Swordmasters: The Grandest Fencing Tournament (Combat Arena)

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Orange unleashed the volley as soon as the knight moved, one was off target the other he seemed to drill through. Orange threw another to make sure it wasn't a fluke, and then he noticed how insanely fast the guy was moving.

Orange barely managed to contain the OH SHIT, before pulling up his shield in an attempt to block the flying charge, gripping his sword. He always felt stronger with it. Faster, more magically attuned as well. Orange grinned maliciously, this would go well for him.

Meta Knight barely felt the hear of the fire balls, before slamming into the shield. It held.

Meta Knight slashed at the shield, feeling no give and seeing not even the smallest of scratches on it. To the frnt, Orange Knight could most likely take anything he could dish out.

What about from the back?

Meta Knight spun in place, quickly teleporting behind Orange Knight, and gave a giant slash to the guys back.

Artorias made his way into the audience and looked around for Archer, he didn't see him, but then there would be plenty of time before their fight. He sat down, hunching over to address the complaints of those behind him, that he was blocking their view. He kept his eyes on the fight, it had just begun and already it was easy to see the strengths of the two fighters. Meta was very fast, coupled with his small size that could be an issue if the two had to fight, although Meta had said he would not stand in his path. On the other hand Orange was clearly skilled with pyromancy, or perhaps flame sorcery? Regardless he was also quite strong, or at least strong enough to block Meta's barrage with ease.

Orange knight was surprised by the disappearance of the knight, though teleportation wouldn't exactly be too strange with the lot that made this tournament. And Orange had fought enough ninja pirates to know one thing;

Teleporters ALWAYS go for your back.

Orange whirled around, readying his shield, and gripping his sword tighter for his counter attack. Provided this got blocked, that is.

Meta Knight had miscalculated his teleport, and was slammed by the shield as it was brought across. He should not of picked something so predictable.

It hurt, but Meta Knight picked himself up quickly. The Orange Knight had yet to actually attack since the first few fire balls. Meta Knight needed to get an opening.

Meta Knight then decided to teleported directly ABOVE the Orange Knight, flapping his wings to keep in the air.

Orange was confused, to say the least. He felt himself strike the knight, so his premonition was at least correct, if nothing else. Although now, he teleported again, a move which annoyed Orange more than anything else. Orange sighed, figuring he was behind him again.

Orange quickly lit up his fire jump, rocketing into the air, looking on the ground to find his opponent. Odd he didn't seem to be....

Orange looked up, his opponent was flapping in the air. Looked like he wanted to get a literal drop on our brave hero. Orange glared at him, spinning towards Meta Knight, murder in his eyes. He disliked flying opponents, so best to kick this ones ass as quickly as possible.

Youmu looked down as the two combatants took to the air around the airship they thought they were fighting on. Orange looked like he could almost hold his own against Gensokyo's own martial art (or some of its practitioners, anyway), and Meta Knight's teleportation looked like a useful asset. She couldn't tell if it was genuine or more like her own speed, but it didn't seem to matter...they weren't likely to fight for a while, anyway.

Further down in the stands, Archer could see a familiar sight, hunched over and trying to provide as little an obstacle as possible for the patrons of the tournament. To tell the truth, Archer felt pretty comfortable where he was. He had no real desire to move at this point. But then again, he had been in the middle of explaining his reasoning in joining this tournament. A fully unwelcome feeling of obligation settled in on his shoulders, weighing him down. He groaned and got to his feet, stepping down to the Artorias' position, sidling down the aisle before sitting next to him. He didn't greet him, just nodding at the massive knight. He then directed his attention towards the fight going on in the arena.

"...So," he said, trying to break the ice. "What do you think of these two?"

"...So," he said, trying to break the ice. "What do you think of these two?"

