“Vice, behind you!”
A painful scream escaped the assassin’s mouth as the mushroom tackled him again, sending him flying through the cave before he could react. The fellow assassin who warned him jumped forward to narrowly avoid the one going her way, before she went to Vice’s side to help him get to his feet. The third member of the crew shot a blast of magic on the shroom that went after him, and then…
… Did Heinwald just vanish into the ground?
“Vice. Focus.” Alex reminded him.
“Yeah, yeah, I got this.” He said, properly getting up, and staying back-to-back against her, as the shrooms remained circling them. Ilia, did he hate these things. How come they showed up ALL THE TIME too.
Vice shouted, and they both jumped to the left as another shroom attempted to tackle them. They both jumped after him, slicing it down with ease, leaving one less fiend to deal with.
Alex reacted as instructed, allowing Vice to jump over her and unleash his attack on the monster that was about to attack her. “Lethal Edge!” He cried out, putting the shroom into a status of peaceful sleep, before Alex immediately followed up with a lethal blow, the assassins’ song-and-dance being one that they were well used to, after enough time spent together.
Another shroom got blasted by Heinwald, from, well, somewhere, with only few remaining. Alex stepped backwards as one attempted to headbutt her, skillfully replying with her Shadow Weaver, which, alongside finishing off her target, weakened two other nearby shrooms, that where quickly put out of their misery by Vice, leaving only the main shroom behind.
Which promptly split up again.
The two honestly wanted to groan over having to do all of this again. Even if against much weaker targets this time, they were still decently though to beat. However, the frustration was cut short as the third member of the team finally raised his voice again.
“Call of Chaos!”
Pure darkness erupted from the cave’s floor, covering all of the shrooms, which soonly gave up on trying to resist the attack, only having so much energy in their current size. The darkness started subsiding after a while, showing all of the many, many copies lying dead on the ground.
“Couldn’t you have done that earlier!?”
“No.” Heinwald flatly replied to the male assassin. “If you two had sped up your part of the fighting, mine would have came out faster too. Now, start carving the corpses, the way I explained to you two before. Those fiends are useful ingredients for my experiments.”
Heinwald went off to examine and dissect the main shroom by himself, leaving Alex and Vice no choice but to begrudgingly do as he instructed. Going to some of the copies farther away from the investigator, Alex wondered aloud, just for Vice to hear. “Just how does Curran manage to handle this guy all day. I can’t picture myself managing to do so.”
“I know. He just gives me the creeps after a while. And I’ve saw plenty of messy scenes in my line of work.” Vice replied, plunging his dagger in the corpse to start the job. “Heck, I’m pretty sure I just saw him vanish into the floor!”
“... Vice, that doesn’t seem like something he can do.” Alex replied, although with a noticeable pause before she did so. “I’m sure you just got dizzy for a moment.”
“I’m telling you, I swear I saw him-”
“Will you two begin working already?”
“FINE!” Vice angrily barked back, resigning himself to just finishing this quickly so that he and Alex could leave the madman alone.
Chapter 2: Steel Golem Strike
Luther was pretty close to feeling some sort of pity for the Golem, as ice covered all of it with ease. Even though it was, in theory, a very tough fiend to beat, in practice, it’s song was by far the easiest to follow. The dancer moved in to strike at it before falling back as another fighter moved forward.
And so, just as it seemed like he was about to break free, the energetic Blade wielder’s strike made it get full of ice again.
And off went one of it’s arms. He wouldn’t be laying any more mean moves like that, to say the least.
The Dancer’s friend gracefully skated forward forward, adding another layer of ice to the fiend that had just freed himself from the previous one, stopping him from using the other arm to strike the nearby Crystallian.
Sliding forward, Luther readied his blades, performing the move he was so used to. “Legato Step!” Striking away at the fiend’s legs, the Golem’s movement got further reduced, with even the swing of his remaining fist getting slower and easier to dodge.
With a large smile on her face, the Crystallian Envoy shouted again.
Yeah, Luther just felt like they were bullying the poor thing by this point.
Chapter 3: Raging Manticore
Julietta screamed as she swung her axe with full strength, sending the Manticore skidding back. Plenty of light magic balls of energy followed at pelting the fiend, as Hope wasted no time in backing her up. Going against such a tough fiend by themselves was, quite likely, not a good idea, but their possible reinforcements were taking care of a Dark Golem not far away, so it was up to them to, at least, hold the fort until then.
