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Hero, Don't Kill The Demon King! Chapter 1: Lives Not Yet Thrown Away

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"Wha?" One of the men paused, looking over at the group of women... They weren't really sure how to respond, not expecting to be hailed by a bunch of cute girls.

"Er, wait!" Taliyah had her hand out, looking between Xalrei and Nessraya. "L-Look, both are important, right? And I'm, I'm not really the brightest. I'm sure Gabriela is smart, but... If any of those guys found out I'm a halfbreed..." she lowered her voice, and gulped, "they wouldn't really, want to tell me anything. S-So, just let me and Gabriela bring Ren back to the inn, and you two can, enjoy your date and find out stuff. Actually remember stuff. Even if they did tell me, like I said, I-I'm not the smartest. I'd probably forget, or get it wrong. I can at least bring someone back to an inn!" While she was telling the truth, she didn't want something like this to get in the way of a relaxing evening. She wasn't much for drinking, and being around groups made her nervous, so she'd just been following Gabriela's lead. It was why she'd rushed for the least populated table, even if that was still a kneejerk reaction on her part. It was working out... Sort of.

"I-Is that fine? General...?"


"Oh, Ayane... So violent. Your temper's still the same, I see." A voice, from nowhere, spinning around Ayane's head... No, it was coming from something. A small butterfly, flapping around her ears, making sure to stay away from the tree she'd nearly burnt, lest it fall pray to the sword swing the small messenger was expecting. "You shouldn't be so worried~ I still have plenty that I need to do, before we can see each other again... So be patient. I'll give you the chance to take my head, just you wait~"


Oh, Marina... Lavinia smiled softly at the girl as she tried her best to speak to Jade. She really was too nice for this... Even if she was a natural at combat. Though... "Hmmm. Agni had quite a bit of trouble with this one. I'm rather surprised. I figured his speed and size would give him an advantage, but it still took him a while... Marina, have you seen Agni fight before? Is he strong, weak, where exactly would you put him?" She didn't want him to get hurt, if he was going to be putting himself against opponents he couldn't handle...

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"As long as you two think you can handle this yourselves, that would be fine by me. I'd love to spend a bit more quality time as is, and we can't rule out that these rumours might be related, after all." Nessraya replied with a smile, standing up from her chair and gently floating towards the tavern-goers that Xalrei had called out.

"We just wanted to know a little more about what you boys were talking about. It isn't everyday you hear tell of such things, after all~"

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He closed his eyes for a long second, briefly rubbing his head as he followed after the fox. She flipped between hot and cold in a second, leaving him on the defensive at all times. This is what he signed up for though, he had to admit that. She was clearly the type of person who enjoyed playing with people, and he'd made himself an easy target. But as she giggled and swished her tail at him, followed by that smirk, he couldn't stop the small smile that broke out across his lips. It wasn't the easiest thing to deal with it, but she was always going to be interesting.

"Hmm, well, if you beat those heads well enough, I suppose I'll have to give you a reward, right? Something in exchange for the entertainment you give me? Perhaps I'll give you a kiss again... Or come up with something new~" That was something she'd say almost. He wouldn't deny that most of this sort of thing was new to him and he was just going off of her cues. But if it worked, then that's what mattered. He had to put up a fight somehow, and if it meant copying her then that's what he would do. Even if it felt a little bit like cheating.

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There she was.

The one target on Ayane's mind. It was just her voice, but that alone was almost enough to set her off. Whatever serenity she tried to hard to build was now gone, it was replaced by her rising anger. With a snarl she whirled around toward the butterfly, her eyes almost turned full red. "...oh." But she noticed it wasn't her, no she wouldn't be THAT bold. It was a butterfly, something Ayane grew to truly hate. She glared at it with intense hatred. "Thank whatever god...no, devil you pray to, that you decided against appearing before me physically, witch." Her voice carried a strong tone of venom behind it. "If you have a message give it and leave, but If you've come to taunt me you'll be losing that damned bug today." Her hand hadn't left her Orochinagi's sheath the entire time she spoke to Ouka.

Edited by TheRoon

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It seemed like Nessraya and Xalrei didn't really want to go, and understandably so, since those two seemed to really like each other. Taliyah would join Gabriela and Ren though, so that's fine. Being a halfbreed must not at all be easy, after all. "Don't worry General, we'll be A-Okay as long as we have Ren with us, he wouldn't leave us two girls be taken out by some witch....i'm sure. Well, Tali? Shall we head off? Follow my lead, Ren!"

