Jin quickly scrambled to his feet as the two armies dashed in to engage in combat. Misaki and Masaki both had retreated into the depths of their hordes, leaving Jin in the middle of a fight between two warring factions with little regard to who he would be fighting. Luckily for him, however, an open space to serve as an arena spread around him, the fighting leaving him alone. Jin sighed, already exhausted and confused without even having beginning to fight yet. Hallow's Phantom had already revealed itself, looming over the wizard with fighting intent. The calmness in the midst of this storm was broken when three small demons with a short sword each materialized in his arena.
"Lady Misaki wishes to test your skills," the the three said in unison.
Jin shrugged, taking up a fighting stance as the three demons began to circle around him. They all dashed in unison as Jin activated an Umbra Refrenatem, slipping underneath and between the legs of the one that charge him head-on. The three wheeled around simultaneously, dashing towards their new foe, swords drawn. Hallow's Phantom had decided that he would get involved in the fight, blocking each strike of the swords as they came clattering in. Jin smiled, firing a Skoteina Dorata, which pierced through the demons with ease, sending all three to their knees. They quickly got up, but were immediately struck down once more by the Hallow's Phantom's Scarlet Moon, causing them to vanish into dust.
As soon as those three had been wiped out, three more with similar equipment popped into the arena, saying much the same thing in much the same voice. Jin sighed, thinking this battle would go the same as the past encounter, only to be pleasantly surprised by the sudden dispersal of the three as they darted around him into a triangle formation. The one to his back right came first, with Jin prepared to parry away the demon's sword strike with a Den Oskyldiga Beskydarren when the sound of Hallow's Phantom blocking a strike resounded in his ears. The one to his left had rushed in, the Phantom blocking the strike while Jin was distracted. He sent up his Den Oskyldiga Beskydarren, finally parrying away the strike from his intended quarry when the final one had suddenly approached him, slashing away with its blade. It struck across Jin's chest, sending him tumbling back. It was not all too painful, as the blade was weak and rusty, though there was a distinctive sting that it had. Jin smiled, powering up his Cor Comedenti as he rushed in to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the demons. Hallow's Phantom did its work to ward away the two non-targets while Jin dueled the one in center. He punched it in the jaw, sending it soaring into the air. Smiling, Jin then fired a Skia Machairia, which pierced through the airborne demon as it vanished to dust. Sensing the two demons coming from behind him, he quick dropped to the ground prone, letting their swords soar over him. He leaped back up to his feet, firing a Stoteina Dorata, which sent those last three into the dust.
Just as before, once this trial had been cleared, forth came yet another combatant, though this one looked noticeably tougher than the previous foes. It was slightly taller than the Shadow mage, with chain mail armor and two swords. Noticeably, however, was the feeling that it contained magic power in its system. Despite not usually enjoying battle, Jin nonetheless smiled at the thought of a battle being a difficulty. He set himself up in a fighting stance, bidding the demon come to attack. It obliged by firing out a fireball from the tip of one of its swords. Jin leaped out of the way with the aid of a newly-renewed Umbra Refrenatem, only to immediately be met with bullets of icy rain striking against his skin, sending him crashing to the earth, where he would immediately be met with a pillar of earth striking his left hand. A jolt of pain immediately spiked into his wounded hand.
The hand's broken.
Jin cringed in pain, using his right hand to fire a swarm of Hiringuhiru into his left hand to lessen the damage. He got back up to his feet, now knowing the severity of his opponent. He figured that the general would be the strongest opponent to face, so losing to a lesser opponent would be catastrophic. Jin buffed himself up with another Umbra Refrenatem, Cor Comedenti, and Gwarcodl Meddwyl, all focused under the Aspect of the Maw of Shadow, as he shifted his gears to a more physically-oriented battle style. The demon once again fired off a fireball, which Jin dodged by sliding underneath, springing back up into the air using his buffed up upper body strength to send him soaring high enough into the air to narrowly avoid the earthen pillar that had broken his hand just moments prior. Jin had landed by the time the rain began to pour, striking the ground around him as he weaved in between raindrops, his high speed able to stave off much of the damage. He reached the demon, swinging his unbroken right fist at it, which the beast easily parried with a sword strike, his retaliatory strike only being stopped by the falling arms of Hallow's Phantom. Jin cartwheeled backwards, avoiding yet another fireball that the demon had launched at him before rushing back into the fray and swinging both his fists wildly. Each punch was met with the flat of the blade, pain firing up his arm with each time flesh met steel. Even with four pairs of hands flying at the demon, it was able to ward off nearly every strike. Jin did his best to sneak in some close-range magical attacks, all of which would have been weakened from the Aspect Shift, though they all failed to connect. After what felt like an eternity of this back-and-forth clash, both parties leaped out of engagement. Hallow's Phantom fired a Super Ultra Spooky Factor, blinding the demon as Jin disengaged. This hindrance to its sight gave Jin an opening to strike at his foe, delivering a series of strikes to its body, Hallow's Phantom joining in the assault for good measure. Once the demon had regained an ability to parry away the strikes, Hallow's Phantom fired a Scarlet Moon into its skull, sending it vanishing into the dust.
