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Swans and Demons

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This article, Swans and Demons, is property of Njalm2.

This article, Swans and Demons, is property of Silver-Haired Seireitou.

This article, Swans and Demons, is property of Ten Tailed Fox.

The ashen dunes of Hueco Mundo extended as far as the eye could see, the monotonous landscape offering no variation aside from the occassional quartz-tree - after Aizen's defeat, it had once again been turned into neverending night and chilly winds blew all across the white expanse of the desert-like environment.

Three Shinigami had recently entered this silent world of death; and one of them; a tall man with blonde hair and vibrant blue eyes was currently eying the other two from a set distance. In particular did his eyes appraise a long-haired man, an infamous Shinigami aptly called Shiroyasha, or the White Demon. Whom had sent for the blonde for the purpose of proposing a battle - most likely in order to allow him to refine his martial discipline and personal skill by fighting his adversary.

Truthfully, Hiroya despised fighting; and he would ordinarily have refused in a heartbeat. But this man in front of him, at least he had heard it was a male - though he had his personal doubts, was a man respected and feared all across the spiritual realms and credited as being almost unbeatable; and thus Hiroya had decided to show up, for no other reason than to teach the man some humility through loss. Appraising his opponent slowly, Hiroya concluded that the White Demon's spiritual power was far too great for his own energy to even compare.

"Your title fits you, Shiroyasha-dono; without a shadow of a doubt, your power is far greater than my own - by no small margin, might I add. By all the virtue of logic, my defeat should be quick and certain" there was no shred of sarcasm in his voice, merely amusement. But in spite of his words and actions, Hiroya appeared not the slightest bit alarmed, not even anxious - there was a disturbing sense of confidence about him, the man was certain of his victory and one could argue if he even acknowledged the threat Seireitou undoubtedly posed.

"Shaddap, would ya?" a deep voice came from behind Hiroya. Leaning up against one of the stone trees dotting the endless and unforgiving deserts of the Hollow's domain was Raian Getsueikirite, arguably the silver-haired man's closest friend, who had also shown up for the brawl that was to come. "Don't give him a big head before the fight gets started."

Raian unfolded his arms and shook his head in comic disappointment. Treading with caution, the black-haired Shinigami began to sift through the sand of the unending desert towards his blond opponent and the approach of the silver-haired man. He kept a close eye on Hiroya. The events of his life had lead him to being less trusting of new individuals. The man's reiatsu seemed calm enough, but he knew better than to judge situations by initial appearances.

Cupping his hands around his face, he shouted in Seireitou's direction far off in the distance, "HEY! YOU OLD, GREY-HAIRED GEEZER! GET YOUR ASS UP HERE! HOW LONG YOU GONNA KEEP ME WAITING?!" he roared comically.

"Meh..." Walking in the sands of this harsh environment was none other than the man aforementioned. Seireitou Kawahiru, the Shiroyasha. Or as he was once renowned. The white-clothed man made his way to the proverbial center stage, being the "center of attention" of both Raian and this strange blonde man. "So you're him... This "Hiroya" I've heard so much about from the Gotei 13?" he would ask, plainly.

Hiroya regarded the two of them slowly; his blue eyes were serene, calm and focused as the Grandmaster silently appraised the exact depths of their spiritual energy, as he expected, the other male sported similiar levels of energy as that of the Shiroyasha. Nevertheless, it wouldn't be an issue, he had calculated the depths of their energies and he would make sure that all his spells could withstand the force of their energy.

Wrapping the grey Kinagashi tighter around his frame, as if to shield himself from the cold; Hiroya looked over at Seireitou, before he spoke softly "As promised, I've come - I'll take on both you and your friend and offer to grant you enlightenment. Come what may, I'll make sure to teach the both of you the values of humility no matter the outcome of this skirmish" With that, Hiroya rose his gaze to the sky and extended his arms outwards as if in silent prayer.

As if on cue, the intensity of the winds began to quickly pick up in both speed and force; and in the matter of moments its force had become so tremendous so as to carve out huge chunks of stone and dirt from the very foundation of Hueco Mundo. The very ground rumbled beneath their feets as it seemingly shook in protest to the elemental forces summoned forth by Hiroya; before these murderous winds could reach the three men however, the abruptly changed their course. As they, rather than continuing onwards began to move rapidly in a neverending circle - shaping into a huge dome of ever-churning immense winds: entrapping the Shinigami within its restricted area.

Even though they were technically within the "eye" of the storm - their immediate sorroundings weren't even remotely calm, and hurricane-like winds reverbated between the circular walls of air that kept the Shinigami entrapped within; threatening to throw them off their feet and hurl them into the storm that raged furiously around them. They would have to move with extreme caution, lest they'd be thrown off balance and dragged into the raging currents, and most likely grinded into fine dust in a heartbeat.

Hiroya, despite having just summoned a storm of immense proportions seemed to be largely unencumbered by his feat. His breathing hadn't changed, his stature was as dignified as ever and his face betrayed not even the slightest hint of fatigue. Speaking softly he decided to give them due warnings "I'll take this brief moment to warn you, you might think your bodies can withstand the force of that wind wall. But I constructed it specifically with your energy levels in mind and I assure you that your bodies will disintegrate mere moments after entering its perimeter"

The Kido Master then extended his arms outward, palms positioned perpendicular to the ground before he made a serie of fleeting somatic movements, followed by a whispered phrase; the exact words being devoured by the sound of the raging storm surging around them. To complete this short ceremony, Hiroya folded his hands together slowly before letting them fall gently to his sides. What he had just done, was to perform a short ritual meant to preserve an effect in place for extended periods of time - a secret taught to certain members of the Kido Corps; it was a relatively simple ceremony, but in the hands of a grandmaster like him, it became a skill of great power.

Hiroya made no other inclinations to offense than what he'd just accomplished. Despite the fact that he had just conjured a massive storm of magical power - it would appear that he had no intention of attempting to land the first blow; and his figure stood there unmoving, waiting...

Having been seemingly surprised by the action imposed by this... Grandmaster of the Kidō arts, Seireitou held crossed his arms and stood up tall yet relaxed. He was composed. Relaxed. Characteristic of a martial arts master. Hiroya was not the only specialist standing in this field, after all. Seireitou would remain composed, but then let off a very simple chuckle. Not of worry, nor of excitement; nothing. Just... a chuckle. But following the indifferent chuckle, he would begin to speak. "That display alone tells me about your Kidō ability. Maybe not much, but... It does give me some indication. I will not insult you by holding back." He took a brief look at Raian before closing his own eyes. Suddenly, as if by magic, the winds caused by Hiroya would show some small interference in their uniformity. Not much, but... it was noticeable. It wasn't Kidō though. The force of his very reiatsu, massive in its quality and amount, enacted onto the wind field forged by Hiroya. Though nothing had resulted from this interaction, Seireitou remained unfazed. It wasn't like he was expecting to happen. While his eyes remained fixated toward Hiroya, Seireitou began to speak. "Raian, I will let you have the first move. He does not seem like the type who strikes first anyways." he remarked.

