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RP: YSS Kaiyō Post Mission 20: Ebumna N'gha


Head in the Stars
Staff Member
🌟 Site Supporter
🌸 FM of Yamatai
🎖️ Game Master
Retired Staff

Saya, Aiko, and William had been shipped around this part of the galaxy for the better half of the three days between their capture at the trial pools and the point in which the heavy sedatives were allowed to wear off on Aiko and William. Saya's “care-taker” femtomachines within her womb had corrected any detrimental affects that the sleeping agents had on her, but it also meant that her own "caretakers" had needed to change her dosage enough to scan her and find her unborn child. She had been awake long enough to see that what they were in were two cells of a likely larger cell block. William was see able in his own cell through one of these large grates while Ketsurui Aiko was within her own cell, though still unconscious. Grates on both ends of the cell allowed waste and foggy water to wash through the area, along with noises of those contained in different cells. The fleeting, bestial screams were just as terror-inducing as the unremitting sobs, ever-present as they were. The walls and ceiling were one contiguous curve that looked like plaster or clay but wouldn't flake or give to scratches or brute force. A foot from the floor there were two protrusions on either side of the cell long enough and wide enough to be beds.

There was little else, save for the company of Willaim and Aiko, who were both rousing.

After the several days of captivity, William finally began to stur. His first sensation was pain all over his body after his fight with the troll like things in the trial pool. He groaned as he squeezed his eyes shut. Next thing to come to him were the noises of the other inmates. The beastial screams and desperate sobs clued him into his current predicament. Next he cracked a cybernetic eye, which automatically adjusted the light levels as to not blind the waking ID-SOL.

He first looked around his own surrounding, taking in his cell. "No... no no no..." He murmured, dread seeping into his heart. Looking out the cell he saw Aiko. His thoughts raced as he scanned her, until he saw her chest rising and falling. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding and tried to rise. However when he went to stand he fell forward, his body still getting rid of the drugs in his system. He pulled himself to the grate and looked around the hall between the two friends before softly calling out. "Aiko... Aiko. Are you okay?" He said, his voice barely a whisper. His throat felt like sandpaper as he spoke, and he coughed hard.

William's thought turned to Saya, as well as the unborn child. "Saya... are you there?" He said a little louder this time. His voice starting to get back to normal.

He grabbed his bars and began pulling on them with all his strength. "Gods damn it!" He said punching the bars in anger, focusing on the throbbing in his hand to ground himself.

Dreams may have filled Aiko's mind in the hours and days that passed since the party was captured, but now there was only darkness. She was aware of it, though, and could hear some sort of commotion that her brain couldn't quite make sense of. And then she wondered why her body felt so heavy and hurt so much everywhere, and soon thereafter began to remember the trial pools. Sure to herself now that one of the Kuvexian monstrosities had knocked her out cold, Aiko's breathing quickened as images of the fight flooded back.

The terrible gurgling of her fellow prisoners grew louder in the background, too, and made her skin crawl as their murmur resolved with more distinction, mismatched to the continued battle she expected. To make matters worse she couldn't feel the familiar grip of her NSP anymore, and being disarmed may as well mean their defeat! William's voice saying her name pierced over all the noise, quieter but much closer than the other sounds; he still was alive and she had to keep fighting. So the Yamataian princess took a deep breath in the dark and bellowed a warcry she fully expected even the oligarchs perched atop Spire Arushen to hear.

Aiko's grimy and bare form did inspire an eerie, pitiable fear for whoever could hear her shout, which was just as loud and commanding as she expected it to be despite the convulsive reality of her body. Her eyes shot open only after she couldn't hear her own voice. She screamed her fury again — and could hear it this time — and tumbled backward from the ground onto the balls of her feet, sliding up against the wall behind her.

For a fleeting moment the ghosts of Spire Arushen still haunted her vision, all staring awe-struck at the Nekovalkyrja warrior poised before them. But they were just part of a flat, blinding white that overtook the darkness from before and fizzled away so that the hell pit that imprisoned them could impose its truth:

Ketsurui Aiko was just another screaming captive in this contemptible place.

She fell to her knees in the muck while her consciousness took everything in, trying to reconcile the last thing she remembered with the indignity of her circumstances now, and then back onto her butt. Aiko thought the luminosity of her skin seemed tarnished beyond rejuvination when she looked down and saw herself, its usual warmth now flat and grey under the dirty streaks and odd oily hand prints her captors had left. She couldn't wipe any of it off, nor get away from the damp film and minuscule bits of detritus that made every surface in the cell dirty, so stopped trying and projected a Type 22 with grey panels and no insignia over her sullied flesh.

Aiko's voice had cracked and let out a few realizations ago, as much from her fatigue as because she realized how ridiculous and impossible the situation now was. Head between her knees and arms locked together around her legs, the princess took refuge in the darkness behind her eyelids again.