The Manticore readied it’s legs and sprant forward, with Julietta and Hope going to opposite sides as it did so. Julietta didn’t think such an easily excited boy would become one of her closes friends in the Halidom, but he had proven to be pretty fun company, and his earnest personality put her at surprisingly ease. So, the fact they were pretty good fighting together was only natural, she supposed.
As planned, both of them went closer to the Fiend, with the axe wielder doing strong swings to distract the fiend from considering the healer, which has proven to be surprisingly good at staying low in this kind of situation, as a target. A decent amount of the Manticore’s attacks striked a fair distance away from it, so they both knew to stay close.
The beasts’ claw went down on Julietta, who managed to hold if off with her axe thanks to the priest-in-training’s timely call of “Blessed Wall” granting her the necessary strength to hold it off. The Light shots that came from the priest distracted their opponent enough for Julietta to deliver another strike to one of the front legs, making blood and Dark Mana ooze from the wound she made.
The stinger-tail attempted to hit Hope, who ducked and hopped away in time. The Paladyn was about to raise her axe to hit the other leg, in hopes of impairing it’s movement, when the fiend struck not either fighter, but the ground.
At first thrown off her balance by the floor shaking a bit around her, the ground coming forward and striking her made the Paladyn fly a fair bit due to the impact, before hitting the wall. Julietta struggled to get up, but did so much faster as a wave of healing from her friend washed over her.
Still a bit dazed, Julietta got up, and felt a dash of panic get added to the ever present anxiety as she realized that, if the Manticore didn’t try to strike her down after that attack, there was only one other target it could have gone after. Sure enough, Hope barely dodged the fiend’s claws, barely with any breathing room.
Trying to recompose herself, Julietta took a deep breath.
The Paladyn dashed.
The fiend took too long in keeping track of his target, letting Hope strike him with a beam of Light that stunned the beast.
She readied her axe.
The Manticore recovered it’s sight, and readied another strike.
Julietta shouted for the entire room to hear, as she jumped, swinging her axe through the fiend’s tail, cutting it off in a way that made it look easy.
She readied herself for the impact.
Julietta crashed on the fiend’s back, crushing it’s spine. The battle was over.
Getting off the beast’s back, her enthusiastic friend wasted no time in congratulating her. “Julietta, you were amazing! Thank you so much for saving me just now! Once again, you were just so cool and knightly and… Julietta?”
Completely exhausted from all she just did, Julietta passed out, falling on top of her friend.
“ARGH! Julietta! I can’t get you off me, you’re too heavy for that! Julietta! Julietta, I can’t breathe! Aaaah, I think I heard something crack! Julietta? JULIETTA!?”
Chapter 4: Void Zephyr
This enemy you’re about to fight isn’t a regular fiend, nor is it even just on the level of a Manticore. Are you sure you’re willing to do this?
Of course she was. After all, she WAS a genius.
Ezelith slid across the ground, a gust of wind going just above her. Dashing forward, she readied her dagger and ran it through the Void Dragon’s legs, adding another cut to the increasing collection. This being certainly was STURDY, if nothing else.
Zephyr didn’t waste time to attempt to grab her with his talons, leading her to twisting and hopping around in order to shake him off. However, her reprieve only came when someone else pushed the bird away with his sword, before falling back alongside Ezelith.
“Have my services been helping you, my lady? I can always give you much more, you know.” The flirty sylvan said, sheathing his sword and grabbing his daggers, shifting into a stance that was similar to Ezelith’s, somehow simultaneously rougher and more elegant.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Shut it, bunny! Just don’t get in my way!”
“Both of you, be quiet.” Hildegarde stated, with her usual tone of voice that allowed no objections, as her healing wave washed over them. Scratches that covered them both quickly vanished, with a new burst of energy starting to fill her up.
“Alright, time to go. Don’t slow me down!”
“You know I won’t, my lady.”
Dashing forward, both dagger wielders ran around Zephyr, their speed making it difficult for him to fully keep up with them, specially as Hildegarde pelted him with mana nonstop. The wind still cut through them at times, but they kept going on, jumping and hopping around in order hit him.
Orion focused his shadow mana, strongly, striking the dragon’s face, not outright removing his eyesight, but reducing his vision significantly. At first, it seemed like their job would now become ever so slightly easier, and indeed it was, until Zephyr shielded himself with his wings, gathering mana inwards.