Artorias glanced over, happy to see that the voice belonged to who he thought it did. He barely had to think to answer the question, "The Orange one wields fire in a manner I have not seen and certainly seems experienced, Meta is fast but he seems to be relying on it too heavily, and Orange has anticipated him well so far, I am unsure if Meta can recover from his fault earlier but if he gains an edge I do not doubt he will press it relentlessly."

He considered all of the questions he had for the man, some could wait for later certainly, and he did wish to focus his attention on the match, he might have to face on of these two later and it would be important to know how they fought. A simple question would suffice for the time being, and making small talk was enjoyable enough, "And what of you, what do you make of them?" he asked, eyes focused on the battle which was now taking place in the air over the strange airborne machine.

Near the top of the stands, far from the "action" in the round stadium, the Angel sat. One leg over the other, hands behind his head, he didn't even bother looking at the Arena, so much more interesting was the sky and generally everything besides the battle of the dwarves down there.

Eventually growing bored of even the sky and the patrons of the Sword, Sephiroth stood and walked down the stands, leisurely making his way to the railing, where he watched with abject terror at the fact that so little happened between the two knights. Both were quite small, and while the Orange Cook had shown his ability to boost himself short distances, the Masked One, the one who had declared that it would stop him, the Meta Knight, showed off his own abilities. He was remarkably nimble despite his lack of discernible legs, and quite quick with that sword of his, though it genuinely surprised him when the thing teleported. Few had the discipline to use that power. And fewer still would squander it in the way that he had. Twice.

Wandering around even more, he eventually realized he was standing behind the Archer and the Giant.

"What do you think of these two?"

"Why, isn't it obvious,"He replied,his question a statement,"The Masked Knight is a fool. And the Cook claiming to be a knight is a joke. The Orange one is outclassed by all but the other's squandering. Neither have the discipline to go far in this tournament, better that they both leave now, before the real battle begins. Let us hope they both fall on their swords, lest they continue to fight for naught, and so tame as well."

Looking around the stadium, he found and locked eyes where he could with his other opponents, his trademark smirk prominent on his face.

Meta Knight was just barely able to dodge the attack, sword's briefly clashing. Of course, now the Orange Knight was in his domain.

Meta Knight spun around into his tornado attack.

An unpleasant chill went up the Servant's spine as he heard the sound of Sephiroth's voice berating the combatants. Archer grimaced, his false smile accompanying a sigh. "What are you, some kind of poorly-written shonen villain?" He didn't bother looking back at the so-called angel, remaining hunched in his seat as he watched the battle unfold, Meta Knight spinning like a tornado of blades. He answered Artorias' question, trying to pretend that the silver-haired jerk wasn't even there.

"The cloaked one--Meta Knight, right? If I had to guess his strength, it's speed. He's clearly leagues beyond the other one when it comes to actual swordplay. His luck's shit, though, and even when he gets the drop he can't seem to connected. The Orange one's got control of the fight, because he's been following the same thought pattern as the other one. But if Meta breaks out of it... I'd call it his fight."

He said his peace and returned to watching the battle. It was interesting, to say the least. He'd never seen such odd fighting styles; the combatants' abilities seemed well-suited to their small stature. He also gave a silent prayer in hopes that the One-Winged Angel would take his leave.

Orange noticed Meta Knight dodge his attack, winding up for another spin attack. Orange decided a parry was in order, bringing his sword down to break the knights spin, sending him back to Oranges glorious domain, the earth. It certianly could've gone better, Meta Knight managed to bury the blade imto Oranges chest, which uncomfortable amd insanely painful, Orange managed to smack the flying ball down to the ground,

Orange wasn't content with this hit, though, not expecting his oppnent to get back up was foolish. Orange took a page out of Meta's move list, spinning himself into a drill to finish his opponent. He quickly became a drill of hate and blood.

'This hopefully won't hurt TOO much, though you deserve much worse.

Looking up had drawn Youmu's attention to a group of the other fighters nearby - Archer, Artorias and...whoever the guy in the black coat was. They were having some kind of argument, though too many people were cheering between her and them to make any details out. The tall one started scanning the audience after that, and he smirked as his eyes met hers.

