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TPSCFFSWGTFBIWNITWTTHE (a.k.a. Acronym Thread)

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Herzblut

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(Or: The People Started Clamouring For Fire, So We Gave Them Fire But It Was Not In The Way That They Had Expected)

In the day it was wiped off the face of the Earth, the port city of Raibo in Japan had an unusually clear day. Indeed, there were no clouds at all in the sky overlooking the city, rife with tall buildings and a bustling port with trade ships sailing off toward the Pacific Ocean. Coupled with that odd weather phenomenon during an usually rainy summer in this Japanese city, the temperature was milder than what was expected.

A long-haired girl was running along the streets of Raibo, increasingly wary of her surroundings, noticing someone or something was chasing her down. Even with her trained sixth sense that enabled her to see things and beings that the naked human eye could not, she found it nearly impossible to pinpoint exactly what was following her wherever she went. Her sky blue eyes turned to stare at the top of a tall building, believing the threat to be viewing her from above like a metaphorical eye in the sky.

True enough, at the top of a skyscraper located right in the big city section of Raibo, a man was looking down at the girl. Even from such a height, he could tell her figure from the rest, never losing sight or track of her. As he kept observing his target with his high-acuity vision from the highest point of the city, the man grabbed a knife and rubbed his thumb on its edge, in a way that it seemed he was cutting himself, although no injuries seemed to be on his thumb or hand after doing so.

This was essentially a hunting mission. Feles, which was the codename this man used for such operations, kept his eyes trained on the figure, readying to throw the knife, laced with just about enough venom that it would be enough to paralyze even an African elephant instantly. He watched as the girl turned past a corner of a street into an alleyway, precisely a place it would be wise not to run into when being chased by someone, imaginary or not.

While observing the girl, Feles threw the knife backwards, at the direction of a portal appearing in the sky at a distance behind him.
 
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Araxiel

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Date: [REDACTED]
Please note that this matter is to be treated with the utmost secrecy. Information clearance is to be granted to ranks Captain and above only, pending Council approval.
In the case of the human [REDACTED], it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that her ability, left unchecked, will prove damaging to the balance. After much deliberation, the Council has agreed on a 'termination' sentence.
Additional: our sources in the human world suggest there may be other parties involved with the target, and hence complications are likely [re: group file- [REDACTED]]. It is therefore recommended that the termination order be carried out by a Captain-class operative.
It should not need to be said, but owing to the sensitive nature of this sentence, operative possessing any sort of moral objections to termination orders of human civilians should not be considered. Further details will be left up to you.


Stapled to the short communique was a small, passport-style photo, and a file written in a similarly brief, clipped tone. It included a map and a few numerical details, which the man currently making a show of reading it wasn't really processing. He shifted his glasses up and down his nose, trying to get the focus right. The right lense was severely cracked, making this an impossible task.

Abandoning fussing with the glasses, Hikaru ran his hand through his hair, brushing the rough blonde mess away from his face. He paced irritably down the passageway, black-clad guardsmen curtly stepping aside, making sure the captain's ragged uniform didn't so much as brush theirs. Even those that didn't outright fear Hikaru Sato's hair-trigger impulses recognised that simply avoiding him was a pretty good way of going about their day.

As he reached the doorway that would allow passage between the worlds, Hikaru took one last look at the photo of the target, then lazily crumpled the papers and stuffed them into his uniform. It would be a very simple murder, hardly one worth waking up for, he thought to himself. He was sure the intellectuals and fops who ran the show were over-reacting by sending a Captain, and the 'complications' would be nothing of the sort.

And yet, even as he approached the gate at the tunnel's exit, Hikaru felt a slight tingle of anticipation. He couldn't quite place the source, but some animal instinct deep inside him told him that, somehow, maybe this wouldn't be a simple boring hit after all.