The bodyguard had only a split moment to grab his sword and prepare himself to shield Ezelith and the farther away Hildegarde from the blast. For a split moment, he threatened to fall asleep, only to be immediately reminded to stay awake thanks to the genius slapping him in the face. “Don’t you dare do that, alright! You’re HILDE’S bodyguard, I am NOT taking care of you both!”
“Yeah, yeah, loud and clear, my lady.” Orion stated, rubbing his eyes, before focusing on the Dragon, which had thrown them a decent distance away. Once again, Hildegarde wasted no time on patching them up, almost looking as if nothing harmed them at all.
Oh yeah, Hildegarde.
Now Zephyr’s main target.
Both of them ran to her side, with Orion literally sweeping her off her feet and carrying her to safety, while Ezelith worked as the distraction. Zephyr was more than clearly ready to launch another attack, but it didn’t matter.
Rousing the inferno inside of her, Ezelith striked.
Each cut she did, each swing her daggers made countered a blade of wind the voided beast sent at her. It wasn’t something she did completely harmlessly. The impact still harmed her, and the cuts still added up, even if Hildegarde’s magic tried to act up just as fast. But she kept going. Faster, faster and faster until…
Seeing the opportunity, Ezelith jumped.
The downwards strike stunned Zephyr, letting even the genius fail her calculations and think, for a second, the battle was nearly over. But the Dragon rose once again, with the only thing stopping it from immediately crushing Ezelith into paste being Orion forcefully carrying her back into safety.
She had no time to complain, for even she noticed their enemy about to do something big. Taking them both next to Hildegarde, the sylvan readied his defenses once again, reinforcing the saint as she prayed.
“Both of you, stay close to me.” She resolutely stated. “Holy Protection!”
The holy shield covered them.
And them, the vortex hit.
To say the strike roughed them up was an understatement. Just how strong WAS this thing? They could beat it, sure, but at least one of them would go down doing so, at this rate. Hildegarde’s healing tried to send another burst of power to them, but even it felt weaker now. It didn’t matter. Exchanging her daggers for her bow, Ezelith was ready to give her all.
When what might as well have been a meteor slammed into Zephyr.
As the dust and fire kicked off by that went down, the three warriors were able to see their back-up. The Primal Flame’s wielder spread his wings wide, hiding them as much as he could, before he stated. “Euden was worried you were taking too long. I volunteered to help. Now, stay back. I promise I’ll keep you all safe.”
Zephyr got up again and let a mighty cry, flapping his wings at the newcomer, who, bracing himself, was effectively unharmed by it, and answered by flying over Zephyr and bringing his fists together, covered in fire, and striked his adversary’s head, sending him down once again. Gathering air, Prometheus followed by breathing fire upon the Dragon under him for a while, before stopping and mumbling something about “getting a rough throat in the morning” and following his bigger opponent to keep the fight going.
Any genius, upon seeing this, would recognize the battle was already won. But, truth to be told, Ezelith couldn’t let go of the opportunity to now impress a Dragon.
Now with her energies back, Ezelith readied herself and went back into the fray, as unnecessarily as that may have been, with Hildegarde and Orion’s attempts to get her to stay back falling on deaf ears.
Chapter 5: Frost Hermit
With all three of them being pretty close in age, it didn’t take much long for Lowen to meet Pia and Elias, and quickly befriend them. Well, befriend Pia. Elias was a bit more stubborn and prickly, but he came around soon enough, anyway. And so, they became a common sight to see together on the Halidom.
With all of them confident enough in their skills, Euden allowed them to take a mission by themselves (although someone WAS chaperoning them), which was mostly going pretty well, until…
Lowen hurried to raise the wind that was covering the three of them, further reducing the impact of the strikes the ice goblins were throwing at them from all directions. Focusing himself, he shouted. “It’s alright! That one is still the original!” He stated, pointing to the one in front of them. “If we beat him, we should beat them all! That’s how it is with the shroom teams!”
“What if they aren’t like the Shrooms?” Elias shouted back with annoyance. “That plan could be worthless!”
“Do you have a better one?”
“Let’s focus now!” Pia said, whacking one of the Goblins with her Lance. “If we don’t do ANYTHING, we will… W-we all will… You know!”
“Yeah! So, both of you, keep singing!” The healer said, making the wind lift away their wounds once again. “As long as we keep going, we’ll power our way through this!”
Both choir kids nodded, starting the song they’ve practiced for the choir all year long once again. Music like this carried magic through it. Lowen could feel it, on the wind around him, all of them growing stronger within each verse.
