Hinata Chronicles Chapter 53: Dealing with the Freeshooter
“. . .Yeah, I believe I will.” Xion answered.
Shino nodded as he continued to give off his emotionless look. “I see. . .this isn’t a personal grudge. . .”
Xion nodded. “These are the final two members. . .the ones who were partners when they were somebodies. . .I got some questions to ask them.”
“. . .Understandable. . .after the flashbacks we’ve been seeing, you have questions you need answering.”
“There you go Naruto, all healed up.” Sakura said as she used the Cure spell on Naruto to heal the bump on his head that he had gotten from Xaldin’s lances.
“Thanks Sakura, I appreciate it.” Naruto said he got to his feet.
“You did a good job, well done but now, things will be dangerous.” Kakashi said in a serious tone.
"Kakashi is right the last two members of Organization XIII are the most dangerous of all.” Xion said with a very serious tone as she walked over to the group.
“If to be honest though, fighting alone against Xaldin, was too powerful although beyond what defeated.” Naruto said in a calm but serious.
“How powerful are the last two exactly?” Hinata asked.
“Very,” Xion started. “Very powerful as I remember, Xaldin it was ten times more powerful than Vexen. . .but,” Xion paused as she looked Lord Xemnas portal before continuing. “although Lord Xemnas was the leader, clearly not all his powe. . .r” Xion said as she got depressed.
Almost the entire group went silent at the thought.
“However,” Xion resumed as she turned her gaze to Xigbar portal. “Regarding Xigbar know all his power” Xion said before turning his gaze to the group. “Xigbar, the Freeshooter as his title, the number two of the Organization XIII, the second in command is very loyal to Lord Xemnas. If compared with Xaldin, Xigbar is thirty times more powerful” Xion said depressed.
Most of the group shuddered to hear what Xion said.
“He’s more powerful than Xaldin?!!” Naruto screamed, starting to panic.
“Yes, his movements are too fast since he‘s able to warp, sniper rifles are also accurate and very dangerous with few blind spots, he shoots with great accuracy and speed, the only way to defeat him is fighting hand to hand, but Xigbar knows his own weakness and avoid at all costs to come to him.” Xion explained.
“Um. . . excuse me, Xion?” Shikamaru waved.
“Yes Shikamaru.” Xion responded.
“What is a sniper rifle exactly?” Shikamaru questioned.
“Huh?” Xion said looking at the lazy smart Shinobi.
“We come from a world where there is mostly hand to hand combat so this sniper rifle sounds like a distance weapon and there is almost no distance weapons fighting unless you count our ninjutsu or kunai and shurikens.” Shino stated.
“Oh! Umm. . . well A Sniper Rifle is a gun that can shoot enemies from extremely long distances.” Xion replied.
“What is a gun?” Naruto asked now out of his panic mode.
“Uhh. . . Well a gun is a projectile based weapon that shoots these things called bullets that can really hurt someone if it hits something very fatal.” Xion answered.
“Yeah plus there are different types and varieties of guns.” Tenten added.
“Wait. . . you know what a gun is Tenten?” Sakura asked.
“Yeah, I actually bought Machine guns and a gunblade like Leon had when I went shopping with Yuffie.” Tenten answered.
“Oh. . . so what is a bullet then?” Kiba asked.
“And what is a Machine gun exactly?” Choji added.
“Ugh. . .” Xion facepalmed as the questions kept rising.
“Let me help you Xion.” Tenten said as she put her hand on Xion’s shoulder.
“Thanks Tenten.” Xion replied accepting the group’s weapon expert’s help.
For the next few minutes Xion and Tenten were answering the groups questions on guns to the best of their abilities and knowledge until Shikamaru spoke up.
“You know the more we learn about guns, the more I’m being reminded how primitive our world is.” Shikamaru stated as he remembered Cid’s weapon.
“Why do you say that?” Xion asked.
“Think about it, during your stay at the village, did you ever see weapons like guns around?” Shino asked.
Xion thought it over “Now that you mentioned it, no I haven’t. What are you saying?” She asked.
“That not only is he tough like you said, but this is the first time we are up against someone who has an extremely technological advantage over us.” Kakashi answered.
“Yeah all of the other members that we faced, were using weapons that had us go hand to hand like we always do back home.” Sakura said.
“You know, you got a very good point there.” Xion said.
“Although there are ways we can counter him right? you said so yourself.” Hinata said.
“There is, but I’m just starting to remember what Xaldin pulled last time. I’m starting to worry that Xigbar could have something up his sleeve as well?” Xion said.
Naruto’s mind went back to the attack Xaldin used to almost beat him “True. . .” He muttered.
"So to defeat him. . ." Ino started.
"I decided the three that will be going in will be me, Hinata, and Naruto." Xion said with determination.
Everyone looked at Xion and some raised their eyebrows at the choice she made.
“Huh, me again?” Naruto couldn’t help but question her.
“But why?” Hinata asked.
“No matter how many times I run a strategy through my head, Naruto is the only one that can fit the . . . part of the role that I kinda need to fill.” Xion said nervously.
“And what role is that?” Kakashi asked with a raised eye brow.
“Well one of Xigbar’s main weaknesses, is that his guns can run out of ammo so he needs to reload every time he runs out, and in that time for him to reload there will be a small window for us to deal some major damage to him.” Xion said to the group.
“That still doesn’t explain why you would choose Naruto again.” Sakura said.
“Basically, with Naruto and his Shadow clone technique, I was hoping it would manage to make Xigbar empty out his guns faster.” Xion said.
“So you’re saying that you want to use Naruto to take all the bullets like a human shield is that it.” Shikamaru plainly stated.
“Don’t put it like that! I was going for more on the lines as acting as a decoy to distract Xigbar!” Xion quickly said.
“That still sounds like using him as a shield.” Sai said.
“I agree.” Shino nodded.
“Ugh, I am not using him as a shield! Besides, Xigbar will also go for me and Hinata as well, so he’s not taking all of the attacks.” Xion said.
“Yeah, only 90% of the attacks will go for him while the rest go to you two girls.” Kiba joked.
“You’re not helping!” Xion yelled.
“It’s ok Xion, I don’t mind.” Naruto said.
“But Naruto, you still haven’t fully recovered all of your Chakra from your fight with Xaldin yet.” Hinata said.
It’s ok Hinata I came prepared.” Sakura said as she now had a basket with her.