Act I Edit

Raian glanced back at Seireitou and then over to Hiroya. Something was up and he knew it. The two were completely overlooking him, staring intently at one another. The reiatsu that flowed between them suggested fierce competition. Raian only shook his head and sighed. Leaping down from his perch, he planted himself directly between his silver-haired friend and Hiroya, pulling his sword off of his back.

"I'm no Seireitou." he began, flicking his blade to toss the dust and debris from the wind wall off the blade. "You're probably a lot more interested in fighting him than you are me, but I warn you... the second you underestimate me, this fight is over."

Hiroya's eyes narrowed suspiciously at Seireitou's interaction with the wind wall that surged around them. As a man who had once been the Commander of the Kido Corps, he knew how it was those small details that could wind up causing the greatest damage. When he reached out with his mind however, and traced the forces of the wind, he was surprised to find that there had been no disturbance at all and that his spell held no foreign spiritual signatures, which meant that Seireitou's earlier emission of energy had been an energy probe of a kind, meant to allude to the nature and properties of the wind wall..

Seireitou's spiritual energy suffused the wind wall softly, they left no disturbance, merely slipped inside unobstacled and as the man tracked his own spiritual signature; he could make out some of the finer details of the wind wall that Hiroya had conjured. As he had predicted, the strength of the wind, and the velocity which they moved at was vast, powerful enough to rip them to shreds in an instant if they were foolish enough to enter the windstorm. But what would actually serve to pique his interest was not the strength of the winds but the the strength of the spell as a whole. The windstorms power and energy had already far exceeded that of Hiroya himself, and whats more, it was still growing in intensity - for every second it seemed to grow more and more furious, and its reach seemed to expand ever outward. In the span of a few moments.

It should've been an impossible spell to cast. Hiroya's own power was far inadequate to create such a maelstrom of volatile energy - an unlikelihood enhanced ever more by Hiroya's apparent lack of fatigue or exertion of any kind. The Sorcerers blue gaze simply rested upon the two hostile Shinigami in turn. His stance was passive and his posture relaxed, but his facial features betrayed emotions - regret, melancholy and a hint of sadness. Their adversary looked away just then, gazing into the raging tempest he himself had summoned, he appeared to be ignoring them somewhat, until he parted his lips to speak to Seireitou - although he never turned to face him. "You're a cautious boy, Shiroyasha, you employed your energy in an attempt to discover the nature of my spell. However, despite your initiative; your endeavors amount to naught but more questions? You're a frog, trapped in a well - you could never hope to grasp a truth that is so fundamentally beyond your reach. Don't be discouraged though, your ignorance is well founded"

Raian had not been blind to what was going on. While Seireitou probed the wall itself, Raian was probing Hiroya. The wall had little to do with the actual problem. With his own proficiency in Kidō and keen understanding of sensory skills, Raian opened his mind to the surrounding area, but focused particularly on his opponent. There, his suspicions were confirmed. Massive amounts of reishi was being drawn in from their surroundings and expelled through Hiroya to fuel his massive wind wall spell, but that wasn't all. Glancing back, Raian could also see reishi flowing from Seireitou at top speed. He then looked down at himself, seeing a similar result taking place. Grimacing at his own stupidity, he reeled his own reiatsu in, keeping it focused tight within him. It wouldn't stop the drain on his power, but it would significantly slow it down.

"Sei-san. Listen to me while I explain to you the enemy's power." Raian began softly, "Look at where we are. Hueco Mundo is constructed completely of reishi particles. With the right means, those particles can be converted into a power source. Hiroya is utilizing Hueco Mundo itself to power the spell that is blocking us, allowing his own reiatsu reserves to remain untouched. Furthermore, the wall itself is draining our own significant reiryoku. Please suppress you power. It won't stop the draining, but it will slow it down enough for us to come up with a strategy."

Analyzing the situation clearly, Raian came up with a rather complex plan quickly. He knew that Seireitou wouldn't interfere until he asked for help, so he was free to move as he pleased. The Shinigami Captain knew that winning would be all the more difficult so long as the wind wall remained in place. Taking care of that was top priority, but it would require time and information. He needed to test a few things first. Closing his eyes, he joined his mind with Kōsaken Jakka, his Zanpakutō spirit.

"Wake up!" he bellowed through the inner world.

The massive spirit opened one of its slitted eyes, gazing up at him as if in a daze, "What do you want?" it asked comically.

"I need your help. Meld your power with me." Raian replied, floating down the spirit's level.

Opening his eyes, Raian briefly bent down and touched the ground with his palm. Afterwards, he clenched his blade tightly in his hand, swinging it with tremendous force and dousing the area in front of him (aiming for Hiroya) in a torrent of flames.

Hearing Raian's voice, Hiroya turned around to face him while he listened to his claims and observations with what seemed to be genuine interest. It seemed as though he was impressed with Raian's knowledge, and for the time being he seemed to be more interested in the Getsueikirite than Seireitou. "Your assumptions are indeed correct, I'm impressed, I was unaware that there were savants of your caliber outside the perimeter of Soul Society" Hiroya's eyes met Raian's and his face seemed to soften up somewhat, and lose some of its usual melancholy - it was understandable, there was no point in being an artist if no one knew how to appreciate your artwork.

And when Raian released his Zanpakuto, Kōsaken Jakka he arched an eyebrow in mild surprise, he recognized those flames, they were highly similiar to the intense flames wrought by Genryūsai Shigekuni Yamamoto's legendary Zanpakuto, Ryujin Jakka! But that was just it, they merely resembled the flames of Yamamoto, but at most they were but a pale mimicry of his immortal legacy. Hiroya however, had personally witnessed those very flames first hand during his time as the Kido Corps Commander. And so he knew that there was still an enormous gap between the intensity of Ryujin Jakka and the intensity of Raian's own flames.

Despite his amazement though, the Kido Master was not blind to Raian's true intentions. Which were to, rather than attack Hiroya directly, connect with the windstorm that raged around them in all directions - for the youngster had realized that the tremendous windstorm was a dire threat, and an obstacle which could very likely spell their defeat if left to its own devices. Hiroya's reaction was thus swift and precise, as he raised his hand quickly in the direction of the blazing torrent of fire that had recently been unleashed from Raian's Shikai. As if to gesture for them to cease their advance; and the raging flames complied, as they instead of surging onwards in a torrent of fire and brimstone they changed course entirely and instead transformed into a long serpentine band of weaving flames whom meticulously evaded all contact with the tempest that raged around the them. It became apparent that somehow, the Kido Master had used his unparalleled knowledge of the sacred art to forcibly wrest control over Kōsaken Jakka's flames away from Raian; apparent in how the raging flames seemed to encircle Hiroya like a snake hypnotized by the lure of music; remaining oblivious to either Raian or Kōsaken Jakka's commands.