Another blast of ice came to them. Not missing a single musical note, Elias perfectly intercepted it with his arrows. One of the clones stopped in front of them, with Lowen striking him with enough strength to distract him until Pia knocked him out.
The song went on, and the wind that protected them did too. More and more, the attacks that did reach the three of them felt more like little, insignificant bug stings than anything else, even though they certainly were piling up.
The wind howled, with the goblins now getting to the point where they had to struggle a bit to remain upright, some having already been picked off by the trio, the music rised in intensity further and further, until the opening finally presented itself.
The main goblin showed itself wide open. As the other ones readied their attacks, Lowen shouted.
“Winds, protect us!”
The last bit of gust covered them, Pia in special having a faint glow by now as the wind joined their song. And so, Lowen and Elias shouted.
“Pia, go, now!”
Gathering her energy and doing a mad dash forward, Pia leapt and brought her spear down screaming.
Before the resulting blast of wind faded down, victory was already known, when the copies fell to the ground and began to fade away.
Running to his friend, who was picking herself up from the ground, Lowen didn’t hesitate to hug her and start laughing and celebrating their success, with Pia following suit, and even Elias wasn’t able to resist their enthusiasm for too long.
Looking at her closest friend from above, far from his own line of sight, a certain Dragon smiled proudly.
“Well well, look at that.” Garuda remarked. “They didn’t even need my help.”
Chapter 6: Blazing Ghost
The shinobi’s prey stood alone on it’s house, carefully watching to predict where the next strike would come from.
A dagger got thrown from the shadows, with the ghost burning it before it even reached it’s target, but a cut still happened. A katana sliced him fast enough for the owner to disappear again before the Ghost could even see him.
More and more, it, a Void Fiend, felt paranoia and panic on his own domain. This was supposed to be it’s domain, and yet it felt like the one that was haunted.
Noise came from a corner, and the Ghost answered by spreading fire all over. The light of the flames lifted the shadows, leaving a blue streak dashing through the place, Fire attempted to follow it, just missing the blur everywhere he went, with the fiend feeling more and more tired within each cut that he acquired.
Hit, and run. Hit, and run. Hit, and run.
No matter how many times it happened, it felt unrelenting. The fiend grew more and more tired, with his death of a thousand cuts feeling closer and closer. At last, an opening for it arrived. It’s enemy stopped for just too long. Not losing time, a curtain of fire went on said person’s direction, covering it completely.
If the fiend was an animal with a shred of rational thought, it’d have checked the body.
Instead, it only noticed it’s opponent was alive when a calm voice came from the smoke.
His work finished, Jurota sheated his katana aware fear was the last thing that went through the fiend’s mind.
Chapter 7: Obsidian Golem
“Let’s split up!” He said. “Once you guys finish it, you can come help me and Juli real quick” He said.
Why do I gotta do this with him, though? Amane thought.
Rolling to the side in order to avoid the Golem’s fist, she shouted. “Hey, Irfan! Do a better job at keeping it away!”
“I am doing an excellent job, kiddo, thank you very much!” The mercenary said, striking at the fiend’s legs. “What about you? Are you getting your money’s worth?”
As she sent another round of magic towards the golem, Amane had to begrudgingly concede his point. The dance Irfan made around the enemy was completely flawless, hitting it with no mercy whenever the opportunity arrived. It was like watching a predator’s fang hop in to cripple it’s prey, ensuring it’s demise before long.
And the demise came.
Falling on his knees, the Golem’s vulnerability fully showed itself. “Hey there, kiddo! He’s all yours!”
Oh, Hollowed Railments I wear, grant me strength. Amane gathered her strength, focusing all of her mana before shouting. “Empyreal Levin!”
Light rained upon the fiend, mercilessly tearing the life out of him, leaving only the rubble it was made of.
Amane panted a bit to catch her breath, as Irfan went to her side, a oh-so-smug grin on his face. “Not bad, kiddo! Looks like you got a lot of strength on you, after all.”
With her annoyance finally reaching her breaking point, the Child of Miracles shouted. “I’M OLDER THAN YOU! Quit treating me like a child, you cheap s-”
A particularly large boulder fell from what was left of the fiend.
Stunned by her explosion, Irfan went back to anger in a flash. “Just what did you call me!?”
“OH, you know what I called you!”
And so, another one of the two’s infamous bickering sessions broke out, completely forgetting about the two other people they came to this place with.