Endless Path : Infinite Cosmos Chapter 2219 | einlion
Despite a concerted effort to reach the core as quickly as possible, Nobu, Okita, and Tomoe had only managed to breach thirty-nine of the offensive satellites fifty levels by the dawn of the second day. They had attempted to push into the fortieth floor, but, shortly after they ventured inside, they had to contend against one of Da Vinci's inventions and a sneak attack from an enemy Community.
Though she had activated her Bankai and Susanoo, Nobu was unable to penetrate the defenses of the 40th Floor's Guardian. During that time, a female assassin, presumably belonging to the Akuma or Kotoamatsukami Communities, attempted to stab Tomoe through the liver and heart. Okita was quick to repel her, but, even after slicing the woman from crown to crotch, the ruby-eyed assailant simply staggered for a moment before leaping backward and sinking into a shadow.
With Okita's exceptional mastery of Sword Laws, the only thing that could explain her opponent's survival was her possession of a unique constitution. Her ability to submerge into shadows implied an affinity with darkness, but, without observing her over a longer period of time, they couldn't be certain. All they knew was that they were no longer alone and that their opponent could maneuver through what Da Vinci referred to as the Shadow Axis, a sub-dimensional plane between the Axis of Reality and the Void.
As much as she wanted to advance, Nobu was exhausted after several consecutive activations of her Mangekyou Sharingan. The only things keeping her going were her pride, her obstinance, and the food provided by Rindo. Attempting to push ahead when she was on the verge of collapse was just asking for an assassin to finish her off, so, after posting up skeletal soldiers at each entrance to the 40th Floor, Nobu gave the order to make camp...
"I swear to Vahn. If that bitch isn't the hottest piece of ass this side of the Divine Realm, I'm going to pluck her eyes out and consume them alongside my sake..."
Punctuating her words, Nobu chugged nearly a liter of scalding hot green tea just to suppress her desire to drink a bottle of sake. She didn't mind when Vahn did it, but, whenever an enemy attempted to attack her from behind, Nobu couldn't help feeling frustrated.
Though she understood the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity to defeat a more powerful opponent, Nobu could be pretty self-centered in her ideologies. She would readily snipe a powerful foe from their blind spot, but, the moment someone began targetting hers, she resented them with every fiber of her being.
Frowning in response to Nobu's words, a conflicted expression marred Tomoe's face as she said, "I would advise against such a brutal course of action. As one of Vahn-sama's Empresses, you should carry yourself with greater dignity..."
Directing her scowl towards Tomoe, Nobu briefly eyed the white-haired woman's pert and perky breasts before shaking her head, snorting through her nose, and saying, "It's just an expression. I may have prominent canines but I'm not a beast..."
Recalling the frequency in which she attended Rindo's special tastings, Nobu's words gradually trailed off as she stared into space. Tomoe took notice of this, but, instead of prying into Nobu's thoughts, she just exhaled a sigh before pulling out a handheld gaming tablet. She still needed to finish some of her dailies, so, while Okita was keeping watch, Tomoe pulled up her legs and began tapping away at her tablet.
Noticing Tomoe's behavior, Nobu was half-tempted to sneak up behind and grope the intently focused albino. Instead, she shook her head in mock exasperation before lying against the ground and closing her eyes. None of them required sleep, but, for the sake of expediting her recovery, she intended to let her body and mind rest.
Nearly as soon as Nobu's head touched the ground, a pair of hands covered in black armguards emerged from the shadow beneath her. Instead of panicking, a smile developed across Nobu's face as she allowed herself to be drawn into the inky black substance that had spread beneath her. This was also observed by Tomoe, but, as they had already discussed what they would do if their would-be assailant tried to seize one of them, she just paused for a moment before shaking her head and focusing on her tablet...
After passing through a membrane that could best be characterized as ice-cold molasses, a fiery red light erupted from Nobu's body as she spun around and manifested an ornate, Tanegashima-style rifle. The person that had grabbed her was pushed away by the explosive force of her aura, but, due to the nature of the Shadow Axis, she was able to recover and dodge to the side as if she had absolute control over the direction and momentum of her movement.
Undaunted by the woman's swiftness, the smile on Nobu's face became a toothy grin as pulled out a second rifle and fired towards the area where her opponent was set to appear. Her accuracy came as a surprise to the ruby-eyed woman, but, thanks to her superior speed, she was able to evade the light-formed projectile fired from Nobu's rifle with a simple sidestep.
"Give up...you'll never be able to-"
Before she could finish her words, the ruby-eyed woman evaded to the side as an abyssal-black, completely invisible projectile pierced through where her head had been moments prior. Several beads of sweat appeared across her brow, not because of the close shave but because Nobu had startled to cackle madly as a six-armed skeletal demon manifested around her.
"Good, good, good! Let's see how long you can keep dodging my attacks...!"
With eight rifles in hand, two in her own and six wielded by the compact version of her Susanoo, Nobu proceeded to spin around at a high speed, countless projectiles firing from her rifles as she continued to laugh like a crazed person. The ruby-eyed assassin was able to easily evade the vast majority of these, but, every now and then, an invisible projectile would attempt to pierce one of her vitals.