Jin dropped to a knee, exhausted and in pain from his shattered hand. He sent off another Hiringuhiru and Iyashino Iki into his left hand, attempting to heal his wound, when a familiar voice called to him. "You seem to be quite competent in a fight, Earthlander. I shall fight you now." Jin sighed, rolling his eyes as he struggled to his feet. Misaki now stood in his arena, a sad look on her face, almost as if she did not want to fight.
"Apologies if I'm wrong about this, but you and Masaki are related, right?"
"Indeed. Masaki is my twin. We share the same blood, but not the same ideals. I regret that I will have to slay both you and my dear sister, but it must come to that, I am afraid. Good-bye, Earthlander."
As she finished her apology, she bowed, and an explosion rose up from underneath Jin's feet, sending him soaring into the air. He spun in the air to continue eye contact with his foe, only to immediately be met with consecutive balls of fire and shadow, sending him soaring into an invisible wall at the edge of his arena. It seemed as if Misaki intended this to be a one-on-one battle to the death. Jin switched his Aspect Focus off, immediately shielding himself with a Den Oskyldiga Beskydarren as Misaki had reached him, a blade of flames in one hand and one of shadows in the other. She broke through the shield with ease, before being launched back to the ground by Hallow's Phantom. Despite the velocity of her crash, she landed on her feet, denting the ground beneath her. She dashed from her position towards Jin, firing a stream of extreme heat in front of her, striking Jin as he was pinned against the wall. Her swords came shortly after, Jin only barely able to dodge out of the way of the head-targeted strikes. The blades stuck into the invisible wall, killing a demon on the other side of the wall with the tips of the fell swords. Jin boosted himself up once again, before firing out a series of Skoteina Doratas. Misaki dodged them with ease, her sheer power evident. As she neared Jin, he set his body alight with the flames of Sang Brulant, rolling out of the way of her impending strikes, letting Hallow's Phantom counter with a Scarlet Moon. Misaki was easily able to slash away at the Scarlet Moon with quickly-fading blades of fire and shadow.
Despite the failure of the fight up to this point, Jin noticed that her body coursed with the dark flames of Sang Brulant. Even if it did not do much damage, it would be enough to slow her down to allow Jin better combat. He smiled, firing yet another Skoteina Dorata in unison with a Scarlet Moon. He thought that at least one would be able to hit, and was pleasantly confirmed with the Scarlet Moon's beam scratching her arm as she rushed towards Jin. Her exposed eye flashed with malice, immediately setting Jin's body alight. This was no illusion, as the searing pain told, but he continued to fight, sending out a series of Skia Machairia at his foe, with Hallow's Phantom doing its best to attack her in melee combat. She dodged out of the way of the Skia Machairia, only to be met with the wrathful hands of Hallow's Phantom. She crashed against the ground, once again breaking it with her power as she continued to make her way towards Jin. As the flames around his body subsided, Jin focused once more on the Aspect of the Maw of Shadow, boosting up a Cor Comedenti as Misaki had her two blades in hand. The two leaped into the air at each other, intent on striking with as much force as they could. Her blades had much more reach than Jin's arms, but Jin had the advantage of Hallow's Phantom, who blocked away each strike of the blades, allowing Jin to crash in, delivering a swift right-handed punch to the gut of the demon princess. She went soaring into the invisible walls of the arena, landing on the ground in pain. Jin smiled, excited at how much damage he had managed to do.
