It was not long after the team's endeavours in Krathazhrukhal's realm that they were travelling back towards Hyperborea upon their ship. Kithworto thought it fitting now, that, due to their previous disasters that they had lived through that it was ready for him to test Hachiman and Kezoreg in their final battle - against him. However, he could not find them on the higher deck of the ship and thus went searching for them. The aforementioned lagomorphic posthuman could be found lounging within the ship's midsection with only himself for company, half-asleep and what appeared to be a holographic tablet clasped loosely in his grasp as he had taken a seat away from the majority of the rest of the team to relax his nerves and regain some semblance of composure after having lost much sleep over the course of the venture throughout. The contents featured on the holotablet were questionable at best, although Hachiman had clearly been too tired for such base activities as of the recent venture into the outer-realms.
Kezoreg, meanwhile, could not be found.
Kithworto walked into the same room that Hachiman was in, noticing his relaxed position and seemingly having no cares for anything whatsoever. His brow raised with a level of apprehension as he saw the young warrior in a state of relaxation, somewhat confused as to why he seemed so blissful at the time.
- Kithworto - I see you are having fun, then.
- Hachiman - ... I was looking for roses... but I was a b-bit too tired. ... You alright, Kit?
- Kithworto - If I knew what a rose was, I would probably ask why, but considering I don't...well. Where is Kezoreg?
- Hachiman - Hell if I know, he's been gone for the last two hours or so. Haven't seen a trace of the gobby tyke anywhere.
- Kithworto - Well, I need his presence. And yours. We have matters to tend to.
Suddenly, from the corner of the room that the two had found themselves in, the familiar sight of a lean, reptilian figure emerged from the shadows, fist clenched and his feet having parted with the floor as he made a leap at Kithworto's rear, arm winded back and emanating with the shady, fluidic motions of innate Descension energy; he had allowed several hours of time to go by in silence so that he may attain the opportunity to finally get the better of his godlike alien sensei. The ensuing impact to Kithworto's back sent the Kicath flying across the room, hitting the wall hard enough for the very ship to rock at a severe angle, dropping many items from the shelves in the room upon the ceiling and then crashing on the floor. Kithworto then rose to his feet, seemingly unscathed by the punch, though he let out a small groan as if he were surprised. Hachiman, meanwhile, after picking himself up off of the floor and reaching for the now broken holotablet, glanced at the scene with widened eyes, watching as Kezoreg released his stand-offish stance and perked a grin.
- Kezoreg - Getting a good hit on the poor bastard that becomes your enemy means not always having to fight fair.
- Kithworto - I have to admit; you certainly know how to punch.
- Hachiman - ... Y-You... You alright, Kithworto? ... T-That looked like it hurt. A lot.
All of a sudden, a heavy booming noise from upstairs was heard as Psi was hammering his leg against the ground in a gesture of irritation.
- Psi - Keep it down! You just made me spill drinks all over the room.
- Kezoreg - Hey teach, you said you needed me and rosy palms for something. "Important matters", you said.
- Kithworto - Yes. And with a movement like that, you might enjoy it.
- Hachiman - ... We're not gonna enjoy this, I know it.
- Kezoreg - Stop being such a wuss.
- Hachiman - Trust me, in cases like this, it's smart to be worried.
- Kithworto - Concerning that you defeated Shu'ytrogarva with little effort, and that you just managed to hit me without me noticing, you might find this trivial at best.
- Hachiman - I wouldn't say 'little effort', Kit. ... We all almost died that time. A lot of times, actually. ... How are we still alive, anyway?
- Kezoreg - ... Ooh, I know what this is. Yeah, this is gonna be fun! ... And dangerous. Immensely dangerous.
- Hachiman - Oh, goody.
- Kithworto - You two have certainly improved since we first ventured into Andromeda, and it is evident that you need not my coaching any more. So now I offer one final challenge.
