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Multiple Settings Anima Studies


(Made with the help and approval of Solirus Solirus )
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Marianne hardly listened to the demon’s mimicked pleas for help as she focused instead on tracing the spiralling eyes and teeth that slipped beyond her grasp. The former of the two was obscured for a moment in goopy shadow, which Marianne had a mere moment to notice before the ink was flung into her eyes. She heard the dirt shift beneath claws and brought up her arms in a flimsy attempt at a shield. With her eyes as useless as they were, she turned to the last resort; refined sight. The logic within her knew it was useless with all the anima fog, but she was willing to use anything at her disposal to reunite with Annamarie. No matter how improbable and no matter the cost.

Instead of the usual miasma, she found the clear outline of the demon before her, crouched and ready to pounce. It was a near perfect silhouette, and with it she could follow its movements in full clarity. She saw the demon lunge upwards, jaws parted for her neck. The creature’s technique was crude, and if anything, reckless. If Annamarie were here, they could easily land a strike on one of the many openings it left itself.

She’s here, above you, She told herself with an instructor's sharpness, Step with her shadow. As if by your side.

Marianne had never been trained in unarmed combat, so as she twirled to the left she clenched her fingers around imaginary blades before she slammed her fist against the creature’s head in the zenith of its lunge. The force of the blow shot pain up her entire arm, and she could feel the skin of her knuckles tear. Whatever anima formed its skull was incredibly tough.

Thankfully, it would seem that the demon was worse off. Its only remaining horn broke and exploded, which Marianne only realized by the bang and pressure against her face. With her eyes closed as they were, she experienced none of the unusual side effects she once had.

The demon stumbled from the blow, stunned, but Marianne was not one to waste the upperhand she had so sorely gained. Once again, she struck, this time aimed for the fresh wound on its head. The demon crumbled to the ground, spilling ink into the soil as it flailed weakly. With one boot, Marianne stomped down with all her weight.

The creature no longer resisted, offering only trembled breaths as its form clung onto existence. Clumps of anima drifted like sparks, its body rapidly breaking down. Dribbles of black ink seeped out from beneath its red teeth. It coughed, spattering more rotten blood.

Marianne stared down at the pitiful creature that had parted her from Annamarie and had tried to end her life. It was hideous, disgusting, a wretched creature that preyed upon the innocent if given the chance, and yet an unusual feeling bubbled up from within her and refused to sit still or be dismissed.


The demon was young, newly formed, and she loathed how it brought her beloved Annamarie to mind. This creature had been created by someone’s agony and fed evil emotions, shaping it into the fiend that lay dying at her feet. It had no choice in its creation, nor the poisoning of its anima. Such a process was the very fear that haunted Marianne like a plague, a worry of what might become of Annamarie.

A shudder ran across her shoulders, an ache in her chest. Had it not been for the unchecked cruelty of humans, this creature would not have to feed upon suffering. All of its cunning could have been used for the protection of humanity, as she wished for Annamarie. Alas, there was little she could do but lament the inability to turn sin into virtue. An impossible and naive wish.

One hundred sins and one good deed, she ruminated once more on that stupid familial saying. One sin and one hundred good deeds.

There was no changing this tired world. All she could do was fight until she fell, just as all she could do was put an end to this creature's wretched existence. Marianne lifted her boot and prepared for the final blow, but hesitated for a moment. Before the execution, she spoke softly to the creature. Her voice was full of a surprising tenderness, one she wished she could muster for the humans in her life, “I hope Sam came back for you in the end. I hope you found them. Or maybe that you will. Somehow.”

One of her earliest teachings had been to never feel sympathy for a demon, but this damp and forgotten cellar would forever hold her secret. How could she not feel empathy when she too knew the sting of separation, the very thing that possessed her every action in that desperate struggle. Now that the fight was over, she could feel it as sharp as every tick of scissors upon the floor above.

Perhaps emboldened by her hesitation, the demon crawled painstakingly closer to the girl poised to end its life. The mere action caused one of its arms to fall off and crumble away. Marianne wasn’t sure if she should be impressed by its tenacity, or concerned by it.

Before she could decide, she noticed something unusual in the flow of anima. It flowed away from the demon, even as its body fell apart, forming a little river that tugged at her own anima ever so slightly. The closer the creature got, the stronger the pull became. It was almost as if the anima was inviting her to tug back.

Against her better judgment, Marianne indulged in her curiosity and reached out to the sensation. Instantly, the demon’s dying anima latched onto her own. She could feel it absorb into her, a sickening flow she was unable to stop. What remained of the demon’s form broke up into anima shards and melted into the rest until nothing was left. The sensation ended.

Marianne stood silent in the dark, her eyes wide and heart racing. Weighed down by a wave of exhaustion, she leaned heavily against the nearby pillar and panted in shallow breaths. Her thoughts were a dizzying haze of disbelief and horror. What had just happened? The question remained unanswered in her mind, running rampant and free. Could it have been a mistake? A trick of the mind, perhaps? All logic pointed to the impossible. The only thing she could think of was that it reminded her of the way anima flowed towards Annamarie’s blade.


Her crumbling psyche sharpened at the reminder of what was far more important. She had to leave this basement and reunite with her twin. Everything else could wait.

Marianne pushed herself off of the pillar and had to grit her teeth just to keep back a scream of pain. With the adrenaline fading and the exhaustion settling in, the bite of her wounds were coming back for her. She wanted nothing more than to lay down, but she forced herself to press on into the darkness. With one hand feeling through the dark and the other staunching the sticky wound of her shoulder, Marianne found the wall and made her way out of the basement. She took a small comfort in the sound of Annamarie’s scissors following her path, knowing that for as long as the doll remained focussed on breaking the floor, there was no threat.

Eventually, the darkness opened up into a stairwell and Marianne made her way up. At the top of the steps was Annamarie, her red eyes glinting in the darkness. They scanned for a threat, and when they found none, turned to inspect the mess of Marianne.

Ink and blood stained the fabric of Marianne's dress, which had been slashed and bitten into disrepair. It stuck to the gruesome bite on Marianne’s shoulder, and her black tights had been ripped open around the gashes that still bled red into the fabric. Dust and dirt covered her hair and skin in dark splotches. Though worse for wear, Marianne's face was only one of joyed relief. Her anima flared pink in spite of its suppression.

“Suppose we should afford a bit more caution next time?” Marianne suggested in good humour as she leaned heavily against the creaky railing, tears welling up in her eyes.

She could hardly walk, but she had just enough composure to wrap Annamarie in a hug. It lasted only a second before Marianne withdrew in a jolt, “Good heavens, what am I doing? I’m absolutely filthy! I'll soil your dress."

Marianne went to wipe off some dirt she had placed on Annamarie, only to nearly lose balance and fall over. A porcelain hand caught her before she could fall, helping her up. "Right... we should find a suitable spot to recover first. Perhaps the laundry room?"

The anima in this wing was lighter now, free of the oppressive weight created by the crazed demon. A heavy miasma still clung to the place, but it was only a fraction of the weight it had once been. It would seem that this area had been the territory of that demon, and the lesser creatures had not yet realized its defeat. For the time being, she could use the fragile peace as a moment to recover.

With the assistance of Annamarie, Marianne limped her way back to the laundry room. She had a small hope that there could be some rags that were suitable for fashioning makeshift bandages, but sadly they all were infections waiting to happen. The most she could use them for was to wipe off the worst of the dirt and ink that coated her. Annamarie helped her, cutting off the better pieces of the moth-eaten cloth with her scissors and passing it to Marianne.

As for dressing her wounds, things were not as simple. Marianne went to retrieve the handkerchief from her purse, only to remember it had been used to hold the uneaten portion of her Yorkshire pudding. Thankfully, it had been spared of the blood and the ink. She picked up the wrapped pastry and set it on an old counter. While it may have struck off a possible make-shift bandage, she wasn't about to let it go to waste.

Borrowing Annamarie's scissors, Marianne snipped off the cleanest strips from her petticoat and used them to wrap the mess of her shoulder and legs. It wasn't the best bandage, but it would do for now. She fastened them off and then sighed, leaning back against the wall. Between her wounds and her dwindling energy, there was no way she could be useful in a fight. From now on she would need to rely soley on Annamarie for combat.

A tap on her shoulder brought Marianne out of her thoughts. Annamarie was crouched beside her, holding out to her the Yorkshire pudding. It brought a tired smile to her face as she took it appreciateively, "Best to get some energy before we continue on. Thank you."

Marianne took a bite of the pastry. She remembered thinking that it was nothing like the ones her grandmother made, but as she sat the ruins of the asylum, bloody and beaten, she swore it was the best thing she had ever tasted.
Sophia Hughes
Location: right path
Anima: Thin gray veil throbbing intensely in the air

"Last time I visited an asylum, a working one, I got overwhelmed by the anima pouring out that I immediately ran away..." Sophia nodded somberly at Isaac's reply. Seemed like she was about to open her mouth again when Isaac pulled her to a room. Sophia wasn't really sure of what just happened, but since Isaac looked frightened she followed him along and hugged the wall too.

It's not until the demon was close did Sophia finally noticed it. Shiver creeped down her spine and while Isaac's anima seemed to be gradually suppressed, her anima was actually about to burst. She bites her own hand to prevent herself from making any noise and to calm herself. After the demon passed, she finally let out a sigh of relief.

"I-It's okay." Sophia said with shaky voice. .

"Do you think we can defeat that...? Just asking, not that I plan to." She asked as she slowly peeked out of the room to make sure the demon had gone.

Solirus Solirus

  • Accursed
    November Witch November Witch

    The corvid remained still, it's eyes violet and contemplative, waiting. Crimson, however, could not find a hint of anima still. "The eyes of that blasphemous amalgamation bear down upon this place, but they are not all-seeing." The corvid raised its wings, the feathers dropped one by one as the wings snapped and cracked in unnatural ways. The skin at the back of the corvid slowly peeled itself open, revealing a thin and pale arm grasping at the air.

    Then, there was darkness. Crimson could no longer see anything, not the traces of anima that permeated the halls of the asylum, nor the faintest glimmer of light. "Be grateful, today you shall not die, for blasphemous eyes protect you from such fate, but those eyes shall be blind to the suffering born of your hubris." voices echoed from the darkness, reverberating and shaking Mariana's very soul. "We shall watch you closely, little fish." Crimson could feel the gentle touch of a feather land on their shoulder. Darkness withdrew alongside the feather. Though it had seemed as if nothing had occurred to Crimson, she could feel something was wrong, something had happened to not only her but to Mariana as well, but she was unable to feel what exactly it was.

    Mariana and Crimson have been afflicted with an unknown curse


    But peace would not be granted to crimson yet. For through the miasma of anima and the dark hallways, she would spot a tall humanoid creature with curving horns that almost scrapped against the ceiling, and awfully long limbs with large spindly hands. Crimson could also hear the tolling bell, softly, even when the thing held it in its right hand. But the most apparent factor was that the thing's anima emanated a sick and familiar feeling for Crimson, pure sadism, like a streaming waterfall, hungry for suffering.

    Crimson had found the rank II, and it had now found her.


Status: Nervous & Determined

Crimson listened with crossed arms and a somewhat smug, and spiteful expression. That was, until her surroundings all went dark, and nothing could be seen. Neither physical nor within the world of anima. Some trick of this demon, snuffing out her senses. Of course. This bird demon was starting to really get on her nerves now. This demon was just playing and toying with her. As many of the smarter ones learned to do for entertainment. Herself included. But being on the receiving end could be fun too it seemed.

“Oh no, the bewg scawy demon isn’t getting what it wants, so it’s gonna throw a temper tantrum.”

Crimson would mock it halfway through it speaking. Thankfully she did, because she knew as soon as that feeling hit her, that this was more serious than she thought. The thing was gone, but something was still very wrong. It scared her. But she didn’t have much time to dwell on this as she came face to face with something else before her. Another demon. But it was definitely stronger than the one she fought earlier. On her own level, in fact. But wait… How had it come upon her so fast? It had to have been the doing of that damn bird. It wasn’t just sight she had to have lost, but sound too in order to not hear this thing approaching. Perhaps it had even led the thing right to her. Either way, she had a new problem to deal with.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Crimson remembered exactly what the professor had said.

“Find the hiding Rank ones in this building whilst avoiding the Rank II. You will be scored on those criteria.”

Well, there was no avoiding this thing as it seemed ready to attack. It also likely knew this place much better than she did. So, running likely wouldn’t work out in her favor. But she supposed she could at least tie it up so that the other measly humans could finish their tasks without having to worry about it. Honestly, it was probably the only way they’d be able to pass. Besides, whatever had happened to her, maybe she could use this chance to find out what. Perhaps it was something that messed with her ability to fight. In that case, at least she would find out sooner, in a test with those ready to jump in and help. Rather than having to find out in some place she would receive no support in.

“Well, big guy, are you ready to lose?”

