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My name is Jean Pierre Polnareff. For my sister’s honor, and so that my friend Avdol can rest in peace... I'm going to hurl you into the depths of despair!
— Jean Pierre Polnareff

Jean Pierre Polnareff is a French Stand user and a close ally to the Joestar family, having accompanied the Joestar party in their campgain against DIO and Team Bucciarati in the coup against Passione mafia boss Diavolo.

Polnareff's mother died when he was young, leaving him with only his older sister. One day his sister was ambushed, raped and murdered by J. Geil, sparking Polnareff's sense for revenge. He trained constantly with his Stand to avenge his sister and kill J. Geil. Eventually, his Stand power earned the attention of the vampire DIO who used Polnareff's thirst of revenge to lure him to his lair and brainwashed him using a flesh bud.

Now one of DIO's agents, Polnareff was sent to Hong Kong to kill Jotaro Kujo and Joseph Joestar, but was defeated by Muhammad Avdol. Noticing Polnareff's noble nature and the flesh bud on his forehead, the three Stand users removed the bud and freed Polnareff from the vampire's control. Thankful and still looking for revenge on his sister's killer, Polnareff joined them on their quest to kill DIO. During his travels Polnareff managed to kill J. Geil and investigated rumors about an arrow capable of producing Stands with Jotaro, though their search ended up being fruitless.

After DIO's death at the hands of Jotaro, Polnareff returned to France where he continued to look into the Stand-creating arrow, which brought him to Italy. His investigations caught the attention of Passione mafia boss Diavolo. Polnareff attempted and failed to assassinate Diavolo. He was tossed off a cliff and sustained critical injuries, including the loss of one of his eyes and the use of his lower legs. While hiding in a farmhouse Polnareff discovered the arrow's second ability was to give Stands that it touched great power.

Eventually, Polnareff came into contact with Team Bucciarati and told them to meet him in Rome where he and the gang were ambushed by Diavolo. Mortally wounded, Polnareff used the arrow on Silver Chariot, causing it to transform into an independent Stand and put its user's soul into the body of the turtle Coco Jumbo. After Team Bucciarati defeated Diavolo, Polnareff likely remained with them in the body of Coco Jumbo.

Battle vs. Tanith Low (by Wassboss)[]

This warrior won a Battle of the Season Award









Intro[]

Valkyrie is dead.

Tanith still cannot fathom these words to be true no matter how hard she tries. It had only been a few days since she had last seen her, just before she was about to head off on a mission. She had lost friends before sure, but Valkyrie had been like a younger sister to her. She remembers how Valkyrie was bubbling with excitement over the chance to go to Japan with no idea that she would never be coming back. Why would she think that, after all the threats Skulduggery and she had faced over the years who could’ve imagined a routine surveillance mission could’ve ended in tragedy. Tanith’s thoughts turn to Skulduggery, the Skeleton Detective and what must be going through his head.

She glances over at him sat in the Bentley’s Driver seat as he guides the car through the streets. They pull into the driveway of a house owned by the Japanese Sanctuary, which Skulduggery was using as his base of operations. The silence between them is uncomfortably grim and a far cry from Skulduggery’s usual chattering. Tanith cannot think of anything to say to break it and even if she could she is hardly in the mood for chit chat. They enter the house which is pristinely clean, not a hard feat when the sole occupant doesn’t need to eat or drink and Tanith flops down on the sofa, Skulduggery taking a position leaning against the wall facing her.

“I suppose I had better fill you in on what is going on here,” Skulduggery says after what seems like an age. “Turns out the Valkyrie’s killer, Jotaro Kujo, has friends in high places. His grandfather is wealthy American real estate tycoon and he’s been using his wealth and connections to keep the boy hidden. China has set up a perimeter around the boy’s home, school and other places he visited recently and Ghastly and Fletcher have been searching around as well but alas we’ve had no luck yet.”

“This Jotaro kid, how powerful of a mage is he exactly?” Tanith asks, “Valkyrie was a capable mage but there are plenty of mages who could’ve killed her.” Skulduggery goes still for a moment as if contemplating something.

“Well I suppose I might as well tell you, Valkyrie was Darquesse.”

“Darquesse? As in the Darquesse from the prophecies? The one who is supposed to destroy the world?”

“Yes. Well was going to anyway. Darquesse was Valkyrie’s true name which gave her great magical and physical ability. Judging by the state they found her in, I can’t image Darquesse didn’t pop out to help her at some point during the fight.”

“And he still beat her! Someone who knows their true name is incredibly powerful!”

“Exactly. Naturally the Japanese Sanctuary is also keen on finding Jotaro and they’ve been conducting enquires of their own. They’ve managed to discover that there is a plane flying in today with a person on board who we think is here to help out Jotaro and his grandfather.” Skulduggery tosses a file onto the table in front of Tanith. “I want you to tail this person, see if they can lead us to the boy or if not at least give us an idea of what they might be planning. Tanith opens the file and reads the name at the top.

Jean-Pierre Polnareff.


In a penthouse suite, on the top floor of a five-star hotel, the boy everyone is looking for sits reading a book on marine biology. Joseph Joestar paces the floor frantically, stopping only to periodically stare at his troublemaking grandson. “You’ve really done it this time Jotaro. Do you have any idea how much trouble this has caused for us?”

