AN* Wow, this took far longer than I wanted, and I am very sorry about the wait but I hope that the chapter is worth it.
Breaking Into The Garden
Naruto stared quietly out the window as the zeppelin moved through the clouds and was beginning its final approach to Fairy Tale HQ. Seeing it up in the air was truly different from what he had expected, even after having gone over the information that Hokuto had given them. It was a massive floating city in its own regard and as he stared he felt memories of clones hitting him as they began dispersing, revealing hundreds of weapon installations that were visible from the air, each one overlapping with the others so that there was no blind spots for an assault.
"Good thing we're sneaking in then." Jubi chuckled.
"No kidding. That much firepower would have weakened me extensively just punching a hole in. I doubt I'd be able to handle fighting more than two branch leaders after that, even now."
"You're still adapting." Jubi reminded him "You are far stronger than you were before, and in the span of year you will likely assimilate the last of my power."
That remark brought an unpleasant bout of silence from Naruto as the thought of Jubi disappearing stung again, combined with the memories that he had received, and was still processing from the ancient god. Jubi seemed to sense this melancholy direction of his thoughts and spoke up again.
"It was my choice to make Naruto, and one I do not regret. I have lived countless millennium, longer than any living being has a right to. By trading this remnant of an existence I give the power to make a meaningful change to someone that I know will not abuse its power."
"When are we going to talk about those memories that I got from you?" Naruto asked "I know that it wasn't all of them."
"When the time is right. We have enough on our plate as it is." Jubi shrugged "Just remember my warning."
"Keep it restrained. No telling how Alucard's body will react to my full power." Naruto answered.
As the zeppelin landed inside of one of the massive hangars Naruto walked towards the doors, glancing at the others as he did. All of them were disguised as Fairy Tale members, wearing the official uniform. For Naruto and Fangfang it was a pair of black dress shoes, black pants, a button up shirt worn underneath a long military style black coat with gold buttons and gold cords connecting the right shoulder to the uppermost right-hand button. Cinching the coat closed was a white belt with a dark metal buckle. The girls uniform had the same coat as the boys, with dark pleated skirts, though they each opted for their own footwear. Naruto however had taken his disguise a step further, using a henge to change his hair to a dark brown and his eyes into a dark green, while he also changed the shape of his face slightly and made sure that the whisker marks were gone as well.
"Ready?" Naruto asked as they started down the stairs.
"As we can be." Yukari nodded firmly.
"This is really cool." Fangfang grinned as they walked "A castle floating in the sky."
"Just going on the record here to say I called it." Naruto chuckled.
"Yes, yes. You were right." Kurumu sighed with a smile as Ruby giggled.
"At least getting in was simple." Mizore said as she glanced around.
"We won't have to worry about the others coming later at least." Yukari smiled.
"Of course. We have spent an entire month preparing for this." Hokuto said as he rolled up towards them "Good work on getting up here. Our uniform looks good on you, Naruto."
"Hokuto." Naruto nodded as he stepped forward.
"I welcome you, to Fairy Tale." the glasses wearing teen said with a cold smile as he looked at the six of them "It looks like you all toughened up a bit under Touhou Fuhai's training."
"We had a month to hone ourselves." Naruto smirked now.
"Though with how hard a task master you and Touhou Fuhai were it felt way longer." Kurumu muttered.
"Ok Hokuto. Where's Moka, and how do we get her out of here?" Naruto asked.
"It's good to know that you haven't changed Naruto." Hokuto chuckled as he turned towards the doorway that led out of the hangar "Come with me."
"Then let us remind you then." Mizore said quietly "If this is a trap, you are the first one that we are going to take down."
"Do as you like." Hokuto chuckled. The group moved through a few corridors before entering a large terminal like area. There were swarms of youkai in front of the gates as they were having their identities verified before they could enter.
"Time to see if you're as clever as you think you are." Naruto stated as they walked up to the queue and were soon handing over the identification that Hokuto had given them and being approved in rapid order.
"Coming in through the front door." Yukari noted as they walked "Really clever."
"I'm surprised that these held up to inspection." Mizore remarked as she eyed her pass.
"I told you, I spent a whole month preparing for this." Hokuto sighed.
"Good to know that you are still as devious as ever." Naruto nodded as he walked just a step behind the wheelchair "The quieter we can make our approach the better."
"Not interested in a fight?" Hokuto asked with a smirk "I thought that was what you lived for."
"Not when Moka's life is on the line." Naruto countered "Besides, if I cut loose it might wake up the beastie in the basement."
"Oh?" Hokuto hummed "And is it too much for you to handle?"
"No clue. It's a lot older than me, but it doesn't seem to have its higher brain functions. Toss up that I am not willing to gamble on right now." Naruto replied as they passed a group of soldiers carrying semi-automatic rifles.
"But everything has gone smoothly so far." Ruby noted "At this rate it seems likely that we won't run into much trouble to get to where Moka is."
"Eh, I would've preferred something more thrilling though." Fangfang sighed.
"You're such a child." Yukari complained.