Before taking of, she looked at Xalrei. "Well Xalrei, have fun on your date... or should I say good luck instead?" Gabriela gave a playful wink before heading out of the door. The tavern wasn't far, so they should arrive fairly quickly. What could go wrong?

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"If you're that sure about it..." Xalrei replied, crossing her arms. Even if what the lizardgirl had just claimed about herself was true, Xalrei wished that Taliyah wasn't so quick to put herself down Though she could still see that, in the end, she was just trying to help her out. "Thanks, Taliyah. And with her, you don't need luck..." She said, managing a smile and grumble to Taliyah and Gabriela respectively as the siren began to lead the small group away. 

"Yeah, what you were saying sounded pretty interesting. Green aura floating in the trees? Not exactly common." Xalrei added, joining Nessraya.

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The second round was well due to begin.

Agni stepped into the arena once more, this time with a simple dagger offered by the building's staff. It was simple, lighter than a sword, and effective for his combat style. Still, like any good fighter, he kept his weapon concealed, looking at who was meant to be his next opponent.

A man named Trevor, judging by his appearance, a traditional fighter, though he seemed free of anything that stood out as an obvious weapon, most definitely carrying something of his own. Hm...

Agni took the first dash, this time, his light weight and quick feet allowed him to push himself off of the ground at the end of the dash, propelling himself towards his opponent with noticeable speed, his body rotated, and a laceration was left along the shoulder of his foe as Agni darted by, turning around to face Trevor properly, with his dagger revealed in front of himself --ready to parry any incoming blow. It was clear he outsped this foe as well.

However, the parry never came to be, as Trevor made his counterattack with a projective, a throwing star he'd strapped on his belt. The man was not lacking in strength, as it zoomed with force towards his target, an unpleasant trinket that got stuck in Agni's chest. This was a manageable wound, but by no means one to ignore.

But speed was on his side --approaching again, Agni decided to give his opponent no distance to perform another attack. His glare followed a cocky smirk as he surrounded Trevor, and his dagger followed with two quick slices. Agni had taken the resistance out of Trevor, who slumped onto the ground.

"Surprising attack, but you need more to back yourself up with." A quick judgement of his foe's skills was due, and then, Agni walked back to his waiting room, leaving Trevor to be picked up by the field medics.

All things considered, that was a fairly quick round.

The third one...

Frank, a possible contender, this one carried a gun, which Agni quickly studied as they faced each other, right before the announcer gave them the signal.

It was easy to assume Frank would shoot first, so Agni dived down below the man and stabbed him with blinding speed. All this momentum translated into a spin as Agni kicked the ground and jumped to his opponent's side. The dagger twisted and turned in a notably ruthless manner, carving through his opponent and leaving a wound far more than counted for. It staggered Frank enough to stop his shooting, but Agni was honestly considering less of an advantage.

Frank's slow reaction resulted in a shot that easily missed Agni, hitting his cape as he dashed in a curve, deftly keeping himself away from Frank's aim. The battle ended after a second stab, with the opponent too hurt. Another quick victory.

Agni saved his breath this time. The opponent was too unlucky to really show their fighting style.

The fourth round...

This was that "Puff" person whom gave others trouble. Agni did not hold his curiosity back as the man continued to wield his chunky hunk of metal as a sword. "I trust you're overcompensating for something?" It was such an unorthodox weapon, but, of course, its range and heft could meant trouble. Better not to make too much fun of it.

Naturally, Agni got the first hit in as the announcer signalled they started once more.

Getting away from 'Puff's' counterattack was Agni's biggest concern. A weapon with such reach made things much harder, but it turned out to be a predictable swing. Agni sidestepped with grace, taking another stab at the swordsman. And another. This opponent was surprisingly fast for the type of weapon he wielded, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep up, and Agni was slightly annoyed at the elf, for whatever reason.

Two stabs in quick succession proved to be too gruesome, and 'Puff' dropped his weapon in response. The fight was over. "If you can't use your weapon flexibly, you might as well be setting yourself up for defeat." That was Agni's chastizing remark for that battle. With that done, Agni turned around, his cape fluttering somewhat, and returned to the waiting room.

The fifth round...

An incubus, and a magic user. This would change things up, or so agni hoped. From the essence coming from then, the incubus was a dark mage, as well, so Agni had some advantage in familiarity...

