#1 Edited by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

Lindsay Pike forced herself to watch helplessly as the flames consumed the man across from her, knowing that they would surely end his life. She had made several attempts to release herself from the ropes that bonded her to the cold metal chair she sat in but to no avail, screaming the man’s name as he burned in front of her. Although inflicted by the most horrific pain one can experience, he smiled back at Lindsay, trying to assure her that everything would be alright. Lindsay tried to reciprocate but could only weep. Her sorrow the only emotion she could express. The man began to convulse, his body fighting against the power of death, trying to buy more time in this world, more time with her even if it meant excruciating pain. “I love you Chris!” Lindsay shouted with all her effort, barely loud enough to carry out to him. He tried to respond but all his strength had faded, he let out a long sigh and his body relaxed, his life was extinguished.

“Finally.” A voice echoed in the room followed by a mysterious figure stepping into the dim light illuminated by the embers that still burned on Chris’ body. The man was dressed in a black suit, his hair a dark brown and his eyes glowed with an unnatural orange color. His grin was made of sharp fangs stained with blood as he stared at the body. “Do you remember me?” He asked, his back still turned towards Lindsay. “Y-Yes… You’re a shadow of my closest friend. The corrupted soul of Liam." She responded, her face was red from the constant tears streaming down her face. “I’m not a shadow Lindsay, I’m just different than how you used to remember me.” Liam’s smile had faded. He crouched down and grabbed a silver necklace from around the charred neck of Chris. He stared in curiosity at the pendant that hanged from the chain, it had been unaffected by the fire. “I never wanted this to happen.” He whispered into Chris’ ear, a useless effort, but he still hoped that his old friend could hear him. With a strong yank, he tore the necklace away, unintentionally decapitating the head from its fragile neck. Standing up, he put the jewelry in his pocket, unfazed at what he had just done.

Lindsay wailed in despair as the head fell to the floor, her arms and legs once again fighting the bonds. Liam turned around and stared at a similar necklace around Lindsay’s neck and slowly approached her. “I never wanted this to happen.” He repeated, this time it was directed at Lindsay. He clenched his right fist and two claws slowly carved from the spaces between his fist and third knuckles. “I couldn’t kill Chris with these.” He took a glance at his claws. “He was too powerful. But he had one specific weakness: Fire from a burning olive branch.” Liam stopped a few feet from Lindsay and crouched, meeting his eyes at the same level as hers. “F*** You!” Lindsay screamed, her eyes intense with anger. Liam drew closer, his face now inches from hers, and he pressed his claws against her chest. Lindsay looked down at the sharpened bone that extended from Liam’s hand and an overwhelming sense of fear started to sink in. “Don’t do this Liam, please!” She begged, her eyes began to tear up again. “I need you’re pendant. Unfortunately it can’t be removed while you’re alive, is that true?” She slowly nodded. “Then I can’t help you… I won’t ask for forgiveness, I don’t expect it. I only hope you can be at peace with Chris.”

“Lia-.“ Her plea was cut short as Canine lunged his arm forward, the claws ripping through flesh and piercing Lindsay’s heart. He twisted his wrist, ensuring that her suffering would end quickly. He then stood up and took a step back watching as Lindsay’s body turned to ash, the weight of her necklace was too much for her new form, as it sifted through the grey matter and fell to the ground. Liam then reached down and picked it up, placing it the same pocket as the other. “No time to linger Liam, you have work to do. There’s more immortals to kill.” He spoke out loud before leaving the building.

#2 Posted by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

However, leaving the building would be the only thing Canine did without a fight.

With a sigh he opened his eyes, a hard blue shone out to overshadow the red suit. During one of his last encounters with the eastern pact of shadow cult he had found reference to others like himself. People that were tied to things much bigger than themselves, that had to stand in front of doors that shouldn't be opened. One of these doors seemed to have a strange dog chasing after it or so the report had said.

Antonnius had read the single surviving file from the cult's hideout on the matter and found his heart moved with great compassion. Though these beings with pendants were immortal they seemed to be bound to a very harsh fate. They had a job that they could never neglect, it chained their souls to the current world and forced them to act as guardians to protect a key. Though a key to what he couldn't understand, the impressed point upon him was that it went to a door that did not need to be opened by any mortal.

