The pressure in the air was such that Ichigo could feel goosebumps forming over his skin, but at the same time, a sense of inexplicable trepidation.
A chill traveled down his back as he stared upon the smaller form of whatever Apacci, Sung-Sun, and Mila-Rose had created. The very area around it differed from all else.
It was heavy and thick with tension.
This was the name Ichigo had heard Apacci, Mila-Rose, and Sung-Sun call out prior, but the feeling now was entirely different from before. It was more controlled, more refined even, despite possessing a bestial wildness that bordered on monstrous.
Partly it had to do with the sword Ayon was wielding, giving off what no one else knew was a 'Divine' aura from the Zanpakuto spirit possessed within it, but mostly because the energy was above their level of existence to sense. Therefore, what could only be felt was an underlying sensation of suppression and awe from a higher state of being.
Ayon's 'mothers' loved it, sparkles forming in their eyes- the wellspring beginnings of maternal pride and ego inflating their perspectives.
The area was heated with a kind of primal ferocity and presence that sooner or later snapped Sung-Sun and Mila-Rose out of their daze enough to finally register Apacci's vain boasts. However, the words of protest and criticism about to escape their lips were silenced by the chilling wind of steadily increasing spiritual energy.
Ichigo's countenance grew muddled, lips twisting into a frown as he shielded his face from the onsetting storm.
An odd humming noise was echoing out from around Pernida.
Perhaps due to lacking a mouth, Pernida resorted to creating vocal frequency with the spiritual energy around it.
"…Interesting," Pernida spoke in that same disembodied voice. It was like the sound of scratching sand paper, or the screeching of chalk on a blackboard. "Hehehhehah…"
The eeriness of Pernida's chuckling was disturbing in its own right, but what Pernida did next caused everyone to narrow their eyes. Pernida's spiritual energy rose sharply as the very same nerve bundles it had shot into Ayon's larger form prior began to radiate with heat and light.
Beyond the miracle granted to Pernida from Yhwach, Pernida himself had his own unique abilities. As the former left hand of the Soul King, Pernida was made entirely of the power and flesh that the Royal Guard prided themselves on to pass through the Soul King palace's barriers. This granted him heightened defence and physical ability, but more than that was the type of existence that the Soul King was as this world's very anchor:
An information relay with knowledge of all things in the domain.
The Soul King was both everywhere and nowhere at all, making the conceptualization of his being rather arbitrary in a sense. Pernida as the Soul King's left hand inherited this uniqueness to encompass and accept all.
Beyond the power of C-The Compulsory, two abilities were Pernida's primary strength aside from his anatomical manipulations.
Organic Evolution, followed by Adaptive Replication.
These two skills were exactly what Pernida intended to demonstrate as the divide between it and the lower rabble.
Through Adaptive replication, Pernida could absorb and mimic information from objects.
Through Organic Evolution, Pernida could consume and gain the abilities, traits, and aspects from biomass. There was no opponent that he could not defeat in time.
As for Ayon's biomass and spiritual energy in its giant form, Pernida had plenty to work with.
"What's it doing?" Ichigo whispered to the person nearest to him, namely Aaroniero.
Rather than answer, a strangely pensive expression crossed Aaroniero's face when he noticed Pernida consuming Ayon's prior body mass. The process and the outcome were exceedingly familiar with him…
"Get ready!" was all Aaroniero could say in warning. "Bastard's like me!"
Aaroniero's words completely went over Ichigo's head, but not Apacci, Sung-Sun, and Mila-Rose who understood the implication.
"H-He's eating my baby boy?!" Apacci's eyes went bloodshot, Sung-Sun and Mila-Rose grabbing her by the arm before she could give Pernida a piece of her mind- literally.
Sung-Sun and Mila-Rose had no illusion that Pernida would quickly overpower Apacci and may even absorb her too, let alone her brain matter.
The only one seemingly unaffected by developments was Ayon's sleeker form.
Pernida's strength may have risen in accordance to Ayon's own, but there were certain properties that weren't copied. Namely, the power and legend of the Noble Phantasm in Ayon's hand aiding him in battle.