"Are you alive, Wil-san?" she asked hoarsely from underneath her oddly regal drape of stringy and matted black hair (it must have been the single bruised kikyo blossom hanging from her right temple). The princess didn't feel very alive herself, but remembered his words had helped wake her up to this nightmare mere seconds before and felt it the most important thing to ascertain. "Was your voice real just then?"

William looked over Aiko's form, his heart breaking as she screamed and curled into a ball. She was able to project some clothing over her naked form, which did bring him some comfort. Unlike to Neko, the ID-SOL could not do the same. William looked down at his own body and he was covered from head to toe in dirt and grime mixed with a bit of blood. He tasted copper in his mouth, and spat a glob of congealed blood onto the floor of his cell.

He scooted up to the bar so Aiko could see him. "It's me Aiko. I'm right here." His had reached out of the bar and reached out towards her. He wanted nothing more than to hold her and comfort her. Unfortunately two sets of bars separated the friends from each other. "Please look at me..." He asked softly, his hand falling to the floor. "I'm so sorry... I should have seen something like this coming. I was supposed to protect you and I failed..."

His head pressed against the bars of the cell and he cursed again and again in his mind. His teeth clenched in anger. Using his mindware he tried to reach out to anyone in range, even though he knew it was useless. Taking several deep breaths of the acrid air, he forced himself to sit back onto the floor and try to calm himself. Losing control here wouldn't help their situation.
"No, that wasn't your duty," Aiko said back, one crimson eye peeking out from behind her bangs toward William. "We are not operatives. Unprepared for the task. The Kuvexians simply bested us." Her voice was weak and somber, sounding as tired as she still felt. Every part of her was still weighed down by the waning sedative, though her Nekovalkyrja nanomachines were making quick work of that. She imagined them chewing out the chemical gunk from between her cells and the thought lifted her spirits for a moment that definitely passed too quickly.

"It's good that you made it," the Neko girl added. She dropped her palms to the floor and pushed up to her feet. Fat droplets of whatever wet gunk she'd sat in fell down and spattered loudly against the floor when she stood, the rest running invisibly down the backs of her legs underneath the volumetric bodysuit. "It will make our escape all the more daring. I'm glad that you're here with me in this cursed placed, for what little that is worth."

William could only see Aiko's face for the few steps it took her to come settle near the bars that separated them. She plopped down again on one of the bench-like protrusions that lined the cells, face between her knees as before, and as near to the fence as she could.

"What of Fujiwara?" she asked grimly, feeling yet grimmer when her thoughts drifted to their sensei. "And Rei-san?" the princess trailed off. "But she would have already greeted me."

Aiko frowned so deeply beneath her frayed mane that her whole face trembled. She had nothing more to say right now.

The past few days had been troublesome to say the least for the Neko, her mind forced through the days of being shipped around left and right around the sector, forced to play at being asleep, or act like that was out of it at all times. She had been made to listen to the screams of the other prisoners, the snarls and calls of the angry hungry beasts, all the while fearful for the life growing inside of her. Saya knew she was not a strong Neko, the sweet bubblegum medic knew she was going to have trouble with this... and she did.

Saya sat in the back of the cell she shared with Aiko, knees wrapped up with her arms as she shivered and tried to stay silent. Her eyes were red and puffy, swollen from crying since they had been shoved into the cell and she was allowed to seem awake. But since Aiko had begun to stir, Saya had fallen silent and instead tried to blend into the cell itself. She couldn't bare to be seen, knowing it had been her fault they had been captured, her fault they had been found out. As William called out to her, she had to bite her lip just to keep quiet from calling out to him. Thoughts of Wyatt swirled in her mind, thoughts of their unborn in her stomach, thoughts of the two she was currently with, of the rest of the crew, of Thorndack who was probably frantic his mother wasn't there...

She watched the two with her converse, but still she remained silent. She fought her urge to say something, anything, but try as she might a strangled sob slipped from her throat as she tried to shrink into herself further and further.
Death Pit

Aiko had asked of Saya and the perturbing response had come, but there was no time to make a private reply.

The light that was cast in from the hall in front of the two cells grew dimmer, blocked by a choking darkness. A swirling mist of inky shadows, darker and more sinister in appearance than that which they had succumbed to in the trial pools ebbed into the entrance of their cells. The light was blocked out and visibility was low, but the other grates in the cell, from which sewage spewed like a coursing stream at times, allotted enough light to bounce off of the mist in tones of grey and showed that it was concentrated near the entrances. The light also cast the blocky shapes of a heavily gilded and robed Kuvexian, whose touching wrists sat above his sternum, near a glinting chain necklace of a half dozen cascading dagger-like rubies and emeralds. Caked skin at the edges of his mouth rose to form two peaks of a smile from which the hint of yellowed teeth glimmered.

"Ebumna N'gha," the Kuvexian said to the two Nekovalkyrja alike. His red robed arms had raised, but his expression turned down from where he had looked up to say again, "The Death Pits." His hands lowered for his face to rise once more, looking at Ketsurui Aiko. With the raising of his bright purple markings above one eye, he scoffed and spoke again. "I have shielding." He raised a finger to pass along the static of orange that embraced his form within a half foot. It was not unlike that which Rei had dipped her toe into in the trial pools, at least at sight. "You do not."