“It’s not my fault I was attacked by some crazy girl,” Jotaro says nonchalantly.

“This crazy girl has a lot of powerful friends it seems. Do you even understand how hard it has been to keep you from getting arrested or killed? We’ve moved location half a dozen times just to throw these people off our trail. And god knows how many times I’ve had to lie to your mother about this. She’s worried sick wondering why you haven’t been in school or why she can’t speak to you.” Jotaro shrugs not even looking up from his book.

The phone rings suddenly and Joseph snatches it up exasperatedly. “Yes, who is it” he snaps. “Ah of course. Send him up. Thanks,” he puts down the phone and turns to Jotaro. “Things are getting very sticky at the moment, so I’ve decided to call in some extra help.”

“Extra Help? We’ve got the Speedwagon Foundation, haven’t we? What possible other help could we need?”

“For such bizarre circumstances we need somebody who knows what’s really going on. Someone who knows about Stands and who can help us fight them.” The door swings open behind them and Jotaro looks up to a see a tall, heavily muscled man with silver vertical hair walking towards them. A rare smile breaks over his face and he stands and grips the man’s hand firmly.

“Polnareff. It’s good to see you again my friend.”

“As soon as Mr Joestar called, I dropped everything I was doing and jumped on the next plane to Japan. I knew you wouldn’t be able to keep out of trouble you mad bastard. And Mr Joestar! Still knocking around you old geezer,” he continues.

“Oh, I’ll be around long after you are you little jackass!” Joseph says warmly. His tone quickly turns serious “Enough with the greetings, you know why you’re here don’t you Polnareff?”

“Of course, I’m here to make sure old grumpy pants over there doesn’t get into any more trouble.”

“This is serious Polnareff. There are some powerful people out for Jotaro’s head, and we need to be alert. Who knows when they will find us again?” As the Joseph begins to explain the situation the blonde locks of Tanith Low peek up from the window overlooking the city. Her gaze hardens as she recognises Jotaro and she has to hold herself back from attacking him there and then. She walks back down the side of the building and hails a cab from outside the hotel entrance, heading back to Skulduggery to let him know where Jotaro is…

Battle[]

Tracing her finger across the locking mechanism Tanith pushes the door to the penthouse suite door open with a quiet click. They’ve had surveillance on the hotel Jotaro has been staying in for the past week, waiting patiently for their chance to strike. Yet despite this the boy had somehow managed to slip away again, frustrating Skulduggery and the Japanese Sanctuary once more. Looking around the room there doesn’t look to be any signs of a hasty exit, this was a planned-out escape. Tanith begins rummaging through the draws and work surfaces, looking for any clue as to where they might have been heading. Finding nothing she checks all the other rooms, the two bedrooms and both the en-suites but again there is nothing to be found. Kicking a bedside table in frustration Tanith moves back into the main room, her sword leaping into her hand as she finds a man stood waiting for her.

“So, it looks like Mr Joestar was right after all,” the man says calmly, and Tanith recognises him as Jean-Pierre Polnareff, the man she had tailed to find this hotel in the first place. “He said that once we moved Jotaro whoever was hunting him would show up here to look for clues.”

“Where is he?” Tanith asks.

“Yeah right like I’m just going to tell you where he is,” Polnareff replies mockingly.

“He murdered my friend, he should be in jail!” Tanith snarls.

“I think actually you’ll find that it was self-defence, she attacked him first. Jotaro didn’t want to kill her but he had to in order to save his own life.”

“I’m not going to argue this with you, just tell me where Jotaro Kujo is before I make you tell me.” Polnareff laughs.

“Oh yeah is that right? You’re going to make me, are you? Well then give it your best shot.” Tanith launches herself at Polnareff, sword swinging right for his neck. Before it can connect however an armour clad being appears out of thin air, blocking the sword with a blade of it’s own. With a heave it shoves Tanith back and twirls it’s sword around. “This is my Stand, Silver Chariot. If you want to get any information out of me then you’ll have to go through him first.” Tanith looks at the armoured swordsman and shrugs her shoulders.

“Gladly” she says coldly. She closes the distance between them and swings her sword upwards diagonally which Silver Chariot parries away. More strikes rain down on the Stand but each one is blocked or turned away. Polnareff’s blank expression during the whole exchange spurs Tanith into more frenzied attacks in annoyance but no matter what she tries she cannot get through it’s defences.

“Is that the best you can do?” Polnareff asks mockingly. “If so then I think it’s time for me to finish this.” When the next slash is turned away, Silver Chariot responds with a strike of it’s own and it slices into Tanith’s arm. The damage is minimal but the speed of the attack throws Tanith off guard and Polnareff follows this up with a barrage of slashes. It takes all of Tanith’s skill avoid or dodge all of the attacks and even then, a few make it through and cut her. Forced back by the sheer ferocity of the attack she finds herself backed up against the door to one of the bedrooms. Using her free hand to push down the handle, she ducks into the room just as the rapier swooshes past her head.