“Uhh. . . Sakura what is that?” Ino asked.
“This basket contains my homemade food pills, with this all of Naruto’s chakra will be back to him in a matter of moments. Here, why don’t you guys try them.” Sakura said smiling as she gave one to each of the group members.
“Ok. . . What exactly did you put in them?” Sai said as he and others were examining their food pills.
As Sakura closed her eyes and started explaining what she used for the ingredients, Some of the members including Naruto took a small bite from their pills. After a few seconds passed, they froze and started getting a little sick.
As Sakura finished her explanation, she looked to the group and noticed that some of the members were missing. “Huh? where did Sai, Kiba, Tenten, Choji, and Ino go?” Sakura asked Hinata.
“Umm. . .” Hinata hesitated as she quickly pocketed her pill.
“Well. . .” Xion followed Hinata’s example.
“They uhh. . . needed to. . . umm. . . take a bathroom break!” Naruto quickly said and hoped it would trick her, while he tried to not fall on his knees. “Oh god! I feel my Chakra returning, but I feel like my stomach just got punched by one of Sakura’s usual punches!” Naruto screamed in his mind.
“Ok. . .” Sakura said as she bought what her teammate said for the time being.
“You know Sakura, some of the enemies that we defeat would sometimes drop mp spheres to restore some of the energy that we use up.” Hinata said.
“Yeah they look like big blue bubbles.” Xion added.
“Yeah I remember seeing them, I also added them to my recipe along with those green and yellow spiral orbs.” Sakura said.
“Uhh what?” Xion said at a loss for words.
“Hey Xion, next time lets get someone to give Sakura lessons on synthesizing elixirs and other items.” Hinata whispered next to to her fellow keyblade wielder.
“Yeah good idea, though it wouldn’t hurt for everyone to receive the same training.” Xion replied.
“Well we kept you guys here long enough, time to go forward.” Kakashi said.
Naruto, and the two keyblade wielders started to walk through the portal. As Xion was the last person to go through, the remaining members of the group looked to the screen but only saw static and no one bothered to comment on anything. Time also was starting to slow down until it came to a complete stop.
Xion looked around to see if both Naruto and Hinata are around but they were not to be seen. She then noticed that the place she was at was not the Hall of empty melodies, but a familiar wasteland filled with nothing but dead lifeless keyblades.
“But. . . this can’t be right.” Xion said still trying to figure out what happened.
Then, a dark pillar rose from the ground which brought Xion back to reality. After a few seconds, the darkness dissipated and she was staring at Xigbar, but Xion couldn’t help but feel that something was off.
“Xigbar?” Xion asked.
“. . . . . .” Xigbar just stood there with a blank look on his face.
“I want to ask you a few things.” Xion said with a serious look.
“. . . . . .” Xigbar still did not move.
“Are you even listening to me!?” Xion shouted now pointing her keyblade at him.
“. . . . . .” Xigbar still did not say anything as he materialized his arrow guns and got into battle position.
‘Xigbar’ immediately fired four shots at Xion and she blocked them, then she charged at him only to warp away and fire seven quick shots with her deflecting three of them and side rolled dodge the other four.
Xion then saw that he was charging up his gun, she immediately threw her keyblade to disrupt ‘Xigbar’s’ attack, but what she saw next shocked her.
‘Xigbar’ cancelled out his attack by dematerializing his gun and grabbed her keyblade in mid flight with his hand, and threw it right back at her. She dodged out of the way and saw that her keyblade impaled itself right next to her. Xion quickly got back up and grabbed her keyblade out of the ground now resuming her stance.
“You’re. . . not Xigbar are you?” Xion said temporally stopped attacking him, knowing that the Xigbar she knew couldn’t do what the man in front of her did just now.
“. . . . . .” the man’s continued silence proved Xion’s question.
“Who are you really?” Xion asked.
“. . . . . .” the silence continued as he put away his arrow guns and pulled his hood up covering his head and face as he turned around and started walking away.
“Hey, come back here!” Xion now running twoards him.
As she got closer, Xion was immediately pulled by some strange force. She tried to stand her ground but in a few moments, Xion was swept away into a portal.
After that, the figure waited, until he snapped his fingers and he too was gone.
“Is this thing broken?” Sakura said as she stared at the srceen.
“Calm down Sakura, I’m sure it’s just loading up the picture.” Kakashi said.
Time had resumed but the screen was still showing static. After a few seconds passed, the screen showed the place where they needed to fight Xigbar.
“Man this place is huge.” Naruto commented as he looked around.
Both Naruto and Hinata looked and saw that they were on a large platform suspended in the middle of a pit.
Hinata noticed that Xion had a blank far off look on her. “Xion is there something wrong?” Hinata asked.
“Huh. . . what, sorry Hinata I was just thinking.” Xion replied.
“About what?” Hinata asked.
“It’s just, I feel like i’m forgetting something very important, but no matter how I try to remember it, I’m drawing blanks.” Xion answered.
“Don’t worry, it will come to you whe-.” Hinata said.
Their conversation was interrupted when Naruto saw a small light-like arrow bolt placed near his feet.
“Huh? what is this thing?” Naruto said examining it closer.
“Naruto get back!” Xion shouted immediately recognizing the arrow.
“Wha-?” in an instant, multiple bolts started started raining down on the trio.
Naruto jumped behind Hinata and both Keyblade wielders cast reflect spells to act as shields for the incoming barrage. After the last bolt was deflected the trio looked up to see the one behind the raining bolt arrows on the balcony.
“So glad you guys can make it.” Xigbar said reloading his weapons.
“Xigbar. . . now it’s your turn!” Xion shouted.
“Yeah come down here so we can kick your ass!” Naruto added.
“Ha! you think I’m going to just be defeated the same way like the others? As If! I’m going to enjoy making you suffer miss traitor.” Xigbar jumped down and landed in front of them.
“Before we begin, Are you Braig?” Xion asked.
“Heh, Mr. Original did say he wanted to face off against you guys, but he said there was more important things to attend to besides facing little miss puppet and her useless lackeys.” Xigbar not caring about answering questions.
“Hey you take that back! Xion’s not a puppet anymore, she’s free from you people. Plus, if you checked the score, we’ve beaten all the other members!” Naruto shouted.
