Children have the right to dream. Before he died, Zorlo was still a child. Everything he had known, or imagined he knew, had been false. The cold, stinging reality he had awoken to had made him a man. Hardened by the pain of the cold, dark world, the man now wanders in search of a purpose again.
Chains, and strings, and other forms of binding hold people to things. For Zorlo, he cannot run away from the Dome. The Dome and the Aura Master are intrinsically bound by one another for now out of a mutual ambition. Even if Zorlo no longer teaches there, he still cannot resist the urge to simply send those people who seem worthy of training to the Dome.
This hub for warriors is something more complicated than any other building in existence. It has power beyond that of any person the green-haired man had ever met... except maybe that Kenjin guy, but who honestly cared about him anyway? This day, however, Zorlo wasn't here by choice. He hadn't returned to the Dome to do something he wanted to do, but was here by order of some higher-up force in the building.
The fencer tapped his foot with annoyance. They had kept him waiting for nearly two hours outside of a large, guarded room. Was this the legendary "Center of the Dome," Zorlo had heard about? He highly doubted it. If such a thing existed, he would have found it by now. Still, it didn't matter. Someone was going to be coming out to greet him shortly, and that was good enough... for now, anyway.
The fencer sighed as he adjusted his jacket and sat on thin air. This was so bothersome. He had other things he could... should... and wished he was... doing. Hopefully, whatever was going to happen would happen faster. The creak of the door opening informed the fencer that his turn had finally come up.
Aurora had left one of her two new students, Doina, after their impromptu first lesson. She decided to make her way to her quarters, bypassing certain areas of the Dome on her way. There had been a big rennovation in her most recent absence, and now there seemed to be some sort of tournament going on. She tended to avoid such things altogether. Too much testosterone in one place. She wasn't looking for students, therefore felt no need to see the "talent" and had no desire to participate in such an event. She'd hadn't been that bored in thousands of years.
She couldn't recall the last time a fight actually made her flex any power. Even beating down Tokumaru Kyo and Blitz Keir plus some earth elemental all at once hadn't made her truly work. Her biggest effort in that situation was not killing them outright. When you can snuff the very fife force of a person, stealing it for some other use, fighting seems pretty pointless. As does watching two other people beat one another senseless. Blessed few people here were technical fighters, which could be interesting to watch. Most were just kids, relying on having the biggest power, the best gimmick, the strongest body or the most compensatory weapon.
She never saw reason for such contest unless it was a test of pure skill, or a deterrent. The later was her usual lot. Young, ambitious fighters were a nuisance at best, a hazard at worst. It had been a long time since someone sought to use her as a stepping stone in building a reputation. She liked it that way. It felt like spanking naughty children, and some just refused to back down...
She reached the door that led down the hall to her quarters and went inside. It was darker than it should be. She looked around. It wasn't a hall, but a round room with a stone floor. As the door closed behind her the room shook slightly and the floor began to rise. Aurora looked up to see the elevator shaft ended in a light above. The summoner winced as the floor clicked to a halt in the area above. As her eyes adjusted she was met with the deafening roar of a crowd. There was only one place she could possibly be.
"You have GOT to be sh***ing me!"
Irony had always been the Dome's favorite form of humor.
The words this woman spoke were the truth. As Zorlo looked around the arena and watched the massive stone doors behind him close, he could feel what he had been called to do. The Aura Master sighed as he face-palmed and looked behind himself. A whole crowd and everything. The arena was empty? What in the name of existence was going on. Well, he'd find out soon, the fencer guessed.
The green-haired man looked across the battlefield at... someone. A powerful force stood before him. A force that, in order to prevent himself from being crushed under the knowledge of how truly powerful this person is, he had to avert his gaze and contain his ability to sense energy. If he hadn't restricted these two actions, he already knew it: he would be crushed by the waves of her power.
Power began to radiate from Zorlo's body as he increased his own strength to limit the incredibly crushing strength of the woman simply standing before him. Heavy, deep breaths quickly vanished as Zorlo smiled and a powerful surge of aura around his body in just an attempt to protect himself again. It was rather pathetic, the fencer thought, that the only thing he could do in that moment was shield himself from the incredible energy waves this woman emitted.
