A couple of weeks, no rather months have gone by since Marcus decided he's stick with Titus and his mates to help them train and grow stronger
They've all made incredible progress, Marcus himself barely any at all, but this is to be expected after achieving such an height Marcus is now stuck at the top of the world with a strength almost unrivaled, only by a very few
We see how one of the days of training went like
Soup is nowhere to be seen, but Marcus and the other 3 are all together, they're all in a circle, Marcus the only one standing while everyone else is sitting down.
Marcus: Okay, each of you is gonna explain how you fight, and I'll spar with you a lil bit and make a plan on how you should train to grow stronger!
You first Hao!
Hao: stands up Let's see here now.
Hao extends her index finger and points it at Marcus This is the underlying concept of my style, concentrate all your strength on a single point, this way you get incredible destructive power.
By concentrating all my strength when attacking into the tip of my fingers I can easily pierce through all defenses, and if at long range I can create wind blades incredibly thin, these pack an even greater cutting force then average wind blades.
Furthermore, I can make not only line wind blades, I can stretch them to make walls of cutting wind, probably my only defensive technique, in fact most of my techniques revolve around the concept of points, lines and planes.
However my skill at making line wind blades became so good I eventually could literally draw with the lines I'd make and now I'm able to literally fabricate out of wind almost solid objects capable of cutting steel.
Hao demonstrates this by drawing a simple straight line in front of her and using it to slash the ground behind Marcus like a master swordsman would, the line soon vanishes
Marcus: Hmmmmmm... I... I think you could draw a gun and shoot people Marcus does a thumbs up
Soup arrives on the scene and hits Marcus in the back of the head
Marcus: annoyed what was that for!?
Soup: shrugs force of habit.
Looks at Hao Hao, I've seen you fight before when sparring with Titus and Azuma, if there's anything I've noticed is that you're extremely precise, more like an assassin then a fighter. From your story it's understandable why you'd fight like that, but if Marcus shenanigans ever thought me anything it's that opposite forces either deny or make a bigger whole.
Soup smiles and strikes a battle ready stance, electricity is generating on his body
You need to be more aggressive, let your wildest side run rampant, your fiery personality should reflect on your fighting style.
Hao walks forward towards soup and smiles eager to fight, her composure still very strict and composed but a little less tight then before
Around her the image of a spider web envelops her but a good part of it is seen ripping apart
Hao: I think I'll do just that Hao discards the gloves she was wearing and pulls her hair back This feels more natural.
Soup and Hao disappear from the spot and a lightning sound is heard
Hao's joyful laughter is heard but she's not seen, Titus smiles seeing she's opening up so easily to soup and Marcus
Azuma: I'll explain myself next.
Azuma takes out 2 dice, one with 4 sides and one with 20 To put it very bluntly these dice and my bow are all my creations, I have a devil fruit that allows me to manufacture anything I imagine if i have the material near me.
If I'm given logs I can instantly make a house proportional to the number of logs, if I'm given more materials I can make more complex things, however these dice are different. They're made out of 2 devil fruits, I knew nothing of them but their unique existence and my own fruit allowed me to create these dice.
Much like the mugen mugen no mi eaten by the pirate Mugen, these dice can reproduce anything I wish them too, but there's a catch, only the side facing up will be produced, and I've set the limit to only 20 per roll, and to make it even more restricted I've given the 4 sided dice very specific blue prints.
The dice work as a unique piece, the 20 sided dice gives my bow an upgrade "normal" only makes it easier to shoot arrows "special" depends really on the 4 sided dice on the effect.
The 4 sided dice can give me 4 distinct arrows:
Kinetic: black arrows, incredibly heavy, capable of piercing tanks and pushing buildings aside with their incredible kinetic force.
Chemical: White arrows, they're made of incredibly unstable materials, after hitting something with enough force they'll explode violently and cause serious damage.
Radiation: Transparent arrows, made of bullet proof glass and special mirrors when fired it's invisible and it moves faster then any other arrow escape is almost impossible from this one.
Heat: Bright Red, upon launch they immediately disintegrate into a pillar of flames capable of burning down an entire forest.
And that's the normal setting, when I trigger the special setting with the 20 sided dice the arrows change and only appear one.
Marcus: almost passing out I give up! Azuma! I believe in you, you can just make more impressive gizmos and I'll help with physical training.
Azuma: laughing casually Sorry for making it so long, I appreciate you trying to hear thou.
Azuma casually walks towards the small house they're renting
Azuma: good luck Titus I'll go do some sketching for some new weapons.
Titus is left alone with Marcus
Titus: scratching the back of his head Just you and me huh...
Marcus: Let's just skip the talk and let's spar!
Titus: I think I'll skip on sparring for today.
Marcus: saddened Why!!!
Titus: walks with his back turned at Marcus I know exactly what I need to do in order to grow stronger.
Marcus feels Titus presence imposing over him, not because Marcus wasn't trying to impose himself on Titus but because he knew he couldn't Titus had this weird presence to him then he had when he first met him
Marcus: What are you gonna do?