She places her hand on the door and says “Withstand”, reinforcing the door’s strength and giving it a glossy glow. As Silver Chariot hacks away at the door ineffectively she checks her wounds and finds that while she has been cut a number of times, none of them are serious wounds. Taking a moment to catch her breath and figure out her next move she can hear the sound of sawing. An idea pops into her head, just as a piece of the wall crashes to the ground…


Stepping through the hole he has cut in the wall, Polnareff looks around bewildered as his opponent is nowhere to be seen. “Where the hell has, she gone” he wonders to himself as he strolls around, Silver Chariot following him in a defensive stance. Checking in the en-suite doesn’t give him any luck and the wardrobe is also empty. As he bends down to looks under the bed, he feels a sharp whistling of air and a big clump of his hair falls neatly to the ground. “What the hell!” he shouts and looks up to see Tanith crouched on the ceiling, lining up for another attack. Silver Chariot rushes to intercept and the sword clangs away but she is quick to respond with more attacks. Duelling upside-down Tanith finds dealing with Silver Chariot’s attacks much easier as the unfamiliarity of having to attack upwards making it’s attacks less accurate. Parrying away a weak stab she sees an opportunity and drops from the ceiling, using the momentum from the fall to bring her sword down in a cutting motion. It connects solidly with Silver Chariot’s shoulder plate but bounces off harmlessly.

“A-Ha! So, the sword you’re using isn’t a Stand then?” Polnareff says, his confidence returning. “If that is the case then I have nothing to worry about.” Silver Chariot’s armour explodes off and goes on the offensive, stabbing rapidly without much carrying for accuracy. Tanith is unable to adjust to the sudden change of speed and she is stabbed multiple times though the torso, making her cough up blood. A final slash gashes her across the face and she stumbles backwards, crashing through the window and toppling out of view over the edge. “That wasn’t all that difficult” Polnareff says to himself, “I was expecting a much harder fight than that.” He wanders over to the shattered window and peers over the edge, expecting to see a big bloody splatter. Instead he finds himself face to face with Tanith, feet planted firmly on the side of the building. She swings her sword at Polnareff’s leg, too quickly for him to react and it slices deeply into ankle.

“Oh, come on” she growls in frustration as she sees the sword has been stopped by the metal ankle of Silver Chariot. “I summoned my Stand inside my leg to stop that attack,” Polnareff says grimacing. Tanith pulls herself into a handstand and slams the heel of her feet into Polnareff’s face, sending him reeling. She pulls herself back into the room and strides forward to continue the fight. Polnareff shakes his head in amazement. “I can’t believe you’re still able to fight after that.” “I’ve survived through worse injuries that this. I wonder if the same will be said of you when I’m finished with you.” Polnareff can’t help but grin at the bravado.

“I’m sure I will be.”

“Well then. Come and have a go, if you think you’re hard enough.” Silver Chariot explodes forwards with a lightning fast strike, but Tanith is expecting it and sidesteps it. She flicks her hand and a spray of blood, her own blood, shoots through the air and hits Polnareff right in the face. He tries to wipe the blood out of his vision, but Tanith is quick to take advantage and goes on the offensive, throwing everything she has at the Frenchmen. Silver Chariot tries to protect it’s user but because of Polnareff’s impaired vision it cannot stop all the strikes. He is pushed back by the onslaught into the bathroom, cuts being opened up on his body from the attacks that get through Silver Chariot’s defence. He trips suddenly, falling into the shower and bringing the curtain down on top of him. Tearing it off he finds Tanith’s sword inches from his throat.

“Tell where Jotaro Kujo is?” she says menacingly.

“I like that little trick you pulled with the blood,” Polnareff says oddly relaxed. “I admire your determination to avenge your friend. In better circumstances we could’ve had something special you and me.” Tanith presses the sword into his throat.

“You’re not my type. I don’t like the big dumb type.”

“Hey now. I’m a great guy if you’d just take the time to get to know me.” Without warning Silver Chariot materialises suddenly and the blade of his rapier shoots forward. It sails past Tanith’s midsection and into the room behind them.

“I think you need to work on your aim a bit,” Tanith says.

“Who said I was aiming for you.” Tanith hears a clang echoing from behind her and as she turns the blade ricochets off the back wall and pierces her throat. Tearing a massive hole through her neck it continues onwards and embeds itself into the wall. Tanith drops to her knees, blood cascading from her wound as Polnareff steps out of the shower. She tries one last attack, but her sword is easily batted away by Silver Chariot, who retrieves his blade from the wall and slots it back into place. “You were a strong opponent,” Polnareff says “I never thought someone without a Stand could give me this good of a fight. You came to avenge your friend and I can respect that, I was once driven by vengeance like you were. I’m sorry it had to end this way.” Silver Chariot drives it’s sword through Tanith’s head, ending her suffering.

As the adrenaline wears off Polnareff feels the sharp pain from all the wounds he received from the battle. He hobbles over to the bedside phone and dials a number. “It’s me. You were right Mr Joestar they did send someone up here. Yes, I’ve dealt with them. I’m pretty badly hurt though so I could really do with some medical treatment. Okay then I’ll wait here. Au revoir.”He puts down the phone and lays back on the bed, body aching. “What has that stingy asshole got himself into this time,” he ponders.