With this warning, he turned to Saya, crumpled and alone amongst even her comrade and enemy, alike. "I suppose you do, too, for now. Your gestation period's necessity is of immense debate within circles lower than mine. I am not like them, I am a caring lord, at heart, you see." His lips twitched momentarily while his eyes retrained from the hard to see middle of Saya, he looked to her light eyes, "I can wait for what I want. Will it hurt you to do whatever it is you do with your Naykoevalkarra blood?" Without meaning to, he had fumbled over the name for the battle maidens and final word came with the anger of his mistake. He didn't wait for her response as he turned. "You will need to, unless you want your companion to become one of us, so to say." His fingers raised slightly and there was a rushing of three guards into the room, with another two into William's cell.

"Your useless human escort will serve as excellent chum," He tapped his foot against the grate in which William was struggling with the guards who had entered. "Make sure to really whip up the crowd a bit before you bite it, will you?" With his back at the door, he looked once more over his shoulder, one inky black eye catching the low light as he looked to Aiko with it.

"Remember, if you die... One of us; I can't wait." The glint in his eye was gone soon thereafter, as was he.

When within reach of Aiko and William and with a lack of grace, one of each guard group slapped their palms into the flesh of the captives. Saya saw the three guards move Aiko's body out of her sight into the darkness of mist. Within a moment, the mist was gone and the grate to the outside hall was closed.


Death Pit
Arena Entrance

"They're awake," came a quick, excited woman's voice in trade.

"Only her," said a second voice. "Is she ready?"

A third, further voice shouted, "We're to send them out together, give him a slap!"

The fleshy bits of a backside would have been a better choice for the woman than the reinforced jowls of the ID-SOL as the woman screamed in pain, a tortured scream like that of those heard in the cells. It was unlikely the slap had woken him, but the scream definitely had. The women absconded quickly. The women had overestimated Aiko's wakefulness as her nanomachines were only now completing their task of biting out the temporary sedative, allowing her to wake fully as William awoke. The ID-SOL was dressed in what he had come in while Aiko had been haphazardly adorned with a orange and black barred pelt that served as a cape and some soft soled shoes that wrapped up her ankle. Of note was also the circlet that had been fashioned to hold up the majority of her hair, save for her bangs and two wisps of black hair that sprouted from beside her forelock. With some misplaced care, her singular bellflower had been tucked into the circlet along with her black mass. The room they were in held several beds but was apparently without a door for normal use. Though, there was one door in the room.

The scorching light coming from the fifty foot tall grated door was something that William's cybernetics had to once again take account for. Barely making out what was beyond, he could see a raised area of rocks, a series of platforms rose from the glowing ground of compact dirt, and chains with dripping, gore-strewn hooks fell from an unseeable ceiling or sky. Sounds of roaring and the overeager din of a crowd left waiting fell on the pair's ears. Within ten seconds of the women leaving, they heard and then saw the grate opening. It only took a short moment for it to have risen to well above William's tall height.
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Death Pit

As the Nepleslian was about to reply, the fog rolled in. It was then that he met their captor. He tried to look out through the mists as the kuvexian spoke. It was then that he also heard him talking to Saya.

William rose up and smashed his fist into the bar. "You touch her or that child and I will destroy you!" He yelled as he was tackled to the ground by the unseen guards. He thrashed and bucked as he was held down in the muck of his cell. As he was told to whip up the crowd before his death, he smiled wickedly and growled "I'll give them a show they will never forget." He said before spitting in the Kuvexian's direction.

It was then that the world went black as he was hit with something and dragged unceremoniously from his cell...

Death Pit
Arena Entrance

William grunted in annoyance as he was smacked across the face and heard the scream. He awoke and pushed himself up off the floor and looked down at himself. He had his black combat pants and boots on again. He then looked over to Aiko who had been dressed in pelts and adorned with a circlet. "Well they made you look regal at least." He commented as he stood to his full height, back and shoulders popping as he moved.

He looked out into the arena area and saw the platforms, raised rocks, and the hooks covered in gore and viscera. It was then that he heard the crowd cheering. More than likely cheering for their blood to be spilled...

The ID-SOL grimaced. If these people wanted a show, he was going to give them one. He was going to give them a blood bath, the likes of which they have never seen. As the gate rose up, William looked to Aiko again. "Aiko, I'll watch your back and you watch mine. That's how we are getting out of this damnable place alive. Let's show them the culmination of Rei's training." He said as he began to move towards the arena.
Death Pit
Arena Entrance

Aiko was far less impressed about her costume than William was, which made complete sense considering what the Kuvexian servants had dressed her in. An animal skin cloak and strappy sandals were not proper battle attire, much less when accompanied by whatever Kuvexian fashion had been stuck into her hair. She looked very cross at his compliment and as if she could not agree, all the while standing there very immodestly in her entertainer's get-up. At least the pelt was thick and stretched out long from her shoulders, and was able to cover most of her body if she so chose; a feature more useful for tactical protection than it was for hiding her flesh.

