Boom! It was in the core of a volcano where a guard stood with a rifle in hand. His employer was located inside of a base that was protected withi nthe volcano. He and his peers were located within the circumference of the mountainous region, all bearing rifles to eliminate any intruders on sight. The particular guard was sweating on an extreme level, his secretions having successfully drenched his entire attire. Yet there he stood perspiring, not wanting to be killed for disobedience. He scanned the area lazily like he always did, not expecting any trouble, as there was never any anyways. But wait! There went something, someone in black robes. The man ran until he caught up to the slow paced figure, pointing his barrel at the man's head. "Halt!" Said he, catching the attention of the other rifle men, causing them to point their weapons at the figure as well.
The figure turned its head towards the man slowly, the guard looking through its hollow mask to find a pair of eyes that should never be found. His body immediately shut down, causing him to fall backwards into the magma infested abyss below. One of the rifle men fired, the bullet vanishing before ti hit the figure to miraculously re appear inbetween the rifle men's own eyes and instantly kill him. The other riflemen were shocked to see one of their own seemingly die for no reason.
A moment later the hollow eye holes of the indivivudal ignited an evil green and none of the men could pull their eyes away from its light, and somehow, they were all instantly possessed. they all turned upon eachother and fired, each killing one another with only one remaining. the figure turned and left the volcano, leaving the possessed guard to enter his boss's base to kill him in his sleep.
The robed figured continued on until he left the region of plateaus to come upon an open field, unaware of who he was about to encounter.
Up ahead, another figure was sitting under the shady comfort of a tree. He sighed, as his eyes looked upon several clouds into the sky, as they floated past endlessly. They seemed to clump together, possibly meaning a storm was soon to come. His head drifted towards the right of the path he was sitting in front of, unware of the other cloaked figure's presence.
The first individual trudged onwards until he reached the tree that housed the second figure. The first individual turned towards the other one.
"I guess I'd better get goin'--" Ryuka slowly turned his eyes, and stopped abruptly, as they fell upon the person right in front of him.
At first, he didn't seem recognizable. The robe clothing his body seemed to cover every bit of it, revealing nothing of identity. Then, a dark aura seeped into Ryuka's senses, sending a bit of an involuntary chill down his spine. But he recognized it immediately, after so long ago. A smile came across his face, as he looked at the figure's face.
"And to think you would've been dead by now....Echo-itoko."
The robes vanished, revealing it to truly be a future Echo Uchiha. "You should know better, seeing how many fools are also alive."
Ryuka's smile remained, as he stared into the other Uchiha's eyes. "And as anti-social as ever...." He continued, shifting his head to one side, as if he wasn't talking to one of the former Yonkou. "Clearly, you weren't expecting to see me....otherwise, you'd already have killed me."
Echo folded his arms almost involuntarily. "Naturally." He spoke without interest or laziness.
"What brings you here?" Was the next question out of the older Uchiha's mouth, as he pulled himself up to a standing position, raising an eyebrow. "Other than Seireitou-ani?"
Echo raised an eyebrow. "Seireitou no longer concerns me, as if he ever did. My purpose is an unimportant one. I perform my own work, killing those not worthy to breathe." He sighed a bit. "So from the sound of your suffix I assume you've gotten back together with your friendship posse."
Ryuka's eyes narrowed comically. "First off, you make it sound like that's a bad thing. Secondly, get real." His voice was mixed with both sarcasm and mild annoyance. "Stop actin' so tough....you're starting to sound like the geezer now."
"You've let the Hyuga soften you up, haven't you?" Said Echo with seriousness. "How pathetic, I bet he's gotten you to think life's a baby shower just like him."
At first, Ryuka lowered his eyes at Echo at skepticism. Then, with a simple static noise, he disappeared, re-appearing right behind him, an Aoshan beaming from a pointed finger. "Is that so?" He asked, as the focus of power erupted from the tip, seemingly engulfing Echo in a blaze of spiritual energy.
It lasted for only ten seconds, before it cleared up, revealing only smoke. "Let's see if you're right....shall we?" His voice still held mild mirth, even as his skeptical expression faded into a more calmer one.
Ryuka grabbed his own throat as the smoke cleared up. "Half Yokai are we?" Said Echo, controlling him. Echo thrusted his fist to the side in a jabbing motion. After a moment passed it seemed as if a thousand of Echo's fists were surrounding Ryuka, all bashing him with incredible strength. But none of that pain compared to him trying to stop himself from dying at his own hands.