Hiroya then regarded Raian slowly as he spoke once more "I'm surprised by your actions, releasing your Zanpakuto this quickly after announcing the effects of my earlier spellcraft" as if to emphasize Hiroya's points, the windstorm seemed to focus on Raian - as an incredibly powerful vacuum of air attempted to latch onto Kōsaken Jakka and forcibly siphon its flames and channel them to empower Hiroya's own; stolen fire. The manner of which this being done wouldn't merely serve to enhance the intensity of the flames themselves, but also to enhance Hiroya's control over them utterly; and on top of all this - the forced emission of energy was aimed to place dire strain on both Kōsaken Jakka and its master, Raian. Hiroya's intends were clear as day, he wanted to force the Shinigami Captain to seal his Zanpakuto, or risk empowering his adversary even more.

Raian's eyes narrowed, not in worry, however, but rather in contemplation. He was fascinated by Hiroya's display. He analyzed the situation in depth, taking in the fact that his Zanpakutō could be used against him if he wasn't extremely cautious. So far, though, things weren't out of control. He was merely trying to probe Hiroya's tactics and look for an opening. He felt his Zanpakutō's distress, however, and linked his mind with it, so he could speak with it.

"What's going on?" he asked the large fox.

"My flames. That wall of wind is attempting to latch onto me and take my flames from me." the giant fox spirit explained.

"I see... But why would he want your flames..." Raian thought momentarily. "Of course! His spell only wrest control of the flames I had produced. He knows he can't beat me with just the flames he stole, so he's trying to steal more to increase his power. No... not even that's it. He wants me to think this. The real reason is subtle, but its there. Kidō master or not, fighting against a Shinigami who can effectively control his sword and use Bankai is no easy task. He's trying to pressure me into sealing you and, in doing so, rob me of a vital ally in this battle."

"Perhaps you should seal me." the fox advised, "If you produce anymore flames, he will only add them to his power."

"I wonder about that." Raian replied, "He certainly is a powerful spellcaster, but I'm about to test the limits of his powers."

The fox narrowed its eyes, "Don't be too hasty. Remember, you'll only power him up if you use too much strength." it boomed.

Raian grinned as his conscious returned from the inner world. Leaping into the air, the captain-level Shinigami jabbed his blade forward in mid-air, causing a black ink-looking substance to eject from the tip. Flames quickly erupted and condensed strongly around this substance, creating a giant fox-like paw and connecting arm, which swung down, aiming to crush Hiroya beneath it.

Hiroya was rather amazed by what he could only assume to be to be the product of a shrewd imagination and a testamony to Raian's insophistication. After all, he had just wrest control from his Zanpakuto in regards to its very own flames, chances were high he could duplicate the feat with this construction. However, Hiroya was not a foolish man and knew that most likely, Raian wasn't a fool either, which left only a single plausible explanation for his reckless behaviour. The one that sprung to mind first was that Raian wanted Hiroya to assume control over it, that he had some trick up his sleeve, then again it might just be a bluff but Hiroya decided not to take that chance.

Hiroya stood there unmoving as the fiery paw drew ever nearer to his frame, threatening to crush him by its force; and as he stood there, he could see how the very earth itself visibly groaned against the tremendous heat emitted by Raian's attack, as it melted away to naught but fiery magma. Abruptly, dozens of golden chains composed of solid energy erupted from the earth underneath Raian's fiery construction, and within a heartbeat they had restrained it and were currently moving along its great frame like a myriad of shimmering serpents, heading for Raian's direction. In the span of a few moments they had elongated to the degree that their length exceeded that of Raian's fiery construct, and they were within inches of Raian himself; the attack came quickly - their movements were but a blurr to Raian's eyes, as they split up and proceeded to attack simultaneously from every conceivable direction, with only the slightest of delays between every singular wave. They attempted to restrain Raian's arms, legs and upper body; and through this completely lock him in place. With Raian's refined spiritual senses, he would find that each of the chains seemed to draw energy from the environment in much the same way the windstorm did, and that Hiroya had specifically finetuned their density so as to be capable of withstanding the full force of Raian's spiritual energy.

Unbeknownst to his enemies though, the full throttle assault of magical chains merely counted as an effective distraction from the likes of Hiroya; although for any other Kido Master their relentless assault was a full scale attack in and of itself. No, beyond the furious assault of the myriad of golden chains whom lashed out and attempted to latch onto Raian with tremendous speed and fervor, Hiroya had planned one other token of his unmatched prowess within the art. For even while Raian was assaulted from the front, Hiroya caused a score of chains to materialize from behind Raian; these ones however, were different from the ones he had summoned just before, for they were materialized with an interwoven Kyokko spell, masking both their visibility and the spiritual energy of which they were composed, making them untraceable by means of anything less than the Kakushitsuijaku. Their density matched those of their counterparts perfectly; which meant they too were created with Raian's spiritual energy in mind. But unlike the visible chains, these didn't drawn energy from the environment, most likely in order to hide their presence further.

The invisible chains then began to stealthily advance upon Raian from behind, their movement was subtle, gentle and inconspicuous - what little sound they made as they streaked through the air was masked by the crescendo of rattling sounds that the visible chains made as they assaulted Raian from the front. Hiroya had accounted for Raian's movement as well, as the invisible chains spread out in a massive web of interwoven tendrils in order to completely halt any of Raian's attempts at escaping; should he move, there was a high chance that he'd become entangled in the web, and then restrained by all the chains that Hiroya had so conjured. Even as the web widened out in order to encompass as much of Raian's immediate vicinity as it could, several tendrils shot out from the greater Kido Web; heading directly for Raian himself, and from each of their tips they let loose a wave of thinner, more refined chains whose purpose was to forcibly restrain the Shinigami; they too being masked by the interwoven Kyokko spell, and had Raian been turned to face them, they would only be visible as the faintest ripples in the airspace surrounding him.

"Shit..." was the only word Raian could think of as he was attacked from all sides.

He had to give it to Hiroya; he was truly a master of Kidō and its various applications. Raian had to act swiftly if he was to survive such an ingenious assault. A grin crossed the Captain's face as he came up with a simplistic, yet ingenious plan of his own. Waving his hand out in front of, just before the golden chains of energy could reach him, he wordlessly cast Bakudō #21; Sekienton. While it was only a level 21 Bakudō, in the hands of Kidō master, the likes of which Raian himself was, it was a truly marvelous sight. Utilizing the already present winds created by Hiroya's massive windstorm to aid his spell, a tremendous cyclone of red smoke erupted around Raian, concealing him completely from sight as the chains from both sides plunged in after him, regardless of Raian being unaware of the chains approaching from behind.

