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Zeroth



There are dark corners in the world that no human likes to acknowledge. Shadows that move past the corner of eyesight and mysterious sounds that go bump in the night are all just small manifestations to the truth that has plagued humankind since the beginning. There are demons among us. In ancient times past these creatures from the other plane plagued humanity with dark intent and a lust for more power. Seen as inferior, humans were hunted down and consumed until the mere mention of these creatures sparked stories to tell children in the dark.

That was before humanity struck back and the first Devil Hunters arrived. Those few brave humans risked life and honor in the eternal quest of vanquishing those of the supernatural who would dare to prey on humans. Grown in strength and number, it wasn’t long before the demons were forced back and the world was safe to prosper again. But the Devil Hunters remained, always tasked with punishing those malicious spirits who would breech the human world with evil deeds.

That was then, and this is now. In the current day, human society remains unaware of the dark truth of their history, their tales passed down and labeled into legend. There are still demons for where there is light, there is always darkness. The once small group of Devil Hunters have since expanded worldwide into an organization bent on protecting humanity from the very shadows the demons inhabit. The DHA, or Devil Hunter Agency, sees fit to maintain the safeguard of humans at all costs; but there is trouble brewing in those very same shadows.

In the Japanese branch of the DHA, a sudden influx of malicious beings, or Youkai, are stirring up. Perhaps it’s just an anomaly of the world, or perhaps it yields the foreshadowing of something greater set in motion. Rumors of a powerful Youkai group surfacing have been passed down from whispers and worry. To what end does truth lie in such rumors? Nobody knows. All that is known, the sole truth of the world, is the simple creed of the DHA.



Event Log


Hidden 6 mos ago Post by TheWendil
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Despite its famous name, Siracha City was just as cold as any other town when the dead of winter struck its borders. In fact, one could say the place was at its all time coldest during the deep time of the year. When the days dipped low and the shadows were cast early, when the night was fresh and young and frigid on the tips of noses; that was when Siracha City was at its coldest. Each passing moon became unbearably colder than the last but this was normal for Siracha City. Indeed, its inhabitants had long since bundled up in their wintery clothings with preparations for the festive and weary days to come despite December silently looming itself.

For the work of the Devil Hunters and the DHA, it was in these last yearning months of the year that activity was at its slowest. Much like the stillness that gripped the planet, the devils, or in the case of Siracha City, Youkai, that plagued the land seemed less and less rampant. It was as if the icy chill that gripped the city’s heart affected those of the supernatural as well like an invisible ward. But this year had proven to be quite strange for the Japanese branch of the DHA. The small, almost serene dot of Siracha City felt more hostile with each night.

The reports of killed Devil Hunters were starting to become a problem, unnerving even as each one was filed to the DHA. Soon enough it would become piles; the last testament of foolish hunters who underestimated the size or lethality of their mission. It was for this reason alone that the DHA called out to its other branches in hopes of rooting out this strange phenomenon. After all, Youkai weren’t usually this hostile, even in these dark times of the year. On such a night as this, when the moon hung like unyielding ice above the land, the darkness only stirred more.

The DHA were aware of the problem before it became a disaster. A large pool of negativity pooled at the very border of Siracha City, the dimly lit parts of town that were abandoned for the most part. It was there, in one such long forgotten warehouse, that a large group of Youkai were detected. The majority of them were classified as Yurei, haunting specters that prowled the premises without right or claim or reason. There was little doubt any humans would be devoured on spot or brutally attacked, so to see such a large gathering of the creatures was enough to warrant a direct order from the DHA.

Any and all available Devil Hunters were to report and converge on the spot; the details of bounties and payment could be discussed afterwards, if they survived. Their mission was obvious: To expel the Yurei and if possible, find the source of what’s stirred them into a frenzy. For there were greater forces at work among the infestation of Yurei. Powerful creatures of their own right felt drawn to the warehouse as something, or perhaps, someone called to their inner nature and instinct. Even now, hidden in the wretched corners of the warehouse, hidden from spirit, hunter, and demon alike, a patch of black rocks sprouted from the ground like flowers in snowy bloom.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Octo
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Octo Tentacular Cephalopod

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A crimping, crumpling sound faded into abject silence as Akari fumbled with her camera, eventually turning it on Sachiko. A vague, blurry panorama of the girls' bathroom could be seen, with nothing but the flickering fluorescent light to illuminate it. Sachiko's face was dimly cast in a sickly shade of green under the weak light, and Akari's heavy breathing could be heard on the other side of the camera.

"...Is it on?" Sachiko asked, glancing to and fro as if something could come out of an unseen corner at any moment.

"Y-yeah, but Sacchan... d-do you really think we should be doing this?"

"Don't be a baby. Hiroko and them challenged us to a test of courage, and what better test than the old Hanako-san rumor?"

"D-don't say her name!"