The green-haired man shoved his hands into his pockets and took a step forwards and smiled at the woman. "My thoughts exactly. What kind of deranged, insane, sociopathic building would want me to fight someone like you? I don't even need to guess who you are, since the only two people anywhere near as powerful as you are I've met here still weren't as terrifying to simply be in front of. I don't think I can escape having to fight you... dammit," the fencer muttered as he face-palmed again and stepped back, sighing.
She felt the man's power flare up as he spoke. He was jumping the gun. Then, he seemed almost apologetic for being thrown in with her.
"You won't have to. I'm not beating you down for the amusement of these people or the Dome's morbid curiosity and entertainment," she stated bluntly. Then, she turned and walked to the opposite door from where the "green man" came in. It wouldn't open. She nearly growled and gave the door a well-aimed side kick that rang it like a gong, though to no effect.
She strode out to the center of the arena again, facing the young man from a few yards away and gave him a closer look. He was an aura player, that much was obvious, and his aura was pretty massive. He'd been dragged in to play with the big kids for a reason.
"It wants to see what you can do. You haven't pushed your borders, tapped yourself out yet. Do you want to?"
Zorlo laughed nervously. "Why in the world would I want to? I've already theorized what using all of my power would do... and I happen to like this new body. Even with as powerful as this new body may be... my full power doesn't discriminate between myself and others. I'm not sure why, but I get the feeling you'd be okay, but..." he paused as he looked towards the ceiling, "I didn't come back from the dead to get tossed back in with the stiffs."
Zorlo's power died down slightly. He couldn't help it. Fear had already settled its roots deep within his spirit. He couldn't handle the thought of what his full power could really do. The Dome and this woman could contain it... but could the Aura Master maintain full control? If not, would he simply cease to exist? What was the purpose of this whole ordeal?
"There may be no escape from this ring without a battle, but I'm not about to indulge the Dome's idle fantasy of just how powerful I really am. There is no sense in using power that's like a wild fire: I'm not about to burn myself or any of the weaker people in this stadium accidently just to prove a point to this building."
The Aura Master turned to her and looked at this woman again. He placed his hands within his pockets and sighed. "Bothersome, bothersome, bothersome. I'm not saying I won't test out my powers... I just don't plan to pull out all of my stoppers is all I mean. Beat me up as fast as you want. I can't tell why, but I'm terrified of you. A single glance at you made my blood freeze for a second as I tried to comprehend what I was against. There are two types of people in existence that my powers can't sense: Those people who are something close to being golems: creatures with a body but either no soul or a very damaged soul; and the second are people who have powers that extend beyond my ability to comprehend. I already know you're the second."
Zorlo paused for a moment. "I've said enough, lets get this over with," the man said as he shifted one foot back and removed his left hand from the pocket he had it in. A sword of crystalized aura appeared in his hand as he looked at her. He didn't have anything left to say. Now as time to fight.
Ah... It didn't want him to tap his potential as much as it wanted him to face his fears. Death had only made him stronger in a physical sense, but he was still a new soul, subject to the same fears as any mortal. Fear of his own potential being the one under debate currently. "What's your name, short, green and handsome?"
He seemed surprised by her question, and answered her before his brain could kick in.
"Well, Zorlo." She rolled up her sleeves once more, testing the traction and hardness of the floor by tapping the balls of her feet against it, one foot at a time. "I'm going to do you a favor. By the time this fight is over, you will have thrown everything at me your skinny body can muster up, and then some." Her eyes met his, her own the electric blue they always had when highly amused, and gave him her most winning smile. "Then, I'm going to beat you senseless. Just so I don't have a new generation of ambitious fighters and glory hunters following me around, looking to carve a reputation out of my hide. They are going to find out in truth why you're scared in theory."
Zorlo had considered answering her, but the shock of the strange things she was saying slowly rolled off when he realized she'd probably read his mind. No sense in worrying about it. If she can read my mind... more power to her. If I find out she is... I can use it to... no, she's too smart to fall for something so crude and basic. Well, this certainly is a pickle.