With a concerned expression on his furred face, Hachiman stretched an arm to reach for the sheath of his vibrokatana that had fallen onto the floor following the punch that Kezoreg struck against Kithworto which caused much of the possessions and stationary objects on board the vessel to collapse, while the abomination that was Kezoreg himself cracked his knuckles and fingers in preparation for the event to follow. Rolling his shoulders, Kezoreg approached Kithworto and Hachiman followed not long afterward, taking deep breaths to compose himself.
- Hachiman - This is gonna hurt.
- Kithworto - Indeed. Your final challenge is me. And do not hold back, because I will not either.
- 'Kezoreg - ... Can I have a moment to reconsider?
- Hachiman - You're an asshole.
Drawing forth the vibrokatana kept with its sheath and cautiously launching it aside, Hachiman turned towards Kithworto with an acknowledging nod and swirled his blade between his fingers in circular motions, while Kezoreg's fists erupted in what appeared to be a black, ethereal fire as his unpleasant grin gradually shifted into a conflictive scowl, baring his teeth much like a hound would when cornered and angered.
- Kithworto - Hold it. We are not doing this here.
- Kezoreg - ... Huh? What, why?
- Kithworto - Mainly because I do not want everyone on this ship to die. We are taking this elsewhere before we begin.
- Kezoreg - ... We're on a ship, teach. There's not many other places to go other than, well, here.
- Kithworto - I can teleport, remember.
- Hachiman - ... I can't. I don't think.
With a lengthy groan, Kithworto placed both of his hands - one on Hachi's head, and the other Kezoreg's, before finding themselves amidst a dusty wasteland in a seemingly uncharted region of space. After having reached their destined location, Hachiman took a stride back to analyse his surroundings although swiftly tripped over a miniscule rock that had found itself behind him, while Kezoreg briefly turned his head both left and right to get a feel for their battleground. He blinked, pausing for a moment, before looking back at Kithworto once more.
The Battle Edit
- Kezoreg - And this is where?
- Kithworto - It matters not. Though if you must know, we are in the Milky Way Galaxy as of current.
- Kezoreg - Fair enough, teach. ... Heh, any last words before we begin?
The three were not alone on this barren world. Sitting cross-legged on a small rocky outcrop and with an aura only Kithworto could sense, Sarec was watching expectantly, a ghost that haunted this lonely planet, hidden from plain sight within the dry air.
Kithworto smirked before he spoke up;
- Kithworto - As a matter of fact, I do. If you don't dodge I'm going slap you through the planet's crust.
Kezoreg chuckled, disguising his concern with a brief laugh as he entered his combat stance, clenching his fists and watching as Descension energy made itself present between his fingers, while Hachiman swiftly picked himself up and, with an unnerved gulp, swallowed his complaints and gradually brought himself into his own combative stance; two hands placed upon the hilt of his blade, watching as its edge began to illuminate with Dream energy rushing through its systems and materials.
Kithworto let out a brief groan again as he stretched his arms out, warming up for the ensuing fight as he then cricked his neck left and right, though seemingly no essence building across his body. Before long, after what seemed to be minutes passing upon this barren, deserted world, it was Kezoreg that made the first move to oppose their mentor; he dashed forward, picking up sand and dust as his aura concentrated into the claws of his legs and hands and made a swift left hook in the direction of his teacher, while Hachiman hung back to watch what would come to occur from the haste in Kezoreg's movements. Though Kithworto did not get sent flying through the air like last time, his head made a quick snap backwards as a jet of blood flew from his mouth, causing the ground to fizz as the acid from it corroded the sand. The rest of Kithworto however remained perfectly still as he returned his head to look at Kezoreg with his brow lowered.
The Zazane amalgamation stepped back as he glanced at Kithworto, watching as the gargantuan Kicath appeared largely unfazed by the assault he had just instigated upon his master, while Hachiman initiated his own turn amidst the stare-off the two reptilians held between them; from his fingertips, the Tā swordsman launched a dagger-like blast of concentrated Dream energy at Kithworto's direction from afar, aiming for the beastly Kicath's torso. The shard of energy impacted against Kithworto's chest, shattering much like glass as Kithworto was launched towards the ground in a heavy thud. Dust filled the air as Kithworto's immense frame was sent crashing down.