The aspect of divinity beyond the bounds of souls wasn't something that could be easily gleamed or recreated even through Pernida's adaptive replication. For what it was worth, the many nerves Ayon batted away with the axe-sword in defence of those behind him, merely accessed the composition of the axe-sword's make and nothing else.
It was made of stone.
It was black, a shade of obsidian.
The sides were blunt, and the jagged edge capable of forcing tearing through flesh and crushing bone regardless of sharpness.
In this case, it wasn't the sword that was unique, but the wielder that wielded the power of its legend that mattered.
A weapon was only as good as the person wielding it, and Ayon was no longer the same as he was before. In fact, 'Ayon' was now more of an auxiliary than a main component in the build fuelling a new concept known only by the name of Noble Phantasm:
Legends that span throughout the history of man, crystalized to embody the words and feats of stories past.
Yes, myth and lore were the conduit, the match and the fuse.
The mountain stands firm, attested to the task of twelve labours thought impossible yet accomplished regardless.
He who possessed the blood of Gods would need a divine mystery of the same level to even affect him.
Ayon could feel the presence of a steady presence enshrouded in madness influencing his actions, but even still, it felt right. In this blinding rage coursing through Ayon's veins, one purpose remained through the haze.
"Kick his ass! Mommy's watching behind you!"
Let the means crystalized in the words passed down through man, manifest here.
Death is not the end, but the beginning.
Ayon continued to bat several of Pernida's attacks, until finally, he just stopped and let them smash against his chest as a primal roar escaped his mouth.
Ting. Ting. Clang.
"-What kills you once, will no longer kill you again."
It was like hitting steel with flimsy needles.
Magic energy pulsed into Ayon through his grip on the axe-sword, his skin shifting to a tinted grey, the whites of his eyes flashing red.
God Hand, the Noble Phantasm of the myth of the hero Heracles, wielder of the sword in Ayon's hand, and a manifestation of the Zanpakuto Spirit held within.
Through the power enacted in this ability, the user's body was akin to a divine-class conceptual armour. Methods that killed him once, would no longer be able to kill him again for a total of eleven deaths representing the monumental achievement of the twelve labours of Greek mythology.
"W-What," was the first word out of everyone's mouths as they watched all of Pernida's ranged attacks bounce right off of Ayon's body.
It was only after Pernida stopped shooting and willed various hands to tear Ayon apart physically that Ayon even reacted. Even then, after seemingly getting the upper hand and fatally wounding Ayon by stabbing through him with blunt force, the same tactic no longer worked.
What started Pernida more than it was willing to admit, was that even the gift granted to him by Yhwach, the 'Compulsion,' was met with the same level of resistance while trying to kill Ayon in a similar manner as his larger form.
Yet this was impossible. None could deny the ability of the miracle granted upon him?
What even was this?
For the first time, a trace of doubt flickered across Pernida's eye. Don't underestimate it because it was just a hand, but it learned quickly as it analyzed Ayon in battle. One aspect stood out among the rest; it was practically impossible to kill Ayon in the same way twice.
"You…You…Annoying," Pernida rasped, shifting its strategy, only to be met with hand pressing down on its main body and dragging it across a nearby wall of the former Soul King's palace. Blood ruptured and stained the white tiles, cracked and crumbling.
It was barbaric.
A direct show of physical strength and might, and Mila-Rose was smiling so wide in pride and glee that her fangs were showing.
For the rest spectating, there was a simple conclusion that everyone inferred identical to Pernida's own thoughts.
No one knew how, including Apacci, Sung-Sun, and Mila-Rose, but Ayon would no longer die the same way twice.
A newly developed power?
"See!" Apacci abruptly felt her heart hammering rapidly in her chest despite nearly being blown away from the shockwave of Ayon and Pernida clashing. "That tenacity and vitality is all me. Me!"
A tick mark formed over Sung-Sun's brow, her eyes narrowing into slits before berating Apacci with a hiss. "All you? Do you not see the grace of Ayon's movements, the elegant flair of his sword? That's obviously me," she spoke snidely from the side, having regained her composure under Ayon's protection.