Ryuka's other hand grabbed his other one, slowly pulling it from his grasp. "Only half, pal." He replied, grinning. Pivoting on his foot, he struck Echo with a palm strike to the chin, knocking him off-balance. Then, he followed up with a punch to the stomach, sending him spinning into a tree. "Only half, Echo-ikoto." He replied, smirking, as the pain raced through his body like adrenaline.
"More than enough." Said Echo reappearing behind Ryuka, back to back. Echo held his elbow backwards, as if expecting something. A second later Ryuka went flying into it, sandwhiching his organs.
Ryuka spun around from the impact, and his hand grabbed Echo's offending arm, tightening his grip. His free hand, thrust out with immense force, slamming straight into Echo's spine, enough to make his vision shake violently for a few seconds. Ryuka then backflipped away, landing expertly on his feet.
Echo shrugged off the blow and lifted his arm, causing Ryuka to wince in pain. "Direct contact has its price." Said Echo as wisp-like discharges of Twilight radiated from his victim, causing his sweatglands to bleed as they exited forcefully.
Ryuka slapped a head onto one side of his face, smirking as his own Yokai energy immediately went into action, sealing up the blood vessels before they could expel any more of the crimson liquid. "Damn....I guess that means I can't fight you with my bare hands anymore...." He said, dropping his hand. His other one grasped the hilt of the slender Keibatsu, and unsheathed the sword. "I was startin' to have fun...."
"You were starting to fight ignorantly." Said Echo, grabbing Akujin's hilt.
Ryuka shook off the blood away from his arms and face in a calm manner, leaving only his clothing a stained red. He sighed. "Ah, Echo-ikoto.... you take things much too seriously." He replied.
"I see things with different eyes." Said Echo, scanning the blood covered area.
"True..." Ryuka's eyes gazed into Echo's, as he twirled his sword around like a light flail. "But we shouldn't act so....tense. This isn't a fight about morale, politics, revenge, or any of that....just a test of strength between you and me. We're not enemies...." He stopped spinning the sword, positioning it defensively across his person. "Just opponents."
"Of course." Said Echo, slowly drawing death's herald, Akujin.
Ryuka shifted his weight forward, breaking into a run. Within a few steps, he covered the distance between Echo and himself within seconds. A sword swing, and Keibatsu and Akujin clashed blades, initiating in a sword lock. Then, Ryuka broke it, executing a flurry of quick and accurate sword strikes.
Echo took his time slashing before he locked Keibatsu on one of Akujin's jagged ridges, in a position that reflected his eyes to the point where it flashed, blinding Ryuka. Al lthe same Echo's voice could be hear radiating. "What softened you up over time?" When all vision was clear it seemed as if three Echo's were now thrusting blades at him.
Ryuka retreated slightly, as he raised his sword to block one of Echo's attacks. He twisted his wrist, his other hand in his pocket, as he felt the blade rushing towards his body, the slight winds that came in contact with him. The last blow Echo landed resulted in another sword lock, as the two pushed against one another.
"Nothing softened me up..." Ryuka replied, as he grabbed the unjagged part of Akujin with his free hand. "But what's holding you back?" Then, he slid his blade against Echo's, moving it in an arc before landing a gash on the front of Echo's chest, resulting in a glop of blood spilling onto the ground. He pushed Akujin forward a bit before releasing, making Echo stagger back a little.
Before evaporating a wisp, carried away by the acoustics of a legion of souls crying out for help. It could be guessed that they were now in Akujin's world. Seconds later, a wisp enveloped the area in front of Ryuka and formed Kyashi, bleeding form a gash in her stomach. She held her hand out to Ryuka and began to beg him over and over to help her. She was cut short by a blade tip burtsing through her forehead, Echo's.
The Echo was silent but a larger scale of his voice could be heard. "I wouldn't trust you instincts here, I don't." Immediately four black javelins pierced the ground around Ryuka, each having glowing green veins coursing through them. Seconds later several apparitions appeared in front of him, trapped in the cage. They seemed to all take on the appearances of actual deceased people, each leaping onto Ryuka and beginning to consume him.
Ryuka frowned slightly, closing his eyes. The roaring of souls could be heard piercing through his ears as he focused. Then, they instantly fell deathly silent, as the feeling of claws in his skin seemed to fade away. He slowly opened his eyes, revealing himself standing in front of Echo. "I see....is that how it is?" He asked, as his mind pondered in thought.
A green moon fell, giving Echo's already fearsomely green eyes a putred glare that could probably pierce the thickest wall. "Sorry, but this isn't Genjutsu, it's a distortion of the natural realm, and in such cannot be negated by a field force."