His brow raising at the sight of the opportunity, Kezoreg dashed at Kithworto once more, throwing a set of Descension-enfused punches once more towards the head and facial area of the Kicath while Hachiman made the effort to rush to their side in an attempt to flank Kithworto from behind while he had been downed, not expecting the Kicath to remain in such an opportune position for long. Already, he prepared the energy in his veins for further attacks - stronger attacks, if necessary. Though it was only a ruse. Before Kezoreg could land the first punch upon the Kicath's face, Kithworto had dematerialised from the surface right in front of them. He reappeared only twenty or thirty metres away, his stance now more aggressive as he looked at the two.
With a brief flick of the wrist, Hachiman allowed a set of three Dream energy shards to burst forth from his fingertips as if they were throwing stars, although he had not stopped his movement, instead changing course so as to approach Kithworto as he began picking up speed. Punching the ground for a moment, Kezoreg turned and dashed as well, leaping across the desert as he watched his mentor rematerialize into reality. The bolts of energy did not make it far, however as, much like when the sand and dust rose around Kezoreg as his energies built within him, so did the same as Kithworto began to muster his aura. The ground began to shake and shatter beneath his feet as the rocky landscape from afar began to tremor. His left arm raised to shoulder height as the duo felt the winds and weakened earth gravitate towards the Kicath's hand, before a black aura of energy rose from his skin.
Sarec smirked as he watched with closed eyes, and whispered to himself;
- Sarec - Now things get interesting.
Instead of hanging at the rear as he had done before, Hachiman instead dashed alongside Kezoreg as he kept on the offensive, not taking long to breach the vicinity of the Kicath Essential although once they had gotten there they knew not of the most efficient or effective means to tackle the obstacle he posed to them. Kezoreg would come to a halt some meters from Kithworto while Hachiman continued forward, clasping his arcanised vibrokatana tightly as he sealed the distance between himself and his enemy. The left arm of the Kicath wound backwards as he then darted his fist forward, as shockwaves emanated through the atmosphere, followed by a blindingly bright stream of essence cleaving into the planet's surface, tearing the earth apart all the way to and across the horizon. The skies began to fill with arcs of lightning among the clouds as the very nature of the planet was torn by the essence coming from Kithworto.
Hachiman could feel his fur begin to flow as if it was being blown by wind while it soon came to glimmer, Dream energy flowing through his body to shield and compose himself from the after-effects brought upon him by the act of Kithworto bringing forth his own Essence. Aiming to seal their distance as swift as possible, Hachiman allowed his hands to guide his blade almost instinctively, moving in for a diagonal slash to one of the Kicath's extremities. Kezoreg, meanwhile, watched Hachiman oppose Kithworto and leaped to the side of the clash after having spent a moment suspiciously kneeling on one leg, his head towards the ground. Kithworto spun around quickly, his two fingers together in a pointing motion as trails of essence deflected Hachiman's sword, swing after swing. Kithworto's face remained somewhat stoic, perhaps with a little amusement on his face. His eyes were shimmering red as just looking at his face was enough to cause some pain in the back of one's eyes.
A grin forming on his face as he watched Hachiman's motions and Kithworto's method of deflection, Kezoreg leaped from the ground and paid attention to the debris drawn to the Kicath's direction, at which point he made his move; winding his arms back before launching them forward, Kezoreg allowed sand to be thrown from his palms, accursed with Descension so that each individual particle, gifted with the same black aura that ruptured from the Zazane's fist, had been shaped into needle-like constructs as they were launched at the Kicath's face, streams and jolts of electricity present between each particle. The grains of sand splattered all over Kithworto's face, setting his face alight with a plasma-like quality spilling over his snout. The Kicath's eyes twitched and closed as Kithworto let out an angered roar, blindly throwing his fist against the ground in an energetic explosion, crumbling the ground around them for hundreds of metres.