The strange feeling intensified as the gate slid open. Had his senses not been sharpened by his mounting excitement, Hikaru thought he would never have seen the knife flying towards him. He jerked his head to one side as the blade swept past, not quite an inch from his face, taking another small chip off his glasses. He fairly gasped, then, to see a man standing at the knife's source, at the edge of a skyscraper, having thrown a weapon at him so audaciously without even looking.

How exciting!

He leapt, landing in a flutter of tattered robes on the same roof the other man had chosen as his perch. The girl could wait. She could wait a century and die of old age for all he cared. Spiritual essence tasting of murder oozed from Hikaru's fame as he took a step forward towards Feles, drawing his sword in a smooth motion.
 

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With an equally swift movement, Feles held another knife against Hikaru Sato's katana, half turning his body to face him, but it was very clear he was not losing track of his target running down in the streets even as he did so.

"Don't you Death Gods know it's bad manners to draw your blade at someone you've just met?" he asked sardonically, somewhat hypocritically considering how he had just greeted his now opponent seconds ago. As he listened to Hikaru's reply (or comeback), he proceeded to thrust his free right hand into Hikaru's stomach, with fingers now covered in what seemed to be long black nails.
 

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Normally, a mere knife wouldn't be enough to stop Hikaru's descending blade. That the stranger could block his attack so casually said good things about his abilities, justifying Hikaru's rush of excitement.
"Rude, you say?" The captain pushed down on his sword, leaning his weight into it as the edge began to cut into the knife. "You've got my full attention! I'm being very polite!"

As he admonished his opponent, the smile never left Hikaru's face. True to his word, he hadn't even bothered splitting his focus to track the target, so he spotted the clawed hand reaching for his midriff. He'd almost been expecting it.
Hikaru pushed hard on his sword, using the force to hop back a step, just outside the swipe's range.
 

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Feles had made a big mistake in underestimating Hikaru, as evidenced by how he was resorting to using a knife in a sword fight he was bound to lose sooner or later. He could not afford to lose track of his initial target, but there was something about his opponent he found entertaining. This might have had to do with the fact that most (if not all) of the Death Gods he had engaged in combat up until that moment were chump change fighters and was done with them before they introduced themselves or explained their abilities.

"Not polite enough, considering I do not know who I have the pleasure of meeting, Mr. Death God," Feles smirked slightly, displaying his interest in Hikaru, before introducing himself: "Feles of the Manus Charontis, it's my pleasure to meet you. Do not disappoint me."

Immediately as he heard Hikaru's reply (or lack thereof), Feles flung his almost broken, venom-laced knife towards Hikaru as a distraction and zoomed in, using his Ala skill, to stab Hikaru in the back with his left hand, now covered in the same long black nails as his other hand.
 

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Hikaru paced sideways slowly, devoting more attention to sizing up his opponent now he'd got past his initial assault. The man was quick, no doubt about that. His reaction time was frankly the most exciting thing Hikaru had seen all week.

He raised his sword towards his opponent in a rough salute before dropping back to guard position. "Hikaru Sato, Captain of the 8th," he said through a toothy grin, "and it's a pleasure."

He darted forward then, just as Feles made his throw, and batted the knife out of the air with a contemptuous flick of his sword. Really, now? Almost the same move he opened with. Child's play.
Except, it turned out, it wasn't simply the same move. Of course, he thought scant moments before Feles blurred and disapperead from his vision. Of course it's a distraction.

Chastising himself for a fool, Hikaru spun around in a whirl of robes, feeling the claws rake at his off-hand as he turned. The sudden pain sent a fresh wave of excitement through his body. Regaining his stance, he realised something was wrong. The wound was starting to burn, a sudden wave of dizziness and nausea rushing to his head hot on the heels of the adrenaline.

Venom, he hissed to himself. He had to act quickly. White light burst out, harsh and jagged, around his sword as it shifted shape from a katana into a larger, double-edged bastard sword. Instead of swinging the blade at Feles, though, he dug the tip into his hand wound. The spirit within the sword awoke, greedily draining the envenomed blood from the wound, staining its aura a bright red hue. It began to sing, a low whine as the sword's aura whirled around the blade like a chainsaw.

