Sensing the power of Azi, seemingly encompassing the entirety of the former Little Garden, Siddhartha, Madara, and Kurma, the latter two in their dragon forms, momentarily ceased battling.
Staring in the direction Azi’s power was emanating, Madara’s draconic visage formed into a smile, prompting Kurma to exclaim, “Don’t do it! Now that things have developed to this extent, we should retreat and ally with other powerful Players…!”
“You and Mr. Hands are free to do exactly that,” replied Madara, turning to Kurma as she added, “I’m no coward.”
Without waiting for Kurma’s response, Madara’s colossal figure abruptly contracted on itself, disappearing nigh-instantaneously. This was despite Siddhartha having placed a seal on the surrounding space, compelling the three-eyed, multi-armed Buddha to cross his arms and remark, “That one is full of tricks…”
Exhaling a profound sigh, causing her surroundings to distort in response to the space around her expanding, Kurma directed her gaze toward the horizon. There, Madara had just unleashed a laser-like breath attack that caused her surroundings to be consumed by abyssal black flames.
Though she didn’t believe Madara could defeat Azi, Kurma decided to trust that she could at least stall the great evil, turning to Siddhartha to ask, “Can you use the remnant energy of the Gods to prepare a Six Paths, Heaven-Sealing Array?”
“It’s not impossible,” replied Siddhartha. “However, even if I were to do so, it wouldn’t be able to hold Azi Dahaka for long. Without the power of Authority, there isn’t much we can do but delay him.”
Reverting to her human form, Kurma’s expression formed into a pout as she considered appealing for an Adjudication, temporarily suspending the Pandemonium Gift Game. Things were quickly getting out of hand, and if the companions of the Sage Dragon Emperor refused to cooperate, they had little hope of reclaiming the Reality Axis, much less defeating Azi.
Furrowing her brows grimly, Kurma briefly considered the possibility that Vahn had betrayed them. The odds were exceptionally slim, but it was the only thing that explained why his subordinates were so uncooperative…
Interrupting Kurma’s increasingly negative chain of thoughts, Siddhartha said, “You should retreat first. The energy of this region and the influence of Azi Dahaka has started to affect and erode your mind. Return once you have grounded yourself.”
Though she didn’t believe Azi’s influence could affect her so easily, Kurma took Siddhartha’s words at face value. The alternative was accepting that Vahn had somehow hoodwinked Shiroyasha, Indra, and countless others, herself included. She didn’t want to believe that someone referred to as the ‘Dawn’ was capable of such deception. Thus, after one final glimpse in the direction of Madara and Azi, Kurma turned away and flew off in search of allies, leaving Siddhartha to ready the ‘Six Paths, Heaven-Sealing Array’ on his own…
Emerging from the remnants of the mountain Azi had thrown her into, Eve gazed at the seemingly endless sea of black flames produced by Madara, habitually analyzing their structure before turning her carmine gaze to the shimmering black and white sun dominating the horizon.
Exhibiting a hint of emotion, Eve’s eyes glossed over and wavered as she muttered, “I failed…” in a dispirited tone. Now that Azi had consumed the power of the Ouroboros Cycle, the odds of succeeding in her mission and fulfilling her purpose had decreased to 0.00000000000000000000147%. Not impossible, but various ‘miracles’ would need to transpire to create an opportunity for her to succeed.
With few options, Eve got on her knees and brought her hands together in prayer. As she did, pure white light gathered at her back and above her head, forming a set of angelic wings and a halo as the vibrant blue hue of her hair transitioned to chestnut brown. At the same time, her fair, nearly translucent white skin became a healthy shade of brown as she said, “Oh Heavenly Father, I come to you in this moment of weakness and despair, entreating your mercy. The odds of success are stacked against me, but I know that with you, all things are possible…”
Opening her eyes to reveal distinctive aquamarine irises, Eve added, “As I kneel before you, I ask that you grant me the strength to persevere in the face of evil. May your radiant light shine upon me and guide me on my journey, and may your love fill my heart with courage and determination…”
In response to Eve’s prayer, beams of light began piercing through the dark clouds that had formed overhead, drastically weakening the intensity of Madara’s flames.
“Transform me, oh Lord. May I be revitalized and empowered with the Wings of Providence. Help me glimpse the path ahead clearly so I might walk in the footsteps of your divine plan…”
As the power encompassing Eve’s body began to spread outward like a domain, the side of the waning black sun abruptly exploded, followed by Azi emerging from within, his leftmost head screaming, “I don’t fucking think so, you bitch…!”
Instead of attempting to evade Azi’s meteoric blow, Eve closed her eyes in resolution, whispering, “I put my faith and trust in you, as I know you will not abandon me in my time of need…”
Punching at Eve’s head, all three Azi’s expressions darkened as their fist impacted a thin but seemingly indestructible barrier. The force of their blow instantaneously disintegrated the surrounding mountain, but Eve’s hair barely rustled as she opened her eyes to stare directly at them.