His excitement was quickly shattered by the barrage of fire and shadows coming towards him, intensely exploding near his feet before he could dodge. He was sent soaring into the air from the force of the blast, feeling incredibly weak from the barrage of magic. Misaki spent little time waiting for Jin to land, dashing into the sky to intercept him with her dual blades. She swung down with both swords, Hallow's Phantom only just being able to reduce the damage from the blows, while the force sending Jin crashing back to the ground still remained. He looked up to see Misaki floating in the air as she assembled her energy into one massive ball of magic power, which she sent down to Jin, who was already weakened on the ground. In a panic, he fired up a Den Oskyldiga Beskydarren and Gwarcodwr Meddwl to reduce as much damage as he could, as well as Hallow's Phantom doing its best to chip away at the ball of energy. Nonetheless, it crashed against the ground, shattering the invisible walls of the arena and instantaneously vaporizing all the demons in the nearby area. Misaki herself had crashed onto the ground, weary from the use of her spell.
While the sound had been drowned out by combat previously, Jin now was aware that there was complete silence. The only sound Jin could hear was that of his own breathing, labored as it was. He coughed, blood spattering onto the ground beside him. He was alive, but in incredibly rough shape. His lungs felt heavy, his left arm was, without a doubt, entirely shattered, and his legs were not much better. He felt a warm stream of blood running down the scaled side of his face, emerging from his temple. His clothes had been completely ruined, mostly seared from the Demon Princess's flames. His mask was fine, though the Paragon had hoped that, of all things to be damaged, that would have been the one. He coughed once more, slowly rising to his feet. His seared shirt and jacket would only slow him down at this point, he thought, so he removed them, tossing them into the crater as he staggered out. Each labored step was difficult, bolts of pain firing up his legs with each collision on the ground. His every breath had the feeling of being filled with water, but he still kept walking.
He had finally clambered out of his crater, looking at the devastation around him. Where there had once been at least a hint of wildlife outside of the demonic inhabitants of this realm, it was now reduced to a wasteland. There was a large ring where there was nothing left but dust and devastation, the outsides of the ring being surrounded by surprised onlookers. Masaki was the only one who dared step within this ring, however tentative her steps were. Jin sighed, coughing up more blood into his hand as the blood dripping from his head rolled onto his torso. As weak as he was, he realized he still needed to fight from the sight of Misaki staggering out of her own self-created crater. Despite how battered and bruised his body was, Misaki's looked no worse for wear. She looked as pristine as she had done prior to the battle. Nonetheless, Jin smiled. At least she was a difficult opponent. He stumbled forwards towards Misaki, who did much the same, though her steps looked much less labored than Jin's. As the two finally got within fifty meters of each other, they stopped. Jin smiled through his pain once again.
"Never expected I would get this beat up in a fight. Kudos, Misaki. Sadly, this has to be the end."
Misaki's face once again took a sad tone. "So it will, Jin Auri-El."
"So you know my name?"
"We did not simply grab a random mediator, if that answers your question."
"It does enough."
The two left a moment hang in silence. Jin felt the demonic armies slowly come closer to the battle, though without the intent of engaging in combat themselves. Finally, the two combatants rushed into battle once again, the searing pain having been overruled by the rush of adrenaline and war. Jin managed to strike first with a punch to the side of Misaki's head, though she quickly bounced back with a kick to Jin's side. Both of them stumbled to the ground, before rushing to engage once again. Jin had delivered a series of labored punches to the head of his foe, who retaliated after a few with a headbutt, following up her counter with a series of kicks and a well-placed open-hand jab to Jin's exposed, bloody ribs. Jin coughed before haphazardly firing a Skia Machairia in hopes of it doing something. She had managed to dodge out of the way, firing an orb of shadows into Jin's side, sending him tumbling to the ground. Judging from the comparison of feeling in his arms compared to his ribs, he figured that now his ribs were broken as well. He got back up, letting Hallow's Phantom fire a Scarlet Moon as he gave out a last-ditch Skoteina Dorata. Misaki was too weak to dodge out of the way of either, being directly hit by the two attacks. The dust settled, and Misaki was left on her knees. Jin collapsed to his own knees, too weak to stand. It had seemed as if this would be a draw, until Masaki came forwards. She stepped up to her sister, before summoning dual swords of water and shadow. She said some words to Misaki that Jin could not hear. Misaki bowed her head as Masaki finished the deed, ending both the war and her sister.
"I apologize for this, Jin Auri-El. I swear, I will bring this realm to peace. Should you ever wish to call upon my aid or simply wish to visit, use this lacrima." She smiled weakly before handing Jin a lacrima. Suddenly, he was slowly rising up into the sky, being brought back up to Silver Wolf's guild hall. He looked at himself as he had been returned into the hall, and saw that his wounds had not healed. He sighed before returning to his room to change into a new set of clothes.