Still giddy and light-headed from bleeding himself, but recovering quickly, Hikaru let a cackle burst out as he leapt at his opponent with fresh savagery, chopping his shrieking sword around indiscriminately.
 

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Feles had expected the slash to incapacitate Hikaru or at least slow him down enough to make the battle pass by that much quicker. It turned out however that Hikaru just happened to be demented enough to heal himself by cutting his wound open and letting his blood rush out in a very peculiar manner. Even so, Feles found it impressive (for the lack of a better word) that Hikaru could still shrug it off and continue with his assaults, considering a single drop of that poison was already above the lethal dose for a human: even if he could get most of it out, there would undoubtedly still be remnants of the venom in his bloodstream. Still, Hikaru could move just fine.

Quite contrary to Hikaru's unhinged swings, Feles kept his eyes trained on his opponent, resorting to dodging Hikaru's slashes while analyzing any possible tricks the Death God might have up his sleeve. From that moment it was clear that Feles's forte was his speed, quickly reacting and dodging Hikaru's blade as he kept observing him (while it being evidently clear he was still somewhat mindful of his earlier target).

That was definitely not healing, otherwise the venom would have incapacitated him instantly. Maybe his signature skills have to do with bloodletting or blood manipulation, he thought. The aura surrounding Hikaru's blade gave it a chainsaw-like visage, meaning he was not going to try and block it with his claws just in case they were cut much like butter. He could not afford to throw knives because it was likely Hikaru could see them coming and counterattack.

Instead of doing anything else, he kept moving in a swift manner, readying his next move in case things got stale for him.
 

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Great ragged chunks were torn loose from the building around the combatants, as Hikaru heedlessly inflicted collateral damage on the structure. This was the first indication the office workers inside the building- and, indeed, anyone in the city- had of the impending disaster. Some on the upper floors looked, up, quizically, not quite knowing what the noises were. The power to several floors of the building suddenly cut out, as a backswing severed a bundle of cables, prompting more annoyed reactions.

Hikaru himself felt a little disgruntled as his opponent kept evading his attacks. While he wasn't going to let a little thing like blood loss take the edge off his high, not landing a solid hit was getting vexing. Actually being forced to think while he fought was a rare experience these days. At the moment, he decided, what he needed was to stop this damned cat-man moving around so much.

As he pulled his sword back for another swing, the red aura along the blade bubbled and spat, as if it were boiling liquid. Instead of slashing it at Feles again, Hikaru stabbed the blade into the air. The red aura overboiled, releasing three bat-like creatures with oversized, chomping mouths. Born of the sword's stored blood, the creatures were small but more frenzied even than their master, and they wasted no time in winging straight for Feles, drawn to his pulse and hungry for blood. Hikaru followed hot on their heels, stabbing Shuurajou straight for Feles like a lance- the blade's aura a notably paler shade of red than before.
 

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For all the bullet-timing skills and incredible reaction speed Feles possessed, Hikaru's three bats caught him by surprise as they came darting towards him. Even then, it was obvious the bats were meant as a distraction so that Hikaru could land a hit on him, but he needed to get rid of them lest they would become a thorn in his side.

In a split second, he used the claws of his left hand to slash at all three blood bats, letting them drop down in splatters as he quickly tore through them. However, as soon as he was set to counter Hikaru by impaling him on the chest, the Death God did something Feles was not counting on: instead of once again resuming with his pattern-less swings, Hikaru thrust his sword much like a lance towards Feles. Having little time to backflip or sidestep, Feles liquefied his body to a degree to reduce damage, letting Hikaru's Shurajou go through his shoulder blade as Feles stabbed Hikaru's chest with his right hand's claws.