Unable to sense the projectile until it had targetted her, the ruby-eyed assassin clicked her tongue before reaching into the interior of her pitch-black cloak and producing six, glistening silver kunai. Nobu immediately took notice of this, but, instead of ceasing her assault, she directed her Susanoo to continue firing in random directions as she stared directly at her opponent, the flowery pattern in her eyes spinning faster than the cameras observing them could pick up.
Sensing something extremely ominous, the ruby-eyed assassin appeared to vanish from the murky black space before reappearing behind Nobu's body. She had briefly exited the Shadow Axis in the hope of evading whatever Nobu threw at her, but, the moment she returned, hundreds of crimson red beams of light barreled toward her from every conceivable angle.
Clicking her tongue a second time, the ruby-eyed assassin tossed the silvery kunai towards Nobu's back before sweeping her palms towards the projectiles. To the surprise of the spectators, each of her movements caused beams of light to curve around her body. At the same time, the kunai she had previously cast out ended up impacting Nobu's Susanoo. A sound similar to metal impacting metal at a high speed echoed through the seemingly endless dimension of darkness, but, as could be expected, the six kunai were unable to penetrate the carmine skeleton's defenses.
Just as the spectators thought the woman's attack had failed, each of the kunai erupted to form a series of star-like spheres of light. These also failed to penetrate Susanoo's defenses, but, much like actual stars, they generated powerful gravitational fields. The body and arms of the Susanoo were immediately drawn towards the nearest star, and, though she did her best to tuck in her arms and legs, Nobu felt as though her body was being torn apart by the immense gravitational forces.
"You...you sneaky bitch...!"
Activating the effect of her left eye, Nobu manipulated each of her 'bullets' to curve towards her opponent. At the same time, blood began pouring from her right eye as the invisible bullet she had been using to harass the ruby-eyed assassin pierced through one of the pulsating stars. The exterior promptly turned an unnatural shade of black, and, moments later, the entire sphere collapsed in on itself before vanishing entirely.
Like other Mangekyou Sharingan, Nobu possessed different abilities in each of her eyes. She was able to modify these with assistance from Vahn but the two she was most fond of were known as Maho-no-Dangan(Magic Bullet) and Shinigami-no-Shinigami(Reaper Death Shot). The former let her alter the trajectory of bullets she had already fired while the latter, much like death itself, was a slow yet invisible projectile that could kill any target so long as it struck a vital.
After encountering numerous swordsmen and women capable of cutting through concepts, Nobu felt it was only fair that she should be able to shoot them. Thus, even though something like a star might not have a conventional vital point, Nobu could 'fake the funk' by designating one herself. In this case, she decided that the stars would be destroyed if the bullet struck their core, so, before the gravitational forces could rip her apart, she directed the invisible bullet to penetrate the cores of all six in less than a second.
Freed from her gravitational prison, Nobu, now bereft of her bikini and bleeding from multiple parts of her body opened her mouth to release a thoroughly bone-chilling roar. The sound she produced was so menacing that the ruby-eyed assassin immediately opted to run away and abandon Nobu in the shadowy sub-dimension. She immediately appeared in the outside world, but, before she could breathe a sigh of relief, cracks began to appear in the surrounding space before a crimson red hand covered in strange black markings emerged from the void to try and grab her.
Unable to contain herself, the ruby-eyed assassin dodged backward, exclaiming, "What the fuck...!?" as she drew a metal-plated umbrella from her back. Unfortunately, the only response she received from Nobu was a series of soul-shattering roars as eight draconic visages emerged from the void, each condensing a horrendously powerful sphere of energy in their toothy maws. In the very next moment, eight faster-than-light beams of pitch-black energy intersected at the location where the ruby-eyed assassin had been standing. Instead of dissipating upon contact with the durable surface of the satellite, however, those angled towards the surface bore through all thirty-nine layers of the planetoid before continuing off into space...
Feeling her surroundings trembling like a magnitude 12 earthquake, an exasperated sigh emanated from Tomoe's throat as she returned her tablet to her inventory and grumbled, "I'm never going to be able to complete my dailies..."
Appearing next to Tomoe, though not in response to the former's mumblings, Okita stated, "That's the signal for us to move. Are you ready...?"
Nodding her head, Tomoe manifested a rather futuristic-look bow before saying, "Lead the way." in a resolute tone. In response, Okita offered a curt nod before directing her silvery gaze towards the approximate location of Nobu and muttering, "Try not to destroy the satellite before we reach the center..."
Though her words seemed to be directed towards the empty air, Okita's utterance was greeted by the sound of Nobu telepathically replying, ("Don't worry. My Mangekyou abilities work even in my Yamata-no-Orochi form. I'm going to rampage for a bit but I can guarantee no harm will befall the core.")
Deciding to trust in Nobu's words, Okita offered a nod of her own before holding her inordinately long katana near her hip and charging forward. Tomoe immediately fell into step behind her, but, before she accelerated to her maximum speed, she also cast a glance in Nobu's general direction, a reflective glimmer flashing across her vibrant red eyes as she seriously considered having a custom Tailed Beast sealed into her own body...
Maybe she could even grow a pair of fluffy ears and a tail...?
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'Gotta get those dailies done...','Showdown in the Shadow Realm...!','I wonder what Nobu's favorite anime is...?')
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