"It's not like it's cursed or anything," Sachiko replied, her nervous glances betraying her true feelings, "all we have to do is knock on the door and call out for her, and then once nothing happens, we can leave."

"...Y-you hear that Hiroko? W-we're doing it right now. We aren't scared," said Akari tremulously.

...

After a few moments, Sachiko rapped lightly on the third stall three times. Akari backed up.

"H-hanako-san... a-are you... i-in there?"

"...S-see? There was nothing to-"

The lights began to flicker more and more, and the room began to tremble. The girls screamed, and Akari ran for the door which shut violently in front of her. The phone fell to the ground, and all that could be seen were two panicked young women throwing themselves at the door. There were a series of loud pops off screen as piping burst, and a cacophony built over the screams and the banging and the sound of water spraying violently until the lights went off.

Even among the noise, the voice of a different girl could be heard, quiet and unnerving in its gentleness amongst the chaos.

"...I'm sorry," it whispered before the video and audio cut out.

---

Far away, a very different scene played out in a dilapidated bathroom in an old school building as a song from the '50s played softly in the background. Hanako chuckled as she watched her latest conquest rack up views on Youtube. The comments were confused and scared and most were convinced that it was a performance manufactured to get the girls into a nice film school. Little did they know that the real Hanako-san was lurking in the comments, teasing them and prodding them.

Doubtless the video would be taken down soon, but enough had watched it to be an annoyance for the Siracha DHA. It really wasn't their year. In fact, only a few streets down was a warehouse with a large gathering of Youkai who loved nothing more than to go out at night and eat people. The neighborhood really had gone to shit, not that Hanako could do much about it. She just had to wait for the hunters to do their damn job so she could go back to her relatively peaceful life. Er, undeath rather.

A shrill beeping broke through her Perry Como as the oven went off. The chocolate croissants were done! Hanako waved a finger and the sheet pan slid gracefully out of the oven, resting gently on the sink counter. Obviously she couldn't eat them, but Hanako was unwilling to let her entire life be a waste. Thus, even in undeath, she kept baking on as a hobby.

"Tres magnifique," she said, giving a little chef's kiss before minimizing the video and pulling up her Steam account.

How could kids these days possibly complain of boredom? There was so much fun to be had!
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by The 42nd Gecko
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The 42nd Gecko

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Da-Xia Chen
Yurei Infested Warehouse



There was the hum of an engine, muffled by the wintry snow, and the wet crunch of tires pressing through the slush and gravel. This was the only warning before one of the wooden bay doors exploded, Da-Xia bursting through the paltry barrier on her bike. Her momentum carried her forward and she began to skid in a screaming circle of burning rubber through the middle of the bay. One hand held a broken gas can, centrifugal force sending a pungent but familiar liquid sloshing outwards, while the other held her lance out and low, the tip screeching and sparking against the stone and steel floor. As Da-Xia finished her maneuver, she had arms spread wide, encircled by a wall of gasoline flames.

"Justice has come for you! Da-Xia will now face those of you brave enough to battle, or ride you down as you flee!" Da-Xia challenged the whole room with unshakeable confidence.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by BenG85
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Maurice grimaced as he moved into position, and readied himself. These youngin's, he thought, wastin' time on theatrics. Gasoline? Bah. Burns too fast, and that's if you manage to light it before it evaporates. Should have splashed the escape routes, and lit those up, set up a good kill zone, make it harder for them to scatter...

He continued grumbling to himself about how he would have done things differently if he'd been put in charge of the operation. Still, he wasn't about to complain- opportunities to scrap it out back home had slowed down, and he never turned down an assignment with a potentially high kill count. Siracha City's unusual current events was a rare opportunity...

From atop the roof, looking through a glass panel, rifle at the ready, he rolled his eyes when Da Xia had finished. He settled on a first target, and noted several others, the plan being to provide cover fire and keep them from overwhelming her. He was meant to await a signal or particular event/action, but preferred to "take the initiative" on missions- "Why, hello, there, slack; yes, do take my hand, and I'll pick you up-" he muttered to himself. He couldn't help but smile, with an odd look in his eye, as remembered the phrase, "like shooting fish in a barrel", and proceeded to open fire.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by SilverPaw
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Hoshio Kikuchi

As per the usual when he received such messages, Hoshio was awoken in the middle of the night by a loud ping of his phone which alerted him to the DHA’s notice of a mission and its details. With a sigh, he rubbed his eyes, and got ready, departing from his small apartment with his gear in a used light gray Suzuki Swift. He didn’t drive to the exact location of their meeting, rather parking a few streets away and taking the 10-minute walk to the warehouse.

Like this whole district, the building was old, abandoned, and dusty. There was some unexpectedly spectacular activity when he arrived, however. Someone with a serious love for a dramatic, explosive, and stylish entrance had just driven a motorcycle straight through the doors, had for some reasons spilled and ignited some gasoline floor, and challenged all the ghost within to a fight. Well. That’s one way to do it, he thought with a shake of his head as he moved to the side of the warehouse, seeking a back entrance.

