Though he was several hundred meters above the ground, the three heads of Azi had to look up to see the crest of a peculiar pink wave that dominated one side of the horizon.
Having absorbed numerous prophets and even a handful of Gods of Wisdom, Azi immediately recognized the origin of the power within the wave, the centermost head remarking, “A resident of the Tower made it to the Divine Realm? How peculiar…”
Spotting Yuri standing atop the wave, the leftmost head bellowed, “Does it matter!? Let’s slaughter this bitch…!” before opening his maw to unleash a laser-like beam of purple-black energy that burst into a veritable wall of flames the moment it made contact with the wave.
Seeing the wave endure the destructive beam of energy, the rightmost head blinked in surprise, causing several bone-white fragments to flake away from his face. Their flames were powerful enough to burn stars and subsume Solar Deities. The colossal wave should have been annihilated the moment their attack struck it, yet the complete opposite happened, a loud hissing sound emanating for hundreds of kilometers as their purple-black flames were swallowed up and extinguished.
Without needing to be told what to do, the centermost Azi activated one of its many trump cards, manifesting a distinctive, y-shaped halo formed of golden energy. The moment it appeared, all water and plantlife within tens of thousands of kilometers instantaneously shriveled and evaporated as the temperature across the battlefield increased to more than 5,000°C at the periphery. Near the center, where Azi and Yuri were positioned, the ground and surrounding mountains liquefied, creating toxic fumes as even elements like tungsten were vaporized.
Seeing the tidal wall endure in the face of the most powerful incarnation of Purgatorial Flames, infused with the Laws of Flame and Lightning, the rightmost Azi stroked his chin and muttered, “I see…I almost forgot that, within the Tower, the energy known as Shinsu could even be infused with the power of Yang. But how could an Authority outside the bounds of Zoroastrianism counteract the power of Khvarenah(Halo of the Supreme Ruler)?”
“I don’t know…” replied the central head, reaching up to claw away the right side of its face as it added, “The most logical conclusion is that she’s drawing power from the same Poet that protected that doll…”
As Azi’s talon tore through the fractured, bone-like material comprising much of his body, a tremendous volume of shadowy black blood poured forth. Even his eye came free, seemingly melting as the fragmenting of his body continued to exacerbate.
“You’re not looking so hot,” said Yuri, her voice carrying several hundreds of meters without issue. She was originally looking forward to a climactic battle with the three-headed Demon Dragon God, but now that she saw him up close, it looked as though he was about to kick the bucket without her.
Before Azi could respond, the leftmost head that had unleashed the beam of black flames abruptly slumped forward, melting in much the same way as the central head’s eye. However, instead of falling into the sea of lava below, it stopped around the halfway point before forming a cacoon-like sphere.
More to himself than Yuri, the rightmost head noted, “It appears our body cannot contain the power of our Master. We’re beginning to separate into our original selves…”
“Then let’s speed things up,” said the central head, surprising the right head by grabbing its neck, violently tearing and tossing the slackjawed appendage away without hesitation. He then grasped his own face, but before he could do whatever it was he intended to do, a crimson meteor impacted the top of his head, creating a massive explosion as Yuri’s heel slammed into the center of his crown.
Contrasting Yuri’s expectations, Azi wasn’t sent crashing into the sea of lava by her attack. Despite looking like he was about to fall to pieces, her attack only managed to force Azi to look down slightly. At the same time, he used the stakes he pulled from his other heads to try and stab Yuri in the chest, nearly succeeding if not for voids opening within her body, the interior of which was colored the same pink hue as the static wave behind her.
Before Azi could comment on Yuri’s amorphous body, the raven-haired Ha exploded, enveloping the stoic Dragon God in a manner reminiscent of the Templated Rimuru using [Gluttony].
Unperturbed by Yuri’s attempt to devour him with her slime-like body, Azi opened his mouth, forming several additional maws across his body as he attempted to consume her in turn. The shadowy substance comprising his body was capable of breaking down virtually anything into usable energy, much like the void in Fenrir’s stomach. However, unless his power and Authority were much greater than his prey’s, the conversion took time. He still hadn’t fully absorbed the power of his Master, so when Yuri began to invade him willfully, Azi’s singular eye widened as she spread through him like an artificial cardiovascular system.
As if he still had three heads, Azi’s right arm, wielding the stake that had formerly pierced his right head, abruptly stabbed at his face. He managed to stop it just as the tip pierced his snout, creating even more cracks, but he was temporarily rendered immobile as Yuri tried to puppeteer him with her slime-like body.
“You look like you’re having trouble,” said a teasing voice from behind Azi, compelling him to strain his neck and body to see who had spoken. When he did, a disconcerting smile developed across his face despite hundreds of copies of Yuri emerging from the pink wave, revealing its true nature.
Raising her brows, the Yuri that had previously spoken asked, “What are you getting excited for? You should realize by now that you have no hope of devouring me like you did Madara’s clone…”
Adopting a cheeky smile, Yuri added, “You’re struggling with just one of my offshoots, and there are literally trillions more of me. Soon enough, I will spread to cover the entirety of this battlefield, subsuming everything within. That includes you.”