Zorlo shrugged as he looked at her and removed his other hand from his pocket as he created a second sword. "Don't worry, to this day, I've only met two or three people who were strong enough here to startle me. Today, I've met someone more terrifying than any of the three of those people." The fencer swung his swords to the side quickly as he got a feel back for the weapons as he shifted backwards again.
"So when you get done, if they aren't terrified of you, then you didn't try hard enough," the Aura Master said with a nervous chuckle. He knew that, if she really wanted to defeat him, she could simply do something that could probably shatter his mind and leave him a drooling mess. Still, that wouldn't be very entertaining. For now, he'd get a feel back for actually fighting in the material world.
And with that, a motion blur was left where Zorlo had been standing as he bore down one sword towards this mysterious woman with the best slash he could manage.
Aurora nearly chuckled as he charged in, stepping into him as he slashed, with the fluidity of a thousand years practice, she guided his off side arm over her head to meet his slashing arm and pulled both in a circle around her, following the movement of his slash, pivoting her weight into his. As her back turned parallel to his front, she extended a leg to stop the rest of him from stepping around her. The result of this little dance being the sight of Zorlo flying in a beautiful head-over heels arc away from her.
The sound of shock and surprise filled Zorlo as he hit the ground with a thud. "Sneaky, sneaky," Zorlo said as he stood up and dusted himself off. That had been both tricky and exciting. She was starting just as slowly as he was. The swords vanished from the Aura Master's hands as he turned towards Aurora and held his hand out. Reeling in his middle finger, aura gathered into the tip of his finger as he looked at her, he quickly flicked his finger, firing a powerful ball of aura towards her.
Aurora caught it. She looked at it, twirling it on one finger. If you could see it in color, you would have seen it change from green to blue before she flung it back at him. Just before it was in range, it exploded in a blinding light. She was hot on the heels of the flash, her fist connecting with his gut even as the flash faded, her knee connecting with his face as he doubled over from the first blow. "That's for flipping me the bird, little man." She stepped back from him again as he recovered enough to retaliate.
Zorlo rolled back as he laughed at her comment until he finally laid against the ground. That hadn't occurred to him when he struck. The green haired man pushed himself to his knees and dusted himself off. She was undoubtedly strong and fast. This was fun so far. The fencer held one hand out and concentrated his aura into a ball in his hand as he moved his left palm backwards. Doing the same thing twice was stupid. You needed to be clever in life to survive.
The attack fired off like a cannon as Zorlo's body vanished again, leaving only a motion blur. She'd probably stop the orb and counterattack before he could respond, but for now, a leg was snapping towards the back of her head, and that was all there was to it.
She felt him move rather than seeing him and ducked as he kicked, the ball coming back toward him as she swept his supporting leg from under him. "That was just sloppy, Zorlo," she said as the aura ball sailed over them. Then she stood up, placing a hand on one hip. "You need to find your game, short man, or I'm going to think the Dome was joking."
Zorlo laid on the ground for a few moments as he shifted his glance to her slowly. "Maybe it did. After all, you're way out of my league, lady. I've got another thousand years at least before I can even hope to stand on equal footing as to what you're doing right now, much less fight you when you decide to fight seriously." The Aura Master hopped to his feet and dusted himself off as he looked at her and leapt back. "So..." he said with a pause.
"I guess I oughtta try a little harder, right? Meh... I don't know..." he said scratching his head. "After all, I don't have any reason to want to fight you, and even if I did, I'm reasonable enough to know that I can't win," he said, stretching his back as several pops echoed out. "SO, unless you're really interested in fighting me, hit me hard enough to knock me out and we'll part ways here. After all, ain't like I'm gonna fight someone I don't know anything about 'sides from the fact the Dome wants me to fight you," he said.
