"Good... now there's just one thing you have to do." The area around them went dim "You see in order for me to achieve that level of power, a being of great power had to be attributed to the void... My wife gave her life so I could attain that power. And I've regretted it ever since..."
He locked eyes at Beuce. "I will be your tribute on the condition that you bring back Eliza alive, He reached behind his cape and pulled out a small music box. Put her heart into this."
Beuce took hold of the music box out of the man's hands. He paused, looking at it and thinking what it meant. "You know, I don't like you. You're perhaps the least pleasant person I've ever known to be around, but I think I understand you a bit better. Something important to you was lost for you to gain what you have, and you'd trade it back if you could, but you can't. So this is the best you can do." He looked up from the music box to Orion. "I'll make sure it's done."
"Make your own destiny," he replied as a large pink aura surrounded him, causing him to Vanish.
Beuce looked down at the box, understanding the weight of what it represented when a thought struck him.
"Wait, you ******* get back here I can't open portals!" He screamed into what was now the void. He sat down on a rock and pulled out an object from his pocket. "Well, it's as good a time as any to try this out..." He fumbled around with a few buttons on it before it began to make a ringing noise, and he put it up to his ear. "Hey. Yeah. Yeah, it's Beuce. Listen can you like...pick me up? Because I'm stuck here. Yeah. Yeah, I'm on my homeworld. It's like over in the Starway galaxy. It's broken in half, you can't miss it. Well, I'm sorry it's out of the way I didn't choose to be stuck here. I'll tell you when you get here. Okay, thanks. Bye." And he hung up the phone.
Buying off the never been knocked out drawback (1000) and unlocking samurai
Buying Llama head (1250 half off) and Monochrome (1150 half off)
13,665 - 3400 = 10,265
Spending Crowns 330 crowns on 11 strength
69 -> 80
new crown count is 5
Updated achievements, I've reached 210 so my HP increase by 10 to a total 135.
Beuce trudged up the stairs to the clocktower. Each footstep felt longer than the last as he got closer to having to face this man who was to be his teacher. He furrowed his brow at the doorway as he approached. He didn’t like the man and couldn’t agree with his ideals, but he thought back to when they had fought no heart on the beach. They’d gotten miles stronger since then, but it wasn’t even close to enough. With a breath to steel his resolve, Beuce walked in.
Orion stood as Beuce entered. "You're late."
“Yeah well, I had something to take care of. Either way, I’m here now.” Beuce said with a bit of hostility in his voice “So what’s this training you have for me?”
He waved his hand and opened a portal of light. "After you."
With a suspicious glance, Beuce stepped through
As Orion followed suit to the other side, the two were transported to the shattered remains of Beuce's homeworld. "Look familiar?"
Beuce took a deep inhale through his nose. He didn’t know what to expect, but I certainly wasn’t this. His home was in ruins, but it wasn’t enough to make him waver. “Not as it is. Why did you bring us here?”
"To remind you of what you lost... and what can still be salvaged. Your resolve differs from mine. Mine came from a place of rage. That can't be yours though." He summoned his blade and pierced it into the ground. "What do you think happened to the souls of those who lost their lives here? Not the hearts... the souls."
Beuce thought about it. He’d never really paid much mind to the question at hand. “I…I don’t know. I guess if I’m supposed to bring them back eventually, it’d linger here…” A bit of worry washed over Beuce as he clued into what was going on.
"Their consciousness haunts this place. Most have referred to the isolated soul as a lingering will. A manifestation of one's memory. Tell me... what did you do when your people fell?"
“I ran.” Beuce stated without hesitation. Even if it had been the plan all along, they’d had to die full of pain and fear. He’d let it happen, and he was willing to bear the responsibility that came with that
"Are you ready to face your fears then?"
Beuce nodded and summoned lofty grasp to his hand
Husks of rusted armor began to glow as they reassembled themselves into full sets
Hundreds of armors began to glow with bright light as they picked up weapons and began thing battle stance as all their attention turned to Beuce.
The man lifted his keyblade into a defensive stance as the armors began to close in on him. They were slow and cautious, but sure enough, they were on the offensive. He was lucky enough to not be surrounded, but he'd be overwhelmed if he just let them enclose on him. Finally, the first one reached him. It swung its blade downward, but Beuce deflected it without too much trouble. Swiftly ending it, he brought up the blue end of Lofty grasp into its chin and blasted a shot of fire. Without having time to breathe, he parried another blade and drove his keyblade through the armor's chest. With them beginning to arrive in greater numbers, Beuce took to evasion. Scraping his keyblade along the ground, a hill of ice erupted from the tip and encased several other suits of armor. He leaped up onto it and took to the air. A bolt of lightning traveled out of his weapon and hardened into a line for him to mount. Now that he was above them, he took a few more shots and destroyed several more armors.