The only thing like it that Hoshio saw were some fairly high up windows. He found a service ladder of questionable quality which lead to a roof missing half its paneling; not the most reassuring of things. There was also a pipe or two he could climb up, but they creaked dubiously when he grabbed them and shook them a bit, so he didn’t quite trust them to hold up his weight.

A long silent exhalation later, he paced his way away from one of the windows, making sure the floor wasn’t too slippery. Securing the bow and quiver to his body as much as he could, Hoshio turned and charged the wall at a run, jumping up it when close enough. A strong push off of the wall later, he was stretching up, scrabbling for the ledge, barely catching it with one hand, dangling for a minute, before finally catching it with the other and hauling himself up.

That accomplished, the hunter allowed himself a fully tremulous breath of relief as he crouched on the window’s outside ledge. Then he bashed the little glass squares in, bending some of the thinner steel frames latticing the larger expanse of the window. Just as he did so, a gun shot resounded from above him, hitting one of the Yurei within the storage building, almost startling him right off the ledge with the suddenness of it. So, someone did go up there. And now I get to feel like a fool. Great start, huh, he grimaced.

Rather than ponder on what was done, however, Hoshio settled into position – as stable and comfortable one as was possible to obtain on a window ledge – readied his bow, nocked the first arrow, and began picking off the targets. At least with the different vantage points, he and the person on the roof didn’t have too much direct competition, and could provide a better if slightly spread out support to the huntress within.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Kazemitsu
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Kaze's rough and scarred hands were nestled in the felt lined pockets of his long coat. The hem of it barely brushing the ground with each step. A girl screamed by one a motorcycle, the stench of gasoline heavy with her and her lance pointing out as if she were about to go jousting an opponent. His pace remained the same, an unhurried step followed by another. Inhaling his face lit up by the embers of his cigar before he exhaled, sending out a cloud of vapor and smoke that obstructed the view of his face save for the mystical glow of his eyes.

Any idea why so many yokai are gathering in one spot? He questioned his demonic partner. There's too many reasons I could list off before you actually arrived, boy. Came the response. The huge man simply huffed and plucked the cigar from his mouth. His thumb casually brushed off the ember before he slid the thing into a pocket at his chest. With his vision completely clear he observed the girl make quite the entrance into the warehouse. Which left the main doors wide open and unguarded.

That was his job damn it.

Still he didn't understand why every Demon Hunter was called in on this. For mostly yurei? Shaking his head he meandered towards the warehouse, smelling the gasoline and then smoke from the flames. Pulling his hands from his pockets he gave a couple applauding claps. "Flamboyant entrance and declaration, ten out of ten." He called over, his voice booming and rumbling like distant thunder. Yes he was teasing her just as a gunshot rang out. Then the near silent fwip of an arrow flying through the air. Well two marksmen and someone to draw attention, not a bad strategy.

What part did he play? Well since no one had done a group huddle to see who was doing what, he played the guardian of the gate. His eyes shifted from blue to a deep crimson, changing his vision so he could see yokai/demonic energy like other demons could. What good would a guard be if they couldn't actually see the enemy potentially trying to sneak out, huh?
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Ozzoquen
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It had been a spectacular display, thus far. Loud and chaotic, the fire flickered and filled the air as a heavy stench of gasoline wafted with it. Across the way, in clear view of the front doors that had been unceremoniously crushed under the wheel of a motorcycle, Adam stood. Hands in the pockets of his thin coat, a smile rested pleasantly on his face as he watched and waited to see what his comrades in arms would start up with.

The city of Siracha had not quite met his expectations. Not that they had been high to begin with. Never having been to the Country of Japan, he truly hadn't known was he was in for. Flashing lights and busy streets, people milling about at all hours of the day, unbeknoowest to what was happening around them. That was what he expected. Then again, it wasn't like they were in Tokyo.

"Perhaps I'll have to visit when this job is done," pushing himself off of the lightpole that he leaned against, he stretched his neck, moving his head in a circular motion as he began to slowly move towards the warehouse that was being accosted.

As he moved, one hand slipped from his pocket, a pocketwatch being pulled with it. The chain dropped, the sharpened triangle swinging aimlessly. "At least the inside of the warehouse should be warm now," a soft mutter to himself, he stepped across the broken barrier, being sure to get no where close to the flames.

Swinging the chain up towards his hand, Adam grabbed the triangle in his palm, and squeezed. A soft hum left his mouth as blood began to coat his palm, the triangle being let go to drop with gravity towards the ground. The red liquid began to drip, the wound large enough to cause a small trickle. As it dripped, it began to clump towards, and in a matter of seconds, a dagger of blood rested in his hand. Casting his gaze swiftly around, he made an attempt to spy where everyone was hiding. Were there any blind spots for those up top?

