"I. Really. Hate. this. Why does this HAVE to happen within THIS city in particular, can't it be somewhere else?!"
"The tree feeds on human blood Vali." Xun Er responded with a sigh as she and the rest of the group traveled via flight back to Uminari City to hopefully, stop Urizen from activating this so-called 'Qlippoth Tree'. Though, each of them held no delusions about this likely being a foolish endeavor. Though she couldn't say she didn't share in his frustrations, but this could be considered similar to a wounded animal situation, one where the blood from the animal's injury from a previous incident would attract predators to it. "Furthermore, thanks to the previous Lich King incident all those years ago, Uminari City's supernatural defences aren't as powerful as they are in other cities. Therefore, the enemy just used this city in it's weakened state to his advantage."
Vali had to groan at that as his Divine Dividing flapped a couple times, looking ahead towards the city whilst ignoring the fact that he was carrying Siegfried by his armpits towards the city. As much as he hated this situation, this actually went in line with the true nature of the supernatural world that Vali had seen. Those with power taking advantage of weakness to exploit it for their own personal gains… It was a sickening practice, but a common one. An example being… Nanoha, and her loved ones. Glancing over to her, the silver haired teen saw that she hadn't done her hair back into her signature ponytails yet, something which made him realize just how focused the Magical Girl was as she flew through the air Via FLIER FIN. "Well, whatever…" Vali eventually admitted with a sigh, wanting to palm himself in his mask-covered face but the weight he currently carried wouldn't let him. There wasn't much point in complaining at this point anyways, he just had to deal with the situation at hand effectively. "Right now we stop the tree before it produces the fruit, who knows what will happen if that stray devil eats it."
"... alright lets st-?! Shit!"
"Oh no! We're too late!"
As the group neared Uminari City, they saw that they were too late, as in the city centre, one could see a MASSIVE tree-like structure currently growing upwards towards the skies. Not to mention there were these LONG and large roots spreading through the city as well. One could guess what they were doing.
Xun Er paled considerably when she saw this, her fears slowly looking like they would be coming true as she gripped her arms like she were shuddering from the cold air that brushed past her during this flight. "No... no, no , no! This is bad! That fucker Urizen must've planted when we were unconscious!"
Seeing the same thing the rest of them, Vali's face turned pale too, especially when he saw how fast the Tree was growing. However, that soon turned into fury as his face reddened from the wrathful flames that exploded within his chest. "GGGAAAAHHH! WHERE THE FUCK ARE THOSE DAMN USELESS GODS WHEN THIS HAPPENS?!" He raged, wanting to break into an almost frenzied rant at just how useless these so-called 'Gods' were at keeping their lands safe from harm.
"There's no time Vali we have to-WOOOAAAHHH INCOMING!"
This time it had been Siegfried who had said something, but before he could finish something began to emerge from the buildings and streets below, as the group neared the city's borders, something which had tried to launch a sneak attack via a form of spit that Siegfried had sliced apart with one of his Demonic Swords to block: multiple creatures that resembled ants, with small abdomens though some of them looked to have swollen into a reddish color (everyone had a good hunch as to what that was), and large heads equipped with long pincers. On closer inspection, however, they looked to possess three distinct human faces, two fleshy and with glowing eyes, either side of a central face with hollow eye sockets and an exposed jaw with sharp teeth that is incorporated into the creature's mandibles. Then, there was what appeared to be vestigial human hands can be seen on their forelimbs, and feet on their rear limbs. They also possess a tiny pair of functionless feathered wings on their back.
"(GIRLISH SCREAM)! WHAT ARE THOSE DISGUSTING THINGS?!" Xun Er shrieked like a female victim in a horror movie, her disgust plainly evident to see whilst the rest of them looked grossed out at the creatures. Meanwhile Albion soon began to explain the creatures' identities.
"Shit, looks like the 'workers' have come out to harvest. Be wary, those are called 'Empousa', a species of demonic Ants which have a symbiotic relationship with the Qlippoth Tree. Just consider them 'gardeners' or 'workers' which help gather additional human blood. Fortunately, these guys are not particularly capable of combat: they are slow, weak, and only attack sporadically. If left alone, they will seek out any deposits of blood on the ground and drain them, filling their abdomens as you can see with a few of them. In this state they will often attempt to escape from combat entirely to return the blood to the Qliphoth, tunneling into even the hardest ground and slipping away."
"GRRRR OUT OF MY WA-"
[Stop boy! You can't use combustion while in air if you do then that Stray Devil will notice before speeding up the situation, find somewhere to land where it can't see you!]
"He's right Vali, as much as I would LOVE to finish this quickly, we can't take any chances if Urizen produces the fruit quickly, and we can't risk the humans that are dying left and right!"
"...GRRRRRRRR! FINE LET'S GO!"
By the time that they did find a street that they could land on, Vali and the others began making their way through it with the intent of getting to the Tree.
Unfortunately, they couldn't make much progress due to so many roots surfacing from the ground beneath them to strike at their beings like the Tree KNEW that they were specific threats to its existence. Furthermore, those Empousa kept coming out of the ground and buildings to halt their progress. "These fucking roots are appearing left and right! For the love of Gods, how can that tree produce this more quickly?!"
"The Qlippoth is a dangerous tree, Vali. Like I said before it must be Satan's blood whether that is true or not, now stop acting like a brat and focus on the situation!"
Albion's yell at him at the end there made Vali's form tense after he used [Astalos] to hack apart another Empousa that had tried to kill his ass, the last one of this recent wave. "#Huff…#huff… alright I'm calm, I just wish that life isn't complicated like this." The white-haired Hybrid remarked in annoyance, something which his Tenant could agree with whilst Vali sheathed his twin swords Devil Arm.
As he did this, Nanoha looked over to the rest of them, having dismissed the gun which she had formed to shoot down the enemy from afar. Since she needed to get used to this 'Sacred Gear' thing, especially the fact that she HAD one, Nanoha wanted to get some practice in. However, this wasn't what she had in her priorities right now. "Hey guys have you seen any humans, yet? Because I haven't been seeing anyone left and right this whole time."