She would ask, only to start absorbing some of the sadistic anima in the air. She wanted every bit of an edge over this demon that she could get. She knew that taking too much would start to affect her personality. But she knew it would normally take a decent amount to do that. So, taking a little would be fine. Not only would her tendrils be ready to strike, but a large 6-foot anchor appeared behind her. The floor behind her would move and waver as if it was becoming liquid. Which it seemed to. A black pool from which a large rusted anchor would slowly rise. Once fully out of the water, the floor would turn back into its normal self. A large, thick chain would lead from it to her hands. She would yank on the chain, and the anchor would lurch forward. At first, it grinded against the floor, tearing through the tiling and emitting a large metal grating sound. That was until there was enough speed for it to go airborne and sail past Crimson and towards the demon. The multi-ton object would be incredibly difficult to stop. But the movements were telegraphed. Maybe the creature could dodge it, even with how massive it was.

Solirus Solirus
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Nikklaüs was glad to see that both Valerie and Cobalt were receptive to the idea of teaming up, smiling particularly wide when Cobalt reciprocated his fist pump gesture.

“Okay, anyway, I think we’ll need to make sure we’re on the same page on our strategy.” Cobalt started.

“I couldn’t agree more, bruv. Firstly I want to talk about why I picked you and I think you already picked up on—”

“Ah, right, okay. We can also rush in. That works too.” Nikklaüs flinched at that, not daring to look back.

“Fuckin—oh my god.” Nikklaüs groaned, dragging his palms down his face.

“Better not leave her alone, we can figure things out as we go.”

“Yeah… yeah that’d do it. As we go. Love that for us.” Nikklaüs bitched quietly to himself, taking to a jog to catch up. He stopped himself just at the entrance, remembering something important. He ran back to Jaquie, handing him the bag of puddings: only two left. “You haven’t had yours yet bossman, I made it for you after all. The last one though, could you hold onto it for me, thanks!” He ran off to catch up with his group before Jaquie could offer rebuttal.

Close behind Valerie on the forward path, Cobalt grimaced when he tried again to use his refined vision once inside. Nikklaüs too, despite having spent a majority of his time not actively studying working on his anima—refined vision and all—he could hardly see dick past his own face.

“Urgh, this place really is littered with negative energy...” Cobalt mumbled, shaking his head. Raising both hands, he adjusted his ponytail, ensuring his hair wouldn't come out and block his vision while inside the asylum (well, not that the darkness wasn't already doing a good job at that). He was keeping his guard up, ready to light up his Anima Art at a moment’s notice and lob a fireball at any unwanted entity that would come near the small group.

“Probably not a good idea right now but I can act as a flashlight if the darkness gets too annoying,” he informed the other two with a side smile. “Just make sure not to touch the flames, though.”

“As nice as some light seems, I’m not sure it’s piercing through this miasma,” Nikklaüs piped up. “More importantly, now that we’re all in one spot, I think it’d be a good idea to put our heads together too. I don’t want us to be set upon without proper rules of engagement,” He started, coming to a halt and trying to get a huddle started. Best they not continue walking until some level of strategy has been devised. “I’m not super familiar with combat in a group setting and especially not in the context of the arcane, but I like to think that my past experiences have honed a tactical mindset in me that could help us get through this smoothly as long as you guys are willing to listen,” He paused for a short moment. I should probably be a bit more up front about it. “Suffice to say that this is all just an excuse for me to be team leader ‘cause I want to be, but this is for all three of us so I want to hear from you guys. Maybe a team leader isn’t even necessary.” Nikklaüs shrugged with it.

Valerie had paid little heed to the boys she had just agreed to buddy up with before she had run off with the apparent intention of chasing after Mariana, though eventually she seemed to have simmered down once it became apparent that she probably wasn’t going to find the other girl in this path, momentarily stopping partially because she finally remembered not to leave Cobalt and Nikklaüs behind in the dust, and because even she wasn’t reckless enough to just keep pressing forward into the increasing dark by herself. Even as the three of them were gathered together, Valerie kept running in place like a morning jogger who didn’t want her momentum to stop, though perhaps it made her look like she was too hyper for her own good, which was probably true too.

“Oh, there you guys are,” she said pleasantly as if nothing was wrong, listening intently to their words. Eventually, realizing that her steps were bound to attract undue attention, Val for her part stopped hopping around and stood still now. Placing her hands on her hips, the young woman tilted her head thoughtfully. She managed a smile at Nikklaüs’s bid for team leader, and a smile would sorely be needed in a dour place like this where the darkness seemed to affect not just their eyesight but also their temperament if they weren’t careful.

“Uh, sure! I’m game for that,” Val nodded affably. She hadn’t really thought about the idea of how she’d have to fight differently when with a group until Nikklaüs brought it up. She wondered what sort of experience Nikklaüs was talking about that would make him more suited to a position like this, but they could get into that later. “To be honest, I’m more of a lover than a fighter, so it’s just as well, and I guess it’d be pretty bad if we’d end up getting in each other’s ways if push comes to shove here, so it’d be good to be able to coordinate in a pinch. I mean, shouldn’t be too hard with me at least. I can just sit back and shoot some pew-pews if needs must,” she said, making a finger gun and making shooting gestures as she spoke, before perking her hand upward, her index finger still extended out as a small bubble of light materialized around the tip, only mildly illuminating the area around them.

“That all said, if you guys want, I can definitely make a light to guide the way. I just wouldn’t want to end up attracting any extra attention if we happen to brush by the Rank II or any other demons,” she said, before giving a wink. “Unless you two promise to take good care of me.”

“Hey, if you want to act as a team leader, I’m all for it.”, Cobalt shrugged, nodding in approval of Nikklaüs’ suggestion. “Having some organization isn’t something I’ll say no to.” He pursed his lips as his eyes darted about. “How are we even supposed to find that Rank I in the middle of all this anima...”, he sighed, rubbing the back of his head.

Cobalt didn’t mind Valerie’s high energy -he himself was definitely on the other end of the enthusiasm spectrum so having diversity felt nice. “If love was the answer to all our demon-related problems, I don’t think we’d need arcanists to begin with.”, he commented with an amused chuckle. “But speaking of arcanist stuff, we could try and stay hidden for now. I was afraid my anima would get noticed easily but with how, uh, muddled, the whole place is, I’m not even sure it’ll be a problem.” A low hum escaped his lips as he tapped his chin in thought. “If we have to find a Rank I, I’d like to assume it’s small in size, much like the ones we fought back on the first day... Do we think it could be hidden, like, inside a cupboard or something?”

Since Valerie had immediately bolted off earlier before any details about the team composition were shared, Cobalt deemed it necessary to get this out of the way quickly, before they encountered any demon. “So, for when we actually get into fights...”, he ushered, mostly glancing at Valerie. “... Nikk will mostly take care of getting melee strikes done while we both support him from afar. That was what you had in mind, right?”, he quickly asked the aforementioned sword wielder. “I can also act as a substitute melee guy if I engulf myself with my soul flames and, uh, punch the demons, as much as I don’t look forward to doing that.”

“No, no. You don’t have to do anything like that,” Nikklaüs shook his head. “How much staying power do your flames have? I want you to try and maintain a perimeter if you guys can, keep anything from getting away. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing touches you.”

Nikklaüs felt the miasma pass over him, and he raised an eyebrow looking down to it. Using his refined vision, he could see the vacuum of his Anima start to take it in, absorb it. Maybe he could clear the way a little bit, give their vision a little more leeway? Moving a hand up, he started to pick it out of the air. Nice, maybe this stuff will be less of a problem than I thought? I don’t know, maybe this isn’t such a good idea. Like a reflex, the hilt of Zantetsuken burst out of Nikklaüs’ chest, ready to be drawn at a moment’s notice.

Slowly, the miasma was cleared from the hallway, granting with it a modicum of visibility, and with their refined vision, at the end of the hallway, they could spot a humanoid shape hunched over and stalking the group. However, when it felt it had been seen, it quickly retreated back deeper into the hallway where its anima blended back into the thicker miasma.


“Fuck that!” Nikklaüs shouted in reflex, tearing Zantetsuken from his chest.

“Mhh, well if we’re talking duration, they stay on inanimate matter for a few moments but I can’t exactly make them stay.”, Cobalt pondered. He took a mental note to try and work on that in the future, Nikklaüs bringing a good point. “Anything with anima will keep burning for a bit, though. I don’t doubt weak demons will get exterminated entirely.”, he explained, pausing for a few moments as his gaze turned to the ground. “If my flames burn through soul and anima, I wonder if I would be able to burn away the negative anima around us so we could see with refined vision...” He shook his head before his mind drifted too far away -he’d need to stay focused on the present. And fortunately, it looked like Nikk was able to achieve a similar effect to what he had in mind, clearing away some of the miasma.

Cobalt blinked at the sight of the strange stalker, his expression as neutral as it was before. “... On second thought, I think everything’s fine without us seeing what’s beyond the anima.”

Valerie let the boys mull over how to most effectively use their powers as they spoke. The girl couldn’t help but feel a bit out of her element, and though she had mused on how she wasn’t used to combat, she knew that that was something she’d eventually have to remedy. For now however, she’d have to make do with her current understanding of her powers and see where that got her.

As the miasma cleared, Val almost let herself breathe a sigh of relief before she also took notice of the unwelcome shape watching them, scurrying away just as quickly as it appeared. She could feel her heart sink in anxiety as she let out a startled gasp. Watchful eyes were perhaps to be expected, but that didn’t stop her from feeling totally creeped out. Still, she couldn’t turn back now. In for a penny, in for a pound.

As Nikklaüs fully drew his anima out, it seemed it was truly red alert time as Valerie took a wary stance behind the two boys. In a time like this, if nothing else, she was glad she had little aptitude for close-range fighting if it came to that. Channeling her anima around her index finger again, she pointed her arm forward, letting a beam of anima light travel forward like a makeshift flashlight, hoping that her light would be able to pierce the thicker miasma up ahead at least a little bit.

“You know what they say, f-four’s a crowd, so let’s see if we can’t cut that number down any,” Valerie quipped, her method of trying to keep her cool under such circumstances. “Shall we?”

Nikklaüs whipped around to meet his two teammates, devising a few rules for their approach.

“Alright, me first. I can prevent it from claiming the first strike. Valerie, I need you to light this bitch up on next contact, it might draw attention to us but when these things see better through the miasma than us I don’t think it matters. At least like that it’ll have a harder time getting away. Cobalt, watch for anything trying to sneak up on us: your flames should keep it hesitant enough for me to get in and defend you. Stay close, things are gonna start moving pretty fast from here.”

Nikklaüs brought Zantetsuken down into the nebenhut stance and dashed through the hall, sharpening his sight the best he could. It was still hard to see through the miasma, but he could see far enough in to at least give him the time to react to anything approaching him. As he continued though, he was not cognizant of how the miasma began to follow him.

Nodding at Nikklaüs’ words, Cobalt whipped his head around, as if trying to catch a hidden demon by surprise. Since they were entering combat, there was no need for him to be conservative with his flames now. Knowing that the asylum wouldn’t catch on fire thanks to his Anima Art, Cobalt didn’t have any reservations in manifesting his soul flames and lobbing a few projectiles on the walls and ceiling -mostly as a warning for to-be enemies but also to provide some light behind the small group.

The boy furrowed his brows, noticing how the fireballs he threw on the walls seemed a bit larger than what he intended to conjure, not to mention that the fire stuck on the walls for a good 5 seconds instead of dissipating after only a single second. The air also seemed to get clearer for a few moments, increasing the area’s visibility before more miasma flooded in. “Uhh, I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing but something’s wrong with my flames.”, he called out to the other two. Still, he figured it wasn’t anything bad per se and kept following behind Nikklaüs as he charged in, trying not to stay too far behind. The ponytailed boy pursed his lips as he noticed the miasma thickening behind their group leader. The miasma -the lingering negative anima...

“Hold on, nothing’s wrong, actually!”, he spoke again, a bit more pep in his voice. “My flames are using the ambient anima as fuel!”, he realized. If his theory was correct, that meant he was actually at a huge advantage here. But he decided to leave the big thinking for later, and threw another projectile on the ceiling in front of the group in order to clear up some miasma and hopefully allow Cobalt and Valerie to keep their sights on Nikklaüs. “Let’s not stay too far behind, Val!”, he added as he got a move on, making sure to glance behind him to make sure Valerie was close, and that no sneaky demon would try to backstab them.

At Nikklaüs’s instruction, Valerie nodded without complaint, feeling her apprehension be soothed a bit as they already had some semblance of a strategy laid out. And then with that, he was off, seemingly intent on not dragging this out longer than it had to. To Cobalt’s words, she nodded again in agreement. “Yeah! Right behind you!” She exclaimed, following after the two other boys.

Despite her response, she was not very enthusiastic to be behind them. Being at the back of the line left her vulnerable of course to any other demon that might feel like pranking them from behind, but she’d have to worry about that later.

With that in mind, Val kept her wits about her, clutching her wrist with her opposite hand as it remained pointing forward, still flashing a beam of light from her index finger to light the way as much as she could through the miasma.

It wasn’t a very long hall, so Nikklaüs had pushed up to the end of it rather quickly. At the end of it though, it teed off and Nikklaüs wasn’t ready for it; breaking his run with a slide, he slammed his back against the wall. It gave him a better vantage point since he had the wall covering his back and now had a line of sight to all possible paths of travel, looking to his right he saw the hall stretched further than he could see past the miasma. Looking straight ahead to his teammates, he saw that Cobalt was pushing up to meet him followed close by Valerie who had sent a shot of light down to chase him. Looking to the left, the quick flash allowed him to see the cryptid scuttle into a door just shortly there in. As the light faded, Nikklaüs made a note of just how careful it was with the door: to supplement stealth, or some other reason? In the case of stealth, it didn’t manage to get away so R.I.P to it.