Naruto paused a moment as he felt the hairs on the back of his neck rising at the presence of a powerful youkai nearby. Turning slowly he glanced around and didn't spot the source of the power, but his wariness caused the rest of the group to stop as well.
"What is it?" Hokuto asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Someone strong is nearby. High S class." Naruto said slowly "And if I'm sensing them at this range that can only mean a branch leader is near."
"Could it be collective?" Hokuto asked as he nodded towards an open doorway where dozens of youkai were moving into "There's a meeting going on in there right now. Youkai from every subdivision are there…"
"No." Naruto said shaking his head "I can pick apart each of them at this range. No one going in that door is above a B."
"His sensing skills have gotten a lot stronger." Ruby noted with a smile "He used to have to completely suppress his youki to sense anything."
"Shuzen-sama!" a roar came from the room.
"Shuzen?" Kurumu blinked "Isn't that the name of Moka's family?"
"Yes it is." Naruto nodded as he started towards the door "You should all go on ahead and get to Moka. I'm going to see what I can pick up from that meeting."
"No way." Yukari said firmly "We stick together."
"She's right." Fangfang nodded "We split up and there's no telling if we can meet back up again in this giant place."
Hokuto rolled his eyes as the group moved with the last of the latecomers to join the meeting, standing in the center of a large theater, with a giant screen to their left as they entered while to their right was a balcony while there were tiers seats going upward in a crescent shape. At the balcony were two youkai that stood there as guards as a woman walked out the cheers of the crowd. She wasn't a tall woman, but her very presence drew attention. Her skin was a light tan color while her hair was pale blond with striking violet eyes. Dressed in a black dress with a large black coat that she wore like a cape over her shoulders. As Naruto looked up at her his body tensed, sensing from her the power that she could wield.
"It's her." He muttered just loud enough for the rest of his group to hear "She's the one that I was sensing."
"Gyokuro Shuzen." Hokuto explained as he adjusted his glasses "The current head of the Shuzen Family, and also Kaluha's and Kokoa's birth mother."
"Kokoa-san's mother? Then she's Moka's stepmother…" Yukari whispered in shock.
"And she is also Fairy Tale's boss." Hokuto continued "You must never get close to her. Vampires are a race with honed senses for detecting youki. I've heard that Gyokuro's sensing ability is by far the best, even among other vampires. I think we'll be fine among such a huge crowd, but there's a high chance that she'll see right through you no matter what disguise you use. Just to be safe make sure to conceal your energy."
"I conceal it any further and I'm going to start reading every youkai within this damn place and not just in this room." Naruto whispered back to him.
Gyokuro soon took a step forward, her very presence silencing the entire room as she began to speak "Everyone. There's only one reason why we are gathered here today. Finally the time we have all been waiting for has come. The revival of our god, Alucard. Right now, I shall show you their current form." The lights soon dimmed as the screen to their left was lit up with a large projection, showing Outer Moka kneeling in a white dress in the very center of a large spell seal with her eyes shut but a worried expression on her face "This girl is the daughter of Akasha, the one who sealed Alucard. After many years of examination, we have identified that the key to releasing Alucard lies inside her. That key will soon open the door. It is almost time, for the awakening of our god." The image on the screen changed again, revealing the gigantic monstrous face of Alucard.
"Th-That huge thing is Alucard?!" Fangfang said in shock.
"If that huge thing wakes up we'll be in huge trouble!" Yukari agreed.
"He's changed." Naruto muttered as he looked at the screen.
"Yes. He didn't look like that in Moka's memories." Mizore agreed.
"What do you think happened?" Kurumu pressed.
"Akasha. When she resealed him with herself inside he likely got a power boost and changed his form a bit." Naruto mused quietly "Either way, doesn't change much."
"Also, the awakening of Alucard, marks the beginning of Fairy Tale's revolution." Gyokuro continued as the rest of youkai in the room began to go into a blood frenzy at the thought of killing the countless humans "Kill the humans. Slice their meat, crush their bones, and use their guts to hold the most extravagant party. Come now! And we shall engrave into their corpses our everlasting fantasy world!" The room went wild with this and Naruto could only feel disdain for the idea of mass slaughter "Oh? This is strange… I sense someone who opposes my speech. Seven of you. It would seem like some rats have found their way in." Gyokuro noted, her eyes taking a dangerous tone as she walked down the balcony to a nearby pillar, a single hand gripping it as she pulled it free, now holding a giant chunk of stone that was more than two times her height and width, with that same single hand above her head as looked towards where they were standing "Right there!" with that exclamation she sent the giant chunk of stone flying right at them with terrible force.
Right as the stone was about to come into contact with them the shadows underneath it rose up, stopping its movement cold as it was lifted up higher as Naruto stepped forward, a grin on his face as he let his henge drop. He stood there in dark gray pants and a matching color long sleeve shirt while over it was a set of ANBU style armor. Tied to each side of his belt was a tool pouch filled with a variety of tools and weapons for a variety of situations, while on each side of the pouch were sealing scrolls carrying even more supplies, and attached to both of his thighs were a large canteen carrying large amounts of blood. The largest change though wasn't his wardrobe, but his physical appearance. His hair had been trimmed back down to its former length but now the tips of the spikes were darkened to near black. His incisors were closer to fangs now given their length and sharpness, and his eyes were now permanently purple and slitted, while he had also grown a bit taller now standing at about 5'11".