When she brought this up, waves of surprise, confusion and concern swept through the group as realization dawned on them. "... you're right Nanoha I'm not seeing many civilians here." Siegfried remarked, searching around left and right with one of his swords held over his shoulder like a Gangster.
"Maybe they must've fled or something. Oh! It must be the Shinto Gods."
"Nanoha, if the Gods can help us, then why are they not handling the situation?!"
"Alright lets st-... What the hell is that!?"
During the fighting, the Group talked before they reached a long bridge, one which sounded like it had been filled to the brim with Empousa. Whilst the group managed to fight their way across the said Bridge and then carry on along it, they soon reached a bit of a… blockade, that barred their path. One which took the form of saw multiple roots there swinging around and in the middle was a massive red flesh that was sticking out which disgusted them.
"Hah! Looks like you're in luck, children!"
However, Albion sounded like he had found a truckload of treasure, much to Vali's internal dismay. "Wha? What do you mean by luck?! We are in front of a disgusting thing like THIS!" The male exclaimed whilst glancing behind him at his Wings as if that would make the Dragon realize that Vali was looking right at him when he yelled that.
"Because partner, that thing is a root! Human blood is concentrated in the Qliphoth's root system in bulging red structures referred to as "Blood Clots," which provide nourishment for nearby roots: without this supply, the roots can't send the blood to the Qlippoth which means that Stray Devil can't even produce the fruit!"
"Ohh…" Vali momentarily paused to take in that information, his brain not clicking for a moment before it did so like a switch being flipped. Once it DID switch though, did a wide grin that wouldn't be too out of place for a serial slasher spread across his face. "…. Hehehehehe looks like we are in luck, this thing's destruction might let us finish this faster! COME ON!"
To that end, when Vali told them to start fighting the rest of the group eagerly volunteered to do so, Nanoha darting into the air and manifesting her Rock Cannon. She then aimed it towards the roots that encircled the Bridge like it were it's captiver, all whilst Xun Er (who had drawn her Murasama) and Siegfried (who'd drawn 2 of his swords) closed in from opposite angles like a '^' formation. Just before she could fire however, several roots lunged at her from multiple angles whilst several more thwacked the ground in front of the other two, knocking them back and halting their progress.
However, this just let Vali come in with his Dual Swords cloaked in Lightning, allowing him to activate his BLADE MODE, something which he had been training with to improve its effectiveness. 'I can hold it for about 30 seconds before I have to stop it lest it roasts my hands…' The silver-haired boy thought as he went on a high-speed slashing frenzy, his lightning covered swords hacking away at the roots like they were two hungry wolves digging into their prey after an exhausting chase.
If they didn't know if the roots were alive before, it certainly got confirmed now as a shriek escaped the mass of roots, the red clot spot almost shaking thanks to the many cuts that had appeared over it's form thanks to Vali's Devil Arm. Lightning arced across the whole thing as Nanoha managed to recover from the last attack, and then aimed her Rock Cannon downwards to resume her attempt to fire at it. THIS time however, she noticed several Roots try to lunge at her and performed a series of flips, twists and spins in one seemingly dancer-like routine. She then once more aimed her fully charged rock cannon in order to fire a couple Rocks at her enemy, mentally and physically smirking in sadistic glee at the sounds she heard from the Roots when her strikes hit home. "Men, the Roots are weak to blunt strikes! Just a few more and we can ruin that fucker's day!" she called out to the others down below.
"Is it just me, or has Nanoha…?"
"It may be just her using her hate to mask her sadness, but Albion did say that her Sacred Gear had changed since he last saw it. Perhaps this could be a side effect of that change." Xun Er declared as she jumped forwards, flipping over a long root as it swept across the bridge like a broom being swept across the floor by its wielder. Siegfried had to jump over it too, but unlike him Vali and Nanoha remained in the air to suppress several roots from trying to stab into their comrades from above. Back to Xun Er though, once she had gotten close enough to the Root's clot, the Demigoddess quickly reared her Devil Bringer arm backwards instead of going for her crimson Katana, summoning her Spectral Arm in order to smash the fist smack dab into the middle of the clot.
The moment that the fist slammed into the Clot, the whole mass of Roots seemed to practically tremble in its wake, like the first had caused a minor earthquake. However, The final blow needed to be dealt, and who better to do it than Siegfried who hadn't had the chance to go at the thing yet, something which he quickly started to do when he broke into a sprint towards it whilst Xun Er jumped backward, holding her arm out to spin it a full 360 degrees clockwise, blocking several Roots from impaling him from above. However, the former exorcist glanced down when he heard faint rumblings, noticing tiny cracks starting to form along the bridge road.
'Oh no you don't!'
Thinking this in his mind, Siegfried promptly made sure to sidestep from the places where those Cracks had originated, summoning his Sacred Gear to perform triple sword slashes that sliced through each Root. By the time that he managed to close the distance between him and the bloody clot…
The man hacked away at the Clot like he was a certain serial killer who was originally from London, finally dealing the finishing blow to the Root's clot and causing it to finally burst. The moment that it did so, blood splattered across the ground around him like a rapidly expanding puddle as the Roots themselves seemingly began to… petrify themselves, quite rapidly too, until they EVENTUALLY shattered into many small chunks that would no longer pose a threat to them.
"Heh looks like Albion was right, it does stop the process." Vali remarked as the group once more joined together, putting away their specific weapons whilst doing so.
"Well looks like you children handled the situation."
They turned around and saw an exceptionally beautiful young woman of Japanese descent with long black hair and red eyes. She has a slim and voluptuous figure and another woman with a slim, voluptuous figure with long blonde hair and sapphire blue eyes. Though the group did get the feeling that this woman had ties to Magic in the supernatural world, the reason for this being that she seemed to be dressed in a witch-like robe, one complete with a cloak and a pointed witch hat.
Yet, despite their appearances, Vali remained his signature blunt self as he narrowed his eyes at the two new arrivals, his senses honing in on their energy signatures and noticing that they were FAR from weak. "... who are you two women?" he questioned, causing the black-haired woman to chuckle in amusement whilst the other flashed a disapproving gaze… one which got downplayed by the pout on her face.
