The Dark Shield and the Rabbit from The Hat.

Blue_XIII Jan 1st, 2016 (edited) 87 Never
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  1. Eventually, Arsenic'd stray from that house, having stayed transfixed on the sight of his own visage, face matted with the blood of slain creatures, for atleast seven hours. He would not go home; It would measure the first time he did not return to his parents' abode, receive a kiss on the cheek from his mother, be met with cold indifference from his father, and eat dinner uncomfortably at a table where he had never felt welcome.
  3. So he returned to Arimanes.
  5. _______
  7. Arsenic stumbles into the clearing looking as if he hasn't slept in days.
  9. Heavy bags shadow the young boy's eyes, and his general demeanor is that of one entirely unaffected by the world around him. The effeminate-looking prepubescent swordsman casually flicked their sword, the crimson rivulets of blood drawn from creatures he'd slaughtered along the way falling into the grass.
  11. He directs those blank, altogether dead-seeming eyes to Arimanes, with no regard for the current conversation, or the threat to their lives from people called 'whitecloaks.' No, none of that seems to matter to the child. Not in the slightest.
  13. "Teach?" He reminded.
  15. _______
  17. Arsenic stood, stock-still, eying each of the lesser yokai called in turn. At some point, his sword had appeared in his hand after he'd resheathed it when he arrived- but he couldn't tell you when that'd happened. He couldn't tell you the color of the grass beneath his feet.
  19. There was him, and there was the enemy, and nothing else mattered.
  21. Occult flame poured from him in a colossal wave of despair and darkness manifested, and his sword was risen toward the wave of creatures amassed before him, eyes singling out each and every one individually before Arimanes had even given him the directive to show off.
  23. The moment he was given the go, the very ground beneath the pack of yokai ignited- Corruption, then. The smell of sulphur emanates from the ground, but he doesn't stop to inhale; He is already moving.
  25. Time accelerates at his beck and call, the child manipulating it's flow even if only in a suspended field around he, himself. Magic pushes his body to an extreme impossible for one so young- being the terrifying specter of death that is a Magi enabled him to do these things, things children without the gift couldn't fantasize doing in their wildest dreams.
  27. Or nightmares.
  29. He calls down lightning to smite one, and still others, he lobs grenades that crackle, sizzle, home, and then explode, inflicting splash damage upon those near. By far the most noteworthy attribute of his combat ability is his speed- he is blindingly fast, letting off multiple attacks in rapid sequence.
  31. He drains life from his foes, he casts torment on those already damned, and, a whirling cyclone of steel and thunder, he begins to thin that hoard. All the while he does it, it's with a cold precision, not like a battle-hardened warrior's. No. That would make things all too understandable, all too simple.
  33. It was done with the awkward motions of a child...a child without emotion and blessed with prodigous might.
  35. When the last has fallen, he has already hit the ground, running, returning to his original position.
  37. Not only did he 'not worry' about killing them.
  39. He had gone out of his way to do so.
  41. And now he waited.
  43. _______
  45. A shield?
  47. Arsenic reacted as if he had never heard of such a concept.
  49. When the yokai assaulted him, all at once, and he remained still, concentrating his efforts on manifesting his darkness as something altogether defensive, the tables suddenly turned.
  51. With his incredible speed, he deflected, parried, and blocked his little heart out, but there was absolutely no shield to be seen. It was evident he futilely clutched at darkness in an effort to manage the feat Arimanes had described- but defense came to him nowhere near as naturally as offense did.
  53. That was to be sure.
  55. His speed lent itself well to outright avoidance, but telling him to stand his ground, allow himself to be struck, and cushion the blow with an expulsion of occult energy was like telling a fish to breathe on land. It wasn't that it was just difficult, it was the antithesis of everything that he was.
  57. He almost felt as if Arimanes had chosen that specifically for that reason.
  59. Arsenic leapt atop a tree in order to narrowly avoid yet another slash to his torso from the elongated claws of the persistent, feral yokai, leaning against the tree on one arm, chest heaving.
  61. ...
  63. This might be more difficult.
  65. "A...shield." He mimed, after several failures. He was then silent awhile.
  67. "Why do I need that?"