Individually, they weren't any threat to him. However, they were strong enough that they would overwhelm him if he wasn't careful. Beuce leaped off the end of the electricity once he reached the finish and planted his feet firmly into the ground. With a heavy overhead swing, he hurled his keyblade into the crowd and blocked the thrust of a spear with his glass palm. He tightened his grip around the metal and swung his fist into the chest of its wielder. Tossing it into the air to adjust his grip, he hurled it into another combatant and caught his returning weapon to drive it into an oncoming attacker. Beuce continued to parry and counter as many as he could, but he'd only defeated about a third of the armors when a blade found its way to his shoulder and down his back. Beuce winced in pain but managed to avoid the injury being fatal and struck in retribution, but it was going to slow him down. With a deep breath, a silver glow surrounded him.
He could feel his senses dull and grow sharper at the same time. The pain from his wound didn't stop, but he stopped noticing it. All he could hear was the whoosh of the air as blades cut through it. Slower than before. He brought up his own weapon and cleaved directly through the metal of both the weapon and the armor holding it in one strike. All he could see was the shimmering silver of the spear coming for his chest. He raised the center of his keyblade and the strike went wide above his head, and with a twirl, he brought down his weapon to make sure there wouldn't be a following attack. One after another, he brought low the armors assaulting him. One after another, his blade grew black with the shavings of metal and the soot of fire. One after another...The stones on the ground began to fade from view. He fell deeper into this trance of battle.
The air on his skin faded from his consciousness. But what he did feel was the blade in his hand. More than ever, he was aware of the connection he had to it. He could feel it. He could feel through it. With each enemy it struck down, he could sense it more. Finally, just like last time, he reached the bottom of his sinking senses. There he stood at the precipice of something beyond his reach. No matter how he stretched, his arm would never be long enough to touch what lay beyond the bottom. Just like last time, he was trapped at the boundary of power. But something was different. Through his daze and faded senses, he was aware of something he wasn't last time. In his hand, he held a blade. A long, slender object with a singular purpose. He'd always known what this purpose was. To make a blade something it wasn't was the quest of a fool. Here he stood, at the precipice of something beyond an obscuring veil.
A blade's purpose was to cut.
And so its purpose was fulfilled.
And so he severed the path and stepped beyond the bottom
And he grasped the height of power.
A mirage of his blade spread out before him across the armors. A beautiful myriad of red and blue. His senses began to reach out and leave his body. He felt ahead of himself. Above all else, one of the blades caught his eye. He moved to match it, and his body followed. Lofty grasp aligned with an image of itself. A sword from an armor he never needed to see clanged against it, and his sight drew him to another mirage. He followed them one after another to deliver a perfect, fatal strike to his enemy. He could feel through each of these blades. He willed himself forward and his body danced through them. The blades and the images of them retracted. He felt the air again and heard the hum of the wind. His sight returned, and he saw the mounds of metal, where not a single armor was left. Finally, the man dismissed his keyblade and turned to Orion. "I did it. I found what I needed."
Beuce looked through the seemingly innumerable weapons stretched out before him. Shiro had said that not all Auras stemmed from the blade, but if there were a single one that most assuredly did it would be, well, Blade. Even just limiting it to swords gave him a large selection to choose from. Finally, his hand reached up and plucked a Zweihander off the wall. It was large and incredibly heavy. A normal person would've had trouble lifting it, but Beuce place both his hands accordingly where they should be and gave it a swing. "Yeah. I'll take this one."
Beuce raised his eyebrow at the knowledge that Orion wanted to train him specifically. "Yeah. I had a feeling that'd be the case." The Grey-haired man hefted the blade onto his shoulder and began to walk off. "If anyone needs me, I'll be in my room. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day."
Beuce rolled his shoulders after that battle. It honestly had felt more like a game than real combat. Either way, they pulled it off thanks to their cooperation. He needed to remember to thank Aux and Faust for pulling most of Mortimer's attention away from the others. He listened to Santa's explanation about how it was his job to give out presents for christmas. They'd earned their way onto the "nice" list according to the jolly old man. A glass finger touched Beuce's lip. What could he ask for? He could ask for a way to empower his Aura without killing anyone, but he doubted it would be that simple. Then, a thought occurred to him. He knew all their names. Apparently, he knew who everyone was.
"Could you tell us who No Heart really is? It might give us an edge if we can look into their identity."
Beuce followed to the town center where he found an unfortunately familiar sight. The ink blot monster that once was Mortimer Mouse. He still hadn't been able to find a way to surely damage the rat, so he'd been hoping to avoid an early confrontation. Then Karina started to speak. He raised an eyebrow at her incredibly strained effort to rhyme. He was pretty sure she called him something less than polite but didn't say anything on the matter. In fact, he didn't say anything on any matter. Since they'd been cursed to rhyme, his lips had been conspicuously sealed. Almost as though he were exploiting a loophole in their curse. He just hoped that the others...That Faust would be able to successfully navigate them out of a combative situation.
