Chapter 50 - Killing Intent
Katsuryu had yet to have been hit when Jomiko was finally struck down to the ground, having missed a block. Arata tried to take advantage of that moment to cut him but a platform rose from the ground and hit him so hard he flew all the way to the ceiling, bouncing off violently.
“You clearly do not realize the futility of your struggle,” Katsuryu stated, just before Arata fell to the ground, landing on his feet with a grunt of pain, “perhaps if I stop indulging in this nonsensical melee of yours?”
He edged his head towards Jomiko and an unseen force hit her, pushing her back to the wall next to the door. He looked at Arata and flicked a finger at him, and he felt a kinetic explosion, twice his size, hitting against the swords he had crossed in his defense.
He flew back through the air, regaining his bearings half-way through his glide and thus managing to again land on his feet, even though it still took a second for him to come to a stop. Jomiko got up and looked at Katsuryu with sharpened eyesight. She spat to the side and coughed her lungs clean, and then rushed again.
“Yes, I think I’ve just about had it with you two.”
Katsuryu grinned in her direction, waving down his left arm at her. An invisible force crushed through her with thunderous might, opening three feet worth of a breach in the floor, dust and bits of rock shooting out to the sides, and they were all that hit her.
She had dodged it.
Katsuryu grinned expectantly and turned towards her thrusting his right hand, still clasping the stone, in her face. A dark purplish - almost liquefied - gas shot out from his hand, concealing the fact she had ducked under it for a second too many.
She punched him in the gut to the sound of one of her fingers breaking.
His body was enveloped some kind of protection! Still, the punch carried force and so he found himself sliding back across the floor, and exhibiting very surprised face.
He used the few seconds he had just before he actually stopped to frown in insult and thrust his hands over and over again, shooting a hail of dark spheres which seemed to contain a spark at their core, as if holding concentrated lightning.
Jomiko jumped out of the way, already expecting the spheres to explode, which they did. They electrified and charred everything they touched, and left behind some kind of noxious gas, but Jomiko was putting all her strength into her jumps and dives, dodging whatever bombs he aimed right at her, so they’d go explode far behind her.
Arata came from behind Katsuryu, but a wall of violet-colored flame rose to stop him. He did stop, but only for as much time as he needed to take a few steps back and wind up a jump.
He jumped through it, front-flipping so he’d be feet-up as he traversed the wall of flames, spinning his right sword above his head, to block the flames, all the while motioning his left sword, winding up a swing.
Katsuryu felt the flames against the back of his feet and so turned to see Arata’s left sword bearing down on him.
“You have to--” his forearm shielded his face, the sword cracking at an invisible outer skin, “be kidding me!” He waved his arm like a whip, a backlash of kinetic force shooting out so powerfully it blew the flames behind Arata afar, but Arata had back-flipped, and but smelling the sweat in the Rei arm as it flew across his face, he took his foot to meet with Katsuryu’s chin.
It felt like kicking rock, but it unnerved Katsuryu to no end. Arata fell on his back, and Katsuryu was fast to point both arms at him.
But a round-house kick to the head made him miss his aim, the corroding green goo that he shot instead overwhelming the ground next to Arata, immediately starting to melt through it.
Arata rolled away while Katsuryu staggered to the side, and then turned and waved back his sword while Jomiko span around the other side, on one foot, to slash a kick at Katsuryu’s side.
“ENOUGH!” Katsuryu again shot off some kind of kinetic explosion all around him, expelling both Arata and Jomiko back.
He looked at Arata with angry eyes.
“Enough. Enough. Enough.” His body blinked all three times, with each statement, because he was casting spells on himself.
Arata got up and, despite the fact he knew what was coming, he simply did not have the speed to protect himself. He felt his head being grabbed, his body snatched off his feet.
“I WILL MURDER YOU!”
And then he heard rock and stone being torn apart by his head. He lost the sense of things after that, his conscience leaving him…
“Gah!” She awoke as if from a nightmare. She wasn’t sure where she was, and she felt absolutely awful. Pixa opened her eyes and shoved her memory around, forcing it to remember.
Fiahra… The lowly mercenary that had almost killed her.
She began to get up but then noticed she was hurting, very badly. She groaned and pushed herself to stand, and then looked around her to try and recognize where she was and what had happened.
She saw Sanpu in the floor, several wounds wrapped in a bloody mess of clothes. On that note, she noticed her wounds were gone. Both reminded her of Persephonai. She was trying to piece together was had happened when she noticed there was noise in the background. Blinking her eyes, she paid attention and found herself looking at a door. The door was opened, and she recognized it as the door that had led her to Fiahra.