“You really think that Miss traitor over there is free from us? As If! Also, unlike the others, I’m more of a recent version of me so while you’re not fighting the real me like you did with the others, I’m more upgraded enough to make you suffer and beg of mercy!” Xigbar started to glare and gripped his arrow guns tightly.
“Either way, you’re going down like the rest! And I will never beg for mercy to the likes of you!” Xion shouted and both oppositions took their stances.
“This guy is a lot different from the others.” Shino said.
“Yeah, also where are the others? They should’ve been back by now.” Sakura said, looking around to see if the other members came back from their ‘bathroom break’.
“Don’t worry Sakura, I’m sure their just fine.” Kakashi said while hearing faint sounds of someone writhing in pain. “Though what he mean by saying Xion isn’t free?” Kakashi thought.
“You really shouldn’t have betrayed us.” Xigbar said bringing one of his guns on his shoulder.
Naruto quickly summoned seven shadow clones but were shot down as soon as they were summoned. “Don’t think I forgot about your power to multiply. If you were planning on using them as a decoy let me tell you some advice, the more you summon, the faster I put them down.” Xigbar said as he started spinning his guns and combined them to form a longer gun then warped away and started looking through the scope.
“Gotcha now!” Xigbar said as he took aim.
“Everyone get out of the line of sight, we’re in his range!” Xion side roll dodged four shots.
“Naruto be careful!” Hinata deflected four shots and dodged six.
“Hinata! Whoa!” Naruto dodged ten shots with one of them passing inches from his face.
Xion deflected five shots and they went back to the owner.
“Gah! Clever little sneak.” Xigbar was holding his arm as he separated his guns, and warped back to the stage.
“There he is!” Naruto charges at Xigbar only for him to warp to another part of the stage and fired five shots at him from behind. Hinata intercepted the shots and deflected them right back at Xigbar. However, he tilted his head to dodge three of them, then reabsorbed the other two by blocking them with his gun.
“You never did that before!” Xion shouted.
“You thought my abilities would be the same as when I lost to Sora and his friends? As If! I’m now new and improved!” Xigbar stated.
“That’s not good.” Sakura said.
“For Xigbar to pull something that even Xion didn’t know, shows us that these guys have improved themselves.” Kakashi said.
“I’m also wondering how is it that when we faced the organization they never pulled any new attacks on us?” Shino wondered.
“Maybe because the founding members had more time to develop their techniques while we were fighting the others.” Shikamaru answered.
“And let’s not forget that we took a break before we got to them, as well as dealing with the threat outside the town.” Kakashi added.
“Dammit! I did expect Xigbar to have a trick up his sleeve, but I never expected him to pulled it out so soon.” Xion thought as she deflected seven shots with her keyblade.
“Heads up!” Xigbar created two portals and put his guns through them then hinata noticed two portals opening near them. “Xion lookout!” they both dodged out of the line of fire, but one of the shots hit Xion’s leg causing her to flinch.
“Guh! Heal!” Xion casted a cure spell to treat her leg wound and dodged four shots.
“Time to reload!” Xigbar shouted, warpping to the other side of the stage.
“Oh no you don’t!” Xion took aim and threw her keyblade at Xigbar to stop him from reloading. However, Xigbar had one more bullet in his clip and he used it to shoot the keyblade out of it’s spin and it rematerialized back to Xion as he reloaded his guns.
“As they say, keep one in the chamber.” Xigbar said as a bright flash engulfed the room.
“What the- what’s happening!?” Sakura said.
“This must be one of Xigbar’s techniques.” Kakashi said.
“Hey guys were back. Did we miss out on anything?” Kiba shouted getting everyone’s attention.
“You guys sure took your time.” Sakura said.
“Hey if wasn’t for-!?” Kiba was interrupted by Ino and Sai who grabbed Kiba and went to another part of the room until they all came back smiling.
“What was that just now?” Sakura asked.
“What was what Sakura?” Ino said smiling.
“What you and Sai did to Kiba moments ago.” Sakura stated.
“What do you mean?” Sai said following Ino’s example.
“I mean- you know what, I don’t even want to ask anymore.” Sakura gave up and turned back to the screen.
“What the, what is this!?” Naruto yelled as the stage layout was entirely different now as it is now a long thin walkway with Xigbar on one side and the team on the other end.
“AH! I forgot to mention that Xigbar has the ability to change the layout appearance of the stage!” Xion said.
“No time to say sorry, here he comes!” Naruto deflected five shots.
“Is that all you guys have? We didn’t even get to the good parts yet.” Xigbar taunted.
Xigbar was putting the group on the defensive showing hardly any openings in his attack pattern. “Dammit, you know what, forget this its time to go in blazing!” Naruto summoned his energy and transformed into his new drive form. He then extended the length of the whip and struck Xigbar’s hand disarming him of one of his guns.
“Ow! that’s gonna sting!” Xigbar then saw Xion appear in front of him and delivered a moderate combo strike against him. “Ahhhhh!” The room was engulfed in light and the stage was back to normal.
“Ergh! Not bad, those hits packed quite a punch.” Xigbar reloaded his remaining gun.
Naruto saw the other gun on the floor and picked it up. “Now the fight is even.” Naruto said as he aimed the gun at the owner.
“You know during your friend’s fight with Demyx, I actually made a slight modification to my weapons in the case you guys manage to get your hands on them.” Xigbar stated as he had the biggest smirk on his face.
“Naruto get rid of the gun now!!!” The gun immediately exploded causing Naruto to be blown back and hit the invisible wall severely, making him cough up blood.
Back outside, Sakura was starting to feel guilty on what just happened.
“You ok forehead?” Ino asked as everyone noticed Sakura with her head down.
“That modification Xigbar made, was due to my anger at what Demyx put me, Hinata, and Tenten through. What happened to Naruto is basically karma for what I did! And now he’s using it as payback!” Sakura said feeling guilty.
“It’s all right Sakura.” Ino said.
“Yeah, you couldn’t have known this would happen. None of us could have seen this coming.” Tenten added also feeling a bit of guilt as well.
Back to the fight.
“Naruto hold on! Heal!” Hinata cast a cure spell wiping all the burn wounds.
“Thanks- Agh!” Naruto clutched his arm still feeling the pain.
“Even if you heal the wounds, the nerves will still react to the pain.” Xigbar stated as he rematerialized the gun that was destroyed into his hand now fully repaired and reloaded. “And besides didn’t anyone tell you guys that taking something that doesn’t belong to you, can have severe consequences?” Xigbar said in a mocking tone.