What was in store for the Ketsurui princess and William was abundantly clear to her by now. Aiko had read stories of such arenas in the course of her short life. Both historical accountings and fantastical myths astounded her, so much so that the practice of sentient bloodsport seemed so far away and removed from what she knew of home in the Kikyo Sector. Even for the tall Nekovalkyrja officer, trained to be hardened against the horrors of war, the experience was doubtlessly surreal. Or perhaps it was only the energy on the air roaring in at them from the multitude of spectators beyond the portcullis.

She nodded sharply in agreement with William's boast, remaining otherwise silent. Declaring the glory of one's coming deeds before battle was good — though she had no words now herself — and Aiko was comforted that the Nepleslian was there to say his. Their samurai teacher would fight alongside them yet today, as did all sensei whose training was worth passing down. With that, she looked ahead into the chaos before them and stepped through the gate just behind William.
Death Pit

Spectators met their gazes quickly and screamed in a startling uproar at the appearance of the two fighters. Dark eyes of Kuvexians were interspersed with those of some aliens species they had seen before, and the eyes of human looking denizens- all trained on the pair and frighteningly ecstatic at their entrance. The arena was circular and wide, but those within the amphitheater's lowest seats were mere feet from the arena, separated by seemingly nothing but two feet of stonework at their legs. Columns protruded from the stonework every few hundred feet around the circumference of the arena. Within a few seconds of Aiko's entrance, she heard the now-familiar staticy sound of a Kuvexian force field as someone within her peripherals lunged too close to the area in front of their seat. They were forced backwards after they had pressed into the area above the stonework, which lit up in an orange static.

Within the arena, the platforms that were raised from the ground were fifty feet tall at their tallest and built in such a way that if someone without flight were to jump from the lowest platform up, they could scale them, like separated stairs. There was not much more in the way of threat or obvious intent, aside from the spectator-ship and gore. The metal grate that had been their door was from a low dug portion of the hard ground and closed slowly behind them.

The seats ascended, offering every seat a good view, though a similar glow was alight at many seats higher up- likely the recordings from the flying camera pods that circled Aiko and William as they strode forth. A few boxes of seats were scattered about the arena, some very low. From the one opposite Aiko and William, a couple hundred feet away, their super sight would be able to pick up the movement and the Kuvexian who had approached them in their cells pulled away from other seated Kuvexians and went to the front of his box, where he had a clear view of Aiko and William, albeit too far for his own eyes to see. He opened his mouth to speak and the whole arena boomed with his voice.

"Yahmooties..." his voice said in a serpent's voice, "They come to our part of the galaxy's arm to take from us what is ours!" The crowd jeered and the animosity was palpable. "Their archaic technology and barbaric ways were meant to be... What?" His voice had grown mocking, jestful, "Intimidating? I am disappointed. Even at this moment they plan an attack for the Veltra Belt. We will meet them, we will make them fall, and we will keep what is ours for us!" The crowd roared at his upturned voice, full of nationalism. "They will be without two of their finest warriors, Kuvexians..." The crowd's attention turned back to Aiko and William with mixed feelings.

"Yahmooties," he said again after a pause, "are forever OURS!" With this, the crowd roared in excited zeal and he had to yell, even with his voice amplified, to drown them out. "Let's see what their mettle is made of!!!"

He stepped back, chuffed, and sat down.

Above them all, the unseeable ceiling or sky or whatever was up there became differently obscured. A hundred feet up they saw a cloudy mist, inky and swirling in nature, that the chains sprung from. The cheers and excitement could only be filled with their fervor for a time, as soon, they quieted.

The chains themselves were the next sounds. Soft clinks as one chain jolted and touched another, then another. Some of the flesh that clung to one fell from the skull-sized link of the chain that it had been lodged into, landing near William's feet. More chains whipped about and hit one another, creating a reason for Aiko and William to keep their wits about them to avoid being hit by them. Within ten seconds of the Kuvexian sitting back down and the fog forming, the reasoning the chains had begun their clinking and movement became obvious.

Glassy teeth were immediately apparent, spread in a twenty-foot smile as a creature's head appeared from the fog. Jarringly, a splayed claw like that of a chicken's extended from the mist much further away and gripped one chain, making the links buck and kick at its hooked bottom. The creature pulled itself downward, almost fully out of the mist, now, but still about 80 feet above the ground. It looked like the amalgamation of several animals made terrifyingly huge and terribly ghoulish. The mottled, leathered skin of its rat-like snout and feet seemed ghostly transparent and sagging. Black lips pressed against the gums of its countless thin, sharp teeth that stacked together like so many toothpicks in a shaken container. It was marred elsewhere by thick black bristles that were small and contrastingly grotesque against its pale skin in some places and packed in tightly as if like a hedgehog's quill back in others, like on its own back, haunches, and bust. It was coming down headfirst surprisingly slow for its large chested body, but soon it became obvious that the snake-ish tail on its backend was wrapped around a grouping of chains and was pacing the creature. The end of its tail was wrapped around nothing and moved like an annoyed cat's would, making the pointed stinger at the end of it seem as threatening as it was.