Beuce couldn't quite understand what offended her so much about his newfound facial hair, but nevertheless she seemed hostile now. He summoned Lofty Grasp to his hand and ran forward to strike. He brought down a bolt of thunder onto the lalafell, but she erected a magical barrier around herself to absorb the damage. "Ohohoho. To use my own art against me, you're quite bold. But on the topic of your talents, I'm afraid I'm not sold." She swung her staff to the side and a circle of glowing runes appeared on the ground around her. With another laugh, she shot off a few more fire spells at the group.
Beuce ran through the snow to catch up with them. Karina had barely set foot in the world before she trudged off. He was glad that she was being...Goal-Oriented, as he decided to put it. He just hoped that she wouldn't charge headlong into a trap. He arrived mere seconds behind the two of them, talking to what appeared to be a woman of dwarf-like stature brandishing a staff at them. "Hey, Hey. There's no need for that!" He said with a muffled voice. Looking down, he found the culprit. An enormous, fluffy white beard extending from his mouth down to the middle of his chest. Beuce sighed. "Ma'am. We've only just arrived moments ago. We'd just like to know what's going on."
Beuce didn't know the exact details of what Kaida went through in her training, but he could guess the gist of it from what she said. "That rough, huh...?" He said passing his AJ over to Quill. "Well, if it makes you feel any better you aren't insane. There's actually a bunch of AJs running around. Its his test, apparently. Not really sure we should interfere more than we already have..." He muttered to himself. "It seems like the spiritual training was pretty rough on the both of you. I can't say I'm looking forward to mine, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. For now, you look like you need some rest."
Beuce squinted at Aj as he wrote down and muttered his exact actions. "Alright buddy, you're acting weird. Now is not the time for acting weird what with all the spies and red society stuff going on, so we're gonna find the others." Beuce ducked down and put his shoulder against AJ's stomach and his arm around his waist. With the boy in tow, he stood back up and scooped him onto his shoulder. "Come on." He began to stroll away with him until he came across an odd sight. Quill was seemingly supporting a barely able to stand...AJ? "Yo! What uh...do you know what's going on with him?"
Beuce as he was walking back, noticed someone skulking in the shadows. Beuce summoned his keyblade, only to dismiss it once he realized who it was. "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize it was you. What are you doing here AJ? Anything I can do for you?" The man asked, a bit concerned about the fact AJ would be hiding from him.
"So... learn anything of value?"
“Well, I’ve never been much one for an extended fight...but I feel like I’ve got a bit more stamina now.” Beuce looked to the door where ventus had exited through. “Though, he’s gotten better way faster than I expected.”
He watched as Ven departed. "Indeed... something unique about that boy I can't put my finger on... but back to you. This next test will be more of a battle of wits."
"No heavy offense, just a test of your ability to react and adapt."
Beuce straightened his posture and resumed eye contact with Orion. “I’m ready.”
Orion smirked. "I see your very keen and focused when you need to be. You've reached a comfortable level where you can stay in control. Lets see what happens when i take that away.." he pointed his keyblade to Beuce. "Blackout."
Beuce clutched his face as his sight was taken from him. He summoned Lofty Grasp and began to listen for any changes in the area around him. He didn’t know if the test would be another battle, but he needed to be alert no matter what.
"Rule number one. Never show fear when caught off guard. Fear is weakness and will be exploited." He examined Beuces stance and back to his eye level. "Im going to attack you from the front now. Ready?"
Inhaling through his nose, Beuce took up a stance and entered his blade aura, heightening the senses he had left. With only a moments pause, he spoke. “Ready.”
Orion sunk into the ground through darkness
A black hole of darkness appeared under Beuce and kept his ankles locked.
Orion shot up behind him and pulled lofty grasp close to his neck, nearly choking him. "Rule number two. Never let your opponent dictate the rules." He left go and kicked Beuce's back so he'd fall over.
Beuce felt the impact on his back and stumbled forward. “I should’ve expected that. Honestly, I really should have expected that” He pushes himself off the ground and readied himself for another attack. This time, he held onto his key blade with both hands, ready to change his stance at a moments notice. “Again.”
Orion began with an overhead strike.
Beuce shifted lofty grasp in time to knock his key blade to the side
He struck to the side
Beuce went to deflect the next strike, but without his sight he was unable to line his blade up in time. He winced in pain, but remained standing. “Again...”
Orion summoned two knights made from light as they swung their swords, attacking both sides of him.
Beuce heard attacks coming at him from both sides. Unable to block both of them at once, he waited until the attacks were just about to connect, and ducked underneath them. Not wasting a second he drove the red end of the key blade into one knight, and fired a blast of ice out the blue end to strike both of them at once
The knights of light faded as did Beuce's blindness. Orion paid closer inspection to his arm. "What happened there?"
