His success in Dante’s Abyss was created through his synergy with that Uchiha boy. When such synergy was broken, he was left a broken mess on the field of battle. He was burned alive, crushed by heavy rocks, and beaten down, and impaled by the most unique of combatants.

The more he stared the man down, the more he realized such a fight would likely end the same way. The warrior’s physique alone could strike Serraph down with but a couple of lucky strikes. The odds were not in the Arrancar’s favor, so why bother with this combat? The pale man laughed and turned to return to his seat. Azreal relaxed his stance, a befuddled look plaguing his face.

“What?”, Azreal queried, taking a step towards the group. “Changing your mind? Don’t rob me of this. I’ve been waiting for a good fight. I was patient…”

Serraph sat down and poked at the flames of the campfire with his blade. “You’ll not be satisfied with one such as I as well as the others here.” The King’s servant glanced up at him with a bit of coyness flashing in his violet eyes. “You won’t be satisfied with the people of Nippur, either. I recommend finding your fight elsewhere.”

Steve, the horse, nickered in delight of Azreal’s expense. He made his amusement known with the pounding of his flaming hooves against the sandy ground of the campsite. The way the horse seemed to garner the attention of those around him always made Serraph chuckle. The lack of care and respect to the new warrior was clearly visible in the horse’s eyes. It's whinnys taunted the man in a way Serraph did not expect.

“You’ll do well to teach your Horse some manners, paper man.”, Azreal growled, his fist clenched to cope with his building anger.

Serraph merely laughed and slapped at his knee. “Ha. No. It is you who needs to learn respect. Sleipnir once carried the ‘God’ Odin upon his back. If anything, you should be prostrating yourself before his mighty majesty. He is a bit vane, so if it’s respect you want, then appeal to that aspect~”

Azreal took a deep breath and turned to walk away from the campsite, scaling the dune that dwarfed them all. Steve nickered and bucked his head to make his amusement known, bringing a smile to the Arrancar’s face.  Before long, Azreal was gone, but then again, so was Shantotto. He blinked idly then sighed. Time anomalies were rough. Everyone experiences time in this realm a bit differently than most, but usually the difference is hardly noticeable.

 "Hm? Friend?" Rose glanced about her with a noticeable confusion before shrugging in a most nonchalant manner. Serraph chuckled to himself and shook his head. It was a pleasant surprise surely.
"Mine eyes hath seen the glory of the presence of my Lord. He is sifting through the treasures in which his Gates of Wrath does store. He lets loose the righteous vengeance of his terrible swift swords. Gilgemesh has returned!"

"You're just going to let him walk away!?" Lilith cried out, outraged!

"Obviously he's leaving on his own accord," Evan responded.

"What about the friendship!?" Lilith added.

But by then, Rose herself had said something. "Hm? Friend?"

Rose's golden locks shifted, easily mimicking the sands they sat among. Between winds and side-winder rattlesnakes, there was an ingrained image the dunes usually settles into. A pattern of waves that zig-zag like an ocean frozen in time. However, if you looked away for long enough, the pattern always changes to be different. Her hair didn't tumble, just moved. Her head was not shaking, just looking around as if trying to find someone more specific that she would call a friend. Never looking specifically towards the vanishing shadow that was Azreal in the distance.

She only considered one entity in existence as her friend. He saved her from loneliness as well as aimlessness. He called her friend, too. One of the first things they did was confirm this. However, as much as Keyno would love for her to think longingly of him, the good doctor could not have been further from her mind. That was the man who took her in, tried to cloth her - failed but did indeed tried, they sipped tea and at some point, she was fond of him. But like the muscular man with the gruff and rough mannerisms. He was lost to the sands of time, and absent of her conscious memory. Perhaps one day she would even remember the wolfish man.

When Serraph chuckled it took to hold her attention. Her amber-colored eyes looked of warm honey as the fire's light reflected from them. It gave her emotionless gaze a bit of environmental warmth. More so than the discovery that he was like her. More importantly, the Arrancar was like him.

Akumu wasn't the most imposing figure she's ever met. She has indeed come across a few. However, looks were constantly deceiving. While her Nexus companion couldn't see what was right in front of her, Serraph could at least comprehend it a bit. The light absorbing hold in her chest was a poetic and easy way to decide what brand of creature she was. Hollows always had holes, as if god liked the simplistic of obvious features. Akumu had his somewhere on him, as did the one sitting right next to her. Hidden by clothing while her's was out on display for any old omniversian to see. Some may think she clever because the holes have and do leave mortals with a twisted up pallet and vile in their throats. But with just a bit of observation of this young girl, it's easy to say she just doesn't think about it. If indeed, she was even aware of it.

When simply hollows get strong enough, they have the urge to rip off their masks. Depending on how long they can hold out does have some bearing on their next stage. Because she looked convincingly human he may be inclined to believe she was able to hold out a perfectly long amount of time. As most Imperfect Arrancar do not wear untouched forms... Her mask's remnants lay across her collar bone, jagged like a piece of bone jewelry she may have picked up in Africa or simply from some shop in the mall. However, there were no strings, and it moved with her breathing.

If anything could define her imperfection without him asking and she possibly answering. It was the chitin bra-bikini armor set she wore. Also lacking any observatory strings or clips, the dark purple - which appeared black in the dark - pieces had a plate pattern in the smallest details which allowed her to breathe without any trouble. But so did being a Prime, or just being here. Where omniphysics fix just about everything.

Also, what looked like black wax, or burns. Specifically on her left cheek, as if pulling the mask off early has left permanent damage to her skin. If that was indeed what happened or not, it was hard to tell. Primarily because the girl before him no longer remembered.

Lilith's full-lipped mouth fell open like a carp's as she heard Rose. "Are you serious!?" her outrage continued.

"Would you kindly stop screeching?" Evan asked, finally having enough. "If you would like to see how you fair better with him, then be our guest Woman." his politeness always takes a step back with her.

The pink-haired girl looked like she hurt in more ways than one as she tensed up. Her face went red with anger and her eyes moistened as if she'd cry. Then without warning, she turned hard and began to stomp away from the group. "I WILL!!" she claimed.

Evan watched from his standing position as the fancily dressed girl chased after the boy she was simply infatuated with...

"She will be back by morning... Watch." he finally grunted, and twisted to take his place across from the fire. He fell with a heavy thud, but no sand dispersed from his seat. Then wrapping his arms behind his head, Evan fell back. As a final motion, he crossed his left leg over his right. As if comfortable. "I'm going to take a quick nap, so please wake me up before we leave Rose."

"Sleep?" Rose asked, looking at Evan's lounging position.

Leaving Sarraph to interpret however he chose.

"That is indeed why we rested... Nippur is a few days away on foot, and while it is important we get back to King Gilgamesh, I fear I will be of no use to him if I arrive doggish and exhausted. We will have plenty of time to talk on the way so why don't we bed down for the night?" Serraph finished with a small nod, one that Rose couldn't help but copy. It showed enough agreement that the royal member of New Babalon believed she understood and began to get comfortable. Sleep finding him rather fast.

Rose watched with disinterest as he did, and then turned back to see Evan has already fallen asleep as well. With nothing but the horse to keep her company, Rose rolled over to hug Toxico and protect her face from the sandy winds until the morning light.
ATTENTION: Lilith and Evan are
manifestations of Rose's broken
mind, please do not respond to
them unless you have Telepathy.

Base Stats:
Atk 4
Def 5
Spd 1
Tec 0
[Image: 6EAE58367061BD66264BC0B456C8D7BD3F2D9658]

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