You know what's the thing about these battles? I keep rewriting them over and over. Every time I touch them, they come out differently, but none has been thought over as many times as this one, right here. It's good training (and patience) exercise, but it's never been a good measuring stick for my writing because it's always here and there. Shows me how much my writing gets better or worse as I go along, as well as what my vices and tendencies are. In sum, a good tool to know myself better as a writer, mediocre as this is. Anyway, I do remember to have told you to listen to Unavoidable Battle last time this was written... well, that still stands. So do it. please.
After a heated battle against Jin, the team ascended some more floors, and on the 262th floor, Akihiko's eyes lit up on fire, as they were finally met with the sight of Takaya. The man that ended his best friend's life.
"Is the top of Tartarus past here?" The grey haired boxer asked as he stepped forward.
"Then let them through."
"Yeah! Let us th- what? What do you mean by 'them', senpai?" Junpei asked, puzzled.
"You guys go on ahead. I have a score to settle here." Akihiko stated. His tone showing an unfaltering, almost blind determination.
"Senpai, we-" Minato tried to talk him out of this, but was cut short by a glare. It was a glare so intense, it shook his very soul. The fire in Sanada's eyes quickly burned every ounce of hope he had of changing that decision.
He eventually shrugged and commanded.
"Guys, let's go."
"But senpai, we're not leaving you behind!" Yukari yelled. No way she was letting him fight Takaya alone. Sure, her senpai was very strong, but still, that would be a difficult fight.
"Go." Akihiko glared at her and one-worded. If anyone tried to stop him, he was going to kill that person too.
Mitsuru stood quiet. Akihiko had told her his intentions earlier today, and she wasn't going to stop him. He knew very well that he could die in the fight, but it was something that he had to do. He told her that this was not just a battle against the man that ended Shinji's life, it was also a battle against the past him that let his sister die. All of his nightmares would end that day, all of his inner and outer demons would die by his hands.
She had faith in him, but it still hurt to leave him like that.
She lowered her head, and was the first to run past Takaya. The others stared at her, and she didn't look back. Minato was the next to take his leave. The others, then, followed suit. Fuuka was the last, and when she reached the stairs, she looked back at Akihiko, who didn't even look her way, then turned on her heels again and climbed the rest of the steps.
Now, only the boxer and the leader of the late Strega were standing on the white floor of the last block of Tartarus.
Raising his chin in a manner so arrogant, it made Akihiko want to spit in his face, Takaya spoke. "Do you seek revenge?"
"I seek your death. I won't leave this place without your blood in my hands." Sanada retorted, thunder behind each word.
"Ahhh, the sweet taste of vengeance. It slowly consumes your mind, making you forget about everything around you, and sends you on a blind lust for power and blood..." Takaya trailed off. That, was truly a way to live the moment. To ignore everything around you, and only strive to quench your thirst for blood... "I once felt that, too. However, you are not worthy of this glorious sensation. I shall send you to meet your loved ones."
"Shut up. Save your breath for your last words!" Akihiko said while taking off his gloves.
He wanted to feel the bastard's blood on his bare fists.
"Come, then." Takaya took out his revolver and aimed at Akihiko. "I will show you what awaits at the end of every path." He spun the cylinder of his gun and readied his shot.
Akihiko's instinct was that of a wolf. He was already set in motion, but stopped on his tracks and started weaving, as if daring his foe to take a shot. Akihiko was reading every movement, every breath, every thought of his opponent.
The trigger was pulled, but the boxer was out of the harm's way before Takaya even thought of shooting the bullet.
Shots were fired again, and again, each time Akihiko would get closer and closer, until Takaya's face was within his reach.
He then threw a lightning quick uppercut, effectively sending his opponent flying, and making him drop his revolver.
Takaya landed on his knees, and quickly readied himself on a kickboxing stance.
So he knew how to fight, huh?
"It appears you have more than just luck on your side." The former leader said as he wiped the blood trickling from the corner of his mouth.
"So be it!" He yelled as he darted towards Akihiko to throw a kick at the boxer's ribs, but it was blocked.
He then attempted a quick low swipe, which connected and made the silver haired rascal drop to one knee. That was his chance to deliver a strong roundhouse to his face.