Beuce looked down at the arm Orion asked about. "Toward the beginning of our journey, we had to fight against a pretty big horde of heartless. One of them was a lot stronger than the rest, and only got stronger by eating the others. I tried to take it on, but I lost. My arm was the cost. Lucky me, I had someone watching out for me, and I got a replacement."
He grabbed the arm and examined it. "Where did you get the replacement?"
"I have a lot of hearts resting in mine. Some of which are the gods of my world. They made it for me"
"Hmm..." Orion murmured. He turned the wrist again before dropping. "Thats enough for today."
After some time had passed, Ven and Beuce were out of steam. Orion approached them, looking at the exhaustion of the two of them. "Care to call it a day?" He said to Beuce.
Beuce took a few heavy breaths. He’d won as many as he could, but each match began to get harder and harder. “You learn fast. Keep that up, and you’ll be a master in no time.” Beuce then turned to the master. “Yeah. That’s about as much sparring as either of us can deal with.”
"Good." He turned to Ventus. "You're excused Ventus... The rest of Beuce's lessons will be by himself. Perhaps you can further your training in the obstacle course?"
Beuce was taken aback when Orion told him to kill Ven. Though, after thinking about it, he shouldn't have been surprised. This was exactly what he'd known was in store. Beuce looked over to the boy on the ground, and back to Orion. "Why? I said I'd take out as many as I had to. I didn't say I'd take out whoever I had to. I'm willing to sacrifice my own well being for this, but I won't take out the other members of the SOS. That's fine isn't it? After all, you have Blade and there's someone you weren't willing to kill. It's only the number that matters, not who it belongs to, right? "
Orion peered at him. "I've killed thousands to protect me people... You may have fought dark creatures, but I've taken lives. Human lives with families to get the blade I needed. Not out of pleasure mind you..." He looked down to Ventus. "What if it wasn't this boy you knew? What if it was a random criminal you had no affiliation with. Would you take his life?"
Beuce grew silent for a moment. How far was he willing to go? He could very well lose himself in the violence. After all that, would the SOS even want him...? How would his people react knowing that this was their king? Beuce took a deep breath. "If I have to be the executioner, I may as well be the judge too. I'll decide which lives I do and don't take. I'll decide which ones I have to and which ones I don't."
Orion blinked in surprise. He honestly didn't think he would take the high road. He thought for a moment to himself before looking down at Ventus. "Ventus, it seems your life has been spared. But out of curiosity, how fast do you think you can move?"
Beuce in response aimed his beam at the boy, causing the two beams of energy to clash. The energy met in the center between them, waxing and waning toward each of them. Beuce closed his eyes and concentrated. At his will, a white light enveloped him and his beam grew in power. With the increased strength, it gained headway against the other beam until finally it reached Ventus.
Beuce was satisfied that he felt his blade connect. A good hit meant that there could be much more left. Immediately following up, he spun it around and held aloft the blue end of it. "Faith!" He called out. Much to his surprise, it was in unison with Ventus who had cast a faith of his own. Twice the normal amount of light beams struck the ground all over the area.
Beuce never failed to be surprised by the boy's speed. Ventus had managed to dodge all three of his attacks and counter in the meantime. Beuce swung his blade to knock aside Ventus' strike but the fireball collided with his shoulder. Thankfully, it didn't do a whole lot of damage. Ventus' strength seemed to be in a multitude of small blows. Brandishing his keyblade, cherry petals began to float down around the area. After a moment, Beuce vanished and reappeared in an instant on the other side, leaving a flash of light and cutting everything in between.
Not a moment after they got back, Orion gave them their second task. Apparently they were to spar with one another. Beuce summoned his keyblade to his hand in a flash of red and blue. "Well, this'll be a good opportunity to see where you are as far as combat goes. Get ready." Beuce scraped the blue end of lofty grasp along the floor into an upward arc, causing a burst of ice to shatter forth at the boy. Adjusting his grip, he brought it back down to call forth a barrage of thunder. Once more adjusting his grip toward the red end, he thrust forward.
Beuce stumbled forward briefly from the missed grab, but was quick to change direction. Sprinting with all his might, he leaped up and planted a foot on the top of the chimney. One step forward to the other side, he leaped off and descended upon Ventus from above. It was just barely enough distance as he reached out to clap the boy on the shoulder. "got it. Man, you're slippery."
Well, Ven was a fair bit more elusive than he'd expected, but Beuce was hot on his tail. Though it was with a fair bit less grace, he managed to make the same jumps and maneuvers that Ven had. Finally, he arrived at the windowsill. Stepping up, he leaped out without a moment's hesitation. The slightest difference where ven had stopped to brace himself had allowed Beuce to close the distance. He reached out his arm, just slightly out of reach of the boy.