Price for a Life
Somewhere within the Torrential Lands were the Dragon Plains, a large stretch of land that embodied the whimsical nature of what was to the Coven known more precisely as the Animal Realm. Ever changing and shifting, they were at present a large forest with trees formed of immaculate crystal formations, yet retaining all the details expected. Soon the environment would change again, but to what was a question few could answer aside from the dragons themselves.
It was in these serene surroundings that the man who'd slain Shunsui found himself. Stumbling out from a blinding flash of green light, the Sorcerer grinned at the thought at what he had accomplished, during his lifetime he'd taken the lives of both a Kido Corps Commander and now the Captain-Commander himself. He'd surely be remembered for the coming ages for these feats.
However, while he was praising his most recent act of murder, he saw from the corner of his eye two feminine figures who stood a few paces from him. Whirling around to face them, prepared to destroy them if he had to, his eyes opened wide as his gaze met theirs, cold dread worming in his stomach. For the two women were none other than the spirits of Shunsui Kyōraku's Zanpakutō, Katen Kyōkotsu. He'd never actually seen them before, but he knew this with great certainty, and as if to confirm so, the taller woman extended a hand and pointed at his chest.
It was in that moment that Shunsui's last act came into effect, however late it might be. Nobu fell forward on his knees as numerous bleeding wounds appeared all over his body, with his chest finally splitting apart to reveal a deep stabbing wound that appeared out of nothing. Finally, the killing blow was reproduced upon Nobu, although not perfectly. His right hand and shoulder abruptly began to petrify and turn to black stone, which then began to crumble away as the sorcerer grounded his teeth in great agony. Soon, his entire right arm was encased and then it shattered away into nothing, erased from existence. Without that bit of support, Nobu fell to the ground, coughing up a viscious black sludge of cursed blood and bile.
"D-damn you.. Kyōraku Shunsui!" The man wheezed out while he crawled around, struggling to get up and failing miserably. All he could do was ensure his survival, and so he did by turning his body to stone through magic and then mending his own body as he lay there. But try as he might, while he might close the wounds, the damage was still done and his arm was irreversibly lost.
"My my.." Said a man, who even Nobu despite what had recently just happened, could hear slowly walking up. "I dunno what just happened, or how I got here, but in front of me; is the man who killed Head-Captain Kyōraku." The brown-haired ebony, who was addressed as Captain Yamakge, stood before a greatly injured Nobu. "And to actually think I'd get the chance at you while you are half-assed." Ishihara leaned aganst a nearby tree.
The Captain's body was surrounded by his unique and dense reiatsu. "Kyōraku tried his best in your duel. He fell, and even in death, he tried taking you out." The ebony began to chuckle, "Hahaha, that's Kyōraku for you. Before you meet your demise, and yes I mean your downfall because I do plan on crushing you with every fiber of my being, I have a question. Why's the Coven moving the way it's moving? What was your true reasoning for challenging Captain Kyōraku in a duel? You see I'm curious, and I'm sure that bit of information would even spark something in the brain of Dragan."
So, the foe that had been sent to the Torrential Lands along with him was this curious man, was it? Very well, this might prove to be a boon after all. Ishihara Yamakage, that was the man’s name, this he knew because once he’d been apart of the Kidou Corps, and few in Soul Society did not know that name. Beyond that, Nobu had taken steps to familiarize himself with his victims to be, he surmised that given Ishihara’s abilities, this should prove a simple fight to win under ordinary circumstances. Lightning was the Founding Captains primary element of choice, and fortunately for Nobu, such an element was easily dealt with by one whose specialty lied in earth-based magic.
As if to emphasize this point, the sorcerer stood up; the worst of the pain and injuries having passed for now. He could bear the remainder, his left hand balled into a fist, he may have been crippled by Shunsui’s Bankai, but he could put up a fight regardless of his physical state. Invoking the aspects of the ground beneath them, and of the earth all around them, Nobu Kageyama’s skin turned to pitch black, like obsidian. This was the power of the Sorcerer’s personal defensive spell, Chikyū no Tate, turning his body to match the element of earth while still allowing the man to move perfectly and unimpeded.