Especially a mortal willing to hunt these caretakers down and strip them of their piece of the key, one by one. The killer had been noted as a being called 'Canine'. When Antonnius had built up sufficient indignation for the meager information he had on this offshoot meddling of the cult Miyamoto had suggested that they put his training to good use and seek out the creature. Then the acts of violence and cruelty could be verified, maybe even the level of danger that the key represented could be judged but all of that mattered very little to Antonnius right now. The boy had spent the last month of his life running and fighting, learning to overcome evil that was attracted to power and coming out on top by the skin of his teeth.

Now he had found someone that wasn't quite as lucky.

Canine hadn't even taken his hand out of his pocket yet, it was stained with the blood of his murder though the physical evidence wasn't necessary it had added to the feeling of contempt that he felt for this creature. He had followed his trail, learning bits and pieces of what the man he was hunting was like. Most of the stories had little truth to them but the trail of victims and 'finished' jobs that were left behind were enough to show what kind of monster this man truly was capable of being. Now with the two swords of Miyamoto tied to his left hip he stood only a hundred feet from the opening that Canine had emerged from, too late to prevent the murders but just in time to confront the monster it seemed.

"Either way we do this will end badly. I think you'll want to move very slowly mister Canine," his right hand rested on his longsword, "or very quickly if you want to try and kill me first."

The voice of the red poet was cold, harsh and sharp like the edge of his sword. There were very few things that could aggravate the peace loving boy but heartless murder was one of them, even without the urging of the old swordsman he had pulled together resolve to face and combat this creature.

I'll give him only one chance to run or kill me. If he fails, I will cut him down like an oak leaf that has strayed into the path of my blade.

#3 Edited by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

Canine froze at Antonnius' words. 'Who the hell was this kid and what did he want?' He thought as he looked the cloaked man in red over. Obviously a skilled swordsman as he seemed to be equipped with nothing else. 'You don't have time for this Liam, remember you're not the only one after this power. You are just another horse in the grand race, a long shot in the Kentucky Derby.'

Canine took a few steps towards the swordsman and smirked. "I really don't have time for this, but I see that you're quite serious so how about we pencil in a time and place for next week?"

No response came from the kid as he gripped his sword tightly. Canine shook his head realizing there was no way that he was gonna walk away from this unscathed. "Okay kid, three minutes. Three minutes is all I can spare." He reached into his jacket and pulled out a homing beacon, pressing the red button at the end. "I need a pick-up ASAP." He spoke into the receiver. "Confirmed." A voice echoed back from the device.

Canine nodded and placed the beacon back into the pocket, then took the jacket off. He folded it nicely and placed it on a nearby bench, cracking his knuckles and neck as he returned.

"Let's end this quickly, alright?" He slid his right leg back and brought both fists up into an aggressive guard. He twitched his wrists, popping his two sets of claws out. He let out a low growl, a reaction to the brief moment of pain. "You're move."

#4 Posted by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

Canine froze and Antonnius was able to see his eyes and the difference that was made, he really did look like the kind of person that killed like that. The man went on to call for transportation and lay his coat aside, the very action burned him. It communicated that getting blood on his coat was more important than the lives of the people he had just walked over to get where he was on his collection quest.

Disgusting.

With that single thought he felt his spirit gearing and getting ready, and the old man was gearing up with him. From the corner of his eye he could see the spirit and their movements were in perfect unison. Antonnius spread his feet a little wider and put his right hand on the handle of his long sword with the thumb on the bottom of the grip. His left left held the scabbard tightly just a few inches below the top, his head titled down so that his hair shaded his eyes.

"So confident and uncaring. I wonder if someone like you even had something important in their heart or if it is just greed and darkness that moves you like a puppet of flesh and bone."

Antonnius leveled his eyes now, not looking directly at Canine but at the blood that was dripping from his hand. That blood was Canine's own mingled with his victim an outward sign of a diseased heart that did not care. The simple truth, people like Canine just didn't care. Like the cult that had tortured its' own children to turn into assassins to come at people like him, to become people like Canine. They were all the same.

***"Inu ga sukidesu."

The blade of a samurai was tied so that the edge faced skyward and gave them more options, just the way Miyamoto had taught him. Antonnius bolted and ran straight for Canine without yet drawing his sword, he would wait until he came in close.

