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The Scar on His Chest.

Blue_XIII Jan 1st, 2016 (edited) 84 Never
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  1. '___' marks transition from RP to RP.
  2. '---' marks a divider in the RP itself, used for Arsenic's inner thoughts as well as his flashbacks.
  3.  
  4. ________
  5.  
  6. Arsenic has gotten vastly stronger in the time he's spent under Arimanes' tutelage, wandering the world, and embarking on a number of adventures. He has become powerful enough that he can combat the average magus double his age and, without fail, defeat or, at minimum, injure them. His advancement is rapid, and, among his peers, he has few rivals.
  7. It isn't enough for him.
  8.  
  9. He ploughs through the forest encumbered by the weights he's strapped to his every limb
  10. , killing all manner of beast and bandit alike with a sword swung in tandem with summoned arcs of lightning that only grow in intensity day-by-day.
  11.  
  12. But despite it all, he just can't rival Levi.
  13.  
  14. It was above him. Petty jealousy, that was: This was no Vegeta story, or anything of that nature. He looked up to Levi, and, were he not stronger than Arsenic, the boy's entirely world would be turned upside down. At his age, he merely wanted an unstoppable, superman-esque figure to look to for guidance and, in a way he'd never admit, not outright protection but a safety net.
  15.  
  16. He was young: sue him.
  17.  
  18. The ravenous, burning desire for power, for conquest, for violence, it hadn't always been there. He'd been changed; In the dark and in the still of the night, the voices whispered, but he wasn't scared of them anymore. "Depravity", they'd called it. They'd said that it made you evil...
  19.  
  20. He didn't believe them.
  21.  
  22. Arsenic arrives aside Arimanes, who he normally stumbled upon carving apart yokai in her domain, but it was a mystery whether this time, he'd intended to or not. Something drew him back, time and time again, even after the one occasion he'd swore he just wouldn't ever come back..
  23.  
  24. His feet have carried him to the giantess, the boy not even measuring up to the knee of the enormous yokai. He looks up, hands in his pockets, sword nowhere to be seen, and asks of her nothing that particularly mattered.
  25.  
  26. "Why do you live in these woods?"
  27.  
  28. Maybe he only came back because he was lonely.
  29.  
  30. _______
  31.  
  32. The boy listened to her every word with rapt attention, absorbing her every word like a sponge. It was easy to forget, sometimes(well, perhaps not for a yokai over half a century old who was likely well-versed in manipulation,) that Arsenic, for all his blunder, was a child. And despite the fact he'd deny it to high hell, he was impressionable. He was naive. He was silly.
  33.  
  34. So everything she said, despite his reluctance to admit it, was cool. Very cool. Time would tell, but it was very likely that these scarce details Arimanes gave, these glimpses into her mind, would be something he'd attempt to emulate, years down the line. Kids were like that, and, even if we forget what exactly we heard, that intent sticks with you.
  35.  
  36. Forever.
  37.  
  38. He was near to opening his mouth and asking what, exactly, it meant to be the pinnacle of her race, what it entailed, how she got there, what kind of fabric softener cleaned her enormous super yokai pants and prevented them from smelling poorly.
  39.  
  40. All very important.
  41.  
  42. And then, she, rather abruptly, informed him she wasn't one for idle chit-chat.
  43.  
  44. Trying to keep the disappointment from his face, he looks down, sheepishly, and says nothing.
  45.  
  46. _______
  47.  
  48. Arsenic is panicking over the concept of Arimanes no longer tutoring him so hard that he doesn't even properly hear her, overcome with a sudden desperation for their sessions not to end. He had so very few people he could talk to for extended periods, and the giant, lethal yokai was one of them.
  49.  
  50. "You have lots to teach me still. Stuff I'll never do by myself." He protested vehemantly, as if her words were a personal insult. "Stop being lazy!"
  51.  
  52. He had to resist the urge to clap his hands over his mouth. He was snapping at the yokai, but he had already started. The boy was too prideful to go back on his tone now.
  53.  
  54. "You just don't feel like it, but I bet you could make me lots stronger, right now even."
  55.  
  56. _______
  57.  
  58. No one actually knew his name.
  59.  
  60. It was one of his most closely guarded secrets, as if he believed that possession of his name would give another possession over him. To him, it was something so intimate, so vital, only his parents held it, and, if he'd had any say, as in if they hadn't been the ones to name him, they probably wouldn't have had it either.
  61.  
  62. And they certainly wouldn't have it now, now that they had fallen out. No. They most definitely wouldn't.
  63.  
  64. A name was the one thing you can't take back once you give it.
  65.  
  66. "I want to train as fast as I can," he babbled, not fully registering what he was saying. If Arimanes was particularly keen of sight, she'd notice the various weights strapped to his form, his motions sluggish compared to their usual, and the heavy bags under his eyes having returned, from the days before he had ever known her. "I want to be strong."