Allowing a moment for Cobalt and Valerie to close the distance, he shuffled up to the door and held tight against it.

“Yo, what happened to the turn order?” He threw his hands up indignantly at seeing Cobalt before Valerie, but reel back in a little bit. Positive reinforcement. “Valerie, that scouting light was good, if nothing else that will be enough. As long as your light can feed us information, Cobalt and I can take care of things. Have you thought of ways to limit the enemy’s information though? I think a flashbang could help us get in this room safer if you can manage it,” Then he briefed them on plans to breach the room. “Okay, Cobalt. I see you’re experimenting with the miasma and I like what you’re going for. Regardless of if Valerie can flash our entry, I want you in first and I want you to let loose. Just really light shit up and see if you can kill whatever miasma is in there. Valerie and I will follow behind shortly after, ‘cause I’m not excited to find out how your flames interact with us,” He pointed to Valerie, palm up. “Then you’ll make sure we can see. From there, both of you take whatever potshots you can while I engage. If there aren’t any questions, then we move on your go.” He then pointed to both of them collectively, which one of them started was up to Valerie’s control of her Arte and whether or not she could manage something like a time-delay light burst.

“Sorry ‘bout the turn order, we wanted to catch up before we lost sight of you.”, Cobalt spoke up, gesturing toward the miasma all around them. “But I was keeping an eye behind, don’t worry -nothing’s around us except for the creepy one in front.”

Approaching the door, Cobalt cracked his knuckles and got ready to enter. “Okay, one cooked demon, coming right up.”, he idly announced. “And make sure you’re not in the way if you don’t want to get cooked. With my fire also burning up all the malicious anima here, good luck putting it out.”

Not taking any chances, Cobalt used his Anima Art on himself once he was sure the other two were far enough, cloaking himself in layers of soul flames. The boy briefly winced at their intensity; with the fire burning away at the anima infesting the asylum, even he was starting to feel a tingle from his own flames. But he brushed off the feeling and opened the door to do a first sweep of the area.

Cobalt was met with a very large room, both in width and height, the demon nowhere in sight. However, the most apparent thing he could notice was all the furniture in the room, all lined up perfectly from each other. Beds were neatly prepared and clean, and chairs were stacked on top of each other, minimizing the space that they took up. Desks were neatly placed into rows with brilliant and reflective knives all placed with care and perfection. Yet amongst all the perfection in the room, one bed stuck out rather sorely, with a sheet covering something roughly human sized.

First thing first, Cobalt put effort into increasing visibility in the room. His flaming cloak alone was doing wonders burning up all the ambient anima so he carefully walked further inside and lobbed fireballs all over the room to finish up, not worried about setting the whole asylum on fire.

As Valerie moved with the other two, she managed a lightly strained smile at Nikklaüs’s positive reinforcement; it was always nice to get a compliment, though of course, it was hard to get too enthusiastic under the current circumstances. Even so, she managed an affirmative nod at his first inquiry. “Yeah, I can manage a flashbang,” she confirmed, giving a thumbs up, though ultimately it seemed moot as Cobalt took the initiative and went on ahead.

With his fire, the miasma seemed to burn away rather easily, to the young woman’s surprise, yet what was perhaps more surprising was that the clarity of vision didn’t do much to assuage her unease. If it wasn’t here, then where was that damn demon?

Nikklaüs couldn’t help the smile that hit his face when he ducked back and heard Cobalt’s flames rage, the glow coming through the crack in the door as he and Valerie waited behind it a small bit. Cobalt was pretty fuckin’ sick wit’ it. After the sound fizzled down a small bit, Nikklaüs pushed into the room in Pflug stance while Cobalt cleaned up the clouds still lining the corners of the room. After very quickly failing to find a threat with his scan of the room, he settled into a more relaxed nebenhut form.

“Good shit, bruv.” He patted a hand on Cobalt’s shoulder before walking ahead of him.

Peering into the room from behind Cobalt, Valerie’s eyes narrowed as she took notice of the bed that stuck out from all the other perfectly neat ones, looking like it was covering a large mass under its sheets, the size of a person.

That’s gotta be where the demon is! Valerie instinctively thought, before stopping herself once she realized something she’d almost forgotten. Remembering Jacquie’s lesson from their first days, Valerie tried to give the strange mass a hard glare with her enhanced vision, only to find something strange about what she saw… or rather, didn’t see.

“Uh… guys?” Val whispered cautiously to her two cohorts. “That big shape over on that bed? It’s not just me, right? There’s… no anima coming from it. But what could that mean?”

“Oh god, that’s not a dead body, is it?”

“Potentially,” Nikklaüs approached the silhouette, sinking Zantetsuken into the floor. His tone was coy and foreboding. No way I’m stupid enough to uncover the damn thing, right? “Time to find out,” God fucking damnit. “Cobalt, Valerie. Back up a small bit, I don’t want y’all to get got by what invariably jumps out to dunk on me for this.”

Nikklaüs swiftly yoinked the sheet off the table, ready to undoubtedly be imminently eviscerated. It didn’t come, but it didn’t stop him from flinching hard.

“Kakogo cherta! Blyat!” His other tongue slipped through the cracks at the sight, reflexively covering his eyes before steeling his resolve. He held his left hand up and out like a signal to the other two. “Yeah, y’all should stay back there. Save yourselves the sight.”

It was the mangled carcass of what seemed to be a human man, but the damn thing was so incredibly pureed that he couldn’t be sure. Several stab wounds littering the torso about 7.5 cm across led Nikklaüs to believe it came from a larger kitchen knife of some kind, worse was that the blood hadn’t fully dried up. How recent could this have been? The legs were crumpled like a damn straw wrapper after you punched the straw on the table a few times to get it off, and how the fuck they could be so thouroughly destroyed was beyond him. Worst of it all was his face mashed into a strawberry jam that left him unconvinced of the body’s humanhood.

It was only after investigating the personal effects that lined the edge of the table was he convinced of a human origin. There was an ID: Dmitri Smirnov on a specifically Russian passport. Nikklaüs would’ve been the only person to understand it, and it worries him how convenient that was. There was a pair of wireframes on the other end of the line, comparatively pristine. The fact that the glasses were intact made Nikklaüs’ nerves wrack up even more somehow. A broken phone, the screen not only cracked but completely shattered and even missing some of the glass. Then there were two of the more concerning items. A tooth, broken off so the root hadn’t followed: a near indescribable liquid oozing from where it had snapped off.

Finally was a revolver, what kind Nikklaüs didn’t know. He did know some fundamentals, lifting it into his hand. Keeping the muzzle off to the side and angled at the ground, he squeezed the trigger the smallest bit. He kept slow, constant pressure until it was flush with the trigger guard. The gun did not fire and not once did the uncocked hammer move which made it single action, and in turn potentially very old. The cylinder also did not come free, instead a gate blocked the bullets in. Opening it up, he unloaded the—huh, this isn’t a ‘six-shooter’. It’s got seven in here. That said, Nikklaüs was concerned to see that the bullets he pulled free weren’t all unfired. Shit, even if they were all empty casings, that would be less concerning than only finding two of the seven had been fired. Whatever got this guy, got him fast and was potentially strong enough to have eaten two bullets in the process: and fairly big cartridges for a handgun too, at least compared to 9mm. He pocketed the revolver, not trusting what could happen if left unattended. Still, he kept the ammunition in a separate pocket, not trusting himself with the thing either.

“Still, what does it all mean?” Nikklaüs thought aloud, breaking his trance to address Cobalt and Valerie. Not that they could answer, unless they’d peered over his shoulder to watch the whole thing.

Cobalt’s fiery aura died down after he was done burning up the anima in the room. Of course, with how packed the asylum was with negative emotions, it would only be a question of minutes until visibility got hampered again. But it still gave everyone ample time to investigate.

He did a thumbs up toward Nikklaüs, shoulders slumping down. He took a moment to catch his breath while the other two looked around. The main point of interest seemed to be the bed, where... something was hidden under the covers. He had the reflex of using his refined vision and, like Valerie had noticed prior, there was absolutely nothing coming from there.

He winced at Nikklaüs’ reaction -yep, about the reaction anyone would make at seeing a dead body. Though in this case, ‘dead’ seemed to be a massive understatement... “Whoaaa, yeah, Mr. Jaquie really has the best places in mind for school trips.”, he commented with disgust, having craned his neck to look at the disturbing scene despite Nikklaüs’ warning. Still, he remained calm, raising both hands to adjust his ponytail. “Man, this is fucked up...”, he shuddered. “Is that something that demons can do when their victims aren’t able to defend themselves...? I didn’t think the world was dangerous to that extent...”

He shook his head, scratching his chin in thought. “It’s... hard to tell how important that, uh, corpse is. But I think I have a better question for now; where’s the demon?” He raised his other hand to gesture toward the wall; apart from the door they busted through, there was no other exit, meaning the demon they were chasing had to be close.

Pursing his lips, Cobalt tried to use his refined vision again, scanning the room from ceiling to floor. Trusting Nikklaüs to take care of the mangled corpse, Cobalt instead took the time to approach the walls -maybe an old building like this one possessed hidden passages or anything of the sort.

Less than enthusiastic to confirm her suspicions, Valerie gave another uneasy look around the room to double check that they were as alone as they initially thought, but she knew she’d have to bite the bullet sooner than later and confirm it for herself as well.

Fat mistake that turned out to be.

She peeked over the two young men’s shoulders, even deigning to get on her tippy-toes a bit, to get a look at what was promptly confirmed to be, indeed, a dead body. A really dead body at that. The girl felt her stomach churn as it was all she could do to reel back and put a hand over her mouth in a gesture that was superfluous to holding back the urge to hurl.

Even at such a grizzly sight, Valerie couldn’t help but feel stupid for being surprised. By all accounts, it seemed that the life of an arcanist wasn’t a pretty one, but like Cobalt commented, surely this was a bit much for students! Even so, not wanting to out herself as the emotional weak link, Valerie did her best to swallow down her horror and took a deep breath, calming herself down just in time for Nikklaüs’s inquiry.

“Uh, no clue,” she managed out, a response to both Nikklaüs’s and Cobalt’s question. Whatever enthusiasm she’d had to try to take down the demon before was quickly diminishing, assuming that was the thing that wrangled up that corpse. If not for the comforting presences of the two, Valerie might have felt inclined to cut and run already, but she knew that the only real way out of this trial was through.

With that, not wanting to give the corpse a second look, Valerie did like Cobalt did and tried to continue looking around the place with her refined vision in another attempt to seek the demon out, pointing at any spot in her line of sight with her index finger, which continued to emit a bright beam like a flashlight.

The students could hear the door in which they entered the room creak, slowly opening, a faint trace of anima behind the door moving forwards into the room. The demon slowly walked into the room and now being closer than ever, they could see the demon’s perfect and silky skin, its eyes white and brilliant pearls while lack a nose or mouth. The demon walked with care and closed the door, carefully maintaining eye contact with the students that had intruded in its territory. Its eyes darted towards the cloth covering the mangled corpse intensely and obsessively. Its four arms scratching at the surface of its skin in displeasure.

Without thinking twice, two arms of the demon reached out, yanking two nearby knives and throwing them with precision and power towards Cobalt and Valerie: the two closest to the entrance.

The demon’s slow entrance gave Nikklaüs a lot more time to react, something he needed considering how quickly the knives followed. He slid backwards, pulling Zantetsuken free with the motion. He spun with it tight against him so he wouldn’t lose any turning speed as he passed between Cobalt and Valerie. With a fast swipe, he flicked Zantetsuken out to catch the knives where they clattered to the floor.

“Alright, Flash Fire,” Nikklaüs addressed them as a unit. “Let’s get cooking.”

Flash Fire? Cringe.

In collaboration with Tiguidi Tiguidi & Verite Verite
Collab with: _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_ (finally)​

  • “Whoa, nice save!” Cobalt's voice resounded sharply, immediately capturing Leo's attention just as Valerie skillfully caught Mariana from falling. “It’s the second time she’s collapsed just this week.” Standing nearby, Leo caught the quiet remark without effort, his proximity allowing him to easily tune in to the conversation. “Well, whatever, can’t really imagine what it’s like to be, uh, periodically possessed by a demon.” Cobalt then turned to Leo, his expression betraying a hint of surprise at his presence, despite Leo having been there for a couple of minutes already and even engaging with the surprise guest by asking a question. “Oh, hey. You said you went bowling with your mom? How’d it go?”, Leo reflected on the recent game, recalling his victory by a significant margin. However, his focus wasn't on his triumph. "It was... I had fun," he remarked, his voice tinged with a faint trace of excitement as he reminisced. "Got three strikes in a row!" His small excitement was cut short as he heard himself be mentioned.

    "Aww, he's so cute! You know, I just found out Leo here has a cat too! I even named him! I just threw out Mittens and they seemed to like it so that's all she wrote. I wonder if these two critters would get along," Valerie's unexpected revelation about Leo having a cat caught him off guard, her voice calling him out surprising him. He had assumed she had no clue he was there either. Nevertheless, Leo responded with a quick wave and a smile, instinctively clutched Mittens a little tighter.