Hachiman took the opportunity and made a motion to slash the Kicath's muscular arm with his Essence-enhanced blade, gritting his teeth while his aura made itself prevalent. Kezoreg, meanwhile, awaited to make contact with the floor once more after his leaping assault and moved to grapple the Kicath's tail with his darkened, fiery claws as Kithworto was momentarily incapacitated by his sand attack. Kithworto flailed his tail around, hammering it against the ground as he tried to release Kezoreg's grasp from it. Noticing the slash on his arm, Kithworto built his aura again, though this time pushed both of his hands out, causing an air-tearing shockwave to blast both the two of them far from him. Hachiman was knocked back by some dozen meters, the edge of his blade having absorbed much of the force behind the shockwave even if he was knocked away, while Kezoreg was seemingly momentarily reduced to a ragdoll as he was thrown off of his feet, rolling against the ground for 20 meters after making contact with the earth once more.
- Hachiman - ... I don't know if it's working!
Kithworto wiped his brow of the sand that remained on his face, his snout burnt to a fleshy mass among bone. The lesions began to heal quickly, though Kithworto was hardly amused at the attack.
- Kithworto - You are doing better than I thought. Though now this gives me little reason not to make this harder.
The aura around Kithworto, and the very skies began to shimmer as the landscape around them went cold, and Kithworto's skin began to turn red. His veins began to discolour into a deep viscous black, and then his eyes turning black shortly after. The star that lit the planet's surface began to go faint as it seemed that, for many minutes now, Kithworto was accumulating more and more to undergo a transformation. Horns burst through the armour on his back.
- Kithworto - Now, if you fail to dodge, I will slap you across the solar system.
Kithworto drew his hands towards his body as the earth shattered even further, now going many metres, if not kilometres underground as a black sphere of energy manifested between his hands. His uncertainty washing away as he saw the transformation undergone by his Kicathian mentor, Hachiman released one of the hands on his sword to allow an Essence sphere of his own, consisting of Dream energy, to form within his palm. Kezoreg watched the transformation unfold and his teeth bared from a widened grin as he watched Hachiman undergo his preparation for the challenge ahead.
- Kezoreg - Hey, bunny boy! ... I got an idea!
- Hachiman - If it's anything like that one time you said it was safe to drink toilet water, it's not gonna work!
- Kezoreg - No, no, a real idea this time! ... You tackle his front while I--
- Hachiman - If you have an idea, don't yell it out so he can hear it! Just... Just telegraph it to me with your movements, goddamn...
Kithworto held the sphere of energy in the palm of his left hand, waiting for either one of them to make a move as he had a small smirk on his face. Sarec, who had now vacated from his outcrop and retreated to levitate at a safe distance, watched with slight concern at the unfolding events as he watched the battlefield crumble into an ashen wasteland where, as time went by, the laws of physics and thermodynamics became less and less interested in obliging with something as meagre as consistency.
- Kithworto - I will put this bluntly. If this hits the planet, you will be stranded in space.
- Kezoreg - Then how about hitting us with it instead of this planet, huh? Come on, Kit, all the time you're talking, you're just giving us more time to think about how to kick your ass!
Kithworto shrugged his shoulders.
- Kithworto - If you insist.
Kithworto reached his hand out slowly, as the ball jutted out towards the two, pulling the ground beneath it upwards, heavy enough for boulders thousands of tons in weight to shudder at its path. Kezoreg's beastly scowl returned as he clenched his fists, overflowing with Descension energy to the point of tearing at the flesh, muscles, and tendons that coated his hands, and prepared to initiate a defensive as the incorporeal sphere made its approach, while Hachiman, too, accompanied Kezoreg in formulating a defensive posture, his own hands brimming with Dream energy which flowed into and throughout his sword; they proceeded to assault the sphere as it reached their vicinity, Kezoreg throwing his fists several dozens of times a moment while Hachiman slashed and cut at it with swift, almost unseen strikes of the edge of his blade.