"My what a rude boy you are there, but that can be saved for later. This place is hardly ideal for a chat, wouldn't you say? why don't we go somewhere where we can talk without any interruptions? What do you say, children?" the black-haired woman questioned, her athymist eyes calmly regarding them all.
However, no amount of friendliness would lower the silver-haired boy's guard as he cautiously responded to her. Not to mention there was a bit of an edge to his words, too. "Uhhhhh in case if you hadn't noticed, there's a giant fucking tree that is threatening the world!" he declared, pointing his finger at the rapidly growing Tree in the City's center.
"Relax young man, children your age shouldn't say those words but this will be quick, I promise. Besides, as an extra incentive, it relates to the Tree you're all obviously in the know about."
"... fine, lets go."
"Good, now Lavinia, prepare the circle."
"Okay, Suzuka!" replied the witch-like woman, whose name was apparently Lavinia, before she raised her wand as a giant magic circle appeared underneath them as it raised up before disappearing along with them like they hadn't been there.
A magic circle appeared in a living room within one of the buildings still standing, and when it lowered out came the same groups who had gone into the said magic circle.
"Alright children, please take a seat. This talk will be quick, but precise." The black-haired woman known as Suzuka declared with a sisterly kind of smile.
Once everyone was about to be seated there was one occupant that was sitting on a chair before looking at Xun Er.
"Xun Er? Is that you?"
"Oh thank Vishnu that you're still alive!"
A girl bounced up from her seat before she rushed on over to Xun Er, a gleeful expression on her face as she enveloped her in a hug. One which Xun Er eagerly reciprocated with a happy squeal that the other girl mirrored, the two hopping up and down like bunny rabbits before breaking up.
'This Medusa… I see, so this person may be the one which she told me about before…' Vali thought as he analyzed the girl who stood before his companion. She looked to be the same age as Xun Er, possessing long crimson-colored hair, pale snow-white skin and golden colored eyes. She currently wore a purple skin-tight dress, with dark purple detached sleeves that ended in flowery cuffs, dark purple stockings visible through the dress's slits and a pair of light purple witch-like shoes.
Still, as happy as Xun Er seemed to be to see her, it still seemed that she had her head on straight since she regained her wits and put on her serious face. "I'm alright Medusa, but now is not the time to get together, right now let Vali explain what that tree is." she stated, gesturing to the silver-haired Hybrid.
Thanks to this, Medusa glanced at him and finally took note of the rest of the group. "Okay Xun Er. alright boy, tell us: what is that blasted tree?" She asked, but it sounded more like a haughty demand than anything else.
'Great, looks like my fears were correct after all… seriously, why are women so annoying?' Vali wondered to himself, but in the end he chose to focus on the most important topic at this moment in time. "Alright let me explain. That Tree is…."
"I see….. This is VERY troubling news."
"Very! Very bad news indeed!"
Things had become tense in the living room thanks to the whole situation becoming clear to the two older women. Both of them had become tense after hearing Vali's story and the true identity of the Tree that had seemingly sprung out of nowhere hungry for blood like a bloodthirsty Vampire… only much, much worse.
Even Medusa looked like she had grasped the situation, although instead of tense she looked more pissed off than anything else. "That tree must be destroyed, who knows what will happen if that Stray Devil eats that fruit. He could maybe become a match for Lord Shiva." she urged, not liking the thought of such a being able to go up against the leader of the Hindu Pantheon.
"More reasons to go there and destroy that bastard before it's too late." Vali remarked, with Nanoha and Siegfried nodding their heads in unified agreement.
'Not yet, Vali.'
'Huh, why is that Albion? You better have a good reason.'
'Roots Vali, the roots. If we managed to destroy the roots like the last one, then the Qlippoth won't be able to produce the fruit, not to mention that it will stick it to that Stray Devil Urizen.'
"Oh… makes sense.'
After Vali cut the mental link that Albion had established and relayed this information to the rest of the group, Siegfried hummed in thought for a moment, the former Exorcist pondering until he came up with an idea. "How about this everyone: we each split into smaller groups and go in separate ways. This way, we can not only do the good old divide and conquer trick, but we can also find the roots of the Qlippoth and delay the procedure of the fruit."
"That sounds like a great idea Siegfried. Alright here's what I have, Siegfried and Nanoha will go to the west side of the city, Xun Er and Medusa will go to the north side of the city, while I go along with Suzuka and the witch girl to the Qlippoth, we will enter when the roots are destroyed."
"Got it Vali."
"Alright got it."
"This princess approves this plan."
With that, everyone seemed to be on board with the plan, the only thing left to do seemingly being to decide who went to which part of the city. Judging from the group composition, it would be likely that the group would have to travel in pairs, not something Vali approved of since he would rather fight alone, but hey. However, instead Vali decided to bring up another topic that he wanted answers for. "Which reminds me… hey woman, what happened to the humans that were supposed to be in the city? We never saw any when we were fighting to get through to that Bridge."
"Hm?... Oh, the Shinto Gods are the reason for that. They sensed something wrong in the city and, combined with a warning from Inari who had been the first to notice this, they took the precaution to make sure that they would be asleep and evacuated so that they wouldn't lose their followers. while they did manage to get a lot of civilians, some were already drained from their blood as you said. The Shinto and the Taoists are currently working together to create an illusion around the city and the tree so that no one could see that type of tree or the supernatural. There's even talk of sending in a force of Yokai to deal with the many Empousa that have infested the City, but that hasn't been confirmed yet." Suzuka explained, much to the kids' surprise. Especially Vali's.
"Huh…. So the Gods are actually doing something useful after all. Quite rare, these days… Alright, we've wasted enough time talking about the tree. Let's go up there and chop that thing down before it's too late."
"I understand, let's go."