"I think you dropped this." He grinned as he lifted a single finger towards her and sent the giant stone column flying right back at Gyokuro who blinked in surprise at the counter but only smiled as she punched the stone column, shattering it to pieces.
"Oh my. Rather strong for a rat, and much too courteous." Gyokuro smiled as she looked at the blond as the shadows dropped back down and tips changed from black to a nearly translucent color. The youkai gathered around them began growling angrily at the attack on Gyokuro and the fact that they had infiltrated the Floating Garden.
"Looks like the party has already started." Ruby said as she went back-to-back with Yukari as the crowd of enemies began to close in.
"Heh. Last warning!" Naruto called out as the tips of his hair went black and red "Anyone that wants to live had better clear out." The swarm only laughed as they charged, and Naruto simply shrugged "Gōka(Hellfire)." From the shadows beneath each of the youkai fire erupted, engulfing each one before they knew what was happening. The blast of fire from the shadows didn't last long, no more than a few seconds but the intensity of the flames was enough to cripple the enemies as they fell to the ground with third degree burns covering their bodies. Glancing up at Gyokuro who looked at him with a frown as the tips of his hair went back to translucency as he and the others started out the doors.
"Let's go." He said as they started to run "They know we're here now and that means that they might try to accelerate in response. Let's not give them the time to try."
"So they're Moka's classmates?" Gyokuro remarked as she stared down at the bodies of the soldiers below her as the small group had already fled "To let the slip away with so many soldiers here…"
"I-I'm so sorry." A soldier kneeling to her right exclaimed "We'll regroup and send our finest after them."
Gyokuro was silent for a moment before she opened her eyes and activated one of her abilities.
"Enemy Zero." She said as her sensing capabilities increased "My ability can accurately detect any youki within a several thousand-meter radius. I can search every nook and cranny of this fort." Pausing a moment she smiled as she found the seven retreating intruders "I found them, they're moving north through D Block." The soldier nodded as he turned to send troops to intercept the intruders as Gyokuro muttered to herself "No matter how far you run, you're already in the palm of my hands. Cocky kids. I'll hunt you down little by little and kill you all."
"Heads up!" Naruto called as the shadows rose up ahead of them, stopping the bullets from reaching them. Kurumu only grinned as she took flight, flying through the shadow and emerging on the other side completely unharmed as she slashed through two of the rifles before they realized what had happened as Fangfang and Yukari struck next, taking down the rest of the guard post with Kurumu by the time that the rest of the group arrived.
"Huh? Fairy Tale isn't such a big deal, right Naruto? Even if they have guns the average infantry is no match for us." Fangfang noted.
"Don't get cocky." Naruto remarked as he glanced around and completely suppressed his youki for a moment before frowning "Alright, looks like we are past the majority of the grunts, but my sensing skills are going to be harder to rely on the closer we get to Alucard. His presence is large enough that any number of weaker youkai could be hiding around him, and we wouldn't know it until it was too late."
"Unfortunately, the plan ends now." Hokuto said as he rolled up to the edge of the impromptu barricade that they had just cleared "It's too dangerous to continue any further. You've already noticed it, haven't you Naruto?"
"We're being tracked." Naruto said, getting the others to look at him in shock "Knew it the moment that we hit the second ambush. Doesn't change what we have to do."
"Gyokuro Shuzen. It's most likely her life detection ability." Hokuto agreed "It would seem that as long as we remain in this place she will be able to see through our every move. I was too naïve. It is precisely because of her ability that this place is renowned as an impregnable fortress. At this rate we'll be trapped like rats."
"And what do you suggest we do then?" Naruto asked.
"I am abandoning Moka's rescue and switching to the escape route. Knowing when to retreat is essential in any plan. If you all choose to continue farther than this is where we part ways." Hokuto explained.
"Hokuto! What are you saying?!" Kurumu shouted in shock.
"You sure you can get out without being shot down?" Naruto asked with a raised eyebrow "That defense system is no joke."
"I have already accounted for that. So what will you do Naruto? Proceed or retreat?"
"L-Let's keep going! M-Men don't retreat!" Fangfang declared, though his own worry was apparent.
"The single cell organism should stay quiet." Yukari countered, causing Fangfang to pout and mutter under his breath about the insult.
"No. It's still too early to give up." Ruby said, stepping forward to stand by Naruto "Hokuto-san, according to the map you gave us, if we were to escape from our current location, we would have to retrace our steps and go back upstairs, right?"
"That's correct." Hokuto nodded with a frown forming on his face as he looked at the elder witch.
"But if we aren't careful, that may be even more dangerous than proceeding, because Gyokuro and most of the enemy forces are concentrated in the meeting upstairs. We need to go to the lowest floor of the fortress, where Alucard sleeps. Most of the lower areas are locked down; there would be less resistance down below. Which means proceeding according to our original route should have fewer enemies." Ruby explained.