The crowd was silent, but their attention could not be more drawn to the sickly creature descending on the pair below it.
Saya had curled in on herself as she heard the disdainful words of their captor, tears freely streaming from her face again as some sick part of her mind was glad she wouldn't have to fight... Not yet at least. She knew she could heal them, but she would play up the part of the pain when they came back, She would be what they needed, what was required to keep them safe and healthy.

What would keep them in shape to fight so hopefully she never had to...

Part of her mind recoiled from the callous and selfish thought process, the fact that she was glad they were fighting, glad they were going out there in her place for the time being until little Tusbaki was born. Part of her hated herself for thinking in such a way and she ground her knuckles into her temple to punish herself. She didn't want anyone fighting, certainly not her friends in some dumb death match arena, and not for her mistake.

As they were taken she never went to the door, she never went to watch them be carried off, Saya clapped hands to her ears and wrenched on them a little to hope the bit of pain would drive the sounds of their bodies being dragged off from her mind for now, and painfully prayed her friends would return as they left.
Death Pit

As William walked, his eyes scanned the arena and the crowd beyond. He despised them with every fiber of his being. Unlike usual, William made no attempt to hide his anger. Instead he released the demon from its shackles and embraced it.

While the Kuvexian spewed on and on about being the rightful ruler. William began to chuckle, slowly becoming a cruel laugh. "Our masters? Is that right? The only thing that will belong to you is viseria that I will spread across this pitiful arena." He said, a wicked grin playing across his face. The ID-SOL's cybernetic eyes slowly began to change color, from their serene ocean blue, to a bloody scarlet color.

It was after this boast that the monster began to descend from the sky, causing the chains above him to start swinging. He looked up, a bubble of bile rising up his throat as he saw the beast. Not from fear, but out of sheer disgust. It was an abohrent creature, one whose existence was a crime against nature itself.

William looked to Aiko, then to the chains, then back to the monster. "Let's give these people a show shall we? I want to show these swine what Nepleslians and Yamataians are really made of." He said cracking his knuckles.

As a chain swung closer, he grabbed hold. With a smirk, he began to whip it about. Either it break free and he'd have a weapon, or he'd make the chains wrap around the monster. Both options sounded like fun to the pissed off Nepleslian.
Death Pit

One of the gory, hook-tipped chains swept harmlessly above Aiko's neck as she knelt down and forced her fingers into the hard dirt floor. Getting up to the devil destined to devour them would be simpler than defeating it. Not even days logged in simulation against the Mishhuvurthyar's mightiest biological terrors prepared Aiko for the strange chimera her Kuvexian jailers had patched together for their arena. She'd stared at its malformed bulk for long enough to spy a few (hopefully) weak points, well protected though they were. Now, all she stared at was a floor that grew closer and closer as hemosynthetic fluid pulsed through her eyeballs.

A handful of the compacted dirt ground crumbled in Aiko's right fist, squeezing bigger chunks of it into sand. Sparse though the soil was, it was enough for her purpose and she stood quickly after she'd reached down to grab it, extending her arm up to fling the little portion of ground into the air. With her vision momentarily enhanced, Aiko watched the sand and dirt clods she'd tossed descend at a rate consistent with just over one normal gravity unit. So she wasted no time — now knowing the parameters within which she could swim around the arena — and let her body follow her outstretched hand off the floor.

For the spectators it would have all seemed like one fluid motion from the moment Aiko first took a knee until she "jumped" and floated up fifteen feet from where she stood at a modest but nonetheless hurried pace. Her black hair and the animal pelt cape they'd given her flowed close over her otherwise unprotected form as she rose and came to a stop. The beast's surroundings filled up more of the Neko's vision as her sight returned to normal, the thing itself paradoxically looming large and in-focus throughout the three second adjustment.

For now, the Ketsurui girl made no other moves and waited to see more of what her foe for the day could do. And if it was a fast beast — it would have to be faster than all of the Advanced-type Mishhu she'd faced in training for sure — then at least she'd die off her feet.
Death Pit

The crowd had grown quiet and speculative while the pair ascended, Aiko by hovering off the ground and William by climbing on of the chains. The sudden explosive cheers of the crowd could alert them that the creature had made its first attack. It had been lowering itself head first, but suddenly it grasped tightly with its front hands and let its backside swing towards William. In a long and quick movement, it lunged towards the ID-SOL with its back claws, which gripped the chain William held. The closest of its back claws was only a dozen feet above him.
Death Pit

William cursed as he the creature's claws lunged out to grab him. He quickly jumped from the chain he had been climbing and reached out to grab onto another one close by.

