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on Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:54 pm
Only the vast expanses of sandy dunes and occasional crystalline tree separated Silen Niebla from his goal. Out there, in the sea of churning sands, would the Arrancar find a way to better himself through his own means. Relatively knowledge could only provide so much insight, and even after spending the last few days cooped up in the Biblioteca Hueco, Silen was determined to hone his skills in a more direct fashion. Every tendon and sinew was aching in zealous anticipation, waiting for the moment when the Arrancar's body would burst into extraneous action. All of it brought a sense of nervousness to Silen, who had just left the main gates of Los Noches to go on such a training escapade, but the feeling was gladly received. Being more on edge than usual would keep the raven haired Arrancar out of harms way, at least in theory.

A strong gust of wind blew past the Arrancar tossing his ponytail in the air as small grains of sand stung at his fingertips. "Very well," Silen said to himself, one hand instinctively gripping the hilt of his zanpakutou as he trudged into the unknown. There were quite a few places Silen knew how to get to from Los Noches, most notably the Menos Forest and a few of the outer outposts where lower-ranking Arrancar were stationed for reconnaissance purposes. Having no desire to be overwhelmed by a horde of crude Adjuchas or abominable Menos, Silen opted for a simpler strategy that would be far less life threatening and more rewarding in the long-run. Meandering around the desert would have to suffice for the time being! With his body still weak from the transformation of Hollow into Arrancar, Silen didn't want to push himself too hard - there was no sense in taking unnecessary risks when his powers were beginning to manifest and grow stronger. Yes, meandering would have to suffice.

It didn't take long for the raven haired Arrancar to reach a suitable locale for training, having walked for many hours outside the gates of Los Noches. The true immensity of the structure only struck Silen then, for occasionally he would glance back over his shoulder and notice the fortress looked no farther away than it had been hours before. Upon reaching a small collection of boulders Silen decided he would take a brief moment to catch his breath and scout the immediate area using the rocks as a sort of landmark. But before he could take up the importunity a low growl invaded his ears, causing the Arrancar to tighten the hold on his blade. Judging from the range of the sound Silen deduced the perpetrator was hiding nearby, probably behind the collection of large boulders. Another growl caught Silen's ear and he took a cautious step forward, eyes glancing to the sides and around the perimeter of the gloomy shadow the rocks cast on the sand. A low crawling form gradually slithered its way from the shadow of the stone, white mask and lengthy body becoming clear as day as it entered the moonlight. "Hmph, what are you supposed to be?" The Arrancar seemed to relax but it was a simple ploy to lower the guard of his opponent and any others that may have been lurking in the shadows. Whatever the growling Hollow had on its mind there was little hesitation in its movements for the beast almost immediately charged at Silen when it recognized the Arrancar lower his defenses. The slithering mass charged, hundreds of stump-like legs pushing it forward, and then the Hollow opened its mouth, making ready to bite before it unleashed another horrific growl.

Silen's wrist made a simple turn and soon the Arrancar's hand was upon his zanpakutou again, quickly taking the sword from its sheath and brandishing the weapon against the charging monstrosity. By the time the Hollow was within range, Silen knew well that trying to take a direct attack would be akin to trying to stop a freight train, or in other words: a bad idea. Instead of taking the brunt of a Hollow headbutt the Arrancar decided to shift to the side just a few moments before the beast had closed, turning as he did so and assuming a combative stance upon completion of the dodge. Still at full speed the Hollow sped by, lengthy body trailing behind it and giving Silen a perfect target to strike. The Arrancar's blade rose high but then, having a change of heart, Silen lowered the blade to his side and used his free hand to point at the passing hide of the creature. A small build-up of energy began to amass at Silen's fingertips, first very subtle and then blatantly visible when the energy formed a solid orb. "Silence, beast."

