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A note from puddles4263

1/14

Alright, let's finish this arc.

Rather than getting upset, Randidly simply used Aether Detection to inspect it for a split second. Unfortunately, it was not something that he could simply unravel with his understanding of Skills; not without a great deal of time. And for all that Randidly had an advantage, that wouldn’t last if he had to let this Curse of Weakness continue its effect on him. Even now, its influence was rapidly growing.

Truly, Mrs. Hamilton’s Skills were more dangerous than he expected. There was an immediate, noticeable debuff to his Physical Stats. If this kept up, even Randidly would be worried that Donnyton could catch him even through the veil of his image.

As they say, Quantity has a Quality all its own. Fighting this many people who are above my Level and have a Fate is difficult. But I still think...

Donny had regained his footing and dashed back toward him, attempting to hit Randidly with a Shield Bash. Shaking his head, Randidly simply raised his left arm and used Raucous Phantom’s Finale. He could feel that the energy within the arm was running low, but that didn’t matter right now.

Randidly’s physical stats were simply too high. He didn’t need the Skill to add any extra oomph.

The punch to his shield stopped Donny dead. In fact, the young man stumbled a half-step backward, trying to regain his balance after abruptly having his momentum dispersed. Instead of following up, Randidly simply looked down at the growing tattoo on his arm.

Chimeric Avoidance.

Before his very eyes, Randidly’s flesh rippled like the surface of a pond in a rainstorm. Slowly, the speed that the tattoo was spreading slowed. Then, as the ripples concentrated around the tattoo on his arm, the black lines slowly shrunk.

Three seconds later, the Curse of Weakness was gone. Acri struck left and right, smashing arrows and mage Skills out of the air. He had made it through the process whole and swore to himself not to allow the Curse to happen again.

Unfortunately, Randidly had ripped through a huge chunk of Stamina in order to utilize Chimeric Avoidance in that way. But with the tools at his disposal, that wasn’t nearly as debilitating as it used to be.

Cursed Appetite of the Wraith.

The Grim Chimera hovering over Randidly opened its mouth and a huge wind sprang up. The armor of the wounded around Randidly rattled as he pulled Stamina and Mana toward himself in a huge wave. Empowered by the oppressive image that was surrounding the Donnyton forces, this time he absorbed almost four hundred of both Attributes in a split second gulp. While this amount was relatively small compared to the size of his pools, it did give him enough capital to play with for now.

After all, his monstrous regenerations would take care of the rest from here. Provided, of course, that he wouldn’t blow through his Stamina in the next few minutes.

Seeing her curse disappear and feeling the strength pulled her body, Mrs. Hamilton’s expression darkened. “No more holding back! Hit him with everything we’ve got.”

Instantly, the expressions of Donnyton’s elite hardened. Sam raised his arm and simply threw his hammer toward Randidly. The air around it began to slowly spin as the strange energy contained in the hammer exploded outward. Very quickly, it became clear why Sam had taken that course of action: the energy released by the hammer interfered with Randidly’s images.

Like a storm, the cold winds surrounding the hammer rose up. Yggdrasil pressed downward on the hammer, but its passage through the air seemed to activate some passive ability of it. The more it moved, the more chill air gathered around it.

Yet that wasn’t enough. The Grim Chimera roared its dominance, and the aura produced by the hammer slowly shrunk. Ambient energy was effective against Randidly in the broader sense, but that was only when it wasn’t faced with a condensed image. As it was, the Grim Chimera reached out and slashed. The hammer was smashed to the ground, its energy dispersed.

Another wave of those dark grey blades shot outward, cutting through those individuals that barely had managed to withstand the previous wave of assaults. Of course, there was a cost to lashing out like this; Donnyton’s true heroes had another second to gather themselves.

But with more blood on the air, Randidly knew that Helen would become even more troublesome for Alana to deal with. Even now, he periodically used Infinite Fingers of Yggdrasil to strike at their legs. But as Donnyton’s attacks against him grew more concentrated, he spent more and more attention making sure to track all the threats surrounding him.

At that thought, Randidly’s gaze slid sideways to that distant battlefield. The combination of Dozer and Alana was trouble, even for him. Although Helen couldn’t face them directly, her empowered Domain gave her enough mobility to avoid their debilitating strikes. But what Randidly didn’t understand was why they weren’t using those two to pin him down.

Randidly’s gaze tightened. If they don’t want to reveal their tricks, I’ll just force the issue; They won’t be able to hold out forever. Man is Proud, but the Chimera Takes.

The ground beneath Randidly’s feet shattered as he threw himself forward. The two-headed bear’s paw smashed the ground where Randidly had been standing a split second later, enlarging the crater in the arena. Roaring in fury, the bear raised both of its head and attempted to locate the evaporated Randidly.

Instantly after moving, Randidly appeared before Ptolemy. Once more, that point of terrible cravings and resentment swirled around Acri, forming an irresistible weight. However, unlike the bear, Ptolemy’s body had none of the resiliency necessary to handle this strike without being obliterated immediately.

But once again, Donny appeared, bringing his glowing shield up to smash toward Randidly. It seemed that Donny possessed Skills relating to saving others because there was no other way to explain the sudden bursts of speed he displayed in the last instances right before Randidly was going to strike.

Yet Randidly just smiled. Taking Ptolemy out of the fight would certainly make it easier to pick off Donnyton’s fill-ins, but that wasn’t such a big deal. But Randidly had been sure that Donny would move himself to block Ptolemy if he struck. In Donnyton’s mind, likely the value of a combat medic was extremely high.