Mila-Rose blinked. "Bullshit, what elegance?! As if you bitches can't see the sheer ferocity and power in his strikes that neither of your puny muscles could generate. That's clearly from me!"
Apacci growled, butting heads with the other two and all trying to pull at each other's hair just to prove a point.
"Well, I have the good traits, you see that sleek pelt around his legs?" Apacci snapped, Sung-Sun's hand irritably pulling at her cheek. "That's me, exactly like my fur. He even has my horns and my temperament! I give the best traits!"
"No, my muscles! Do either of you even have an eight-pack beneath your flab?!" Mila-Rose shoved Apacci's face away, and irked Sung-Sun with the jab.
"How uncouth, you barbarians, seeing yet blind," Sung-Sun strained while trying to push both Mila-Rose and Apacci's heads down. "My Ayon's best traits are my style, my figure, my agility, and my sophistry!"
"Damn snake, you're sick in the head! You're the one who's blind!" Apacci and Mila-Rose growled simultaneously, pushing up against Sung-Sun's tyranny.
"Hey, stop pulling my hair!"
"Stop trying to scratch my eyes out!"
"Fuck, you're both just jealous that I'm best mom!"
In the distance a short way from Ayon and Pernida clashing, a figure suddenly felt somewhat lost as the behaviour of the other three began to devolve.
"W-What are they doing?" Ichigo stammered in shock, unable to comprehend how they can bicker in the midst of this all. "I know they created that monster, but shouldn't they know better?"
A hand suddenly patted Ichigo's shoulder from behind him. "Kaien?"
Aaroniero's features were stiff with shame, unable to even look Apacci, Sung-Sun, and Mila-Rose's way and wincing.
"For your sake cousin…Don't bother." Aaroniero advised almost exasperatedly before his features grew stern. "We have bigger things to consider, like how to tip the scales."
Aaroniero spectated the ensuing clash of Ayon and Pernida below with a critical eye.
Ayon would slice apart Pernida whenever he got close, but each time Pernida was halved, he'd replicate into several more bodies in a never-ending cycle. In the same vein, Pernida tried to obtain 'God Hand,' but found that the nerves he'd stuck to Ayon and the axe-sword itself didn't have this property to even copy.
What Pernida didn't understand, was that it was conceptual, derived from lore.
Hence, Pernida had no choice but to find other methods to kill Ayon eleven more times. The problem was, Ayon wasn't just going to stand there and take it.
Brushing the bottom of his chin, Aaroniero soon nodded to himself before shifting his attention back to Ichigo.
"Those two seem balanced, and if we can help somehow, we can win and aid the others." Aaroniero advised before considering how Ichigo could be of help to him. "Listen, there's something that I want to try. Can you help-"
Aaroniero's voice was suddenly drowned out all at once.
"Beat the shit out of him! Best Mommy's rooting for you!" Apacci's voice directly cut Aaroniero off, the three still squabbling yet presently united in this single aspect.
"Oh shut up Apacci, Ayon, crush him!" Mila-Rose hollered, grabbing the other two into headlocks, but missing Sung-Sun who slipped away.
Taking a breath, Sung-Sun raised a sleeve to cover the lower half of her face, pride and elation at Ayon's battle power surging. "Always so crass, the both of you...Ahem. AYON, FUCKING KILL THAT CUNT!"
Apacci and Mila-Rose blinked as they turned towards Sung-Sun, who stared owlishly at them, pressing her sleeve covering her mouth closer to her lips as the tops of her cheeks-tinged red. "What? Never seen an elegant woman before?"
Ichigo felt stunned, not by the three anymore, but by how used to all this 'Kaien' appeared.
"Like I was saying," Aaroniero said flatly, choosing to ignore the other three. "I need your help, cousin."
Gradually, Ichigo nodded.
This was insane.
No, actually, that was just Ichigo's common sense talking, but even he felt some form of trepidation when his cousin 'Kaien' subtly moved to apprehend one of Pernida's cut off appendages.
There was a small delay in which Pernida's cut part squirmed and writhed before ballooning up into a perfect replica of Pernida himself, but it was the moment 'Kaien' was waiting for.