The ID-SOL scrambled to come up with a strategy, any strategy that would keep the two friends. He cast a glance back to Aiko who had been hovering nearby. At least with the monster's attention focused on him, it would give Aiko a chance to find an opening to attack.

That was the plan then. For the moment, William would keep the monster's attention. He roared, summoning forth all of his anger and rage to fuel the taunt. As soon as he had made the taunt, he swung to the next chain. With luck the monster would focus its attention solely on him.
Aiko rapidly ascended as fast as her body's inertial controls could take her before she dove down toward the monstrosity from where she'd ascended to moments before, aiming to intercept the thing before it could get to William. Grasping a chain on her way in and holding it close to her body, the Neko gladiator barreled under their foe and then swung her body upward, curving around the beast in the air as it descended. She let go of the chain, hoping its links would get fouled up in the leathery chimera's barbs and wrap it up for a bit. Trusting that her Nepleslian comrade would use her attack (if it could even be called that) to make his own strike if he could, Aiko sped off upward again to make another pass.
The monstrosity had struck its pointed tail's end where William had only just been. The crowd around the three jeered aggressively, cacophonous in their excitement. The monster's inky, bleak eyes on the front of its face followed the Nepleslian solemnly, then its body tried to follow. The now-taut chain that Aiko had wrapped around its body halted its progress momentarily. The creature righted itself, facing the smoky mist above. It lunged upward, crawling up and grabbing onto a few sets of chains a few dozen feet higher. At this height, the chain was slackened and could be shed from around its torso as it shook its body. A link of the chain had gotten caught in one of its front haunch's quills, apparent when the chain would not fall freely from it like the others had. The creature raised its back leg, blindly groping at its own barbs with its claw. Exposed, the belly of the beast was devoid of barbs but was translucent, milky skin with a sagging, soft appearance. The creature was able to free the chain from its quill with a tug and its back claw gripped a chain again as the creature righted itself, facing William while its dark eyes followed Aiko's movements. One of its front claws let go of the chains it held to provide defensive support against Aiko, ready to strike if she flew close enough to wrap it again.
William clambered up the chain as Aiko wrapped the monster in the chains. Even with the crowds screaming and jeering, the only thing he could hear was his breath and heart pounding. He took hold of a hook below him and began to swing it like a Kusarigama.

With all his might, he arched the hook upwards aiming for the milky underside of the monsters body.

In the split second that the hook was airborn, the Nepleslian prayed that the impromptu weapon found its mark.
There was little time for Aiko to rejoice that she'd slowed the monstrosity, and indeed little reason to as it freed itself in a quick few moments and squared up with William again. In the least, its fleshy belly had become an obvious and inviting point of attack. That would be their best bet at defeating the thing, if only one of them could strike it freely. Just as the beast watched her with its abyssal eyes, the Ketsurui girl tracked it and their surroundings with her own violent intent as she soared among the chains and mist above William and their foe. She could see it see her even despite the darkness around her; it lived and thrived here, after all — wherever here was — and its anatomy was obviously suited for this place.

When Aiko saw William make his move below, even before it was clear which way his body would move, she did not hesitate. Propelled by her body's inertial control ability, Aiko stiffened her legs and dashed straight down. She aimed to stand right between those inky spheres that twitched and slid around as they followed her. Whatever damage she did, if her feet landed on their mark, would be negligible. But she hoped it'd keep the beast distracted and fixed on for long enough that William's move, whatever it may be, to find success.
The monster's attention was drawn mostly on William only momentarily, until she ascended towards the cloud bank that loomed above the arena. At a certain point in the thick haze, Aiko felt a barrier within the blurry environment. The only thing that cut through the smoky mist was a glint of something metallic. Her Nekovakyrja eyes would allow her to zoom in on what caught her vision: a name plate. The context of what was around it was too hard to make out in the fog, but she could read the name and some information on the beast they were fighting.

"Roghorden Snog: a menacing quilled animal. Its fleshy parts are protected with a subdermal layer of poisonous fat that, when the skin is broken, releases a powerful neurotoxin likely to kill most humanoids within a 40 yard radius. Its quills are not laced with any such poison and are mostly for show. Fighters should be persuaded away from using the quills against the animal in the head as its eye sockets are the only weak point of the creature. Its fanged mouth can gleek a poison and bite and thrash, leading to, most often, death."

As Aiko descended to eye level with the beast, she was greeted by its attention. It was at that time that the hook sent with William's show was about to find its mark on the creature's underbelly. He was definitely within a 40 yard radius of the gas about to be expelled.

The Nekovalkyrja warrior relayed what information she'd just read to William as soon as she comprehended the gravity of it, telepathically blasting the information to his mindware unit without delay. She thought for a moment to dive down away from the creature and sweep William up, but decided against it now that Snog was focused on her while she stood upon its monstrous face.

Time slowed as William learned that new piece of information. 'Oh now you tell me...' he cursed mentally. He let go of the chain he was holding and began falling away from the beast. At least he could try and fall away from it before it popped like a ballon.

