"I told you retard, you can't cut me!" For the fifteenth time, Nnoitra Jiruga batted Naruto away as if he were little more than a rag doll.
Blood spilled from his mouth, but he paid it no heed.
By now, the beating of his heart was a drum in his ears. So loud it was, that Nnoitra's words were lost on him. It was a terrible sound drowning everything else out in its terrible pounding roar...
His fingertips clawed at the sand, digging at the grains again and again. As he pulled at the hardened terrain, his fingernails created miniature skid marks; until more gravel slid down to cover them. A low rumble worked its way up from his chest.
The muted silence changed.
It turned to laughter; he felt the darkness within resonate in his very soul.
It was soft at first, but this mirth was anything but pleasant..
Dark watery distorted mirth mixed with the his own genuinely cruel laugh.
"I can't lose!! I...have to kill him!"
His eyes snapped open, the irises were still that sick yellow, yet the white sclera had been replaced with black. It was if he was an entirely different person when he spoke, for the air rumbled with power.
"'It'd suck if my mask broke? Don't make me laugh!'
The air around him shimmered with sinister power and try as he might; the espada could not force his zanpaktou down further, not even the slightest centimeter, though his muscles strained and bulged, he was unable to do so.
You could tell it by the contorted look he wore.
"What the-damnit, just die!"
"It'd suck... Continued Naruto, lashing out in a kick to Nnoitra's gut, the motion catapulting him yards across the sands. As the fifth ground to a halt, he watched as a cackling fox skull, born from red energy, flowed into existence above Naruto.
"If you didn't dodge this!"
Springing forward, the blond bulleted towards the surprised espada, effortlessly swaying under the first, over the second, blocking the third strike, and advancing forward, even when the fourth got him in the gut.
He was now face to face with Nnoitra.
His teeth parted, lips pulling back so far that he felt them split. Bearing his teeth and half an inch of his pink gums gave more weight to his bold declaration of a moment ago. His whole body grew taut as one muscle, arms out, fingers locked into rigid claws, which now clacked together like the gnashing of teeth, emitting an ear shattering screech as he raked them across Nnoitra's Hierro.
But then gone again he was, now behind Nnoitra.
He opened his mouth, anxious to finally see some more blood. A golden glow began to emanate from the tip of his tongue, but Naruto just remained where he was, even as the ground began to shake.
"EAT IT!" Howled Nnoitra!
The espada held his ground, refusing to move a muscle, even as his form was basked in the pallid glow. Finally, just as it was about to consume him, he started his counter. He drew in a breath now, let the oxygen expand and rush up to his lungs, buoyed by the intense spiritual energy...
He made a horrific noise just then. His mouth still open wide, the back of his throat cinched tightly closed. A breath, forcing its way out, with a long and shuddering hiss. It was a eerie mix of nails raking across a chalk board, and the death rattle of a dying animal-
And it was powerful.
The wall of the sound slammed into the cero, rebounding the saffron light back from whence it came. Eye going wide, Nnoitra narrowly escaped incineration at the hands of his own attack, rolling away just in time. Yet he did not escape without some loss, losing the spoon collar of his hood in the process.
Another scream came his way, and that was just a precursor to blur that slammed into his back. Scowling, he swung two of his four scythes around, but Naruto caught just those two on his forearm, and raked Endria across Nnoitra's chest, flaying sparks this way and that as zanpaktou met hierro.
He repeated the same action with his right arm, when Nnoitra brought around his remaining weapons. Producing the same result, and refusing to give Nnoitra a chance to use his other arms, Naruto seized him by the face, whispering into his ear:
"I'll show you, my power...
The noise coiled into the air, coiling around Nnoitra's shuddering frame like snake. Ths hiss still lingered in the air like the echoes of a long awaited shout, still reverberating in his ears. But by then, he'd been slammed into the ground, and brutally kicked through a pillar.
Six tails of jinchuuriki chakra thrashing behind him, he drew back slightly, as if he were a spring, and coiling his body, to prepare himself for a mighty leap. In preparation for this imminent attack, Nnoitra slowly began to spin the two scythes on his lower arms, faster, then faster, creating a rotary shield capable of shearing through flesh and bone as if it were butter.
For a moment neither moved from that position.
"NARUTO!" Neliel all but screamed! "PLEASE DON'T DIE!
Eyes narrowing to slits, Naruto laughed, baring his fangs.
A bead of sweat dripped from Nnoitra's brow, hung on his chin for a moment, as if deciding whether to fall or remain where it lay. Tension was thick throughout the air, as the two stared down their enemy.
The drop of sweat fell.
(Music breakthrough even/hollowed)
And it began!
Nnoitra looked on in surprise as the tercera leapt at him. The stupidity of his opponent surprised him, and for a second, he was unable to react from sheer shock.
It was suicide, just charging in like that! That was the worst possible thing to do!
"Dumbass!" He cackled, getting ahold of himself, simultaneously bringing in all of his arms from every possible angle, intent on slicing the shinigami into bite size pieces! Faster than the wind itself, they descended upon him! "Guess you wanna die again!"
However, before the quartet of scythes could shred him to bits, the blond smirked, and jumped back with a burst of sonido. With a curse, Nnoitra realized he'd been baited , but even so, with the amount of oomph he'd put into what was supposed to be a killing blow, he was unable to fully stop his swings, and in trying doing so, momentarily tangled Santa Teresa up in itself.
The crescent edges tangled up in each other, with two sticking in the sand, and the other four each stuck in the groove of its twin. Sparks flew as they ground against each other, clearly not meant for this purpose or position.
Naruto sprang forward in that moment, landing on the poles of the foremost left and right scythe. Flexing his hands, he put enough reiatsu into his next swing, capable of shattering a mountain. In less than a second, they were positioned upon his wrists, yet still pointing down at a very surprised Nnoitra.
Steel dug deep into the flesh of his right collarbone, tearing sinew and muscle assunder, one of the few critical hits of that fight. Blood sprayed forth like a crimson fountain, and Naruto sneered evilly as he prepared the followup blow. "Not so tough without your weapons, eh?!" The blades slid back, and it was with his claws that he now gripped tight the wound with his left hand, steadying himself-
However, before he could rip him a new one, Nnoitra spat a cero at him, [pint blank. He'd expected the attack to come so suddenly that it forced the soul reaper to either jump away, or take it head on-
The last thing he'd expected Naruto to do was fire his own cero point blank! Again, red met yellow, cancelling the other out in a flash of orange. Yet through the cloud of smoke, Naruto was now nowhere to be seen.
Consternation showed through on Nnoitra's face as he sought to free his zanpaktou, knowing that for every second he wasted, it was another instant in which he was wide open.
'Kuso kuso kuso!
This was the opportunity Naruto had been waiting for.
A static blue suddenly kicked out from behind, heaving Nnoitra into the air, and out of the smokescreen. Naruto shot past, barely visible to the naked eye, let alone Nnoitra. His leap carried him above Nnoitra and his impressive weaponry, and then sent him spiraling into the air. It was clear what he was about to do, but Nnoitra hadn't quite caught on yet, not until the hand thrust itself into his face.
"Gran rey cero." Naruto snarled, and the desert exploded into azure fire.