In truth, he was still afraid. Ever since 'denza had almost killed him, he'd felt it. That twinge of fear that people experience when death is close. He'd never felt it before that moment. At that point, where death seemed to near... he hesitated to unleash his full power... the thoughts were driving him mad. He didn't know just how great that power he didn't use was... nor did he know if he could control it. If he didn't know... was it even possible that he could control it? Did any of these thoughts honestly matter?
In Zorlo's mind... yes. For now, he simply shifted his weight onto his back leg and prepared to strike at her again. After all, he wasn't about to just stand there, even if he wanted her to strike a knock-out blow. Lunging forwards powerfully, he thrust his fist at her. He knew it was a folly move, but he had to give a show at least.
She snorted derisively at his speech. As he punched at her, she sidestepped it easily, guiding his fist with one hand and driving her other elbow into his gut. As the air whoshed out of him she grabbed him by a handful of hair. "You're a coward." She flung him to the ground, looking down at him. "You aren't afraid of me. You're afraid of you. You're afraid of what you might be able to do." She stepped back, crossing her arms as a halo of blue-white aura shown along her body.
"If I can take anything you can throw at me, and the Dome can contain it in this arena, keeping the spectators safe, you're obviously not afraid of what you can do to someone else." She lifted him in the air with the guesture of two fingers. "You're just afraid of what you can do to yourself." She threw him into the nearest wall. "If you want to play in the big leagues, you're going to have to get over that." She flexed her power, picking him up again. "I'm not going to knock you out, Zorlo. That would be letting you out of this lesson too easy."
Zorlo's demeanor shifted as she held him in the air. She was, of course, correct. He chuckled slightly. "You're right... partially. I am afraid of you... because you possess some kind of power I can't comprehend... but that fear is one that is a passing fear, because I know that, in the end, there isn't anything I can do to change the fact you're powerful beyond my mental capacity to understand. However..." Zorlo said as his body began to seep a light green energy from it, "I can rightly fear my own power..."
A pulse of aura erupted from the Aura Master. A trick that would only work once was a good ploy here. He'd broken the hold for a second, and that was all he'd get before she would be able to establish a new one... he hoped. He shot towards the woman, his body covered in a green-flame like aura that infused him with additional strength and speed that would only be effective if he actually managed to startle her... that'd be a long shot of a hope at best, but still a hope.
"After all..." he said as he bore down on her and release a powerful surge of aura from the palm of his left hand that exploded like a wave towards the buxom woman, "if the power I use destroys me in the process... what good is that power?"
She raised her arms in a cross block as the blast erupted over her, burning off the cuffs of her sleeves and singing the hairs off her forearms, leaving the skin bright red and raw looking as he bore down on her. "Did anyone ever tell you that you talk too much?" She punched him in the face, the momentum of his charge combining with her obliging fist to break his nose. "Why would you be blessed with a new, augmented body if it won't contain your power, you moron?"
Blue sparks danced across her skin, healing the minor burns in the seconds it took him to realized his nose was crooked and it hurt.
The force of the blow knocked Zorlo to the ground and he continued to slide forwards on his back after the force of the blow. Pain filled his entire body as it began to recover as he shifted his eyes towards her. "Wow..." he said, laying on the ground. That was all he could say as he laid flat on his back. Maybe if he didn't move, she wouldn't notice... minus the word he had just spoken. For now, it was time to not talk... at all, and think quietly.
Even though she made a good point, what did she know about the limits of his new body? Even Zorlo didn't know them, but he had a strong inclination that his serious bodily damaged from his fight with Cadenza had given him signs of complete destruction. If his body couldn't withstand the powers Cadenza was using, how in the world could he withstand the powers above what he had seen. For Christ's sake, his body had began to deteriorate when he made it over about seventy-percent of his power. Still... the Aura Master wasn't sure what to do next.
A powerful surge of aura from the palms of his hand pushed the green haired man to his feet as he shifted and looked at the woman. The fencer was quiet for a moment as his aura changed into an electrical form as it began to surge from him. Holding his hand out, the Aura Master unleashed a flurry of bolts of lightning at the woman, intent on seeing just what his powers could do.