If you think his Mana pool matters against an image, you are a fool. But on the other hand… Randidly’s eyes once more pierced through to trace the strange shapes of Aether around Donny that he couldn’t understand. It’s much safer to take you out now. Don’t blame me for being rough.

The Chimera Weeps as Man Mourns. A dozen blows curved outward in a dense web, not toward Donny, but toward Paolo, Kayle, and the three more elite Classers that had moved to surround Randidly as he struck at Ptolemy. Truly, they wouldn’t allow him to have time to isolate and strike at any single individual. But it was time to test the limits of their ability.

This time, they all acted defensively in response to his blows. But still, Acri traced several deep gashes across the arms of the elites. Yet with their experience, Paolo and Kayle were able to endure and stepped forward to attack again. Small amounts of energy gathered toward their strikes as they mimicked Randidly’s ability to use images in an extremely crude way.

Ignoring them, Randidly’s left arm blurred into motion. Instantly, Donny’s shield whipped upward to block. Yet when Randidly used the metallic arm to seize the lip of Donny’s shield, he could sense the younger man’s shock.

Stalemate Breaker.

Randidly whipped around, physically throwing Donny in the air toward the edge of the arena. Kayle and Paolo’s blows were strong, but Chimeric Avoidance meant both smashed against Sulfur almost harmlessly. And then Randidly used Man is Proud but the Chimera Takes to blast past them and arrive before the airborne Donny.

Donny twisted midair and raised his sword, eyes blazing. Randidly sensed a dozen individuals moving to stop him, but he had simply moved too quickly. For this exchange, it was just the two of them.

“Blow of Reckoning!” Donny bellowed as he swung his sword to meet Randidly’s thrust.

Ting.

BOOOOOOOM.

The blows met each other and Donny was smashed downward against the arena ground. Perhaps due to the significant strengthening that the arena experienced, but the ground only cracked and Donny bounced almost five meters off the ground to float back upward toward Randidly’s position.

While Donny’s expression was stunned, Randidly raised his spear. Acri began to glow cherry red as he prepared the Molten Fang of the Pariah.

Yet as he moved to finish Donny off, the sound of a dozen arrows cutting through the air made Randidly grin. Too late. Don’t forget, there are still two images here that you need to contend with.

The cracked ground split as Infinite Fingers of Yggdrasil finally had a weakness it could easily exploit. The arena split and revealed the bounty of the Earth. Those thorny roots whipped upward and smashed the arrows to the side. Inwardly, Randidly was surprised how powerful they were, but it wouldn’t be enough-

-

Grimacing, Randidly twisted and unleashed his Molten Fang of the Pariah upward. There hadn’t been any noise his ears could catch, but the ripples of Aether gave away the fearsome nature of the attack.

I knew your fangs were longer than this, Annie, Randidly gnashed his teeth and smashed the arrow to the side. Even though he completely overpowered it, he was knocked down by the force. Compared to her previous arrows, this one was about three times as powerful and moved double as quickly. Without Aether Detection, he probably would have simply been smashed by that attack.

It wouldn’t have killed him, but it certainly would have inflicted a deep wound. To know that Annie had saved such a silent attack just went to show how seriously she took this challenge.

Abruptly, Randidly reversed his grip on Acri and stabbed backward. Unfortunately, Donny had used the moment Randidly was distracted to regain his focus and now moved to smash Randidly with his shield.

“Perfect Disengage!” Donny called. Even though Randidly’s spear clearly contained the superior power, Donny’s shield seemed to be just as alive as Acri as it twisted to the side, knocking Randidly’s hyper-sharp thrust to the side. In addition, Randidly felt some part of his airborne momentum stolen.

As he floated through the air, Donny landed perfectly on the ground and began to sprint back toward the others. Even now, Paolo, Kayle, and the two-headed bear were bounding over toward Randidly.

Eyes flashing, Randidly manipulated Infinite Fingers of Yggdrasil. Although Donny initially used his sword to scythe through the roots, they were more numerous and tenacious than Donny could reasonably account for. Very quickly, he was slowed to a walk as he swung his sword and cursed.

As soon as Randidly touched the ground, he had crossed the distance to Donny. But Mrs. Hamilton’s voice cut across the arena from behind Randidly. “Donny! Do it now!”

Lightning fast, Donny produced something from an interspatial ring and tossed it toward Randidly. Without even thinking, Randidly brought Acri upward and bissected the sudden projectile to disperse its force. Yet what truly surprised Randidly was how easily the item was ripped in half.

His eyes focused.

It was…

...a mutated groundhog?

It’s a corpse. Randidly thought. His eyes narrowed.

Despite the small size of the corpse, the explosion set dark energy and bits of gore included quite a bit of concussive force. With Chimeric Avoidance, Randidly didn’t take any damage, but it did mean that he missed the Aether signature of the next attack until it was too late.

Chimeric Avoidance.

Howling with fury, the Grim Chimera’s image pulsed with power. Yet when Randidly’s body finished twisting and he finally landed, there was a deep gash in his arm. Blood gurgled up and spilled down over his new gloves. It was with sharp eyes that Randidly considered the man in front of him.

Decklan licked Randidly’s blood off of his dagger with deliberate glee. His eyes were somewhat glazed, as though he was inebriated by the experience. That same terrible bitterness was still present, but now it was pressed to the side so a manic sort of glee could fill Decklan. “What, did you think I would miss this?”

Randidly’s gaze shifted to Mrs. Hamilton. ‘Can you imagine the look on his face, huh…’

Around him, Donnyton’s Classers continued to circle like hyenas licking their wounds.

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puddles4263

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