The man closest to him didn't seem to be making any moves to stray away from the door. Blocking their only exit was a good idea, to say the least, and Adam was certain that a man his size surely could have done it alone. However, he didn't move from the door.

Instead, Adam closed on eye, smile still on his face as he shifted his arm, and made to aim. The dagger was flipped, blade in his hand, before it was thrown without anymore hesitation. Aiming straight for the head of one of the Yurei's.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by OwO
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OwO what's this?

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Though her senses had dulled with age, she could still hear the actions of the foolhardy hunters who decided to charge in first. The roar of a motorcycle's engine, the crackle and ignition of fire, and the light of a fire peering through the windows.

Certainly, the Japanese branch needed help in these recent months. That much was apparent. Beniha had supported getting assistance from the other branches. She preferred getting veterans to help deal with the current state of Japan. Getting fresh recruits to replenish the ranks was something she considered untenable for now. It was pretty much sending kids to their death. Though, did they just have to send so many characters?

"Morons..." She muttered to herself. She pulled out an incense stick from her jacket pocket, and calmly placed it in her mouth. Gunshots echoed outside the mostly empty warehouse. Good thing this place was mostly abandoned.

"And Americans."

With a swift gesture, a glowing red feather appeared between her fingertips. It glanced the tip of the incense in her mouth, a thin plume of smoke rising from where the two collided.

No sense in waiting for any longer. The single feather took form as more were plucked from the ether. They merged with each other, eventually coalescing into shaft, hilt, and blade of a smoldering naginata. Might as well make sure the morons didn't get themselves killed. She didn't quite care about the reward for hunting simple yurei at this point in her life. It was more her duty to ensure that nobody would die. Injured--whatever. Die, no.

So she entered the factory. Less of a bombastic assault, more of an observer to the battle. She still dispersed any yurei that came her way. But the thought did pervade her mind: why so many hunters on a simple extermination mission? Might be caution, might be something big coming up.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by KoL
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KoL Knight of Lorelei

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The Hunters' entrance didn't go unnoticed by those who lingered inside the abandoned warehouse, teetering on the boundary between life and death. Eliminating some of them appeared to pose no trouble for the slayers either. Coalesced curses and vengeful hatred gave far more substance to these creatures than one would expect of an average ghost.

Their only reaction to those who breached their sanctuary wouldn't be surprise or fear, but murderous gazes. Crates, rusted tools, broken glass, and debris of all kinds were flung on the Hunters with telekinetic force, slicing, crushing, and impaling any who dared stand in their way.

The flames so thoughtlessly set up by Da Xia, illuminated part of the building's interior revealing the silhouettes of many yurei in the shadows.


"Leave! You can't join us! Leave or die!"

Just as the initial chaos was settling up and the Hunters were able to assess the situation more carefully, a droplet of blood hit the floor by Beniha's feet just as she entered the building. Any who dared to look to the catwalks above would be able to see six shapes enveloped in the darkness beyond the reach of Da Xia's flames.

The vengeful spirits congregated around the source of the blood, none other than a teenage girl dressed in a local high school uniform. Her eyes were hazy and unfocused as she limped on the floor with a wrist slit wide open and pained breathing. Her other hand, which held a piece of bloody broken glass, was "firmly" grasped by one of the spirits.

After that revelation, it wouldn't be hard to spot a few more corpses strewn around the warehouse, no doubt all of them belonging to girls who ended becoming part of Siracha City's missing persons' statistics.

Whether this was the cause or effect of this particular incident was up for the Hunters to find out.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Octo
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Hanako was getting ready for a relaxing night of easy listening and visual novels when she heard a few gunshots ring out nearby.

"Hunters," she thought, frowning, "about damn time, but could they be a bit quieter? Who wants to bet it's a foreigner that thinks a gun is an acceptable weapon to be toting around?"

Hanako closed her laptop with a sigh, consigned to the fact that this evening would not be filled with visual novels, but easy listening was still a possibility. Hunters really did make a spectacle. It was, in its own way, pretty fun to watch them when you weren't the person they were trying to slice to death (undeath? super death?) with a sanctified blade. Hanako grabbed her radio and some binoculars and floated lazily up to the roof, where she began playing her tunes.

"Ah... they really did end up starting a fire, huh?" Hanako thought as she immediately noticed the orange glow that had begun flickering inside the building. She looked around for the source of the gunshots and, to her surprise, there was a man with a rifle just a roof over. Looked like a foreigner. Once again, right on the money. She had her opacity set to 100%, so she probably wouldn't be shot on sight. She waved over at the man with a friendly smile on her face. If he was being cautious, he'd be checking his peripheral in between shots and notice her.

If he wasn't being cautious, he'd be a prime candidate to sneak up on and scare.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by dioscuri
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Mai finished tying up her hair, watching as the other hunters made their grand entrance into the warehouse. She was almost annoyed at being called out to this mission. It was the middle of winter. Things were supposed to be slow during this time of year. She was supposed to be enjoying a tokkuri of sake right now, not prepping to storm a warehouse.