  67.  
  68. His fists clenched.
  69.  
  70. "I need to be strong."
  71.  
  72. _______
  73.  
  74. What was death?
  75.  
  76. A child no more wholly understands death and all that it entails as you or I do. Surprised, maybe? Thought I'd say they understand less?
  77.  
  78. Well what do you actually know about death?
  79.  
  80. That's what I thought.
  81.  
  82. No, you see, the difference between how a child sees death and you or I sees death is that he hasn't given sufficient thought to be terrified of it. He hasn't been cowed into submission by the merciless specter that is death, as you have. Oh, you don't fear death?
  83.  
  84. Liar.
  85.  
  86. Arsenic is young, he is bold, and he is, in his mind, invincible. He does not fully digest the concept of what dying entails, he does not fret, worry, or panic. He merely answers, before he's even stopped to think, so that the moment her mouth closes and those vibrations stop carrying, his mouth opens and his declaration is barked back.
  87.  
  88. "Who's scared to die? I'm not scared. I'm not scared of nothing." His arm is whipped back, his fist is balled, and disgust is prominent in his every syllable. "Maybe you are, but don't push that crap on me."
  89.  
  90. A stomp, then, his face the picture of conviction.
  91.  
  92. "...So you and any stupid dog, dumb demon, grown-up, or talking tree guy that doubts me are going to eat their words when A becomes the Champion of Valmasia."
  93.  
  94. _______
  95.  
  96. Arsenic looks Arimanes dead in the face, the same as he had when they had first met, and he had tremored in his boots at the thought of combat with something that much larger than himself. He looked scared out of his mind, not of death, but perhaps something more familliar; pain. Pain, and loss.
  97.  
  98. He grips his fists so tightly they bleed, and even then, while he shakes both figuratively and literally, he still stares what may very well be the closest to death's physical manifestation currently present in this forest.
  99.  
  100. Perhaps even this region of the planet.
  101.  
  102. "Yeah."
  103.  
  104. He emanates darkness so concentrated, so honed. And so young. It's chill embrace warms him, and well...It is hard for me to explain to one who does not possess it already the full capacity of the strongest of hearts.
  105.  
  106. A smirk.
  107.  
  108. "I'll master the darkness and I'll beat anybody at the grand tournament. Anybody. And I'll beat death, too."
  109.  
  110. He doesn't even know what he's saying anymore. It could be chalked up to delusion, childlish ignorance, and depravity.
  111.  
  112. The fragments slip in a destabilizing mind that'll never be whole again.
  113.  
  114. _______
  115.  
  116. Arsenic does not speak. Not a word leaves his mouth. He is beyond that point.
  117.  
  118. The darkness cloaks his body like a second skin, and then it spreads, so that the ghastly, forbidden aura emanates depravity and menace palpable in the very air. He looks onward and at the ensemble of yokai who sought to teach him terror, so that his every waking moment was spent in fear of death.
  119.  
  120. Whatever the reason may be, Arsenic, despite knowing he was, in every definition of the word, outclassed, seemed utterly unfazed by it all. When the giant yokai's eyes take on a red tint, he grips the darkness tighter to himself, and with that motion, he slips further into depravity, using insanity as his shield, mind deteriorating more by the instant.
  121.  
  122. There was something to be said of humans and the complete and total defense that was ignorance.
  123.  
  124. He abandoned his weights, the heavy, encumbering things unstrapped and left behind. He marveled, momentarily, at how much lighter he felt, but he did not give himself long to do so. It was like watching a child get ready for school, carrying through the motions, no urgency, yet no real sluggishness, either. All preparation was done so clearly, so normally...
  125.  
  126. That everything about it screamed defiance of fear.
  127.  
  128. It's only when he's finally ready that the fight initiates with him blurring from the spot he's in, and, when next he's visible, appearing above Arimanes, high in the air above, sword held overhead like the gavel of a judge come down to sentence the world.
  129.  
  130. (Me found bravery in my bravado.)
  131.  
  132. _______
  133.  
  134. Arsenic is handled so thoroughly, so viscerally, one might swear there was no real point to him even having tried at all.
  135.  
  136. This is a predictable outcome, of course. The yokai stands at the height of their game, and he, so far behind, is rendered little more than a humanoid punching bag, powerless to do anything but go scuttling across the forest and through trees like a living, breathing punching bag. To his credit, he manages to reorient himself in the air with a bit of clever acrobatics, what began as an uncontrollable spiral managed to a position where he can bound from a tree he'dve gone crashing dead through.
  137.  