Ryuka sighed, getting slightly annoyed at his misfortune. "I'm stuck in another distortion realm....and I have no idea how to break free." He looked around, as the cries of the souls returned to his ears. "If only I had 'Seireitou's brain...."
Instantly the realm dissipated as Echo was once more standing square with Ryuka. He waited a moment before saying: "You're right, fighting with such seriousness is pointless."
There was another moment of silence, before Ryuka spoke again, eye twitching slightly. "I know what you're thinking. For the moment...." He pointed to his eye. "My Kagirinaigan was damaged heavily during my previous fight with Suzaku...at least for the moment." He set his sword in a defensive stance. "Otherwise, I wouldn't have bothered to waste time brainstorming." He stared into Echo's eyes. "Are you going to keep fighting me like that....or are you going to fight like the Uchiha you are?"
"And that would be?" Said Echo, not sure anymore if Ryuka wanted a serious or friendly fight.
Ryuka smirked slightly, as he balanced the blade on his shoulder. "Let's get a little more serious. I want to see what the person who rivaled Seireitou's power could do."
Power of an Uchiha
"So be it." Said Echo before stating: "Hakumeigan". Immediately a massive array of power could be felt as the most powerful dojutsu in existence activated. Echo folded his arms as an embodiment of deceased evil rose from the earth, taking the form of a grossly held together apparition. Suddenly it blasted towards Ryuka, easily holding the ability to possess or destroy him.
Ryuka narrowed his eyes slightly, as he brought his sword back, before swinging it horizontally. A crescent-shaped wave of spiritual energy erupted from the tip, slicing straight through the apparition and dispelling its form. It rushed straight on at Echo, aiming to slice him in half.
Echo pointed his blade straight at the attack, splicing it into two and blasting his own javelin-shaped blast towards Ryuka, wisps branching off from it.
After shifting his head to let the javelin-like shot whiz past his head, Ryuka raised his sword with one hand, before swinging it down, unleashing a raw and spreading blast of spiritual energy. It glowed a brilliant purple, as the five fissures of spiritual energy raced at Echo, spreading outwards and ripping through the ground. One of them barely missed Echo, even severing the top of his hair slightly.
As it dissipated, it left large ditches into the ground, as Ryuka balanced the sword on his shoulder. "What's the matter, Echo?" He asked, his bangs covering his eyes. "I thought this was going to be a bit more serious." A small smirk was on his face. "Here you are, still going easy on me."
"Fine." Said Echo, not waiting a second before appearing right in front of Ryuka, giving the chance to grasp tha the was about to suffer. He vanished, reappearing to the side of Ryuka to slam into his jawbone wih his elbow, once again dis and reappearing to the other side to catch his head in the momentum of his first attack to slam him once again. As if that weren't enough he seemingly teleported once more behind him, crouched and springing out with his heel to blast Ryuka's back with quick and sheer force to send him spiralling through the air.
Echo finally folded his arms, twitching slightly before his foot appeared at machspeed over Ryuka's flying body to slam him into the ground for the finish. "Your move."
Ryuka's smirk faded, as his leg thrust up, kicking Echo straight in the chin with immense force to send him into the air. Getting up and sticking his blade tip into the ground, he teleported right behind Echo, upside down. Thrusting his legs, he slammed straight into Echo's back, then grabbed him by the shoulder and leg and twisting himself, throwing Echo into the ground with enough force to create a small crater. He landed on his feet, grasping the hilt of Akujin and pulling it out in an offensive stance.
There was a moment of silence, as he watched Echo slowly get up. "You haven't done a single thing to phase me yet...." He mused, wiping the smudge mark from his affected cheek. "Is simple hand-to-hand and mind torture all you can do?" A moment of silence passed over, as the wind blew softly.
The silence abruptly landed as Echo got up, stretched a moment, then outstretched his hand as Ryuka fell to his knees. "I thought you weren't stupid." Said Echo as instead of withdrawing the Twilight discharges, he used them to puppet Ryuka's body, sending him flying into the air with will power. Once he reached certain peak of heighth, a few hundred feet, Echo slammed him downwards through the air at ripping velocity. He then forced Ryuka to stab himself in the stomach with Akujin, driving it straight through him upon making contact with earth, sealing his fate against the now bloodstained soil.
Echo walked over towards Ryuka and kicked his body over, grabbing his blood drenched blade and stepping away.
Ryuka's cloak had fallen off, and as he heard Echo's steps fade. His body felt screaming pain all over, but he used his free hand to slowly push himself up. The wound in his stomach was slowly sealing up by his own Yoki energy, and so were his other wounds. But the blood stained his body, and he looked towards Echo, still grasping the blade of Keibatsu.