Winner: Jean-Pierre Polnareff

Expert's Opinion[]

This was a fairly easy victory for Polnareff in the end, largely because Tanith had no way to harm Silver Chariot itself. That meant she had to try and target Polnareff himself which was very hard because of the aforementioned Silver Chariot. While Tanith had a lot of tricks up her sleeve it was the simpler abilities possessed by Silver Chariot that won the battle mostly notably it’s incredible speed and precision.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

Chess Royale (by Leolab)[]

Prologue: Zur Tiefe Nieder[]

Deep under DFederal, deeper than any sane person would willingly step foot, six people step out into a large, square room. They look around, shying away from the massive, square-based columns that grew up from the ground, none touching the ceiling. One, a college-age boy, takes off his glasses, grabbing a lens cloth from his pocket. He uses the miraculously dry square of fabric to wipe the slimy, grease-yellow blood off the lenses, the residue of which dripped off of him and each of his companions.

“Should we wait for Mikoto?” Shizuka asks, the demurer of the two women in the group.

“And watch while he steals yet another fight against whatever’s down here? You kiddin’ me, girlie?” Shigure replies with a grin, the fierce man yet undaunted by the strangeness they had encountered.

“Then let’s split up,” Clare says, glaring at the room, “Shigure, Yuuhi, and I go up that way, while Shizuka, Muscle, and Polnareff go that way.”

The other five quickly agree, splitting up as indicated. Shizuka walks alongside her group in silence, trying to avoid staring at the weathered columns that dotted the room as her companions split off to go down the various passageways alone. She halts as several screams ring out, feeling a pair of thin, wet ribbons fall on her cheek as they do.

She wipes off and looks at them, seeing a pair of red-and-purple worms writhing on her hand, needle-thin, and barely has time to gasp in horror before they launch themselves at her eyes. A burning sensation flares as the worms hit her eyes, faster than she can close them. Her cries of agony join the cacophony as she feels her corneas melt and fuse with the invading organisms, helpless as the rest as they violate her eyes.

A shooting pain in the back of her eyes signals the end of it, leaving her gasping on the floor. She pushes herself up, the springiness of the stone and its warmth the least of the strangeness. Her eyes widen as she sees her adoptive brother, Arata, peek out from behind a pillar. A slight burning sensation behind her eyes dissolves the beginnings of suspicion, and she smiles at him until he gazes, terrified, at the entrance.

A red-haired man stands there, magenta-colored fire burning something around him. Shizuka lets out a low growl as her sanity fades, determined to protect her brother from whatever or whoever terrified him so much.

Chapter 1: Meine Schwester Oder Meine Frau[]

King Live Queen Live Bishop Live Rook Live Knight Live Pawn Live Fairy Live

Mikoto looks up, the worms that tried to drop on him writhing as they burned. He makes out a figure charging at him through the wriggling ribbons, mouth curled into a snarl. He offhandedly backhands the halberd flying at his neck, glaring at the berserk Shizuka. He leans back under her follow-up kick, following up with a haymaker as he rises. Shizuka grabs his fist and headbutts him, sending the Red King staggering back.

He disengages, noting the purple and red film covering her eyes, and steps in to grab the shaft of her halberd, stopping another attack short. Undaunted, Shizuka simply grabs the pole with both arms and heaves, whipping Mikoto towards a wall. He flares his Sanctum as he springs off it, incinerating the worms waiting to catch him, and launches a blast of fire at the berserk princess. She slips around it, charging in with her halberd at the ready. She bats another blast away and leaps, slamming the point into the barrier of the Sanctum itself.

Mikoto grimaces, pouring power into his Sanctum to repel the girl’s assault. The tip pierces, but another blast of power throws Shizuka, sending her sailing past the rows upon rows of thick, city block-size columns.

Polnareff and Clare, having met at one of the crossroads, watch her fly past and look at Mikoto’s looming Sword of Damocles, the gigantic, chipped blade imposing even as it fades. Polnareff breathes out, and looks at his companion.

“Look, Clare, either Shizuka’s gone mad, or Mikoto has,” Polnareff says, “And based on what I’ve heard about those ‘Swords of Damning’ or whatever he has, those cracks are not a good sign.”

“I see…” Clare says, brooding for a second and looking at an empty space to her right, “Let’s go check it out, then.”

The pair doesn’t need to walk far, as Mikoto turns down the street, glaring as he walks. Polnareff summons Silver Chariot, his Stand at the ready in case the man attacks. Mikoto brings his hands out of his pockets, and a dull burning sensation behind his eyes draws them to the man’s hands.

“Two right hands…” he mutters, sharpening his glare. He felt like he was forgetting something, but that was immaterial against the fact that Mikoto was likely his prey. Sensing the increased hostility between the two men, Clare looks behind her, gesturing with her head before putting her hand on the hilt of her sword.

Mikoto unfurls his Sanctum again, his Sword of Damocles forming above his head. He unleashes a blast of fire, which Silver Chariot takes head-on on its armor. The fire rolls off it, protecting the two warriors enough for Clare to charge. She strikes as she draws her sword, sending the gigantic chunk of metal at Mikoto’s neck. The King deflects it with his arm, and uses his other arm to parry Silver Chariot’s thrust.

Another blast of fire throws the pair back, and they retake their stances. Clare’s sword crashes through one of the columns , sending a barrage of stone towards her foe, while Polnareff sends Silver Chariot weaving between the masonry. The stone melts against Mikoto’s Sanctum, while the man himself simply punches Silver Chariot in the chest, sending the Stand flying. Clare releases a bit of her Yoki, and uses the quicksword to repeat the maneuver. She shatters the columns around and them, and even the floor to send a storm of debris towards Mikoto.