"I know I know, I heard already!" Ichigo grumbled.
Ichigo's speed was far faster than Aaroniero's and he was also reasonably a lot more powerful in his present state as a horned Hollow. Therefore, the favour 'Kaien' had in mind was for him to get into a position to apprehend one of Pernida's squirming pieces cut off by Ayon while 'Kaien' finished his preparations.
Was this really going to work?
Without wasting anymore time, Ichigo put aside his sword and wrestled the forming bag of flesh in his grip while pressing it down with his spiritual energy. The way it writhed and bubbled felt like he was holding a ball of worms.
'Ichigo, to tell you the truth, I developed a new ability as a Hollow that lets me absorb the power of others, the ability devours much like this thing can. I'd like to give it a try, even a small part of him will do.'
'Kaien' had explained that he was like Ichigo, being part-hollow after his 'hollowfication.' The only difference being that he acquired a skill in the process.
"You know that this guy can absorb powers too, right?"
Aaroniero didn't answer. To him, it was always a battle of wills, and he was no stranger to wrestling control within himself for the position of main-conscience.
This shouldn't be any different, and something about the prospect of consuming part of Yhwach's spiritual energy granted to Pernida tickled at his ability's insatiable hunger.
"But that means I'd get strong enough to make a difference if I team up with that Ayon guy."
Ichigo frowned before he shook his head. "If you're going to try, just hurry up! This thing's disgusting and it won't be long before it gains control of itself."
"My pleasure, cousin," Aaroniero quickly finished his preparations and aimed his hand at Ichigo who was holding the piece of Pernida in place. "Now move!"
Ichigo didn't have to be told twice. Using his spiritual pressure to keep the writhing mass in place, he flash-stepped away before white hollow tentacles stretched out from Aaroniero's hand.
Wrapping around the piece of Pernida, Aaroniero immediately activated his core ability.
A pulse echoed within Aaroniero's mind as the tell-tale signs of a surge in power entering him caused his lips to tug upward. However, the moment was short-lived.
Aaroniero widened his eyes.
"Damn fucker, just hurry and die. You have no power here," Aaroniero muttered under his breath, focusing his all into his devouring ability.
It was a battle of wills concerning all of the absorbed personalities within Aaroniero against Pernida.
Veins popped over Aaroniero's skin, many bursting and splattering blood over his features everywhere before his knees began to wobble. He staggered, panting for breath, as the expression on his face grew fiercer and fiercer.
Great, now what?
Aaroniero craned his head to the side, only to see several spirit arrows coming his way. Apacci, Mila-Rose, and Sung-Sun were one thing, but Ayon showed no real regard for protecting anyone else.
Ichigo moved to defend. Wielding his sword, he pressed his forearm over the flat of the blade and began bouncing the attacks elsewhere. It felt as if he could handle the situation, his eyes tracking all the projectiles before him, but then reality began to hit that there was no end in sight. "Uh, Kaien, how long is this going to take?!"
Rather than answer, Aaroniero spat out blood, his eyes practically rolling to the back of his head as he keeled over, having nearly lost his footing.
'Fuck. Me? Lose? Impossible! Never!'
Aaroniero gnashed his teeth, inwardly seething while balling his hands into fists. Unfortunately, while the battle raged inside him, physically, his body was breaking down.
Finally, no longer able to support himself, Aaroniero tumbled forward while Ichigo continued defending him.
Before Aaroniero could start plummeting to the ground, he was roughly picked up like a sack of potatoes.
"Idiot," Apacci muttered as she appeared, hauling Aaroniero's ass to safety while the man in question groaned from the internal battle he was facing.
Turning towards Ichigo, Apacci yelled. "Asswipe! Follow me. My baby boy don't give no shit about you, but it won't matter if you're next to us!"
Apacci grunted and used Sonido before shifting her attention back on the greedy bastard beside her. "Have you never heard about not swallowing poison?"
Weakly, Aaroniero glared up before simply grunting out with much difficulty. "FucKa, ugh, oFf." His voice came disjointed, an odd mix of everything he'd consumed so far.