“Shut up!” Xion charged at Xigbar and unleashed a flurry of attacks keeping Xigbar on the defense.
“Whoa! What’s with all the wild swinging?” Xigbar said blocking all of the blows.
Xion kept up her attacks, but none of them were connecting with the body. “Dammit why! How! You were never this strong!”
“As I said before, I’m new and improved.” Xigbar then shot three rounds at Xion at point blank range which Xion blocked in time but Xigbar then fiercely kicked Xion in the stomach causing her to be pushed back.
“Guh!” Xion held her stomach and fired a blizzard spell which hit Xigbar dead center in the chest.
“Ergh! Heh heh. . . looks like you got some fight still left in ya huh? But not for long.” Xigbar Warped to where Xion was on the ground and pointed his gun at her head.
“I’ll still fight even if I’m all spent. Now you guys!” Xion shouted
“What the-!?” Xigbar turned to see both Naruto and Hinata flank him from behind and simultaneously attacked together making him receive massive damage from the dual strike and they finished the combo with Naruto’s rasengan which sent him flying towards the other side of the stage.
“You ok Xion?” Hinata cast a cure spell.
“I’ll be fine.” Xion answered.
“Heh heh- ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!” The trio turned around and saw Xigbar standing without a single scratch on him.
“All right, now were talking!!!”Xigbar’s weapons now started to emit a dark aura.
Everyone was shocked on how fast Xigbar recovered from the Rasengan.
“How is that guy still standing! I mean I know that he’s stronger than most of the guys we fought up till now, but I never thought he would just recover from Naruto’s attack like that!” Kiba said.
“You’re guess is as good as mine Kiba.” Shikamaru said trying to figure out how Xigbar managed to not only recover from the attack earlier, but from how he doesn’t have a single scratch on him.
“H-How, How did you get back up so quickly from that!” Naruto yelled.
“You really expected me to dissolve from that weak impact you called an attack? As If! I told you already, we never got to the good parts yet.” Xigbar stated.
“So all that just a few minutes ago was you just toying with us!?” Xion shouted.
“Bingo kiddos. But let’s drop the first set of kiddy gloves off and get the real fight started.” The bullet clips on Xigbar’s guns started changing colors, from purple to pure black.
You’re still going down you bastard!” Naruto charged at him with another rasengan, however Xigbar just lazily dodged it by side stepping and kicked him back to where the others were at, which made Naruto’s attack dissolve.
“Naruto, are you ok?” Hinata asked.
“Word to the obvious, that won’t exactly work on me if you charge at me head on. Now it’s my turn!” Xigbar teleported further back and pointed one of his guns at the group.
“Huh?”Hinata noticed that Xigbar’s gun was absorbing large quantities of dark energy, and the energy was skyrocketing at an alarming rate.
“Xion! Naruto! We need to get out of the way! He’s unleashing something devastating!” Hinata shouted.
“TAKE THIS!!!” Xigbar fired what looked like his normal bullets, only it was blue with the center black and it was larger than normal.
The group got out of the way, but it bounced off the walls heading right at Naruto as he was still recovering from his dodge.
Hinata intercepted the pathway and deflected the bullet right back to Xigbar, only for him to reabsorb it and shoot it out again but this time without the charge up. The bullet started ricocheting faster, making it very hard to pinpoint when it’s going to go to it’s intended target.
Suddenly, in an instant the bullet found it’s mark as it impacted itself in Naruto, pushing him towards Xigbar as he fired his next charged shot which hit him right in the chest knocking the air out of his lungs, flew across the stage, and slammed against the invisible wall leaving crack marks on where he slammed against, before repairing itself as Naruto fell to the ground face down gasping for air.
"NARUTO!!!" Hinata ran to his side and casted a cure spell, but he was still gasping for air.
"What's wrong? Mr. Hurricane lose his air?" Xigbar mocked.
“You’ll pay for that Xigbar!” Xion charged with her keyblade raised high and swung diagonally, but Xigbar blocked the attack and pushed her back. She slid back and saw Xigbar charging up his gun again.
“TAKE THIS!!!” Xigbar once again fired the large bullet but this time aimed directly at Xion.
Xion deflected the bullet and it started ricocheting out of control until it went to Xigbar who reabsorbed it like last time and fired it again.
Xion managed to block the bullet, but like last time it started moving faster.
“Dammit we can’t be on the defensive forever! There has to be some way to get out of this attack pattern!” Xion was trying to think of ways to beat Xigbar’s pattern while dodging the relentless bullet as well as Xigbar’s regular shots.
“How long can you keep dancing Xion before you trip up?” Xigbar taunted. Suddenly, his face lit up like he just had an idea and temporally stopped his attack and reabsorbed all his bullets.
“Why are you stopping Xigbar, you gonna give up now?” Xion was confused as to why the shooting came to a stop.
"No, I was thinking maybe I should call you by your little nickname I gave you from way back in the Organization days. What do ya say?" Xigbar taunted some more.
Xion went wide-eyed as she looked at Hinata and Naruto who was still on the ground but managed to get his breathing back to normal, both giving her confused looks. "You wouldn't. . ." She growled out.
Xigbar smirked as he twirled one of his arrow guns. "I would. . .Poppet. . ."
Xion twitched as she rush at him. "I AM NO PUPPET! I'M HUMAN NOW!"
“And there’s the angry look I want to see.” Xigbar said as he was lazily blocking and dodging wave after wave of slash attacks coming from an enraged Xion.
“I never knew Xion had such an unyouthful nickname.” Lee shook his head.
“To think she would be called a puppet even in her old job.” Sakura muttered.
“It must be hard for someone to keep being called a puppet over and over again.” Shino adjusted his glasses.
“So it’s fine as long as we still say that she’s human right?” Sai said.
“Sai?” Sakura turned to the painter.
“We keep saying that Xion is human right? Then, can that be enough for her to be human?” Sai asked.
Everyone started thinking on what Sai just said.
“That right, even if everyone in the world says that Xion’s a puppet, to us she’s human!” Kiba said.
“Yeah if the world is against her, we won’t be!” Ino said with flames in her eyes.
“I’m actually surprised you of all people would say something nice Sai, I have newfound respect for you.” Sakura said.
“Really? Thanks ugly forehead.” Sai was thrown across the room.