The crowd had seen this monster cut before and the uproarious jests and cheers directed at William's impending death turned sour as they realized he had side-stepped death by moving away from the creature's killer vapors from its wound.

Aiko, too, thought it best to get away as quickly as her Neko body would take her — which was very quickly, as she'd demonstrated thus far, so long as the beast failed to catch her with its wretched claws — but not before squatting down and forcing her long, delicate looking fingers into one of its inky eyeballs. She figured it unlikely there was a poisonous layer in there and took the chance without question, feeling around the jelly and broken membranes that gave her foe sight. And then, as speedily as she'd landed, Aiko sprung off the Roghorden Snog's muzzle with all the power loaded up into her thighs. She'd be lucky to take the eye with her and focused more on clearing the area than doing damage, now.

The creature's rat-like mouth gaped wide when Aiko plunged her finger into its socket, showing the layers of razor fangs descended into a fleshy mottled pink and black throat. Its wail pierced the cacophony of the crowd's jests. With a silence and then a wave of arms and appendages in the air, the crowd began cheering ecstatically.

The excited chants of the three syllables, "Yahmatooie!" denoted the shift in their patronage as they hoped for the next move from the Yamataians (as they did not know William was Nepleslian) to be even better than the last ones. As for the Roghorden Snog, it had retreated to the dirt floor of the arena where its scorpion tail swished and swayed, as if ready to strike any and all down, though its sole eye was able to look at much less of its surroundings than before.

William hit the ground and rolled a few times before coming to a stop. He groaned as he got back on his feet and looked at the creature. "Take that you stupid rat." He growled as he began to circle the creature. Either it would focus on him and leave Aiko open or vise versa. "You're on the ground now. Now it's my turn..."

High above William and the flailing Snog, Aiko watched for another opening from her spot perched upon one of the big hanging chain links. She surveyed the crowd briefly, uninterested in their chant and nonetheless angry about their presence at all. They were still Kuvexians and no amount of their positive excitement tempered her disgust for their kind. She flung the monster's eyeball into the crowd in a moment of rage, reflexively lashing out at their enjoyment of their fight, only to watch it fizzle and burn up against a forcefield that protected the spectators from the spectacle.

Aiko then jumped down onto one of the raised platforms, ready to approach their nemesis again. She watched for any opening and hoped William would take whatever ones he saw. It'd be difficult for either of them to land a blow on the Snog now that it was so fired up (and now that the plaque she'd read confirmed its sole weak point).

With William circling it and closer than Aiko above, the creature let its focus turn to William as it quickly turned, pressing its haunch close to the ID-SOL before its tail quickly swept at him, knocking him off of his feet and splayed nearby. Though it had made contact with him with the weighty length of tail, now it descended towards him with the hooked end of its tail, looking to pierce William's torso with its equally large stinger.

William cursed and brought his arms up just in time to take the blow from the monster's tail. Even so, it slammed him into the ground. The ID-SOL groaned and rolled again onto his feet. "Come on! Is that all you got!" He yelled, charging at the beast and ready to dodge out of the way of its tail.

The hard packed soil where William had been fragmented into a plume of dirt and dust as its tail landed, missing William as it charged him. The quilled beast made no attempt to lunge out of the way, ready to either take the brunt of his attack while re-aiming its venomous stinger or see him kill himself on the usually unused quills that protected its body.

Aiko wiped what remained of the monster's eyeball goo across her face, leaving a black streak over her eyes and the bridge of her dignified Yamataian nose. Charging on foot, now, the Neko sped across the platforms and bounded down to the next in succession, her arms trailing behind the angle of her shoulders like some sort of crazed Kessaku ninja. Her eyes remained fixed on the Snog's poised tail and, as she approached and William continued his onslaught, Aiko leapt up and aimed to wrap her arms and legs around it, intending to redirect its sting away from her Nepleslian friend.

The ID-SOL roared in defiance as he planted his foot in the dirt, and cocked his arm back. The muscles of his arm tightening with extreme force as they prepared for what came next. Another step forward and he drove his fist into the beast's snout. He then followed up the punch with an upper cut from the opposite arm.

With Aiko suddenly hindering its stinger, the creature's rump reared twice before it failed to keep its tail with Aiko on it erect. Both fell slowly towards the creature's quilled back while William pounded the creature, whose skull would have broken William's fist if he were not now an ID-SOL. The punch did little to hurt it, but it now knew where to attack. It twisted towards William, snapping at him with multiple sets of razor sharp teeth, grasping into his shoulder, taking a quick bite that left him bleeding from a dozen small incisions.

She hadn't expected the Snog's barbed tail to crumple so easily given the strength at which it seemed to strike, and held on tighter as she fell with it onto the beast's quilled back. Using every ounce of her focus, Aiko squeezed around the grotesque appendage even more tightly and pulled it down into the beast's own quills, using her body's inertial control capabilities to try and gain the upper hand as they fell together. The Neko girl tried to slip her body between the spikes as she tried to pin the Snog to itself, but still steeled her mind against any coming pain.

