A Monster's Wrath
It seems that Toru and Yuki were not the only ones who noticed the instability of the barrier. Outside the dome, a regal-looking man with a long, black ponytail growls his disappointment. He turns to Orochi, displaying his sharp fangs and piercing, green eyes; a telltale sign that this "man" is an earth-type inukonjou.
"What's the meaning of that?" the man snarls. "I thought that girl had full control."
"Calm down, Juro," Orochi nervously says. "I'll talk to her."
Orochi approaches the sorceress, who appears to be struggling to concentrate. The portly man tries his best not to sound frantic as he speaks, but he doesn't want to catch the wrath of the impatient full-blood.
"What's a matter, Sayo?" Orochi asks. "You never had a problem before."
"I'm sorry, father," Sayo answers as beads of sweat runs\ down her delicate face. "It's that new beast; the one with the white hair. He's very strong."
Another man overhears the conversation. With a very muscular build and short, black hair, his appearance is a stark contrast to the sophisticated-looking Juro. The man rushes in between Sayo and Orochi to see the new half-breed the pair is talking about.
"That's him!" the large man yells. "The one with no yōkai!" He immediately turns to Juro. "I need to get in there! I owe that bastard some payback!"
Juro stares at the white-haired half-breed and lets out a teasing chuckle. "Is that really him, Takeshi? You let that pretty-boy give you that nasty beat-down the other day?"
"That's not funny!" Takeshi growls back. Although he towers over the other earth-type at over 7, the 6' 6" Juro continues his taunting.
"He caught me off-guard," Takeshi continues. "Just let me in there, and you can see what your little brother can do."
"Whatever," Juro says with a roll of his eyes. He always gets his way, eventually. He looks at Sayo with a warm smile. "Please let him in, my lady. Subdue the rest of the mutts, but leave that one at full power. I want my little brother to prove himself."
Sayo obediently increases the bands' powers and completely paralyzes Toru and the Yasuishi soldiers. Rin, who is also affected, reverts back into his human form, unconscious. Kana is able to move freely, and becomes confused at the sudden change in development. The earth-type warrior notices a small opening at the top of the barrier, and watches as Takeshi hops in.
"Hey, half-breed," Takeshi greets with a snarling smirk. "Remember me?"
Kana simply stares at the visitor with bewilderment, but suddenly begins to double over with laughter. "Is that you, Stripes? Sorry, I didn't recognize you with all your teeth. Damn, your human form is seriously ugly!"
Takeshi lets out a loud roar. "It's Takeshi, you bastard! And you won't get the best of me this time…"
Toru suddenly manages to break free of the band's hold and flings his ball and chain into Takeshi's gut. The earth-type propels backwards from the sudden force.
A rocky pillar explodes beneath the stunned full-blood and catapults Takeshi back through the barrier's opening from which he came. The crowd gasps as Takeshi lands next to his older brother.
"That's for Ophelia, asshole!" Toru yells victoriously. He looks towards Kana, who is giving him an odd stare. "What? Our cover is blown anyway. There's no reason to hold back."
"That's what I like to hear," Kana says, cracking his knuckles.
"Useless bitch", Juro snarls at the young sorceress. "How did that one break free?"
"I'm sorry," Sayo says nervously. "He's another strong one."
Takeshi gets up with a loud grunt, interrupting Juro and Sayo. "He's a Society warrior, too."
Juro lets out a frustrated growl. Not one, but two elemental warriors infiltrated? The full-blood decides that he has to dispose of them quickly. The water-type will be easy, but Sayo can just barely keep the white-haired one at bay. Maybe it was a bad idea to let him go to full power. He needs to be dealt with first.
"Regain control of that elemental sorcerer, now!" Juro orders the sorceress. "Give everything you have to make sure he doesn't cast a spell. I'll deal with that other one myself."
Sayo nods her head and focuses her magic on Toru, who quickly collapses to the ground. Juro immediately jumps into the barrier's opening with an effortless leap. He lands on all fours in front of Kana.
"My little brother is pathetic," Juro begins as he stands up. "But I am another story."
Kana simply responds with a teasing smirk at the new, and smaller, opponent. "Are you sure about that? You're a bit on the scrawny side."
"Be careful!" Toru warns from afar, unable to move. "His yōkai is much more powerful."
Juro lets out a deafening howl as his emerald essence envelopes him. The green mist disperses, revealing a huge canine with a stout, but muscular build. The full-blood snarls at Kana, exposing sharp teeth beneath its wide muzzle. Rows of spikes runs down the great beast's spine. With a massive horn that protrudes from his forehead and his solid, black coat, Juro looks more fitting guarding the gates of hell.
"Fine," Kana says nonchalantly, tossing his white mane. "I can take you down bare-handed just like your stupid brother. Come and get me, Spikey."
Juro is quickly baited by Kana's taunts and lunges at him. Kana takes advantage of his more agile body and quickly dodges the assault. He immediately counters the great beast with a punch in the ribs.
Juro collapses as his ribcage snaps under Kana's fist and pierces his lung. The crowd roars with admiration as the horned beast coughs up blood. The show seems to have surpassed expectations for the bloodthirsty spectators.