A tick formed over Apacci's forehead. Her temper had always been short-fused.
"Dipshit, I'll drop you, you just watch me! You're basically dying in there and you have the nerve to backtalk?"
Silence. Aaroniero no longer responded, too focused inwardly on himself, and unwilling to think of the consequence should he lose this inner war.
"Ha, fool," Apacci spat, frowning, but she did ease her grip around the areas where she could see Aaroniero injured from ruptured blood vessels.
If you asked Ichigo, Apacci was being considerate, but if you asked Apacci, she'd immediately say that she just didn't want a weakling's blood on her. Both were debatable, but nonetheless useless in contributing to any meaningful strategy.
Apacci pursed her lips while glancing back to where Ayon and Pernida continued fighting.
It was a simple case of helpless in the situation that put a damper on everyone's mood. Each blow from the combatants produced shockwaves that forced everyone else nearby to hunker down and shield their faces from Ayon and Pernida's clashing.
"Damn monster. There's no way he beats Ayon…" Apacci muttered under her breath.
The situation was going nowhere, and quickly. Worse, no one knew how long Ayon could maintain his level of power and skill given that Pernida didn't seem to tire.
Not wasting time, Apacci adjusted Aaroniero and hurried back to where Sung-Sun and Mila-Rose were, Ichigo trailing behind as they endured the pressure together.
Although they were safe as a group now, it didn't change the fact that they had to do something to tip the scales.
It was in this state of helplessness that an almost calculated and timely intervention intervened.
"-Seems like you're all having trouble?"
This voice? There was no one who couldn't recognize it, both friend and foe alike.
"Oi, it's that Aizen bastard!" Mila-Rose grumbled, searching if he was anywhere nearby but finding nothing. "What do you want?! As if we need your help. How are you even talking to us?"
"I am everywhere, yet not. The world is my domain between the bounds of illusion and reality."
Apacci's lip twitched irritably, her hands throwing Aaroniero into Sung-Sun's grip before she yelled into the air.
"Get to the point!"
"Impatient and impertinent are we, very well. I'm here to give you all a hint."
The area fell silent. It was certinaly true that Apacci, Mila-Rose, Sung-Sun, and Ichigo found themselves in an impasse in this battle, but to the extent of asking help from Aizen?
Apacci and Mila-Rose immediately made faces of consternation, whilst Sung-Sun sighed heavily just imagining what lady Harribel would think. Still, this battle wasn't just about pride or pettiness. This was for Lady Harribel and Shirou's future.
"A hint?" Sung-Sun asked while clicking her tongue.
"That woman you call Silent, you will need her. Research and observation of data from the Quincy's first encounter with her indicate an anomaly. She is the 'Zero.'"
Silent was a name that everyone who stayed in the Vasto of White's lands knew at least from hearsay from the invasion of Soul Society, or personally for those close to her.
Ichigo was no exception, just that it took him longer to process Aizen's words. "Silent, isn't that- Hey what the hell do you mean?!"
"I mean that in a literal sense, obviously. The oddities and anomalies surrounding her make her the key pawn against Quincy. The anti-thesis. Her presence alone should be enough whether she's aware of it or not."
"No," Ichigo immediately denied, quickly understanding what Aizen was implying that they do.
"It's up to you whether you trust me or not, but do you all really have the luxury of doubt, let alone those around you?"
Aizen was right, everyone on scene was growing pensive.
Pernida was a Quincy that could use the spiritual energy around him to refuel himself if need be. Then there was also his unique power and abilities that allowed him to replicate information gleamed from his nerves or consumed.
Ayon may be strong, but given enough time, Ayon's body wouldn't last.
None knew this better than Ayon's 'mothers' who contributed the flesh and energy to create Ayon.
Gradually, Apacci glanced down in the direction of the Soul King's podium followed by Mila-Rose, while Sung-Sun appeared deep in thought. This was an action that Ichigo didn't miss, but he also knew who was the more impulsive of the three.
He flash-stepped, appearing next to Apacci and grabbing her wrist.