"ARRRGGGGHHH! THAT DAMN BLASTED TREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
Back in their own divine realm, a certain Storm God demonstrated his namesake by ranting and raving to the point where a storm began to form in the skies above them, furious thunder and lightning crackling with every shout that he gave. All the while, he currently had his hands pointed forwards like he was trying to say 'stop right there!' or something, all the while he pumped his energy into what looked like a sphere showing an image of Uminari City, along with multiple different high ranking Gods and Goddesses that made up the Shinto Pantheon.
On one side of him was his sister, Amaterasu, whose hair fluttered within the breeze that got generated by the storm over them thanks to the Storm God's fury. She too had her hands outstretched as she sent her divine power into the orb, although the storm around them proved significantly distracting which did NOT sit well with her.
"Susanoo stop being distracted and continue with the illusion!"
Thus, she had to yell over the whipping winds towards her brother to stop his furious ranting, and focus on the task at hand. A task that was easier said than done considering who it was that she had to yell at.
"RRRRGGGGHHHHH WHY CAN'T I GO DOWN THERE AND DESTROY THAT TREE MYSELF!? IT WOULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH QUICKER!"
Her words only served to aggravate the Storm God's further however thanks to it reminding him of this situation, proof being how the Storm's intensity pretty much skyrocketed.
"Because Susanoo, we need all the Gods and our allies to make sure that the mortals don't know that the supernatural exists!"
Still, as she once again had to restrain her inner urge to bash her brother's head in, Amaterasu made another attempt to reign in her brother's rage, as she could already sense mild changes within the Storm's intensity.
"RRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! SHIT! FUCKING SHIT! THIS IS SO DAMN FRUSTRATING, AMATERASU! WE HAVE MANY GODS TO COVER OUR EXISTENCE! WHY DO I HAVE TO STAY?! WE BOTH KNOW WHAT THAT FUCKING TREE IS!?"
"We can't take any chances Susanoo! We don't know whether our cover was blown or not, we need all the help we can!"
"Sister is correct here, brother. all of the Shinto and the Taoists are doing the best they can to make an illusion around the Qlippoth so that any passerbys of the mortal world do not notice it. Maybe the two children that eliminated the necromancer will handle this, but this time they are not alone. Take this as solace, brother." Another god said to the raging Storm God. He had a beautiful face and feminine physical appearance, he wore an old uniform that wouldn't look so out of place in the Chinese Qi dynasty.
"Ghhhhhh fine! But the next time if this happens, I will handle this myself without anyone holding me back! How can we call ourselves Gods if we cannot even protect our own followers?!"
The sounds of swords and a gun firing killing the insects and Roots filled the air as Nanoha and Siegfried pushed their way through the streets. They stormed through entire city blocks, killing every creature they saw that was associated with the tree, just before they encountered a new demon that was wielding a scythe, but that didn't stop Siegfried and Nanoha as they quickly handled it.
They then entered a building that seemed fancy to them but that didn't distract them from their objectives. They see multiple Roots spreading throughout the building, some blocking their way and some are in the walls.
"Damn this tree, is it that powerful that it's spreading so fast?" Siegfried wondered as they proceeded to hack their way through it. This had been a scene where Nanoha's Nobunagun had been significantly helpful with it's rapid fire abilities and multiple barrels, since it allowed her to shred through the Roots that tried to hinder them with ease.
Speaking of the auburn haired Magical Girl, Nanoha held her Nobunagun at her side after having blasted a couple Empousa to pieces, then turned to the grey haired exorcist. "We don't Siegfried, but we do know that we're getting close to the Roots."
At this, Siegfried arched a brow as the rest of the group reformed from clearing out a few rooms. "And how can you know that Nanoha?" he questioned her.
This caused Nanoha to point her Nobunagun in a certain direction, one which led to the outside. "Because I can sense it's magic across the block."
With that, the group continued on. As they were walking through the building, they saw some destroyed walls, and furniture. They stopped when a massive root was blocking their way, it looked so disgusting that it was leaking out some green stuff. The females of the group had to stop themselves from throwing up their lunch whilst the guys looked to have changed their color to that of toxic waste with the revulsion in their eyes clearly visible.
"Ugh great, now what should we do? This Root is blocking our way completely." Siegfried questioned as he tried to figure something out… At one point he had figured that if Vali were here, he would have used his [Glavenus] and it's MAG SHOT ability to burn the root to nothingness since apparently these things didn't like fire. However, as it turned out it would seem that depending on the thickness of the Roots their resistance to flames could increase or decrease. Considering how thick this one was, the Exorcist doubted that the flames from that Devil Arm would do much here.
A thoughtful hum escaped her lips as Nanoha also began to think about a possible solution to this. "I could shoot it, but it will attract attention from many of those insects which I'm not looking forward to… Wait your demonic swords."
"What about them Nanoha?"
"Do you have anything that can cut the roots?"
"Hmmmmmmm ahh yes, I have just the thing!"
He took out a blade that is a large double-edged sword that had vibrant colors despite being a Demon Sword. The pommel was a gold cone-like shape with the addition of a triangle attached to the pommel, with the triangle missing the base and the middle of it because of the pommel. The handle looked to be colored with a mix of red and purple whilst the crossguard was a rectangular bar colored black, with gold symbols etched onto it a brown X-mark in the middle, and features a red semi-circle protrusion on both sides of the crossguard. The blade itself was a black colour with a red edge, but a red aura sometimes shrouded it giving it a dark red color all around. The blade itself was also fairly long and near the tip, it curved upwards and then curved back in. The blade also sported three hollow holes in the form of a triangle and was located in the middle of the blade curving upwards. At the bottom of the blade, there was a piece of metal, acting as a fuller, one which had red lines on it that increased in height but stayed on the golden part. The fuller at the bottom was in the shape of a rectangle standing upwards, the difference being that the top left had a large amount taken off it, which made the left side shorter compared to the right. Further along the blade was a golden design, which looks like a blade, with two black rectangles connected by a line and the tip of it went out by a small degree before going back into the tip of the blade. The tip design took the form of two black modified squares and a black diamond-like circle shape.