As soon as both combatants stabbed each other, the ground beneath their feet cracked even more, increasing the risk of the offices below them caving in. It was nothing short of a miracle that the building still stood among the Raibo cityscape, albeit with signs that it would collapse sooner or later. The workers in the office noticed the tremors, believing it to be an earthquake, and proceeded to leave the premises in an orderly fashion.

Likewise, the strength of the blow sent both combatants flying in opposite directions. Feles backflipped as he got back on his feet, eyeing the wound on his shoulder (thanks to Feles partially liquefying his body, the damage from the thrust was reduced) and noticing how his blood was absorbed by Hikaru's sword. That and the fact that 8th Division Captain summoned three blood bats seconds ago helped Feles realize what kind of special techniques Hikaru had, if only at the moment.

By getting stabbed with Feles's right hand, Hikaru was gravely poisoned as special spiritual strength-hampering viruses entered his body and sapped away his life strength, little by little. On top of that, the poison, unless treated promptly, would further wreck Hikaru's body.

"Well, Mr. Sato," Feles commented in a sardonically polite manner as the dust between them finally cleared, approaching a barely standing Hikaru as his shoulder's wound started to heal by itself, showcasing the Corona's regeneration ability, "You've just ruined my suit. I guess I'll have to buy a new one with the money I'll get from selling your corpse."

After saying those words, Feles rushed towards Hikaru even faster than before, intending to tear Hikaru to ribbons as more of his viruses and paralyzing neurotoxins entered the Captain's body.
 

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Something felt off about the impact as Hikaru's sword stabbed into Feles' shoulder. The blade definitely connected, bit it slid in oddly, as if the man's body had somehow become less solid a moment after impact. This was a cause for concern. Hikaru's abilities were more than a match for opponents that became harder- Shuurajou had plenty of experience tearing through the arrancars' Hierro that had stopped so many of his colleagues' blades- but this was something new.

It was to Hikaru's credit that he managed to perceive this in the split-second before being stabbed in return, and outright surprising that he was able to think about it through the sudden wash of pain. That was the second wound he'd taken so far, and while that was a satisfying part of a good, close fight in itself, it tended to lose its fun if he hadn't got many in himself.

The railings at the roof's edge buckled as Hikaru skidded backwards into them. His shoulder had already gone entirely numb, the sensation spreading down his arm and across his chest as he steadied himself on the railings. Despite his injury, the captain still sported a lopsided grin across his face.

"Do you have any idea..." Hikaru started, staggering forward a step, and tearing off his haori where Feles' claws had shredded it at the shoulder, "...how many people I've heard bitching about a little rip in their clothes, as if they're too good for a little roughhousing?" A deep red aura flared into life around Hikaru's body. Despite his words, the fact that a human could push him this far in such a short amount of time had Hikaru's pulse pounding. Many of the more stuck-up captains would never think of going this far against any human, no matter how strong. But Hikaru had no such scruples.

"Bankai!"

On command, Shuurajou seemed to burst into a fountain of vivid red blood that splashed outwards over the rooftop before suddenly reversing direction, drawn back into its point of origin like a tape playing in reverse. The blood coalesced around Hikaru's body, forming a red jacket that clung tightly to his body from his jawline down to the tips of his fingers, becoming looser at his waist, like a long, red tailcoat down to his ankles. The sword itself did not re-form in his grasp. Instead, swords began to appear in the air around the combatants- obnoxiously large swords, each easily the height of a man or more, and each a unique shape. Some were curved, some serrated, some single-edged, others double-edged.

"They're not going to be happy with me for doing this," Hikaru continued, "but I get to use this so rarely these days. And believe me, you're worth it." He gestured in the air with both hands like a conductor, and the swords stood to attention. With a flick of his wrist, he sent ten of them point-first towards Feles, each one lagging half a second behind the other, while the rest of the swords took up orbit around Hikaru himself, sharp edges facing outwards.
 
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