    A sudden wave of hostility swept through the air as another new arrival, Percival, made his presence known. The atmosphere grew tense, with the hostility emanating not only from the new visitor but also from their very own professor, almost suffocating in its intensity if it could take physical form. Leo couldn't help but feel a twisting sensation inside as Percival's words evoked a sense of disgust, echoing through him and eliciting a burst of loathing from Jacquie in response. However, the tension wasn't solely directed at the teacher. Marianne's voice cut through the palpable hostility, her words serving to dispel the air of defensiveness. She made it clear that they didn't have to submit to the authority of a supervisor, adding another layer to the hostility. Percival's demeanor noticeably soured at Marianne's assertion of their independence, his reaction suggesting a clear disdain for being challenged. However, amidst the tension, the reason for their unexpected weekend presence was finally revealed: a pop quiz.

    Leo watched, as did everyone else, as Jacquie put his hand on the doorknob to the main entrance. The faint light wasn't even surprising. "I'll answer those questions at the location." Jaquie opened the door and stepped through. It was certainly colder in this location, causing Leo to hold onto Mittens closer. Mittens simply seemed to squish in his arms, similar to how a stuffed animal might. He followed everyone else through the door, opting to be one of the last as he wasn't too eager to join these temperatures.


    Stepping out of the door, the scenery unfolded before Leo with vivid clarity. The grass, yellow and tall, brushed against his knees as he ventured further. Despite the clear sky above, a cool breeze swept through the air, adding a refreshing chill to the atmosphere. However, what truly captured Leo's attention was the imposing structure looming in the distance. It wasn't just any building; it was an asylum. The sight of the weathered walls, the encroaching vegetation reclaiming its territory, and the faded hues hinted at years of neglect and abandonment.

    "Welcome, hope you don't mind the cold, it'll be the least of your concerns today. You don't have to worry about these fine people, they're here to make sure no one else comes in or leaves. Anyway, this is your pop quiz, the Asylum." Jacquie's directive drew Leo's attention to the individuals scattered throughout the area, some actively securing the location while others lingered idly nearby. "The quiz is simple, you will all go into the asylum and whether alone or in a group, you will have to find the hiding Rank ones in this building whilst avoiding the Rank II. You will be scored on those criteria. As for why today? Because if not, it would've been likely cleared by some independent group." Jaquie explained. Leo only felt chills as he could sense the overwhelming negative emotions emanating from the asylum. "We'll wait for the rest to get here before you all begin."

    Leo paused, his thoughts unraveling a realization that pierced through any sense of self-centeredness. The notion struck him with a profound understanding: the competition they faced wasn't limited to their school alone. Countless anima users across the world were honing their skills to combat demons, and to assume otherwise would be incredibly myopic. It was a humbling realization, dispelling any notion that their school was the sole hub of demon-fighting prowess. Leo recognized the need to broaden his perspective, understanding that they were just a small part of a much larger world, where countless others were also striving to protect humanity from these forces.

    "There's like, a few, demons." Jaquie responded to a question Leo hadn't heard Cobalt ask, "Most are wusses even for you guys, keep an eye out for the problem ones." Jaquie smiled in a way that made Leo feel both scared for what's to come, but also safe since Jacquie is here. He then seemed to check the time. "Right, ok, that's enough waiting. The quiz will begin when you enter the building, one hour per person."

    Jaquie's display of telekinesis was nothing short of awe-inspiring as he effortlessly slammed open the front doors of the asylum from his position. The sheer force of his power seemed to cause the negative anima to recoil in fear, retreating instantly as if intimidated by Jacquie's raw strength. Leo couldn't help but feel a surge of admiration for his teacher's formidable abilities, realizing that Jacquie's display might have just revealed the hosts they were seeking within the asylum's confines. It was revealed though that it was still far too dark to see inside due to shadows, smoke, and fog. Leo let out an audible sigh, looking towards their objective. "Avoid... all we have to do is locate... and avoid. Hiding, I'm good at that-" As if to prove his point to himself, he compressed his anima to a point it was practically invisible. He concentrated hard on this, losing attention to the rest of the world as people asked for teams and entered the building. He was left outside, before he finally glanced up, releasing his compression of his anima. He glanced to Jacquie, confused as to why he hadn't been ushered in.

    Leo lingered amidst the long grass for a few more moments, his gaze fixed on the asylum, lost in contemplation. The sound, and then sight of his roommate, Lola, hurrying through the door to catch up with the class, brought a smile to his face. He knew she would likely be willing to be his partner in navigating this creepy place. Leo watched Lola as she realized her attempt to arrive early ended in disappointment, her distressed expression clear as she stood by the door. Her panic was entirely understandable as she pulled at her hair, and Leo couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy for her predicament. Approaching her, he offered a reassuring presence, hoping to ease her anxiety.

    "Hey, Lola," Leo greeted gently as he closed the distance between them. "Huh!--O-oh. I-i see..." He noticed her startled gasp and the flicker of panic in her eyes as she processed their surroundings. "W-What is-- is this?! An asylum?! An asylum?!" "Yeah, it's... it's an asylum," he confirmed, his tone soft and understanding as he quickly explained why they were there.

    "I- i cant go in there! T-These places..These places are crazy!" As Lola expressed her reluctance to enter the daunting building, Leo nodded in empathy, acknowledging her fear. "I know, it's... it's intimidating," he admitted, his own apprehension lingering beneath the surface. But despite his own reservations, he knew they had to face whatever awaited them inside. "We don't have to go in alone. We'll stick together, okay? And... and we'll be alright," he reassured her, offering a supportive smile in an attempt to calm her nerves.

    Leo observed Lola's twisted side-eye, sensing her silent question and understanding her apprehension. Her outburst, nearly a yell, resonated with raw fear and frustration, causing Leo to take a step back, momentarily taken aback by her intensity. "y-you know how ma--ny things are crawling i-in these.. places?! Out of everywhere we could.. could go Our professor chooses this?! I-is he trying to kill us?!" He could see the internal struggle reflected in her actions, her hand covering her mouth to suppress her anger, her frantic pacing betraying her inner turmoil.

    As Lola ran her hand through her hair in agitation, Leo felt a pang of empathy for her distress. "no. No no, its okay. Y-your right. We will be together a-and nothing will happen.. He wouldnt k-kill us? Right?" He shook his head gently, trying to reassure her. "No, Lola, he's not trying to kill us," he responded calmly, his voice steady despite her rising panic. "I mean, it's... it's a challenge, for sure. But we'll get through it together."

    He met her wide-eyed gaze with a reassuring smile, hoping to offer some comfort in the midst of her fear. "And you wouldn't be an embarrassment, Lola," he reassured her earnestly. "We're all in this together, and we'll support each other. Whatever happens, we'll face it together, okay?" His words were a silent pledge of solidarity, a promise to stand by her side in this situation.

    As Lola's initial skepticism softened into a worried expression, Leo could sense her internal struggle easing, her frantic energy gradually dissipating. "Okay... Y-your right. We are safe. We got this," He felt a wave of relief wash over him as she seemed to take solace in his reassurances.

    "Exactly," Leo affirmed, nodding in agreement with her newfound resolve. "We're safe, and we've got this."

    He watched as Lola retrieved the box cutter from her pocket, her hands still trembling slightly but with a noticeable reduction in intensity. "Okay..." Her repeated affirmations carried a growing sense of determination, and Leo couldn't help but feel a surge of admiration for her resilience. "I-im ready! Im ready.."

    With a genuine smile, Leo returned her gaze, his own confidence bolstered by her newfound resolve. "That's the spirit, Lola," he encouraged warmly. "Let's do this."

    With a reassuring smile, Leo extended his hand towards Lola, a silent gesture of support and solidarity. He was ready to escort her into the building as gently as possible, mindful of her lingering apprehension. Glancing briefly at Professor Jacquie, Leo couldn't help but feel a pang of confusion at the delay in ushering the students inside. Nevertheless, he remained focused on his immediate task: guiding Lola through the daunting threshold of the asylum with as much care and kindness as he could muster.

    Feeling Lola's hesitation, Leo understood her reluctance to touch others, considering her unique abilities. "uh.." As she gently took his hand, he felt a brief moment of awkwardness, but he also sensed her appreciation for his gesture. "Okay."

    Leo echoed softly, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze before leading her towards the entrance of the asylum. With each step, he silently hoped that they wouldn't encounter any dangerous threats inside.

    Leo made a conscious effort to suppress his anima aura as much as possible, prioritizing caution and stealth as they entered the entrance of the asylum. He led Lola slowly, moving with deliberate steps to minimize any unnecessary noise or attention. As they ventured deeper into the building, Leo couldn't help but notice a subtle shift in the atmosphere, as if the surroundings became clearer and more defined.

    However, the weight of the anima presence seemed to intensify, casting a heavy pall over their surroundings. Leo's senses sharpened as he considered the implications: someone within the asylum possessed a significant anima power, or perhaps there was a clash between two formidable entities.

    Despite his growing unease, Leo remained focused on their objective, silently hoping to reunite with his classmates. There was already a crossroads of sorts where they could choose where to go. Leo surveyed the three paths before them, each offering its own set of uncertainties and potential dangers. The front path appeared relatively normal despite the asylum's dilapidated state, while the left and right paths were marked by strange ink-like smears on the walls. The right path also emitted the faint sound of a chiming bell, adding an eerie dimension to the decision.

    Feeling Lola's worry seeping into him, Leo made a concerted effort to maintain his focus and clarity of mind. He could sense her surprise as she looked at the pathways, her anxiety heightening his own senses.

    "Do you have... an idea of where you want to go?" Leo asked, his voice steady despite the underlying tension. He glanced at Lola, hoping to gauge her thoughts and preferences as they faced the daunting choice of which path to take.

    Leo couldn't shake the sense of foreboding that hung heavy in the air. He felt Lola's sudden shiver, causing her to squirm beside him, and he instinctively tightened his grip on her hand, offering a silent gesture of support.

    He glanced at Lola, noticing the grimace of discomfort etched across her face. The feeling this place evoked seemed to weigh heavily on her, and Leo couldn't help but feel a pang of sympathy for her distress. He wished he could offer more than just a reassuring presence, but for now, holding her hand seemed like the best he could do.

    As they approached the crossroads of paths, Leo observed Lola's hesitation and the subtle signs of her unease. He followed her gaze, noting the eerie atmosphere surrounding each potential route. Leo felt a slight surge of relief when Lola veered towards the right.

    With a couple of twitches, Leo readjusted himself, anchoring his attention to the present moment rather than succumbing to the rising tide of apprehension. He tried to suppress it, but Lola's attention was already on him, her grip around his hand loosening as she voiced her concern."i-im sorry.. am i- uh.."

    Leo shook his head quickly, offering her a reassuring smile despite the lingering unease. "No, no, it's not you," he assured her gently. "I think it's just... the atmosphere in this place, you know? It's... unsettling." He squeezed her hand lightly, hoping to convey his solidarity and understanding as they begin their slow walk through the hallway to the right. Mittens silently trailed behind them, unseen by Lola thus far.

Mentions: Verite Verite (sorta) Tiguidi Tiguidi (sorta) _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_ Solirus Solirus
Sophia Hughes
Location: right path
Anima: Thin gray veil slowly throbbing in the air

"That's true, yeah, we should avoid fighting demon unnecessarily." Sophia nodded in agreement at Isaac's words. Realizing that the demon had truly gone as they couldn't hear the bell anymore, she could feel her breathing became more relaxed and her throbbing anima followed suit. She sat on the floor, leaning against the wall as she stares at the room. After a few moment of silence Sophia pinched her own cheeks and stood up, both of her fists clenched.

"Let's go!" Sophia picked up the pace as she lead Isaac deeper into the asylum, but this time they're trying to avoid the sound of the tolling bell. As they walk through the corridor, Sophia suddenly realized something... she didn't actually know what they're looking for.

"Err.... Isaac. Do you know what a rank 1 and a rank 2 is? I kind of slacking with the textbooks." Sophia asked with an abashed smile on her face.

Solirus Solirus

Solirus Solirus November Witch November Witch
━ ◦ ※ ◦━​
In the tentative silence of the now abandoned wing, Marianne was afforded a moment of contemplation. She recounted all that had transpired, and the many errors within. Bit by bit, she picked apart the battle with that demon, piecing together alternative routes and analyzing what could have been done better. What she could have done better. Her victory was discounted, counterfeit. There was no reason for celebration or any amount of pride. She had to do better.

Then there was the matter of its aftermath. No matter which way she looked at it, tried to rationalize it, she was at a loss of what had happened to her. She had known Annamarie since she was a little girl, yet she could not remember a time when anima flowed from demon to human. Her beloved twin fed on her anima, and never the other way around. Part of her worried that she had fallen into some sort of possession, though she couldn’t detect any of the usual symptoms in either her mind or anima. Then again, it was still early. The records she had examined only concerned themselves with the aftermath, and never the cause. A wave of nausea overcame her at the mere thought.