The sphere pressed against the assaults of the two with incredible force; moving slowly, slower than many could crawl, though with such energetic intensity that even standing against it was arduous at the very least. It was nearing the planet's surface, as the dust and sand of the destroyed wasteland was flung in every direction. Kithworto watched, with his arms folded, with small concern as to whether they would succeed in destroying or diverting the orb of Death Energy that he conjured up.
- Kezoreg - Hey Hach... Grab my tail...
- Hachiman - ... What?
- Kezoreg - Do it... and do that Dream energy thingy that you do.
- Hachiman - You're mad! You've gone mad!
- Kezoreg - Maybe, but it's worth a shot. ... Channel me!
- Hachiman - ... This is such a stupid idea.
Bearing his teeth as he placed his sword into the ruined earth, Hachiman placed both of his hands upon the end of Kezoreg's tail and proceeded to summon forth the Dream energy that flowed through his veins and tendons, channeling it through the bones and veins of Kezoreg's body; blood spat from the Zazane's joints and electricity rushed throughout, causing him to burn and steam, yet at the same time one would notice that not only were Kezoreg's fists ignited with Descension energy, but with sparks and jolts of Dream energy that Hachiman had sent through his body to make contact with the Death energy sphere.
Kezoreg was assaulting the gargantuan ball of death with the combined force of two Essences simultaneously, at the cost of the breathtaking agony that caused him to roar and squeal, while his movements became twitchy yet more agile than before, punching harder at a faster pace.
The great sphere of energy began to divert; the combined efforts of the two managed to shift the great weight of the sphere away from the planet, causing the earth to gravitate elsewhere. Kithworto looked on in slight amazement as the sphere moved away, and, in a short huff, waved the sphere of energy into space as it exploded above them. The force of it rained down on the earth beneath them, crushing mountains to rubble and tsunamis of rock blasted miles upon miles into the air around them.
Sarec, relieved and overjoyed at what the two had accomplished began to laugh with relief, the sound of the dragonlike being's booming baritone laughter was disguised by the roar of churning and tumbling rock. Kezoreg collapsed onto his knees as Hachiman released the grasp upon the Zazane's tail, watching the younger and evidently more basic fighter fall onto his knees as he brought up the churned remains of his stomach onto the ground, hurling what one would describe as "plasma waste" as a result of having his body charged with an otherwise incompatible and volatile Essence that was alien to his physiology.
- Kezoreg - Eugh... Urgh... N-Never... Never do t-that again...
- Hachiman - ... It was your idea!
- Kezoreg - Who said... l-listening to my i-ideas was a good idea, eh?!
- Hachiman - ... Come on, get up. I doubt he's about to let up now.
- Kezoreg - Yeah, y-yeah... G-Give me five minutes...
- Kithworto - That is all I needed to see. ...You've impressed me, in all honesty.
- Kezoreg - W-What...? R-Rosy palms, a-am I h-hearing things r-right...?
- Hachiman - It's... It's Hachi.
- Kezoreg - Y-Yeah, whatever your name is...
- Kithworto - I would have not let the sphere touch the planet. Though I wished to see whether you were able enough to divert it. And you were. I would not think of many in the Gigaquadrant who could do that.
Kezoreg wiped his mouth as he stood, wincing as the burned flesh and musculature across his body began to slowly, yet painfully, regenerate while Hachiman wiped his hands across his trousers after having touched the Zazane hybrid, glancing at Kithworto with a hint of relief in his expression, though not necessarily satisfaction. He approached his erect sword and plucked it from the earth, leaving it loosely clasped at his side.
- Hachiman - ... You mean, w-we passed?
- Kithworto - If you want to call it that.
- Kezoreg - N-No more g-getting punched in the face, g-getting our backs broke... N-None of that?
- Kithworto - You will have years of that ahead of you. Just not me doing it.
- Hachiman - So... So we can go home now? ... Well, not home, but, like, you know...
- Kithworto - I suppose.
Satisfied with what he had seen, Sarec chuckled quietly to himself before vanishing within a dust cloud that passed over him. As he left, there was a momentary glimmer of radiant energy from Hachi's amulet that, for a quick moment, caused the chitin scale embedded within to glint like a polished jewel.