((Translation from Japanese: Die like a Dog))

#5 Edited by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

"After you, kid,"

Liam understood the little phrase and it didn't impress him, his faded smirk quickly transitioned into a snarl. His arms shook, a reaction to his growing rage and impatience. He watched as the man cloaked in red sprinted towards him and noticed that Antonnius had not unsheathed his weapons. 'There's you're opportunity Canine, you're arms are faster than his. As you lunge at him, he will still be drawing his swords, he will be vulnerable. Stab his heart with those claws and tear the flesh from his bones. DO IT NOW!' Canine rolled his shoulders forward and prepared to followe the voice's instructions in his mind.

He pulled his right arm back, keeping his left in front of him and charged, heading out to meet the modern day samurai. With a loud roar he shot his right arm forward at a remarkable speed. No way could his foe could block the strike, or so he thought.

The shrill screech of metal on bone echoed in the immediate area, a extremely torturous sound to Canine as he cringed in pain after disengaging from Antonnius. He shook his head a few times, trying to recover then stared back at the samurai, who held his longsword with a single grip.

"This is gonna take more than three minutes."

#6 Edited by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

When they met it was like two warriors of old, a clash that most people wouldn't be able to quite catch. The practiced and incredible speed of the samurai meeting the raw ability of the beast, at close proximity he had drawn his sword and caught the beast completely off guard. They stepped past each other after the screech of materials coming together, the flat of his blade had caught something and the effect was like sandstone scraping on granite. Though their speed had been about even some last second instinct had caused Canine to clash with the flat of his blade instead of the edge.

A gentle breeze picked past them, an unbidden stranger that passed between the electrical feel of two combatants.

Antonnius had ended with his blade pointed straight out in front of him, arm almost fully extended. If Canine had only been a bit slower he would have been in three pieces now. His head seemed to turn in slow motion, that feeling that always overcame one in battle suddenly kicked in. His right foot was the one that wound up the most forward when the clashed, it left him in a half lunge position.

The poet turned immediately, pivoting and raising his sword only slightly, he rotated the blade for a sideways slash at chest height. With this practiced movement he had learned to cleave a fully grown tree in half with only his human power, his left hand clenched into a fist as several combinations and possibilities rushed at him. However, he cut them down in his mind and returned to the void to build his focus and think of only one thing.

"I will cut."

#7 Edited by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

Cut... A word that personified Canine's greatest weapons, his claws. For years he was feared for the unnatural ability to slash through any type of matter that opposed him. He would carve his victories by the edges of the dense bone that protruded from the spaces between his knuckles. He was a fierce predator who had never feared any opposition, until now. For the first time, it would seem that he would receive the same fate as his countless victims as the man that he now faced, a terrifying and swift agent of death, rushed in for the kill.

The poet's weapon, a more versatile and quick instrument than Canine's claws, the trajectory of the blade hinted a forward horizontal slash towards his abdomen. Liam hesitated, his arrogance overcome by a brief sense of wonder and fear as he observed the man's speed and technique. His instincts then took over at the last possible second, forcing his body leap back and evade the attack. It was almost effective as the tip of the sword left a thin and shallow cut across Liam's stomach.

The feral mutant growled in pain as he placed a hand on the wound, checking that it caused minimal but yet, painful damage. His nostrils flared and his face now a angered grimace, Canine surged backwards and waited for the wound to heal.

"Nice strike."

He was genuine with the compliment as it had been awhile since someone was skilled enough to deal a blow like that to the Wildside of Predators. Canine looked down at his stomach, the wound still the same. 'The blade... Whatever damage is dealt by it, stays.' Canine thought as he shook his arms, preparing himself for another engagement.

"Let's keep going."

He hurled himself at the swordsman, a leap that covered fifteen feet within a second with both his claws aimed at the young man's head. As his feet came down and made contact with the concrete, he lunged both arms forward, jabbing the claws towards his enemy's face.

#8 Posted by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

Antonnius grimaced, a forced smile coming to his face. Even though he had come to put an end to this monster he could not ignore the fact that he was getting better with a sword and he liked fencing. The last attack had almost been something to speak of, even though it wasn't deep it was still a legitimate cut and that meant he was getting somewhere. His blue eyes sparked against the feral look of astonishment that Canine harbored for that brief second followed by the annoyance that replaced it.

When the arc of his blade completed he flicked it back to point directly at his target's face, the way he had been instructed to. The art of cutting was not meant to kill or to maime, there was no differentiation made between what happened when the cut was made. Though Antonnius hated the very act of killing, even now when he had supposedly committed to to it he found that he could at least hide behind the fact that he was here to do only one thing in the end. Cut.