The thought of asking Mariana crossed her mind, who was likely the most familiar out of anyone on the details of possession. She could be a good resource, but what if her words were too harsh and the girl ended up in a fit of tears again? Even worse, Crimson could get mixed in. If the creature was cooperative -- No. That was absolutely out of the question. The bloody thing had near caused Issac to melt down. Why would that thing provide anything useful. It was more likely to mislead her if it didn't tell her off first.

Marianne let out a sigh, the motion spurring the gnawing ache hidden below her bloody bandages. She gingerly touched it, testing for new blood. By the looks of things, it had nearly clotted. Good. It was about time she moved on from this filthy excuse for a laundry room. The test was to remove the lower demons, and she intended to follow through. Grades aside, this was a moment to test her own limits. To prove her worth and test her mettle. So long as she was still breathing, there was no excuse to lay down.

When Marianne struggled to get up, Annamarie was quick to grab a hold of her hand, guiding her wounded twin back onto her feet. Her red eyes gleamed in the dimness, wide and ambiguous. A tilt of her head expressed a mild look of concern.

“Ah, pardon the mess,” Marianne hissed between clenched teeth, testing her weight on her mangled legs. Her bandaged calves screamed in protest, but they were still functional. So long as she could keep moving, it was enough. “I’m afraid you’ll be fighting from here onward. Not that it should be an issue. You've always been the better between us. Handily, I can at least keep an eye out for the both of us."

Since leaving the basement, she could see through the fog more easily. It was perhaps the only silver lining of that embarrassment, a tiny improvement that saved this test from being an complete failure. While she may be bloody and battered, a keen eye was worth far more than a bit of lost blood.

As The Twins continued down the hallway, the eerie chime of a bell was heard. Marianne paused in her limping to lift her head towards it, straining her ears. The source was coming from deeper within the wing, down the direction they were already heading. Not willing to take the same risk as last time, she motioned for Annamarie to keep quiet and stay close. As for her, she forced herself to crouch once more, wincing as one of her calve wounds reopened under the bandages.

Eventually she saw the ominous anima of a demon, the density of it a tell-tale sign of a Rank II. Quickly, the two ducked behind an overturned gurney, concealing them while Marianne strained her eyes to better see the threat. Her refined sight pierced through the fog, recognizing the silhouette just as a familiar voice echoed down the hall.
“Well, big guy, are you ready to lose?”

'Crimson!?' she thought in bewilderment, realizing two things at once; one, that her suspicions of Crimson's rank were more or less correct, and two, that she was fighting something requiring said ranking. 'Bloody hell what are they thinking!?'

Following the corridor, she could just make out another outline, one tall and imposing. That had to be the actual Rank II... the one they were supposed to avoid, not fight. Now, Marianne had no issue with Crimson being put in their place for poor choices, but so long as she was commanding Mariana's body, there was no way she could stand by and let the girl get injured senselessly. Marianne crept out from behind the gurney, Annamarie keeping pace. Her scissors were already at the ready.

"Annamarie... Blauen Donau." Marianne muttered lowly, keeping back as the doll rushed ahead.

Annamarie held her blade aloft as she closed in to support Crimson, effortlessly leaping over the torn floorboard. She kept close, as if designating the possessed girl as her new dance partner. Instead of going on the offensive, the doll was focussed on defence and reaction.

Meanwhile, Marianne stood a few paces behind them. She stood gingerly on her wounded legs, but her eyes were sharp, eyeing their opponent and their surroundings for any suspicious anima. Even so, she had enough free time to spare Crimson a dry remark, "Pardon me, but wasn't our task avoiding the Rank II?"

  • Just as crimson had wished, traces of sadism flowed from the air to her very being. She felt the familiarity of empowerment coursing within, only this time, instead of integrating fully, the anima she had absorbed seemed to vanish, empowerment became fleeting, and she felt only a fraction more powerful than she had expected.

    As the anchor scraped across the floor, gaining lift, and being thrown with power, the demon merely watched it approach them before dodging to the side at the last possible moment, displaying agility contrary to its appearance and arrogance. Regaining posture, the demon continued to walk forward, stomping on top of the chain, snapping it in half.

    The demon rang its bell once. The toll was identical to the one they'd all heard by now, but anima started concentrating on the singular point.

    As the twins arrived at the scene, a wicked smile formed on the demon's face, amused at the new arrival. With its free hand, the demon dug its arm into the wall and swung towards Crimson, ripping a piece of stone and scattering dust all over the hallway, obscuring it further.

    The demon rang its bell a second time. Even through the dust and the miasma, the intensity of anima converging towards the bell brightened like a beacon, ready to burst at any second.
Sophia Hughes
Anima: Thin gray veil in the air

Nailed demon kebabs.

Never thought she would see or ever think about something like that. Yet here she's, peeking into the room with that sentence being the best description of what she saw on the ceiling. Her face was immediately lit up as she realized that these might be the so called rank one, considering their size was similar to the weaker demons they fought last week.

"Come here. We found the rank 1s." Waving at the other two students coming towards them, Sophia enthusiastly pointed at the nailed demons in the room.

"It should be enough for all of us." The demon was pinned on the ceiling so they wouldn't be able to reach it easily. Fortunately, Sophia had the solution to this problem. Swiping her hand in front of her, Sophia conjured a flat square barrier made of yellowish light roughly 1 meter in size. She tapped the surface of the barrier, it felts like glass and was slightly warm.

"I can use this to lift one of us up there."

Solirus Solirus _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_ Silent Child Silent Child
Mariana & Marianne Collab

Crimson glanced over her shoulder as she sensed a new anima presence closing in, A somewhat familiar one. She was able to see the twins coming to her aid, for some reason… But then Marianne spoke up about what Crimson assumed she would. Even though it was obvious what was going on here. “I’m well aware. But it found me, so there’s now no avoiding it, human. You should leave and finish your assignment or get that wound treated. Why are humans so nosy? Just worry about yourself.”

“The assignment isn't finished until all low ranks have been eliminated,” Was Marianne's retort, voice curt and eyes forward, “And I can take care of myself, thank you.”

"Apparently not." Crimson retorted, noticing the wounds upon the other. Were they all this idiotic? How could she avoid this thing? It’s not like it would just let her leave. It obviously knew the building better than Crimson would, so if she tried to run and it gave chase, there would still be no avoiding it. The demon dodged the anchor with surprising speed and hit the bell once more. She knew whatever was about to happen, it wouldn’t be good. The girl’s tendrils would quickly snake along the broken chain on the ground, originally to join the two halves of the chain back together. However, once under the demon a detour was made to shoot up in an attempt to grab the bell or the hand about to ring it once more. While this happened, Crimson took a step forward, but left something behind. She stepped out of Mariana’s body leaving the confused girl to look around, frightened. But only for hardly a moment before she was pushed into a nearby room by Crimson. Just in time too as a piece of the wall thrown by the demon flew between the two barely missing them.

“Stay quiet, out of sight and cover your ears.” Mariana was confused, nervous and scared, but did what Crimson asked without question. She would hunker down in this room and cover her ears. Now Crimson wouldn’t have to worry about hurting Mariana.

Annamarie, light on her feet, was quick to follow Mariana into the room. After the split of host and demon, it would seem that her objective did not apply to the now separated Crimson. The doll stood beside Mariana blades ready to defend her charge, just as ordered.

Marianne wasn't entirely sure what the Rank II was planning, but she had had her fill of anima tricks today. Leaving nothing to chance, she chose what she thought to be the safest option and limped into the same doorway Mariana had cowered in. Crimson was free to risk her hide, but until Marianne observed the anima of the demon, it was best to remain behind cover.

With the little amount of light coming in through the windows, Mariana could make out Marianne entering the room. The uptight girl could see that Mariana looked more confused than scared. She didn’t exactly understand what was going on, it seemed. As her eyes adjusted to the room’s light level, she’d see the injury the other girl had. Mariana would rush to her side.

“Are you alright? We should get you out of here right away!”

Marianne took a half step back, surprised at the girl's abrupt gesture of compassion. The concern her classmates showed to one another, and especially herself, was still quite baffling. Was this not a typical consequence of arcanist work? So long as she was alive and functioning, it was all merely a means to an end.

When faced head on, she found it difficult to adjust. Even now, she shifted her stance in mild awkwardness.

“Please don't concern yourself. I'm perfectly fine, thank you.” She said dismissively, turning her wounded shoulder away from Mariana as if that would quell the concern, “For now you should focus on the task at hand. The lower ranks here are cunning and cruel. None can say just what the Rank II is capable of. We would do well to keep our wits about us.”

Solirus Solirus

It would be Crimson's tentacles, already near the rank II, that would stop the tolling, grabbing onto the demon's bell. The anima that had once surged seemed to dim at the failure to follow the rhythmic pattern the demon had attempted. The demon stepped on Crimson's tentacle, severing it from the main body. A new emotion seemed to be lightly bubbling on the surface of the demon, a far more ferocious and directed emotion blanketed by the sadism.

With its bell free, the demon tolled its bell a third time. The concentrated point of anima in the bell was released in a sudden burst of power, slowly eviscerating Crimson's tentacle as the wave traveled through it. The wave of power would eventually reach Crimson herself, jumping from the tentacle to her arm and exploding it, the force of which launched Crimson to the wall and whose sound echoed through the entire asylum.

The bubbling within the Rank II's anima subsided, as it seemed to gain a certain pleasure from it. Its misshapen face grew a smile and slowly walked towards Crimson, its arm waving alongside it with the bell causing no sound, a lack of anima permeating from the bell like a void.
Status: Thrilled & Excited.

Despite her best efforts, the demon was somehow able to keep ahold of the bell and destroy the multiple tendrils she had attacking the bell with just one stomp. It was more annoying than anything, really. When the bell rang for the final time, she felt the wave of anima hit her, and a pop along her right side. There wasn’t even pain. Just a pop, then numbness. The pain came when she was thrown into the left wall, hitting her head and back, before catching herself on her knees.

When finally reoriented, she found that her right arm was completely missing.

“You’ll have to try alot harder than that.”

She said, standing back up. Multiple tendrils emerged from her empty shoulder socket, essentially creating an arm made out of hundreds of small tentacles. There were also a number that emerged from her back, and just like the previous fight, they embedded themselves in the floor, walls and ceiling. If the demon could simply stomp on her tentacles, then she’d stay off the ground.

The pain slowly started to be felt from her missing arm, but Crimson just smiled a creepy, masochistic smile. She was enjoying this probably a little too much. Knowing time was of the essence when this demon held the bell, she launched herself towards it. Thankfully, she’d be just as maneuverable as the demon as long as she was indoors like this. Her main target was obviously the bell.

Once near the demon, multiple tendrils would shoot out in an attempt to grab it, but Mariana’s momentum would continue and she would shoot herself over, and onto the other side of the demon.

Solirus Solirus
The Mari Three(collab with November Witch November Witch )​
It would seem that Marianne had made the right call. The blast of unleashed anima was nearly blinding in Refined Sight, enough that Marianne had to narrow her eyes as she watched the silhouette of Crimson fly against the wall. It was no doubt a substantial wound, but she knew better than to think that it could slow down a demon of Crimson’s calibre. Just as she expected, the demon was back at it in no time. Her manoeuvre was successful in turning the Bell-Demon around, creating an opportunity, and ample amount of time to seize it.

“Now is our chance!” Marianne said sharply to Mariana beside her, motioning for the other girl to follow, “Stay close to Annamarie.”

Marianne’s entire body screamed in protest, but she bit back the pain and quickly exited out into the hallway. She led the group while Annamarie guarded the rear, keeping Mariana safely within the centre. It was clear that Marianne fully intended to retreat further down the hallway, leaving Crimson to her fight. It would only be putting her beloved Annamarie at risk, after all. Surely Crimson could see that she was sorely outmatched?

“Are we leaving?”

Mariana asked as she followed Marianne to the door, but no further.

“I-I can’t leave her!”

Mariana would reply both literally, and metaphorically. Even if she could leave, she wouldn’t want to leave someone to fight a demon alone.

“Besides, if we leave it, it might attack someone else!”

The refusal earned her a look of disbelief from Marianne, “If we stay, then we all could perish!”

Why was she being so irrational? Crimson was nothing more than a wolf in human's clothing, yet her host wished to stay? Then Marianne saw the look on Mariana's face and heard the tone of her voice, both full of distress. For a moment it gave Marianne pause. Was she genuinely concerned for Crimson's wellbeing?

At that moment, something clicked within Marianne, something she hadn't considered until now. It occurred to her that she hadn't the faintest idea of what sort of relationship there was between Crimson and Mariana. Or their history for that matter. She had never taken the time to ask, only assumed the worst.

A cold realization sneaked up on her like a sandbar hidden in fog: she had been perceiving Mariana and Crimson in the same short-sighted manner that both her family and general arcanist society regarded herself and Annamarie. In a stroke of revelation, she recalled her own feeble anima art, how she was no better than a Null if not for Annamarie. Could the same not be said for Mariana? If so, could she possibly turn away from Crimson in good conscience?

“Bloody hell!” Marianne swore. She then whipped a glance back at Crimson and tried one last time to plead reason, “Crimson, we must retreat!”

  • The demon remained observing crimson, who'd now opted for a far more maneuverable approach, taking advantage of the indoors to traverse far more effectively. Such movement was used by Crimson to charge directly. The demon would swing at Crimson, possibly, expecting her to attempt a direct attack, only for her to slip behind and launch tendrils in an attempt to steal the bell.