With that, the sphere of condensed reiryoku fired in a brilliant blast that flooded away from Silen's hand and hit the opposing Hollow's incredibly long midsection. The centipede looking Hollow howled in pain as the Cero blast tore its fragile body in half, the beast barely realizing what had happened to the other part of its body until it ceased blindly charging ahead and craned its neck to get a good look at its surroundings. The anger in the Hollow's eyes settled upon the much smaller Arrancar though it only lasted a moment before the beast crashed on the ground, assuredly dead. Silen didn't know what amount of pain had assaulted the creature's body before it died but he assumed it was a nasty bit of agony for such a lumbering imbecile to handle. The two pieces of the centipede's body twitched for a few moments before the nerves finally stopped firing, leaving a giant tangled mess of Hollow spread out in the sands. "Rather too easy," Silen commented with his scowl centered on the sight of the dead creature, blade still resting casually at his side. The blast he had used was not by any means a true destructive Cero but still the Hollow was utterly no match for the raw power, giving little sense of relief to the Arrancar for having bested such a weak foe.

"But I wonder who else is lurking in the shadows," the Arrancar spoke up loud enough for anyone or anything in the immediate area to hear. Hollows of the caliber Silen had just extinguished did not venture alone, certainly not when Los Noches was so close by. Surely, there were others waiting for their chance to attack.

Techniques Used:
Cero Incompleto
Estruendo Training:
Apprentice - 1036/2000 words

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on Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:26 pm
From behind the stones a small bit of movement could be seen, four hulking forms coming into view over the lip of the tallest jutting boulder. As the figures revealed themselves Silen turned around and faced the quartet, his hand still steaming hot from the intense amount of energy used in that last Cero. "So, you can sense us?" one of the beasts snarled in astonishment, quickly looking to its other Hollow comrades for an explanation of sorts. "And he managed to get Yyat," another of the Hollows remarked, no doubt referring to the mindless creature that had attacked Silen at the beginning of their confrontation. Once all four of the creatures came into view a look of disgust was written all across the Arrancar's face. More Hollows? Supposedly, the ones standing atop the stones were the ringleaders and the centipede they had sent out to fight in their stead was a meaningless distraction. Perhaps they were trying to gauge an Arrancar's strength or tactics, being housed only a few hours trek away from Los Noches, but in any effect Silen would not allow them to run freely in the desert much longer.

"Hah! Sense you? I could smell your cowardice a mile away," Silen replied to the quartet, obviously embellishing. The Hollows turned to one another and mumbled between themselves, growing gradually insecure about whatever plan they had been thinking to unleash on the unaware Arrancar. "And this beast," Silen pointed out towards the centipede, "what did you hope to accomplish with it? The cretin was so fragile it fell apart at the simplest of touches." There came no further response from the Hollows on the rock except blank staring. Silen adorned an amused grin and then began to walk forward, sword gleaming in the moonlight as it hung limply from his grasp. Not a single one of the Hollows before him seemed to look particularly powerful nor did their responses or body language illicit any kind of threatening purpose.

One of the creatures jumped down from the edge of the boulder, landing on the ground as a small plume of dust signified the sheer mass of the being. The humanoid Hollow took one look at the approaching Silen and then it began to slowly increase its reiatsu. The feat took the raven haired Arrancar by surprise, slowing his advance to a complete halt as his grin turned to a look of interest. Was the Hollow really planning on using intimidation to persuade Silen from fighting them? If so, the Hollow was in for a surprise of its own. Silen closed his eyes and began to build his own energy, dormant reiryoku, into a more physical form. The action was much harder than the Arrancar had remembered, focusing nearly every ounce of his willpower on mixing the energy he found inside himself. A small gust began to build around the Arrancar the same way one had around the Hollow, spitting up sand in windy torrents, but still there was a large gap between the two.