Within the smoke, completely masked from Hiroya's sight, Raian began to weave his plan. Though they were invisible, the chains from behind him caused a disturbance in his smoke as they entered, alerting Raian to their presence. With a wave, he cast Noren Mekuri, exposing them to his sight just before they hit. Suddenly, several rays of light erupted from the ground beneath him, forming a pyramidal shape around his body; Tozanshō. Raian had a small flashback then, remembering the moment he placed his palm on the ground before attacking Hiroya with a wave of flames. It was in that instant he had planted the Tozanshō, in hopes of protecting himself from a surprise attack. The chains bounced off of Tozanshō, rendering them completely ineffective, as he had cast his own Naten Fūin spell to enhance its defenses by seven times, just in case Hiroya had himself strengthened the chains.

"I have to think of something fast. This cyclone of red smoke will only last a few more moments. By then, he'll have dispelled it and my cover along with it." he thought to himself. "This attack was incredibly sneaking and complex, but I'm beginning to learn his tactics. I almost have enough information for a full scale attack."

He smiled to himself. He would now engage in Hiroya's own game. Calming himself and opening his mind to Hueco Mundo itself, he began to draw from the vast reservoirs of reishi surrounding himself, sucking them into him at high rates of speed. As he did, he condensed the newly absorbed power into a tremendously powerful spell, on par with Hiroya's wind wall. The ground beneath the fighters began to tremble as he cast the Kidō. At first, at least visibly, nothing occurred, though the ground continued to tremor. Then, in the distance, visible beyond the wall of wind that enshrouded the combatants, an enormous tidal wave of sand, blotting out the moon of Hueco Mundo itself, roared across the endless deserts. Raian opened his eyes as the energy he absorbed into himself was given life in his spell, causing his eyes to literally glow with spiritual power. It wasn't long before the tremendous wave of sand towered above the wind wall. As darkness enveloped their battlefield, Raian commenced his assault.

Tendrils of sand rained down like ash in a volcanic eruption, aiming to attack Hiroya from every conceivable direction. However, this wasn't the full scale of Raian's attack. The ground continued to tremble below because the entire dimension was covered in sand. From the very ground itself, the sand erupted, now endangering Hiroya from below, while encasing Raian in further protection. Raian carefully watched his opponent as he unleashed his assault, to see how he would handle such a situation. At the same time, however, the sand became infused with Hiroya's wind wall, causing it to turn into an enormous sandstorm, which obscured all three mens' vision and senses; turning Hiroya's upper hand into Raian's own weapon. Raian, however, could see with his mind's eye. He could use his spell, through the sand, to sense his surroundings. He would not be caught off-guard again. Hiroya would now face his assault.

Hiroya observed how Raian managed to skillfully evade and counter his spell chain, and it was evident from his hearty smile that he was most impressed by Raian's quick thinking and expert employment of various magical spells, especially ones so frequently overlooked as the ones he had just performed. To voice his approval, Hiroya spoke warmly at Raian "Magnificent! You've studied the demon arts excellently to remember the existence of these two spells. I must commend you on escaping from that parlor trick of mine, you're the first to do so thus far" Hiroya rembered with a certain amusement how that very same spell chain had so easily dispatched both Sadow Yatsumaru and Shade.

Hiroya's praise was cut short though, by the sound of the earth basically groaning beneath their feet, rising his gaze to look beyond the windstorm; he saw how the very sand seemed to quake abruptly, as it rose up from the sandy dunes of the vast expanse of the white desert and rolled onwards like a white tidal wave, intend on crushing Hiroya beneath its tremendous weight. Between the Wizard and the wave however, was the massive sphere of high-velocity wind which, as the wave drew ever nearer - seemed to draw in as much energy and spiritual nutrition from the sorrounding environment as it could; literally feeding off of the energy that composed the massive wave of sand, making it weaken in both scope and power for every yard it traveled, until it, at the point it had finally managed to reach its destination collapsed upon itself, its momentum being siphoned to a complete halt by the tremendous pull of the windstorm itself - its sand being harvested by the raging currents and, in the span of mere moments disintegrated utterly by the enormous forces of the air currents themselves, leaving nothing left, not even dust.

Hiroya's eyebrows furrowed at this careless employment of magic. Most certainly - spells of that magnitude looked mighty impressive but their nature was mostly too simple to be of any actual use in a fight, however.. Hiroya turned his gaze down to the regard the ground beneath him, which still hadn't ceased groaning in protest to the spell that Raian had just cast... it made for an excellent distraction. Realizing the true purpose of Raian's spell, Hiroya clicked his tongue in extreme distaste at the spell he was about to cast; as quickly, a small lavender-colored ember of arcane fire was materialized in the palm of his hand. Almost lost in thought, he spoke softly, his words directed at the ember he had just conjured. "Haien.." it was a simple word, but yet it conveyed a myriad of different emotions, for it was well known that Hiroya needn't call on the name of a spell to summon its power.

The flame, despite being small and appearantly fragile, appeared dazzling to the eye and shone with a brilliant violet nimbus of light. But its appearance wasn't what one would take note of; it was the tremendous heat that emanated from it; the very air seemed to be put aflame merely by its presence, and every gust of air that blew in from the wall of wind seemed to carry with it a scorching heat that threatened to inflict serious burns on both Seireitou and Raian; the sheer heat of these wistful gusts rivalling that of Kōsaken Jakka itself. That the tiny ember could produce such a tremendous amount of heat on its own was in truth a phenomenon in and of itself, and spoke leagues of how powerful the full spell would be, should Hiroya ever deign to make use of it.

As the ground beneath him shook, Hiroya stood motionless as he reached out with his hand and flipped it upside down, releasing the ember and making it fall down towards the churning sands beneath him like a drop of lavender-colored fluid. The instant it made contact with the ground, a massive wave of violet light emanated from it, washing over the sorrounding landscape like an ephemeral wave of fire; and in the span of a few moment, the entire region was ablaze in flickering lavender-colored flames. Their heat, despite having orignated from such a tiny ember, was so great that before Raian's very eyes, the flames that Hiroya had stolen from Kōsaken Jakka began to burn, the lavender-colored flames devouring them as they were. Hiroya regarded this phenomenon evenly, his eyes betraying not a hint of surprise, although he did lament the violet flames that danced around them - even now, diluted to within an iota of its full potential, Hiroya's Haien was a lethal threat; a ravenous all-consuming flame which was only held back by his will alone. He despised it, and he was terrified of its power, he always had to conciously restrain himself when casting it, and prepare it beforehand when using it in actual combat - for he knew, that if he lost control, even for the briefest of moments, its flames would devour him as well as his opposition.

And so it became, that within moments of having unleashed the spell, Hiroya instantly dispelled it with a wave of his hand - narrowly saving the flames he had stolen from Raian's Zanpakuto from being devoured by the violet flames. He didn't want to squander a valuable resource after all, and between employing Haien and the flames of Kōsaken Jakka he most certainly prefered the latter, they were more cooperative and generally less overwhelming than the magical flames of Haien. Nevertheless though, they were still flawed in their current state. Reaching out with his mind, Hiroya employed his magical prowess in order to change the nature of the of the flames he had stolen, as they changed color to a lustrous azure. To the trained eye, the flames would appear gentler, more tranquil - they didn't blaze with such a ferocity anymore and when Hiroya raised his hands up towards the sky they churned upwards into a climbing twister of arcane flames before scattering into dozens of blue doves that rode upon the wind. Despite their harmless exterior; Raian with keen senses and knowledge of Kido would know better, for within every one of these magical constructs lied a large amount of energy, which upon the slightest contact with him or the ground would explode in a massive release of energy, whose sheer potency could potentially quell Hiroya's opposition in but a moment.

