Randidly felt rage. It drummed in his temples and slammed its fists against his heart. His first instinct was to attack immediately. But ultimately, seeing Kiersty lying unconscious in the strange sea creature’s arms gave him pause. No, it wouldn’t be smart to rush in directly. He needed to remain calm.
Quiet down, Randidly thought harshly. One mistake leads to Kiersty dying. Stay sharp.
His Crown pulsed in response. Small fractions of time ticked past as Randidly finished his step through the portal and swept his eyes across the assembled Nemesai. Those that knew him were too shocked to move. Those that didn't’ were confused.
It was a good thing the Nemesai around him seemed to be just as shocked by his sudden arrival as he had been by the strange portal that Roy had fled into. At the time, he had assumed it was for him and Roy was just fleeing for no reason. It was extremely obnoxious that Roy was able to explode what remained of his body to escape the vines, so Randidly planned on chasing him down. For good measure, he had grabbed the mostly crippled Drake and thrown him through.
It had worried him that the portal immediately began to sink, but he was able to rapidly read the basic structure behind the Skill and flood it with Mana to keep it open. It seemed to be a Domain type Skill that utilized the System itself to connect two distant points. An interesting application, but because it was a Domain and therefore connected to the world, Randidly had enough room to slip his own Mana into the air and support the Skill.
If it hadn’t been a Domain…
Well, he would have felt like a fool for throwing Drake through the portal.
The split second of indecision on the part of the Nemesai passed and Randidly watched like a hawk as their muscles tensed. Time was slow as he deliberated on his own choice of actions. The Crown above his head pulsed again, joining the howl for violence. They had taken Kiersty. Likely, they had attacked Donnyton. That unavoidable fact was still a raw shock in his mind.
But he set those feelings aside. What mattered most was keeping a level head and-
“If you make the wrong move, the girl dies,” The crab/octopus Nemesis yelled like some two-bit villain, moving his claw to surround her head in a position to smash Kiersty’s head like a rotten melon.
But Randidly snapped first. The violence in his blood sang with heat and adrenaline.
Raucous Phantom’s Finale.
Thea was already in motion to cut Randidly off, so he tossed Acri like a javelin at her and used the motion from Raucous Phantom’s Finale to cross the distance to the sea creature in a split second. The punch smashed into the claw, and Randidly felt a satisfying crack as the shell shattered.
Randidly grinned. Not as tough as Drake, eh?
But he didn’t stop there. As the Nemesis’ eyes widened, Randidly reached out and grabbed the cracked arm with his metallic left arm. His hand tightened until the could feel the shell trembling underneath the structural strain. Stalemate Breaker.
Even as the Nemesis howled in horror as its claw was mashed into a pulp, Randidly’s right hand shot out and pressed against Kiersty’s arm. What is within, without. What without… within.
With a soft noise, Kiersty disappeared as she was spirited away to inside Randidly’s Soulskill. He said a silent prayer that there wasn’t some terrible emergency going on inside of him that would put her unconscious body in danger. Then Randidly’s right hand continued further to seize onto the seashell belt on this fucker’s waist. You won’t be able to dodge this. Ignition of the Emerald Essence.
Roaring emerald fire that exploded outward from him finally knocked all the Nemesai into frenzied motion. The Nemesis in front of Randidly cursed and screamed, unable to pull away as Randidly maintained his grip. With a widening grin, Randidly even pulled the monster closer to himself.
Randidly felt the burn of the flames, but the images were his. He slowly began to channel them, focusing on that moment of clarity brought to him when this emerald light emerged in that underground prison. And from there, Randidly began to bring heat.
Thea cursed as Acri expertly weaved its way between her arm and bound her ax-wielding arm to her back. Which eventually forced her to seize Acri with her other arm and toss it off to the side, keeping her at bay for several seconds.
A strange man-made partially of obsidian scrambled to his feet and shoved Drake’s body off to the side. Then a wave of obsidian seemed to explode from his chest, covering his body and crystallizing into the sleek mineral that glimmered in the midday sun.
A floating lizard with wings belched a blue orb that seemed to chill the air around it. Thorn whips popped out of the ground and instantly intercepted these projectiles. Unfortunately, the whips were largely put out of commission by a single strange breath attack, but the projectiles were also rendered useless.
“Meet my blade!” A shirtless red-skinned being roared. Honestly… he looked a lot like a boar head with a human body. He pulled a huge jagged lump of metal from his back that was more akin to a misshapen steel beam than a blade and leaped toward Randidly with the “blade” raised.