  138. From here, he vacates normal sight again, the boy's fierce speed the only thing in his arsenal that he relied on in situations like this- he would still be outsped by the vastly bigger and highly superior in every-other-regard yokai, but it was all he could do to maintain any semblance of control over the situation.
  139.  
  140. Not that he'd ever been one too preoccupied with control to begin with.
  141.  
  142. He's already got a heavy bruise on his face, one eye swollen shut, and claw marks rake his front side, but for some reason, even with one of his legs trembling, failing, he only whips his head back and laughs.
  143.  
  144. Maybe he's been punched delirious.
  145.  
  146. The boy dives back into the thick of things a madman possessed, likely unable to do any better than before but determined to fight with such peerless ferocity that he hopes to momentarily take the lesser yokai, if not Arimanes herself, aback. This, while unlikely to work, was just how he operated- in essence, fearless.
  147.  
  148. You could make him writhe and scream and you could inflict terror on him of such increments a normal human's mind'd shatter, but some people, they're not like me or you.
  149.  
  150. You say can't, he says shut the fuck up.
  151.  
  152. If his parents aren't around to hear, that is…
  153.  
  154. _______
  155.  
  156. Arsenic is still laughing, even as he's tossed around the woods like a humanoid pinball.
  157.  
  158. After a point, he's being dragged forcefully and pummeled like a ragdoll. This ceased to be a fight long ago, were it ever to begin with, and had entirely become the abuse of a child at the hands of an ungodly powerful combatant. To call what happened at this point anything other than a beatdown the likes of which would mentally scar any kid that wasn't pushed beyond the brink by the corrupt influence of depravity for the rest of his life, so that his every waking moment was spent jumping at shadows and scrambling at the sound of whispers, well, it'd just be foolish.
  159.  
  160. Willpower was something he possessed, perhaps, in his normal state, but not like this.
  161.  
  162. What Arimanes had either failed to calculate or didn't care about was the fact the kid was so far gone he was laughing like a deranged maniac everytime he inflicted even miniscule damage on the yokai present, or landed the most insignificant blows against Arimanes herself. Even when he was struck, every muscle fiber in his body blaring in protest for him to continue standing up, he managed to regardless, and without effort, the corrupting influence of darkness eroding away more and more of his sanity.
  163.  
  164. Murderous impulse had long overcome all survival instinct, and so, when the claws are plunged into his chest and he's pushed to the brink of death, and those dark eyes begin to dim, so that they no longer reflect the light of the outside world but vehemantly reject it, as the boy had living..
  165.  
  166. "ha."
  167.  
  168. He still croaks out a laugh, even as, in that instant, the darkness vanishes. Coherence returns to him when he is somewhere nearly gone. His very soul threatens to exit the mortal plane and occupy the great beyond, his body no longer functions as it should, the light has left his eyes, and his head...
  169.  
  170. It slumps.
  171.  
  172. For those long, few, precious seconds, it would seem as if Arsenic was actually dead.
  173.  
  174. ---
  175.  
  176. "Why have you come, child?"
  177. "The world, does it reject you?"
  178. "You're my Goggles..."
  179. "Maybe we shouldn't laugh at her, she hurt herself cooking food for us.."
  180. "Woof! Woof woof! Woof!"
  181.  
  182. ---
  183.  
  184. In the waking world, his hand twitches.  It has been two seconds. For him, it'd feel like an eternity, an eternity spend dead, and without hope. He still does not fear death.
  185.  
  186. He begins to cry all the same.
  187.  
  188. God it hurts.
  189.  
  190. ---
  191.  
  192. Levi stands atop the summit, and Arsenic below, a place to where he couldn't reach. Above them both lie Arimanes, beyond the summit, beyond the skies. For when the moon turns, spinning a full hundred and eighty degrees, it is her visage upon it, and then it laughs, ominously, and he has never been more convinced that this woman is -wicked-...
  193.  
  194. Levi's voice is all it takes.
  195.  
  196. "You're a good kid."
  197.  
  198. The boy turned to the other, and, now, when he spoke, he was half himself, half-Arimanes, the two people the young, malleable warrior looked up to most...
  199.  
  200. "Don't you want to l i v e?"
  201.  
  202. ---
  203.  
  204. From the jaws of death, he snatches life, not because he was able, but because he was desperate.
  205.  
  206. The darkness shoots from him in thick, sharp tendrils that impale each of the surrounding yokai, and they have only an instant to be taken aback before they're being assimilated, their life force serving only to restore his own. At the same time, mind free from the clutches of occult madness, if only for the moment, he wills time to do his bidding, and, inch by inch, skin knits itself back together.
  207.  
  208. What was the question?
  209.  
  210. The question has an answer.
  211.  
  212. He shivers, trembles, he snarls, he breathes, he struggles, he thrives.
  213.  
  214. We are man.
  215.  