Titus: dumb look Meditate.
Titus jumps and quickly exits the scene, he reaches the peak of the mountain nearby in a couple of minutes
Marcus: yawns What now?
Titus: sighs This should be quiet enough.
Titus sits down in the lotus position and starts concentrating on his breathing
He stands there for hours, his mind drifts to other thoughts but he quickly erases them, he steadily gains control over his mind and he focuses solely on his breathing
In his mind he stands in the middle of a black space, nothing exists except him, but suddenly a single drop of light appears
More appears after each second, soon Titus finds himself in the middle of interstellar space, nothing close to him except a wall of black that has no lights in it
Titus: I'm here again huh...
Titus looks to the wall of black in front of him and quickly gathers that it's what Azuma told him about once a black hole, something that truly should be considered the greatest single thing that can be achieved by the universe
Even if you're merely something inside my mind, would I die if I touched you?
Or maybe that's not the question that I should be asking, why did I come here again? Oh right, to tap further into cosmic energy, but how exactly should I do it?
Titus extends his right palm forward fast but nothing happens
Nothing huh? I guess I can't manipulate it here then, but why is this black hole the only thing here?
Should I try it maybe?
Titus walks towards the small black hole only as big as him as he approaches it he soon realizes it's not a black hole as it isn't pushing him, rather it's a solid sphere
Titus touches it with the tip of his index finger and his image appears reflected on the sphere
???: You are peering into your subconscious Titus, I am you, and you are me.
Titus: What exactly are you?
???: As I said I am you. Both of us are merely a thought, a collection of thoughts that makes the physical body move.
The astral energy you seek is already available to you, but if you wish to do so you must let go of yourself.
Titus: How can I even let go of myself that doesn't make sense...
???: I know it doesn't, but you know it does.
The black sphere takes the shape of Titus an exact copy
???: Titus... if you wish absolute power you need to allow yourself to become one with the universe, let the universe become one with you.
Titus: But I'll loose my identity won't I?
???: If you're not decisive enough then yes.
What will it be Titus will you let the universe offer his strength?
Titus: laughing It's tempting I admit but I know when I'm lying.
???: smiles So you can tell?
Titus: Yeah, but thanks for telling me.
???: You always knew thou.
Titus opens his eyes back in the real world and he sees Azuma to his right
It's a clear night, and the stars shine beautifully, all constellations are visible and the galaxies just as well
Azuma: So you've woke up, wanna see the constellations with me?
Titus: smiles warmly Sure.
Titus lays down near Azuma and they starts casually speaking to each other like best friends would
Azuma: Did you know that a lot of these stars are much bigger then the sun and the planet we're on isn't even comparable to their size.
And the galaxies are even bigger, it makes you feel so small and your problems so insignificant doesn't it?
It's amazing to think that some millions of years ago a star exploded and the sun, well the first one and all we see on this earth is made from that very same star, which in turn came from an even bigger explosion before that one.
Titus: So we're just made of pieces of stars?
Azuma: Yes, doesn't it sound so mystical in nature?
Titus: Every single part of my being is made of not one star, but by the atoms that existed since the dawn of time, nothing is ever created or destroyed.
Azuma: I suppose so, in that perspective we'd be immortal in a way our atoms would live forever even if they eventually only became single hydrogen nucleus.
Titus: Hey Azuma. looks upwards
Isn't it breath taking? Every single particle that makes me has existed since the dawn of time maybe, and these particles that make up my eye allow me to see the universe on how it is and the particles that make up my brain allow me to be amazed by it.
It's the sort of irony that escapes our every day lives.
So by this train of thought.
I am simply the universe contemplating itself.
Titus warmly smiles and Azuma does so too, but Titus words were not simply a quote, to him they were absolutely true and this was the answer he had gotten when talking to himself
He casually stands up and inhales deeply, he glows a faint blue and the exhales
The night sky seemingly grows more beautiful for a moment and Azuma surprised looks at Titus
Titus walks forward and around him the teal flames he could make appear but this time they turn a distinct blue, celestial in color and mostly white, they spiral like galaxies and a painting, a form similar yet distinct from actual flames, more like a work of art
In a very slow manner Titus moves his arms infront of him in a circling pattern but they spin around an invisible axis
he proceeds to twist and turns while walking and doing incredibly elegant and impressive moves, not because they're hard but because they're moving nature to Titus' will
Azuma stands there seeing Titus do something he'd normally think it's impossible but now Titus was fully able to do
Titus had moved the rocks under him and pulled it out from the ground without touching it, the air around him elegantly spiraling around him and the snow that was covering some part of the mountain turned into water and much like the wind was spiraling around Titus
But the most noticeable feat was the white/blue flames, they danced around him more beautiful then any flame
Titus finally stops his movement and opens his eyes
Titus: smiling warmly Hey Azuma...
Titus: I think with this I'm set.
Azuma: smiles That's a scary versatile power.
Titus: I know, I understand perfectly well.