"Of course I'm not...." He said, breathing heavily as he pulled himself on his own two feet, although hunched over slightly. "Unlike you, I can catch on pretty quickly...." His blade was pulled up again, into a defensive stance.
"Petty insults make no difference to me." Said Echo as he apparently stood still, yet it seemed as if a fist was driven deep into Ryuka's wound. "But like you said, enough playing around." Echo used the Chakra Smithing abilities granted to the White Tiger to weave a wire of chakra, now coursing through Ryuka through his wound. In matter of seconds it was drawn through Ryuka's chakra network like a magnet. "Melt." Commanded Echo as the wire began to melt like hot iron, internally scaulding its already impaled victim from within his circulatory system.
Ryuka flinched visibly, but he felt his spiritual energy rushing through his body, overwhelming the internal weapon fused inside him. It was enough to completely obliterate the wire inside of his chakra network. He kept up his stance, standing straight up. "It's no petty insult..."
Instantly, a geyser of blood ripped from Echo's chest, spilling onto the crimson ground. "I learned it from Ryun..... from the first moment we had done hand-to-hand, I placed a moderate amount of my own chakra inside your body. Now it's running rampant inside of your own chakra network, like a terminal disease." He felt no smile come across his face, although a grim feeling of satisfaction was felt, as he pointed the sword blade at the wounded Uchiha.
"If you've ever taken physics, you'll know that when a more dominant element takes presence with another weaker one, the stronger overrides, taking the more subductive elements of the former." And in such, my presence is able to negate your weak attempt, and don't forget who taught Ryun that, who is the true master." Echo gripped Akujin. "and recall whenever you were stabbed by my blade, terible mistake. Waikyoku." Said Echo, mildly addressing a kinjutsu.
Ryuka's eyes widened, as he felt his nervous system pulsate. Then, they lowered slightly. "Another internal effect of the body..." He said analytically, staring at Echo. "This is starting to get old quick." He quickly jerked his head slightly down, then his eyes flashed a crimson color. Instantly, he regained control of his body, the crimson fading rapidly from his eyes as he stared at Echo.
Echo snapped his knuckles. "Go time." Said Echo as he conjured up a random type of pain, deciding on making Ryuka's pain receptors respond as if he were being devoured by rats. He then followed up by making him feel as if he were being stung by thousands of hornets. Finally he bent his nervous system into shutting down its' primary thought receptors, initially cutting off his opponent's ability to think.
Ryuka's mind immediately went blank, as his sword fell to his side, clattering to the ground. He could only stare blanklessly at Echo, before falling to the ground on his stomach, like a tree. His body twitched occasionally, as he lay there on his stomach like a beached whale.
"It's not finished yet." Echo narrowed his eyes and tightened his grip on Ryuka internally, shutting down his physical ability, making him a living vegetable. "I knew this was going to go too far the moment it started."
A moment of silence passed. Then, without warning, Ryuka's hand reached up and grabbed Echo by the collar of his shirt, bringing his face inches to his. Ryuka's lowered head slowly brought its way up, his eyes meeting Echo's. Instead of anger, his eyes held a mixture of calm and content. "Sorry, Echo-ikoto." He muttered. "It's just my nature."
He had a small smile on his face, as feeling in his body slowly came to him, allowing him to stand on his own two feet. "From the start of the fight, I knew that I would be no match for you. The power gap between you and I is obvious....this fight just told me that I just need to make myself stronger." The smile got slightly bigger, as he released his hold on Echo's collar. "I know you wouldn't care otherwise....but, thanks."
Echo glared into Ryuka's eyes for what seemed like an eternity, and with the sincerity of his complexion it looked as if he were about to slap him. Instead he slightly smirked, looking more laid back. "I wouldn't worry about power, it's not a path for those fond of their hearts." He brushed some dust off of his shoulder. "Perhaps we should get cleaned up." Said Echo, twitching and reappearing in fresh clothes. "Um, I'm not exactly a healing guru like Seireitou, but as long as you still have Yokai energy, I can heal you."
Echo held out his hand as Ryuka glowed green with Akujin's energy, decimating his bloodstains and wounds. "So I assume you've been getting along well."
Evan who was following the trace of power, ran up, but keept his distance from Echo.
"Echo....." he said to himself staring at him with his complete sharingan
Echo glanced to the side to see Evan, at this point not surprised to see him alive after so mny years. He merely folded his arms.
"I was going to meet Seireitou for something but this seems a liite more interesting" Evan deactivated his sharingan "I realy hope your not going to kill me"
Echo stared into Evan's eyes. "Why? Your life that important?" He said, not a hint of curiosity in his voice.