She started to feel on-edge, but nowhere near as badly as she had when she'd actually heard him speaking. From that distance, her feeling was 'Any time you're ready', but she doubted she could keep it up up close, or that he would hear. She turned back to the fight, setting him aside for the moment.

c:\>_azure_kite:

A tall, white in a black coat stared and smirked as he looked across the arena. Azure Kite just gave him the same empty, one-eyed glare. He was among another white-hair man and the corrupted knight. If the two were in cahoots, then there was no doubt about it. His hand formed a fist. From the fight, he could see he would fight the orange one next. That fighter seemed to be skilled with flames like him, but everyone knows that blue flames burn brightest. Nevertheless, if it came to the worst, Azure Kite would adapt. But, that was enough about about the unseen future. For now, he took note of the shield and Orange Knight's ability to mimic the same move the masked knight used. Not to mention, the anticipation. That backstab was glaringly obvious to anyone with eyes anyway. Azure Kite was sure that he would not make the same mistake.

//store.memorydata

Meta Knight was able to dodge out of the way, but was hit by the sword and started to bleed badly. He doubted he could fight for much longer.

Meta Knight needed to finish this fight quickly. He jumped forward, expecting the Orange Knight to simply use his shield against him, then through out his cloak over his enemy, firing off the best attack Meta Knight has.

Orange twisted the blade ever so slightly, pulling it and him to the side. He stuck the landing, flicking some blood off of his blade, grinning underneath his helmet again. His enemy was wounded, at least as much as Orange, which Orange realized was a bad thing. He quickly pulled out a potion, lifting his helmets visor with practiced swiftness, and downing the potion in one go. Even his clothes mended themselves, and Orange felt as good as new!

-Just in time to see his still wounded opposition mounting a charge, jumping now. Judging by the way he held his cloak, this was going to be a feint. A really convincing feint...

'FIRE JUMP YOU IDIOT!' His mind told him a second after he did so, not exactly happy to return to open air. Still, it seemed the attack missed. Still, while floating in the air, not a fan of repeating himself, he wondered how he could finish the Knight off? He decided to throw the bottle, hucking it at his enemy and pulling out his blade, ready to divebomb the bugger.

Meta Knight again was unable to dodge the blow. The sword broke his mask, yet still had enough power to drive into Meta Knight.

Still, he wasn't dead. Meta Knight needed to go for the jugular.

Meta Knight stabbed out his sword at the place between Orange Knight's helmet and breast place, hoping to get at the Orange Knight's neck.

Orange saw his opponent unmasked, not quite his intention, but now he was unarmered. And naked? Orange shook the thought, seeingeta Knight going for a stab! Orange knocked the sword out of the way.

Orange took off his helmet, letting Meta Knight see his face,

"Surrender, brave knight, to fight another day, or I will destroy you." Orange kept his helmet in the crook of his arm, circling Meta Knight. He gripped his sword tightly, waiting for a response. If he didn't get one, he'd simply end him, like so many others.

Meta Knight knew he was defeated. Meta Knight bowed his head.

"Today, you have fought better than me, well done," Meta Knight said, "I surrender."

"I surrender."

Orange couldn't help but display his best shit- eating grin, putting his sword down and going in for a quick hand shake. He knew it was a bad idea, but this one seemed to like honor, so attacking an unarmed foe like himself would not happen. At least he hoped.

"Glad to see this fight won't continue. I have a potion, if you need it?"

Artorias watched silently and intently as the fight ended, it seemed Meta was unable to overcome his initial difficulties but at least he was able to accept defeat. He turned to Archer, in part to study the man's reaction to the fight, in part because he meant to speak to him.

"It seems we will have some time before the next fight, do you mind answering a few questions of mine?" he asked politely, given that they were surrounded by strangers he would understand if the man didn't wish to speak about his purpose.