Apacci glanced at Ichigo, then back towards the Soul King's podium, then at him again, then back. She grimaced, wrestling her wrist out of Ichigo's grip and turning away from Ichigo. It was almost like she was reluctantly agreeing, but this simply wasn't the case.
If one asked Apacci whether she'd listen more to Aizen's words, or Ichigo's well, the answer was explicit when it seemed that Shirou trusted Aizen enough but had said nothing about Ichigo yet.
Apacci roughly shoved Ichigo, and grudgingly scowled. "Sorry, but it's not up to you."
Apacci dived, shifting forward in a huge burst of Sonido.
"Wait!" Ichigo reached out, but he only grabbed empty air. "Dammit!"
Ichigo gave chase, quickly catching up to Apacci with his greater speed, but Apacci already had a head start and the distance that the two covered in the meantime was more than enough.
So, what if Ichigo caught up and tackled Apacci to the floor of the Soul King's podium if Apacci was already where she wanted to be?
Grunting as Ichigo pinned her onto the ground, Apacci craned her neck up from her position to stare at the person she was looking for in the crowd of wary Soul Reapers still here in a daze.
"Silent!" Apacci called out grimly, pissed off that Ichigo kept trying to cover her mouth and muffle her words. It got to the point that she could taste his fingers whenever she opened her mouth! "The hell you put in my mouth?! I'll bite it! I swear I'll bite it off so let go!"
Snapping at each other, Apacci eventually managed to get in a headbutt from Ichigo's half-hearted measures which gave her enough space for an opportunity to once again address Silent.
"Silent! I don't fuckin know why, but that Aizen bastard said that we need you for this. As one of us, what are you doing standing over there-?!"
Ichigo once more managed to muffled Apacci's words, but it was already too late. The intent was delivered, but oddly enough, Silent wasn't the first to react.
"Aizen?!" Kisuke, the Vizard, and the captains present immediately tensed at the name, Isshin more so when he noticed Silent's tell-tale signs.
The hairs on the back of Isshin's neck raised.
Silent shook her head, giving no time for anyone to try and dissuade her, including Karin who kept looking from Ichigo pinning a woman to the floor, then back to Silent.
Of course, Silent didn't really trust Aizen as Masaki Kurosaki, but in her time as Silent, she knew that Aizen wasn't one to speak meaninglessly.
"M-Masaki, you can't be serious?"
Silent glanced at Isshin, and smiled wryly, nodding ever so slowly before gesturing for Ichigo to get off of Apacci.
"M-Mom, I can handle this! I've grown strong. I'm not the kid you used to know!"
Silent didn't listen and softly shook her head again.
There was a debt of gratitude she could never pay back, and shirking away when danger comes was something she couldn't bring herself to do.
As a member of the Vasto of White's lands, she knew what had to be done.
Ichigo, Isshin, and even Karin had fought their battles.
This was hers, as a former human and a Quincy.
Moreover, what mother would risk her family's life before her own?
Light flashed, a mixture of searing heat born from the clashing of pressure and roars of maddened rage.
Ayon hefted the axe-sword over a single shoulder, and cleaved down, once more bifurcating the Pernida before him into two. Reforming in their masses, more of Pernida inevitably emerged from the pieces.
By now there were practically thousands of left hands wielding spiritual bows populating the entire area of this battlefield. Volley upon volley of spiritual attacks came down like rain, many batted away in annoyance while the rest hit their mark but left little damage.
"You annoying-" Pernida was cut off by another solid strike.
Regardless, the stalemate continued with neither side truly getting the edge over the other in this instance. However, Pernida was assured of victory. Although difficult to sense in to the storm of spiritual energy, Ayon's power was gradually beginning to decline through exhaustion.
Pernida wouldn't have this problem, making it only a matter of time before the situation was dealt with. Of course, Pernida had the mind to aim for Mila-Rose and Sung-Sun whom Apacci and Ichigo had left behind with Aaroniero, but Ayon's fierceness elevated immensely when they were targeted. It was to the point that there was no way to get passed him.
Pernida had never imagined himself to be so hard pressed. It was a stain, a blemish on his impeccable record.