Looking at the quite detailed blade, Nanoha's mouth formed an 'O' shape as she wondered what kind of history it had. In her history classes, she had seen a trend in famous blades looking that good and having history to them, whilst the duller blades lacked such depth. "Nice blade you have there Siegfried, what is this blade called?" she questioned him.
As such, Siegfried held the sword in his right hand, his eyes dragging their gaze up it's blade with a rather nostalgic look to them. "It is similar to which my ancestor has wielded. This blade is called Gram, the Demonic emperor sword."
"Nice title... I just have one question: how is that toothpick of a sword supposed to help us?"
"Hheh, you really have lost your whiny side, I like… but anyways, just watch." After hearing the snide remarks from the Magical Girl, Siegfried then went to the Root stump, proceeded to pull his hand that was holding Gram and then stabbed it in the middle before holding it as it started to turn gray before crumbling away.
"Hmph, passable, at least... Si-SIEGFRIED!"
She ran towards Siegfried as he was kneeling to the ground before storing away his Gram. She helped him get up.
"What happened Siegfried?! Answer me!"
"It's….. the power of Gram… I'm not strong enough to wield it yet as it consumes my lifespan if I wield it recklessly. Next time… I'll use it with my Sacred Gear."
"I see…. please do. I refuse to let more precious soldiers under me die because of negligence."
"... I will try, Nanoha."
"So that's the Qlippoth root. You were right all along, we WERE getting close to it."
Later on, both Nanoha and Siegfried came to a street where, slightly peeking out from behind a desecrated Chapel-like building, they saw a giant plant that on top of it was like something twisted it, in the middle of it was a red and black aura. Both kids glanced at one another with a unified nod of confirmation: This HAD be the one of the Roots which gathered the blood to be sent to the main Qlippoth Tree.
"I always trust my sensing skills whenever I try to find something, Siegfried. You would do well to remember that. Now then , let us cleanse this town of this filth, just looking at it makes me want to vomit." Nanoha declared as she held her Nobunagun at the ready, several clanking sounds coming from her movements before she proceeded to head on forwards.
'Heh, this girl's starting to remind me of a warlord…' Siegfried thought, a smirk present on his a part of him felt furious at how Nanoha seemed to be ordering him around like some kind of servant, he had to admit to preferring her like this rather than her meek, shy self. He bet that Vali would have felt the same way… either that, or he'd be torn between respecting her and wanting to tear her heart out for thinking she could control him. "Okay Nanoha!"
With that, They jumped down from the building as they then jogged to the Root, going into a city street after exiting the building. However, trouble didn't seem to want to leave them alone today since whilst they jogged through the street towards the Root, the ground then collapsed under them before breaking down as the two children fell down a few feet. This only lasted a few seconds before they regained their footing… although, their troubles didn't stop there. The sounds of something uprooting from the ground filled their ears, causing Nanoha and Siegfried to look in front of them as they saw two creatures come out like the Empousa. Only thing was, they looked more humanoid in body shape, wielding two massive cleavers each whilst their forms looked more hunchback than normal humanoid with their heads being covered by fleshy-looking hoods.
"Hmph, another pair of weaklings. Looks like these guys are getting desperate in protecting the Roots." the former Exorcist remarked to his partner.
"Looks like that's the case, Siegfried."
After this short exchange, the two creatures jumped through the air towards them, with Nanoha quickly summoning her Rock Cannon whilst Siegfried deployed his Light Sword and went to engage the enemy in close combat. With his Light sword, Siegfried jumped through the gap between the two and sliced through their sides, carving deep gashes in their wake. 'Shit! Fuck! Looks like these things don't share those Empousa's weaknesses…!' The man then thought as he glanced behind him, noticing that the creatures looked hardly affected by the light energy coursing inside of them from their wounds.
Flipping around, Siegfried planted both feet onto the ground and to grind himself to a halt, expecting them to go after him thanks to it being him who had dealt them those strikes… only for his eyes to widen when he saw them switching targets to Nanoha, instead. 'Oh, shit!' The male thought as he quickly shouted a warning towards her. "Nanoha, look out!"
"Don't worry, I got this!"
… Apparently however, it didn't seem like that was necessary, for to Siegfried's surprise Nanoha's Rock Cannon had already switched to it's Gatling Gun form, its barrels already fully rotated and prepped for firing. Looked like Nanoha had taken to learning some hard L's about battle since she had wasted no time in utterly PEPPERING the two Creatures with high-speed Rocks which began to shred through their bodies limb first. Their legs got shredded, then their lower abdomens and finally their faces… and finally, when the Gatling Gunfire stopped with the barrels halting, only destroyed chunks of flesh remained.
"That was….. Impressive. Didn't imagine that you could do that."
"Gotta get my shit together at this point, soldier. Otherwise the enemy will screw me over again."
"... I'll keep that in mind, Nanoha."
They then continued their journey, jumping a few feets ahead of them since the road was destroyed.
As they resumed their walk along the streets, they saw the same stump that was blocking their way, this time Siegfried used his Twice critical that took the form of a silver dragon scale arm that wielded Gram before stabbing it. When it crumbled to ashes, Siegfried quickly sheathed his Demonic sword before it could consume his lifespan.
They jogged to the Root as it was close to them, coming up to the top of the destroyed Chapel that they had seen previously since it had been just by the Root. Fortunately for them, one of the buildings next to the Chapel had been destroyed, toppled over to act like a bridge for them to cross. Once they crossed the building, the two kids jumped down to the Chapel's upper floor before walking towards it... when suddenly a shadow began to grow around them at a disturbing rate of speed, causing the two to look up. Their eyes widened when they saw a large ambulance truck falling top of them from above. Though, it couldn't do its job as Siegfried sliced it in half with Nothung before he looked up with Nanoha towards the source. "It seems we're not the only one here Nanoha."
"Indeed. Look sharp, man."
"HMMMMMMMM I WASN'T EXPECTING ANY SURVIVORS HERE!"