“And the newfound respect that I had for you just now is gone.” Sakura said as she went back to watching the screen, with everyone else who decided not to comment on what she did to Sai.
“Is this all you can muster poppet?” Xigbar was blocking Xion’s attacks without even trying now.
“AHHHH!!!” Xion lost herself in her anger trying to land a hit on her tormentor.
“I’ll admit your tenacious about trying to kill me, but with the way you are now sooner or later. . .” Xigbar did a low sweep kick, knocking Xion off her feet and points his gun at her head. “You lose your focus.” Xigbar smirked.
“Shut up!” Xion growled as Xigbar jumped back from Naruto and Hinata’s slash attacks.
“Xion you all right?” Hinata asked.
“Yeah I’ll live, thanks for that.” Xion got up.
“You need to calm down Xion. This is exactly what Xigbar wants.”
“Yeah, you’re so worked up you’re not focusing on him.” Naruto added.
Xion looked down “You’re right, it’s just that back then I never really knew what that nickname was until it was too late.”
“I take it you wanted to get back at him for that name right?” Naruto asked blocking nine shots.
“Yeah. . .” Xion answered blocking six shots.
“You can get back at him by not losing your cool, as much as I hate to admit it, Xigbar did make a good point by saying that you lose your focus if you just swing wildly like you did back there.” Hinata stated blocking ten shots.
“You’re right, thanks for snapping me out guys.” Xion took point and renewed her posture and reignited her spirit as she blocked the oncoming shots.
“Well well, so miss poppet finally managed to move on has she?” Xigbar said noticing all of her rage just vanished.
“That’s right Xigbar, now it’s time for you to taste defeat!” Xion crossed her arms with hands stretched out and gathered both of her friend's energy as it coiled around her, wrapping itself until it burst showing her in final form.
"Hmph, let's see your newly repaired spirit then." the trio took their battle stances as more dark energy started to gather in Xigbar's guns.
Xion launched herself at Xigbar, but before she could do anything a bright flash blinded the the trio and the stage layout changed again to a small platform and Xigbar was in the middle as he started pouring out energy from his body.
“I have a little game for ya!” Xigbar started spinning, shooting his guns as his bullets were now glowing white.
“Not this routine again!” Naruto shouted as the team dodged while in Xion’s case blocked them with her Keyblades. Xigbar then warped out of the stage and started shooting faster making the team dodge and block the bullets from all directions until Xigbar returned to the center and his guns were glowing bright as they spun insanely at a fast rate.
“Now, let’s see how ya dance!” Xigbar created two black holes crossed his arms as he put his guns in both the black holes, and held down the trigger firing endlessly.
The trio went back to back as they saw multiple bullets coming at them fast. They were blocking as many as they could, while some of them managed to scrape their limbs, but they didn’t feel the pain as their focus was on blocking the incoming shots. As more bullets kept appearing, Xion decided to put up a reflect barrier to block the rest of the oncoming bullets until the room flashed again and the stage layout was back to normal.
The group fell to their knees trying to recover from both the blocking plus the wounds they sustained from the bullets they couldn’t block.
“Ow. . . that’s gonna leave a mark.” Naruto flinched feeling the nerves reacting.
“That it you guys? You’re not giving up now are you?” Xigbar stood on the opposite side of the stage sporting a disappointing look.
“In you’re dreams!” Xion shouted breathing heavily.
“Well good to hear. Let’s see you block this one then!” Xigbar pointed one of his guns at Xion and said person expected him to shoot his charged bullet, but what Xion saw shocked her as the bullets from Xigbar’s clip broke off and went in front of Xigbar now spiraling around just like what Xaldin did with his lances during the previous fight.
“You too!!!” Naruto shouted.
“Now time for you to feel the pain!!!” Xigbar pulled the trigger and instead of bullets coming out, a laser blast headed straight for Xion.
Xion casted a reflect spell to block the attack, but the beam pierced right through the shield like butter and went right through Xion’s right arm.
“AHHHHHHHH!!!” Xion fell to her knees screaming in agonizing pain, as she clutched her arm which completely showed no damage.
“XION!” Both her teammates shouted.
“You like my new technique? While it is just like how Marluxia’s method of attack works by leaving the body unharmed, Mine on the other hand is unblockable by magic, and it attacks the nerves it hits instead of just one primary target.” Xigbar said smirking at his results.
“THAT’S IT YOU BASTARD!!!” Naruto summoned thirty clones and all of them charged at Xigbar. However, he spun while firing his laser technique, passing through all of the clones and in an instant, all of the clones were gone and Naruto fell to the ground now writhing in excruciating pain.
“NARUTO!!!” Hinata shouted.
“Another plus is that if I hit any copies, the original gets the full burn of the attack. And like I told you in the beginning, the faster you summon your clones, the faster I put them down.” Xigbar said still smirking as he kicked Naruto to where his friends were.
Both Xion and Naruto were on their knees still stunned, trying to shake off the pain. Hinata got in front of them bringing her keyblade forward.
“Well well, so Miss Pale eyes wants to go next.” Xigbar mocked.
“I won’t let you have your way any longer.” Hinata took her stance.
“Hmph.” Xigbar fired at Hinata and she deflected the beam upwards with her keyblade.
“I knew it.” Hinata said.
“Well well, you caught on. How did you figure it out?” Xigbar asked.
“You told us that your attack was unblockable. However, you said it can’t be block through magic methods and you never mentioned any physical methods in your statement.” Hinata answered.
“Well give the girl a round of applause. You’re right, my technique was made to combat people who rely too much on their magic. After all, people today are using magic instead of strength nowadays if you look at it. Wouldn't you agree?” Xigbar said.
Hinata thought about what Xigbar said, and she realized that his words are making some sense to her in a way.
“While you have figured out the flaw in my attack, it doesn’t mean that you have already achieved victory.” Xigbar said readying another laser blast.
“This guy is pulling out one trick after another.” Kiba said looking at the battle.
“Well this is the right hand man of the organization, so it would make sense.” Shino stated.
“Though times like this, I wish the fight was more like the other ones.” Sakura said looking at Naruto and Xion with concern.
Hinata was now on full defense mode as she was deflecting laser shots with her keyblade, letting none of them get past her while her two teammates were still trying to get back up.
As the laser shots were increasing, Xion threw her keyblade to Hinata grabbing it and now started deflecting the shots twice as much.