"I see!" Yukari grinned as Kurumu looked lost "An ingenious plan that considers both offense and defense!"
"In theory yes. But the leaders will eventually catch up to us and fighting them is more dangerous than a hundred small fries." Hokuto countered.
"One more important point is at this rate Moka-san's seal will be released and Alucard will awaken." Ruby pressed on with determination "If that happens, this peaceful country of Japan will be burned to the ground in the blink of an eye by Fairy Tale. And then our dream of Coexistence between Humans and Youkai will have absolutely no chance of coming true… Right from the beginning, everyone here knew that this would be dangerous. Nevertheless, so that I can grasp my own future together with my friends, I will continue forward."
"She's right." Naruto nodded as the others smiled and nodded their agreement "We knew coming in that this was going to be our only shot at stopping Fairy Tale. If you don't want to push forward Hokuto, that's your choice. We're going to keep going and save Moka, and our dream."
"In that case I won't stop you." Hokuto snorted as he turned his chair to start going back "Do whatever you like."
Nodding the six Youkai Academy members turned and continued down the corridor, following the map to head down to the lower levels as Hokuto started back the way that they had come.
Several floors above the group, Gyokuro smirked as she sensed the group splitting up.
"Oh? One of them is moving alone. A split among friends?" she mused quietly "Six still choose to proceed. Such fools. I might have even let you live if you had turned back now."
"Did you call Gyokuro-san?" a voice said as one of the platforms descended down to the control room that Gyokuro was sitting in.
"Miyabi huh?" Gyokuro remarked without turning "As per usual, you're late again." This remark only got the cigarette smoking man to give her a wink as the leader of Fairy Tale continued "As you've probably heard, we have some intruders in our Floating Garden. It's most likely a bunch from Youkai Academy, here to save Moka."
"Youkai Academy huh?" Miyabi hummed before letting out a cloud of smoke.
"Yes… By the Miyabi, there are a few in your subdivision that graduated from there, correct?"
"You mean Kiria Yoshii and Hokuto Kaneshiro right? What about them?"
"Stop playing dumb." Gyokuro chided as she turned to look at the leader of the 1st subdivision "The intruders were shown the way in here by someone on the inside. I really wonder who that is? The traitor that led the rats here… So? Would you have any idea? Leader of the 1st subdivision Miyabi Fujisaki…"
"Dunno." Miyabi smiled "I wouldn't have a clue."
The pair stared at each other for a moment, both more than willing to kill the other but neither making the first move. Seconds passed slowly before Miyabi took another drag of his cigarette before speaking.
"But, I might have an idea of who the intruders are. It's probably Naruto Uzumaki and his friends." Miyabi remarked.
"What?" Gyokuro blinked.
"He's a self-proclaimed God class youkai, though he definitely has the power to back up that claim." Miyabi explained "I ran into him back at the Yuki Onna village, he's powerful enough to have gotten the jump on me, and nearly killed Kaluha. From what information I've managed to piece together, he's a Jinchuruki of a beast known only as Jubi. And appears to be romantically involved with the Yuki Onna Mizore Shirayuki and with Moka as well. He's powerful and quite interesting."
"Naruto Uzumaki… As I thought, then no doubt, as her mother, I must welcome the important man that Moka has brought to me." Gyokuro smiled as she clapped her hands together, signaling the arrival of the rest of the subdivision leaders "It would seem that today, we will also be having a very warm welcoming party."
"Heh, how rare." Miyabi chuckled "Even if it was a meeting, to have the leaders of all six subdivisions here. They really did pick a bad day to sneak in here."
Stepping off the stairs into sub level 2 the group glanced around as they kept moving forward, the temperature having dropped much lower compared to the upper levels. The landing area was a large open space that connected to an oval shaped corridor, the width being more than forty feet long and easily twenty feet overhead.
"This is the second floor of the basement. It seems like there's less people as we go, just like Ruby-san said." Kurumu noted as they walked.
"Yeah, but the eeriness of this place keeps rising." Yukari added as she shivered a bit at the cold.
Naruto kept glancing around, his body tense as they kept walking, prompting Mizore to speak to him quietly.
"What's wrong Naruto-kun?"
"Not sure. Alucard's presence is too strong, so I could be wrong, but I keep sensing something down here nearby. Something strong." Naruto explained quietly "Might just be jumpy."
No sooner had he said those words when streaks of electricity went by them along the floor and walls, heading towards a point ahead of them.
"Oh, you have some good senses kid." A voice chuckled as more electricity gathered, beginning to take on a humanoid shape "But it's too late. I'll have all of you die here."
There was a blinding flash of light as the form solidified, with a powerful blast pushing everyone back. As the light dimmed they saw the shattered remains of an ice shield in front of them all as Naruto still stood ahead of the group, the tips of his hair going back to translucency from a pale blue color. Across from them now stood a tall man with long yellow hair going down to his waist, two vertical scars parallel to each other starting at the lower jaw and going up to mid cheek, and electric green eyes set in an angry scowl as he spoke up again in a booming voice.