"Homicidle as ever," Evan looked over to Ryuka "I'm suprised you didn't kill Ryuka"
"We had a simple spar." Said Echo, agreeing with Evan.
"Alright then" Evan looked at Echo again "What do we do with Ryuka"
Ryuka merely looked over at Evan, raising an eyebrow and frowning slightly. He grasped the hilt of his Shikai blade, eyeing it carefully. Before Echo's control of his body, he had attempted to use Shikai by uttering the command "Defy". But it hadn't reverted back to its normal state. "It still has that constant-release state...." He thought.
"Oh Ryuka you don't seem happy to see me" Evan looked over to him again
Echo glanced at Ryuka's Keibatsu a moment and spoke calmly. "It's not the first time I've seen a permanent Shikai."
Ryuka merely stared at it, as he felt his back holster expanding, allowing him to sheathe it more fully. "I'm not surprised by the fact that it's a constant-release type.... but I didn't think it would retain that ability after my transformation." He admitted. He turned his eyes towards Evan. "What're you doing here, you hopeless idiot?" He asked calmly and casually.
"Probably just bored and needed someone to bother." Said Echo, lazying his gaze.
"Fine I'll just be going then" Evan starts to walk of, waving back.
Ryuka rolled his eyes, although a small smile crossed his face. "Say hi to Kyashi for me." He said.
"Do it yourself idiot" Evan replied. "I've got better things to do"
Ryuka's smile got wider, as he watched Evan's retreating form. "As you say, oh great Guardian." He turned towards Echo, raising his palm to his right. His cloak was mostly intact, although still blood-stained, as it flew into his hands.
"Anything else?" Said Echo, turning to Evan with an impatient voice.
"It all depends on how you mean that" Evan turns around.
Ryuka watched, as Evan turned to walk one step, before disappearing once again. He turned to face Echo. "It's funny, really."
"How so?" Said Echo curiously.
Ryuka's smile faded. "I had always seen you as a simple enemy....a demon born from Hell....one who only sought to kill without reason, only bloodlust." His back was turned to Echo. "All of a sudden, when I look at you now....it's almost as if I'm staring at a mirror image of myself." His head turned to look at the other Uchiha with a calm expression.
"If I had kept walking that dark path so long ago, I would've ended up the same as you: powerful....but seemingly hated by all." A soft breeze blew, as if to emphasize his words.
"I think you chose the right path. My mistake was made when I was seven, I was never able to make the decision of being good and evil on a mature level, a simple mistake decided my fate for me." He closed his eyes. "That's why I envy you, you were able to make that decision and explore both sides of life, unlike me."
Ryuka's eyes gazed at Echo for a moment, before he spoke again. "No one can truly know the difference between good and evil. Even I'm not sure if I'm on the path I wish to proceed." He turned his head back. "One can kill thousands of people, and still can be considered good. One can act against a higher power for the greater good of the people, but still would be seen as an evil attempting to spread heresy."
"Yes, but so many actions give one an impossible label to revoke. Each action builds up in a chain, and no matter how bad your desire is to turn around, the way other people perceive is seered into their head, not to be changed by mere words." Said Echo returningly.
A small smile crept up Ryuka's face. "When you put it that way, it merely sounds like the concept of good and evil is simply a way of judgment by others, even when the people that judge do not know who he or she really is, or ....seemingly a form of discrimination."
"Looks like your catching on to the scheme of things." Said Echo, smirking.
Ryuka raised both eyebrows, looking back at Echo and smiling inwardly. "I told you I catch on pretty quickly." He replied. "I'm not as clueless as people think I am."
"No, your Herane friend is the clueless one." Said Echo, wondering if Evan would find the explosive tag he had placed in his pocket before or after it ignited.
Ryuka struggled to refrain from cracking up. "You have no idea..." Then, he blinked, as a drop of water fell onto his nose. He looked up, and several other drops splashed onto his face. The clouds had turned gray, and it was now pouring heavily. In the distance, he could hear thunder, as the water began to soak him. He turned and walked away.
"Don't stay in the rain too much, Echo-ikoto.... you'll catch a cold." He said behind his back, with a humored tone to it, before he disappeared into thin air, leaving Echo to stand.
And there he stood, silent in the downpour, pondering what had just happened. He sat down and buried his face into his knees, now soaked. Finally he looked up toawrds the sky, his piercing green gaze illuminating dozens of raindrops.
He stretched and instead of vanishing, he had his cloak appear, leaving him to trek onwards into the next town.