"I surrender."

Youmu shook her head sadly at this. He'd clearly been defeated, but he could have taken his death like a true warrior. Then again, maybe warriors of his world had different standards...It went against what she'd been taught, and that was all she really knew how to judge him by. And when she judged him by it, she found him sorely wanting.

There was nothing else to see at the arena. With one last glance around to check if anyone else was going too, she stepped back into the crowd and returned to the main area.

When Artorias looked Archer's way, he found the man sheepishly grinning, with a bead of sweat on his brow. The match had not gone as he'd expected. "Well, I didn't ever claim to be a psychic."

He responded to the knight's question with a silent nod. "Yeah, go on ahead and ask. If I recall, I still owed you a few answers anyway."

He watched the fight winding down, with the fighters slowly recouping and taking stock in the aftermath. The little creatures seemed to be talking, politely if not kindly. Archer wondered if maybe his gut had been wrong. Maybe there wasn't too much to fear in this tournament? Then again, he remembered the disgusting man that had passed behind them not long ago, and decided there was much to fear indeed. This match just happened to be a coincidental match between relatively honorable beings. He waited for the questions the dark knight would be asking; on a level, he was intrigued wondering just what he'd ask. He might get a chance to see if Artorias was truly like the other knights, or if he bore a closer resemblance to the Angel.

"Earlier you were about to state your purpose in this tournament, before you were interrupted, what were you going to say?" he asked, it was the most pressing question he had and Archer's response, were it honest, would tell him a lot about the man.

He considered what his next should be, perhaps he should question the man's humanity? It seemed that with all the strange worlds this tournament drew from he might not be. Such a question might be a bit rude, but it was something important. Gwyn had long been convinced humans were naught but dark, while Artorias believed otherwise, but recent events had given him great cause for doubt.

With the fight officially over, Meta Knight had a mark placed against his name on the official bracket. He would be moved down into the danger zone. Still, he might just have gotten unlucky, and his next opponent would be one of the first to fall. The audience started shuffling out, and the deck of the Halberd dissolved. With it, the force field keeping the fighters and their magic, if any, out of the audience (and vice-versa) was deactivated.

The Supreme Sword also considered the size of the arena. While a twenty-meter diameter was more than sufficient for fighters of the stature of the two knights, it might get too cramped for anything else. The center of the arena started to grow in size, up to forty metres across. Everything was pushed back from the centre, and more chairs appeared in the gaps suddenly created.

With that done, it started to plan for the fight between Wailing Dark and Roukan.

"Hahaha! Wonderful!" Augus roared out in approval as the fight came to its conclusion. It may have been a relatively short exchange, and it was a pity that he had been forced to watch from the sidelines, but it had been an invigorating battle nonetheless. Heh, and it certainly didn't hurt that his little friend had won the round.

"Brilliant job, Orange!" he shouted, his voice drowning out a large portion of the cheering crowd around him. "I hope you bring that same vigor to our fight!" The other knight, Beta or whatever his name was, hadn't been too shabby either, but there was no sense in praising the loser. It would only encourage bad behavior.

All things considered, it had been quite the interesting clash. It was just too bad that it would be instantly overshadowed.

Grinning, the demigod rose to his feet, and began to make his way down the stands, each stride bringing him closer and closer to the arena itself. In no time at all, Augus had reached the wall that separated the crowd from the combatants below, but he never broke his stride. With a slight grunt and a particularly hard stomp, he threw himself into the air, easily clearing the tiny barrier and landing in the now plain, unimpressive stadium. His smile stretching wider and wider, the warrior continued to advance, not bothering to slow his pace until he stood in the approximate center of the ring. "Now, it's my turn."

Allowing gravity to seize hold of him, Augus fell into a seated position, crossing both his legs and his arms as he lowered himself. Closing his eyes, the immortal took several long, deep breaths, holding each mouthful of oxygen for almost ten seconds before releasing it. To those sensitive enough to pick up on such things, the air around the warrior seemed to pulse with a wild, barely constrained energy.