As this took place, the combatants would note that the sand beneath them, which by all rights should already have erupted to swallow the sorcerer in one fell swoop had grown completely unresponsive to Raian's arcane commands - a quick look down at the ground below would reveal the case, the earlier Haien spell, despite having been employed at but an iota of its full potency had instantly fused the sand below them to the clearest glass - so clear and umblemished that looking down, they could gaze straight down to the forest of the menos. When the light of the hundred doves flying above the battlefield hit the ground underneath them, it sparked in the whole spectrums of color, its iridescent glow and resonance making the battlefield appear blurry and transparent, heat-like ripples reverbated through the air and for every movement the doves made, the light they radiated reflect off of the ground and was bended in uncountable ways, so that it appeared to the eye like if the doves spontaneously vanished and reappeared as they rode upon the wind; it was a dazzling optical illusion, and it confused the eyes to behold. Furthermore, it would appear that the sand Raian had so wisely conjured in order to maintain intelligence about the movements of his adversary had also turned into glass, and the air sparkled with them and it became apparent that they most likely played a certain part in the optical illusions procured by the rivalling sorcerer.

Soon it became impossible to ascertain their numbers, and the fact that this phenomenon of bendt light was natural made Noren Mekuri largely ineffective, but Hiroya made no further effort to hide their spiritual energy or even their appearance; and the volatile invisibility the reflections served to provide seemed to last only a few seconds at a time, but at all times, an unknown portion of the the doves was rendered invisible, the exact amount of doves differed for every interval, but it was always a different group. With a whispered phrase, Hiroya commanded the birds to strike...

The first thing that would become apparent was the doves intelligence, compared to the Hainawa chains they were a lot more orderly and organized; almost as if they were manipulated by a hive mind, which, considering Hiroya's peerless prowess at Kidō was probably indeed the case. They arranged themselves in elaborate patterns and formations and dove down to assail Raian directly, steering clear of any possible obstacles to their objective - their attacks were well-formulated and strategised and they repeatedly attempted to flank him; all while making copious use of the confusion and cover the bent light so aptly provided them, phasing in and out of invisibility on a moments notice, like a furious swarm of prismatic colors. But above all else, they never exhausted themselves or their numbers, they made certain to only attack in swarms of five to seven doves at most; and whenever one failed in its pursuit - the others immediately learned from its mistake and went with a different approach, whether it was attacking from the front, sneaking behind him or attacking in crowds.

But the most peculiar thing was that they seemed to increase in both size and speed at a rapid pace - and some of the doves sported additional pairs of wings which seemed to propel them forward ever faster, until at last they had all sprouted two additional pairs and were little but blurs of moving blue light surging through the airspace. It appeared as though they too drew energy from their surroundings in order to both fuel their existence and increase their already significant power even further. It would quickly become apparent that the longer this went on, the slimmer the odds of coming out of this in one piece would turn out to be for Raian.

Raian's eyes opened in a shocked expression, reflecting the dazzling light being emitted from the legion of magical birds as they took flight. Gritting his teeth in frustration, Raian launched himself backwards, putting as much distance between himself and the aerial assault to buy himself time. Clamping his eyes shut, he willed himself to calm down and think as sweat began to pool across his forehead. He reviewed Hiroya's actions as they had occurred over the last few minutes until it finally snapped.

"Haien?" he thought to himself. "Those flames earlier were much different from Haien...but... I can see the connection now. That means....! That wind earlier... was Tenran!!"

He eyes snapped open, taking in the scene before him with a swiftness unseen in less experienced Shinigami. Images flashed through his mind as he observed what he was up against.

"Then... these birds that he summoned... they're Sokatsui!" he concluded, his eyes narrowing as his mind shifted immediately into damage control.

From the pattern the birds were taking, coupled with their speed, and the fact that they were growing in power with each second they remained on the battlefield, the inevitable fact that dawned on Raian was this; he was going to be hit. Placing his palm on his face in annoyance and slight embarrassment, he immediately began analyzing how he could be hit, yet survive. Each of the Sokatsui birds were packing tremendous explosive force. If too many were to strike him, he'd be finished. He had to move quick. They were on the move and it would only be a matter of seconds before they reached him, even at this distance. That's when another thought dawned on him.

"I can use distance to my advantage. Even if they do explode, from that distance, I can avoid the majority of the damage. Quick, before they get too close..." he thought.

Slamming his palms together and then quickly pulling them apart, Raian created a staff of Kidō energy; Hyapporankan. Without much time to think, Raian tossed the rod, which split into hundreds of similar rods as it traveled. The Hyapporankan rods rained down on their avian foes, striking many of them as they traveled. That's when the explosions started. The shockwave produced from such tremendous power detonating was bone shattering. Raian threw his arms over his face to shield himself from the wind produced by the shockwave of the impacting Hyapporankan and Sokatsui. However, the problem with his plan became immediately apparent. Noren Mekuri was covering them, causing several to flicker in and out of invisibility. Out of the smoke of the explosions occurring, the birds that escaped dove through, heading straight for their target. Raian only had a split second to decide what to do, and did it. With a cry, he summoned another Sekienton, causing it to cover a much wider scope than its previous usage had. Not only did the red smoke engulf him, obstructing him from view, but it also consumed the oncoming Sokatsui birds, as they dove in after their target.

Using his Shunpo, Raian flashed outside of the smoke, but his attempts were in vain; the birds were learning. It was as if when one made a mistake, others would learn from it and fix that mistake. They were now avoiding his smoke altogether. There was no more avoiding it. With another enormous explosion, Raian was consumed as the remaining birds crashed into his body, sending a column of flames and spiritual energy high into the sky. It took a few moments for the results of the attack to manifest themselves. Raian's form appeared out of the smoke several feet from where he had been when he had been struck with the attack. He landed hard into the ground. The left half of his shihakushō had been completely torn off and blood was now pouring over his left eye, down his face, and dripping onto his chest from a gash that had opened up on his forehead. His arm was also bleeding rather severely, but he was still in one piece and nothing seemed broken.