The mission already seemed strange to her. Traditionally, yurei were creatures that could not properly pass on after death. The negative emotions that stopped them from moving on twisted them into more powerful devils. But why would a group of them be attracted to a run down structure like this warehouse? There certainly wasn’t much for them out here in the outskirts of town.; this area of Siracha city was pretty much abandoned.

“Westerners,” she muttered as she watched someone explode through the bay doors of the derelict building before alighting the area on fire with some gas. Considering the current situation, Mai didn’t mind the help; the branch definitely needed to do something as more reports of devil hunter deaths filed in. However, she thought it was strange for the DHA to call them to this warehouse. It was only a group of Yurei. Surely they didn’t need everyone to deal with these specters.

Unsheathing her sword, Mai entered the warehouse from the back. Since most of the yurei were distracted by her louder, more flashy counterparts, she was able to skillfully cut down the specters from behind, dodging any items that came her way. As she made her way through the warehouse, Mai kept an eye out for anything unusual. There had to be something else going on around her.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Flood
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Gods Play Dice With The Universe
It's Your Turn Now
Carnage One
Let's Samba!


Many might complain of the cold on a night such as this. It was absolutely freezing, below 0 Celsius even as snow rained down from the sky onto lovely little Sriracha city. Maria liked that name, Sriracha City. Was like a little slice of home so far from home. She was dressed in her usual combat attire as she walked up the warehouse, nothing but the fiery passion of her own soul keeping her warm as she crunched through the snow, a slight hiss following every step as it boiled beneath her feet. She was a little late apparently as all the chaos had started without her, screeching motorcycles trailing flames and snipers on the roof picking off demons, god it made her want to one up them all and just blow the whole warehouse up! But there were still people inside unfortunately, her own coworkers too, so that was no bueno. Instead all she could do was draw her relic and smack it against the metal wall of the warehouse, drawing the flames from Da-Xia's little pyrotechnic show to her and amping them up to 11 as she smiled a shark-like grin.

"Ay ay ay... who said you kids could start the party without me?" She clicked her tongue in disappointment as she raised her macuahuitl into the air, a pillar of flame soaring into the ceiling and crashing into the yurei above, just barely avoiding the injured girl. The wings of a phoenix sprouted from her back as she crouched down and then leapt up to the catwalks, landing right beside the injured civilian and grabbing her before she inevitably collapsed. A slew of yurei surrounded them without warning, and without warning each of them had their skulls smashed in by obsidian edges without mercy or remorse.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Quasi
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Not even a single caw would pierce the night sky as high above a lone raven circled the party below. Eyes peering downwards at the band of demon hunters marching fearlessly into what seemed like just another routine job. The ghosts inside holding no interest to the bird's master, but something else grabbing the familiar's attention. It would seem there were foreigners mixed in with the usual hunters. A few new faces showing a concern from the DHA that would only make her smirk. It would be interesting to see them make some sort of move so soon, but she had her doubts on their competence and ability to act so fast. Even given how this fight has started, it proved just how little she would have to worry for now.

Instead, the raven dove; silently descending swiftly towards the earth before catching a draft parallel to the ground. Gliding as low as it could manage into the night and circling around the building; searching for an opening. There would be plenty of time to order the raven to curiously stalk the new members. As interesting as they were, they weren't what had initially summoned the raven to the scene. Instead, a different treasure had called out to the one in control. And where it not for the scene that had arose here; her personal presence would've been preferred.

Finally seeing an opening. Watching the woman of fiery wings launch from the ground so spectacularly, was just enough of a further distraction for the raven to make its move among the layers of chaos already inside. The ghosts and the victims meant not; only the glimmer of rocks hidden away from the world had the bird's focus. Collapsing its wings and hopping along to claim the rock for itself. Their cold essence disappearing into the raven's void. Dispersing into an even colder soul.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Kazemitsu
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Kazemitsu The Dragon

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Kaze glanced to his side at the smiling red-head before returning his attention to the scene before him. More Hunters were showing up by the second and seemed to be entering pretty thoughtlessly. No wonder why the DHA was finding Hunter corpses, they were all needlessly reckless. He wasn't one to talk most of the time, but when he ran headlong into a situation it had already been scouted. An example, did anyone else notice that the yurei were being unnaturally aggressive? They were ghosts but they were not fleeing.

More footsteps, more Hunters, except he recognized this one. One Miss Yokoi Beniha, the lady of the feathers as he called her. Since he paid attention to her he spied the drop of blood that came from above her. Finally taking a step into the building his hand left its pocket, pulling a flashlight out with it. Clicking it on the bright light was flicked up, searching the catwalks for the source. From his left a yurei came screaming at him, its fingers curled in rigid talons. Unfortunately for it, it was far to slow. His other hand snapped out of its pocket and grabbed the specters face, unlike his right this hand was black, scaled, and clawed.