"Damn it… It's annoying how Gyokuro just orders us leaders around. To think that someone like me would have to deal with some rats." Shaking his head he looked at the group "I am the leader of the 5th subdivision, Raika. You rats, feel proud that you will be defeated by my hands."
"Cocky aren't we." Naruto chuckled as he prepared to fight.
"Leave this to me, Naruto-kun." Ruby said as she stepped forward.
"You sure about that?" Naruto asked as he glanced at Ruby "I'm more than willing to take him on."
"I know you are. But you did say that you didn't want to go all out just yet. Besides, we knew that the leaders would catch up to us from the very beginning, and it was me who said so vocally that we should proceed, correct? At our current stage, we have a chance of winning. I say it because I truly believe so. Therefore, I shall be the first, to prove that I am right."
Naruto only chuckled as he stepped back and nodded "Kick his ass."
"Who are you?" Raika asked as Ruby stood a few feet away from him, her grimoire in her hands.
"Ruby Toujou, your opponent. Nice to meet you, Raika-san." Ruby nodded respectfully.
Raika stared at Ruby for a moment before bursting out in a bellowing laugh that caused Ruby to twitch at the sheer volume.
"My opponent is one woman?! What a joke!" He roared.
"I'm not joking. Besides, you are alone as well." Ruby remarked, getting Raika to stop laughing, though his grin was still there.
"Seriously, there's no helping you. You can't even see through how strong your opponent is." As Raika said this electricity sparked along his hands and body as he began to reveal his full strength, the sheer power sending a blast of wind out that began blowing Ruby's hair back as the young woman stood ready to fight "If you don't understand, then I'll have to beat it into that body of yours. I'll show you just how foolish and conceited you truly are." As he spoke the electricity began forming a large sphere in between his hands "I'll blow you away in an instant! Electro Asyl-Bop!"
What happened next would have been too fast for almost anyone to follow, but for those that had been training with Naruto they saw the rush easily enough as the electric sphere was used by his left hand as he slammed into Ruby, sending her up into the air as the electricity hit her before she crashed down to the ground.
"My power is Lightning. Something that no one can see through. A simple yet ultimate power." Raika explained as he walked over to the downed Ruby, grabbing her head as he lifted her up and sent more electricity into the witch "How do you like it? Do you understand now? Even if all of you come at me, it's impossible to defeat me. The compensation for your conceitedness is large. Die and regret your own foolishness."
Naruto only shook his head as he could feel the girls looking on in horror at the scene in front of him.
"Any day now Ruby." He muttered quietly.
"Hey. This surely can't be your full strength right?" Ruby asked, getting Raika to twitch in shock at the fact that the girl seemed to be completely unharmed, causing him to drop Ruby as he jumped back a step to look at the witch warily.
"You…?" Raika growled as he stared at Ruby.
"If that is really all you have, I guess I don't even need to defend." Ruby continued.
"Or rather… I wouldn't mind if you keep attacking me with that." Ruby smiled, her face blushing "I mean, I don't hate being shocked."
"Damn…" Jubi whistled.
"I know she's a masochist, but this feels like we are pushing into uncharted waters." Naruto added.
"You know what they say. Sticks and stones may break her bones, but whips and chains excite her." Jubi chuckled.
"I'm sure of it after that. Even if you are one of the Leaders, you're no longer an opponent we can't take on. It just shows how much stronger we've become." Ruby noted as she opened her grimoire "Now then, it's my turn to take the initiative." Raika's posture was aloof as he stood across from her, but the set of his shoulders and the slight bending of his knees showed that he wasn't taking Ruby lightly as her grimoire flipped to a page as she pulled out a black talisman "Leader of the 5th subdivision, Raika-san. Do you enjoy making things?"
"Huh?" Raika blinked "What are you on about?"
"I enjoy it." Ruby continued, a whimsical look on her face "With things you want but you can't get, you have no choice but to make them. When I was small, as a witch growing up alone, the thing I tried to make with my magic was Friends. Having said that, all I made at first was small rocks and bits of clay. Even as I improved at magic it was just bugs and plants. Even so, I recorded the results of my various attempts, of my successes, I recorded the recipes in the form of a talisman. Eventually the recipes started to pile up, and a great witch complied them for me. Into one magical book. This is what I use to call forth my Friends, my recipe book." Holding the talisman over her grimoire the pages stopped turning and the talisman held between her fingers began to transform, taking on the form of a crow that now flapped its wings just over Ruby's arm.
"Wow… Interesting." Raika mused as he looked at the bird "But it's just one crow. It's nothing more than something for show."
"One?" Ruby asked as she moved her left arm across her body and several hundred talismans appeared, rising up and circling around her in an intricate pattern "Is that what you really think?" Each of the talismans now began its transformation into a crow as Ruby continued explaining "Using the talisman as an intermediary, I can summon the Friends recorded in this book whenever I want and in whatever quantity that I want. This is my ability, Talking Book!" With a slight pivot and putting her left arm behind her, the murder of crows launched towards Raika who had still not moved a single inch.