“Well I’ll admit You’re really good at defending, it makes me wonder how long you’re little routine is going to last until you can delay the inevitable defeat no more.” Xigbar stated not letting up on his laser barrage.
“I’ll never give up! I’ll keep defending my friends!” Hinata said in determination while under fire.
“Then I guess it’s time, for me to put an end you’re futile effort.” Xigbar took aim and shot Xion’s keyblade out of Hinata’s hand and combined his two guns to fire a concentrated laser at Hinata which said person brought her keyblade in front of her and is now standing her ground as the beam was pushing her back.
“Looks like you’ll just have to learn the hard way.” Xigbar said.
“Guh! I’m. . . still. . . standing!” Hinata was struggling with her teeth gritted together now closing her eyes to keep the beam from overwhelming her.
“Just try to-!” Xigbar was still maintaining his attack until he realized something. “H-Hey, you’re not gonna-!”
Too late, the beam was starting to change color from white to blue with lightning of the same color discharging from it, hitting Hinata as she redirected the beam back to Xigbar.
Xigbar broke off his attack to reabsorb the beam and saw the blue lightning that discharged from his attack moments ago, was now coursing through Hinata’s body as she fell to one knee.
“Hinata! Are you all right!?” Xion and Naruto managed to get up and got close to Hinata.
“D-don’t worry, I-I’m fine.” Lightning was still going through her body.
“Fine!? You’re body is discharging blue lightning and you’re saying that you’re fine!?”
“I-It’s not a-as painful as it l-looks.” Hinata muttered.
“Looks like the electricity bill is going to cost her an arm and a leg.” Xigbar taunted.
“You shut up!” Xion shouted.
Xigbar then fired three fast shots at the group knocking them back onto the floor. “You’re all tired from being defensive, as well as enduring the pain I put you guys through. Oh well, I dragged this fight out long enough, time to end it.”
Xigbar put his guns together and charged up his attack. “It can’t end like this.” Xion thought as Xigbar completed his charge up and fired a concentrated laser at the group, only for it to be intercepted by Hinata who was blocking it with her bare hands covered with chakra instead of her keyblade.
“What!?” Xigbar was caught off guard from the reckless maneuver Hinata was pulling.
“HINATA!!!” Naruto shouted while Xion was trying to reach out to Hinata as she was flinching at the nerves that were being set off in her hands.
“I-I’ll. . . p-p-pro-tect m-m-my. . . f-f-frie-nds!” Hinata muttered through her pain. Unknown to everyone, some of Xion’s energy was transferring itself to Hinata as she was blocking Xigbar’s laser attack.
“Hmph! You actually believe that you’ll win. As If! Why not just give up this futile struggle!!!” Xigbar shouted.
Hinata’s Eyes had a burning resolve in them. “I-I’ll . . .” Hinata remembered all of the hardships, pain, and promises she made to herself pass through in an instant.
Her heart was starting to beat faster as more memories and dreams passed before her.
“I’ll. . .!” From seeing Naruto’s resolve everyday.
“I’ll. . .!” to seeing herself in a new tomorrow for everyone.
“I’ll. . .!” to seeing herself renewing her promise to bring Neji back home to Konoha.
“I’ll. . . N-Never. . .”
“GIVE UP!!!!!” Hinata was enveloped in a sphere of light, causing Xigbar to once again brake off his attack, and shielded himself from the blinding light.
The screen was flashing so brightly, everyone had to cover their eyes even Shino who had sunglasses.
“Wha- What’s happening!?” Sakura shouted.
“I don’t know!” Ino replied.
Kakashi who was able to shake off the bright glare, lifted up his headband and showed his Sharingan and while it was blurry, he could see what was happening in the sphere.
Inside the sphere------
The blue lightning was starting to intensify as it kept going from one part of the body to another, until it discharged completely from Hinata’s body and into the sphere.
The lightning started to course throughout the sphere’s interior and multiplied itself until all of the blue electric discharges directed their path to Hinata who was in the center. However, instead of electrocuting her, the blue lightning was starting to change her clothes to the same blue color and her keyblade was spinning in front of her.
After a few moments, Hinata crossed her arms and flew them out causing the sphere to brake. The shards formed into bright spheres and gathered into her keyblade and it launch itself into the air.
As the light cleared out, everyone including the people outside saw Hinata now in new blue clothes. She grabbed her keyblade as it came in front of her, and spun it around casting a Cure spell on herself and her teammates.
The green light passed through the trio and not only did it heal their wounds, but wiped away their fatigue.
“Hey, I feel better! My burn wounds are gone and my fatigue is going away!” Naruto said getting up.
“As I said before, I will protect my friends. And I am not giving up.” Hinata took her stance.
Everyone was in awe at Hinata’s new form.
“Would you look at that!” Kiba shouted.
“She really has change a lot over the span of two years.” Shino said.
“You can say that again Shino.” Sakura said remembering the days at the academy and seeing Hinata today.
“So what!? you think new clothes could beat me? As if! You may have new powers, but as with Sora and his group, I won’t go down that easily!” Xigbar started emitting more dark aura.
“Xion, Naruto you guys ok?” Hinata asked.
“Yeah, thanks to your powered up spell.” Xion said.
“Come on, let’s put this guy down!!!” Naruto threw his blades into the air and caught them with the whip retracting turning itself back to normal, then emitted red energy forming into a curved blade. His clothes also changed from green, to the same red color as the blades.
“What, you tired of being green Whiskers?” Xigbar laughed.
Nope, just wanted to use something different to shut that mouth of your permanently!” Naruto shouted going into fighting stance.
“Yeah whatever. Anyway let the carnage continue!” Xigbar resumed his firing and targeted the trio as they scattered.
Naruto summoned five clones, but three of them got shot down giving Naruto a slight jolt of pain but shook it off, while the remaining two blocked their shots aimed for them and got near the two keyblade wielders as they were under fire.
Xion and Hinata were blocking the shots with their keyblades, then Hinata got close and engaged in key to gun combat with both attackers dodging each others shots at point blank range, until Hinata kicked him away and fired a blizzard spell slightly larger than Xion’s version, which hit him in his shoulder making him flinch.
“Argh! That one’s got more power than the last one.” Xigbar then saw Xion charging at him. He fired and he saw Naruto’s clone get in front of her and took the bullet making him disappear and Naruto flinched a bit.