  216. He is us.
  217.  
  218. Humans were not weak. They are not, and never have been. Man died for his ideals before he knew what ideals were. Before philosophy was etched in tablet or even before he'd uttered the first word, he'd fought for what he'd believed in. He'd fought to survive. And, against all odds, in the universe's greatest come-up story, they stood, alive, powerful, and, despite it all, growing.
  219.  
  220. Yokai were strong, but humans were not weak.
  221.  
  222. It is precious, precious time- ten, fifteen seconds, perhaps- but after Arimanes's blow that should have rendered him dead, he rises, the light still kindling in his eyes. The darkness is gone. His coat is gone. He's nothing more than a scrawny child with a pair of ruined, armored greaves and a trusty set of goggles given to him by the only brother he'd ever knew.
  223.  
  224. "Believe..."
  225.  
  226. He sways on his feet. The child is so young, unable to articulate. But he is intelligent, and there are many things he thinks, and many things he knows. He is a fine specimen of man. The darkness evaporates entirely, his head raises up, and, for the umpteenth time, the mortal's eyes meet that of a living, breathing, incarnation of vengeance itself.
  227.  
  228. "In us humans."
  229.  
  230. The question had an answer.
  231.  
  232. And he would find it.
  233.  
  234. ________
  235.  
  236. Arsenic could accept that. For now, he would take his small victory, and one day, he'd take his luck and make it a major one.
  237.  
  238. He had no skill, but he had heart, so he'd turn it around.
  239.  
  240. He can't help the small smile that escapes him at the compliment bestowed upon him by the yokai. This was what was comforting to him, now; The skeletal hand of an eight-foot-tall yokai pressed to his shoulder after having nearly murdered him was what the boy had to look forward to these days in terms of affection.
  241.  
  242. But he wouldn't complain, ever. Something felt different, now. He felt...better. As if something'd been resolved. He was more comfortable with who he was, now. And he felt driven. He felt purpose.
  243.  
  244. And with that? There was nothing he couldn't do now.
  245.  
  246. He collapses in that instant, having been on his feet far, far too long by this point so soon after that excessive amount of injury. He falls face-down, and would lay there for some time. He'd be fine...but any unfortunate enough to pass him may mistake the boy for a corpse.
  247.  
  248. He wasn't doing this again anytime soon.
  249.  
  250. ________
  251.  
  252. Arsenic lies, unconcious, for some while, and he dreams of all manner of things. When atlast he comes to, body still ravaged from all manner of injuries sustained and limbs protesting his motion, he resumes the process of siphoning life and rewinding damage in order to reach a state suitable to carry on. His training awaited nothing, and no obstacle would deter him from practice for particularly long.
  253.  
  254. He was seeking to become the Champion of Valmasia, not another in a mob of thousands who referred to himself as some kind of hero and wandered the countryside in search of virtually nothing and aimlessly fulfilling the requests of others. Whatever the answer to the question was, and whatever his purpose may be, he'd either find them, or make himself. Never would someone else define him.
  255.  
  256. "How long have you been here?"
  257.  
  258. His back is to a tree, and he sits, arms on either side of him. This was how things went between them, it seemed; catharthic beatdowns and then brief conversations that consisted of Arimanes usually either deflecting the question or answering in a vague, broad spectrum that was sometimes over his head due to his age.
  259.  
  260. _______
  261.  
  262. Arsenic nodded, slowly. That was less time than he had thought; that meant it had only been about as long as he had been alive, perhaps even less time than that. He'd always assumed Arimanes to be hundreds, no thousands, no bajillions of years old. Nothing else really made sense in his mind, afterall. It was just the vibe he had gotten.
  263.  
  264. Don't question kid-logic.
  265.  
  266. "When will you leave it?"
  267.  
  268. He knew the answer to why she stayed, because he'd asked before, and she had answered before, and from her answer he had divined his own truth of things. But how much longer would she stay here? She had stayed in other places before, obviously...
  269.  
  270. "And where'll you go next?"
  271.  
  272. ________
  273.  
  274. With nothing else to preoccupy his time and several days having passed, which enables him to recover entirely from the near-death experience he was subject to by Arimanes, Arsenic settles back into the endless, zealous quest for the power to change all that he wills to change.
  275.  
  276. It's come time to increase his weight.
  277.  
  278. It's a struggle all over again as he sloughs through the motions of lifting his enormous sword, it's difficult all over again cleaving through these scorpions, although, he can't help but think, having come back from the verge of death itself with the scar to match, that this just isn't difficult enough anymore.
  279.  
  280. He remembers that yokai roam the earth and dragons rule the skies, and he just doesn't feel content slaying these miserable wretches in this cave.
  281.  
  282. No.
  283.  
  284. He needs to fight something bigger.
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