Kana steps back, preparing for another attack. Earth-types are only second to water-types when it comes to healing; it won't be long before Juro recovers. Instead of another head-on assault, however, Juro swipes his spiked tail at the white-haired warrior. Kana easily jumps over the attack and gracefully lands right in front of Juro's head. Close enough to feel the heat of the beast's exasperated huffing; Kana's position is a blatant show of disrespect. The Society warrior is only inches from Juro's jaws, a canine's most dangerous weapon, with a teasing smirk on his face; not feeling the least bit threatened.
"Please try to make this interesting," Kana says. "If not for the crowd, for me."
Juro has finally lost his composure. "Your arrogance will be your downfall!'
The horned beast stands on his hind legs, towering over the Society warrior. He flexes his right paw and extends a deadly barrage of sharp claws towards Kana. The new attack takes the white-haired warrior by surprise, and a claw impales his shoulder blade. Juro's claw pierces all the way through and pins Kana to the ground. The spectators gasp in horror; for Kana has quickly become the crowd's favorite.
Juro's emerald-green eyes glow with satisfaction as he turns towards Takeshi. "See, brother? This is how you put a half-breed in his place!"
The horned beast's victory is short-lived, however. Kana grabs the impeding claw and crushes it with his bare hands, setting himself free. Juro is surprised at Kana's show of force and is paralyzed with awe.
"Im…. Impossible! How'd you…"
This is not the time for questioning for the elemental warrior. To teach the beast a lesson, Kana takes hold of two of his other extended claws and rips it right out of his paw. The crowd roars while Juro howls in pain.
"A half-breed will not best me!" The desperation in Juro's voice is now evident.
Juro raises his left paw to pin Kana with his claws, once again. However, Kana is ready for the repeated attack and quickly tackles Juro's hind leg. The large canine falls forward with a vibrating thud. The white-haired warrior jumps high in the air, and drives his elbow in the back of Juro's neck, knocking him semi-conscious.
The triumphant warrior glares at the defeated Juro. "Perhaps, it is you who should know his place."
Kana turns his back on the beast, another show of disrespect. The crowd is now ecstatic at such an epic victory. If it wasn't for the parasitic bands, the Yasuishi soldier would have likely joined in the cheers. The white-haired warrior decides to humor the spectators with a few waves and western-style bows.
Kana's celebration is quickly interrupted by Juro's loud roar. "Die, son of a bitch!" The full-blood's horn suddenly extends, aiming for Kana's back. The white-haired warrior is just seconds from meeting his demise, however…
Brave, little Miko intervenes, chopping off Juro's horn with an crimson tsurugi. It seems that Sayo never bothered to subdue the pups.
The little fire-type smiles proudly at Kana as the exhausted Juro reverts back into his human form. The white-haired warrior is left speechless with admiration for the brave pup. Miko dispels his weapon and shows off his new mark.
"Look!" he says excitedly as he waves his left arm. "I have one, too! I can be a strong warrior! I can show Ryuji!"
"You sure can," Kana says has he pats Miko's head. "You fire-types sure get your marks early."
Juro lets out an exhausted growl as he gets to his feet. Kana gives the full-blood a calm glance. He suddenly grabs Miko's shoulders and goes down to his eye level, giving the pup a very intense stare.
"Listen," he says solemnly. "No matter what happens, make sure you survive. Fight with everything you got. Understand?" Kana knows he has likely guaranteed his death; the least he can do is leave Miko with some words of advice.
"Uh… yes. I understand." Poor Miko doesn't know why Kana is suddenly serious. He will find out, soon enough.
Kana lets out a warm smile. "Good."
"Sayo!" Juro roars. "Hold down that bastard!"
The powers of the young sorceress converge on Kana, holding him in place. The barrier collapses, but the guards immediately restrain the Yasuishi soldiers. Unfortunately, the bands still keep the half-breed prisoners at human-level strength. Two guards grab Toru, but he still has a trick up his sleeve. A well-placed wind spell will kick up some dirt and give everyone a chance to escape amongst the confusion.
Toru's spell is suddenly interrupted as his windpipe is forcefully squeezed shut. Struggling to breathe, he stares up at Takeshi's grinning face.
"You'd thought we forgot about your tricks, half-breed?"
Sayo's will continues to bog down Kana, but the white-haired warrior uses all of his strength to remain on his feet. The proud Elemental warrior will never get on his knees in front of Juro. He watches as the livid full-blood grabs a sword and approaches him menacingly.
Juro's places the tipe of his blade at Kana's throat, but the proud warrior keeps his head up and stares down at the shorter Juro.
"Go ahead and cut me down while I'm impaired," Kana sneers. "That's the only way a weak mongrel like you can take me out."
Juro pauses and contemplates Kana's words. After a few seconds, the full-blood decides to withdraw the blade and walks pass him. Kana remains still, allowing Juro to move behind him. It's likely Juro wants to prolong his execution; that will give Kana plenty of time to find an opening and defeat him once and for all.