If one looked a little closely at the yokai spirit they'd notice its face, and skull, was bulging between his fingers. With an almost casual air he tossed the specter to his right as if he were going to skip a stone across water. The initial impact cracked the concrete floor before it began to actually skip along the ground until it struck the building-side. Blowing out the sheet-metal with a tremendous dent. There were so many Hunters here he didn't really feel the need to get into the fight unless he was attacked directly.

While he searched, and played around, a living girl and corpses was revealed. And another Hunter came swooping in...literally. Fiery phoenix wings, a pillar of flame, luckily this building was metal and not something actually flammable. Well fire was a purifier of the supernatural. Same with salt and those paper talismans the Japanese priests and priestesses were fond of.
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Lonewolf685
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Lonewolf685 Inquisitive and Immortal

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The cloying cold of Siracha in the dead of winter was the bane of homeless. A time where friends would fall asleep, never to awake from the gutter they huddled in for warmth, all the while not ten feet away through an insulated wall, familiar slept soundly with full stomachs and contented dreams. The streets should have been dead still as everyone struggled to endure the frigid air, yet flames were such an inviting lure, drawing the desperate and the deranged with equal fervor.

Rufus chuckled around mouthfuls of moldy bread, the once fluffy innards hard and rocks and crumbling like a quarry at work as he chewed. There was no taste, the absence of which both disgusting and disheartening for any demon, yet the horror from beyond the skein of stars shuddered from the sheer luxury of it. Soft steps leaving prints in the snow, his figure blurred and indistinct with snow clinging to his cloak, he shambled towards a warehouse that sang to his senses a melody of bitterness and strife. Truly, school girl angst was a thing of beauty, and his stomach revolted with the aroma of blood blasted out of the warehouse by the numerous explosions puncturing the metal structure.

Needing to go no further he settled across from the warehouse, hood drawn up as his back settled against frozen, rusted metal, his figure lost in shadow and snow in the alley between derelict metalworks. Tucking away his meal for later he slid a hand into his threadbare pants pocket. Rather then pass through familiar holes and coarse fabric, Rufus' hand appeared in the warehouse, hovering over the slowly growing patch of frozen stone.

He should have had difficulty targeting such a small structure without any familiarity with either area or target, but the stones resonated with him. It beckoned him, just as he felt the impression it beckoned another hovering near his hand. That presence made his skin prickle with trepidation, the proverbial frog finding a scorpion approaching to ask for a ride, and Rufus instead wrenched loose an offshoot of heatless rock before retreating through his portal.

"Well aren't you a fancy paper weight."
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Ginnungagap
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Ginnungagap Merger of Worlds

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Mizuki Kichiro


Public transportation was so convenient, really. It only took a little bit of bus-hopping to get where one wanted to go, if one knew how to hop between vehicles properly. Well, vehicles, buildings, really any way to stay moving and out of the everyday person's field of view.
The old abandoned warehouse called to Kichiro, and he followed the trail, better late than never. Or maybe it was the fire and chaos that called out to him. He had seen plenty of both after all.

Whatever it was, it was so very invigorating, just like the crisp chilly air.
Another leap brought him to the perch he so desired, the warehouse rooftop, which was preferable to the front at this point as that area was rapidly becoming crowded and also ignited. Another few paces brought him to a much-appreciated natural skylight and a surreptitious view within. Whole lot of hunters inside, even more yurei that were uncomfortably aggressive, and far too little coordination on both sides.
"We really should figure out this whole cooperation thing with the foreigners," he sighed, but he didn't really do anything different, taking another moment to survey the scene from above before simply leaping through the gap between panels, landing foot-first on top of an unfortunate spirit that really didn't have a chance between gravity and Kichiro.
At least the catwalks weren't too crowded. And there weren't too many demons up here. Just the ones with a hostage.
No time to think, no time to let them do whatever they considering thinking. Only time to move and start punching ghostly face. And Kichiro did just that.
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Yurei were ultimately just ghosts, and honestly, what could be so scary about something that already died once? With fists of fury and feet of furry, what violent retaliation launched by the specters roaming the chaotic warehouse ended up being almost totally ineffective. After all, what Devil Hunter couldn’t deal with fodder youkai? Outside of the singular citizen that was still alive, there were no other elements to worry about, after all. Hell, if it was just a group of yurei, they could probably just drop a bomb, blame it on a gas pipe explosion, and call it a night.

But if things were ever so simple, the entirety of the DHA wouldn’t be descending upon a warehouse, just for the sake of a single girl, would it?

No, beyond the schoolgirl ghosts, beyond the hobo-demon’s hand, beyond the definitely-not-noticed crow, there was a far greater evil lurking in the depths of the warehouse! The earth rumbled, concrete floor cracking and shattering as the walls themselves quaked at His advent! Roots as black as the devil’s own sin burst out from the ruptured ground, tentacle-like vines swirling and entwining to form the internal framework of a fifteen meter tall monstrosity. Fearsome and menacing with a head formed of a deformed pumpkin, he roared out with a big “ROAAAAAAAAARHGGHHHHHHHHH!” as his tree-trunk arms flailed with fury.