Nobu’s preliminary spell was complete, and only then did he think about answering the Captain. “It seems you’ve made a grave error already, whole or crippled, awake or asleep; there is no way you can win against me.” Kageyama was not the one to make idle threats, it would appear that he genuinely thought that little of the Captain. But then his face split into a grin.
“Still, in my sorry state, fighting you might just be the challenge I’ve been craving. Aside from his last attack, your so-called Captain-Commander proved to be a pushover, I’ll crush you here to stave off my boredom. At least endeavor to make your last struggle interesting, that way I ‘’might’’ just remember you.” With that, Nobu wove another spell into existence, causing massive slabs of bedrock to extricate themselves from the very ground and rise up into the air, where they dispersed into innumerable daggers of smooth black stone, magical in origin and immensely dense and heavy. Through the power of his magic, these shards levitated and surrounded the entire airspace around Kageyama and Ishihara, and their primary purpose was to greatly restrict mobility through the use of Shunpo, for utilizing high-speed movements under these circumstances would likely result in a most embarassing death.
With some precautions in place, Nobu spoke again: “As for why we’re pursuing the matter in this particular way, I am certain you already have an inkling. Truthfully, if you cannot figure it out then your acclaimed sense of strategy and intelligence must’ve been highly overstated.”
Ishihara, after watching Nobu's clash with Shunsui, knew that his opponent's magical prowess were on par with no one he knew. Within just a few short moments, without a single command, Nobu had encased himself with the components of the earth right before Ishihara's eyes. Soon after, another spell, one that surrounded the two. "A dome of "spikes". A movement precaution. Clever." The captain thought to himself as he looked around without having to move his head.
There was a moment, where Ishihara had to deeply refer to Nobu's skills. "He can do anything. Quite literally. Then to make matters even worse, it can be done instantly." From the tip of Ishihara's blade a strand of electricity traveled towards one of the many spikes surrounding them. Then from the single spike, it jumped to another, then another, then another, and before long it was like a spider web made of lightning within the interior of the dome; in short a Lightning Web. "I'll go into stage one of armor." The dense reiatsu around Ishihara began to condense, and merge with his body.
"Even with ya' difficult way of talkin', you still look over common sense. If I an inkling, I wouldn't be asking, amirite?" Ishihara responded.
The Coven's Sleeping Dragon
So, his opponent was unable to grasp the intricacies of their leaders actions, this was useful knowledge for it revealed a simpler mind than he had at first expected. Evidently this Ishihara was a man of limited intelligence, Nobu had no idea why the other man believed that he might get a truthful answer from an enemy, but it confirmed his hypothesis if nothing else.
"Indeed. It seems I may have overestimated you, whatever your methods, they are not your concern. Now then, I believe this is the moment where you get your act together and try to avenge your fallen Captain-Commander."
Kageyama watched as electricity danced amidst the levitating shards of stone, forming a vague cage of lightning around the crippled sorcerer. It was an impressive display, but one that would amount to nothing, as Nobu extended his sole remaining hand and called upon the Aspects of Earth, as the lightning discorpoated and fizzled out of existence, drawn down to the earth and spread evenly across its surface. With a casual gesture, the mage had neutralized the cage of lightning by drawing upon the natural relations of the two opposing elements of Lightning and Earth.
But it wasn't a simple spell, he had in fact awakened the earth around them and thus, within this local area, Ishihara would find that any attempts at manipulating lightning proved increasingly difficult. As it'd seek to slip out of his grasp and escape to the ground as its natural course was, ongoing effects would weaken and eventually diminish and attacks would lose much in potency.
"Your exploits precede you, Ishihara. As does your favorite method of attack, lightning. I would be a fool not to take my precautions given my knowledge of you."