  69. _______
  71. Arimanes may have rose a good point, but it didn't make things easier.
  73. Not by much, anyway.
  75. He dove back into the fray like a bird of prey, savagely wrenching his blade through the head of one yokai, only for another to come up behind. Concentrating fully, wholly on the effort, he is able to manage a barrier beneath passable, one that hampers the strike in a way so insignificant the damage may very well have been entirely unmitigated. He receives a scratch to the back for his efforts, one that grates on his armor and generates a hiss of disdain from the young warrior, who whips around with a fistful of sheer darkness and slams it into the creature's gut, stunning it with a pulverizing blow.
  77. His next would behead it.
  79. There was no time to bask in the glory of this feat, for he was in pain and the other yokai had had time to converge, a barrage of darkness and fire directed at him from all angles. This time, he has no choice- it is do or..
  81. Severe injury.
  83. Time could only be slowed so much by a novice like himself, and while he is given more time to react than would be afforded most as a result of the arcane ability of time manipulation, all this really serves is time to hone in the depths of how well and truly fucked he is. He is capable of no emotion, he is capable of nothing but a dull awareness that he was about to be inflicted with an extraordinary pain, but something else motivated Arsenic, something so utterly human despite the odds.
  85. He hated losing.
  87. He must, and therefore, he will.
  89. Blackness shrouds his form for the third time, just in time to meet the onslaught of magic head on in a clash. The spells seemed resolute to break through, to end their bout and rob him of his consciousness, but there was one thing that could be said of yokai and humans, or atleast these yokai and this human.
  91. They didn't want to win as bad as he did.
  93. An explosion occurs, dead where Arsenic'd stood. For several moments, there is only dust, and it may seem to an outward observer that, when it parts, there will be no more boy, but rather a magical pincushion.
  95. You'd be dead wrong to think so.
  97. Coming from the fire and flames is Arsenic, banishing the dust with a powerful ejection of lightning that levels a yokai in one go; he's already running as it hits the ground, blood matted to his forehead, armor and clothes in ruins, his scrawny, childish form containing a comically disproportionate amount of strength to that he possessed.
  99. So young, and yet, a fucking killer.
  101. He cleaves clean through another, but it does not seem he can repeat his earlier performance; Not with so many, not like this. He augments his muscles with speed. It is not enough.
  103. Eventually, he is forced to retreat...
  105. And bide his time, evaluating how best to win from atop the same tree as before.
  107. _______
  109. Arsenic, as he always does, would only then manage to dispatch the yokai.
  111. He'd command the Dark Shield technique as often as he liked by this point, utilizing it without effort at particularly pivotal moments to showcase his rapid mastery- anything to impress, afterall.
  113. Not that he really cared...
  115. After awhile of training, he was dismissed. The lone boy'd make the solemn trek back to Frostvale, where he'd dawdle infront of the lake, alone. Silent. Pensive.
  117. He could be mistaken for a statue, really.
  119. _______
  122. Arsenic, for his part, did not give the slightest reaction to the application of his old nickname. Rather, he stood, staring forward still as if he hadn't been able to hear her, eyes perfectly reflecting the surface of the ice.
  124. Unlike every other time she'd found him here, it'd almost be like the ice was staring at him, and not vice-versa.
  126. There was just something about his disposition now. Previously aloof, but now just...stiff. There was something about him that was lackluster. A star without it's shine. He was just missing something.
  128. "What am I doing?" He asked no one in particular.
  130. _______
  132. This is not a common, natural infliction.
  134. Arsenic is not cursed with your usual sadness or shellshock. That was what made this entire thing so tragic: the symptoms and signs something genuinely had happened to him were brushed off as sorrow and ignored, and all the while he'd genuinely had the ability to feel stolen from him by powerful magic.
  136. Ah well.
  138. He bends forward, not unlike a bird, and, oddly enough, begins to peck at Veara's hand, taking the candies directly from her hand with his mouth. Were he able to manage this, he'd then begin to suck and chew on them with the wrappers still on, occasionally twitching in place.
  140. He still does not say anything.
  142. _______
  144. Rather than say anything, Arsenic just remained unresponsive, as if there was nothing, no one in this clearing but himself. It was as if he simply weren't human- it was unlike anything he'd ever displayed, and, after several hours of it, he woule eventually just meander off somewhere, abandoning his friend Veara to that clearing as he went off to Lord-knows-where.