William roared in pain as the monster sunk its teeth into his shoulder. With his other arm he pulled back and did just as Aiko had. He stabbed his large hand into the beast's remaining eye. He did his best to not think about how the things teeth were tearing at his shoulder muscles as he drove his fingers deeper.

With the excitement of the crowd reaching an ear splitting boisterousness around the three, the stinger of the beast became pinned between its own quilled back and Aiko. The thick tail under her resisted the quill's penetration at first before the pressure became too much and it was pierced. She fell down with it slightly and could feel a jab of a handful of quills as they pushed into her thighs, forearms, and midsection. Unlike the Snog's second eye socket that William had tasked himself with, Aiko was not impaled by the quills. With its second eye plunged into, the creature made a great wail, louder and more high pitched than before, before slumping before William.

With Aiko atop the dead creature and William next to it, the crowd was going truly wild. There was a quick flicker of an orange force field and the Kuvexian that had announced them earlier came onto the dirt pit's ground, sitting atop a hovering platform and flanked by ten Kuvexians, as well.

"Champions!!" the man called to his crowd. "Yahmatooies have defeated the Roghorden Snog!!" With his amplified voice reaching those in the crowds, the cheers and madness of the crowd ascended. "We had our doubt about them, didn't we?!" He emphatically spoke and chuckled simultaneously. "The second class species of the Yahmatooies may be worth keeping around after all, no?" He asked, arms spread wide. "Cast your lot in with them or pay for their execution now!" The excitement of the crowd had diminished as heads bowed and those that had watched worked on data pads either in front of them or on the seats opposite. With their far seeing vision, the pair could spot some of those in the upper booths speaking to the attendants near them.

As the beast slumped to the ground, William forced the beast's mouth open and extracted his bloody shoulder. His arm was stained crimson as the blood dripped down and onto the dirt. He didn't pay any heed to the crowd or the annoying thing that dained to speak to them. He was looking for Aiko.

And then he saw her, stab by the monster's quills. His heart skipping a beat, time slowed once more. However this time, it was from fear. He rushed forward and climbed the monster's back to get to Aiko. His arm hung limp but it didn't matter to him. He pulled himself up and placed his hand under her head.

"Aiko... Aiko look at me damn it!"

The Ketsurui princess groaned and kept her eyes closed, squeezing them shut as hard as she could. A Nekovalkyrja though she was, combat against whatever a Roghorden Snog was still harrowing, bloody, and tough. William's familiar presence was a great comfort, and Aiko put one of her arms around his neck so that she could pull her body up and off of the dead beast and its quills that had perforated her front. Despite his own injuries, William's towering ID-SOL form gave the impression, at least in Aiko's mind, that she was worse for wear than he could ever be.

"It's good," she said, wincing as the tips of their defeated foe's needles slid out of her thighs at last. "It's good."

She paused for a moment, looking up at him thankfully. Not just for helping her now, but for his triumph over the Snog. Their Kuvexian overlord and his crowd seemed their primary enemy, now, but there wasn't much they could do in a prison such as this arena. So she did her best to ignore them.

"You're alright?" Aiko asked, her voice only loud enough for him to hear as she slid her free hand over his torso and up to his wounded shoulder, her eyes tracking along as she went. Her fingers retreated back so that she didn't touch it, and she gasped when she saw the full extent of what he'd endured. "There is still a great battle ahead for us, it seems. We must keep fighting a little longer."

William cradled Aiko with his good arm and stood before jumping off the creatures back and landing back on the dirt floor below. "I'll be fine." He said as he held her, straightening up to his full height once again. His arm still hung limp, but the blood that oozed from the wound was starting to slow down as his body tried to stop the bleeding.

"I am ID-SOL. I am a weapon. And I won't stop until all of them are dead." He said, deadly conviction evident in his voice.

Before any more words could be exchanged between the two, the Kuvexian turned towards them, finally addressing them and not the crowd, though his voice still boomed so all could hear.

"As our crowd votes for your lives to cease or for your entertainment to continue, we all are wondering if your fighting Yahmatooie spirit will last long enough to win again against the deadly foes we have prepared! I suppose only time will tell," his voice said as it grew louder, "since 2500 of those in the crowd have voted to keep you alive! We'll see if next time you are not so skilled..."

The metal door they had come through before fighting the Snog lifted once more, thundering over the excited but quieted crowd. They were to exit the arena, quit simply.

Aiko let herself down off of William and stood on her own, looking up to the Nepleslian again once their captor had announced their fate. For more than a moment, she considered launching herself up to the Kuvexian's hovering dais and giving his eyes the same treatment she'd shown the pit beast. But ten guards and an arena full of rabble was a tall order, even for a "second class species."

"Let's go check on Saya," she said at least, turning her head toward the arena's gate before following with her body and leading the way out.