None of that mattered, as Agni, charging towards his enemy as he usually did, managed a crippling stab to the opponent's neck before he could cast anything. The poor incubus just didn't have any preparation for non-magic duels, it seemed, and kept his guard low.

"Train your endurance." There wasn't much advice Agni could give considering the battle ended in a single blow.

Agni was hoping he'd find more defensive enemies like Galahad as he went on, to shake things up...

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After they'd made their way back to their sets, the Hero stuttered a bit, trying to catch Jade's attention. Setting down the shield in an empty seat next to her, the merchant turned to face her, the neutral expression on her face slightly betrayed by an eyebrow inching up curiously. Then slowly, as the chosen one managed to find her words, and began expressing her awkward thanks, Jade's expression softened into an almost sleepy smile.

"I understand. And it's fine. Whether you simply forgot, or," then leaning closer, conspiratorially, the zombie very softly added, in a voice that wouldn't carry past Lavinia on the other side of her, "Whether as a delicious human, rightly afraid of a man-eating monster, you simply preferred to wait till you had company present whom you've known for longer, people you trusted a little more than being alone with that strange merchant you met on the road..." Jade seemed to be poking as much fun at herself, if not more, than she was at Marina here. Then returning upright and gently closing her eyes, the slight sneer that had stolen across her lips disappearing as she continued, her voice returning to normal volume, "That is fine too. I'm just pleased they worked out for you. I honestly didn't expect you to be as prompt about this--I know what I wrote," she interrupted herself, "...but I wasn't quite sure you'd take it to heart. Anyway, it gladdens me that you've been so earnest, and I don't begrudge you any delay you take while freshening them back up for the return. Do not worry."

It was actually cute, Marina's concern. The Hero had passed her little test with flying colors. Jade almost wanted to reach out, and give the girl a reassuring squeeze on the thigh, but... That would be a bit too much, wouldn't it? Instead she leaned back in her seat, and gave a glance back to the field, to see how Agni was faring. Ooh, that was certainly vital strike. Another of the regular roster down and out.

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Marina's attention went to Lavinia briefly. A question on Agni and his combat prowess, "Hmm... I'd say he's, a lot like me. Someone who's gotta be quicker to make up for not being physically strong. Now that I think on it, that's probably why they had him helping me." A light laugh, "A bigger, tougher opponent would give him trouble, but someone... not as bulky, doesn't stand a chance," She confidently answered.

Sitting back again, she returned her attention to Jade, giving it to her undivided. She was appreciative of her reply, then caught nervously laughing about being called delicious. "Nono, I trust you enough to not... do something like that," She quietly replied, smiling. Continuing to listen, she was grateful that Jade was happy at her thanks, even it was a little late. "Thank you, Jade. I... I didn't want to keep them for long. The last thing I would want to do was fight in something like that, I'd probably freak out more about ruining your clothes than if I were to get hurt," She chuckled a bit, "Anyway, yes. The first chance I get, I'll find somewhere to clean and return them to you." A final smile before returning to gazing the arena.

And Marina's claim was correct. After Galahad, no one else so far had stood up to Agni, even if it was embarrassing to see Agni so easily thrash Puff Trouble.

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Following Gabriela to where two other ladies were standing, Ren offered a polite bow of his head towards Xalrei and Nessraya.  "Ren Itou, at your service," he offered in short greeting while listening in to what they were saying.  Knowing he had interrupted their break, and a date to boot, he felt sheepish and rather apologetic as he offered a small smile towards them.  "I do apologize for ruining your time of rest and relaxation, but it seems that evil takes no consideration for these things," he offered, before looking over at the Succubus and then at Gabriela and Taliyah.

He listened to the lizard girl explain why it was better for her to accompany him back to the inn, and Ren couldn't help the small frown at learning about the prejudice between demons and "half breeds".  He stayed silent though, not his place to speak out, but he did have the sudden urge to reach out and pat Taliyah's head in comfort.

Not acting out on this feeling (they weren't fully acquainted yet, so it would've been awkward at best), he instead looked over at Gabriela and gave her a reassuring smile.

"Quite dishonorable of me to just leave such lovely ladies defenseless.  It would be my pleasure to escort you back to the inn, and hopefully find my dear cousin in favorable spirits," he said with a nod, before dismissing himself from the other two and following Taliya and Gabriela out of the bar.