A tall beast declared from the top of the building, it's voice louder than one empowered by speakers before it commenced jumping down to their position, intending to crush them. However, Siegfried and Nanoha had to roll out of the way as it crushed the car with its feet. Once they rolled back up to their feet, both fighters gained a clear view of it: a large humanoid beast with horns and four red eyes on his head. His stomach was covered with many yellow eyes as well as big jaws on it.
After destroying the car, the beast stepped off it, looking left and right before seeing the two children, with Siegfried wielding Nothung on his left hand. As for his right hand, in its grasp was a long double-edged sword colored all black from the grip handle to the blade with four green diamond-shaped patterns on the center and bat-winged shaped crossguard: Tyrfing, and in the grasp of his twice critical was Balmung.
As for his companion, Nanoha had her Nobunagun aiming at the beast. "Hmph another stray devil. Guess I should have figured, you're likely here to eat more people just like this Tree, it'd only make sense for your kind to start crawling out of the woodworks now like the cockroaches you are." Nanoha declared, glaring at the beast as she leveled her Nobunagun at it.
"HMPH… RUDE MORTAL. YOUR BLOOD... IS A 'VERY' PRECIOUS SACRIFICE…. EATING THE BOTH OF YOU WOULD DO ME NO GOOD. I MUST HAVE EVERY LAST DROP…. TO RULE THE UNDERWORLD…. AS KING!"
Following this declaration, the beast then swiped his claw at them as they jumped out of the way, Nanoha activating her FLIER FIN to stay in the air whilst Sigfried landed on a piece of the destroyed building next to the Chapel. Guy even had the audacity to cross one leg over the other whilst looking down on his opponent (kind of like what Nanoha was doing in the air actually), a sneer escaped his lips as Siegfried smirked darkly. "Rule the underworld? You? Ha! That's a good one coming from a Stray Devil such as you, how can you ever rule it?" he questioned, knowing through his senses that this thing seemed PATHETIC in comparison to beings like even the SERAPHS, let alone the Satans that currently ruled the underworld.
"PUNY EXORCIST, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? I SHALL SHOW YOU THE WRATH OF THE ALMIGHTY GOLIATH!"
The beast, now known as Goliath, then raised his feet before stumping them as they got out of the way again. Once the two kids landed on the opposite side of the Chapel, they turned to face their opponent to see Goliath taking two huge debris in both of his hands. He then leaned backwards, opening his stomach jaws to showcase the magma bubbling within it like some sort of volcano about to erupt, before Goliath put the debris in his stomach. Siegfried leaned forward as he saw that Goliath stood still before it's mouth SPAT out a huge fireball that he almost got hit from.
Fortunately, he had to roll to the side to avoid it, though he noticed how it destroyed another section of the chapel to leave a scorched pile of debris in its wake. A low whistle escaped his lips as he turned back to the source of the destruction."Well, well, that was a pretty neat trick you did there. Maybe that will be the last one, though. Doubt you could do any parties either."
(Play DMC 5 OST - Goliath theme)
The sound of gunfire rang out as Nanoha, who had already prepped her Nobunagun and had begun firing at the creature's face, forcing Goliath to shield it with one large claw-like hand. "I'll keep it distracted, focus on it's weak points, exorcist!" Nanoha declared with her Mask and Gauntlet guns sliding into place and commencing their own bombardments.
"You got it, Nanoha!" Siegfried declared back as he charged forwards, something that Goliath noticed via peeking out from beneath his claw to see him coming.
"YOU WILL BE SORRY FOR THIS!"
"Maybe… after I kill you… nah, probably not." Siegfried retorted as he arrived at one of the creature's legs and began hacking away at it. However, much to his internal irritation Goliath apparently had a strong hide, because all his swords could do was create shallow gashes across it's left leg. One which then proceeded to raise itself and try to stomp on him only for the former Exorcist to jump backwards to avoid it. 'Heh, looks like this may take longer than I had initially thought…' he thought to himself.
What he didn't see though, was how Goliath grasped some of the debris lying throughout the Chapel's upper floor and throw towards Nanoha, who had to curse as she strafed out of the way… then got smacked in the side by an already swung claw that had been too fast her her to react in time, let alone notice. As a result, she got sent crashing into the ground below the Chapel with a large plume of smoke being what accompanied her descent.
"FOCUS ON YOURSELF INSTEAD OF THAT BUG, YOU HUMAN SWINE!"
Before Siegfried could do anything like go see if the girl was alright, Goliath swung his right arm in an uppercut-like motion, one which Siegfried avoided by hopping to the side then repeated the gesture in the opposite direction to avoid the followup one. Glancing upwards when he saw Goliath raising an arm for an overhead slam, Siegfried quickly jumped backwards to get some distance, not wanting to have to stop that kind of attack.
"Heh, too slow fatass! Can't hit what you can't catch!"
"WHO SAYS I WAS AIMING FOR YOU?!"
Instead of attacking him like Siegfried had anticipated that the Stray Devil would, instead it turned out to be completely off the mark. Instead, Goliath smashed the floor of the chapel's upper floor beneath them, causing both it as well as Siegfried himself to fall down inside. Siegfried, seeing that he may or may not be put in a bit of a bind, quickly used some of the falling debris to jump backwards and land a significant distance between him and his opponent, sliding across the ground… only to fall onto his backside when he tripped over a small piece of rubble. "Ugh, glad nobody was around to see that… especially Vali, he would never have let me live it down…" The former Exorcist mused to himself, grimacing at the possible humiliation he could have suffered if anyone had seen him at that moment.
"HMPH, A MORTAL LIKE YOURSELF, FALLING FLAT ON YOUR ASS SUITS YOU."
"... I'm sorry, did I hear something just now? Nah, must have been something about to become irrelevant soon."
A furious roar escaped Goliath after that snarky response Siegfried gave, his eyes not matching the smile on his lips as he stood back up and dusted himself off.
The fight then continued with Goliath making the first move, grasping some of the smaller pieces and stuffing them inside the stomach mouth it had. Siegfried, after seeing this, quickly got into a stance after making a split second decision, letting the Demonic Swords start glowing with power in preparation for what was about to happen. Judging from what he had seen before, those movements indicated that Goliath would be launching a He COULD have used the debris around him as cover, but the past experience with Goliath's spitting ability the fireballs it launched told him that none of them were large enough to completely shield him.