"Iku Ze!"

He yelled when Canine jumped at him, truth be told if he had just stepped forward and stabbed through it might have ended the fight then and there. However, his heart shied away from killing and lit another path for him. When they were to meet he would move to the side, Canine's leftmost claw tearing a fresh mark across his cheek as his blade turned sideways and pointed out to the poet's left and slightly down while he continued to move past the beast with another step to plant his left foot beyond the target.

Antonnius would attempt to slash him from hip to armpit as he moved past the initial lunge, his left hand still clenched tightly into a fist as his own blood spilled out onto the collar of his coat.

#9 Posted by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

The scent was intoxicating, blood dripping from Antonnius' small cut across his cheek. Canine's eyes glowed brighter as he watched with ambition, the blood dropped down and stained the collar. Although most of his attention was directed to the damage he had inflicted, Liam noticed out of the corner of his eye the upward slash committed by Antonnius. He jabbed his free arm downwards, deflecting the blade with his claws.

"Do you not understand what I am doing here?" He asked as he disengaged, leaping away and landing a few meters from Antonnius, claws retracting back into his arms.

He threw his arms out and smiled. "Power. It's all about power!" He looked past the samurai and through the open door of the derelict warehouse and at the empty chair where his former friend Lindsay was murdered by his own hand. He then shifted his sight back to Antonnius. "There are six immortals. Guardians who protect an ancient temple, a vault that contains a source of unbelievable power."

He slowly started to circle around his foe. "Each of these guardians wear unique necklaces around their necks, the pendants hanging from them are fragments of the key that would unlock the door to this temple. Lindsay and Chris, the two guardians inside that building were the most difficult to dispatch, they were the only two that had pure hearts and were the most powerful of these immortals. They were my friends..." Canine paused, clearing his throat. "The other four, you would kill because of the terrible crimes they have committed to this world."

#10 Posted by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

@Canine said:

The scent was intoxicating, blood dripping from Antonnius' small cut across his cheek. Canine's eyes glowed brighter as he watched with ambition, the blood dropped down and stained the collar. Although most of his attention was directed to the damage he had inflicted, Liam noticed out of the corner of his eye the upward slash committed by Antonnius. He jabbed his free arm downwards, deflecting the blade with his claws.

"Do you not understand what I am doing here?" He asked as he disengaged, leaping away and landing a few meters from Antonnius, claws retracting back into his arms.

He threw his arms out and smiled. "Power. It's all about power!" He looked past the samurai and through the open door of the derelict warehouse and at the empty chair where his former friend Lindsay was murdered by his own hand. He then shifted his sight back to Antonnius. "There are six immortals. Guardians who protect an ancient temple, a vault that contains a source of unbelievable power."

He slowly started to circle around his foe. "Each of these guardians wear unique necklaces around their necks, the pendants hanging from them are fragments of the key that would unlock the door to this temple. Lindsay and Chris, the two guardians inside that building were the most difficult to dispatch, they were the only two that had pure hearts and were the most powerful of these immortals. They were my friends..." Canine paused, clearing his throat. "The other four, you would kill because of the terrible crimes they have committed to this world."

The murder talked of power, temples and guardians but most of all what his speech pointed to was the justification of murder. As the blood ran freely down the side of his face Antonnius refused what he said as any source of painkiller for what was happening her, all he could see was the gruesome killing of people that stood in his way. The thing that Canine was after didn't even have any real value, power was something that had no importance when compared with life yet the revelation that he had known the people he was killing personally put him on a whole other level. The act of putting away his claws and offering the explanation was inflaming, it caused the swordsman to lower his eyes and shed a silent tear for what had taken place.

"All I understand from my information is that you are hunting people that you should be helping. People that are different, like you and like me... the selfish justification of power is more disgusting than I can bear."

Crimes were not cause for death, in fact this was the first time that Antonnius had actually tried to hunt someone down. Now he was finding that he half regretted it and the other half of him knew that he needed to see this, to walk into the world and mingle among the darkness that it had to offer was what the great Miyamoto Musashi had done not only to build his skill but also the strength of his heart. The strength to his own convictions. The red poet watched the opponent circle him and waited until he was directly behind him, he had chosen not to move until this moment because it was the most comfortable angle to approach from and he wanted to meet full force if he could. This man was cold hearted, a beast that walked on two legs even but was he truly beyond redemption... most would answer yes when faced with the reality of how innocent his desire to have what was behind that temple door. In comparison to whatever was being guarded by these six people, the lives of anyone else had no value in his eyes; even if they were people that he had cared about once upon a time.