Suddenly, the sound of a blade piercing flesh alerts Kana, and warm blood splashes on him from behind. He turns around to see that Juro has taken his blade through Miko's back instead. He removes his sword and lets the pup drop lifelessly to the ground.
Kana, more concerned about Miko than the enemy before him, kneels down to cradle the injured pup.
"Miko," Kana whispers to the little fire-type. "Remember what I said… be strong… survive..."
Still detained by Takeshi, Toru and can only watch as Kana attempts to rouse the unresponsive Miko. The crowd begins to wonder what Kana will do next, and the entire arena drops into a dead silence.
"Miko," Kana continues in a cracking voice. "Please… answer me."
Miko's crimson eyes meets Kana's with a lifeless gaze. I pushed Juro to do this. This is my fault. The earth-type warrior closes Miko's eyes and buries his head in the pup's bloody chest. "I'm so sorry," he whimpers as tears begin to run down his face.
The once silent arena now echoes with Kana's uncontrollable sobbing. Even the drunken spectators are overwhelmed with remorse for the young victim.
Not expecting such a pitiful reaction from an elemental warrior, Juro smiles sadistically.
"See, brother?" he says to Takeshi. "Besting your opponent is not always about who's the strongest. That is the difference between strength and power."
Juro looks down at Kana, who is now bawling as he cradles Miko's bloody corpse.
"Just look at him," the older full-blood chuckles teasingly. "On his knees in tears. Absolutely pathetic. This is a lot more satisfying than just cutting him down."
Drunk with power, Juro turns to the Yasuishi soldiers. "Let this be a lesson to the rest of you mutts…"
Sayo's pained screams suddenly bellows through the arena. She grabs her head and flays about.
"I can't stop him!"
There is a sudden explosion of yōkai, causing the parasitic band on every prisoner to rupture and disintegrate. Everyone turns towards the source of the yōkai surge, and watches in awe as Kana's green essences swirls about him. The yokai is staggering and volatile, causing everyone to freeze in place.
The mist dissolves, and the elemental warrior is now a huge, white canine that's larger than any full-blood Toru has ever had the misfortune to come across. His deep snarl sends rumbles throughout the arena as his eyes glows green with anguish and hatred. Kana stands tall, with his front legs splayed to support his muscular shoulders. His wide muzzle stores deadly rows of sharp teeth; perfectly built to disembowel any challenger.
Kana lowers his huge head to Juro's level. He snorts through his black nose, kicking up dirt in the full-blood's face. His short, pure-white fur shimmers in the sunlight, with a thick, longer mane running down his back. If Juro's beast form is the Hound of Hell….
Kana's is the Angel of Death.
"You think your barks scare me!?" Juro refuses to allow Kana to steal his moment. "I'm ready for you, dog!"
Takeshi quickly throws a fresh parasitic band to Juro. "Here!"
Juro catches the fresh band, ready to put Kana back into submission. However, the beast is too quick, and viciously mauls the full-blood. The sounds of crushing bone and tearing flesh is muted by Kana rabbid snarls. Juro, now torn in two from the waist, is thrown across the arena and lands next to Toru.
"Holy shit!" Toru screams.
No longer in control, Orochi and the rest flee in terror with the now unconscious Sayo in tow. It soon becomes evident that Juro's life did not satisfy the great beast. Kana begins to advance towards the screaming crowd, searching for another outlet.
Toru scrambles to impede Kana's progress, and creates a shield of wind.
"Wind cutter!" Toru decides to use a defensive spell. Attacking Kana head-on will be suicide. Miraculously, the spell stops Kana in his tracks.
"Stand down, Kana!" Toru yells. "I'll cut you into pieces, if I must!"
"Don't make me laugh, sorcerer," Kana growls. "Are you not afraid of the monster before you?"
Toru immediately stops the wind spell, proving his bravado. "What the hell are you talking about?" Toru asks. "You are not the monster. It was Juro, and he got what he fucking deserved!"
"But it doesn't matter… the… pup…" The canine's green eyes begin to glisten with tears.
"I'm sorry about Miko, but take a moment and get your head out of your ass! You are not the only one doing the protecting!"
"You're protecting everyone else from me?"
"No! I'm protecting you from yourself!"
Kana throws his head back and lets out an anguished howl. Toru stands his ground; he's not going to let this over-powered pup intimidate him.
"When I first saw you, you had the look of ultimate despair," Toru's stern expression slowly turns to remorse. "I don't want to see you bury more innocent people. I don't want to see the person who endangered his own life to save mine lose his will to live again!" Seriously, can this get any cheesier?
Kana growls viciously at Toru, sending a huge shockwave at the water-type warrior. Toru manages to remain on his feet and responds with a growl of his own.
"I am still your alpha! Obey me and stand down!"
Kana lunges at Toru, and everything goes black.
A/N: About Miko: Don't hate me, don't hate me, don't hate me, PLEASE... don't hate me!
Kana's beast form is based off an extinct dog breed called the Cordoba fighting dog. Google it; the breed really fits his personality.
Although Kana calls himself a monster, the word "Monster" in the chapter's title actually refers to Juro.