“YOU DARE DISTURB MY SLUMBER!” the treant continued roaring, the vividly-colored mushrooms on his back pulsating and proliferating until it covered his whole body like a porcupine. "DEVIL HUNTERS! I SHALL FERTILIZE MYSELF WITH YOUR BLOOD AND GUTSSSSSSSSS!”

And with a swing of his mighty oak, the treant grasped onto the catwalk populated by so many of those fleshy, irritating, non-hibernating humanoids and wrenched it free of the walls to hurl that entire length of twisted metal towards the motorcycling, gasoline-igniting, spear-thrusting, anime-color-haired hunter.

It was certainly on like an oven now!



Once again, Hanafusa Shika found themselves distracted just as things were getting good. Alas, the weight of karma upon the unjust soul. With a practiced smile, the white-haired individual set their puppet to auto, and greeted their latest customer.

“Hello, welcome to Eternally Yours. We’ve got a special on preserved Peace Lilies tonight, guaranteed to brighten up your rooms during these long winter nights!”

The suited man, humorless and bespectacled, coughed. “Rosemary, hydrangea, and amaryllis.”

Shika’s head tilted slightly. “Those don’t coordinate well. Would you like a recommendation?”

The man shrugged. “No. The old man’s got strange tastes.”

The corpse flower’s smile became toothy. “Roger dodger.”

And with that, Shika prepared the transaction.
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Wowee, a fire. Limen had mistaken it for some criminal mischief at first, but normally you’d run away from the scene in such a situation, arsonist and bystander alike. These mad fellows were barging straight in.

Now, perhaps there was someone trapped in the building. At this time of the night, in an out-of-the-way neighbourhood like this, the fire brigade would take a long while to respond. Such heroics could easily save lives. The thing is, you don’t need swords and sniper rifles to do any of that. No doubt about it, they were Devil Hunters — the same sort of people who had tried to shoot him down over Baikonur when he’d hitched a ride up to geosynchronous orbit on a Soyuz a few years ago, and again as he returned home alongside the Perseids just a couple months back. Persistent and diligent workers, they were. They’d forced him to splash down and take refuge in the Mariana Trench for a week before finally giving up the chase. The amount of plastic waste down there would make an environmentalist sad; the critters were quite intriguing, though.

Where there are Devil Hunters, there are devils. That was why that lot were all over yonder, while Limen the perfectly natural non-devilish being was watching from the other side of the road. Nothing to see here! Across the street-cum-border, a girl was slewing through the roof, while some bird had dived in looking for a bust of Pallas to perch on. Limen waved hello to the vagrant oniisan with a fancy rock that reminded him of the amateurishly-made body he had first inhabited, a rock was also strangely alluring for a mere paper weight… ahem. No robbing the homeless.

Well, the survival of whoever was getting eaten in that warehouse was hardly his business. The unnatural forces being thrown around were not quite his taste, although the sense of repulsion was matched, if not surpassed by this odd attraction to something inside the place. The cause was evident; it was the same compulsion he had felt looking at the blue-haired bum’s rock. One answer led to the next question — why did that rock have such an effect?

Perhaps it was a lure of some variety. It would explain all the yuurei, and by extension the Devil Hunters here. But for whom, and by whom was it placed? Either way, it probably meant nothing good.

Not that that would stop Limen from trying to find out more. The first step: acquiring a sample. Now, going in would be a death sentence at the moment, be it at the hands of devil or hunter. Nor was there a guarantee that the rocks would survive this battle, or that there would be any left after all the Devils and Hunters had their fill. Plus, the Hunters were being destructive to no end. It was bad for entropy. They had to go, and one of the easiest ways to make the DHA scramble is to let some mundane fellows in on the secret. Honestly, wouldn’t a little cooperation with fellow humans be easier?

Even the bird or the homeless man would share their rocks (probably) if things didn’t work out!

There was a lonely payphone nearby, within walking distance. Slotting in a dust-covered coin which had been left on top of the bright green machine — mistake, or charity? He had to tiptoe a bit to reach it, but Limen, penniless, was appreciative either way — he dialled 110. It was a pity he didn’t know any reporters.

The wonders of modern engineering were on full display as the long-disused receiver sputtered and crackled to life once more.

Limen would leave out the gunshots, and also the big biologically-impossible talking tree. (With fungus on it. Symbiotic?) The Hunters ought to have a chance to preserve the masquerade, and it was more credible anyways. Just a member of the public, a young boy with a sense of duty, carrying out his civic responsibilities.