As the King focuses on defending himself from the barrage, Polnareff waits, pointing Silver Chariot’s sword straight ahead. Seeing his chance, he launches the blade from the sword. It ricochets around the debris, moving at unpredictable angles. Mikoto manages to deflect it, though the debris Clare creates gives it more surfaces to bounce off of. This, however, slows the blade enough that Mikoto can simply grab it out of the air at the next pass, before sending out another blast of fire to incinerate the stone, melting large chunks out of the columns. Polnareff, seeing his chances for victory dropping, takes a step back.

“Hey, you know,” he says, “A buddy of mine taught me a secret technique for getting out of a pinch.”

“Funny,” Clare replies, “I know one, too.”

She slams the hilt of her sword into the back of his head, sending the Frenchman to his knees as she runs away.

The move leaves Polnareff stunned and defenseless as Mikoto slams his fist into his sternum, shattering the bone and sending him flying into one of the pillars. The sharp stone stabs into his spine, killing him.

Mikoto leaves the broken corpse behind, moving deeper into the odd room. He doesn’t notice the hundreds of needle-thin, finger-length bodies slithering out of the broken and slagged columns, and they ignore him in turn. The worms slither under Polnareff’s corpse, lifting it ever so slightly off the floor before undulating in a different direction. A few minutes later, the corpse passes Shigure, the warrior sitting and drinking sake. The worms in his body blot the corpse from his perception, and they enter the low doorway behind him.

The corpse is lowered in the middle of the circular room, and the worms slither out the door after confirming their offering was delivered. The corpse sits in silence, not hearing the rustling and cracking coming from the wall opposite the doorway. Five long, thin appendages extend, each triply-jointed. The chitin covering them glows as they reach out from the wall, waving in the air as they approach.

They reach Polnareff, caressing his body and turning it over several times. Satisfied, it flips him one more time on his back, the leg-like fingers clicking as they curl. They extend farther, drawing the similarly chitinous tube where they sprout with them. This then opens, and the long, sinuous organ within thumps to the ground.

Outside the doorway, Shigure pours himself another dish of sake, sipping it as the worms deafen him to the squelching thuds echoing behind him. He breathes out, satisfied with his drink, as the creature behind him lifts Polnareff, its leg-fingers clacking as it maneuvers him to the ceiling. A sticky, purplish mucus oozes out from the end of each digit, covering its victim and sticking him to the ceiling. It withdraws, satisfied.

Chapter 2: Seinen Eignen Wert[]

King Live Queen Live Bishop Live Rook Dead Knight Live Pawn Live Fairy Live

Yuuhi stands in one of the intersections, pressing the bridge of his glasses against his nose, thinking. He stands as far from the stone columns as he can, now realizing their purpose. The bright, magenta-colored flame radiating from the floating sword drowned out the softer, eerier glow of the stone. With it came the occasional shine as the light glinted off the narrow, thin worms that wriggled away from it, seemingly already wary of the King. Noi rests on his shoulder, the lizard letting the lad linger.

A flamboyant, shirtless man turns the corner, his loud footsteps interrupting Yuuhi’s train of thought. He turns to look, giving Muscle Ookama a wary nod. The man – ripped as his name suggests – speeds up, grinning at him.

“Hey, Yuuhi! You all righty, boy?”

“I’ve been better,” the youth says, “You?”

“Yeah, that bit with the burning pain wasn’t fun. But hey, the Major’s asked me to do something.”

“Defeat Mikoto?” Yuuhi asks, staying motionless as the man passes him by, clapping him on the shoulder.

“Yep!” Muscle says as Yuuhi swats his other hand away from the younger boy’s rear, “Said the man could pose too much of a threat, so I had to deal with him myself.”

“I see,” Yuuhi says as Muscle moves away. The man strides confidently, until a massive force yanks him off his feet and throws him into the side of one of the columns.

“Yuuhi?” Noi asks, clearly surprised as the dazed Muscle staggers to his feet.

“See, Muscle, I got a similar request from Sami. She appeared right next to me, saying Mikoto was too much for her.”

“What, you want to defeat him yourself?” Noi says, whacking the man on the head with his tail, “I thought you were past this sort of foolishness!”

“No, Noi. That’s not it,” he says, turning to face Muscle. He pushes his glasses against his nose again as he crouches into a fighting stance, the lenses glinting malevolently in the light. Muscle’s confused smile slides off his face as he tenses, every fiber of his body telling him not to take the youth lightly.

“Then what is it?” Noi asks, the only one of the three oblivious to the tension.

“Noi. Does an enemy exist that Sami could not beat? If one did, would she allow me into that danger alone?”

The contradictions immediately shut the lizard up, just in time for Muscle to charge, throwing a haymaker at Yuuhi. The younger man steps into it, sweeping Muscle’s legs out from under him. He grabs the man’s arm in midair and pivots, throwing his opponent against the opposite column.

“You’re going to have to go through me, Muscle,” Yuuhi says, giving a slight grin.