Randidly studied this attack, then turned back to the Nemesis in front of him who was whimpering. Heat was all Randidly focused on now. Its struggles to escape were weakening as more and more emerald fire baked and dried the thing’s body. Behind him, roots surged upward and snatched the boar-head nemesis out of the sky and threw him toward a staggering Drake, who had only now recovered.
This his focus turned to his captive. The octopus tentacles on the things right side had landed several savage blows against Randidly, but unluckily they had largely impacted Randidly’s metallic arm. The metal might need polish after smeared with this superheated goo, but nothing else. Randidly regarded this captive dispassionately. Not fun to be taken, eh?
But his main focus at the moment was on the Aether constructs that animated the Nemesai. Randidly wanted to understand the foes he was fighting a little better. If Classes were a central pillar that people’s Aether was built around, then the structure of the Nemesis was like a shark watching cage lowered into deep water. Within, Randidly could barely make out something akin to a Class and Stats that he would recognize, but that was limited by the bindings placed upon them by the System.
Which, in turn, afforded them some protection.
Randidly grunted and continually upped the heat in the fires he was producing. He felt in his own flames the origin of a world. Heat rising until the point that it broke through a barrier and became something more than heat. It became a physical phenomenon, thick and viscous. Deep and wide enough for someone to drown.
Genesis, and by the same token, oblivion.
A tightly controlled ball of fear that Randidly had possessed since being forced into the corner by Aegiant exploded. A part of him was surprised by the vehemence of the anger and insistence on heat, but another part had expected it and accepted it. As he had said to Drake, the foes Randidly fought shaped him. More than he would like to admit.
It was from fire that people drew inspiration… but the reason they were inspired was that it was a power they couldn’t understand. Something that filled them with fear. Randidly eyes narrowed as the Nemesai largely righted themselves and prepared a second attack around him. A power that defied their understand. A horrible power that reduced everything to ash.
Frigid Ash, Extinguishing Storm.
The flecks of ash that were floating up from the ground grew increasingly thick as Randidly split his focus and began to spread his influence into the surrounding area. Acri slithered along the ground toward Randidly. Thea and the boar-head Nemesis both took angles to come at Randidly and struck him from behind.
A sigh escaped the lips of the Nemesis that Randidly held. Through the cage of System Aether, Randidly could feel his flames finally starting to have a permanent effect on the being within. They weren’t invulnerable or immortal, just difficult to hurt.
Difficult wasn’t impossible. Impossible was forging a world from nothing. And that was exactly what Randidly had been able to do in the past.
The heat grew to the point that the air around him was warped and shimmering. Emerald light sparkled and twisted space as though it was a toy.
As the two close combat attacks fell toward his back, Randidly spun around and released his grip on the sea creature’s belt.
“Close that fucking portal and open the other one,” Thea hissed toward the serpent as she slashed at Randidly. Randidly tilted his head to the side as his gaze slid to the serpent. Without a care, Randidly’s left hand shot upward and attempted to grab Thea’s ax.
Unfortunately, that was a bit too bold. Thea noticed what he was doing and twisted her ax out of the way. Then she kicked at him in the side. Which he was forced to take and grimace in pain as his attention turned toward the much more dangerous hunk of metal that was crashing toward him.
“YOUR HEAD IS MINE!” The boar-head Nemesis bellowed. Randidly just sighed and activated the Wild Phantom’s Embrace. His body blurred into motion as he rode the momentum of the strike, but he had nowhere else to go but smashing into Thea. Which was exactly what he wanted.
Thea swore loudly, even as Randidly grabbed her shoulders and twisted the two of them around so she was between Randidly and the blade howling down toward them. The idiot was just guffawing orgasmically, refusing to stay his hand even the tiniest bit as it ripped toward Thea’s back.
But in that tight window, Thea moved decisively.
Again, Randidly was surprised by Thea’s resourcefulness. Although she was stunned as he bodily smashed into her, which had given him an edge, she swiftly recovered and conjured a dagger. After wreathing it in spectral fire, she thrust it at Randidly’s heart, forcing him to twist slightly to the side and let the blade sink deeply into his right shoulder.
Then she used the thrust’s momentum to shove herself backward, slipping under the boar-head Nemesis’ attack and crashing into him. Both of them were sent tumbling away and Randidly grimaced as he pulled the burning dagger out of his chest. Whatever this was enchanted with, it certainly hurt-
Randidly twisted as a zombie Chrysanthemum, who was forced to keep her distance due to her prohibitive size, took advantage of the space around Randidly to charge him. At the same moment, Acri hopped up into Randidly’s hand.
Grinning, Randidly lowered his spear at the wild bear. I’m not going to play nice with you this time, Chrysanthemum.