    Though the tendrils had been able to grab onto the bell, the demon was not keen to give it up so freely, keeping a death grip on the thing. Instead of tearing the tendrils apart, however, the demon took a second to observe the tendrils that tried pulling on the bell. Catching the slippery Crimson would prove difficult and time-consuming, so instead the demon slowly and methodically pulled on Crimson's tentacles, closing the distance and hindering Crimson's own maneuverability.

Crimson & Mariana
Status: Thrilled & Excited/Scared & Determined.

“But things will be fine if we stay together, right?”

Mariana asked, as Marianne mentioned them all perishing. Besides, if things became too dangerous, the teacher or any of the others there would step in to help, right? It only made sense to Mariana. Since no one had stepped in, they must think they can handle it. She peeked her head out of the doorway to look towards where the commotion was coming from, only to see the demon Crimson was fighting. It sent a shiver down her spine, her blood ran cold, and she was immediately fearful. Mariana still wasn’t used to seeing demons. No matter how big or small they were, they all frightened her. They were really monsters that looked horrifying and had horrifying power to match.

Mariana trusted Crimson though. The demon had protected her ever since she made herself known, so Mariana had no doubt she could do so in this situation too. She looked back towards Marianne as she talked about retreat.

“But, if we beat this thing, the others won't have to worry about it, right?”

Mariana said through a shaky voice. She was still quite scared after all.

“Then it won’t hurt anyone else, and we can focus on the rank ones. If anything, you should leave. You’re hurt.”

Her eyes, though filled with fear, sparkled with determination, and her voice was full of worry.

“You might be fine now, but what about in a few minutes?”


“I think you mean you need to retreat!”

Crimson shouted over from behind the demon. Her tentacles again worked their way towards the anchor on the ground. But because it was behind Crimson, the demon wouldn’t be able to do much to stop her from grabbing it once again. Her tendrils attempted to grab for the bell, but also attempted to wrap around the wrist holding the bell, and squeeze hard. Her hope was to break or even sever the hand. As long as the demon let go. Seeing the demon grab her tentacles, Crimson wasn’t scared. They were watery and slimy, incredibly difficult to get a grip on. Hence why she had to wrap them around things to grip onto them, or quite literally stab them into the wall or ceiling in order to get them to not slide off.

But if even this somehow didn’t work, then the demon yanking Crimson towards itself would find it pulled Crimson, and the anchor she was once again attached to. It would send the anchor flying towards itself with a loud crack.

Solirus Solirus Juju Juju

Solirus Solirus November Witch November Witch
━ ◦ ※ ◦━​
"I can handle it." Marianne insisted, an adamant frown firmly planted on her pale face. It was obvious in her limp that her wounds were taking their toll, no matter how fiercely she was resisting.

Mariana’s continued concern for her wellbeing was truly beginning to baffle her. Why was she worried about these measly injuries? They were nothing. Her relatives had survived far worse and did far more than her pathetic face-off with that demon in the basement. Didn’t Mariana understand what it meant to be an arcanist? Their purpose was to act as a weapon against the demon blight, one's body was but a mere vessel. No matter the pain, no matter the cost, it was all for a greater good. Her destiny was to fight and fall.

Yet the words of Mariana and Crimson shone light onto the ugly and crippling weakness Marianne was subconsciously aware of from the start. Was her fear of losing Annamarie counterproductive to this resolve? Was her inability to handle this demon not a symbol of absolute failure as an arcanist? Marianne’s anima swelled at the thought, sharpening in its dark pinpricks of criticism. She could feel it piercing her insides like teeth, feasting on the blood it drew.

Grey eyes rose to the beast before her. The demon’s anima far outshone that of Crimson’s or Annamarie’s. There was no denying that a fight harboured significant risk of serious injury or worse, but as Mariana pointed out, it had potential to benefit the entirety of the class and the world itself. Still, the thought of Annamarie fighting alone made her chest tighten with dread.

She glanced over at her twin, catching Annamarie’s wide and expectant stare. She was waiting for a command, impartial to whatever decision Marianne would make. It was reminiscent of what she had done so often all those years ago. It made Marianne pause and wonder to herself for a moment. What would she have done? What would she have wanted?

Marianne knew the answer before the words even left her lips. “Go.”

Like a puppet cut from its strings, Annamarie rushed forward on light steps. It was like a dance to her, feet tracing a waltz upon the old wood, her scissors glinting and hungry. It pained Marianne's heart that she was unable to be by her side, yet there was still a means in which she could direct their dance from afar.

“Box step!” Marianne called out, directing the efforts of her doll’s attacks.

Instead of a direct approach, Annamarie used Crimson’s diversion as an opportunity to strike at the Bell-Demon’s legs. With calculated and mechanical motions, her scissors aimed precise cuts at the back of its knees, attempting to maim the root of its stance and at the very least knock it off balance. If things went well, it would have its mobility crippled, just as it was attempting to reduce Crimson's manoeuvrability.
Juju Juju November Witch November Witch

Though strong, the slippery nature of the tentacles made it difficult for the demon to get enough of a grip on Crimson. The awkward attempt left Crimson another shot at the bell. The tentacles that attempted to rip it from the demon's hand failed, but the one's wrapped around the demon's wrist, easily severed through. The hand fell to the floor alongside its hand, which refused to let go.

At that instant, the demon appeared to lose all interest in Crimson, tossing aside the tentacle it held. Instead, it tilted its head down, awkwardly reaching down to grab its bell back. But Annamarie's precise strikes would cause the demon to stumble, inadvertently puncturing the ground with its hand as it fell. Even so, the demon did not cry out in pain as the cuts Annamarie made were quickly repaired by the demon. It did not take long for the demon to yank its arm out of stone, but it had delayed it from recovering its precious bell.
Sophia Hughes
Anima: Thin gray veil in the air

"Ah, you shot the demon." Sophia said with a puzzled tone as she witnessed one of the nailed demon turned into fading mist. "I thought we're supposed to bring it out."

Sophia imagined them carrying the demon skewers outside and handing it to the professor, just like some of those scout game, but with demons. Though now she wonders if there's actually a way for the people outside to watch them inside the building. Having the power to see people through great distance, walls and thick layer anima sounds like a good ability, or maybe they planted hidden cameras in several spots? Sophia's unconsciously scanned the room to see if there's any suspicious object where the hidden camera might be. Yet the only suspicious object she could spot was the box, which just shook violently for a brief moment there. There must be another demon there, was it waiting to ambush them there? Disguising itself as a sealed box?

Squinting her eyes at the box, Sophia nodded at Isaac, signaling at him to get ready. Sophia extend both of her hands forward at the direction of the box, then with a swift motion she put the fingers from both hands together, as if she just catch a ball. A round barrier flickered into existence surrounding the box and lifted it midair. Her usage of the long range barrier was still awkward and lacks finesse, but enough for her to do simple tasks like this or the platform.

Carefully, Sophia returned to the previous room, all while maintaining the barrier by not moving her hands. The barrier, floating like a bubble, followed behind her, carrying the box inside it. She approached the hole on the floor, the one that almost got Isaac tripped. Moving the barrier above the hole, she would then released her hands, ending the barrier and sent the box falling down into hole to whatever basement level this building has.

"I-I hope that's enough." Sophia swiped the sweat that formed on her forehead. That was unexpectedly intense for her, it felts like she was moving a bomb.

Solirus Solirus _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_ Silent Child Silent Child

"Come here. We found the rank 1s,"
a softer voice echoed through the hallway. It belonged to Sophia. Leander quickly approached, eager to see what they were dealing with. "Oh my..." he gasped quietly as he took in the sight of the demons around the room, restrained by what appeared to be nails embedded in the ceiling. He motioned for Lola to come closer, aware that she would be quite nervous about the whole ordeal.

"It should be enough for all of us," Sophia remarked.

"You have a way to—?" Leo began to ask, but before he could finish, she waved her hand in front of herself. A transparent yellowish barrier materialized. Anyone could recognize it as a barrier, especially an avid gamer like Leo. "Wow," he whispered, looking at her in amazement. "I can use this to lift one of us up there." Leo was surprised that he had misjudged this girl. Sophia was clearly adept at being a leader, setting up situations where others could succeed. That was the kind of person he aspired to be.

"Well, I can... already just kill a couple of the demons now. So I guess someone else can take it for now," Isaac spoke up, raising his hand and pointing his finger at a demon impaled on the ceiling. Pink anima began to orbit his body, empowering his move. He then fired at the demon, the anima condensing into a powerful shot. Leo winced at the noise; metal on metal was not a pleasant sound. One of the demons stuck to the ceiling was pierced by Isaac's power, detonating parts of the wall and ceiling and leaving no trace of the demon. Leo looked over at Isaac in shock. Isaac had such power, yet he was so timid. It made sense to Leo in a way he couldn't fully grasp, a feeling that lingered just out of reach. "Quick thinking," Leo murmured, sensing a shift in the room's atmosphere and feeling a slight wave of fear wash over him, originating from a lonely shaking box.

"Ah, you shot the demon," Sophia said, sounding confused. Her words echoed Leo's own thoughts.

"I thought we were supposed to bring it out." she added, uncertainty creeping into her voice.

"We should be dealing with that, no?" Isaac asked, sounding more anxious than before.

Sophia nodded towards Isaac, as if they shared a plan that Leo was unaware of. She then extended her hands towards a box in the corner, clasping her fingertips together and causing a spherical barrier to appear around the actively shaking box. "You got it?" Leo asked quietly, afraid to interrupt her concentration. She didn't respond, and he was fine with that. They backed up slowly, careful not to cause any commotion, and she dropped the barrier, sending the demon plummeting down a massive hole Leo hadn't noticed before. He jumped slightly at the sound of the thud as it hit the ground below.

"I-I hope that's enough," Sophia said, her words sounding like a death flag from any media. "We should steer clear—just in case. I don't trust that's enough. It seemed afraid, which means, if necessary, I think Isaac can handle it, but I don't want to take chances." Leo retreated into the hallway, glancing both ways. "How far did you guys go?" he asked the two, his voice tinged with a mix of caution and curiosity.

Mentions: Solirus Solirus Spoiled Bread Spoiled Bread _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_

Jerking his head toward the entrance when he heard the demon come in, Cobalt could only look at it with puzzlement. “Didn’t we see it come here...?”, he let out. “How did it get outside?”

Not expecting an answer, Cobalt kept his guard up and allowed the demon to properly enter the room. It getting as far away from the door as possible would be for the best. What he didn’t expect was for it to suddenly grab knives of all things and throw them at him and Val.

His anima briefly flickered in his surprise but he was quick to regain his calm. He was ready to attempt to duck out the way but Nikklaüs was faster and successfully managed to deflect the attack.

Valerie gasped softly as she too took notice of the demon standing at the door. Even though she had been actively looking out for it, she was still stunned for a few moments at its startling appearance. Still, she maintained a close albeit wide-eyed watch on the creature, hesitant to make any sudden movement as if she were in the presence of an unpredictable wild animal.
And then, as it finally made its move, grabbing knives to throw at them, Valerie braced herself, preparing to dodge before Nikklaüs managed to slide in and swipe the flying blades aside for her and Cobalt. She gasped out, stunned as she realized how close she might have come to biting it if she was just one second too late.

“Valerie,” Nikklaüs scooted closer to her a small bit. “You already know what you’re good at, but I also want you to try to backlight Cobalt and I the best you can.” Nikklaüs came down to a low stance and began to charge the demon, focusing up on deflecting whatever it tries next while he closes the distance.

“Cobalt!” He called with the charge. “We can’t lose this thing again, take control of the door!”

Eyes darting around to scan the room, Cobalt knew exactly what to do. “Thanks for the save. One cooked demon, coming right up.” While Nikklaüs charged toward the target, Cobalt ran to the side, circling to the right in order to have a clear view of the door. Scratching his palm, he fired a globule of soul fire, aiming not at the demon, but at the door itself. Starting a fire in this area would hopefully prevent the demon from turning tail and running away -at least without going through the flames.

Circling around, Cobalt positioned himself in front of the door and activated his fiery cloak. “Door’s blocked. Let’s steam this little shit.”, he called out. Being currently protected by his cloak, he wouldn’t be afraid of going into melee but he’d act as a support for now, providing cover fire and trying to block off the paths the demon would try to take in its fight with Nikklaüs.

Even then, Valerie knew she didn’t have time to gawk. Nodding at Nikklaüs’s instructions, Valerie kicked herself back into gear. “Right! It’s not gonna slip away this time!” She exclaimed, channeling more of her anima into her left index finger to light up the room and ensure there was no dark corner the demon could hide in now, especially with Cobalt closing the door and trapping it inside now.

Regaining her confidence now that it was officially go time, Valerie let a cocky smile tug at her lips. “But… Flash Fire? Let’s cast a vote later,” she said. With that, she made a swinging motion with her right arm and snapped her fingers, manifesting small explosions on the demon, serving more to annoy and catch its attention more than to actually hurt it and try to create an opening or two for her partners.