Elsewhere, Mikoto walks calmly, sending the occasional blast of fire ahead of him. Clare had fled to a wider, two blocks square. Despite the larger space, there were many smaller obstacles, all made from the same rough, slimy stone as the rest of the columns. The woman ducks under an archway behind one, holding her off hand behind her as if leading someone.

Mikoto flares his Sanctum, preparing to bathe the entire area in front of him in fire, but stops. He then dismisses his Sanctum entirely, confirming he still has control over his powers as his eyes adjust to the dimmer, grayish-purple light emitted by the stones. He takes slow, measured steps, sharpening his senses as he walks. He eventually catches the sound of cloth rustling, seemingly the girl gesturing.

He takes another step, turning and punching the lintel between two of the smaller columns as he does. The odd stone shatters, and the jagged chunks fly thorough the air. He hears one impact cloth, but not flesh. A quick look confirms it: a small crack in the floor seeped air, drawing eddies in the floating dust and causing the small scrap of fabric torn from Clare’s uniform to rustle.

He instinctively leaps back, narrowly dodging the massive sword that rent the ground he was just standing on. He quickly reactivates his Sanctum, throwing a blast of fire at his foe. It struck air, Clare having vanished again in the maze of stone.

He ducks, dodging the sword that should have bisected him, and leaps onto the blade, directing a blast of fire at his attacker. Clare quickly shoves the blade up, taking a hurried ox guard, throwing Mikoto off. This saves her life, but the fire catches her hands, melting the skin and nearly fusing it together. Mikoto lands on his feet as Clare slips back between the columns, taking off running once again. Mikoto chases after her, though this run is shorter. Clare quickly finds herself backed against a dead end. She turns round, flinging her arm behind her before taking a protective stance and holding her sword in her rapidly-healing, charred hands as Mikoto comes to a stop, glaring at her.

“Hide, Raki!” she yells, and uses the Quicksword to bat away a blast of fire. Her sword blurs, knocking blast after blast out of the air as Mikoto walks towards her, hands in his pockets. He reaches her and kicks, his foot meeting her sword. A barrage of punches and kicks follows, each one clanging off of Clare’s sword as she pours all her Yoki into controlling her arm movements.

Mikoto launches another punch at her chest, following up with a sweep aimed at her legs. While Clare blocks both, Mikoto unleashes a torrent of fire from his fist as the Claymore parries the kick. The blast knocks her flat on her back.

“Raki, run!” she yells, deliberately looking away from the boy’s hiding place as the man plants his foot on her chest, meeting her eyes for a second before looking away.

“I’ve been wondering this for a while, Claymore, but who the hell are you talking to?”

Clare’s eyes grow wide, turning her head to see Raki, trembling in the small channel between two columns. Mikoto follows her gaze, confused as his eyes see nothing.

“There’s nobody there.”

Clare begins to panic, doubting her own sanity for the few seconds it takes Mikoto to reduce her body to ashes.

Chapter 3: In Nächtlichen Höhlen[]

King Live Queen Live Bishop Live Rook Dead Knight Live Pawn Dead Fairy Live

Shigure rests his drained dish of sake on the floor, rising as he hears a scraping sound making its way towards him, accompanied by a low, steady growl. He unsheathes Stormhowl, taking a fighting stance as he waits for whoever was coming. A flare of magenta light from the massive sword visible above the tops of the massive network of columns illuminates his visitor.

“Gone mad, eh?” he says, pointing his sword at Shizuka, “That’s one way to resist.”

The girl stops and crouches, before leaping towards him with a roar.

“Shigure, shall I release your bindings?” a voice comes from inside his soul.

“Save that for later, Morgim,” he says, stepping into an overhead slash, which meets Shizuka’s attack. She rebounds, landing light on her feet. Shigure pursues, slicing at her neck. Shizuka ducks under it and stabs. Shigure pushes down on Stormhowl’s handle, sending its pommel down to knock the halberd off course. Shizuka shoots past him and stomps her left foot into the stone below, pivoting to face her foe again. She slams her right foot down, propelling her diagonally onto one of the columns as Shigure finishes turning around. She leaps towards him, halberd extended.

He vanishes from her sight, and she spins in the air. The maneuver whips her foot into a roundhouse kick, catching the flat of Stormhowl’s blade as Shigure tries to stab her from above. Her arm follows, gnarled fingers latching onto Shigure’s face like a claw. She roars as she finishes her spin, slamming the man’s face into the floor.

She pushes out again, using the arm to propel herself back into the air. She brings her halberd to bear once again, this time aiming a chop at Shigure’s face. He rolls to the side, getting his feet under him and slamming his shoulder in to her chest as he rises. Shizuka rides the momentum and leaps back, growling as she lands in a crouch once again. Shigure stands, slinging Stormhowl over his shoulder in his usual combat stance, grinning like a maniac.

The stone muffles the sound of their steel clashing, not even reaching Yuuhi and Muscle a few blocks down. Not that the muscle-bound man would have the time to listen as he gyrates his hips furiously, firing off blasts of his Big Magnum as he does so. Yuuhi ducks under the obscene beam, his natural reflexes allowing him to avoid while looking for an opening. He grabs Noi’s tail, the lizard barely having time to exclaim in surprise as Yuuhi whips his arm forward.

