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The safe house was quiet, after all, Ichiro was the only one here. At times like this, he preferred solitude. Losing comrades was always bad. Ichiro had done his mourning, however, and was looking to go elsewhere. He would stay at the safe house for the night.

The whetstone made a gliding sound as Ichiro finished sharpening his blade. Sharpening was always done in a methodical fashion and he placed the blade back in it's scabbard.

He breathed deeply, imagining a light that increased in intensity as he inhaled and decreased as he exhaled draining his emotion into it. He was calm now. Opening a bottle of water, he took a drink and rested. The next day he would check on Cross.
Aria got carried away with her last destination. The pure pleasure of the kill had taken over and Aria had forgotten the main reason she'd gone in to the safe house to begin with - weapons. Information was all well and good but to kill a god she needed more than information - weapons.

But she was doubtful that the last had had any weapons of interest. Most were lost in the fire at the Baccarat. Aria knew of only those weapons with the Archangels at the moment. She assumed all of Borovsky's men had some. And every other archangel team out there. There were seven, and Martin's was broken - down to two. Oddly enough they were hunting Nox...

Aria laughed to herself, she could do what the famed archangels could not. It'd be simple to get close to him. To kill him with a weapon. Her gift didn't work on him. That was probably poor planning on her part. But he'd be coming after her soon enough she was certain of that. He was nothing if not predicable when it came to his word.

Both of the Archangles were currently resting in different safe houses. One completely alone... Aria wanted his weapons.

The safe house was indeed empty according to her internal radar. A calmed soul. But not nearly as serene as Dane.... Dane....

Aria's anger rose as she stepped foot into the safe house. It was quiet. Yoshimura sat in meditation. Aria thought about drawing her gun and popping him in the head but she wanted weapons. She had to go about this differently.

She put on a fake smile. "And here I am without my sword. We never did finish that duel."
A voice broke his meditation and he looked to see the Atharim woman he had met at Headquarters. She was good with the sword. Finding others at safe houses wasn't unusual right now. The Atharim were spread out with the destruction of the main headquarters.

What she was suggesting was training with live weapons. Ichiro had been involved in live weapons exercises before. They were dangerous, but with that danger lessons were learned hard. Ichiro didn't know this woman well, but he remembered her skill. If they did train, it would be beneficial to them both.

"Indeed we did not,"
he said, rising to his feet. "Your lack of a blade can be remedied."

Ichiro pulled out his wakizashi and handed it to the woman. It was shorter than his katana, but it would suit the woman just fine. Stepping back, he offered her a short bow, and prepared to duel.
With the meditative state a gone the man was much easier to read, but still the man was eager to take her up on her query. Aria smiled sweetly as he handed her his very own sword. What better way to kill a man than with his own weapon. She had almost wished Borovsky had died that way. But her sword through his body had been worth it. His blood on her hands. It was a shame the Regus hadn't died the same way.

Aria readied with a simple bow. The man before her was of Asian decent. And an honorable man. Aria held the simple sword in front of her, it wasn't as heavy as hers. Nor was it as special. She was certain beating a lock open would dull the blades edge. Aria wanted her sword back.

Under normal circumstances Aria would play meek and coy but she charged into his space with his sword trying to make him react - to make him defend himself. Aria assumed the emptiness as Father Dimitri had taught oh so long ago and felt the sword in her hand, and the man in front of her. The world around her was defined at a mere glance and Aria was one with the sword, it was an extension of her arm.

High, low, always moving, Aria wanted to make the swordsman in front of her dance.
The woman went on the offensive. That was good. Ichiro liked it that way. He was more of a defensive fighter when it came to humans. All Ichiro had to do was wait for an opening.

The woman was always moving. She struck high and Ichiro blocked it, taking a step back as he did. He drained his emotion as he fought. Fighting with emotion clouded the mind and didn't allow the fighter to think appropriately. Any error would be a loss - not that the pair were fighting to the death. They were, after all allies.

She struck low, and Ichiro once again blocked. This time, he took a step to the side as he did so. Aria was good and kept up with him taking another high strike. This time Ichiro stepped into her attack, bringing his own sword to bear. As he did, he spun to the side. He used the momentum of his spin and deflection to bring his sword in for his first offensive strike. Ichiro struck high.
He attacked for the first time and Aria smiled as she parried easily. The clang of swords was refreshing. She missed the sound. With Nox it had been about hand to hand, trying to get close enough to kill each other. Now it was just fun - so he thought.

Round and round they went. High. Low. Round and round.

Aria felt the swords clashing together up her arms. It was perfect.

He went high again and their swords locked at the hilt. He was taller, so she looked up into his eyes and grinned. Aria shifted her weight a little to lock the position while they struggled with the release. Aria grabbed Yoshi's hand on his hilt and pressed emotions into the contact with her free hand.
The fight moved quickly. Aria was definitely skilled and it was refreshing to fight an opponent that had skill with a blade. Each round they went back and forth, neither one seeming to get the upper hand.

Finally their blades locked and she grinned at him. Ichiro saw her shift a bit and the she grabbed his hand. What a strange...

Suddenly he felt different. Memories came unbidden to his mind of his past failures. Failure was a part of life, but they hit him all at once as shame and dishonor took over his mind. Ichiro pushed back, giving himself some space. There was only one way to deal with this.

Ichiro knelt on the ground, placing his katana to the side as he pulled out his tanto. His eyes moved to the girl in front of him as he asked. "Will you be my second?"

She hesitated, but answered. "Sure."

Ichiro nodded in thanks as he unsheathed the tanto. The entire thing was a ritual and he followed it to a t. The tanto tasted blood for the first time as he plunged it into himself.

((with aria))
Aria smiled as he fell to his knees. Shame. Dishonor. Failure. Aria watched as the light died in his eyes after the blade sheathed itself on his body. Honor and debt were not foreign to her, but Aria didn't see the honor in taking ones own life. It was the only sin you can't get forgiveness for. You can't ask to be resolved of the sin of killing a human soul. It is the only thing that stayed her own hand many times.

Aria agreed to finish the deed. Histories told her of the honor of the samurai and Aria took the borrowed sword and brought it down along the spine and cleaning severed head from body. The blood oozed everywhere. It was on her clothes. It wasn't a foreign concept, but it it could have been cleaner.

This time Aria rummaged through his pockets to find what she was looking for. It wasn't a huge device - reminded her of the light sword in that space movie Lucas made her watch once. Aria didn't remember the name, nor did it matter at the time, she had been light with Lucas. That seemed so far away - so long ago.

There was a momentary lapse of doubt, of fear and disappointment. But Aria pushed it away. No longer would people take lives from her. No more... Both of her loves would be avenged... The Atharim would pay. And so would the gods...

And with a weapon in hand, Aria left the body. Left the safe house. She'd come for the weapon and nothing more. She had something to take down even the most powerful god. It had worked on Ascendancy and it will work on the cloaked figure. He would die... and Nox would follow in his wake because Aria knew he'd be hunting her soon. She had no doubts about that.

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