In his mind, he flashed back to the moment the explosion had happened. In the milliseconds before it occurred, Raian had wrapped himself in Tsuriboshi, which had cushioned the blow significantly, though it did throw him from the cushion of Tsuriboshi. Raian panted as he regained his composure. He was thankful he had thought of Tsuriboshi. Had he not, he'd have certainly lost a limb or worse; died. Raian had new resolve in his eyes. Taking a deep breath and doing his best to shut off the pain that now throbbed in his left arm, he raised his uninjured right hand and extended it in Hiroya's direction. His eyes almost seemed to jab at Hiroya as his spell took form. An eerie pink glow began to engulf the surrounding area, bathing Raian in bright light and casting large shadows on the glass-like structures Hiroya's spell had birthed earlier. One by one, spears of energy began to take their place in the sky around Raian and Hiroya, until the number of spears was such that a dome of them had appeared. Then, in a low, hushed tone, Raian began to speak;

"Limit of the thousands hands, respectful hands, unable to touch the darkness." he declared.

As he uttered these words, the spears condensed themselves, sucking in a tremendous amount of reishi particles from the enriched environment. Slowly, the dome of spears began to rotate and move until they looked as mere cherry blossoms circling the area. With a twitch of his index fingers, the pink light from the missiles began to extend, forming a net that connected with each of the spears, forming a Fushibi around the area Hiroya found himself in. One misstep and the entire area would be obliterated within the range of the net.

"Sharp tower, red crystal, steel ring." he continued, adding another incantation onto the one he'd already preformed.

His words again affected the web of spells he was creating, adding the sparks of lightning and electricity around the net and the spears of as the effects of Raikōhō took hold. The addition of the electrical sparks made it more dangerous to move around, as even the most skillful individual would have a hard time working their way through the net with it present. As he finished weaving his double-incantation spell, picked up his Zanpakutō with his right hand and swung it over his shoulder. This spell was the last test he was going to use to analyze Hiroya. After that, he planned to show Hiroya where his real talents lie.

Hiroya respectfully held his ground as he calmly observed how his adversary chose to deal with his aerial assault, the man was intelligent - he could tell; he seemed to immediately recognize the dire threat the magical constructs posed and acted upon it, and once realization dawned on Raian that he couldn't fully escape his assault he immediately looked for ways to survive, as opposed to avoid - Hiroya had to admit that he showed remarkable talent, greater men had tried to fight on his terms before; but so far noone had managed to follow the pace he made. But this man had tried, and so far he had managed to stay in one piece.

The archmage stood silent as he further analyzed his adversary, his quick-witted useage of the demon arts was indeed an excellent sign; as was his willingness to go on despite the gap that separated them. Hiroya was impressed by his display of willpower and spoke softly - despite it being merely a whisper, his voice resounded throughout the entire area, almost as if it was carried by the very winds themselves "Surely by now you must've realized the vast difference between us. I can feel your resignation, you're only now coming to terms with your limitations -- But indeed, your conviction is admirable, and I can see that you harbor much untapped power; but do you even realize your potential?"

Even as he spoke, Hiroya mentally called out to his arcane doves - instructing those whom remained (which were well above six dozen even after this attack) to withdraw, and so they did; they ceased their assault on the battered and bruised Raian and resigned themselves to circling harmlessly high above the fighters; just underneath the celing of the massive sphere of wind that Hiroya had conjured. He didn't want to waste more of these than absolutely nessecary. For he was a cautious man who prefered making even the tiniest of investments worthwhile, especially those whom granted him yet another weapon to add to his ever-growing already gargantuan arsenal, wastefulness was a sin to a man such as himself.

When Raian began to recite the long-winded incantations of Senju Koten Taiho and Raikoho however, Hroya understood where he stood. The other sorcerer had begun to grow desperate in the face of his challenge and his hot-headed nature seemd to rise to the surface, that was a flaw he'd have to correct soon, the forces of magic didn't respond well to things like emotion, which was why Hiroya had learned to control his own centuries ago. While the Kido net took shape around him, Hiroya's eyebrows arched somewhat, but he didn't yet react - and instead respectfully awaited the completion of Raian's spells. If Hiroya worried about their power, he most certainly didn't let it show, and only once the myriad of violet spears had been conjured did he at last react.

All at once, the spears of light shot forth - their brilliant shine painting the sorrounding environment of glass into the color of freshly bloomed roses; their radiance mirrored in the clear expanse of flawless glass brought about by Hiroya's earlier spell. The power of Senju Koten Taiho was in truth incredible; and many high-class Shinigami favored its use for its immense power and ease of useage, not to mention its almost infallible accuracy and range. But he had dealt with similiar things before, and this would be little different, readying himself he came to notice how even as the they shot towards his location more and more seemed to form - Raian had been wise, for he had split several instances of the same spell evenly - traded power for quantity and alacrity.

It dawned on him then that he couldn't deal with the spell how he had orignally intended, for their numbers were far too great - he'd have to treat this seriously after all. For it would indeed appear that he had somewhat understimated his adversaries skill and experience; a mistake he would not make again in this fight.

Preparing to accomplish his feat, Hiroya raised his hands up above himself just as the first ten spears of violet light honed in on his frame, that brilliant radiance forcing him to blink away specks of light from his gaze as he with elegant, almost-dance like movements turned in a full circle, away from the missiles homing in on his body as with an elegant flourish of his hands he commanded the very air around him to obey his arcane commands; and it did. Because moments before the first spear would collide with his exposed back, its trajectory was abruptly changed to the degree that it missed him by just a few inches and instead surged forwards like an arrow of light towards its orignal caster, Raian.

Following the success of his first redirection - Hiroya called upon the forces of the windstorm to aid in his endeavor and soon the air above him was filled with arcing gales of high-intensity winds which proceeded to take hold on the myriad of missiles and quickly divert them away from their original target even as they were hastily guided towards Raian himself. During this entire time, Hiroya's face, usually cold and impassive was accentuated by concentration, and it became readily apparent that he hadn't expected this at all - perhaps because at a glance, the idea was a crazy one.

Nonetheless, despite his troubles, eventually most of the violet spears of light had been successfully realigned to target their original creator. Although some of them had crashed harmless down into the ground, although two of them - whom had, through some stroke of luck on Raian's part been concealed by the reflected light that was mirrored in the field of glass that served as their battleground. But these missiles had collided with something akin to an invisible force-field centered around Hiroya's location; a force field which, following the unexpected assault had shattered into a thousand pieces, proving that their combined power had been sufficient to destroy the first ward he had erected in his own defense. Curiously, Hiroya himself didn't appear to be aware of this matter of fact - so focused was he on correcting the only mistake he had made thus far in the battle.

It was as if Armageddon had been called down upon Raian, as his own spells struck down like falling stars raining from the heavens! Each missile culminating in an ferocious explosion, with every tremendous impact sending hundreds of tiny shrapnel of glass spinning through the air like a moving cloud of invisible daggers; each shockwave produced cause the very foundation they stood on to quake in silent protest. The shower of raining stars continued for what no doubt felt like a small eternity but was in reality no more than a few seconds at most. Their destination was unknown and they struck the ground around Raian in random places, some landed close to him, some almost struck him directly while others struck far enough away for it to be mostly harmless: although the continuous roars of massive explosions and rising pillars of iridescent light were a disturbing sight in and of themselves.