The lizard sails through the air, hitting Muscle on the chin. Yuuhi leaps back, quickly forming his Domain and sharpening it into a spear. He hurls Houtengeki at Muscle when he lands, at precisely the distance where Noi is teleported back to his shoulder. The spear strikes dead on, but merely knocks Muscle back, the larger man having hardened his arms to block the blow.

Muscle shoots off another Big Magnum, this time aimed at Yuuhi’s feet. The youth jumps over it as Muscle charges, aiming his hardened fist at his foe’s face. Yuuhi twists as he lands, sweeping Muscle’s legs out from under him as he slams his palm into the larger man’s back. He forms Houtengeki again as Muscle tucks in his legs, performing a full flip in the air before landing. He lashes out behind him and catches Yuuhi with a lariat, the full force of Muscle’s mass and his hardened arm sending the boy sailing through the air.

He flies for several blocks, using his domain to soften the impact into the corner of a column. He falls to his knees, still winded by the impact, and hears steps coming from his left.

“Mikoto, is that you?” he asks, turning to face the figure.

“Yes,” the man says, looking at Yuuhi warily.

“Well, whatever these worms are, they really want you dead,” he replies with a bitter laugh, “Which makes me want to not do that. I’ll keep Muscle off your back.”

Mikoto opens his mouth in shock, quickly covering it up by taking out a cigarette and lighting it. He takes a drag, closing his eyes before breathing out.

“I’ll give you a hand,” Mikoto says, before Yuuhi shakes his head.

“No, not with the way the worms are making me see you,” he says, pointing at the thin purple and red film over his eyes, “I’d be weaker for trying not to kill you.”

“Hold out your hand, then,” Mikoto says, and Yuuhi does so, “I’ll share some of my power with you. You’ll be my Clansman, I’ll be your King,” he says, extending his own until Yuuhi pulls his hand back.

“Thank you, Mikoto, but no,” he says, “I only serve one lord, and she’s pretty possessive.”

Mikoto throws his head back and laughs, loudly and genuinely. He walks past Yuuhi, clapping the man on the shoulder as he does so.

“Let’s grab a beer later,” he says, giving a smile as he stalks away.

Elsewhere in the cavern, Shizuka blocks an overhead strike from Shigure with the haft of her halberd. He snaps Stormhowl back around the pole, slamming the hilt into her sternum. He slashes at her waist while she staggers, but she leaps over the blade and slams her palm into it while kicking. Shigure leans back, the tip of her shoe barely grazing him, and heaves the blade up.

Shizuka flips in the air above him, slamming the butt of the halberd through the stone as she lands. Shigure feels a burning sensation on his chest, and he instinctively puts his palm over where the kick hit as the two warriors catch their breath. He looks at it, seeing blood.

“Morgim. Release my bindings.”

“Shigure?”

“I can’t afford not to.”

The malak does as he asks, unleashing his full strength as Shizuka rushes in, unleashing a slash with her halberd. Shigure leaps back to avoid it, bringing Stormhowl up and swinging straight down as he lands. As she had done countless times in their match, Shizuka catches the blade on the haft of her halberd. This time, however, the sword slices clean through it, and her.

Shigure flicks his sword, sending the blood and gore into the void he was prevented from seeing past, before turning and pointing the blade at the tall, red-haired man walking towards him.

“Ya kept me waiting here!” he yells, glaring at his new foe.

Chapter 4: Vermag Das Unmögliche[]

King Live Queen Dead Bishop Live Rook Dead Knight Live Pawn Dead Fairy Live

“You too?” Mikoto asks, annoyed, “Those are illusions you’re seeing.”

“Well of course they are,” Shigure says, grinning as he continues to glare, “But we get to fight, yeah?”

“This is ridiculous.”

“Dunno if you noticed, King man, but this whole damned place is ridiculous. Don’t hold back, now.”

Mikoto takes a drag from his still-lit cigarette, unfurling his Sanctum in response to the other man’s challenge. Shigure smiles and charges as Mikoto hastily focuses his energy on defense, creating a solid wall of magenta light around him. Shigure slashes a couple times, not even slowing down as he slices an opening in Mikoto’s power. He stabs straight, and Mikoto meets the point of his sword with the back of his fist, a mere foot from his neck.

The pressure from the strike blows Mikoto’s cigarette out of his mouth as the two men stare each other down. Mikoto moves first, jabbing at Shigure. The other man blocks it with Stormhowl’s edge while Mikoto flares his Santum at his feet, kicking the now-molten rock towards Shigure’s face. He jumps back, barely landing before dashing back in, his slash parried by Mikoto’s left arm. The King punches his foe straight in the nose, sending him reeling back.

“Oh, now that was a punch,” he says, grinning through the nosebleed.

“Come at me for real, Shigure,” Mikoto says, looking annoyed.

“Ah, you could tell?” Shigure says, grin growing wider, “Guess this was the right choice then,” he says as he leaps into the air faster than the eye could track, flipping in the air to bring his sword down on the back of Mikoto’s head. A blast of fire catches him midair, throwing him back and searing his clothes.

“Always the back with you people,” Mikoto says, sighing and turning around to intercept another slash with his arm. Shigure holds it in a lock, and leans in, talking under his breath.

“Behind you. Where I was before. What did you see in the corner?”

“An opening to a cave,” Mikoto answers, slightly confused.

“I see a wall.”

“Can’t just let me go in and break shit?”

