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This article, When Paths Come Together, is property of Seireitou.

This article, When Paths Come Together, is property of Thepantheon.

This article, When Paths Come Together, is property of Ten Tailed Fox.

Previous Chapter: The Pendulum Begins to Swing Forward

Dark one... Edit

Nijūmaru walked silently into the ruined, waterlogged village. "Shokujin, where are you?" he called into the ruin.

A form stepped out from behind a fallen temple, "What are you yelling about Ni?" he asked rather tiredly, "Did you already finish with the big village?"

Nijūmaru jerked his head to the side, "Yes, but I didn't do it for you..I just...felt like it." he mumbled, walking towards to water's edge.

"Shokujin..." he thought to himself.

Shokujin shrugged, "Whatever floats your boat." he replied following after him.

Josho Adashino arrived, wings trailing behind him, on a small point of land overlooking the formerly prosperous area. As Seireitou and Setsuna arrived behind him, he looked out over his ancestral home, sadness filling his heart as the floodwaters had the streets. As he felt his own grief, his eyes picked out a figure walking through the rubble. He stiffened, beckoning to his companions to come closer in silence.

Seireitou looked around, "The destruction looks similar to what Nijumaru did to Kasasagi Town..." he pondered, as Setsuna walked around slowly; she looked at the skeletons of the deceased, sadness filling her heart.

Nijūmaru looked back, "I knew they'd follow." he said to Shokujin.

Shokujin looked back at the group gathered on the hill overlooking the village, "So, you found some strong ones. Excellent work, Ni."

While Seireitou surveyed his surroundings, Josho pointed to the two now standing together amidst the village. While Seireitou took in the sight, Josho whispered to him, Let's try the same as before... I draw the attack, and you take on of them down while I stave off the other... He eased his blade out of its scabbard, now whole again, and began unfolding his wings for a quick strike.

Nijūmaru was instantly infront of Josho, proving that his Complete Hypnosis was still in effect, "You are too slow, to fight me at full power." he stated grimly, slicing his sword for Josho's head. Shokujin appeared behind the fight, his arms crossed as he watched.

Seireitou smirked, "I see... Two of them." he snickered, disappearing. Setsuna sweatdropped, looking at Josho attacking the man from yesterday. She aimed her arrow at the man, preparing to take fire.

Raising his sword, which began to turn to shadow, Josho made as if to parry. Then he vanished in a whirl of dark wings, reappearing in the sky above the two and drawing their attention. This is my one shot at letting Seireitou have an opening! Fukoyagi! He let loose a massive wave of yoki, covering the entire area; while it was poisonous and decaying to the Yoki and flesh of the Tenchikaimei, Josho had been studying his companions' Yoki, and tailored the poisonous Yoki not to affect them, so as to be able to distribute it over a large zone with no ill affect to them.

Nijūmaru and Shokujin vanished, revealing Josho's firing area to have actually been aimed at two destroyed huts. Nijūmaru was behind Josho with his blade to Josho's neck, "Too slow..." he repeated. Shokujin still stood on the ground, looking up at the fight.

Seireitou grinned, as he appeared behind Nijumaru, his sword raised to his neck. "Well well, look who's back."

Nijūmaru didn't turn, "Cockiness will only bring you death quickly, silver hairs. You broke through my hypnosis once, but I've learned, unlike you. I won't be touched by you this time." he retorted. Shokujin huffed as he continued to watch, "Does that numbskull not see Nijūmaru? Or is Nijūmaru using Complete Hypnosis on them? It would make sense." he pondered silently in his mind.

While Seireitou and Nijūmaru confronted each other, Josho had not been idle. The outline of a person Shokujin saw against the sun's light was a silhouette made of shadows, a fact he would soon realize. Before he could come to this comprehension, however, a more solid shadowy figure, the true Josho, rose from behind Shokujin, the shark Yokai's own shadow poised to consume him.

Seireitou sneered, "Bastard. I'll kick your ass this time!" he roared, sending his blade straight for Nijumaru's shoulder.