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"Something new? I hope you don't overheat trying to come up with it~" Asami was giggling... Until she stepped outside the inn. Ayane seemed to be having a conversation with... A butterfly... Asami ducked back inside, nearly running into Bladen, before nervously smiling up at him. "Maybe we should, w-wait a minute before heading out. Looks like something important is happening out there... Probably, shouldn't get involved."


"Yes! I got this!" Taliyah saluted Xalrei and Nessraya both, before heading out with Gabriela and Ren in tow. "Phew... Man, just when we get a moment to relax, right? But, I don't want this nonsense to get in between them... I dunno what's really going on with them, but, Nessraya seems to really like Xal! So... I guess, that must mean something. Not like she really stops the general..." Taliyah didn't really get the nuances of romance, she'd never been involved in that sort of relationship, nor had anyone pine after her for more than her body, so how they were supposed to work was pretty foreign to her.

"The inn's across town, so it's a straight shot, but it's still a little ways!" Taliyah started to jog ahead of the other two, grinning. "Race ya there!" And she was off~


"I don't want to have the village burn down because of your anger. What a waste that would be! Ahahaha~" The voice emmenating from the butterfly cackled, chuckled, and quieted. "I was going to have someone visit you, but, I assume the same would happen... That rage of yours is going to cause more carnage than I will, Ayane... So--" A swift pause, something had caught the witch's attention, but with another chuckle she focused back on Ayane. "Just be careful. Wouldn't do to have you or your new fox friend dying on me. Now, do take care, Ayane~ Feel free to vent some anger and slay this messenger..."


Perhaps the first opponent had simply been the first contender for someone like Agni. He was swiftly sweeping his way through the rest of them, now... It was a spectacle to observe, Lavinia finding herself leaning forward and smiling as he continued through the rest of the opponents. Even the arena's front runner, that Puff fellow, didn't seem to give him near as much trouble as the original armored fellow had...

"How very impressive..." If this was his level of skill, she didn't have to worry. He could handle himself just fine.

As the fifth round was nearly immediately wrapped up, Lavinia leaned over towards the conversation Jade and Marina were having, unable to help herself chuckling at them. "You two are adorable. Really... I'm glad we can enjoy ourselves." We won't be able to for much longer, so a rest like this is for the best. "Just remember Jade, if you need to sample someone, please turn this way. Cianna may be delicious, but she doesn't grow back."


"Brian, she's floatin'..."

"I can see that, George."

The table was still deadly quiet, still mostly out of confusion, but now intimidation, as a few of them recognized their new addition to the conversation.

"Sweet mercy Brian that's the general o' the country." George shrunk, sat up straight, set his drink down and gulped.

"I, can see that... R, Right well, er... Go on, George!"

"You little-- Right! Er... Was just out huntin'. Lookin' fer dinner... Green glow starts peakin' through the trees. Now I ain't a brave soul, but there were animals about, few deer I was huntin', and they weren't spooked. Figured things were fine enough... Went to check, and... Well." He shook his head, reaching for his drink-- and stopping his hand. "Some tree lookin' woman floatin' through the air! Not somethin' I was expectin', just... Down south o' here, not too far from the town. Bit of a worry. She spotted me, and..."

George's skin crawled, as he moved to hold himself a bit, shaking his head again. "Let out one real fierce wail. I bolted. Ain't no deer worth that risk... Y'don't screw around with witches an' spirits, y'jus' don't."

"Oi, George, yer still shittin' us, right?"

"Wish I was, Brian... Just, wish I was."

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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"Hah, Ren, do you even know who you were talking to? Those ladies don't need a knight in shiny armor to defend them, they can definitely defend themselves. Me though? I'm not very strong, so a strong knight to defend me is just what the doctor ordered." Gabriela winked. 

She then looked over at Taliyah. "Yeah, agreed. I was looking forward to a stress-free evening, but that annoying upstart witch just had to interfere now..." Gabriela looked pretty upset, but her expression changed when Taliyah began about the relationship between Nessraya and Xalrei. "Oh, Taly....I do believe they like each other, yes...I'm sure you'll find someone you like too, someday." But before she could finish that sentence, Taliyah had run off and started a race. "Oh, you're on!" Gabriela spread her wings and started flying after Taliyah, making sure not to get too far ahead of Ren.