A couple seconds later, Siegfried saw multiple fireballs get launched at him, one after another. For the first one, Siegfried raised his Nothung and then brought it down, slicing it in half clean through. He then twirled a full 360 Degrees to swing the destructive Tyrfing, knocking the projectile to the side and away from him. He faintly heard it slam into one of the Chapel's support pillars, but the third Fireball soon took his attention again, and in order to deal with it Siegfried directed his Sacred Gear to make an upward diagonal swing with Balmung from where his previous swing with Tyrfing had ended. The result was a gust of whirlwind which erupted forth like an explosion from the sword, utterly annihilating the fireball and leaving nothing behind.
"... I SEE… FOR A MORTAL, YOUR SOUL MUST HAVE BEEN QUITE A RARITY, FOR IT TO ATTRACT THE ATTENTION OF SO MANY DEMONIC SWORDS… NO MATTER!"
Goliath proclaimed this after seeing this display from the former Exorcist, having figured out the nature behind those Swords of his. Not only that, but it figured that third arm to be his Sacred Gear, thus devised a plan in order to deaL with these threats to the Tree all at once.
"I'LL SIMPLY DO WHAT I DO BEST: CLEAN HOUSE!"
Oh, Siegfried did NOT like the sound of that, especially when the Mount on Goliath's stomach began to open up with there being no signs of any debris being picked up. 'Uh oh, does that thing have another ability?' The former Exorcist wondered a sudden urge to get out of this Chapel suddenly filling him up like a tap being turned to maximum to fill a sink. Quickly, Siegfried chose to try and turn towards one of the support pillars, intending to hide behind it…
Only for it to become too late, for the mouth began to inhale the air between Goliath and Siegfried. It formed a spiraling twister-like formation which completely ensnared Siegfried, causing him to grit his teeth as he quickly stabbed his three swords into the ground to stop himself from being pulled inside the Mouth. 'What the hello…?! Where the fuck did this kind of ability come from!? I noticed early on, but this guy might not actually be a Stray Devil but something created by Urizen since he possessed the same ability to launch those fireballs at me. Only, in Goliath's case he has to ingest foreign objects first.' The boy thought during his struggle.
However, to his horror, the boy still felt himself being dragged across the chapel regardless of his attempts. If anything, he only managed to slow himself down even as he dug his heels into the ground, his form still kept inching closer and closer to the enemy. The boy scowled at his predicament, knowing that he had been pinned quite well by this ability, since if he lifted even one arm out to do something else like launch a whirlwind or something else, then Siegfried would likely lose what balance he had left then go plunging into that lave-filled maw of Goliath's. "You… must have been planning this since the beginning…!" But then, a thought crossed his mind when he noticed the creature's slightly smug look, though considering it's facial structure it was kinda difficult to tell. Siegfried recalled how Goliath had trapped them in here by collapsing the roof on top of them, limiting the space where they could effectively fight. However, if it had deliberately done so, then it would make sense since there were so many pieces of rubble here to fuel it's fireball launching abilities.
But then, if he took THIS ability into consideration…
"BWAHAHAHAHAHA, YOU'LL HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT IN THE AFTERLIFE, MORTAL! LET GOLIATH EAT-!"
"DID YOU FORGET ABOUT ME?!"
All of a sudden however, the voice of a certain Magical Girl then broke into the conversation between Siegfried and Goliath, coming from the space above their heads. Both then glanced up towards its source, finding it to be Nanoha who flew downwards into the Chapel through the hole in the roof with her weapon of choice now being her Rock Cannon. However, the moment she landed on a toppled pillar, one which Siegfried realized was the same one which the fireball previously deflected by him had damaged, the girl had pointed her weapon at it, another transformation beginning to take place.
When the re-assembling process finished, Nanoha's Rock Cannon had transformed itself into two Gatling Guns seemingly linked together via mechanical parts. This had been where the sounds of gunfire had started, though, for the two triple-barrelled weapons immediately began hurling a monstrous barrage of bullets into Goliath's body, causing the creature to howl and roar in anger and mild pain as it stopped the whole suction thing it had been doing with it's mouth, therefore setting Siegfried free as he jumped forwards. His instincts had told him exactly what he needed to do, and thanks to the chance which Nanoha had made for him with her suppressing fire (although judging from its structure that form the Rock Cannon had taken seemed to require her to stay stationary), Siegfried pumped energy into his Demonic Sword Tyrfing, amping up it's destructive power in order for one single horizontal swing to be made.
A loud howl of pain escaped it's main mouth as Goliath got launched flying out of the Chapel and into the outside, slamming into another ruined building that once seemed to have resembled some kind of tower. Not anymore though since Goliath's massive form smashed it into pieces when it fell on it, Nanoha and Siegfried jumping out of the Chapel and landing in the center of the outside yard.
Glancing over to his companion whilst kneeling on one leg from the exhaustion of using his Demonic Swords, a Siegfried with a sweaty forehead glanced up to Nanoha whose features remained cold and hard, though he could sense the dark flames of malice behind her gaze. "I… owe you one, there… Nanoha…" he spoke through his labored breathing.
Without looking back at him, Nanoha spoke whilst switching out her Rock Cannon, instead going for her Raging Heart which was still in its jewel from around her neck. "You must read the bigger picture, soldier. That strategy this foe used was almost elementary in its complexity. It's always important to assume that the enemy has hidden aces up their sleeves so you can prepare accordingly." she explained, Raging Heart now in it's Device form as she switched it into Shooting Mode. She then FINALLY glanced down at her companion out the corner of her left eye, noting his state of exhaustion. "How much power do you have left?"
"... About one sword swing's worth. Since I haven't fully mastered these swords yet, they drain my power far more than usual. Gram's the worst of the bunch, though." Siegfried replied, surprising himself when he felt a level of shame form within his gut. This change Nanoha seemed to spark all sorts of surprises for him, didn't it? First was this militaristic nature of hers, and now he felt like he was a subordinate who had failed to carry out his superior's orders.