Aurora waved a hand, a dome of earth energy arching over her, moving with her as she stalked toward him. The bolts broke against it, cascading down the half-sphere in blue-white crackles. He amped up the power as he saw her begin to approach, even as it was obvious the energy field only ate what he threw at it. He saw her smirk between the bright crackles of energy surrounding her.
Suddenly, she was on him. Her eyes glowed faintly as the shield receded into her body, grabbing his attacking hand, fingers curled around its pinky side, thumb pressed into the center bone in the back of his hand just under the knuckle. He tried to stop the flow of energy as she grabbed him but she wouldn't let him, pushing the energy he had thrown at her back through his body, keeping the flow of aura open. His eyes widened as he realized he couldn't stop his own attack. "How are we supposed to know how much of your power your body can take," she purred as he took a swing at her with his other hand and she grabbed it by the wrist, "if you're pointing it the wrong way?" Then, she twisted his hand and pressed the crackling, lightning filled fingers and palm into his chest.
Well this is a sour predicament, the green haired man thought as he looked at her as his power rushed back into his body. Perhaps lightning was a mistake, he told himself with a sigh as he lowered his eyes before looking at the woman and smiling. I hate doing this... but I need to sever the bonds there... I need a place that's already burned out from my power... I've got it...
The Aura Master smiled as powerful pulsations rushed from his shoulders as his arms seemed to be cut clean through. Blood splattered from his severed arms as he cringed slightly. In an instant after, however, his body seemed to unravel into green, free-flowing wind currents that danced about in the air for a few moments before slowly returning to the ground and reuniting his body.
His body, aside from his arms that he had just cut off, slowly returned to normal as he stared at Aurora in a high level of pain. In retrospect, I could have probably cut off some place closer to the wrists... like the elbows... but I needed to make sure that the severing didn't fry my systems, he thought quietly as he stared at Aurora.
And now comes the painful part, the green haired man told himself as aura began to flow from his arms. Slowly, the bleeding from his now severed arm-sockets were was covered in a green tint. When the bleeding finally stopped, the green haired man cringed as aura took the form of the bones in his arms. A second, more painful cringe occurred as muscle, and finally flesh (both in the form of aura like the bones) covered the bones. In a few seconds, the waves of energy connected together and slowly ceased glowing in aura as they solidified into arms the same as the ones he'd severed.
Zorlo fell to one knee, holding back his intense howls of pain. He looked up to her as he moved his new arms around and make sure they were in working order. "Please... don't make me... have to do that again..." he said in gasped breaths as he slowly stood up. Between having his own energy damaging the paths of energy in his body and regrowing two limbs at once, the whole experience had been rather terrifying.
"If you really want to fight against everything I've got... I guess... I don't have much of a choice," the Aura Master said as aura began to erupt from his wildly. Aura in the forms of wind, fire and lightning (all green color in nature) dances about his body as the green haired man slowly reigned the power in and condensed it around his body. "This is... about half of my full power... Beyond this..." the green haired man said quietly as he closed his eyes.
"My body begins to deteriorate rapidly," he said, taking a deep breath and preparing his next move. Now, he would have to be more careful... he didn't have the same level of control over his power that he normally had at this point. She wasn't gonna let him turn back, he figured, as well.
Aurora blinked, holding his severed arms, one by the wrist, the other by the hand. Then, she looked down at herself, covered liberally in arterial spray. "Aw. That was one of my favorite shirts..." She glanced up at him, from under her eyebrows, her head still tilted downward. "Really? You severed your own arms when you're still only willing to give me fifty percent? You are just full of contradiction, short man."
She flipped the arms in the air, changing her grip so she held them by the wrist like a club. "How can you fear something that's already happened?" In a blur of movement, she was on him again, the arm in her right hand slapping him across the face, blood splattering in an arc with the blow. His aura rippled, sparked and blazed around her, any tendrils touching her absorbed into her skin, fueling her attacks. "For that. I shouldn't. Have. Even. Let You. Recover." Each period marked by a blow of his own limbs. Her onslaught didn't let up as she continued. "Do something that stupid again, Zorlo. I dare you. I will shove these up your arse."