With his preparations complete, he couldn't believe that his adversary had actually allowed him to dominate the surrounding to this degree without pressuring him. Oh well, time to show the man the price of his idiocy, mumbling forth a spell of earth; four immense pillars of enchanted stone, rock and earth emerged around Ishihara and then swiftly attempted to crush him from all directions at once. Even as Kageyama's hand wove sigils, glyphs and arcane gestures into the air with blinding speed, it was difficult to see where one spell ended and another spell began.
But it all came together as the four pillars turned into eight slithering eastern dragons that attempted to crush the man with relentless attacks, like eight weaving bands of destruction that sought to rip, tear and crush at his body. Now that both his speed and his lightning had been compromised, Nobu assumed he would survive, he hoped so, in fact, but if this was enough then he obviously wouldn't be worth playing with.
Either Nobu lacked common sense, or was completely deprived of it. Even then, Nobu was not combat ill. In the matter of moments, Ishihara's own lightning web had fallen down beneath the earth and spread across the field. "Falling down? Some sort of rod I suppose?" The dark-skinned captain thought to himself going on to bite his lip. "Oh my. Tha' only weakness I was afraid to face... Earth. This'll actually be tougher even if you're one handed."
Next, four pillars grew from the ground he stood on, all aiming at Ishihara from four different directions. North, East, South, and West. Leaping straight forward, heading straight for Nobu himself, he drew his sword. "Amaterasu Kata..." He stated softly lowering his body falling prey to Earth's gravity. "Huh?" The captain question, after being able to literally hear the movement of the dragons as they ripped through the winds, and their target was next to be ripped through.
The first dragon came from Ishihara's rear end, and possibly his most blind spot. Lifting himself back upwards, with a simple side dash, he was able to evade a behind attack. Literal seconds later a second came swooping through splitting the winds apart with it's eye only on Ishihara. It was aimed for his left side, which so happened to be the direction he decided to dash to inorder to evade the first dragon's attack. "What the." He thought to himself as preformed the same action as he did earlier, falling down to Earth's ground evading his attacker just by the nick of hair. The scales of the dragon however managed to rip through his haori shredding the kanji for "fifth" apart.
The onslaught wasn't over just yet. Soon, meeting him face to face, would be another one of Nobu's created creatures attempting to clash with him head on. "Hiraishin." Bringing his blade in an upwards slashing movement, he smashed his Zanpakutō up against the chin of the celestial being, with enough force to even breath through a building.
Regaining his composure, he held his Zanpakutō out in front of him and began to spin it rapidly. Placing his foot behind the other he too began to spin. So, not only had his blade been spinning, but so was he. "Bakudō #39. Enkōsen!" His blade became engulfed in a yellow energy, that looked visually similar to that of a disk. Pouring his reiatsu out into his blade made the defense of the mid-ranked kidō all the more stronger. By covering himself with his reiatsu as well, he was able to by extension create a barrier around himself utilizing the kidō.
"Seems like you aren't a Captain for nothing, evading my attack so effectively. I'm glad, had that been enough to defeat you I would've left you here to die, weaklings aren't worthy to die by my hand."
It wasn't lost on Nobu how Ishihara didn't appear to want to counterattack, was he looking down on him? Mocking him silently, or was he simply too overwhelmed to think about launching an offensive of his own? No matter, Kageyama would deal with him regardless. Extending his remaining hand, the Sorcerer drew several shimmering circles of orange spiritual energy into the air in front of him, as he wove a succession of two spells in concert, gritting his teeth at how slow the process was due to only having that single arm.
The first spell was an alteration of the failed earth dragons, as he caused their bodies to change form and mass in an instant; each of them, including those apparently destroyed earlier and those who the other man managed to avoid by chance turned into a large amount of spiritually-enriched mud, that whirled around Ishihara's body and attempted to bury him, converging from all different directions at once. Whereupon they would immediately harden into full petrification, hopefully suffocating and immobilizing him, leaving him an easy target for Nobu's follow-up spell.
"Hadō #86, Hachitoge!"