“Well, nice job using your own teammate’s clone as a human meat shield.” Xigbar praised.
Xion’s eyebrow twitched. “For the last time I’m not using him as a shield!” She shouted annoyed that Xigbar was saying the same thing as the group outside before the fight.
“See even Xigbar gets the picture!” Kiba said.
“You know, it’s kinda funny seeing how we all came to the same conclusion.”
“Now that I think about it, with everyone changing their fighting styles and stuff, let me in on the trend.” Xigbar crossed his arms covering his head and darkness started erupting from his guns.
“OH, COME ON!!!” Xion shouted as the team covered shielded their eyes.
As the darkness subsided, they saw Xigbar was dual wielding two of his long rifles, and he spun the rifles around like they were his normal weapons. “All right kiddos, let’s take off the second set of kiddy gloves and have some fun!” Xigbar as he aimed both his long rifles at the trio.
Xigbar fired one the rifles and the shot looked like his charged shot, only it was pure white like his shots from his desperation and he didn’t have to charge it.
They all dodged the shot and expected it to bounce off the wall but they saw the bullet impact itself on the wall and exploded. “Yeah, while I can now shoot my charged bullets like I would do with my normal bullets, the drawback is that they can’t bounce, but on the plus side, they explode if they come into contact with the wall.” Xigbar stated as he continued firing his rifles with precise accuracy.
Everyone was on the defensive once more as they were deflecting Xigbar’s new instant charged shots, while keeping away from the walls to avoid getting caught by a backlash. Hinata aimed and fired three shots, but Xigbar fired three shots canceling both attacks out.
Naruto then summoned seven clones during the shootout, and charged at Xigbar, but he spun his rifles around blocking all of Naruto’s attacks from every angle, and shot them down causing Naruto to feel pain, then roundhouse kicked the real one in the head making him stumble backwards. Then Xion took over by passing him and brought her two keyblades above her and brought them down, only to be blocked by one of the rifles and on instinct, she moved one of her keyblades in front of her body as Xigbar fired his other rifle at her stomach blocking the bullet completely Then she moved both rifles away leaving Xigbar wide open, and jumped in the air as Hinata fired a Ragnarok strike that had a more focused spread fire than Sora’s and all shots hit Xigbar’s body.
“Gah! Now this is getting good!” Xigbar was smiling as he brought both rifles above his head and fired in the air.
The trio looked up and saw multiple waves of bullet showers locked on them and bolted towards where they were standing.
Both Keyblade wielders took their stances and started blocking for their lives while Naruto summoned ten clones and charged through deflecting the shots coming down on them. seven of the clones got shot down, while the other three got below Xigbar and kicked him hard enough to be launched into the air halting the bullet rain.
“Guh!” Xigbar saw the real Naruto in front of him charging both of his blades until he swung them cutting Xigbar’s body, but his rifles saved him in time from the majority of the attack while his shoulders were slashed.
“Ergh!” Xigbar flinched as he countered Naruto by pushing him away and when Xion tried to slash him, he warped away from them and fired six shots at Xion’s back, but was intercepted by Hinata’s shots which caused the attacks to explode in mid air.
Xigbar fired eight shots going for Naruto and before Hinata could react, he warped in front of Hinata and engaged in close gun combat and despite Hinata having improved speed movement thanks to her new form, Xigbar is still able to keep up with her as he tossed one of his rifles in the air, then uppercutted Hinata with enough power to launch her in the air. He warped to his rifle which was above Hinata, took aim and fired, but Naruto’s other clone pushed her out of the way taking the hit disappearing.
“Tch, forgot about the other one.” Xigbar muttered while Hinata was caught by Xion as Naruto blocked the shots aimed for them.
“Time to end it!” Xigbar warped and combined his rifles to fire a beam attack only the color was now pure black and as it reached midway, it scattered burst in all directions.
“What the-!” Everyone barely dodged the oncoming attack, but nothing major was hit other than a few scrapes however, even if they were small the cuts had the same pain as a regular slash mark.
“Ngh! Not yet, Heal!” Hinata casted a cure spell to heal everyone’s wounds.
“Xion, Naruto, cover me! We'll take him down with this next attack!” Hinata shouted at her two friends.
“Huh? Okay you got it!”
“Right we got your back!”
Hinata brought her keyblade forward as energy started to slowly store itself in the blade.
“Oh no you don’t!” Xigbar fired five shots at Hinata but were intercepted by Naruto.
“You’re not getting anywhere near her!” Naruto summoned sixty clones forming a circle around Hinata while Xion joined in near the center as a last line defense.
“Oh, so Mr. Whiskers and Lil Poppet thinks they can protect pale eyes. Let’s see how long you can hold out!” Xigbar began firing multiple shots while warping around making hundreds and thousands of bullets converging on Hinata’s position from all directions.
“Man, this guy really doesn’t know when to quit!” Kiba said
“Judging from his attack pattern, Xigbar is getting desperate.” Kakashi said.
“How can you tell Sensei?” Sakura asked.
“With the way he’s trying to get to Hinata is one way, also I noticed that his movements have started slowing down for awhile.”
“But Sensei, I don’t exactly see Xigbar slowing down at all.” Sakura said.
“Don’t worry Sakura, They will pull through like always.” Kakashi reassured his student.
“Brace yourselves everybody!” Naruto told his clones plus Xion as they were blocking the shots with full determination, not letting a single bullet pass them and not moving from their guarded position.
When one clone would start to falter and show signs of weakness, they would just shake it off and continue blocking. And when they would lose one or both of their blades, they would cover their hands with red chakra and block the bullets with their hands on instinct alone.
But even with all of the determination in the world, sooner or later the clones would start disappearing one by one. After what seemed like hours to Naruto, two of his clones were still alive but the rest were gone, but both him and Xion were still standing.
“Both of you stand back!” Hinata shouted.
Her teammates nodded and jumped back as Hinata spun her keyblade forward and took aim and fired two spheres at Xigbar which hit him at high speed.
“Guh!” Xigbar didn’t have time to think as he saw Hinata spin her keyblade twice and fired four spheres which hit him in both arms.
Hinata spun her weapon three times and fired eight spheres. Then four times to fire sixteen, then five for thirty-two, until she tossed her keyblade in the air and got behind Xigbar who didn’t have time to react as she caught her keyblade and fired sixty-four spheres point blank into Xigbar which sent him towards Naruto who responded with a Odama Rasengan and sent Xigbar flying upwards to meet Xion and got Crossed Slashed to the ground where it left a crater.