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"You...you...so you DID come to taunt me!" Her eyes shifted to red for a moment, and as she rose her hand crimson flames erupted from it. She was deadly focused on the butterfly. "BEGONE!" She threw her hand out and let the flames fly toward the butterfly. It did indeed catch it, but it also caught the tree. The flame was big enough to cause the poor tree to burst into flames. A sight that quickly caused Ayane to step back and snap out of her rage. "...ah...oh no..." This was sure to get a lot of attention, maybe that was her plan. Either way, Ayane stood a good distance away from the tree. She couldn't stop the fire now. "Ah...water! Water!" She turned and shouted. "Someone please help!"

Edited by TheRoon

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Ren blinked, before giving Gabriela an amused smile.  "I was actually referring to you and Tayilah.  I'm sure the other two are quite capable enough to confront any foe they meet," he replied, a small chuckle escaping him before look at said lizard gir.

"Sometimes, it's quite difficult for a person to admit their feelings to another," Ren offered as he walked with them, now with a thoughtful look on his face.  He had been on the same boat before; whether it be him trying to court a pretty lady, or having a handsome soldier come up to him with the same intentions, Ren was never the eloquent one when it came to the subject of romance.

Maybe that was why his endeavors never ended with anything fruitful, but he didn't need to tell these two that.

As the girls continued their conversation, Ren simply watched silently, soft chirping from Ukogi splashed here and there as he snuggled against the oni's coat fur.  It wasn't until Taliyah announced a race to get to the inn first that he noticed the smile that had formed in passing, before disappearing as his focus went back to the now flying and running racers.

He stood there for a moment, pushing the unwanted sorrow away for now, and went on to follow them back to the inn.

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Such blind and unearned trust. Jade had to marvel at it. And marvel further at just how Coteon had gone about picking such a soft, pure individual for their weapon of war.

Of course, when Lavinia turned her own teasing back upon her, any of the mellow or melancholic feelings the merchant had been having went up in steam.

"Y-Yes, you're r-right. As a merchant, I should be striving to traffic in renewable resources," she stuttered and turned away, finding refuge in redirecting her attention to arena, pretending to be engaged in internal speculation about Agni's next matchup.

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Marina gave a small laugh at what Lavinia said about her and Jade. There wasn't much of a reply aside from that, aside from her embarrassingly retreating into her coat, wrapping herself deeper into it; a nice plus to the coat being bigger than she was. Her face reddened again, but at least someone didn't kiss her this time. She didn't know if she could take someone else doing something so... daring, to her again.

Eyeing back to the arena, she felt her arm softening, and she could move it comfortably again. Reaching into her pouch, she decided to pull out her notebook again, turning to a page almost halfway into the book, jotting down things that popped into her head. Something to keep her mind nice and distracted for a moment.

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Bladen glanced out, seeing only the oni and what looked to be a butterfly and chuckled. "Important business? You know, if you don't want to talk with Ayane, you can just say so. You don't need to-" His words were cut off by a yell and then what sounded like flames catching on wood. Quickly looking back outside again, he found the tree on fire and Ayane yelling for help. "Well, whatever your reason, we have bigger issues now. I don't suppose you can do water magic?" Without really waiting for an answer, he quickly turned and headed back deeper into the inn, aiming for the kitchens. As he passed by the front desk, he called out to Geoffrey, urgency clear in his voice. "There's a tree on fire outside. We need to get water out there quick. Where's the best place for that?"

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"Ahhhh, waaaaait! Flying is cheating!" Taliyah was running faster now, trying to keep up with the Siren. It wasn't exactly going very well. "Ren! Come on! Sorry, but I don't wanna lose this race!"


"A tree on fire?" Geoffrey had been mostly ignoring the fox and her friend, but that swiftly changed, as his eyes went wide. They'd met the window and caught a glimpse of what he meant. "Oh, no! Ahh, water mage, where can I--"

"Nobody panic!" Asami sighed and slipped out of the inn, stomping her way over to the tree. It hadn't completely engulfed the thing yet, at least... "I can handle this much." A small moment of chanting, and a tiny cloud had spread just over the tree, a drizzle beginning to dim the fire and start to handle it. "Geez... Ayane!" Asami scowled over at her, shaking her head. "If you can't handle the smallest taunt from the witch, just HOW are you going to deal with seeing her in person? You'll get yourself killed, or worse, you'll kill us in the collateral." The fox shook her head, glancing back at the door. Goeffrey was watching, but he heaved a sigh of relief.