"Worthless. Like I said, it's just for show." Raika growled as he swung his left arm in front of him, sending bolts of electricity out that obliterated the murder as well as sending bolts flying into Ruby "That timid way of fighting, those frail talismans, are nothing more than scrap paper before my lightning!" The electricity continued to strike as the hundreds of crows were returned to their talisman forms "Strength is power, and those without power should just disappear!" Rushing forward Raika had his right arm raised up with more electricity at the ready to try and strike down Ruby, who only had a small grin on her face as her grimoire moved to a different page.
"Oh my, but that's not all I have to show you." Ruby remarked as the talismans began changing into something completely different now, transforming into a powder like substance "Chain Magic. This time I changed the crows into aluminum powder. I've scattered fixed concentrations of it in the air around you. And when you add your lightning to it, do you know what happens?" As Ruby asked the questions the electricity of Raika struck the powder, creating a spark "A dust explosion." The ensuing explosion was a powerful blast, obscuring the enemy youkai as the blast wave pushed the girls back as Naruto's shadow rose up to cover his eyes "There is no strength that surpasses power. I think so too." Ruby noted as the debris began to settle "However to have the upper hand in battle, you have to use your head too… Right?"
Ruby turned and began walking back towards them, a tired smile on her face as she did while Naruto's shadow dropped back down, and he smiled at her.
"Guess that special training back in Hong Kong paid off huh?" Naruto noted.
"Oh yes. It was just as good, no, even better than those shocks." Ruby grinned now, a slight shiver running down her body as she remembered the training.
"Please beat me until I can't take anymore." Ruby declared as she stood upon the neon sign over the street, her declaration causing Naruto and Touhou Fuhai to both stop their training, with the blond having his shadow extend out to support his footing as he removed the blindfold that was over his eyes as the elderly Touhou Fuhai landed on his own neon sign across from the witch.
"Ruby…" The elderly youkai began "You are a masochist down to your roots. If that's what you want then please take it somewhere else. I'm not a sadist."
"I'm not talking about S&M play! Please don't go Touhou Fuhai-sama!" Ruby exclaimed with a fiery blush, getting the older youkai to pause as even Naruto looked rather sheepish at the direction that the conversation had been going "My Talking Book is an ability with infinite possibilities; however it isn't suited for one-on-one combat. Depending on the opponent it could all be over if they could blow away my talismans like they were paper. Which is why I need a strategy to exceed that! But to achieve that I need as much battle experience as possible."
"If you know that then your problems would be over if you just fight from the back. Why would a witch such as yourself need to fight one-on-one?" Touhou Fuhai asked.
Ruby was silent a moment as she looked down and then up at Naruto who was sitting on his extended shadow, a concerned look on his face but his eyes showing his unwavering support.
"Like Fairy Tale, I used to be an enemy to Naruto and the others as well." Ruby began, getting Touhou Fuhai to twitch a bit in surprise "Hating humans and trying to destroy their town. I clashed and shed blood with everyone. But Naruto and everyone else took me in and were the first ones to call me their friend. The one thing I couldn't achieve, no matter what kind of magic I used. It's why I want to become stronger. So I can use myself as a shield and fight on the frontlines. So that I can protect my important friends."
"You're already a lot closer in that regard than you might think Ruby." Naruto said dropping down to a neon sign near her "We've already been sparring against each other for close to a year now. Your battle instincts are already sharp. What you need is a new perspective, one that Touhou Fuhai can give you, and a target to test them on. One that I am more than happy to give as well."
"Naruto…" Ruby smiled.
"You're one of my precious people too. If this is what you really want, I'll do everything that I can to help you achieve it." Naruto nodded resolutely as the elder youkai just sighed as he prepared to help the witch expand her own impressive power.
There was minimal warning of what was coming, and the only thing that saved Ruby from being impaled on the incoming claw was Naruto's shadow rising up in tendrils that wrapped around the claw and pulled it down to the ground as Ruby turned at the last second to see that emerging from the smoke of the dust explosion was Raika, having transformed into his true youkai form. His face had elongated and stretched outward like a bear's with black marks going around his eyes and along his cheekbones, with long pointed teeth now filling his mouth, and two horns grew from his temples. His hair had grown longer and was now down to his waist as he now stood at closer to ten feet tall. His upper body was bare of clothing, revealing the black tiger like markings along his body along with the increased bulk of his upper body. His arms were larger now and had grown longer to make it easier for him to move on all fours and the nails of his fingertips having become sharpened points, and extending from his elbows and the front and back of each shoulder blade now was a bone like protrusion. The most defining feature of this beast though was the electricity that was cascading across his entire body, revealing just how much more powerful he had become.
"Pieces of trash, now you've gotten me really angry." Raika growled as he snapped his arm free of the shadow "There's no holding back anymore. Since ancient times humans have always feared my strength. Now it's time for you to have a taste of it. I am a Raijuu! The incarnation of lightning that lives in the heavens and tears down the land!"
Naruto frowned as a memory of the Jubi's clicked into place and as it did he grinned a bit as he took a step forward, getting the beast to grin as he looked at him.
