Hollow Phantasm Heritage

Enter Miharu Akiyama

As the race began everyone along the starting line bolted forward towards the dark forest and green terrain. People of all sizes and colours traversed through the vines and thick greenery towards the foot of the mountain.Asuka was around the back of the line and needed to close the gap between her and the rest of the group. There were easily over a hundred people ahead of her which made her worried.

Theres a lot more people than I thought there would be… doesn matter how many there are as long as I can beat them!

Asuka pressed forward and started to pick up the pace, she noticed that the vines and roots of the trees started moving. The people ahead of her stopped in their tracks and weren running anymore. From every direction she heard grunts and aggressive shouting.

”Why did they stop, is it the first challenge or- what is that!! ” Asuka noticed the plants wrapping themselves around the people ahead of her.

Vines and thick roots were traveling along the floor like snakes trying to snag as many as they could, a larger man that she recognised from the bar was ahead of her and smashed through the tree with his fist. His hand was immersed with a glowing aura as he struck it and celebrated as the tree split into tinier pieces.

The vines nearby snapped back towards him and all focused towards him, it didn take long for them to completely engross him in their clutches until not a spec of his body was seen.

”Help me- ” he shouted as his voice faded to silence.

Asuka felt a cold tingle down her back and glanced behind her, the roots beside her were sprouting out and the vines that she had caught up to in front of her now had their attention on her.

This is the first stage to the race…I can stop moving or Ill get caught! She panicked.

Asuka raced forward and jumped narrowly through any clearing that she could find, trying her best to avoid the approaching dangers behind her. More and more people were caught and covered by the forests traps. It all seemed to be part of one living organism that was determined to get every last one of them.

Eventually people started to emerge from the forest and one by one they headed to the next area of the race. Asuka trailed behind the last few members but she had a determined look in her eyes.

”Damn it, Im in last place…If I keep going like this then by the time we reach the top I won be close to first anymore. Please let the next one be something I can do! ” She groaned.

Everyones slowing down again; they must have found the next obstacle.

When Asuka had emerged from the forest the terrain had completely changed, she was now running along a hard rock surface. The stone was bright and almost orange in colour but that could be seen everywhere around her.

They had reached the bottom of the mountain, which was quite literally a mountain side. The trial had a large rock wall that spiralled up the mountain while the right hand side of the narrow trail was an edge that would send you falling off the side of the mountain.

”Its hard to make out why they
e stopping from here, I can even see around the corner. ” She stated while running towards the group of people.

A large gorge and many other types of obstacles waited around the bend of the trail but the participants ahead of her were taking a slow approach to it. Normally they would have raced through it like the forest but the bottom was almost invisible. Nobody was able to make out where the bottom of the gorge was so as people hopped along the pillars and ledges, they took it slowly.

Asuka chuckled at the sight of all the large men that seemed to confident before as she jumped over them. She cleared over the crowd in a single bound and landed against the wall of the gorge, where she ran across in order to gain some distance from the people on top of the pillars.

She then leapt from the wall towards one of the stone pillars and landed gracefully; she stood up with a concentrated stare at the road ahead and was caught off guard by all the commotion behind her.

Without realising it she had completely taken the lead over the crowd of people and was now leading the charge on the mountain terrain. Ahead of her was Ryuji and one or two others that were moving swiftly across the rocks.

I just have to keep this up and Ill get to him… then what? She thought.

Asuka looked down and couldn see past the black abyss holding up each pillar, staring at it became daunting but she chose to shut it out and move forward. She began hopping over from one surface to the next without delay and reached a solid trail on the mountain again.

When turning around she noticed a lot of the people behind her cursing in frustration at how easily she moved over the stone pillars.

”Nothing to it, don give up guys! ” She shouted sarcastically while smiling back at them.

After a bit of running she came face to face with an enormous tree that lied on its side to form a bridge to the other side of a gorge. This time there were no sides to run over because the gorge was separating the two surfaces, of the mountain. Almost like they were on a smaller section of the actual mountain.

She observed the tree for a moment and then hopped on, moving across with barely any effort. She shuffled her feet forward and by the time she was half way her body began to shiver. A fast wind blew out of nowhere and started to crash against her with an intense force.

For a moment she nearly fell off but then relaxed herself to the point where her legs moved for her. She started bending to the wind and was able to stay in place without shifting off.

”Thanks dad… ” She said with a slight chuckle in her voice.

She reached the end of the bridge and hopped off at the entrance of a large clearing in the mountain wall. ”Is this some sort of cave, does the next course run under ground or something? ” She said.

Asuka entered gingerly with her body relaxed but because of the somewhat dark and eerie environment she became slightly stiff in her movement.

”So you
e the one that caused all the commotion over by the canyon, well I don see what all the fuss was about? ” A faint voice stated from the cave.

A man dressed in a magicians suit stood casually with a relaxed posture. Asuka couldn see his face because of the mask he was wearing; it was an expressionless wooden mask with 2 holes for the eyes and a carved smile.

He held out his arms to the sides and bent forward with a robotic movement as a white light emerged from his back. A white doll the same size as Asuka crawled out from his back with ease and hopped forward towards her.

The doll had no expression or facial features other than the two holes and mouth carving that resembled the mask.

”This is Mi, he will play with you for now. Try not to disappoint him too much alright? ”

”Thats a hollow phantasm- just who the hell are you?! ” She yelled out angrily.