"Thank you, miss Asami! Please do not burn down the foliage, or the inn itself, miss Ayane." With his rather scared request, he returned inside, tail drooping.

"Honestly..."

"Heyyyyyyyy!" Taliyah was coming into view from behind one of the town's houses, waving at the three of them. "I brought a friend!" Gabriela was still ahead of her, though, so it seemed wings were indeed winning this day.


"Pfft-- Haha! Renewable resources, goodness... Spoken like quite the dealer, ahh, hmhmhm." What a clever comment. Enough to keep Lavinia's spirits up, with the sun deciding it was nearly almost done for the day. Agni was handling the arena well, surely she could too.

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Xalrei crossed her arms as George told his tale. Tree looking person? Could witches do that? She brought a claw to her chin, eyes redirected towards the ceiling as she racked her brain for what this kind of monster this witch was. "What do you mean by 'tree like'? Did she have branches for limbs, or like, leaves growing on her, or something else? Being vague isn't helping." Xalrei herself couldn't approach putting two and two together without more information.

She glanced over at Nessraya. Hopefully this was making at least some sense to her; she did know a lot more about magic than she did, after all.

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"Hmm... from the sounds of it, we're dealing with a ghost. Usually it means that someone was a little too attached to their life here to move on properly... can any of you fine gentlemen think of anyone local and... somewhat recently deceased, who might fit that description?" Nessraya asked, the explanation seeming pretty certain in her head. It was possible that a witch could be involved... really they were just magic users of a certain description, so it was vague enough a definition to be fit where it needed.

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Ayane continued to cry out for help, but was quickly silenced by the fox's arrival. Asami had summoned a rain cloud to stop the flames before they could grow to be a bigger issue. She had saved the day, and then soon went to scolding the oni princess for her recklessness. "Aaah..." Ayane was staggered for a moment, and ashamed. She lowered her head down and closed her eyes. "I...I didn't mean for this to..." She mumbled a bit. The normally rage filled straight to the point girl was now quite regretful. "I'm sorry, Asami...truly..."

Edited by TheRoon

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As they grew closer to their destination, Ren couldn't help but falter in his steps as he noticed the flaming tree just as it was being put out by a magical cloud.  The grip on his Tonbokiri tightened till his knuckles whitened, and Ukogi -feeling his master's distress- poked out of the fur collar and flew to a nearby branch.  Better to stay away from the scene in the safety of the trees.

He wanted to call out, but the lump in his throat prevented him from doing so.  The oni guardian felt his eyes prickle with unshed tears, and he had half a mind to turn around and leave-

When he saw the fox berate his dear cousin though, something inside him snapped as his eyes flashed from red to a frosty blue for a fraction of a second.

"Now, is there really a need to get mad at someone expressing such regret?" he now speaks up, gathering all the courage he can muster as he walks toward them not.  He felt himself relax, now feeling himself calm the closer he got to Ayane.

Once there, he suddenly knelt in front of his cousin, on one knee with a fist pressed against the ground in front of him, the other hand still holding his weapon while the yari was strapped to his back.  Head lowered, he still couldn't help the calm smile slowly shifting on his lips as he went on to address his cousin.

"It's been a while your highness.  I would've approached you earlier but...the time wasn't right.  I apologize," he spoke clearly, voice steady as he waited for her to respond.

He dare not see her expression lest it showed disgust and contempt for him.

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Gabriela flew ahead of Taliyah and Ren and arrived at the scene first. She landed, and Taliyah came and waved and mentioned that they brought a friend. Gaby was in truth very curious to see how this would turn out. Ren did mention that Ayane didn't really like him, and seeing Ayane's irritability firsthand, it seems likely that she would lash out when she saw him. Seeing the fire was a surprise though. Was she so bloodthirsty that she set a tree on fire? 

Gabriela kept mostly quiet. To her surprise, Ren spoke up against Asami, and then approached Ayane. He seemed a little weak on his feet, and understandably so. He then got on his knees and lowered his head. Surprisingly, he called her 'your highness'. Not a too familiar greeting for cousins. He seemed quite worried, and Gabriela felt bad. She almost felt like going over there to cheer him up, but now didn't really seem like a good time. She watched closely, ready to jump in at a moment's notice if things got tough for Ren.

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The sixth round begun...

