Chapter 45 - Hardships
“Woohoo!” Shinyaki danced around his two opponents, not allowing them to circle around him. “Yeehaw!” he was more agile, and faster, and every time the twins surrounded him, he would jump over, or slide around or under one of the two, removing that one advantage.
And the fact he was having fun just made it all worse since they were really trying.
“And I draw blood again!” He yelled, as he managed to inflict a shallow cut on Sanpu. Nothing too serious, it wouldn’t even phase him, but still, the twins were incurring cuts here and there while Shinyaki kept going on unscathed.
“Damn it, sis! We’re not going to be able to surround him!”
“Full-frontal!” He yelled, launching forward. She followed him and Shinyaki just grinned, wide-eyed and excited while closing his scythes around them.
They both span to opposite sides, whacking the blades way and then finishing the spins to slash at Shinyaki who hopped back just in time to avoid death.
Swords still cut across his torso, drawing blood.
“HA!” Sanpu yelled, leaping after him, “there’s your blood, you bastard!”
“Hahahaha,” Fuun’na followed.
“HA HA!” Shinyaki wasn’t the least bit scared. He fumbled the scythes around in his hands and thrust them with their butts at Fuun’na. She tried to block them but the target was too small.
“Ack!” She was knocked back by one of them hitting her in the chest.
Shinyaki then hopped right to avoid a downward slash from Sanpu before spinning and turning his scythes around, providing a double slash at Sanpu from his side.
Sanpu had crushed the ground with his swing, but seeing the response coming his way, he just grinned his teeth and forced his sword to swing back at the attacking blades.
“RRAAHH!” He pulled it, rupturing through concrete to bring it to a clash against the scythes, bouncing them back.
“I’LL KILL YOU!”
The knocked scythes quickly spun in reaction, one of them thrusting its butt to hit Sanpu’s belly.
The other scythe came down at Sanpu from above, knocking his head into crashing on the floor. He could have impaled it, Shinyaki, but he instead hit it with the blunt end.
“Boy, focus on getting me angry first. At the very least!”
Shinyaki saw Fuun’na coming at him from his side so he slashed the scythe he had used to poke at Sanpu’s belly, but Fuun’na skillfully ducked under it.
Shinyaki slightly turned while stepping away one step, and thrust the other scythe’s butt at her but she did a mid-air body-spin that dodged the attack, and hopped, axe pulled back.
So, Shinyaki let go of the scythes with a smile across his face, ducked under the mighty slash and then nailed an uppercut right on her belly.
The strike was so violent it kept her suspended in the air in the time it took for Shinyaki to bring his left hand around for a violent hook. It rocked the air around her before sending her off flying.
She hadn’t even hit the floor when Shinyaki hopped, lightly kicking the scythes back up so he could grab them. He landed and posed towards Sanpu at about the time Fuun’na’s grunts could be heard as she hit the floor.
Sanpu opened his eyes, breathing hard, already getting up.
“I’m going to humiliate you,” Shinyaki said, his eyes themselves filling up with anger, “and then I’m going to kill you.”
Meanwhile, Pixa was shooting through another illusion. The whole room was full with pockets of smoke and small craters, most definitely burst from Pixa’s attacks missing their mark. Pixa was surrounded by copies of Fiahra, and as such, she was frantically looking around trying to keep them from reaching her by attacking whichever got close enough.
There were a lot of them.
“Hhahahahahah,” the copies laughed and taunted Pixa.
“Little girl wants to be a fighter,” “how cute,” “little cute Lan wanting to fight,” “with big lights,” “if you call that big,” “big small beams of light,” “I am so strong ’cause I can shoot light,” “hahahahahahaha!”
“SHUT UP!” Pixa shot another clone, but it just bent around her beam like an illusion made of smoke, which it was, and continued moving towards her.
Pixa then started shooting smaller beams, just to test out the clones, memorizing which was which. She jumped out from in-between them, if only to get more visibility.
“Show yourself, coward!”
“Coward?” “It’s called strategy, sweetheart,” “so cute,” “hahhaha…”
“Is money the only reason you’re doing this? You’d get involved in starting a war…in so many deaths… for money?”
“Oh?” “That not good enough?” “Are dreams better?” “So cute!” “Aspirations?” “Hahahaa!!” “Patriotism?” “Don’t be a child!” “Blind loyalty?” “Vengeance?” “Justice?” “Peace!”
“That’s one of the favorites, isn’t it?!” “Peace!” “We want peace, so let’s take them down!” “That’s his big motive.” “So much better than mine…” “So much better than money.” “You child.” “You cute child, you.” “So naive.”
Pixa frowned in anger. The rectangles were all flashing and joining in loud collisions, shooting out harmless light as they concentrated and built a larger square in front of her.
“Mock me all you want, you murderous bi--”
“Whoah!” “Hahahahh!” “She’s angry I think,” “I’d have to agree,” “that’s not so cute.”
“You’re going down!”
But as Pixa held her breath, her chest rising as her concentrated power readied to burst, the clones popped and exploded. First the ones on the back, which pushed the ones on the front forward and by the time they exploded, they filled Pixa in that silvery smoke of Fiahra’s.
Pixa yelped “ahh!” The beam shot out broken and divided, into tiny little beams, in a display of light that made the puff of smoke more vivid and alive.
“What the sh—CHOO!”