“And spoil this?” Shigure says, disengaging. He feints a strike at Mikoto’s feet, and instead brings the Stormhow’s guard crashing into the other man’s face. Mikoto staggers back, breaking into a smile despite himself. The two, now with matching nosebleeds, throw themselves into the fight.

Elsewhere in the room, far removed from the sizzling stone and thwack of steel meeting skin, Yuuhi charges towards Muscle, on hand on his glasses. He extends his Domain, telekinetically sweeping the muscular man’s leg out as he thrust his hips, throwing another Big Magnum shot wild. Muscle hardens his foot and pivots, kicking Yuuhi in the shoulder.

He tumbles, rolling with the impact to get up unharmed. He takes a low stance, waiting for Muscle to make a move.

“Am I out of your range?” he taunts, wiggling his hips in a manner meant to be seductive. He gathers a large amount of his powers below his navel as he does so, further taunting his opponent. “But you know, you’re right in my strike zone.”

Yuuhi gives a nauseated sigh, manifesting his Domain again before letting it fade away.

“Oh, you’re submitting?” Muscle says, “Any last words before my Money Shot?”

“Airspace Control, Babylon.”

Muscle fires, sending a large blast of power at his opponent, something the man shouldn’t be able to avoid. Yet avoid it he did, slipping under the spray. Closing the distance in an instant, he rises from a crouch into an axe kick. It connects with Muscle’s groin, sending the man rising a few inches into the air before falling back onto Yuuhi’s foot. The double tap ends up being too much for Muscle to handle, and the man collapses on the floor, fainting from the pain.

Further in, Mikoto punches the flat of Stormhow’s blade with his left hand, sending it to the side and gathering his flames in his right. He throws an uppercut, catching Shigure on the chin. He leans back under the follow-up straight and slashes at Mikoto’s knees, forcing the man to take a step back. Shigure swings back, and Mikoto lifts his leg and stomps on the blade.

As Mikoto whips in for a headbutt, Shigure lets go of the handle with one hand and punches him in the throat. He grabs the skinnier man by the shirt, throwing Mikoto over his shoulder. The King quickly strengthens his Sanctum as he breaks his fall, knocking Shigure back with a blast of power.

“If you’ve got a trick, now’s the time,” Mikoto says, “I’m not sure how much farther I can go.”

“Oh do I ever,” Shigure says, raising his sword.

“From that distance?”

“Don’t even try to dodge. I’ll hit no matter what.”

Mikoto concentrates, channeling all his power into an orb of fire, hot enough simply by existing to sublimate the stone around his feet. The Sword of Damocles above his head cracks further, and stops glowing. He lets the blast loose, shouting as it falls.

“BURN!”

“RANGETSU EAGLE!”

Shigure swings as he yells, the indomitable Stormhowl meeting the unstoppable flames head on. The sword is stopped for a second, before Shigure tenses his muscles further, slicing the flame in half. It flows around and behind him, streaming into the cave he couldn’t see.

Whatever was there lets out an inhuman wail, followed by scuttling sounds as it retreats. Shigure struggles to his feet, blistered and burned by the heat but still alive. He points his sword at the still-standing figure of Mikoto, the King with numerous cuts on his body.

“Now that was great,” he says, and Mikoto’s body falls, as if on cue. Shigure plants his sword in the ground, unable to move as the cavern collapses.

Expert’s Opinion[]

7th, Rook Dead Jean Pierre Polnareff, 11 points
In any other royale, Polnareff has an incredible skillset, enough to get him in the higher rankings. Unfortunately, a large part of those skills is in making alliances. In a royale like this one, alliances are detrimental, leading to his low placement.
6th, Pawn Dead Clare, 12 points
Clare is a highly gifted Claymore, but is overspecialized. She is skilled in melee combat, and a lot of her ability to fight out of her weight is tied to Yoki sensing, something with few analogues outside of Claymore. With nothing analogous to Yoki for her to sense, her effectiveness in combat is more limited.
5th, Queen Dead Shizuka Fukamori, 17 points
Shizuka is a skilled and powerful warrior, but her berserker state and lack of range prevented her from getting much farther. Not really much else to describe here.
4th, King Dead Mikoto Suoh, 32 points
Mikoto is incredibly powerful, and if he were in his absolute prime he could have taken first with enough ease for a fairness challenge. This was him near the end of his life, however, and each use of his powers brought him closer and closer to the edge. Fighting to this point would have strained him to the absolute limit, and any of the three above him would have pushed him over it, triggering a Damocles Down and leaving him defenseless at a critical moment.
3rd, Knight Live & Fairy Live Muscle Okama, 34 points & Yuuhi Amamiya, 35 points
Muscle and Yuuhi both had solid skillsets, with Muscle able to incapacitate quickly and Yuuhi having versatility and intelligence. Both had the highly important ranged option, but both ultimately fell short of taking the top slot. While Yuuhi did have a one-point lead on Muscle, the battle scenario forces a tie here.
1th, Bishop Win Shigure Rangetsu, 37 points
Shigure won because he’s Shigure. He has such enormous strength and talent that he defies all the usual conventions, and is able to get close and fight Mikoto on even ground even without his bindings being released. With them released, he can outfight Mikoto on unfavorable ground and win handily.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.

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