”Hello, is this the police? I’d like to report a huge fire at this address…”

At the rate they were going, it seemed like a very real possibility that the Devil Hunters would be finished before the authorities not-in-the-know arrived. Whether that would mean leaving an empty warehouse a little more ruined than usual or a massive, uncontrolled inferno tearing across the neighbourhood for the poor firemen to deal with — that wasn’t for Limen to decide. Better the former than the latter, he thought, as unlikely as it became with each passing moment.
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Cold. Cold. It was cold. Sensations that were never meant to be experienced bubbled up from the surface of the black rocks and with it came a chill that could unsettle bones. Cold. It was cold and that’s all it knew. The rocks were chilled to the touch but that only deepened its allure to the dark creatures of a colder night. Perhaps the black rocks may have remained in such an untouched state were it not for the accumulation of other stimulus that joined in the air. Because now, where there was once cold and everlasting chill there was now-

Fire. Fire. It was harsh and unbearing. The sounds of yelling and fighting and gunshots and more fire, always fire, never enough flame; the black rocks reacted in kind. The fire from the first girl with her loud and roaring mechanical steed….the fire from the blonde girl who sent flames skyrocketing to the heavens threatening to tear the warehouse down in ash and soot; all of it was too much. As soon as the fire increased there was more screaming. The hostage fell in Maria’s arms like a lifeless doll for strength had already left her form long since before the DHA arrived. By some miracle she was alive, but barely if the situation was any gauge. The searing tower of flames sent the Yurei into a harder frenzy.

Most were caught in the raging inferno as well as the other efforts of the Devil Hunters. Some however, scattered and flitted the air like gliding shadows, spiraling in a frenzy and focusing their efforts on solely clawing and tearing at any and all Devil Hunters in the area. It wasn’t long before they noticed the hunters ontop as well as the bottom, screeching as some barreled towards the two snipers positioned up high. It also wasn’t long for things to go from bad to worse, the warehouse shaking as a new creature reared its pumpkin head.

The vined golem was for the Devil Hunters to handle but its presence only agitated the black rocks more. Fire and heat and screaming and blood surrounded the air, festering it like a poison. The once dormant rocks buzzed with a dark charge that emanated as a low humming picked up only by the devils of the area. Fire and heat and screaming. Where once the rocks gave an unbearable chill, now they radiated a harsh heat as Maria and Da-Xia’s flames continued to bellow. They finally reacted, detonating like bombs.

Where once there was a bird of night now became a living explosive as the raven imploded with a force to match the vine golem, splinters of fire engulfing the familiar. Black rocks shrouded out from its form, coating and growing along wherever it touched like an infection. The same phenomenon happened as Rufus’ hand was taken clean off as the rock he held detonated in heat and more shrapnel, the explosion no doubt sudden enough to catch his portaling trick off guard. Once more, the rocks grew wherever they touched.

If the Devil Hunters didn’t notice the source of the Yurei’s manic state-who by now were starting to become thin in numbers-they would now as the first signs of the black rocks creeped out from the dark corners. They sprouted along the snowy ground like tumors, boiling to the touch but not growing as high as a person. It only added to the chaos of the scene, from the fires and Shika’s familiar, to the black rocks and the police soon converging on their location no thanks to Limen. At least the Yurei were no longer a threat and the hostage was safe though.
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Da-Xia Chen
Yurei Infested Warehouse



"Lo, come and face your-" Da-Xia raised her lance to the first Yurei that dared approach her. Before a bang rang out and it was shot in the head, ragdolling instantly to the ground.

"Very well then, you shall-" Da-Xia shifted, tilting towards another target daring to breach her ring of flame, before an arrow dug deep into its heart, sending it kneeling into the fire, clutching for its rapidly escaping life force.

A voice boomed from outside, praising her entrance.

"Ah, thank you! I shall endeavor to live up to your expectations and beyond!" She tipped her lance in that direction, nodding, before turning her attention to the next oncoming beast. "I shall then take you as my first-" A dagger stabbed through its skull.

"Vexation!" Da-Xia wildly waved her lance in the air, as the next yurei was turned to ash by demonic flame.

Then, with a great rumbling cracking and smashing and rumbling, a treant made itself known and declared its own challenge. Da-Xia, of course, reacted instantly with the most appropriate and logical response.



She let loose the full power of her monstrous bike, her blazing hot rubber tearing for every scrap of purchase to send her hurtling towards the great treant, lowering her lance to joust the monstrous being.

As the catwalk was hurled at her, Da-Xia did not flinch or shy, but kept going full speed ahead. With impeccable timing and riding skill, she sharply turned at the last moment to slide under it as the metal bounced off the floor in front of her, creating just enough height for it to mostly pass above her but for a few scrapes and gouges. The bike was designed to collide with demons, and could take more than that, and Da-Xia had far too much adrenaline to feel pain for now.

Nearly crashing into a wall, Da-Xia just barely managed to pull it back over and instead turn the other way, to strike at the treant like a bolt of lightning, complete with the little zig-zag pattern in her approach. Straightforward in her strike, she sought to bury her lance deep into the plant's 'chest'?
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