She suddenly felt awful. Her insides ached and her eyes were burning. She scratched them with her arm, trying to open them, trying to see through the tears and pain.
Of all the nasty tricks she could pull…
“Hahahahha, well, I guess I win,” “you little cutie,” “fight it and it’ll only get worse,” “let it go and it won’t hurt that much.” “You lose.” “Don’t take it personal.” “Everyone does.”
Pixa lost strength in her legs, falling down, but she placed her hands forward and grabbed the floor, keeping her torso up.
“Aff…” she coughed, straining her lungs and heart to keep running, “agh…ack,” the pain was immense, and any other day, it might have been enough to make her keel over.
But not that day.
“UGggrrrr…” She stood up, slowly.
“Really?” “No problem,” “can’t you hear our voices?” “we have more.” “Cutie.” “So sad,” “so very sad.” “You won’t be able to survive the next,” “no you won’t.”
Desperate, she held her left hand up with her right, focused and shot a beam at the shadow of a Fiahra, amidst the smoke. But it again simply folded as if smoke. She was too weak to jump or move away.
“It’s over, dear.” “You’re done,” “such a shame.”
She looked with teary eyes at the surrounding shadows in the fog, slowly approaching her. Trying to think of a way to beat her. A way to survive.
Meanwhile, Persephonai had incurred about five cuts, twice that in bruises and was just then pulling a dagger out of a wound in his leg. He was shining with a golden light that was slowly healing his injuries while at the same time creating a radius of visibility around him.
“Tell me why, Dana! Please!” He threw the dagger at the ground.
He was slowly finding out that his ability to uncover her was utterly useless because she, it turned out, was really that much of a better fighter. In fact, she was right in front of him, looking at him with the same emotionless look as always, not bothering to hide anymore.
“I won’t go away. I really won’t. You’ll have to kill me,” he said, giving a painful step towards her, staffs in hand.
“You’re not strong enough,” she simply said, holding a dagger in reverse in each hand.
He thrust a staff at her head but she leaned her torso out of the way. He swung it to hit her but she cleanly ducked under and then thrust a dagger vertically to the side to block the other staff, thrust forward her other dagger to rest it at his neck.
She drew some blood and pulled away.
“Stop,” she said, almost pleadingly.
He held his palm over the wound. It glowed, closing the wound amidst a small grunt of effort.
“No…if I stop, you’re doomed. Just talk to me!”
She attacked again.
And while all that was going on, Agathon landed hard on the ground, a wall of rock rising up from the ground.
“YEAH RIGHT!” Jomiko just leapt at it, diving fists first into punching through it.
Arata, though, threw and swung the chains on his right sword in order to slice at the top of the wall, about ten feet high. The sword stuck so he jumped and pulled on it to further gain height, and then rolled over the top of the wall, stepping on it to jump off of it.
He front-flipped again in mid-air, pulling the blade off the rock to create a flinging motion that sped up the slash he attacked Agathon with. At around the same time, Jomiko was sliding feet first to collide with Agathon’s legs.
“HRUMPF!” Agathon pulled his hands back, and then pushed at the ground to intercept Jomiko with exploding flames that emerged from his hand, meanwhile whacking the sword aside with one of his horns.
“CRIPES!” Jomiko elbowed the ground hard to vault her body side-ways, managing to avoid instant death by a hair’s length. In fact, by even less than that, as strings of her hair actually caught fire. It was put out when she spun to get up, a moment later, not having noticed that small detail, as well as the scorched crater that could have been her.
“YAH!” Arata gave a strong left slash at Agathon’s head, all the while pulling back the other sword into his grasp. Agathon span to the side though, avoiding the weapon and actually smacking it aside, throwing a second punch, spinning again, to hit Arata’s jumbling body hard, but the strike was caught by Jomiko. Her hand was roughly half the size of his, but still it took the hit firmly, palm opened and shivering with equal force. Arata tumbled into the ground safely.
“Grr!” Agathon threw another fist but she caught that too, and then they pushed each other, trying to break each other’s strength…
“Grr….you’re nothing…without the sto--” she was interrupted by Arata, who stepped on her shoulder to jump over her and attack Agathon by slashing his swords down together.
Agathon opened his eyes wide and turned his head to defend against the strike with his horn. They collided, a small concussive force exploding around the point of impact.
The strike ricocheted off, putting Arata too off balance for an immediate second attack. So he landed and watched Agathon’s left horn falling on the floor. All three of them just looked at it in silence as it rolled to a stop, abandoned and disconnected.
Then Arata grinned towards Jomiko and pointed at it.
Jomiko reddened, fuming.
“DAMMIT!” She pulled Agathon’s hands apart, opening his arms, “you bull-headed weakling!” She quickly rose her right foot, kicking him between the legs.
While he flinched from the pain, she brought forward the arm she had pulled while kicking, “you made me lose to Arata!” She hit him straight in the face with so much force she cut some skin off her hand and generated yet another concussive backlash.
Agathon was propelled back, tumbled across the floor until he finally clashed against the wall of the room. And there, with his cloak ruined, he opened his eyes in surprised confusion.
“What? You think we’d go easy on ya?” Jomiko asked, adjusting her right glove.
“We’re kind of in a hurry,” Arata smiled apologetically, scratching the back of his head.
Agathon squinted his eyes, insulted. And snorted in frustration.