|Author: Carrot Sauce
|Original Source: SFACG
|Word Count: 3164 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1432 words
Baku, with its mountainous size, hurtled forward at an astonishing pace, and given its vastness, only a Big Dipper might stand a chance at evading its assault.
“I’ll kill you first!”
Its enormity was daunting, yet while Baku’s size was intimidating, its physical strength wasn’t particularly extraordinary. A direct hit, however, could spell doom for Shimizu. As it lunged, Baku bared a set of curved fangs that seemed to pierce the void of darkness, targeting Shimizu. Instead of attempting to dodge, she retreated elegantly, recognizing the inevitability of the oncoming attack.
“Don’t even think about it!”
The ground shook violently. Lily, with agility, leaped into the fray, brandishing her weapon. Her Purple Lunar Force collided with Baku’s formidable fang. The colossal momentum of Baku’s charge was suddenly arrested, sending shockwaves through its massive form.
Baku might have been an ancient entity, potentially as ancient as legendary creatures like the nine-tailed fox, but its strengths lay in mystical prowess, not brute force. In a world less plagued by despair, where fewer souls found solace only in dreams, Baku would have had less sustenance and, consequently, less power. This creature was truly unique, yet it wasn’t inherently a combatant.
Lily’s weapon, having struck the gargantuan fang, found itself lodged within. Compared to Baku, Lily and her weapon might seem insignificant, but the fact that she halted and even wounded this vast demon was testament to her might. As blood gushed from the inflicted wound, Baku groaned in anguish.
Fully exerting her strength, Lily channeled her Purple Lunar Force, illuminating the surrounding darkness. A deafening crack reverberated throughout the space as one of Baku’s immense fangs shattered under her force.
Infuriated and in agony, Baku thrashed its head, releasing a bizarre energy wave. Before Lily, illusory figures of Ayaka and Shimizu materialized, exuding a captivating allure, drawing nearer as if to surrender to her desires.
Lily’s indomitable will shone through as she dispelled the mirage swiftly. Yet, in battles of this magnitude, even a momentary lapse could prove consequential. Caught off guard, she was struck by Baku’s other swinging fang.
Thankfully, her robust form, fortified by spirit power, withstood the blow. Though the pain was acute, she remained relatively unharmed. Meanwhile, Shimizu continued her absorption of the dark energies around her. Inside her ancient jade dimension, she had unlocked a new mystical capability. Blade Maidens, renowned for manipulating souls, now had an added dimension to their power through Shimizu’s discovery. She could harness her ancient jade to siphon an opponent’s spiritual energy and skill. Essentially, any entity transmuted into raw energy could be a potential source for her absorption. While, theoretically, she could absorb even sword energies, the rapidity and volatile nature of such forces made them harder to assimilate.
Shimizu’s newfound ability had its constraints. From her understanding, she could only absorb energy from adversaries stronger than her. The rate of absorption was also rather slow. Considering that most opponents retained the bulk of their spirit power, releasing only bits during combat, this ability might not be of much use in high-intensity battles. She had yet to reveal this capability to Lily and others.
Yet, Shimizu possessed the Dark Celestial Maiden Physique, which naturally resonated with darkness. When this unique constitution combined with her ability, it was formidable. It enabled Shimizu to assimilate dark energies even from entities far more powerful than herself.
Though restricted to energies of a dark attribute, this ability was the perfect counter to Baku. Baku’s dark energy, born from the nightmares of countless souls and not from an internal source, lacked stability, making it easier for Shimizu to absorb.
While she could drain his power rapidly, Baku had the might to snuff her out in an instant, if he so chose — assuming he could land a blow. Though her draining of his power was more a nuisance than a threat, it was deeply vexing for an ancient divine beast to be bested by a seemingly frail human. The implications were clear: if Shimizu were as formidable as a quadruple-soul Big Dipper, Baku might be effortlessly subdued after being drained of his power. This was a possibility he couldn’t entertain.
After using illusions to push Lily aside, Baku accelerated, charging at Shimizu. His size meant that his acceleration began slowly. Shimizu couldn’t evade the charge due to Baku’s overwhelming size. The colossal black mass threatened to squash her.