"Ah, the bastard descendant of the beast and the bird." Naruto said as he saw Raika's eyes widened for a moment before he roared in anger, disappearing into electricity and trying to blindside Naruto from behind how had already moved "Not even a true divine descendant. A third generation reject that they wouldn't acknowledge."
"You bastard!" Raika roared as he vanished again, only to have Naruto flipping away as he reappeared and slammed a clawed hand into the floor "Who are you?!"
"A true god." Naruto chuckled as he skidded to a stop "Turning into electricity, neat trick. You're a lot faster now, that's for sure. But against me you might as well be telegraphing your movements."
"What?!" Raika growled as Naruto only chuckled as glanced over at Ruby who had already finished her prep.
"But I'm not your opponent right now." Naruto said as he stepped back and nodded to Ruby "I trust you Ruby. Do you still think you can win?"
"Yes." Ruby said as her six wings appeared behind her as she started her spell "I'll show you, Raika-san, something that will even erase the casters life. My forbidden ultimate magic. I'm taking you with me Raika!"
Taking flight she rose up before diving towards Raika who raised a hand, electricity sparking off of his claws for a bit before they began to shoot towards Ruby.
"You just don't know when to give up." Raika sneered "Whatever you try will be useless. No matter what kind of attack you have, it won't hurt me!"
"Naruto?! Why aren't you stopping her?!" Fangfang shouted.
"This is her fight." Naruto said as he never took his eyes off of Ruby who had stopped midair as she began her spell "If I stopped her here, or took this fight from her, all it would do is show her that I don't trust her strength. That I don't believe that she is strong enough to fight for her ideals. I won't do that to her. I won't insult her like that."
"What is she doing though?" Yukari asked in shock as the spell had begun, with the lower pair of wings and the middle pair of wings having begun wrapping around her arms, legs and body, taking on the form of armor of some kind.
"Her ultimate spell. One that has her gambling with her own life if she isn't careful. The culmination of her training with me and Touhou Fuhai." Naruto replied, "You're about to see Ruby at her very best."
"I'll show you, the greatest self-bondage type forbidden magic. Iron Maiden!" Ruby declared as the spell was completed as she hovered across from Raika. Silver armor now covered her chest and legs while on her arms were gigantic, silver clawed gauntlets with palms as wide as Ruby herself, and her final set of wings having now turned into a silver color as well. Raika stood there staring at the witch for a moment as he saw the armor, seemingly unable to determine the true threat that lurked within it, prompting a small grin from Ruby.
"Don't think that this is a normal suit of armor. The Iron Maiden has the ability to forcibly raise every stat of the wearer." Ruby explained as she twisted at the waist, so she was almost bowing as she raised her right arm over her head and clenched the claws into a fist "See, like this." There was only a slight flicker of movement as Ruby launched forward, her fist slamming into Raika and then down into the floor, pulverizing it with ease.
"That won't work." Mizore said "He's using that technique."
As as she said this Raika reappeared behind Ruby, only for the witch to turn and send her left fist towards him, just missing his head as her strike grazed his neck and blew a large chunk of his hair off of his head, causing the Raijuu to disappear again.
"Doesn't matter. She's already pieced it together." Naruto chuckled.
"Pieced what?" Kurumu blinked.
"Lightning moves at over 93 miles a second. Assuming that his lightning is more natural than Raiton chakra his speed is likely too fast for him to control. So his destination won't change mid-route. And assuming he wants to change back into his real form he won't be able to maintain that kind of transformation for too long either." Naruto explained as Ruby turned and right as Raika reappeared slammed a vicious uppercut into his jaw, raising him up off of the floor as she rained more blows into his torso "That if you can track his movements, predict his end point, then you can land a blow against him."
"Wow, so cool!" Fangfang laughed "Or rather, wouldn't it have been simpler if you used that right from the start."
"No, she couldn't." Yukari said in shock as she saw Ruby's arm starting to shake a bit after having sent Raika flying again "At this rate, Ruby-san will…"
"Got it huh?" Naruto sighed shaking his head.
"I see. So that's the forbidden magic, huh?" Raika growled as he reappeared out of the rubble, standing a short distance from Ruby with blood coming from his mouth and nose "I'll commend you. You're the first to person to land a blow on me in this form. But too bad, your attack wasn't enough to put me down, though I will admit that it did hurt a bit." Pausing a moment to spit clear the blood in his mouth "But you on the other hand."
As Raika pointed towards Ruby blood erupted from her right arm in several places, indicating the damage that had been done to the girl, as she bit back a scream of pain.
"What happened?!" Fangfang exclaimed.
"That is the price she has to pay for this power." Naruto said quietly.
"You knew?!" Yukari exclaimed as she looked at Naruto.
"I helped her test it out." Naruto nodded "I knew the price, and so did she."
"What are you two talking about?" Kurumu asked in shock.
"That is a suit of armor that forcibly increases the users abilities but that causes an abnormal amount of strain on the body, enough to break tendons and tear muscles." Yukari explained.