The demon's expression remained unchanged, but its posture became visibly crooked when Nikklaüs had blocked its attack. The demon seemingly disregarded Cobalt and Valerie and charged directly towards Nikklaüs grabbing four knives along its charge, demonstrating quick movements and precision. However, during its charge, Valerie attempted to distract it by creating a small explosion near it. The demon's charge however was not slowed and merely responded by throwing another knife towards Valerie, the arm acting almost independently of the rest of the body.

Nikklaüs let his reflexes guide him in his approach. Having stuck so close to Valerie just a moment before, his extremely straightforward charge left him almost perfectly between her and the demon. When he saw the knife fly, he swung his blade up and off to his left side to intercept; the knife flew up and sunk itself into the ceiling. Nikklaüs allowed the momentum of his sword to come over his head and to his right side where he made a hip-level strike from right to left, throwing his body weight into the strike for more leverage and power.

The blade sliced through air and miasma, but before it could hit its target, Nikklaüs’s strike was stopped by the demon placing its free hand on Nikklaüs’s wrist and using the dull side of the knife to stop the blade. Though the strike had been halted, the power behind the swing was enough to recoil the demon, preventing its charge and delaying a counter-attack.

His blade caught, and his wrist too: Nikklaüs needed to turn this around before this restriction put them on the back foot. He dismissed Zantetsuken, allowing the demon’s arm to fly past him on his right from the object it had been pushing against disappearing so suddenly. Flicking his arm in a circle, Nikklaüs broke free from the demon’s grip and snatched its arm up for himself. With a quick spin, he kicked his left leg out and used the position to pin the demon’s crossed over arm against his back. Finally he threw his upper body forward while popping his hips out in a way that sent the demon over his shoulder and crashing onto the floor at Cobalt’s feet. With a smug grin, he regarded Cobalt.

“Special delivery!” He then pointed down at the demon on the floor. “Just need you to sign here.”

Cobalt grimaced when Nikklaüs’ wrist got caught; it would be awkward to attack the demon when they were so close together as the soul fire could easily spread to both of them. But fortunately, his sword-wielding ally acted quickly and got the demon off him, going as far as giving him a free execution.

“Why thank you, sir. Let me use my stamp.” While the demon was on the ground, Cobalt cloaked his body with his ethereal flames and tried to stomp on the enemy’s chest to keep it in place.

But before Cobalt’s foot could reach the chest of the demon, the student’s heard awful crunching and snapping sounds coming from the demon’s arms. Swiftly it had contorted its arms to strike at Cobalt with swiftness. The knives dug deep into Cobalt’s leg, stopping the foot from crashing onto its chest. The students felt the miasma of the room dimming as the demon’s own anima grew in size and intensity.

The demon let go of the two knives now stuck on Cobalt’s leg and bounced itself up to the ceiling, grabbing on to the knife that Nikklaüs had sent up. The demon remained on the ceiling, its eyes now glowing a sickly yellow, and its body shivering as it began integrating the new anima it had absorbed.

Valerie initially gasped out when her attack worked a little too well in drawing the demon’s attention and it ended up throwing a knife at her. She braced to try to dodge it, though thankfully Nikklaüs managed to slide in at the last moment and block it, before following up with his own counter-attack. But after a series of attempted bouts, it was now Cobalt who was in trouble.
The girl’s eyes widened in shock at the demon’s deadly reversal, not only with its counterattack against Cobalt, but also as she felt the power of its anima growing and growing. Once it let go and leapt to the ceiling to retrieve its other displaced knife, Valerie ran over to her partner with great concern.

“Cobalt!” She called out, standing protectively over him, glancing back at him before keeping her gaze fixed on the demon, just in case it’d try to come back around for another attack. “You alright? Well, actually, dumb question. But it looks like that thing’s got more bite than we thought!” She exclaimed uneasily, but she wouldn’t let herself lose any nerve now.

With that, Valerie charged her anima, channeling a more concentrated ball of pyrotechnic energy in her hands before thrusting her arms up, shooting out a bigger firework -- slower but with more power behind it -- toward the demon in question.

He had noticed the demon’s movement. A voice in the back of his head had told him to stop and move away before he got hurt but he wasn’t fast enough. Cobalt hissed in pain as the knives dug into his flesh, the sharp sensation of the cool metal being quickly replaced by the warmth of his blood flowing out of his wounds.

“Arghh-! Shi-! Fu-! Ow!!”, he finally let out through clenched teeth, managing to take a step back to lean against the wall and hold his leg. The sudden and severe pain disrupted his Anima, the soul flames burning around him dissipating on their own. “Okay... lesson learned...!” He tried to calm himself as best he could as he removed the sharp instruments, the boy needing a clear mind in order to better control his Anima Art. However, the throbbing pain in his leg wasn’t helping, and neither was the apparent increase in the demon’s own anima. He’d need to ignite his flames again to burn away at the miasma in the room.

“I’m-I’m fine.”, he mumbled, glancing away from Valerie in embarrassment. He really had been a fool, assuming this demon would be weak simply because it had ran away earlier. “I have a feeling being stabbed is something we’ll need to -ow!, get used to. Just give me a moment, I’ll get the fire cooking again soon enough.”

“God fucking damn it!” Nikklaüs shouted at the demon’s quick reversal of the situation. Resummoning Zantetsuken with a wide horizontal swing that whiffed as it jumped onto the ceiling.
Fucking dumbass. He was so focused on closing out the fight that he’d forgotten his primary role in the party, to protect the others. Reminding himself of that, Nikklaüs readied to intercept the demon if it were to try for Cobalt and Valerie again. Instead however, when Valerie lined herself up for a stronger offensive push on her part, he re-evaluated. The space between the demon and the other two at this point had become so tight that it wouldn’t be able to push them without eating Valerie’s firework head-on. It had no other choice but to back up, and when it did Nikklaüs would be ready.

“Valerie! Slide him back!” He ordered them to retreat at the release of her firework so that he could put himself in a position to better defend them.

Finally, he wound himself up for a stab that would plunge his blade into the spot that the demon would be reeling back to, hopefully running it through.

Though powerful, the attack Valerie sent was far too slow. With new vigor, the demon swiftly slipped from the ceiling, narrowly avoiding the concentrated blast hitting the ceiling instead. As the demon landed, it immediately swung its knives, crashing against Nikklaüs’s blade. Nikklaüs saw the demon’s knives shatter against his blade and felt the tremendous force behind the swing, knocking him back and fracturing his right wrist. Far from done however the demon’s anima surged in activity, rushing directly towards Nikklaüs and from behind the demon itself a perfect copy of itself moved to attack Valerie.

“!” Valerie clicked her tongue and let out an audible gasp as the demon managed to evade her attack, quickly moving for a counterattack before Nikklaüs slid in to protect her. Though she had half a mind to help him out and gang up on the demon, she obeyed his command and dashed backward, gingerly pulling Cobalt back to pull him from danger.

When she saw the demon just as easily push Nikklaüs back, she gasped out in concern, but it was nothing compared to the following event when it seemed to split apart into another copy of itself headed straight for her.

“Wh--?!” She gasped out, her eyes widening in shock as she was next on the cutting block. Her heart pounded as her mind raced to think of something, anything, to do in order to buy the other guys some more time at the very least. “S-Stay back! Paws off the merchandise!” Valerie exclaimed shakily in an attempt to maintain some semblance of attitude as she frantically snapped her fingers with a free hand, three times which created three small explosions on the ground intent on impeding the demon’s movements, followed by a gesture of opening up her palm and flashing a bright light in order to blindside one if not both of the demons.

Nikklaüs reeled back at the damage to his wrist, the vignette of his rage threatening to overcome his vision. You fucking bastard. An ultraviolet fury that offered him the strongest of motivators: spite. You’re not getting away with that. He still tried his best to keep some small modicum of composure that’d let him maintain the necessary level of thought he needed to get this done. He needed to rejoin the others, letting himself get separated from them was strike two as far as protecting them goes. Maybe with the force he’d held on to until this point would be able to assist him. Reciprocating the demon’s charge, he pushed in hard and fast.

“Not gonna help you!” He shouted, firmly planting his boot in its face and using it as a springboard. At least that was the plan, but his launchpad seemed to have vanished into a cloud of the miasma. Still, not having committed to any posture breaking movement until he’d left the ground, Nikklaüs was able to catch himself on the way down. Still not landing quite right though, he tumbled into a side roll in the direction of the other copy(?).

As he stepped up from the roll, he moved into a low lunging stance with Zantetsuken at the draw. Flash. In a single instant, Nikklaüs made to sever the demon in a fraction of a second.

This demon was obviously much more powerful than they initially thought, but Cobalt wasn’t ready to let this thing best the three of them. He managed to clear his head thanks to the few seconds Valerie bought him, fire reigniting in his palms. The pain was still there but he’d be damned if he let those wounds take him out of the fight.

He grunted as he got back on his feet, hands flaming and ready to help out Valerie. She wasn’t exactly a frontliner so getting rid of the copy would be a good start. She aimed to impede its movements so Cobalt rose his palms to aim directly at the miasma copy, intent on lobbing a few fireballs while it was distracted by Valerie’s own attacks. But before he could fire, Nikklaüs came back into the scene and aimed for a surprise execution. Changing his plans, Cobalt engulfed his body in soul flames once again to burn away as much ambient anima as he could, and instead aimed at the demon’s feet as well to further limit its movement and allow Nikklaüs a killing blow.

Still, this time, he couldn’t afford to let his guard down and kept a watchful eye on his companions. “Watch your blind spots. Who knows if this thing has other tricks it can use. Nik, I think you were fighting the original? Do you know why it vanished into miasma? Was it actually the real one and is it still nearby?” No one probably knew the answers to these questions but it was best to keep everyone alert and prevent a sneak attack.

The demon’s anima flickered violently, showing apparent signs of instability. Slowed by Valerie’s explosions, Nikklaüs was afforded enough time to catch up and wind up a strike to hopefully end the demon’s existence. But for a moment the demon felt that unleashed rage and spite coming from Nikklaüs and through pure instinct, the demon mostly dodged the blade, losing a single arm which faded into nothing. The demon made no attempt to regrow its limb, instead closing the distance on Valerie. It grabbed her arm and with a single motion threw her like a rag doll directly towards Cobalt, who was shrouded in flames.

Before the demon could act once more, it staggered, its form becoming unstable as the anima within it conflicted and swirled. Its arm attempted to grow back, only to appear malformed and malnourished.

Valerie could feel her heart lighten up as her desperate struggle was rewarded before too long, with Nikklaüs mounting a counterattack while Cobalt started to get a second wind. However, the demon’s continued swift movements caught the young woman off guard, eliciting a gasp before she was grabbed by it with its lone remaining arm.

“Hyagh--?!” The girl could only gasp out as she suddenly found herself flung right at Cobalt, still bathed in his mystic flames. She was vaguely aware that his flames didn’t necessarily affect physical matter, but she couldn’t imagine that letting those fires spread to her person would be a particularly pleasant sensation.

Right after the demon had thrown her however, Valerie had a mind to use her power to once again flash a blinding light right in its face for just a moment, but hopefully long enough to stun it and leave it open to Nikklaüs’s attack. And now, as she flew at Cobalt, she gritted her teeth with wide eyes.

“Uh, mayday mayday--!” She could only yell out before the impact came.

“We’re making progress! Keep goin- oh shit-!” Cobalt’s eyes have been focused on the demon, which had started becoming unstable after taking damage. However, he noticed too late that it decided to use Valerie herself as an improvised weapon, launching the poor girl right at him. He didn’t expect the small monstrosity to make a smart decision and acknowledge his flames in this manner.

The fire cloak protecting Cobalt’s body extinguished themselves, but not before Valerie made contact with him. Cobalt grit his teeth as he caught her, aware that he was too late in removing his Art. The pain in his leg also sprang up from the additional weight and impact, causing him to lose his balance and fall over.

As for Valerie, contact with Cobalt’s soul flames, while brief, was akin to stretching a hand into a blazing bonfire. A fire that didn’t burn skin nor clothes, but the very soul, thus leaving no marks. Fortunately, Cobalt had been quick enough to disable his cloak before it could spread on Valerie’s body, though he couldn’t prevent the initial pain from the touch.

“Shit-! Hey Val, are you okay!?” He clenched his jaw, ignoring the pain screaming on his leg to attempt to get up; at least they wouldn’t be sitting ducks.

“Aaah, a-aghhhh!” An anguished cry escaped Valerie’s lips as Cobalt caught her, his mystic flames unavoidably spreading to her. Categorically, the pain was unlike anything she’d ever felt before. She had known the occasional pain of burning herself, touching a hot stove or the like, but feeling her very soul burn was a pain she could hardly put into words, even if it was just for a short moment. It was one thing for her hand to be burned, but to feel it in her soul, at the center of her being, was definitely a new experience to say the least.
Even after the flames dissipated, Valerie continued to flail and writhe, if not from pain any longer then from the shock of this unfamiliar pain, instinctively wrapping her arms around Cobalt and squeezing him hard, not unlike a birthing mother gripping whatever was within arm’s reach so hard it threatened to break or an open mouth being made to bite down on an innocuous object in their mouth to prevent them from biting off their own tongue.

“Y-You’ll be fine, you’ll be fine...!” Cobalt let out through gritted teeth as Valerie squeezed his body like a vice grip. That was far from your typical hug, if the painful pressure he felt on his ribs was anything to go by. But he didn’t allow himself to express that pain out loud, instead petting Valerie on the back, trying his best to soothe a burn that could only go out on its own.