"Oi!" Slamming his fist into the ground and leaving a small crater behind, the swordsman opened his eyes and roared aloud for all to hear, his voice echoing throughout the stadium. "Come on out, girl! Let's do this!"

Archer pursed his lips, not particularly pleased with the question asked of him. Still, it wasn't like he hadn't seen it coming. And he had already agreed to answer, twice now. He took a slow breath, evening out his temper to try and combat the boisterous yells of the big cyborg that had just entered the ring. His success was not extensive.

"Well... It wouldn't be fair if I held it back, with everyone else being so up-front. How to put this in terms you might understand..."

He bridged his fingers together, staring out into space as his eyes stopped the twitching movements that most humans did naturally, if imperceptibly. He was completely focused as he thought about the place he'd come from. The empty, lifeless void in the Throne of Heroes. And the even worse fate he'd come from to reach it. He thought of the friends he'd made, who he'd once held close to him. Rin, and Saber, and oddly enough, himself. He couldn't lie and pretend the War was a good time for him. But compared to what his real life had been like... it was a nice reprieve. A clear goal, with clear opponents. The only betrayals had come from himself, and not those he'd trusted. And he made up for them in the end. He hoped it was enough to make up for it, anyway.

But now all of that seemed very far away. He was confident the young, red-haired man he'd left behind would grow into something better, and wouldn't share his fate. But where did that leave him? Archer had an eternity of service to consider.

"I'm not content with how my dice fell, to put it in a gambler's terms. If I win this tournament, I'm hoping for a chance to give them another roll. Or, barring that... maybe just flip the whole table over."

He frowned, wondering if they even had dice where this knight came from. "I'm sorry if that didn't make much sense. I've never really been too up-front with what I say."

"I see, I think I understand, a second chance is an understandable goal, I suppose it would be too personal for me to ask what you wish to alter," he replied, the way Archer phrased his answer was puzzling, but he felt that he grasped the meaning.

He considered how to ask his next question, deciding to be blunt, "Archer, I've noticed that many of the contestants are rather odd, and I was wondering what you are, if that is not too discourteous of me to ask, you seem human in some ways, I merely wish to be certain," he said, trying to be as polite as possible. It was an awkward question to ask, and one he never thought he'd have to, the denizens of Lordran and the surrounding nations were varied but easily distinguished from one another.

Archer gave a rough smile, as if he weren't sure for a moment whether he was meant to be offended or not. His countenance calmed quickly, though. "Hmph. That's fair. You can't really take appearances for granted around here. Answering your question might be a little difficult, as I'm picking up our worlds don't really work under the same principles. Being technical, I'm not really a human, but I am based on a person that was a more-or-less normal representative of homo sapiens. By my world's standards, at least."

Archer lifted up his hand, staring at the life lines on his palm as he spoke. "I'd like to say that's as complicated as it gets, but there's more. When certain humans die, ones whose exploits transcended history and became truly legendary, their spirits are taken upon death and stored beyond time and space, in a place called the Throne of Heroes. These Heroic Spirits exist as eternal embodiments of the essence of those people: their memories, personalities, and experiences mixed with their mythos and their perception by the human race. Sometimes, under varying conditions, these Heroic Spirits can manifest in the world again. Most do so during a ritual known as the Heaven's Feel, or Holy Grail War if that makes a bit more sense. Servants, bound to their Masters, modern magi who summoned them, fighting for the right to have a single wish granted by the most holy of all relics."

Archer gave a suppressed little grunt like a chuckle. "It's not so different a concept from this tournament, really. Just... less forgiving."