"A name given to a medieval torture device." Naruto continued "Ruby picked the name, but I taught her how to control it."
"Control it?! She's destroying herself!" Kurumu exclaimed.
"Only if this fight keeps going." Naruto said calmly "If Ruby can take him down quickly enough then she can stop short of crippling herself permanently. If not…"
"But you could stop this!" Kurumu pressed.
"At the cost of Ruby's trust." Naruto countered "I might save her life, but sometimes there are things that are more important than our lives on the line. I won't take that from her, I won't let her think that I don't trust and believe in her. I know that she can win this."
Ruby smiled as she heard Naruto's words and looked at Raika with pure determination as she focused a moment and saw Raika blink as her entire presence changed, her stance shifting ever so slightly.
"I will be ending this fight now Raika-san." Ruby said simply as she flicked from sight again a fist slamming into Raika's back who only grinned as he disappeared from sight as Ruby shot up towards the ceiling and turned, sending out silver blades from her gauntlet that pieced the ground where Raika had appeared briefly before disappearing and reappearing above Ruby.
"Oh, you took a nice position." Raika laughed as he reappeared, hanging upside down behind Ruby "You thought that you could see where I teleported to from above? Kukuku, you didn't mess up even til your last moment." As Ruby turned Raika swung his right arm forward as he flipped upright, bringing the bone protrusion into Ruby's throat and knocking her off balance as he began sending his electricity out "Holding back isn't enough for you, right? In that case, take this. This can boil blood and dissolve meat. My greatest electricity. Ghost Bop!" The blast was blinding as the electricity traveled through the bone and straight into Ruby who could only let out a silent scream as the electricity hit her.
Moka glanced upward as she felt the area around her quiver with a powerful clash of two different energies, with one that she wasn't familiar with and another that she recognized.
"You can feel that violent clash of energies even in here. Are you curious as well, Moka?" Akua asked as she walked in, causing Moka to blink as she looked towards her eldest sister who was crossing a narrow walkway and moving across the spell seal "I heard that we have intruders inside this fortress. Seems like the battle's already underway in the levels above."
"Intruders? Don't tell me it's…" Moka blinked in shock as her eyes widened in worry as she finally placed the familiar youki.
"Yes, it's who you're thinking." Akua nodded "I've confirmed it through the surveillance cameras. They're faces I've seen before in Hong Kong." Pausing Akua turned to look up towards the massive Alucard "However, it seems like they're a little late. This is a barrier that will unlock the seal. As long as you are in it, it will unlock the seal before long, and at that moment Alucard will awaken. You can hear it can't you? The throbbing that desires destruction. His awakening has already started. No one can stop it anymore. The end of the world is near."
Moka could only stare at her sister and up towards the monstrous beast that towered over the two of them as she held the rosary with a trembling hand as she gathered her resolve.
"No. Since I hold the seal, perhaps I can stop it. All they need is a little time. If I can hold back Alucard, I'm sure everyone will come and lend me their strength." Moka said firmly.
Akua took a deep breath as she closed her eyes, opening them after a moment to reveal the dead and soulless eyes that wanted only destruction of everything that she didn't care about.
"It's no use. Every last one of your friends will be killed. None of them will be able to reach here. Besides, do you really think that you alone can do something about a monster like this? Even if you can hold back its awakening, the recoil will blow you to pieces."
"It's fine. Everyone is fighting, so I have to fight too." Moka replied firmly as a tear began to fall "I believe in them, and if they are going to be risking their lives, then I have to as well."
Right as Raika was about to turn to take the fight to the rest of their group the silver blades that had been extended from Ruby's armor moved and wrapped tightly around Raika's arm.
"Don't make me keep repeating myself. Lightning won't work on me" Ruby grinned weakly, her left eye shut to stop blood from one of the few remaining open wounds on her head from flowing into it as dried blood was around her mouth and cheek "That just now, was the ultimate pleasure."
"What the hell?!" Raika roared as more silver blades began wrapping around him "What are you?!"
"I was waiting for this to happen." Ruby grinned "Your teleport ability turns your body to lightning and allows you to move. Which means that it can only work in places where electricity can flow freely. On the other hand, air and my armor are insulators, where it is hard for electricity to flow through them. In other words there's nowhere electricity can flow to in midair. So? You can't teleport, can you? I've caught you Raika-san."
Raika only let out a growl in anger as Ruby moved into the second stage of the attack with her grimoire flipping to a new page in front of her as Raika began tearing at the bindings holding him in midair.
"Don't underestimate me kid! I can easily tear these apart!" he roared.
"Iron Maiden-Offensive Form: Seraphic Feathers!" Ruby declared as the armor over her arms turned back into dozens of silver blades, each of them piercing through Raika's chest and arms, ending any further fight from the 5th subdivision leader.
"N-no way… How could someone like me… And by a little girl…" Raika groaned out as he fell to the ground with a loud boom and a spray of blood.
"I told you. I've been putting my life on the line from the start. That's the difference in our determination." Ruby said as she started to walk away from the defeated youkai "Getting hit by you on purpose wasn't so bad either."