Calm the mind. Relax the body. Silen repeated the words over and over again in his thoughts, delving deeper into the reserves of power he now controlled as an Arrancar. Pulses of energy rippled through his body, sending an occasional jolt of pain through his hand, but otherwise signifying the reiryoku was being sufficiently molded. "This is it," the Arrancar spoke softly to himself, power flowing throughout his entire body. It was a familiar feeling but at the same time very different from what Silen recalled in his days of being a Hollow, the energy overall seeming quite less in quantity while the potency was significantly stronger. Once the Arrancar fully opened his eyes a much larger burst of energy blew across the sand, throwing back the reiatsu from the foremost Hollow and staggering the beast in the process.

The other three Hollows gawked in astonishment at the display of the Arrancar's power and momentarily did their gazes all trail down to their comrade, unsure of how the proceeding events would play out. On the sandy floor, the Hollow that had tried to scare Silen through a show of reiatsu was now reconsidering its options too. Doubt clouded the beast's mind and it took a few steps back, each footfall clumsy and staggering. "That was power," Silen corrected as his energy simmered down and the pain in his Cero-firing hand had subsided, giving him a moment to glare at the withdrawing Hollow more intensely.

Techniques Used:
-none -
Estruendo Training:
Apprentice - 1783/2000 words

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on Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:34 pm
The bestial state of Hollows was an interesting one to observe in nature. When in great numbers the beasts pool their strength to fight weaker spirit beings, using brute force to kill and devour what they please. When one of their number falls in battle the others amongst it show no pity or remorse, sometimes going so far as to retreat the field and leave their wounded comrade as a living shield to protect themselves from danger. Only when a collection of Hollows does congregate, binding themselves to an inkling of hierarchical society, do they show a small difference in behavior. The concept of 'group' or 'a pack' begins to root within each Hollow that associates itself with another until, at one time or another, cooperation and striving for group survival become a collective effort. There is an exception to the continuation of the Hollow pack mentality, however; when the beasts are cornered and recognize they have no other option, the creatures return to their individualistic nature. No longer is their a will for the group to endure and live another day, for it is replaced with selfishness, self-interest, prudence, and mercilessness. Muscled chest heaving with labored breaths, legs shuffling backwards defensively, teeth gritting in frustration, the Hollow nearest to Silen Niebla appeared to be reverting into that same bestial nature.

"Come now, Hollow. I shan't make the first strike." The loose grip the Arrancar kept on his blade showed how confident he had become since first being attacked by the assailants. The further Silen progressed in a battle the more comfortability he found in the conflict, but even so it was the simple work of a metaphysical mask to hide his own nervousness. The quartet had no idea how the Arrancar's personality affected his battle strategy, for they merely sprang their ambush on the first passerby encountered, and thus, there was no telling how their comrade would fair in a direct confrontation. "Maybe we made a mistake attacking this one?" a member of the Hollows spoke, hushed so that the battlers below would not hear. The other two on the rocky perch looked over at the Hollow that had spoken aloud and then to one another, doubt growing in their eyes.

Suddenly, the Hollow on the ground began taking steps forward instead of back. By the look of the creature Silen could tell it had no other option than to attack, and even at that the beast would no doubt go for a cheap move and attempt to flee immediately thereafter. Unwilling to let such an importunity arise for the monster Silen stopped and awaited his foe's charge with an empty stare. The lumbering humanoid Hollow started off rather slow, each step making small quakes as its heavy mass gradually leaned outward, and the creature's fists clenching tightly at its sides. "You damned dog! I'm gunna kill you dead!" Silen had heard a thousand more intimidating threats than that one, part of him wanted to chuckle at hearing the ludicrous statement, and yet the Arrancar remained in place, blade still hanging loosely from his weapon hand. As the stomping Hollow broke into a charge it unleashed a guttural bellow, fists high and ready to strike at the first opening it would see revealed.