He paused, flexing his brow as he considered how to continue. "And as if that weren't confusing enough, this isn't where the twists end. I'm not actually a Heroic Spirit, though I am a Servant. You see, there are also certain beings stored in the Throne of Heroes who aren't loved by humanity, but hated. Whether they were villains who sought redemption, psychopaths who happened to earn a few boy scout merit badges, or genuine heroes who got shafted for their efforts, these 'heroes' did good in the world even with the hatred of countless generations piled on them. We can almost look the part of a Heroic Spirit, but we're not the real deal. Fakers. Another term to use would be 'Counter Guardians'. The Throne of Heroes utilizes us Fakers as weapons: we manifest at key points in history, slaughtering untold numbers of people to ensure the survival of many more. In short, that's what I am. Once a human, once a wannabe hero who wound up a villain for the trouble."

Archer had an exhausted smile on his face at the end of his tirade. "Sorry about how long-winded that got. I don't know how much of that is common knowledge to you like it is to me, and how much is fresh info."

Meta Knight grabbed the potion from the Orange Knight, with a quick thank you before scarfing it down in a single gulp. Meta Knight grabbed the two halves of his mask to his face.

Meta Knight quickly left the arena, trying to ignore how badly his pride hurt from his dismal performance of the fight and the reveal of his true face to everybody.

Orange was confused. The air seemed still, but he was on an airship. And now he wasn't. And was maskless. In front of a giant audience...

"... Oh god no." Orange sprinted out of the arena, blushing heavily.

Artorias considered Archer's response, the concept of heroic spirits and servants sounded somewhat akin to the summoning or invasion of phantoms in his world. Still there were numerous differences and beyond that he had never heard of a holy grail or throne of heroes. If he was understanding properly then Archer had been a human, but was now some sort of ghost kept in existence by the memories of others. It was a strange concept to him, more easily grasped was Archer's purpose.

"I'm not sure I grasp all the details, your world is strange to me, but I can say that I too have had to sacrifice many for the good of all," he said somewhat grimly, remembering the flooding of New Londo, it had been the only way to stop the terrible darkwraiths.

He straightened his posture somewhat, looking out at the expanding field of battle, wondering what sort of terrain the next fight would take place on. Someplace from Youmu or Augus's worlds, though what was there he had no idea. Youmu had mentioned the city she came from, perhaps it would be there? The girl with the ghostly orb and the demigod with the metal hands and blind eyes, it would be an interesting fight.

"I am sure you have your own questions to ask of me, go ahead I will answer to the best of my ability," he said, he had other questions still, but had already asked the main two.

Vergil had watched the match from afar, studying the combatants every moves; not that either of the two minuscule 'knights' would be any trouble even if he did face them eventually. He watched on as, with the match eventually culminating with Meta Knight ending up at Orange's mercy at the end of his sword.

The Orange Knight demanded that his foe yield, and he did so almost without resistance.

"How pitiful..."

Vergil turned away, almost disgusted at the weakness at show. That Meta-Knight did not even attempt to salvage any honour by allowing his opponent the kill showed the utmost cowardice. The Dark Slayer walked away as the two combatants wounds were addressed, meandering over to where the black knight and white haired youth sat, the black-coated warrior in the back showing the same smug, conceited look as before.

He's clearly confident, but I wonder if he is truly a worthy opponent. Only time will tell.

"In short, that's what I am. Once a human, once a wannabe hero who wound up a villain for the trouble."

"So you're a pawn now. The tool of a utilitarian greater power. Without the free will to come and go at your own whim. That hardly seems like worthwhile existence" Vergil mused.

"That hardly seems like worthwhile existence."

"Maybe it isn't," replied Archer, resigned. "But it's the path I chose for the sake of my ideal. Probably a stupid choice, really." He noted that this newcomer had hair styled like his, and white to boot. "You know guy, they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... but that hair's downright theft."

He brushed his fingers through a bit of his own hair before turning back to Artorias. As it happened, he did have questions.

"I have three." Archer held up the according number of fingers and immediately dove into the first. "You used a term before. Abysswalking, I think. What does that entail?"

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