“Gaaaaahhhh!!!” Xigbar was laying in a small crater in the center of the stage. One of his rifles were beyond repair, and his right arm was showing small static marks. Unknown to the group a green spot was glowing on his wrist and it left his body as it now showed itself as a light green sphere and turned into a lifeless grey color now.
“And stay down there.” Xion muttered as she collapsed from everything that just happened.
Naruto and Hinata soon followed Xion and collapsed to their knees as they were exhausted. Hinata tried casting a cure spell to heal her friend’s fatigue, but she lost the ability raise her keyblade to cast anything.
“Finally. . . It’s over!” Naruto let out a sigh.
“Yeah there’s no way he getting back up after that.” Xion was starting to feel relaxed.
“Heh, GHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!” The trio was frozen in place as they recognized that voice.
“We’re not done yet! NOT BY A LONG SHOT!!!” They saw Xigbar getting out of the crater but now had only one of his rifles in his left hand since his right arm was no longer part of his body and data was leaking out in streams.
“You really are stubborn Xigbar!” Xion got up but her muscles were dead to her as she forced herself to get into her stance just like her other teammates as their bodies were at their limit as well.
“How is it you are still able to fight!? You lost one of you’re weapons, lost an arm, and on top of all that, you just got dealt the biggest insane attack we gave to you and you still manage to hold on! HOW!!!” Naruto demanded.
Xigbar was silent until he spoke. “Honestly. . . I just don’t know. For some odd reason, I should be fading away after that attack. But it seems the data that keeps me intact refuses to give up.” Xigbar answered as streams of data were no longer leaking out.
“Then we’ll keep on beating you until there is no more data left to repair you!” Naruto said trying to take his stance but it took more strength than usual to get into position.
“Actually, I just realized throughout this whole thing, I never took off. . . my third set of kiddy gloves yet.” The trio’s faces were now paling.
“Oh come on!!! You have got to be joking!!! I’m barely running on chakra, and he still has another level to show us!!!” Naruto thought in his mind.
“Dammit why! Of all the times to lose the strength to cast a simple cure spell.” Hinata muttered cursing herself for being in a weak position.
Xigbar pointed his rifle and took aim at the group. But what came next took everyone by surprise. He let go of his Rifle making it dematerialize as it fell to the ground.
“Nah I think I’ll let Mr. Original do that part of the job.” Xigbar fell to one knee smirking.
“W-What are you doing!?” Xion was confused to what Xigbar .
“What it looks like, I give up.” Xigbar said shocking the group and the people outside.
“What are you playing at Xigbar!” Xion demanded.
“Well let’s see, I lost my arm, I can only have one of my rifles in play, and I lost my healing gear in that attack, plus I was never implanted the third level. Also, I’m pretty sure you have some questions for me.” Xigbar said.
“Well yeah I do, but I never thought I would see you give up.” Xion said.
“There is something called first time for everything. So I might as well try and answer whatever before the data in me corrupts and I disintegrate.” Xigbar said.
“Well I’ll get straight to the point, what made you decide to go with Master Xehanort’s plans?” Xion asked.
“Hmm, many years ago the old coot came to me and told me the power of the keyblade. And back then, I wanted to use one as well.” Xigbar answered.
“You’re greed is what made you join him!?” Naruto shouted.
“Bingo whiskers! After all, power can do many things for someone. I’m pretty sure you seen it’s work in action right?” Xigbar said.
Naruto was reminded by his teammate, and looked down.
“Well then, why didn’t you warp so much like you would always do?” Xion asked the next question.
“So you noticed, Mr. Original only implanted partial warping privileges for me but to compensate, he implanted the best hand to hand combat abilities in me to make up for it.” Xigbar answered.
“And how was it that you managed to keep up with Hinata in that fight? You may have the combat skills, but keeping up with Hinata’s new speed can’t give you that.” Naruto asked out of curiosity, now out of his short depression.
“That was just the use of good old keen hand-eye coordination. Something all shooters like me pickup combined with heightened senses I made throughout my career as a shooter.” Xigbar said.
“Next question, how were you able to get up from the everything that happened to you? From Naruto’s rasengan which blasted you from one end of the stage to another, to our trinity attack and you still managed get back up.” Xion asked remembering that while Xigbar was strong, he was not that strong enough to get back up from fatal attacks in a blink of an eye let alone without a scratch.
“That was all thanks to the healing gear Mr. Original installed. I’m sure you are familiar with the usage of gears Xion?” Xigbar said.
“I thought you guys stopped using those!” Xion was shocked that the organization still had their hands on them.
“Umm, Xion what are gears?” Hinata asked.
“Back when I worked for the Organization, they made equipment that let us use different weapons and allowed us to use any kind of magic in the field even if it wasn’t our primary element.” Xion said remembering all kinds of gears that she, Roxas, Axel, and everyone else equipped on themselves when going on missions.
“Kinda sounds like the Organization’s version of Materia usage.” Hinata said.
“Well this next question might be a long shot, but what is Master Xehanort planning?” Xion asked.
“Sorry but I wasn’t implanted with the permission or knowledge on what happens now. And even if I did, I still wouldn’t say anything.” Xigbar said.
“Well it was worth a try. I guest that settles my questions.” Xion said.
“For now. . . I’ll save the rest of my questions for the real you.”
“Well then, See ya. . .” Xigbar started fading slowly.
“Oh yeah, I forgot to say one last thing to miss pale eyes.” He turned his attention to Hinata.
“Huh?” Hinata wondered.
“You might be fooling the others and your friends, but that aura of despair will never be hidden from me and the others.” Xigbar’s sentence shocked her and her teammates.
“W-What?” Hinata stuttered.
“What are you talking about?” Xion wondered what he was saying to Hinata.
“As they say, the people bathed in the light the most, are the ones that give off the most darkness.” Xigbar said not listening.
“Hey Xion gave you a question, so I suggest answering it!” Naruto shouted grabbing Xigbar by the cloak.
“Heh, and they say the ones who bark the loudest, will be consumed first!” Xigbar then let out an insane laugh.
“neh heh heh heh heh heh heh!” “neh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!” “AH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!” Xigbar faded away, with the laughing still lingering in the hall for a while until it was deadly silent.