It appeared as though Hiroya had decided that merely bringing pandemonium upon his adversary wasn't enough, for soon, doves wreathed in brilliant arcane flames dove down alongside the falling arrows of light; seeking to capitalize on his opponents distraught condition and precarious situation in order to make a solid hit with the Shinigami. They had nothing to lose and they were relentless in their pursuit, as they effortlessly swerved away from the falling projectiles and sought to flank and corner him; as if they were a score of hawks hunting for their prey.

But, amidst the chaos of falling shafts of light and homing elementals of destruction there was a single magical construct in flight; unlike the rest of them, it always kept itself hidden among the shimmering flashes of light that seemed to bound off of the floor beneath them and curve the path of light so as to disguise its movements completely. This one had a predetermined objective; and considering the chaos that now ruled the battlefield, it was a lot easier than that of its brethren. Gliding elegantly away from the falling stars of light, and quickly moving past a swarm of its brethren it moved in the opposite direction of those doves whom chased Raian across the battleground; until at last it appeared before him, seemingly out of thin air - so masterful was its camouflage at the point it arrived at its intended destination.

The arcane avian immediately shot forward towards it target; and as Raian braced himself for the impact he no doubt expected to come; he suddenly realized it wasn't what he thought it would. For within the spur of a moment; the image of the charging avian shattered to give way to two vibrant pools of blue - and it would take him but a moment to realize that he was gazing into the eyes of Hiroya himself; whom had, through his mastery of the spell Sokatsui taken its place in the last possible second. His eyes weren't normal though, for they appeared to want to draw him in, drown him in an empty void and bring him to rest; he'd recognize the effects and the associated feelings immediately as the lure of the white crawl.

Raian observed carefully as the blasts of energy as the closed in on Hiroya. He was reaching out with his senses, looking for any conceivable flaw in Hiroya's defenses. He noticed the flow of reiryoku from the windstorm to its master. He would have to deal with that soon, but not now. The next surge of energy came from Hiroya himself, sending the bars of light that Raian had summoned back at him. Predictable. If you can't deal with the missiles themselves, redirect them. Raian couldn't help but allow a smirk to cross his face. It was at that moment that his observations was rewarded. Energy, that had eluded Raian's presence up until that point, shattered like glass around Hiroya. It then dawned on Raian; Hiroya was protecting himself with wards. This would be useful information in the future, but for now, he had to tend to the task of dealing with his renegade Senju Kōten Taihō.

Or rather escaping the elaborate trap he had set. There was one thing, he saw, that Hiroya had left out of his retaliation calculations; the Raikōhō-infused Fushibi net that now surrounded him was in the direct line of fire of the Senju Kōten Taihō missiles as they were on their way out. The missiles would never reach Raian. Pumping all of his energy into his legs, Raian launched himself upwards and away from the blast zone just as the Senju Kōten Taihō reached the net. In a deafening roar, the net and Senju Kōten Taihō exploded at once, sending a pillar of spiritual energy, fire, and shards of glass into the Hueco Mundo skies, and unleashing a shockwave that only served to intensify the winds of the surrounding windstorm.

Almost instantaneously, however, a second explosion occurred; directly in front of Raian himself. Hiroya had teleported at the moment of impact, taking part of the explosion with him. This second shockwave sent Raian hurdling through air, away from Hiroya and his Hakufuku spell. Solidifying reishi beneath his feet, Raian managed to catch himself after being hurled several yards. Trying to stand up quickly, Raian noted something he hadn't before. A searing pain in his ribcage; his ribs had been broken - likely in the explosion he had been caught in during Hiroya's Sokatsui assault.

"Damn..." Raian thought to himself, "This guy is a lot better than I thought..."

A smoldering crater was now in the glass-like terrain, where Senju Kōten Taihō and Fushibi had detonated. A second pillar of smoke was flying upwards in midair. Raian knew that was were Hiroya was. And he wasn't about to let the opportunity go. Breathing in deep and then exhaling, Raian borrowed the power of Hueco Mundo around him. A red glow enveloped him and, reflecting off of the glass-constructed surroundings, bathed the area in crimson light. In a whisper that was drowned out by the raging windstorm, Raian uttered a single word;

"Shakkahō..."

A single spark ignited on Raian's index finger, glaring off the glass beneath them, as the center of the light expanded. Flicking his eyes to the side, Raian knew that the windstorm would by his Shakkahō, but he was counting on that. Suddenly, the red light became animated, forming itself into a large fox of red energy, with ten flowing tails. With a snap of his fingers, Raian commanded the fox to split, and so it did; splitting into ten foxes, about the size of a normal fox, each with one tail. The foxes spread out, forming a circle around the smoldering stack of smoke where Hiroya was located. He wasn't done yet, however.

Clasping his hands tightly together, bright beams of yellow light shot out, illuminating the area, as if the sun itself were present. When Raian opened his hands, a flock of glowing, bright golden butterflies, numbering in the hundreds, took flight. With a mental command, Raian unleash his attack on his foe. Each of the fox-like spell creations zigzagged, creating a confusing flurry as they closed in on their target. At the same time, the swarm of butterflies began their erratic flight, spreading out to form a dome around Hiroya's location before closing in. As they moved, Raian silently called upon Kyokkō, enveloping a certain number of his creations in bent light, concealing them from sight as the moved in from all directions, while leaving some visible to create confusion.

The RitualEdit

Hiroya was surprised by the explosion that had accompanied him; and he quickly deduced that his wards had suffered damage, unfortunately for him he wasn't yet aware of how much damage they had suffered, nonetheless he'd deal with that later, for now he had more pressing issues. Noticing the summoned creatures, Hiroya was most impressed with how quickly Raian had grasped the secrets of spell alteration, while he had displayed signs of it before this was an entirely new take on it, he'd have to reevaluate his opposition carefully at this point; nonetheless he couldn't afford to keep the windstorm around any longer, if his opponent had this degree of talent he might eventually be capable of destroying it or dispelling the bounds that kept it in place, it was a faint chance, but he'd learned never to underestimate a fellow wizard.

Indeed, the time had at last come to harvest the fruits of his patience; he'd teach them just why people considered him the greatest master of the sacred arts in existence! Raising his arms to the sky - the archmage began to chant at a quickened pace "Ye lord! Mask of flesh and bone, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! Truth and temperance, upon this sinless wall of dreams unleash but slightly the wrath of your claws." at the very last syllable, the spell took effect almost instantly; the bonds that before had kept the windstorm focused and in check was broken and the enormous powers were released upon the world in full force: tremendous gales of winds scoured the battlefield, upturning whole ridges in the geography of Hueco Mundo, while leaving mile long cracks in its very foundation, the fierce winds obliterated all in their path and in a single gale they had annihilated the better part of Raian's spells and any more who approached Hiroya were quickly torn to shreds by the tremendous forces that had gathered around him, in the form of a focused sphere of air and arcane fire.