Nikklaüs felt his brain begin to creak. Gritting his teeth until it felt like his jaw would shatter under its own pressure. What he did next was a show of erosion to his mental fortitude, that after thinking and overthinking every single individual strand of muscle movement to try and eke out the smallest advantage this demon was still giving them trouble in a 3 v. 1 situation. Instead, this was an instinct, a bloodlust. He stopped thinking about Cobalt and Valerie entirely, rushing to kill the demon instead of rushing to protect them.

Taking the demon by its malformed arm, Nikklaüs tugged it with his full body weight and pushed out his leg to kick out the demon’s legs from underneath it. As both rapidly approached the floor, he ran Zantetsuken through its chest with the serrated edge of its sheath and pinned it to the floor. Mounting the demon, he pinned all its arms down with his left knee, right foot, and right hand taking each of its arms. The only thing left free was its misshapen appendage.

Raising his left arm, he felt a change in his Anima. The vacuum effect normally expected of his anima reversing into an ultraviolet jetstream around his hand as he descended upon what could be considered the demon’s skull. Nikklaüs relentlessly pounded on the demon as much as he could get away with, his breath beginning to pulse through his gritted teeth shooting the same jetstream of Anima out. It sounded almost like a deranged laughing, but not from any kind of human: a hyena, or maybe a fox?

Feeling the demon’s head give way, Nikklaüs tore into it one final time with a strike that pierced it through. The powerfully negative Anima bursting out and pushing up and through him. The anima rushed out like a tempest with a force that felt like it was going to pick him up off the ground, and for a moment Nikklaüs could no longer feel any bloodlust, but an obsession. The room tattered and broken, the chairs and the beds all scattered and messy. He had to fix it, he had to rid himself of these pests that would undo his work. Yes. This is nice, I think I will take it. But just as this feeling overpowered him, it faded just as quickly as the anima rushed past him and faded to nothing. The demon was dead, and the miasma that clouded the room became far clearer.

The pain and the shock of Cobalt’s flames subsided, allowing Valerie to catch her breath after several rapid inhales and exhales, her eyes wide with alarm at the unfamiliar sensation she had just endured. “Okay, I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay,” she said in rapid succession, trying to force her own heart to calm down lest it beat so rapidly it’d jump out of her throat.
Finally settling down, she looked up at Cobalt, still with those wide, incredulous eyes. “S-Sheesh, so that’s what it feels like, huh?” She said, trying to force her tone to come out jovial and light-hearted, though it contrasted a bit against her piercing gaze. Still, she managed to ease herself back onto her feet steadily enough, looking up to take notice that the demon had finally been disposed of. “W-Well… I wonder if we’ll get extra credit for that!” She could only exclaim, looking over to Nikklaüs. “Uh, g-good job, leader!”

Now what?

“Sorry, I tried to put them out as soon as I saw it throw you at me...” Cobalt mumbled, glancing to the side. That went to show how much control he actually needed. “But, uh, yeah, I normally try to direct these flames to things that actually deserve it. Not, well, you.”

He had more or less paid attention to what the demon and Nikklaüs were doing. He had caught a glimpse of Nikklaüs charging toward the multi-armed demon and pinning it to the ground, and fortunately, the damage it accumulated over time weakened it enough for Nik to finish it with clean strikes. Well -’clean’ perhaps wasn’t the correct term as Nikklaüs’ anima appeared to undergo a shift of sorts as he bashed at the demon like a madman. Not that Cobalt complained.

“Man, what a pain.”, he commented as he properly got up, wincing as he still felt the wounds in his leg tingle. “I sure hope we don’t need a kill each. Just this one was painful enough to deal with. But... was this one supposed to be a Rank I?? It was way stronger and more annoying than the small fry we beat on our first day.”, he spoke, tiredness palpable in his tone.

With that, Nikklaüs felt his anger begin to melt away and be replaced with a fatigue. Falling to his knees, Nikklaüs decided he was going to rest a short bit. He didn’t hear Valerie or Cobalt. Only a visceral scraping noise from the depths of his soul.

Tiguidi Tiguidi Verite Verite

Status: Thrilled/Terrified
Location: Abandoned Asylum

Interaction(s): Juju Juju Solirus Solirus

“If you say so.”

Mariana replied to Marianne. Sure, she might be able to handle it, but for how long? She moved to stand near Marianne. Even if Mariana herself couldn’t use anima and didn’t know how to fight, she still stood in this dangerous, demon-filled hallway next to Marianne. She wanted to be ready to help in case Marianne needed support. But also, for emotional support. Mostly for herself, because she was scared. Her legs were trembling, but she had faith in Crimson and Annamarie.

As the demon lost interest in Crimson, and leaned down for its bell, Crimson took advantage of this. Her tendrils pulled hard on the anchor, lifting it and throwing it towards the demon whose attention was now elsewhere.


She shouted. She didn’t want it to hit Annamarie. Though she didn’t throw it with enough force to reach Mariana or Marianne, so they would hopefully be fine. Her tentacles still near the demon shot towards the floor, juggling the bell around to random tendrils and different directions, attempting to keep the demon’s attention for just the next second or two so that the anchor would obliterate this thing.

Solirus Solirus November Witch November Witch
━ ◦ ※ ◦━​
"I assure you I will not be a burden to your efforts."

Marianne's expression was firm as she watched the battle unfold, as if her face was cast in porcelain. Yet beneath her assured visage, her anima constricted and swirled like a tangle of blackened thorns and string. There had only been a few times when she and Annamarie were forced to fight alone, the most recent battle against the basement-demon being one of them. While she certainly knew that Annamarie was far better equipped for combat than she was, even without her wounds, she was not blind enough to believe that her beloved twin could easily outmatch this peculiar demon.

Glancing to the side, she noticed Mariana standing close by. The other girl was trembling like a leaf, fearful anima radiating off of her like waves, and yet she wasn't running. It was an act of bravery that Marianne could commend, though she couldn't understand the reasoning behind it. Oblivious to the mere notion that Mariana might be staying nearby in case she needed support, Marianne wondered if it was driven purely by a concern for Crimson.

Marianne felt like she should say something, to help calm her, but couldn't find the right words. Thinking back on her shoddy attempt at comforting Issac, she wondered if silence was perhaps the better option. It wasn't like they were friends, so her words would probably only make matters worse. Banishing the thought from her mind, Marianne remained silent and turned her attention back to the battle.

(Got info from Solirus Solirus about this one!!)
Crimson's anchor landed a solid hit on the demon, sending it flying back against the nearest hall. The collision kicked up a cloud of dust from the aged ceiling and floor, obscuring the demon from sight. An enormous crack echoed through the hallways, one that coincided with the rapid dissipation of the demon's anima. Yet just as its anima lowered to the point of vanishing entirely, it began to flare up again as an entirely new anima sprung forth. The hue of it was revolting, far more concentrated and powerful than the previous anima.

Slowly, the demon rose back up out of the dusty cloud, standing to its full height after it recovered from its fall. As if no lighter than a feather, the demon tossed Crimson's anchor aside. It looked the same as it had before, and yet the sight of its anima unnerved Marianne completely. She felt a deathly chill course up her body, making her unable to move for a moment as she was stricken by an intense fear. She could not completely understand the depths of this new anima, yet she knew in her soul that survival meant fleeing as far from here as possible.

"Annamarie, to me!" she called out, urging her twin to retreat.

Without thinking, Marianne took Mariana's hand into her own and tugged her down the hallway, away from the demon and Crimson both. She imagined Crimson would also see the shift in anima, yet still she called out to the demon, "We need to leave! If it intends to do anything like its bell trick, we'd best be far away! We can head down the East Hallway, I've cleared out the area!"

Bloody and exhausted, adrenaline was the only thing keeping Marianne going. As much as she tried to lead Mariana away, her limp was making her significantly slower. Pain shot up her legs with every step, and she could feel one of the gashes reopen, but she gritted her teeth and pushed through the renewed pain. She refused to let it make her weak, refused to create yet another failure.

Thankfully, it was not long before Annamarie caught up to the both of them. Mimicking her twin, she took Marianne's free hand and began to drag her along in the same direction. At this point, her lent strength was the only thing keeping Marianne moving at a running pace.
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  • Hatred
    November Witch November Witch Juju Juju
    TW: Mutilation
    Though Crimson's attack had connected with the demon, it had managed to return, appearing unscathed. Yet further could be from the truth, as the anima that poured from it now suggested that she had awakened a deep and ravenous hatred.

    Quick and decisive, however, Crimson, elected to throw the bell away into the window hoping that it would further distract the demon, but just as the bell crashed against the window, it merely broke apart into a pile of dust. The demon remained unfazed as its bell shattered, its attention now merely rested on those before it. Without further hesitation, the demon grabbed onto its horns and began to pull.

    Though a being of pure anima and emotion, sickening snaps and tearing would be heard echoing the hallways, akin to flesh ripping apart as the demon's own head was slowly bisected. Once the face had been split in two, the demon would pull again. With ferocity, it began to tear both halves away from the body, the neck stretching and desperately attempting to maintain its shape, only to give in at the last moment. Now holding both halves of its head, the demon slowly pulled them out of the socket, revealing a spinelike blade attached to the bottom of them.

    Wasting not another moment, the demon now headless swung its blades with aggression and power, slicing cleanly through the many tentacles around it. Targeting those that were closest, the demon would attack without care, cleaving through tendril and stone. With each swing, the demon ramped up in speed and showed no signs of slowing down.

Juju Juju November Witch November Witch Silent Child Silent Child _Yua Watanabe_ _Yua Watanabe_ Yakov011001 Yakov011001 Tiguidi Tiguidi Verite Verite Spoiled Bread Spoiled Bread
Through the thickness of the miasma, all those present within the asylum can see a dark signature of anima filled with pure hatred piercing through like a beacon.

Status: Thrilled/Terrified
Location: Abandoned Asylum
Interaction(s): Juju Juju Solirus Solirus

Mariana looked over at Marianne, looking confused at what the other said.

“I never once thought that. I’m just worried about you, Marianne. It must hurt… It must be hard to bear it.”

Mariana said, looking empathetically at the other. She couldn’t help but feel bad for the state Marianne was in, and wished to help in some way she could, but Mariana didn’t know much about wounds other than to apply pressure… As the thought entered her head, she latched onto it. Maybe she could learn how to treat wounds! If anima was out of the picture, shouldn’t she learn how to be helpful in some other way? She bookmarked that thought to keep for later…

While caught up in her thoughts, she jumped as the building shook around her as an anchor and demon crashed into a wall which started to crumble and fall apart as the demon got back up. Mariana was surprised at how tough it was… But also thankful at the same time. If this thing was this tough, then how tough was Crimson? She’d have to be on the same level, right? Though, she would follow the muscle memory Crimson had instilled within her to activate her refined vision and took a step back with the amount of emotion pouring from the demon now.

She then yelped, frightened as Marianne grabbed her, causing her trembling legs to trip over one another and she stumbled. Mariana would get up, and look between Crimson and Marianne. But before she could make up her mind, that familiar distorted voice echoed through the hallways. This time, it was a command not to stay, but to act. It wasn’t like Crimson to ask something of Mariana, so the girl knew she’d have to comply.

“The room on your right! Get outside!”

Crimson commanded her host.

“Leave! We’ve got this!”

Mariana said. Even if she was shaking like a leaf, there was determination mixed with the fear in her eyes.

Mariana did as she was told, and tugged her hand away from Marianne if she hadn’t already let go from the fall. Mariana entered an old, dilapidated classroom, and ran across the room to the window, which was stuck shut after being that way for who knows how many years. Mariana picked up a chair and hit the window a few times until it cracked and finally broke. She used the legs of the chair to clear the glass from the frame before climbing outside, just in time to see Crimson to her right.

As the demon’s weapons came into view, Crimson also changed tactics. More tendrils connected her to the walls, ceiling and floor. In order to make her more stable if the demon cut some of them. Chains emerged from her palms, extending close to 7ft before stopping. She grabbed ahold of them and started to whip them towards the demon. She didn’t really try to attack with her tendrils, only the chains which came in quick succession. Using the rotational force from them being parried by the demon to attack faster and faster as the demon did as well. However, she was aware of them getting shorter and shorter very gradually after each hit. Crimson made sure to glance towards the retreating twins, and made sure they were sufficiently far away, or completely out of sight before leaving the building.

This was when she shot herself backwards through a window in the hallway, shattering the glass, and landing outside in the grass about 30ft from the building. The tentacles she still had at her disposal dug into the ground, and under the grass, hiding themselves from sight. They spread out towards the building in a 180 degree angle.

The demon was likely able to regenerate due to how much anima was floating around the building, so Crimson wanted to lure it outside where it couldn’t absorb nearly as much to strengthen itself. She was bringing it down to her playing field, as whatever that bird did to her earlier had stopped her from taking in anima from her surroundings. Hopefully it would follow outside and attack Crimson. Mariana hid near the window behind some bushes out of sight. Crimson kinda hoped that the other arcanists wouldn’t intervene in the fight, but she wouldn’t hold her breath.

“Now it’s a fair fight~”

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