She heard a loud yell, followed by an explosion.
Guys… Though she hadn’t pieced everything together, it wasn’t hard to guess that the fight she was hearing involved her friends. She stepped forward, feeling her body heavier than usual, as if enveloped in one concussion that poked her every movement.
It did hurt, but her friends might need her, so she walked on.
When next Arata opened his eyes, there was nothing but darkness around him.
Only when consciousness really returned did he remember where he was and, focusing, he noticed there was some light in the distance, a moving light.
“Damn…” his body was all sore, and the smell of blood was beneath his nose. Bringing his hand about, he noticed his head had suffered some kind of wound, which reminded him of having passed out. Looking at his immediate surroundings, he realized Katsuryu had grabbed his head dragged it across the wall until, he imagined, he just threw him and left him for dead.
And had he no horns, he would most likely have been served that fate. But he had horns, and though one of them was hurting very much, like if it had been dislodged, they seemed to just be a bit dented. He made sure the one horn was in its right place, and then stood up.
He noticed the light moving around, and then remembered the stones didn’t glow that much, so either Katsuryu was purposely illuminating himself or…
Arata found some solace in the fact the Xia had not perished, reminding himself the rest of his friends were probably alive as well. With that in mind, he wiped the blood off his face, on his sleeve, found his swords bundled against the corner, grabbed them, and ran back into the fray.
Getting closer, he saw something explode in the air, above the light. From it came a flaming body of some sort, soaring through the air in his direction.
He noticed, in the next few seconds in which it gained proximity, that it was Persephonai.
Arata jumped and intercepted him.
“AUGH!” He tried to break Persephonai’s fall, but they ended up crashing and tumbling across the floor together.
“Oh gods gettit off mee ahhh!”
Arata lost no time to slap the fire off the Xia’s body.
When he was done, he was sad to see Persephonai was in a real bad shape. His face was contorted in a mix of pain and dread, reluctant tears drowning his eyes. And his body…
“He’s too powerful, gods! Too powerful!!”
“Perse, get a hold of yourself! I need to know you’ll be ok, I need to go help her!”
Persephonai opened his eyes, eyebrows having been burnt off as if noticing Arata for the first time.
“You’re hurt,” Persephonai said, still drowned in fear and dread, “you’re hurt, lemme…” he reached a hand towards Arata’s forehead, but Arata grabbed his hand and placed it on his own chest.
“Just take care of yourself, Persephonai. I’ll be ok,” he said, almost managing to sound convincing.
“You guys…ugn…you guys are actually pretty cool,” Persephonai said amidst tears, “I really…uff, what you’ve accomplished. I wanna help, I wanna--”
“You want to live, is what you want,” Arata said, placing his other hand on his chest. “Heal yourself.”
“Aww…it hurts so muuuch…”
“I know,” Arata said, trying to sound comforting, but the sight of the Xia in pain was like looking at baby getting hurt for his first time. “You gotta fight through it if you want to see Danatcia again.”
“Danatcia…” Persephonai’s face strengthened and, at that time, another scream sounded out, a painful, dreadful scream. Arata looked in the fight’s direction. The light was still moving around and around the two dimmer lights that the stones generated.
“Look, I gotta go, she needs me.”
“Wait! Wait!” Persephonai grabbed Arata’s leg, and Arata was about to complain when he was blinded by light.
One second later, he opened his eyes to see his body was emanating light.
“It’ll blind him,” Persephonai said in tears, “and it regenerates your wounds a bit,” he said, losing strength and force, “I’m sorry…I…he’s too powerful. I really do want to live.”
“That’s ok,” Arata said, full of compassion, “there’s a door in that direction,” Arata pointed, “dunno where it leads, back-door, probably a safe place. Heal yourself and then…then go.”
“Come with me. Get the girls and let’s run.”
Girls…? Fuun’na. Pixa. They’re here.
“No,” Arata shook his head, “he doesn’t get to get away with it,” Arata turned from the sight of…it. Of the burned Persephonai.
Arata didn’t know whether he could heal his wing, nor if he was even aware his left wing was mostly burnt down to the bone. It was ridiculous that he was still conscious.
Even if he could heal himself back to normal…even if he could re-structure his left eye, even if he could make the scars along his left arm disappear and heal completely. Even if he could bring back the hair roots to his scorched head. Even if he could do all that, the sight of him was just too awful right then. A manifestation of what had gone on in Bellhall, most like. It made Katsuryu’s threat seem all the more real.
Arata now felt the tragedy, and in turn, the anger.
Arata hardly ever got angry. Or heard his voice sound so straight, for that matter.
“He doesn’t get to get away with this.”