"You killed people that you cared about... people that were close to you, for something that is worth trash next to their lives... Crimes do not justify murder, only the saving of more life can justify conflict and even the loss of an evil life is regrettable. I fight to protect things."

All at once Antonnius became alive, the sword hanging at his side while he spun and charged at Canine once more. The blade flicked to form an angle that was meant for speed and intricate movement, while he had every intention of cutting the man down he would not kill him. Unless there was no other way. Upon drawing within striking range he would stop short, sliding in the dirt as his blade came up to try and cut diagonally from the lower right to the upper left, Antonnius was finding control in his anger by tempering it with the digust of what had been done.

#11 Posted by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

Liam jumped backwards, avoiding the tip of the blade, feeling the air rush against him from the momentum of the strike. He smirked. "You fight to protect beings that are worse than me? That doesn't make sense!" He popped his claws out and pulled both fists back. The sound of an electronic beeping tone distracted Canine, forcing him to look towards his jacket.

"Looks like our three minutes are up." He said as he dropped his arms, his claws slowly disappearing back into his arms.

He approached the bench where his jacket laid and pulled the transmitter out. "Yes?" He spoke into the receiver. "Ten seconds." The pilot responded.

Canine looked back at Antonnius as he put the transmitter away and out his jacket back on. "Hate to be anticlimactic with our little dance, but I hate to go... I'll catch you later."

The sound of rotor blades drowned the area with it's deafening noise as the helicopter appeared, hovering above both men. Canine reach an arm upwards, waiting for the rope that the co-pilot was preparing to drop down.

#12 Posted by Antonnius (332 posts) - - Show Bio

@Canine

"It doesn't make any sense does it?"

Canine evaded him again demonstrating speed that was nothing short of beastly, but the more pressing issue seemed to be the helicopter that had come to take his opponent away. Running in the middle of battle was the mark of a coward but he guessed that those sort of things didn't matter to anyone, they were old ideas. Old ideas that he happened to like. Without even thinking his left hand went to catch the edge of his shortsword's guard, he hardly ever used it because it was meant for tight quarter fights or multiple opponents but he was more than familiar with the feel of the weapon. A flicking motion through the sword up into the air, end over end like a large ninja star where it collided with the rotors of the helicopter. It sliced the first spinning blades like tin foil, they fell away and went wild with the momentum of the craft before a third piece of steel joined them.

The result was that the helicopter lost altitude almost instantly and juked to the side, spinning dangerously as the freed rotors became dangerous shrapnel after eating eachother in the air. In seconds the pilot the pilot fought his craft to a rough landing, it would have been a catastrophic crash if they hadn't already been flying so low. In the midst of the chaos the sword Antonnius had thrown spun end over end, passing through fire and steel to fall and imbed itself in the ground up to its' handle at the feet of the red swordsman. Where he stared calmly at Canine, his longsword hanging at his side, held easily and without any great concern due to what had been demonstrated. The pilot had lived and was even now fleeing the damaged craft, so he found little remorse in disabling the escape vehicle.

"I can't let you leave, not to kill more people. Everyone has the right to life, even someone as dark and horrible as you. So I can't allow you to take that from them even if it costs one of us our lives."

His sword flicked up in front of his body to point at Canine's head, poised and ready to being anew.

#13 Posted by Canine (3803 posts) - - Show Bio

The rope whipped across Canine's face, creating a large gash on his cheek as the helicopter suddenly pulled away. He winced in pain and pressed his palm against the wound while looking up to see what went wrong. The rotor blades were heavily damaged and the vessel was headed for a crash landing. "You have got to be joking..." He said, noticing a sword curving in the air, heading back to where it had been thrown.

Liam took a deep breath and turned around, facing Antonnius. He cracked his knuckles as he took a few steps forward, listening to every word the red poet was saying.

"If you stop me, then eventually you will have to face the four other immortals." Liam paused, noticing the pilot fleeing from the scene. So useless, I'll kill him when I'm done with this clown. He thought before returning to his discussion with Antonnius, who was now ready to attack Canine with the edge of his blade.

"Those four immortals won't give you the chance that I am giving you right now." He popped his claws and positioned himself into an aggressive stance.

"Walk away and you'll live. This is the last time I will ask."