  146. Were he able to feel even a modicum of...anything, Veara's persistence would have won him over. It'dve excited him, even if he were loathe to admit it. His longtime friend was one of the few people who'd ever meant anything to him.
  148. But Arsenic just wasn't home right now.
  150. _______
  152. Among those gathered happened to be a very peculiar little magi.
  154. Near the front of the crowd amassed by the twenty one year old Drakanite lingered a violet-haired swordsman, ten years old, garbed in beaten, worn armor underneath a long jacket that descended just below his waist. As the crowd cheered, applauded, and sang praise, he remained straight-faced in their midst, swaying side to side on occasion from being swayed.
  156. And then, she issued her challenge:
  158. Are there any magi watching who would like to steal the thunder of Jessica Brandt, the Burning Flame of Frostvale?"
  160. Arsenic was not a very thunderous boy.
  162. Her display likely would have impressed him beyond measure, held him enthralled, captive under the pyrokinetic display possible only due to extraordinary skill, and, as it stood, it still did; However, there was something very obviously wrong with him. Perhaps she'd chalk it down to his natural personality, given that they have no prior experience with one another, and the sole giveaway being something most people'd gloss over entirely:
  164. The fact that his eyes were eerily reminiscent of those of a corpse. There was simply no light to them, no sheen, no splendor, no glitter, no gold. It was as if he were an android, or a Walmart employee- he simply appeared, in essence, totally dead to the outside world, to what happened to everything around him.
  166. The prepubescent walking zombie stares at her as she issues her challenge skeptically, and then, rather abruptly, steps forth.
  168. For a moment, it seems as if he is going to take her up on that offer, that that is what he has approached for, rolling up his sleeves and all. He'd look to her with those eerie, corpselike eyes, lightning surging around his hands, and then...
  170. He'd zap a nearby mailbox, setting it on fire, still staring her dead in the face.
  172. "Put it out."
  174. _______
  176. Arsenic stared up at her.
  178. Everyone was so transfixed on that question, and that answer was one he'd been searching for quite some time now. It'd be rather anticlimactic, for his long journey in search of a name to abruptly end in light of the request of a stranger he had never met. No, no, that wouldn't do.
  180. Arsenic, even reduced to an emotionless husk, was all about his dramatics.
  182. When their eyes met, he'd continue to look at her without responding to her question for several long, long minutes. This'd carry on for such an uncomfortable length of time that if she left before getting her response, it shouldn't surprise any possible spectators in the slightest. By this time, presumably, the crowd should have begun to disperse, probably...
  184. But who knows.
  186. Finally, were she to have weathered the incredibly long pause, the boys' lips would part and, without fanfare, he would speak some of the most lengthy, prolonged, articulate words ever produced.
  188. "No."
  190. _______
  192. Arsenic would just stand there with the leg of rabbit she had left behind, and, all the way up and until she was almost out of sight, he would stand in the exact same position, staring off and into the exact same space.
  194. If she were perceptive though:
  196. Just a chance glance at him would be enough for her to see, almost when she was out of range, would he bend down and pick up the leg of rabbit. He would hold it momentarily as if it were a baby, cradling it, and ultimately, even sniffing it.
  198. This isn't a bird.
  200. And then he'd lob it into the air, and blow it to pieces with lightning magic, as he had that mailbox previously. This time, however, he didn't generate it intense enough to leave residue in the form of flames that very well could of caused a wildfire if not for her intervening. Instead, he merely stood there, virtually silent, bits and chunks of rabbit leg occasionally thudding into his armor and face.
  202. Near the end, he licks his lips, a piece having come audaciously close to landing directly into his mouth and some of the grease stuck to his face.
  204. "...Might have been tasty," he mumbles, and, were he capable of regret at the moment, maybe it would have sounded so.
  206. _______
  208. Steps into the Nostvale castle courtyard, eyes glazed over, as if he were in a trance. He arrives, looks dead at Riley for an uncomfortable amount of time, not a word leaving his mouth, and then, promptly, turns and exits, walking away from them after having apparently came for no particular reason.
  210. However.
  212. Were they to examine the spot he'd stopped in, there was, for whatever reason, a lightning-charred rabbit leg just sitting there now.
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