Outside of the walls, war raged. The high sandstone walls covered a sprawling park; artistically designed flowerbeds, the peonies were in bloom. Floating gracefully across small ponds were swans, occasionally dipping their longnecked heads into the water to catch an insect. Ancient oaks, with trunks wider than a man can reach across were spreading shade over a lush green grass. From time to time, a squirrel carrying an acorn triumphantly could be seen jumping along the treetops. In the centre of the park stood a white, open pavillon, beautifully crafted and looking like a very inviting place to have a cup of tea, or play a game of chess. The sounds of the war were muffled, by the thick high walls, almost negligible under the songs of birds who had chosen this park as their home.
On the outside of the walls, men lay dying, crying out for their mothers, the dead, forever quiet, lay still and the sounds of fighting, the clash of metal on metal, the dry booms of gunpowder, the officers barking down orders to their soldiers, who were too busy trying to stay alive to pay much attention to them, the sounds of war still raged. The air itself was permeated with the smell of gunpowder, blood and death,
The stark difference of these places, one full of life, the other full of death, almost stunned Zoro as he entered the park through a heavy oaken door. Still panting from the fights raging outside he flicked the blood off of Shusui, his favoured blade, and sheathed it in the same, elegant, motion. His bandana was still tied around his arm, the enemies outside had not been worthy of his full attention, their strength coming from numbers, not skill. The opponent he was hoping to find in this park, would be however. Taking a moment to catch his breath, Zoro advanced towards the pavillon, the design of the park making it very clear where, if he was truly here, his foe could be found.
Mate. Vista thought idly and tipped over the king piece, a heavy black figure carved from ebony. He was playing against himself again, as he did so often in these last two years since the Whitebeard Pirates had splintered into several smaller crews, or headed off on their own as he had. He weighed a chess piece in his hand, he had seen enough of war he thought, more bloodshed and carnage than any man should have to endure. He had fled from war in fact, after seeing the man he considered his father die two years prior. The only warfare he had engaged in since then had been fought on the chessboard, but war had caught up to him, had destroyed his illusion of sanctum and safety, as it is so often wont to do.
He still had this park though, this elysium of quiet and peace. He would not let the hounds of war defile it. So, he strapped on his two sabres and headed to the direction where he had heard the characteristic sound of the oak door being opened and closed, the direction from which somebody was fast approaching via the gravel path.
Zoro saw the figure emerging from the pavillon in the distance and decided to tie his bandana around his head now. It was beginning.
Rose Rondo! Zoro barely had time to raise his blades, shocked by the ferocity and speed of the whirling cut. Just in time before it would obliterate him, he managed to deflect the attack, sending the spinning rosepetals out over the pond, where they began to float.
Pirate Hunter, Roronoa Zoro...I had not thought to see you here. Vista landed a good ten metres in front of Zoro, grinning. He was still as broadshouldered and muscled as he was before, but under his tophat his hair was flecked with grey.
I had not thought to be here. Zoro send a 108 pound cannon attack flying Vistas way, but the experienced former 5th Division Commander, calmly dodged out of the way. But when I heard that the famous Vista was in town, well, I couldn't resist a surprise visit. - So you've heard of me? - I would be a fool if I had not...Now that we've formally met Vista, shall we dispense with the pleasantries and fight properly?
Vista only laughed, nodding and send another attack Zoros way, following immediately behind to engage in close combat. Zoro, partially blended by the flower petals of Vistas Orchid Ouverture spinning all around him conceded first blood, though it was nothing major, just a small cut on his arm. Then the duel degraded from long distance slashes into a frantic close combat affair. They exchanged blow for blow as they danced across the park, neither managing to penetrate each others defenses,
In front of the stunning background of Vistas park, the fight went on, they danced across small bridges leading over the multiple ponds, they danced next to a field of roses where Vista, showman that he always was, managed to neatly behead a rose as they flew past it, the petals of the rosehead falling down softly as it span away into the distance.
Zoro was bleeding from a variety of cuts by now and realized that something had got to give, else he would lose this duel. The fact that Vista was clearly just toying with him at the moment enraged him, he disengaged from the duel and jumped up on a tree to try to achieve something with more long distance strikes. Vista, not one to be outdone when it comes to flashiness, jumped on top of a tree opposing Zoros.
If you've had enough, you only need to say so, boy. - With a snarl, Zoro started to launch long distance attack after long distance attack at Vistas tree. Santoryu Ogi: Rokudo no Tsuji followed by a Kokujo: O Tatsumaki culminating in an Ul-Tora Gari, a charging attack that send him flying faster than the eye can see towards his opponent, the massive oak Vista was standing on, turned to nothing but splinters and floating leaves through his attacks. The strength of a dragon indeed, as the ancient tree, completely disintegrated under the onslaught. Vista meanwhile, was not idle, but sent his own attacks flying towards the green haired swordsman, beautiful flower petals trailing in their wake. A Marguerite Motif, followed by a Sunflower Sonnet and Freesia Finale.The attacks, partially cancelling each other out, erupted in colourful explosions of petals and energy.
Panting and heavily wounded the combatants disengaged. What kind of flower should I make bloom next? The grizzled veteran commander of the 5th Division of the Whitebeards Pirates asked Zoro, grinning, blood flowing down his neck, from where his ear had been, before a strike of Zoros took it clean off.
Zoro seemed to focus and meditate, a dark aura slowly spreading out from him. Vista involuntarily took a step back, wondering what was about to be unleashed on him, and if he would be able to handle it. His swords in a defensive stance, he prepared a move as well, though if it could stand up to the man who made the very ground shake with his presence by now he didn't know.
Zoro opened both his eyes. Entering his Asura mode he gained the appearance of having three heads and more importantly nine swords that were all pointed directly at Vista. Vista, who had seen his fair share of terrifying sites during his time with the Whitebeard Pirates only hesitated slightly and went into an attack. Lily Libretto it was called, colourful petals of all kinds of lilies whirled around him, seemingly manifesting into a giant sword. They had always been his favourite flowers. He charged.
Zoro met his attack head on with an Asura Ichibugin. The giant sword of flower petals erupted under his attack, showering him and the whole area with colourful lily petals, but Zoros attack went through it and connected. Finishing off his attack by sheathing all nine swords and releasing his Asura mode, he turned around and made a quick bow of respect to Vista.
Vista was on the ground, on a bed of petals. Blood, flowed out from a terrifying chestwound, blooming on the ground. In his last motion he grabbed some of the Lily petals around him, smelled them, delighting momentarily in their aroma and then he died. They had always been his favourite flower.
14:15, August 25, 2013 (UTC)