Maka rushes at Ruby and lashes out with Soul. Ruby knocks him aside with Crescent Rose and does so again. Maka comes at the red hooded girl again, slashing up, then down, then whirling around one direction and back the other. Ruby is no slouch either. Answers back with Crescent Rose, carving her weapon to intercept Maka’s strikes and lash out with a few of her own. The girls’ fighting styles are nearly similar. They cleaved the air with surgical precision, spinning and twirling their massive blades with stylistic flare. Each gesture is simplistic yet highly effective. Whirling Crescent Rose around, Ruby knocks Soul aside when Maka brings down another strike. Maka uses the momentum to whip around and renew her attack. Ruby, having used her counterstrike to jam the blade of her weapon into the ground, vaults onto the handle and delivers a stomp to the blonde girl’s face. Maka shakes off the blow, clenches Soul tightly and sprints forward a short distance before leaping into the air. She draws Soul back and slashes down. Ruby sits atop the handle of Crescent Rose and fires a powerful shot that quickly takes her from the path of Soul’s blade.
Soul is stunned by the maneuver. “What the hell?! That thing’s also a gun?!” he says.
“Can you take gunshots?” Maka asks her partner. She is now beginning to see what they are up against.
Soul laughs with a smirk. “I’m a Death Scythe, remember? Bullets shouldn’t be a problem. Question is can you avoid them.”
“If it is a gun, she has to keep her weapon steady to fire it,” Maka says, making an assessment.
“Then we just have to keep her moving,” Soul says. “Ready, Maka?”
“Let’s do it!” Maka replied.
Maka breaks into a sprint with Soul trailing behind her. She may not be as mobile a Black Star or Kid, but she has enough speed and agility to get herself through any fight. When she fought the serpent witch Medusa, she managed to avoid the Vector Arrows aimed at her. Medusa’s Vector Arrows travel with blinding speed and Medusa is able change their trajectory at will. Avoiding them is an achievement. Ruby fires off steady rounds from Crescent Rose. Maka swings Soul around her body without breaking pace, blocking the shots with the blade. She uses her agility to evade the other shots. Once in range, Maka whirls around with Soul, while blocking another shot, and drives down hard. Ruby dislodges Crescent Rose from the ground, spins from danger and whips around with her weapon. Maka blocks and counters. Ruby answers in kind. They attack each other fiercely, their scythes carving the air to ribbons.
Maka deflects another strike, spins around and slashes with Soul. They cleave a cloud of rose Petals instead of Ruby.
“What the hell? She turned into rose Petals?!” says Soul in disbelief.
“Where’d she go?” Maka asked, quickly scanning the area. The red hooded girl is nowhere to be found. Anticipating an attack, she clenches Soul tightly.
“You gotta find her, Maka,” Soul says.
“I know,” replied Maka. Closing her eyes, Maka can use her unique ability known as Soul Perception, which allows her to sense another person’s soul wavelength and measure their strength. She feels a twinge at her back quickly flips Soul behind her, intercepting Ruby’s attack. Ruby vanishes in burst of rose Petals. Maka blocks the strike from her right, then over her head and from below at her left. Ruby appears in a cloud of rose Petals on her right and whips out a kick aimed high. Maka dodges the kick and defends with Soul’s handle against the next one. Ruby spins and slashed with her weapon. Maka whirls Soul around, deflecting Crescent Rose and aiming for Ruby. Ruby catches Soul’s blade with Crescent Rose and swipes it aside. Then she follows up with counterstrike. Maka answers back with one of her own. Soul and Crescent Rose clash furiously under the command of their respective masters. Spin and slash. Twirl and thrust. Maka and Ruby’s moves are acrobatic and deadly. They attack each other with incredible speed and dexterity. Maka bends backward under a high swipe from Ruby, spins as she stands and then drops low, craving Soul across the ground. Ruby uses Crescent Rose to cartwheel over the low strike and throw herself forward with one of her own. Maka deflects the red and black scythe aside, and rolls into another fast strike which Ruby nimbly avoids. Another quick flourish ensues before Maka and Ruby lock each other in a parry.