Star-like sword energy illuminated the darkness, racing towards him. Baku summoned dark energy, forming a barrier to deflect the assault.
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A powerful shockwave emanated from the clash.
Ayaka, holding deep animosity for Baku, would not let him harm her sisters, regardless of any past traumas or her strained relationship with Shimizu. In the face of a shared foe, the bonds of sisterhood prevailed.
With all her might, Ayaka swung her Naginata, managing to break through Baku’s defenses, but only leaving superficial marks on his thick hide. The force of her attack, however, knocked her back.
While Baku remained uninjured, Ayaka’s intervention halted his advance.
A fierce Purple Lunar Force surged from above, landing a powerful blow on Baku, causing blood to spray.
Quick to recover from the initial push, Lily swiftly re-engaged, landing a critical blow. The sheer ferocity of her attack left Baku in agony, making the entire surroundings resonate with his pain.
“B̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲! B̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲! I’ll crush you all!”
Summoning another illusory realm, Baku also sent tendrils of dark energy towards Lily. The moment she detected the illusion, Lily retaliated, slashing her blade in his direction.
Due to his immense size, Baku couldn’t dodge Lily’s attacks. Conversely, Lily couldn’t evade his onslaught, ensnared by the illusions. She felt a sharp pain as Baku’s blows connected, almost knocking her off balance. Yet, Shimizu remained untouched, diligently absorbing Baku’s dark energy.
Baku’s fury grew. He kept conjuring illusions1, directing dark energy attacks at Lily. While many of his strikes landed, Lily countered fiercely, often taking the offensive even amidst the illusions. Baku struggled to defend his weak points, given his vast, mountain-like physique. The two engaged in relentless combat, trading blow for blow. As the fight intensified, Baku bled, his hide torn. Lily too bore the brunt of the combat.
Lily’s diminutive stature belied her immense strength. Harnessing the Purple Lunar Force, she wielded power comparable to a novice quintuple-soul Big Dipper. In truth, she surpassed Baku in might. Her reliance on Lunar Crystals recently bolstered her physical prowess and resilience. The ferocity of her attacks, combined with her intrinsic skill and her formidable weapon, meant that even if their blows were evenly matched, Baku found himself outclassed.
Baku, a divine beast who once ruled dreams, had transformed into an Archdemon due to an influx of dark energy. Despite his impressive title, he was sorely lacking in combat skills. Contrarily, Lily’s weapon, Dojigiri-Yasutsuna, stood as a monument to power, arguably the mightiest to emerge from the Heian Dynasty. Infused with the Anima of Shuten Doji, one of the three mightiest Archdemons, her attacks overwhelmed him.
While Shimizu’s absorption of Baku’s energy was gradual, it was sufficient to debilitate him, even as he valiantly defended himself. His anguished roars echoed through the cave as the relentless duel with Lily ensued. Each clash left Baku more battered, pushing him closer to his limits. Opting to retreat, he would brace himself with dark energy whenever Lily advanced, a stark contrast to his earlier rash decisions born from rage and indignity. The energy drain Shimizu inflicted, though significant, paled in comparison to Lily’s devastating blows.
His injuries accumulated, each one bringing him closer to his inevitable end. Blocking Lily’s fierce strikes with his dwindling dark energy, his agonized groans marked his hasty retreat.
“Trying to escape2?”
Escape was a fantasy. As Lily and a recuperated Ayaka pursued him aerially, Shimizu trailed close behind. Lily’s unmatched speed allowed her to land successive blows on Baku, hindering his flight. Consumed by fury, Ayaka channeled years of anguish into every strike. Baku’s attempts to fend off Lily left him vulnerable to Ayaka, whose relentless assault scarred his form.
As the trio pressed on, harrying him with a mix of attacks and energy absorption, Baku diminished in size. Though the cave was vast, its confines were finite. Carved out by Baku himself, its depths expanded in tandem with the world’s growing negativity. But even as it neared the proportions of an abyss, it remained just a cave, not the boundless dark void it seemed. Every nightmare, no matter how prolonged, had an end.
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Cornered at the cave’s terminus, Baku found himself trapped, with no avenue for escape3.