Silen took a deep breath and calmed himself. The opposing Hollow was a ways away and it would take some time for the creature to build sufficient speed to do any kind of lasting damage. The situation was unfolding nicely for a good ole round of target practice. Reiryoku flowed through Silen's body as he beckoned the spiritual force around himself once more, pulses of the stuff acting like a second heartbeat to the stoic Arrancar. "I'll finish it with one blast," he muttered under his breath, further focusing the energy down into his free hand. There, having already fired a cero earlier in the fight, Silen felt fresh pain assault the nerves in his palm and those on the tips of his fingers. Last time he had used too much energy and the effects had only been minor but doing so again might very well lead to more...unpleasant results. Having one more technique up his sleeve, Silen knew the attack would be more than enough to defeat a beast of the sort he was dealing with, and hopefully abstain him from more injury. Disregarding the pain of the reiryoku flowing into the wounds the Arrancar casually lifted up his free arm, extending it and clenching his fist so that it was aimed directly at the charging Hollow. It took a moment or two but eventually Silen managed to concentrate the flow of power into his palm, emitting a glowing light as he did so. "W-what is that?" the charging Hollow asked, not wavering in its blind march.

Silen then lunged forward, reiryoku infused palm leading the way, as the final bits of energy solidified under his control. The end result was a small sphere, red in color, which soared forth from the Arrancar's hand like a cannonball. Only a pathetic yelp from the charging Hollow could be heard as the Bala connected soundly with its chest, overpowering the beast's momentum and throwing it back so hard the thing toppled over and fell to the ground. Silen took another deep breath and then straightened his posture, sword hand gripping more furiously on the hilt of his zanpakutou as he started to march in the fallen Hollow's direction. The smell of burning flesh was in the air and groans of agony could be heard from the injured creature as it clutched its searing wound. Before the Hollow could even get its barrings Silen was already at its side, sword raised but glance directed at the other three Hollows sitting atop the stones still. "Wait, pleas---" One quick swipe quieted the beast before anything else could be heard, naught but the cool spray of blood sprinkling upon the desert floor. "Die with dignity, mongrel." The zanpakutou in the Arrancar's hand flashed to one side, sending the blood across its polished exterior splattering on the sand, and then it swiftly found its way back into the Arrancar's sheath.

"Well, whose next?"

An immense shadow appeared from nowhere, looming threateningly over the lone Arrancar. With nothing else but instinct guiding his actions Silen crouched low and rolled to the side. A plume of sand flew into the air around the Arrancar, stinging at his eyes and prompting Silen to curse under his breath. After the plume flew high there was a loud ruckus of shuffling legs and then shouting amongst the Hollow ranks, though what they were shouting at, Silen could not tell. "Damn my luck," Silen groaned as he ran to the side, exiting the plume of sand and dust only to see the a familiar maw staring him down - the centipede's. "Looks who came back for seconds! I thought I'd killed you, worm. I suppose it'd be nice to get a proper fight from each one of you, though. Wouldn't want to make this too easy." The centipede Hollow was missing the lower half of its body still, but by Silen's guess the beast had a means of sectioning off parts of its lengthy mass to avoid injury. So, the Hollow was clever than originally intended.

"Yyat! Leave him be! We need to regroup!" one of the Hollows atop the stones yelled to the centipede. The centipede Hollow briefly glanced at the others of its party and then back to the smaller Arrancar it was looming over. A bestial snarl sounded from the centipede's gigantic mask. "Go on, now. We'll play another day," Silen declared to the beast with a smirk, hand slowly reaching for the hilt of his zanpakutou. Another growl came from the Hollow, showcasing the thing's rage, while the other Hollows started off the rock and began their own retreat. In one quick turn the centipede swung its mass one hundred and eighty degrees, hundreds of legs propelling the beast in unison as it made a reluctant retreat. Plumes of dust trailed behind both the centipede and the surviving trio as they exited the sight of Silen Niebla, fleeing over sandy dunes into the endless midnight.

"What a mess," the Arrancar observed, looking at the discarded half of the centipede and the felled Hollow he had slain moments before. Now that he was alone once more without distractions or pesky enemies to test his mettle, Silen could continue his little journey and find a source of power truly worth his time.

Techniques Used:
Bala Incompleta
Estruendo Training:
Apprentice - 3203/2000 words

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