As Hiroya's spell increased in potency, the gales of wind that had scoured the land at random up until this point changed form abruptly, turning into pillars of arcane fire, moving tornadoes of all-cleansing fury and power; these magical constructs would then dash back and forth across the battlefield, their path random and irregular and Seireitou and Raian would find themselves involuntarily being drawn into the path of the destruction by the tremendous pull of their winds, knowing that should they lose footing and be drawn into the vortexes of white flame they'd cease existing within but a few precious moments.

Raian's eyes bulged slightly at the tremendous spiritual energy that was now flooding his visual and spiritual senses. He was more surprised, however, that the ever-silent Hiroya had uttered an incantation; the first of the entire battle. The wind wall was gone now, replaced by violent cyclones of flames; a combination of Tenran and, likely, Sokatsui; a far more vibrant display than Hiroya had shown earlier with the same spell. Analyzing the situation quickly, Raian noticed that both he and Seireitou were goners if the cyclones got anywhere close to them, as the suction alone was nigh impossible to resist. However irregular their movements, though, they were neither fast enough, nor stealthy enough to sneak up on Raian. He skillfully moved out of each cyclone's way long before the "suction zone" could touch him.

Once he was confident he could handle the fast-changing situation, Raian knew he had to begin making preparations to deal with Hiroya himself. Clearly, his last set of movements had struck a nerve in his opponent, as Raian, being a fellow spellcaster, could sense the emotion laced in Hiroya's magic, even though the man himself wore a stone-cold facial expression. Pulling his spiritual energy to the very center of his body, Raian began to tap into his Zanpakutō's own reserves of energy to bolster his strength. He had a plan for what he was going to do in the next round, and he would use Hiroya's own preparation time against him, if he was lucky.

He quickly became aware of the problems with his plan, however. With the constant dodging he was being forced to do, he didn't have the luxury of remaining still to focus his energy, so he had to make do with gathering little amounts of energy during the short intervals between dodging Hiroya's arcane offensive.

"This is going to take time..." Raian thought silently to himself, using Shunpo to flash to another location again and again to get out of harms way. "But if I'm successful, I may be able to deal some serious damage."

Even during the devastation that this magnificant Kidō-generated windstorm was causing, the silver-haired man stood his ground without so much as a change in facial expression. Throughout the entirety of this ostentatious display of magic and the chess-like clashing of spells, Seireitou was watching both combatants. He was learning about this so-called Grandmaster of Kidō's nature while also seeing how far his own comrade had come in his own training. The latter and Seireitou were rivals, after all. But that mattered rather little in contrast to the threat they were facing with this Hiroya. "Hiroya is a very strange man... I've never met someone like him, besides Kamui, whom exhibits such a persona that even I am unable to read what his heart is conveying. It's not like it's... happy or sad... or angry. Just... nothing. Nothing at all. As if, we're just some annoying insects in his path that he is trying to sweep away. Pretensious prick..." Seireitou had lifted his arm and bent all but his index and middle finger, bring the finger pair to his forehead.

In a brilliant glow of green light, Seireitou's being had completely erased from the battlefield. As if he was... simply never there. It wasn't a form of flash step, or even Hohō for that matter. But then, that same flash of green light reappeared, in the vicinity of where Raian had transported himself. In fact, even closer than that, with a few meters separating the two men. Returning to his physical form, and having went to a location far safer than his original area, he took a few steps forward to stand near Raian. "I don't suppose you have any plans to deal with the blonde Voldemort over there, do you?" he comically remarked.

Abruptly, Hiroya's shape was engulfed in a wreath of white-hot magical flames, as rivulets of elegant sorcery danced across his entire body, their intensity a beacon of light within the all-consuming night of Hueco Mundo. As the flames picked up in their intensity it appeared as though Hiroya had been consumed by his own spell, appearing as a large star of pulsating radiance. Suddenly the archmage shot up towards the heavens like a rising star, further and further he soared; the light that emanated from his body only growing more intense the further he travelled only to at last reach the apex of his ascension. Where the wizards body exploded in a blinding flash of light and fire.

There was then only silence, and darkness as the light that had so briefly illuminated Hueco Mundo was put to rest and faded as quickly as it had come. But the darkness was soon pierced by blinding blue light and sweltering heat, that caused the very air around the two hostile Shinigami to feel as though it was literally scorching their skin off their very bodies. It would take Raian but a moment to ascertain that the heat was procured through very potent magic, but its source would seem blank, hidden from view - either Hiroya's sorcery had completely surpassed even Raian's comprehension or the spell was cast in such a way as to hide its exact mechanics and inner workings from a rivalling spellcaster, such as Raian himself. Clearly the wizard had decided that he didn't desire more magical competition, whatever the reason.

The heat began to build up steadily, and every windgust brought blistering air and scorching currents throughout the battlefield, threatening to burn them all to death; while at the current time this would be something it simply couldn't accomplish it was rapidly gaining ground, and the heat became harder and harder to withstand by the second. By now, all sand within Hueco Mundo's vast expanse, for as far as the eye could see had been turned into flawless, polished glass. Quite like before, but unlike the previous time, time time Hiroya was nowhere to be seen at all - it was as if he had vanished tracelessly into thin air.

However.. once they raised their gaze to meet the sky, they witnessed something else than what they'd expect; for Hiroya's spell had set the very heavens themselves ablaze in its fiery glory; and was now a seemingly endlessly churning firestorm of epic proportions, that blanketed the skies in all its ostentatious magnificence and caused the temperature to increase at exceedingly vast rates. Seireitou and Raian both, would quickly make note of the fact that this was not the calm before the storm of the actual spell - rather, they were already within Hiroya's spell; and the agonizing sensation they felt, which at first felt like the sensation of immense heat was actually the feeling of their bodies gradually being incinerated by the vast magical forces at work. Over time, their bodies would break down and they would undoubtably lose, how much time it would take was anyones guess at this point.

There were more complications than merely Hiroya's dissapearance and the looming threat of being incinerated by his latest masterpiece to worry about though; for the immense light of the firestorm above was perfectly paralelled in the glass below, the magically procured sheet of glass that covered the ground being so pristine as to reflect the heavens above it flawlessly. Now, with both heaven and earth being indestinquishable from the other, it seemed like there was no safe place to thread - as sky and ground seamlessly melted into the other and become as one. The image was surreal, incomprehensible, it was impossible to see where one place started and another began, it was like being caught in a dream, or a different existence outright - an endless white expanse of unknown reach.

Their eyes had nowhere to rest, there was simply nothing there but blinding white and blue. A condition that could potentially cause hallucination, dizziness and nausea, almost as if Hiroya wanted to sicken them by showing them an image of impossible symmetry and thus decrease their capability to fight properly, by stacking the odds so thoroughly against them.

Lastly, Seireitou and Raian would notice that both of them was masked from the view of the other, they could still feel one anothers energy however - but they couldn't easily sense their presence or see their form; to their eyes they would be alone and isolated within this alien world of Hiroya's arcane creation. Clearly the wizard didn't want them to cooperate anymore than they already had thus far...

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