"Die!" Pernida shot his nerves at Ayon once again, this time choosing to shoot them around him towards his surroundings.
Massive spiritual walls ejected from the palace were immediately conformed to Pernida's will and compacted around Ayon like a ball in an attempt to crush him.
A primal roar was the only response, followed by an obsidian axe-sword piercing through the walls made of spiritually resistant stone.
Pernida would never admit it, but it was starting to feel like he was going up against his fellow compatriot, Gerrard Valkyrie and his absurd power of miracles.
Why won't this thing die?
Unbeknownst to Pernida, but the situation was about to change rapidly.
Apacci returned, Ichigo trailing behind her along with a new addition that had Yhwach fighting in the distance suddenly perking his gaze up in solemnity.
Like Aizen had advised, Silent had arrived on the battlefield, participating in this all for the first time.
Pernida was confused at the sudden uneasiness it felt, but had no explanation as to why- this was quickly rectified.
A spiritual bow formed in Silent's hands, her veins filling with spiritual energy and shining a dull blue in a Quincy technique that could harden and elevate the physical state of the body.
"A…Quincy?" Pernida rasped at the implication, trying to understand how it was possible without Yhwach's designation. In fact, it was impossible, but the sight was right before it regardless.
Silent fired upon a squirming mass cut off by Ayon, and suddenly Pernida shuddered.
The feeling was similar in that Pernida felt his power and spiritual energy being sapped from him and stored presumably within this vagrant Quincy.
"Y-You…what…are…you? What…have…you…done?" Pernida's lone eye widened, noting Silent's own confusion on her face.
Aizen never spoke without reason, and more and more, Apacci, Mila-Rose, and Sung-Sun had to grudgingly concede to the level of Aizen's wit and preparation.
This too was a designation, but not something given as an alphabet from Yhwach, but a number to revert everything to the beginning.
A foreign sense of dread began to manifest in Pernida. If there was one thing it knew, a Quincy's power would never take effect against another Quincy. Why? Who was she? What reason did she have to be on the enemy's side and not the emperor?
Regardless, this wasn't good.
Pernida felt his very existence threatened from just being near Silent and began to gradually retreat.
Silent fired another arrow, but Pernida easily batted it aside. It was one thing for Silent to shoot at Pernida's dismembered parts, but less he spread himself out, the denser Pernida's spiritual energy was to ward away attacks.
It was too dangerous to split any-
This damn beast!
Pernida's eye widened in alarm.
Ayon felt it then…what it needed to do from observation and a prompting from the influence of the axe-sword.
Now was the time.
The opportunity for victory was here.
Subtly, Ayon's body moved and entered a battle stance, sword held over his shoulder, knees bent, feet waist-length apart.
"What's my boy doing?" Apacci muttered upon noticing Ayon's change.
"It's a stance, obviously, and that's my baby boy," Sung-Sun chided.
Uncharacteristically quiet, Mila-Rose was looking higher up towards the world's sky. Lightning seemed to flash. Mila-Rose opened her palms up and felt droplets hitting them softly.
Rain, here of all places?
In the next moment, the illusory sound of thunder began to echo and drum in a rhythmic beat that reverberated within the chest. Everywhere, everyone fighting took a moment to glance over. It was small, but a presence that seemed similar to Yhwach, Shirou, and Aizen's current state itself could be felt.
The presence of the divine and the legend matching with myth and lore were set. The prerequisites to enact a myth falling into place.
Ayon's muscles rippled, a cloud of magic energy surrounding him to reveal a figure in the mist that harboured a gaze that paralyzed Pernida in place.
The strength of a Noble Phantasm would only ever increase if brought about in the very setting of its use.
A monster that could never die even after beheading in a form of limitless replication.
A figure that stood up and defeated that beast.
The son of the King of the Olympian Gods, and the heir of thunder and lightning who would become a god.
It was the song of Heracles and the Hydra.
Slay the impossible, achieve the unimaginable.
It wasn't Sonido, nor Shunpo, but something much more outside the realm of souls and mortality.
For the first time, Ayon spoke.
"The Shooting Hundred Heads."
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The Lonely Peak
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