The blade seemingly pierced Nijūmaru's shoulder, only for a shrilled scream of shock and terror, as well as pain to fill the air. The image of Nijūmaru faded, revealing a shocked and equally hurt Setsuna, bleeding profusely from her wound. Meanwhile, Shokujin forced a monstrous amount of yoki into his shadow, subduing it without even looking back at his assailant. "You really are too slow." Shokujin cackled.

Seireitou remained emotionness, and threw Setsuna to the floor. Seireitou proceeded to strike Josho's shoulder as well, and came up close. "Follow my lead." he whispered, kneeing Joshi in the groin and backed up. "I told you, Nijumaru! Your power is nothing against me." he remarked, cutting at his shoulder.

Shokujin was still watching, "Did that guy just attack a....wait, I forgot, it's Nijūmaru's hypnosis. It seems he's noticed something odd about his surroundings but he's unable to counter it in full. Still, just noticing is an impressive feat." he observed. Nijūmaru remained totally calm, "Hmph, it seems as though you've discovered the flaw in my ability, young yokai." he remarked, "Perhaps then, you are confident that your attacks can reach me now? You're keeping your distance from me. Is it out of fear or cowardice, or maybe you really think a fight can be won from a distance."

Absolute Hypnosis' Absolute WeaknessEdit

"Not at all." Seireitou answered, as he closed his eyes. "His power is complete hypnosis. It is no illusion. This means that even without a constant mental connection, he can maintain this trickery. So even if a distrution is made... the hypnosis will reform by itself. However... it still needs time. I proved that by staying in control, and pretended to tense up. Even when I could notice slight differences, my anger caused me to lose it. There is a window... even if it's only for a moment... I CAN DO THIS!" he roared inside his head, as he cut away at his knee, being able to see where Nijumaru truly was. "I only have a moment... stay calm... I can do this!" he stated, flashing at Nijumaru, clashing blades. Before Nijumaru could make any forms of shock appearances, Seireitou roared, "Dragon Twister!", as the attack slammed into Nijumaru, sending him into the ground below. Seireitou's following sigh showed that the hypnosis reformed once more inside his head, but he smirked, now knowing the weakness.

Shokujin laughed as the smoke cleared, revealing he had protected Nijūmaru with his own technique. "Ni, if it weren't for my Tessaiga's Bakuryūha, he would have hit you just now." Shokujin said mockingly. Nijūmaru sighed, "The window in my hypnosis is brief, but he moved quickly...also..." he trailed off, pointing to Seireitou's blade, which was cracked on it's blunt end, "For clashing with my blade he suffered Yūhikaitō's Sakabatō." Nijūmaru finished.

"Tut, tut." Josho's voice was smug, but the effect was ruined by its heightened sound. "Forgetting me? Thanks to Seireitou, I can still see through this hypnosis, for the time being." Knowing that he could not defeat the two brothers, he instead showed Seireitou where to attack, causing the shadow of Shokujin to reach and drag Seireitou to them. "Now, take him down! In front of you!"

"Gotcha!" he yelled back, pushing at the air to charge at the empty spot he saw, but was where Nijumaru truly was due to Josho being able to still see through his window of opertunity. "Dragon Twister!" he roared, but... something was strange. Nothing appeared as he fell to the floor on his feet, looking at his blade. "Why...?! Why can't I get the Dragon Twister to form?!" he nerviously thought.

Nijūmaru saw Shokujin getting ready to end things so he leaped high into the air. Shokujin also leaped, sweeping Tessaiga as he did, "Kaze no Kizu..." he stated calmly as he obliterated the area where Seireitou had fallen with a large wave of yoki.

"Shit..." Josho was on one knee behind the fallen Seireitou, with a shimmering wall fading between them and their enemies, and his sword in front of him. "Sjon takes more energy than I would like... I need to practice that." He stood up shakily, looking around with a tentative gaze. "Seireitou, now would be a good time to get moving, if you can't finish them."

As the blast of yōki neared, Seireitou gritted his teeth, "No! I can beat him!" he roared, charging head-first at the blast with the intent to crush it.

The blast of yōki, instead, manifested Shokujin's monstrous yōki, erupting and leaving a large crater where the village use to be. Shokujin and Nijūmaru floated above the blast unfazed. "Nice work on using Complete Hypnosis on that crow yōkai, Ni. That shield of his may have protected him, but your illusion made it to where, even though he thought he'd protected the gray haired one, he had in fact not. And then the gray hairs screws it up more by running right into Kaze no Kizu." Shokujin laughed.