“We don’t want to hurt you. Just come back to DWMA with us,” Maka says again.
“I just want to find my friends,” Ruby said back.
“I’m sorry but we can’t let you do that.”
“Then I’m sorry too.”
Ruby shoves back, sweeps Maka’s legs from under her, rest Crescent Rose across her shoulders and fires of a round while the Scythe Meister is still in the air. Maka tumbles across the ground before managing to roll up to her knees. She clenches her chest in pain.
“Maka! Are you alright?” Soul asked worriedly.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Maka replied through clenched teeth. “Man, that hurt.” She removes her hand and, looking at it, she does not see any blood. Rather, a red powdery substance.
“What is that?” Soul asks, looking at the substance through the eye of his scythe form.
“I don’t know. Is this what Ruby has been firing this whole time?” Curious, Maka happens to spot more of the strange power covering Soul’s blade. “You’re covered in it too, Soul,” she tells him.
“Really?” said Soul. Then he recalls back to when Maka used him to block the shots Ruby fired from her weapon. “I thought something felt odd.” Maka asks him what he meant. “At first, I thought she was using her Soul Wavelength the same way Kid does when he uses Liz and Patty. But the impacts didn’t strike as hard. So I assumed she had to be using something else,” Soul explained. At DWMA, there are certain Meisters who can use their Soul Wavelength as a weapon, shooting it into their opponents. Black Star and Professor Franken Stein are among the few who can perform this feat. Then there are special cases such as Death the Kid. His weapon partners, Liz and Patty Thompson, are able to compress Kid’s Soul Wavelength and fire it as ammo. Soul had assumed Ruby was doing the same with her weapon. It has been rumored that several rogue witches have followed Medusa’s Black Blood research and began creating artificial weapons instead of new Kishins. The artificial weapons have the same capabilities of living weapons like Soul. They can use and amplify their Meister’s Soul Wavelength. Since Ruby is not using a living or an artificial weapon, it can be assumed the weapon is of her own design. That aside, Soul is curious about the powdery substance coating himself and Maka’s hand. It is not uncommon for witches to use basic tactics such as poisoned power to weaken their enemies. “Maka, how do you feel?” he asks.
Maka is startled by the question. However, she quickly catches on to her partner’s suspicions. “You think it could be poison?”
“Not sure,” says Soul.
“Well, I don’t feel anything weird,” Maka answered.
“Yeah, me neither,” Soul said. “Whatever this dust is, it seems like she uses it basically for firepower. It hits hard but I don’t think it is meant to kill.”
“That’s for sure,” Maka agreed, rubbing her ribs for emphasis. “Anyway, we got to find her. She took off after she shot me.”
“Can you find her with Soul Perception?” Soul asks.
“I’ll try. Hopefully she isn’t using Soul Protection,” replied Maka. Standing motionless, she focuses her mind and her Soul Wavelength. Maka has incredible range with her Soul Perception. She was able to detect the kishin Asura on the moon by locking onto his Madness Wavelength. However, magic that seals a person’s soul can hinder this ability. Soul Protection is a spell that can suppress the caster’s Soul Wavelength, making them undetectable. Witch Medusa used this to infiltrate Death Weapon Meister Academy and serve as its head nurse. Maka hopes Ruby is not using this ability. Concentrating, she strengthens her Soul Perception. Soon, she senses something. “There, a thousand yards ahead,” Maka says, looking towards her right.
“How the hell did she so far so fast?” Soul wondered.
“No time to worry about that. We have to catch up before we lose her,” Maka says. She then sits on the handle of Soul’s scythe form. Large wings appear in a soft glow on either side of the blade which retracts toward the handle. “Let’s go, Soul!” Together, Maka and Soul fly off after Ruby.
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