Four enormous spears of stone and rock extricated themselves from the bedrock, leaving massive gaping holes in the ground as they levitated up into the air and assumed position, with all four spears pointed at Yamakage. Then, with a single gesture from Nobu Kageyama they plunged downwards with enough force to cause the very earth to tremble, split open and quake, even as they sought to grind the Captain's bones and flesh into fine dust!
Leaping about aimlessly attempting to dodge the grasp of the eight dragons, Ishihara began to think how he'd get out of this current predicament. "One spell after another with this guy. Geesh." Completely caught off guard from the front, one of the eight dragons smashed against Ishihara, and pushed him backwards. Pushing his backwards wasn't all that happened. Utilizing one of his arms in attempts to block the dragon's attack, a crack sound could be heard. "Shit.." He pouted under his breath to the pain he suffered from that last attack her took. "A single attack fracture my forearm. Had I not poured out my reiatsu as armor at the last moment, I woud've been a goner."
Admiring living the attack was short lived, as he quicky brought his sword to his back, he was able to deflect the attack from his rear but being distracted by one allowed him to be caught by another.
"Oh, I know you didn't think that would take me down, Nobu-san." Trying to create a conversation proved futile, cause just like he said it was one spell after another with his opponent. Within the short time span of being wrapped up by the dragons, Nobu unleashed another spell which caused the Earth to cough up four extremely large spears of stone into the air, dangling over Ishihara aimed right for him from above. If Ishihara were to risk allowing himself to get hit from direct contact, he would surely not walk out of the situation whole.
"Being on the defense ain't doing me no good. There's no reason why a man with one fuckin' arm should have me on the ropes, and if the dragons are the ropes, this would be quite literally." All that thinking consumed time, and before Ishihara knew it, the stone spears had been falling over him at great speeds. In a matter of seconds, the stone spears would connect with the surface and great somewhat of an explosion, kicking up the debris into the air. While to two average beings, debris kicking up would divert sensory capabilities great, but to two warriors who were both war veterans, a little dust was nothing but a spec.
"Renge Senkō." Amongst the debris Ishihara's voice could be heard and had Nobu listened a bit closer he could here it a bit more vivid than anyone else, had someone been around of course. Standing back to back with Nobu nearly touching each other Ishihara stood swinging his blade towards Nobu's side with great speed, force, and precision all in one.
Ishihara was shown completely unharmed, and it was safe to assume it was because of the technique he'd just recited, "Amaterasu Kata — Renge Senkō." It was perfect timing. Ishihara used his limited shunpo usage, as well as the functionality of Renge Senkō to evade the collision of the stone spears, to appear within the shadow of Nobu. It was risky indeed, but a move like that at this moment would be completely unaccounted for and Ishihara was all about taking chances. With that, it also placed him within the range of Nobu, up close and personal. A way of fighting, a swordsman like himself was all about, and mage like Nobu wanted to prevent by all means.
"Roar." He added, as he swung his sword and it began to spark violently with electricity.
The Titan of Earth
Nobu was about to begin another spell when his eyes widened at the realization that Ishihara had managed to not only avoid his spellwork but had even succeeded in sneaking up behind him. Hadn't it been for Shunsui's last act of defiance, this much would've been a simple matter to defend against but in his current state, his body was too weak, his mind was in a state of hysteria and his reflexes were dullen. So when he heard Ishihara's voice call out the command for his Zanpakuto, he rushed away in an effort to avoid it, but Ishihara's blade was after and it struck him in the back; followed by a veritable roar of lightning, that sounded like a raging dragon born of thunder and storms.
The Sorcerers entire body was then engulfed in a raging torrent of lightning, that tore at his earthen armor and threatened to overcome it despite the defenses he'd put in place. It reverbated across the land, destroying numerous enchanted pieces of rock in its wake, and leaving the earth beneath them scorched and cracked. Once Ishihara's attack subsided, the man still stood, for his earthen armor had managed absorb the attack by a narrow margin.
"So you're not all bark, are you. Good, I hoped you would at least give me a challenge. I'll show you the difference between the two of us, Captain Ishihara."