After he explained this, Nanoha glanced back at Goliath, who had already recovered and was about to jump towards their position. "Alright, then. Here's the plan, I'll distract him, provide an opening, and you strike at his weakest point." she declared, tapping her head which conveyed the hidden message to the former Exorcist with ease, getting him to nod in silent agreement.
At this point, Goliath had finally pounced with a furious roar that would rival most berserkers, slamming himself onto the space the children had occupied. HAD being the keyword there, since they had each jumped towards opposing sides, with Nanoha finally taking the offensive in this fight.
Pulling on her Mana reserves after activating FLIER FIN again, Nanoha pointed her Raging Heart at Goliath to fire off her DIVINE SHOOTER, peppering it with the generated spheres of Mana. Each one struck at a different area, too: one struck the chest, another the abdomen, two on the shoulders and one on the head. Of course, the Spell's attack power showed itself to be too small to break through Goliath's hide, but it did the intended job perfectly: take his attention away from the preparing Siegfried.
"YOU WILL PERISH BEFORE MY MIGHT!"
Nanoha ignored this taunt that Goliath gave, and instead performed her FLASH MOVE spell to send Mana into her FLIER FIN and get in close to her opponent, swinging her Device which had begun to shine it's Jewel in preparation for the spell that she had used against Fate back in their final battle atop that abandoned warehouse:
With that yell, Nanoha's strike hit home…
As a result, an explosion of pink Mana burst out into the scene, causing Goliath to howl as he got sent flying away from the attack. Landing on all fours however, the creature looked up to glare at Naoha once more, before it's eyes glanced downwards to see some Debris lying around it. Quickly, it scooped them up to prepare for launching some fireballs, something which Nanoha noticed as she too decided to launch an attack of her own. One which would prove to be quite… explosive, more so than her previous spell. Thus, she aimed her Raging Heart at Goliath-like she were holding a Spear whilst Magic Circles formed over it's tip, a ball of Mana soon gathering and crackling with pink energy just as the creature had stuffed it's stomach maw with those debri pieces.
"YOU FIRST, I INSIST YOU DAMN SPAWN OF SATAN! DIVINE BUSTEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!"
Those two outcries from both parties, got followed by the launching of their own respective attacks. The Fireballs got launched from within Goliath's stomach maw at once like they were fired from a Shotgun barrel, quickly covering a wide area of effect… but in the end, Nanoha's DIVINE BUSTER attack met them all in a head-on collision, causing a massive explosion of dust and smoke since the two attacks managed to negate one another…
Just like Nanoha had intended.
'Hmph, looks like the enemy has no idea about my full powers…' Nanoha thought as she quickly ascended upwards above the battlefield whilst sensing the fact that Siegfried had begun to move thanks to the opening provided. 'Once he strikes, I will end this myself…' she thought, getting ready for her final strike.
"HHHHHEEEEAAAAAA!" Siegfried, seeing all this, finally got ready for his opportunity. After dispersing his Sacred Gear and all his swords save his Tyrfing, he then broke into a fast sprint through the smoke as it cleared, sliding under Goliath's legs before he turned and jumped upwards. He then used this chance to swing Tyrfing at Goliath's head, or in fact its face, leaving a slash mark in one of his eyes as it held its head.
"AAAAHHHHH MY EYE, MOTHERFUCKER I'LL MAKE SURE THAT-"
"HOW ABOUT YOU SHUT THE FUCK UP FIRST?!"
After that yell, Nanoha then used the same spell last time as she used this to defeat Fate in their previous battle. Magic circles appeared on the top left and right the bottom too, binding his arms and legs.
"DO YOU THINK THAT THIS WILL HOLD ME GIRL?!"
Nanoha lifted her Raging heart as a magic circle appeared in front of her, aiming at Goliath as Mana started to appear, being gathered from the ambient Mana in the air including that of the Demonic Swords too, a little extra Nanoha had decided to incorporate into this Spell's repertoire. "NO, ITS SOMETHING I HAVE JUST FOR YOU! STARLIGHT BUSTEERRRRRRRRR!" Her yell came with the following: A beam was shot out of her wand as it went to Goliath as he struggled to escape his bind... but was too late as the beam went straight through his chest before it died down. Goliath was released from his bind putting a hand on his missing chest as he struggled to regain his strength.
"I MUST NOT….. BE DEFEATED…. BY TWO KIDS…. THE FRUIT IS MINE… I WILL RULE THE UNDERWORLD….. NOT HIM….."
Goliath finally succumbed to his wounds, falling face-first down onto the ground, dead at long last.
"#Huff…#Huff…#huff….. Good job Nanoha…. How are you feeling?"
"#huff…. Like…. I have been training with Vali….. the whole day."
"Heh….. Well, since that stray devil is finally dead….. Let's get rid of the root, then rest up a bit."
DAMN THIS WAS A HARD ONE!... My name is Darklord bringing you another chapter of the story. Now for this story, we are doing separate characters from their perspectives in order to make sure that me and Hunter won't get mixed up in the story. So first is Siegfried and Nanoha, next is Xun Er, Medusa, and someone else that will appear in the story, you'll have to wait next time when we come back to this story. For Medusa, she is not from Fate/Stay but from Battle through the heaven, you should read it, it's a great novel. Alright, that concludes it thank you reading our story, Hunter was the one who made the battle scene while I was little help to him in it, be sure to leave a review if you want and I'll see you next time!
Hunter here, here's the 20th chap of MHD. Not going to lie, this was a bit of a hard one for me too, especially the Goliath stuff. But yeah, its done, and also just a bit of a venting, why is there so little Vali Fan Art? I know DxD is all about the girls and all, but geez even ISSEI has fan art of him if one knows where to look, and what little I DID find for Vali was a genderbent version of him. That's just pathetic and it pisses me off, he deserves some good fanart if you ask me. Anyways, that aside, we're going to start on the next 10 chaps of our other Vali fic, so look forward to that. Hope you like the chap, and look forward to the next.