"Who's fooling who?!" yelled out Seireitou, who was falling down at Shokujin and Nijumaru from even above them; his arm bleeding in order to no be fooled by the hypnosis. "You guys are so conceited in your power, you didn't even think about where Josho's shadow was targeting!" he yelled, slamming his blade straight into Shokujin's chest.

Shokujin quickly snatched the blade, catching it before it reached his chest. As he tightened his grip, the blade's metal began to crack, "You lack a lot of things. I've heard of you. Seireitou from the North is it? Your power is indeed great. I respect your bravery in combat." Shokujin said, much to the surprise of Nijūmaru, who's eyes widened. "Shokujin..?! So...you've picked the one...huh?" Nijūmaru thought in his mind. Shokujin tossed Seireitou his sword back, the tip heavily cracked while Shokujin's skin was barely penetrated, "Right now, Nijūmaru and my Tessaiga have done most of the fighting for me. You haven't even begun to see my abilities. That is why, I've decided to let you live. I need someone who is capable of resisting my plan. Here is my advice to you; get stronger...much stronger. And when you are strong enough, seek me out and fight me. What might be your motivation for this, you ask? Simple, the longer you remain at this level, the more villages I'll attack. Eventually, Setsuna and Josho will become targets if you don't hurry. Hurry up and become strong...and you may stop the carnage." he declared as a whirlpool began to form in the sea not to far behind them. Nijūmaru looked almost sad as he listened to his brother, "That's just like you...Shokujin. I just hope this person will know the truth at some point." he thought inwardly.

Seireitou gritted his teeth, being pushed back as he flew through the air on his back, one eye closed. "Damn... it..." was the thought in his head, as all got silent. He could hear the pulse of So'unga. "What...? So'unga is... calling me...?" he thought, as he looked at Shojujin, seeing a large red vortex of energy. "What...? A demon vortex...? It... wants me to cut... there?" he muttered, as he sliced his broken blade at the demon vortex, as a large dragon twister erupted from the blade, being sent straight for the two brothers.

Shokujin sighed, "...I suppose your bravery is still...at it's best..foolishness." he retorted, whipping his blade very calmly stating, "Bakuryūha." A wave of yōki, resembling Kaze no Kizu, consumed the dragon twister and fired the technique back at Seireitou with ease, adding the Kaze no Kizu's power to the dragon twister as it met it's target.

"Why So'unga...?! He was just going to redirect it!" he roared in his mind, as So'unga pulsated once more. "What...?" he muttered, as he saw something happening between the forces of Shokujin's yoki and Tessaiga's yoki. "What...? Tessaiga is...? Going against him? I see... Tessaiga's true power can only be wielded by a person who wishes to protect... So'unga is the sword of calamity.... I see, it all makes sense now! I CAN do this!" as he swung his blade once more, a giant wave of yoki erupted from the blade as it consumed the Bakuryūha and trapped it inside a large black ball. "What is... that...?" he pondered, as the ball exploded into several tunnels of yoki, similar to Bakuryūha. Several of these went straight for Nijumaru and Shokujin.

Shokujin and Nijūmaru managed to escape by landing near on the ground quickly. Shokujin narrowed his eyes, "Let me assume what you were thinking. Tessaiga was going against me and you think it's because I have no desire to protect. How wrong of you." he said, but as he was about to continue, Nijūmaru interrupted, "That's enough Shokujin! You'll reveal your goals and all of this will be for naught. Remember what has to be done...why you're doing this!" he shouted. Shokujin huffed and refused to look his brother in the eye, "Hmph." he scoffed and he turned his back, floating over to the open whirlpool, as Nijūmaru followed. "I'll reveal to you why you were wrong before I leave. Tessaiga requires me to love humans and want to protect to use it properly. Why do you think despite this carnage, it still allows me to use it? I'll let you wonder about that yourself. However, I will tell you this. The only thing that spared your life just now, was not So'unga, my dear silver haired yōkai. It was because Tessaiga thought I was being too protective of something." he said, and a wave consumed he and Nijūmaru...and they were gone.

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