The kick hurt, but Akihiko had run out of fucks to give about pain. He quickly recovered and used the kick's momentum to sway back, then come back around with a right swing at Takaya's face.
The punch connected, his opponent's yellow eyes almost rolled back into his head as he staggered back from the huge blow, more blood trailing from his mouth.
That was the perfect opportunity.
Akihiko delivered a right body blow, then a left hook, then a right straight, then he let loose with an endless roll of punches. He was so lost in his streak, he subconsciously infused his hands with thunder. Each strike was accurate, fast and sharp. His knuckles were the fangs of a wolf, ready to pierce the flesh of the hunter who killed his brother.
Soon, he stopped the roll, only to deliver a brutal haymaker, putting his whole weight into the blow.
There was blood in his hand now. It was cold, almost as if Takaya had been long since dead.
His foe was downed. Akihiko was ready to finish what he started, but Takaya was quick to swipe him off his feet, get up, and kick his ribs.
The boxer felt the blow and rolled out of the way of another kick. He got up, only to be met with a falling fist, which made him stagger back.
A right elbow then connected with his face, but that only served to wake him up. Takaya then followed up with a right kick, but Akihiko was quick to grab his leg and sweep the man off his feet.
Sanada infused his hand with thunder once more and while still holding Takaya's leg with his left hand, he threw a downward right directly at his face.
The punch was brutal. The yellow eye it struck was not recovering anytime soon.
Akihiko was about to follow up with another punch, but Takaya used his free leg to break free from his grasp.
He then used the little time he had to clutch his own head and fall to his knees to summon his persona, Hypnos. It flapped it's 'wings' and a ball of purple energy appeared above the rascal's head.
The boxer looked up, gritted his teeth, and rolled out of the way before the Megidola exploded. He pulled his Evoker out of it's holster, put it under his chin, and...
"Caesar!" He roared as he shot his own head and his persona appeared. Its owner simply thrust his hand forward, and Caesar knew what to do. It glided with incredible speed towards Hypnos, and used his sword to impale the greek god on the ground before removing it from Hypnos' torso, only to bring it down again, beheading Thanatos' brother.
Takaya felt an excruciating pain. He fell to his knees, clutching his throat.
"Astonishing... Perhaps I misjudged your strength..." He said, despite his pain. Such might, for the wrong purposes. What a waste.
Akihiko dismissed his persona and darted towards his stunned foe, who quickly got up and tried to brace himself, with the intent of blocking the incoming assault.
He then recalled what Shinjiro did once, when he lost his hammer in a fight against a gigas.
He took both of his feet off the ground, and shot them at Takaya's chest, on a powerful drop kick. It felt as though it wasn't only his feet connecting with the bastard's chest.
It also felt as if Shinji was kicking him, for dwelling so much in the past.
Akihiko landed on his arms, while Takaya was sent flying back. The boxer got up and gazed at the nigh unconscious Srega leader. The kick took all the air from his lungs, but he somehow was laughing, though he wasn't trying to get up.
"Haha... It seems... we are destined to be in opposition." He said through his bloody coughs. He was sure that kick managed to break some of his ribs, maybe even damaging something inside. That should not have been that strong. There was something else behind that kick, though he couldn't quite figure out what it was.
"How can you summon such power... even in the face of Death?"
"This power comes from my friends. Even if we are face to face with death itself, we punch it right in its ugly mug. That's how we live." Akihiko picked Takaya's revolver from the ground, and shot it's last bullet on the right side of his chest. A scream followed.
"This is just to increase the pain. You're dying by my hands." Sanada mounted on Takaya and started punching his face. One, two, three times. Blood. Four, five, six times, bones shattering. Ten, eleven, twelve times. Consciousness fading. And so it went, until he was sure that the man's very soul was dead. He got up and looked at his fists, all covered up with blood.
He raised his right hand, as if to show Shinji and Miki that he had changed, even if it was through the death of another person.
"Did you see that, Shinji?" He lowered his hand and looked at the path before him. He still had a battle left to fight. A battle for everyone's souls.
There, done. I rewrote this chapter, corrected a few mistakes and added some tweaks here and there. Read, enjoy. See ya.