Once again Agni walked in, taking in the airs of the arena again, the cheers, people were out to see something brutal, much like the last bout. Very well then... Another foe appeared, a zombie, and a gunslinger akin to a certain merchant tagging along with their group. Huh. Perhaps it was just a zombie thing.

Agni readied his dagger again, gauging the foe. Once more, as the announcer gave the call, Agni was the one to get the jump, striking the man's abdomen with his dagger before. Despite the opponent's weapon, Agni played the same trick he'd used on the previous gunslinger --his red outfit and cape being easy distractions, he dashed while keeping himself below the weapon's aim, in a hurried dash. When the bullet was shot, it missed him by a fair margin, and Agni promptly twisted his knife and carved as he stepped back. The opponent never reacted despite the grievous wound. Zombies were quite something...

This opponent's reflexes were fast, but the revolver still demanded a loading time, this had given Agni leeway to strike again. Another stab was made, and the opponent folded to the ground. Even as an undead, he was too damaged to move properly.

It took a bit more than the last opponent.

"Your aim needs more training, but you almost caught up to me. I'm impressed." Agni patted his cloak, leaving parting words to his opponent before making his way to the waiting room. The healers had their work cut out on that one...

Then, the final round...

"Soft Snake"... was not the kind of performance name Agni thought to hear in a (somewhat) reputable establishment, but that was hardly the most striking feature of his opponent, only the most readily apparent.

Agni was fighting a Gorgon, then. That monster would prove to be a tough opponent... but after the last few performances, Agni stuck to the dagger anyways, it seemed his opponent elected a similar weapon. This would be interesting, if nothing else.

This foe lacked the speed to keep up with Agni like the former, but the clash of a dagger parrying his own left something clear, "Soft Snake" was quite skilled. Still, speed would be Agni's advantage here.

Agni circled the gorgon, leaving a small gash in the monster's skin. This would take a while at this rate. He had barely any time to contemplate it, however, as the gorgon launched an unexpected counter. Agni had to jump back and gain some distance, it missed him... however, a lock of (magically enchanted) silver hair had dropped on the floor, sitting close to the gorgon's feet.

"... I've let myself too open, how disgraceful." It was as good as having hit him, as far as Agni's pride was concerned. He grit his teeth, eyeing the gorgon intently, but the veteran was hardly daunted by this.

So, instead, Agni would make sure to leave ample reason for the gorgon to fear him.

This time, Agni rushed to a direct confrontation, dagger poised to strike the gorgon's abdomen, like most opponents. However, as Agni had seen his enemy rise his own dagger for a parry, he withdrew his armed hand --it was merely a feint. With the gorgon caught off of its guard, Agni striked high, and the dagger had lodged itself just above the gorgon's collarbone.

A gruesome attack as such was answered with cheers from the crowd.

The gorgon could not take the pain with stride like the zombie did, and was open for a second attack. A simpler stab to the gut, taking the air out of his opponent. The gorgon dropped to the floor on its rear, a muffle wince of pain as he grit though his teeth.

"Not bad." Agni admitted, bowing slightly to his final opponent. "But in such light armor, speed is key, I'm afraid." Even if a gorgon were not to be underestimated in resilience, Agni had proven his mettle as a knight rather well.

If he could say so himself. A smirk couldn't escape him as he turned his back to his opponent.

He looked to the stands once more, nodding to Marina, Lavinia and Jade as he spotted them in the crowd. After displaying his confident smile, Agni left to the waiting lobby --it was time to collect his reward for the job done.

He was no novice fighter, after all, it was a good show of what a knight of Coteon could do. Not that most of the crowd was aware of it...

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Today had been...quite staggering for the princess. She had learned about Ouka from this fox, the fox decided to convince her to join this group she almost refused to, and on top of that she learned that her sister may have become reanimated and used against her. Not to mention the whole tree burning business. In Ayane's moment of weakness arrived Ren, who attempted to soothe the poor oni girl's mind with his appearance and charisma. What did Ayane do exactly? "....." She stared at Ren, for almost a minute. Speechless, confused, staggered. Wasn't good timing, but here he was.

"............"

She fell to her knees, almost overwhelmed with a series of emotions. Her face looked blank, but her emotions painted a wildly different picture. She had no idea where to start. Was this a trap by Ouka? If he was real where has he been? Why appear now of all times? She opened her mouth to start, but nothing came out. Not a good start.

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