”Tisk- tisk! My name isn important, you can call me Player~ ” He said while waving his index finger side to side with dismissal.

Mi charged forward to Asuka and leapt into the air with haste, he came down towards her with a leg extended out and slammed into the ground, causing a cloud of dust to emerge. Asuka dodged to the side and barely avoided the attack but as she gained her footing she noticed a foot stab through the cloud and strikes her directly in the face.

What the hell was that- he just came out of nowhere! She panicked.

Asuka charged back at him but as she closed the gap she heard a faint ominous noise coming from the doll. It sounded like multiple words being meshed together all at once to the point where it wasn recognisable.

Player lifted his hand to his ear and leaned in close as if he were hearing it. ”Oh I see then, well try going left then! ”

Asuka widened her eyes in shock but then noticed that Mi was right in front of her, she snapped out of her daze and continued to attack. She went for a right roundhouse kick but by the time her foot was driven in for impact, Mi had already vanished out of sight and was standing by her left hand side with his fist raised.

He got a solid punch in that sent her flying on her backside through the dirt. ”How is he… doing this? ” She muttered while stumbling back.

Blood trickled down from her nose as she lifted herself off the ground with struggle. She examined the blood against her thumb and seemed dazed, as if this were her first time seeing blood in years.

He saw right through my attack and even predicted what I would do… Ill have to try again! She thought.

Asuka charged Mi again and ran towards the cave wall, which was stained dark with a rough stone surface. She ran along the wall and got distracted by the loud noise coming from Mi; it started speeding up and meshed voices of different tones together.

Asuka burst towards it from the wall with an instantaneous movement; she extended her leg out as a round house kick.

As soon as I get in close, consider yourself dead! Ill change it into a rapid jab kick and destroy this piece of junk!

Asuka came in close but Player only responded with a laugh as he raised his hands up to his chest. He moved his finger in a senseless motion as if to gesture that he was controlling it through strings.

Mi followed the motions of his fingers and jumped to action, he rushed in towards Asukas faint as if he planned on taking the attack full on. Asuka hesitated for a moment but brushed it off to go with the faint.

Right before the round house would hit she slid her body to the right and extended out her other leg in a sharp snapping motion. It burst forward with an extreme speed towards Mis torso but didn hit.

By the time she had moved to her real attack, Mi had ducked his body so low to the ground that hers missed. Everything about his movements were rigid and unnatural like a puppets but as he bent forward Asuka freaked out that her foot was so far out and exposed.

Player let out a huge grin, ”Great idea Mi, show her real pain! ” He said maniacally.

Mi snapped his body back upright which sent Asuka falling backwards off balance; he caught her leg and gripped it tightly. He twisted his body to the side as she had done moments before and he extended his leg out, driving it into her chest with a crashing force.

To make it worse he had been pulling her from her wrist so Asuka had been fully winded by that attack and was left breathless on the floor.

Theres no chance to do anything, he has me completely beat- why am I losing to someone who talks to their dolls? In that thought she had a realisation.

Mi pulled back towards Player and leaned in towards his ear while producing that chaotic sound once more.

He is actually talking to him! That must be why he is able to move him in the way that makes him win…but how does he know my moves before I make them?

Asuka noticed that player became more reserved and quiet. She stepped forward with her eyes focused on their faces and began to think out her words carefully. I got you now, you creeps have been listening in on my thoughts! She thought.

”Im amazed you figured it out already, most people die by Mis hands without being able to figure it out. Not that it matters, theres no possible way to beat us even with that knowledge! ” He said while moving his fingers frantically.

Mi charged in at Asuka with a fist raised for a solid right strike, but Asuka only smiled as he approached her.

”Why is she smiling, has she gone mad or something? Mi says that she will go for another faint, even if you think one thing and try to change it he will still know! You can fake your thoughts. ” Player said to himself.

Asuka raised her leg for a straight kick as Mi closed in; but by the time he was in front of her she had closed her eyes completely. Player widened his eyes with a surprise and seemed bewildered.

Mi tucked his body down and threw his punch but Asuka didn react, her faint never came.

”Whats going on, Mi isn reporting any thoughts- that would mean she isn thinking at all! ”

Asukas leg rotated in the air in a full circle and when at the highest point of the circle it slammed down with a thundering force that sent him crashing into the ground.

Player dropped his jaw as he watched Asuka unleash a storm of attacks all while keeping her eyes closed. She moved with pin point accuracy and devastating damage but still no reports came back from Mi.

”I won have this- I won let some simpleton beat me!! ” Player shouted as he anxiously moved his fingers.

Mi responded to his call with crooked motions that seemed to miss and lag behind Asukas attacks.

Finally Asuka had done enough damage to the point where cracks that formed over Mis head and eyes began to split open through his head. Tiny cracks pulled and snapped open until she delivered the final blow.

With a swift strike from her palm she obliterated his body into tiny splints and pieces, leaving Player in a dishevelled state on the floor. He held his hands up to the sides of his head and lowered his head with disbelief.

”I don have to think about my next move when I fight, luckily for me I have a body that seems to move just fine on its own. ” Asuka said assertively as if to gloat.

She opened her eyes to the sight of broken wood and scattered pieces of the doll she had destroyed.

”Now then, where were we? ” She said with a flicker in her eyes.

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