With that, Kageyama took to the skies, and as he ascended a massive portion of the surrounding earth and ground rose into the sky, emerging like four tendrils of soil, rock and dirt that converged upon the sorcerer's position from four directions at once, encasing him within an enormous brown sphere. Locked away within the embrace of the earth, Nobu formulated a spell, he thought about statues, mountains moving like people and the greatest warriors of yore. Then he allowed the sphere to descend back to the earth, where it crashed down with the force of a meteor, causing the land to break apart and ripple outwards in towering waves of rubble, soil and stone, waves which sought to bury and destroy Ishihara in one fell swoop even as he was confined to the ground, boxed in by innumerable levitating shards of enchanted stone.
And from the crater left by the wake of Nobu's attack, an enormous figure emerged, a massive hand of stone broke the cloud of dust, and a titanic black blade split the earth underneath it in half as an enormous colossus of earth stood tall above Ishihara. So tall that it blocked out the rays of the sun and brought shadow to a large portion of the forest. Before Yamakawa's eyes the titan's mouth cracked open as it spoke in a rumbling voice that resembled that of Nobu if only much deeper.
"Behold the power of a Sorcerer, Captain. We stand above you, take this moment to beg your Head-Captain for forgiveness for you will be unable to avenge him in your pitiable state."
With the destruction of the earth spikes came roaming space. Utilizing the Shinigami's signutare shunpo, he removed himself from his former position to a new one quite the distance away. The ground at which the two combatants once stood had been caved in, thanks to Nobu's sorcery-like shenanigans. Yamakage wouldn't be in awe for too long. The bright sun the once shined over the two, would soon be covered by the colossal titan of earth created by Nobu. "He's extremely weakened, I could tell from that last blow. That wasn't even from my shikai at it's full potential. Despite that though... he can pull off shit like this."
"I know, you've told me my power is not a fluke more than twice. I'm starting to actually believe it now. You too though. Going all Komamaru on me and stuff.. Wow, that was not a comparison I should have made. Either way..." The captain left his sentence open ended. He lifted his sword and brought it out in front of himself horizontally. "As the day shines bright, I call upon the clouds..."
Clouds would begin to form within the skies. The sun became swallowed up by this white cotton, and Nobu's titan structure looked as though it's head could layup against them. A strike of lightning crashed against the ground in the gap between the two warriors, and as it did the resonating sound of thunder clap upon collision. "Cover the sun from shining, and roar over the heavens!" A final strike of lightning channeled its way through clouds just barely missing the head area of the titan. However, instead of colliding with the ground it's target was Ishihara himself. The contact from this bolt wasn't like the last, it was much more impactful kicking up tons of debris into the air. Bringing out a scale would literally allow one to weigh the wind.
Slowly the debris cleared, and Ishihara stood. His body had gained some new physical electrical features. From his back, he'd know grew wings constructed of electricity. On his back, was a hood the took the shape of a dragon's head. In his hand that was once free, a Zanpakutō nearly identical to the one he'd beem using prior, shined from the reflection of the sun. This new form was unique, and Nobu stood up against something he had no idea about. But those within the Gotei 13 knew very well. This was Captain Yamakage's true shikai, Amatsu Tenrairyu.
"These next blow will decide this battle."
The Roaring Dragon, and the Titan's Falls
Reaching to his back to lift the electrical dragon-shaped hoodie over his head, Ishihara headed straight for Nobu's titan form. Ishihara opened his mouth and let out a monsterous roar, something that one would have never believed would come from the lungs of a soul reaper. It was literally thunderous as a thunderbolt struck down, making direct contact with Nobu's new form. It was as though the roar came from a dragon itself. Like Ishihara's soul and spirit had been pinned against it's will and now owned by said mythical being. A hypothesis soon to be proved true.
Amatsu Tenrairyu, the shikai that literally honed the spirit of a thunder dragon. So powerful that even a being with hundreds of years of training with it, would still be incapable of controlling it's power. Same case for Ishihara. Amatsu Tenrairyu is so powerful that it's power...