Seemingly amused by Yuri’s remark, Azi opened his draconic maw and started to laugh, his voice producing powerful shockwaves that caused the pink liquid surrounding him to ripple, vibrate, and dissolve. Yuri was able to regenerate faster than he could destroy her, but that didn’t seem to bother Azi as he adopted a vicious grin and said, “Go ahead. Feel free to consume me. As an embodiment of eschatology, I will be resurrected no matter how often I’m eaten, slain, or sealed away. All your actions will accomplish is providing me with a new, more powerful host.”
As if to accelerate the rate Yuri devoured him, Azi overpowered her attempts to restrain him with God-like strength, clawing away at his face and body while laughing raucously. His actions caused the growing number of Yuri(s) to scowl, but that didn’t stop them from devouring him. After all, even if Azi succeeded in infesting her body, there was absolutely no way Vahn would allow the crazed Dragon to turn her into a vessel or possess the body of their future children…
Before Azi could finish tearing himself apart, the cacoon formed from his leftmost head began to bloom, revealing golden light and a flesh-covered interior. From within, a distinctly humanoid figure slowly emerged from a membrane resembling an embryonic sac, its body comprised entirely of bone, glistening red muscle, and white sinew. It appeared to lack eyes, but its most notable features were the skull-shaped protrusions covering its shoulders like pauldrons, the burning halo hovering atop its head, and the flaming shortsword in its right hand.
As the vast majority of Yuri’s clones turned their attention to the figure, disgust marring their expressions, the fleshy monstrosity’s teeth began to clatter loudly as a ghastly, resonating chuckle emanated from its throat. Then, causing the pupils of nearly every Yuri to contract, the figure raised its flaming sword of its head and shouted, “Burn everything in the flames of War, Frashokereti…!”
Though it didn’t kill any of them, nearly every Yuri was abruptly liquefied as a wave of spirit energy erupted from the grotesque, haloed entity like the eruption of a supernova. Even the massive wall of pink slime forming her true body was pushed back violently as the presumed Zanpakuto in the creature’s hand turned into a blade of flames more than ten meters in length. At the same time, a series of twelve flesh-covered wings emerged from the monster’s back like a grotesque parody of a Seraphim.
Swinging its inordinately long sword with such force that its arm tore and its entrails slipped from its gut, the monstrous figure cleaved the pink wall from one end of the horizon to the other. The space between the two halves was cleaved in two, creating a gravitational well comparable to a black hole, but Yuri’s slime was largely unaffected, the upper half of the wave splitting into countless smaller chunks that formed a veritable legion of pissed-off clones.
Causing the expressions of the countless Yuri(s) to darken, the monstrous figure began to laugh as it spread its wings wide, producing innumerable feathers that quickly materialized into an equivalent number of clones. The leftmost head was the source of Azi’s ability to replicate and create a functionally infinite number of clones and, as an escatology representing humanity’s extinction as a result of war, its power grew in proportion to its opponent’s.
Without a care for their ‘allies,’ the fleshy Seraphim began to swing their inordinately long swords with reckless abandon, slicing through each other and regenerating just as fast as the legion of Yuri. The pink wave surged forward and washed over the majority of the monstrous creatures, but even as their flesh dissolved, they continued to laugh and attack with unabated intensity, an aura of slaughter and madness descending upon the battlefield as the two forces merged like Creation’s most grotesque iteration of meat jelly…
Like many of the people observing the conflict between Yuri and Azi from the relative safety of the Little Garden, Mikoto, sitting atop Vahn’s head in her Pikachu form, began to feel queasy as she noted, “This is too much…”
“Hmmm…perhaps you’re right…” admitted Vahn, his expression fixed in a relaxed smile, wholly unperturbed by the grotesque sight. He had seen and experienced far worse during his conquest of the Ethereal Queen, so he didn’t feel there was anything intrinsically wrong or disturbing with the scene playing out in front of him. Yuri seemed to be enjoying herself, and Azi’s bastardization of the Verethraghna, the Zoroastrian God of War, was clearly having a lot of fun.
After a very brief moment of consideration, at least from an onlooker’s perspective, Vahn removed his right hand from Fenrir’s head, swiping at the central display they were using to observe the Pandemonium Gift Game. As he did so, the scene changed from a bloody, grotesque battle to a 3v3 fight between Yuri, Mirage, and Veil versus Azi, Verethraghna, and multi-armed, multi-legged female with fleshy brown skin forming her base color and a bone white carapace.
“Is that better…?” asked Vahn, prompting a wry smile to develop across Mikoto’s face as she admitted, “It is.” However, as she didn’t agree with Vahn casually changing reality, especially due to something she said, she didn’t fully approve of his actions. The old him would have never done such a thing, but ever since his battle against the Ethereal Queen, Vahn had been a lot less ‘apprehensive’ about using his power…
Sensing Mikoto’s thoughts, Vahn’s relaxed smile eased into a far more affectionate look as he retrieved the loveable ball of yellow fur from his head and hugged her gently in his embrace. Mikoto felt embarrassed by his actions, especially when everyone’s gazes abruptly turned to her, but that didn’t stop her from nestling into Vahn’s embrace, enjoying his scent and warmth as all her apprehensions and anxieties melted away, replaced by a sense of comfort and unity…
(A/N: Alternate Titles: ‘Yuri has learned from the Great Masters, Mollang and Rimuru…’,’A very literal representation of the ‘meat grinder’ referred to in war dramas…’,’Cuddles make everything better o3o…’)