“Impossible…” said Azi’s rightmost head, a fierce glimmer emanating from his eerie pink eyes as he remarked, “This is not the power of the God you serve…”
Though she ordinarily would have refuted Azi’s words, Eve knew better than the three-headed Demon Dragon God that the power enveloping her was different from usual. It felt familiar, as if it was the same as usual, but as a weapon designed to destroy the current order, she could sense when changes had occurred to its structure.
Reaching the same conclusion as Eve, shadowy, light-absorbing blood began to leak from the voids surrounding Azi’s eyes as the central head grimly remarked, “It would seem a Poet even more powerful than Canaria has emerged…”
Before the leftmost head could unleash a scream of profanities, a black blade of energy attempted to slice through the central head but shattered like glass on contact, prompting the trio to look back at Madara, staring down at them in her Six Paths Sage Mode.
Clicking her tongue, Madara crossed her arms and remarked, “You’re one tough bastard…”
Seemingly ignoring Madara, the three heads returned their attention to Eve, causing the white-haired Uchiha’s brow to twitch. Her attacks might not be effective against the Ouroboros-empowered Azi, but she refused to be ignored…
Earning Azi’s attention, Madara’s mane of colorless hair transitioned from raven black to a dark shade of purple, starting from its roots. At the same time, a black monkey-like tail protruded from her lower back while the predominately white, black-trimmed robes enveloping her body dissolved, substituted by an Egyptian-themed halter top and baggy white pants.
Forming a Ram Seal with her hands, Madara manifested her Susanoo in the form of a dark purple giant with six arms and three heads. Each set of hands formed a different seal, but neither Azi nor Eve paid much attention as they raised their gazes high in the sky, staring at the colossal objects that had veiled their surroundings in shadow.
Though she doubted it would have much of an effect on the current Azi, Madara accepted that she would be disqualified, summoning seventeen Authority-empowered meteors, each more than ten kilometers across and infused with the Law of Destruction. Their speed wasn’t very impressive, but Madara preempted Azi’s potential escape by encircling him with several clones, each using Shinra Tensei(Almighty Push) to restrain him.
As if the Shinra Tensei had little to no effect on him, Azi reached up with his left hand, grabbing the end of the stake impaled through his chin and emerging from his bone-white snout. He ordinarily wouldn’t have been able to remove it, but after absorbing his Master’s power and blood, his existence and Authority had been strengthened considerably.
Tearing the stake from his maw, causing cracks to develop across his head and down the length of his serpentine neck, Azi surprised Madara by effortlessly breaking free from her clones and barreling toward her with ‘reality-defining’ momentum. His movements were such that even a perfectly ordinary child could perceive them, but Madara barely had time to widen her eyes before Azi pierced the center of her chest with the stake, sealing her power and preventing her from being ejected from the Game Board.
Grabbing Madara’s neck with his right hand, Azi opened his toothy maw to reveal a black void. Then, without a moment’s delay, he bit down on her head, ripping it from her torso, chewing it, and slurping up her inordinately long hair as he directed his gaze to the meteors above.
While drawing Madara’s remains into his chest, Azi used the shadowy tendrils that formed his wings to grab the stakes piercing his other heads, tearing them free. The moment he did so, the two heads opened their fractured maws, unleashing shadowy beams of energy that sliced through the meteors, leaving an eerie black substance that rapidly consumed the cataclysmic constructs of Destruction before they had a chance to impact the devastated terrain below…
Witnessing the horrific scene, Eve’s eyes began to waver until one of the remaining Madara’s abruptly picked her up, shouldering her like a sack of potatoes before taking off as the version consumed by Azi exploded in a massive cloud of rainbow-hued energy…
Observing the battle between Madara and Azi from a distance, a serious expression marred Yuri’s face. She had doubts about her ability to provide backup to the proud Uchiha, but seeing how quickly Madara had lost, she doubted even Ureko could trade more than a handful of blows with the monstrous Demon Dragon God. At least not with the power they currently possessed…
Borrowing a page from Eve, Yuri brought her hands together, directing her gaze to the sky as she cheekily appealed, “Yo, Vahn, give me the power to fuck this guy up.”
In response to Yuri’s appeal, the world around her appeared to undergo a slide transition as incredible power surged from within her. Only a handful of powerful entities could perceive it, but as one of the people Vahn cared about, Yuri was at least vaguely aware of each time he effectively rewrote reality. In this instance, he had made it so that the two of them had spent nearly a hundred additional years training in the Tower, allowing her to be the one to defeat a far more powerful version of her father, Zahard.
Punching her right fist into the palm of her left hand, a battle-hungry grin developed across Yuri’s face as a crimson aura erupted from her body like an explosive tide. At the same time, her two Companions, Mirage and Veil, enveloped her body in a predominately white, pink-tinged outfit with fins and feathery protrusions. Mirage was a holdover from the previous reality, but Veil, a pale-pink, phoenix-like Companion, was brand new, something Yuri had experienced fighting alongside for centuries despite having been created specifically to allow her to contend against Azi…
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Kurma is very easily bullied…’,’Eve discovers the Path toward Salvation…’,’A power far beyond that of a Poet OwO…’)