Randidly rolled to the side and then was forced to perform a back handspring as Cyndra immediately adjusted, one of her knives slashing outward. Her blows were no joke, and he was barely healing enough to keep ahead of the accumulated damage he had received in those first two big blows, and glancing blows since.
Inside of him, all of his Yggdrasil Skills were working at full power, filling his Health, Mana, and Stamina pools, as well as aiding concentration. In addition, he focused the Righteous Indignation of Yggdrasil specifically hoping that it would slow Cyndra down.
No such luck, unfortunately. It truly seemed that she was powerfully resistant to different spells, which gave Randidly a headache. Although she hadn’t been specced specifically to shine in Endurance and Vitality, they still were about as high as his, just from the fact that she hadn’t destroyed herself, utilizing that huge amount of Strength she possessed. He didn’t have any proof, but he suspected it would be possible to raise one or two Stats so high that they became bound by other Stats.
For example, a high Agility being useless without increased Perception and Reaction, which was the thin space that Randidly was already using to slip by. At this point, Randidly was ready to move onto Plan B, but Lucretia assured him that Plan A was progressing well, so not to force it. But at this point, if something didn’t change soon-
Randidly threw up three Wall of Thorns, darting between them, also activating Twilight Manipulation to cover his hiding spot. Roaring with fury, Cyndra crushed through them, her eyes sharp-
Incoming, came Lucretia’s warning, and Randidly swore and produced his pistol, firing quickly hoping to catch some of the Creature’s probes. There were five this time, but as soon as Randidly moved, they leaped backward, as if they knew that he was going to fire immediately.
Suddenly dizzy, Randidly could only grit his teeth and pump out more Aether, some… vital part of him becoming increasingly weary. The strain of creating so much Aether, and having it destroyed, was beginning to wear on him.
The Creature laughed, amused, and Cyndra pursued him all the while, almost catching up to him, a knife swipe cutting just a few centimeters away from his wrist.
A surge of strength filled Randidly as he raised his spear and opened his mouth. “A Spear Advances, Ash-”
But as he began speaking, those fives probes rushed forward, like vipers, aiming for when both of his hands were occupied. Switching quickly, he produced the pistol again and fired. Luckily in this burning of Aether, he got two of the probes, but there was another, more grim realization; four more bullets.
Randidly hadn’t expected this portion of the fight to go on for so long.
The room shook as a knife blow ripped a jagged gash in his Bone Cloak, cut through the meat of his thigh, and impacted the ground, shattering it. Luckily, the wound was relatively shallow, but by this point, his Bone Cloak was looking extremely tattered as if it was the castoff of a homeless necromancer, rather than the greatest equipment to come out of Donnyton.
Already, Randidly had noticed that some of the Stats were fading from it, although he couldn’t use menus to check the details of that. In addition, it was becoming harder and harder for Twilight Manipulation to be used effectively, so his plan of hiding and using Cyndra’s relatively lower Perception were hitting a dead end.
Feeling desperate, Randidly grimaced and said. “Call Grove Defenders: Control.”
There was a low rumbling in the ground, but Cyndra largely ignored it, raising her gaze to stare, as mild as ever at Randidly. Then she pressed her foot to the ground and shot towards him, advancing toward Randidly. Not willing to hold anything back, he activated Four Shaded Clockwork Domain, the two buffs for him, the two nerfs for her. In both cases, it was a small thing, a Skill he hadn’t had time to refine, but…
Every little bit helped.
This time, when Cyndra came, Randidly stood his ground, focusing on Spear Phantom’s Embrace. When she attacked, he weaved his way through the storm of blows, while behind him a strange, tentacled creature rose out of the ground.
“Grrrrummmmmm….” The Grove Defender said, sucking in a mouthful of air, and then its tentacles shot outwards, twining seamlessly around Randidly’s body, aiming for Cyndra.
While her eyes traced this new threat, Randidly lashed out with his spear, striking at her side. Almost offhand, Cyndra deflected the blow to the side, and then Randidly was forced to scramble back to avoid a pincer attack she had launched with her two knives.
It really looked like a tentacle monster, with about 50 tentacles emerging from the fat blob that was its body, and about half that from its head. Several wrapped around Cyndra and Randidly heard and felt a sharp discharge of electricity. Randidly winced. That wasn’t gonna work.
And indeed, Cyndra didn’t even seem to notice, instead, she ignored the tentacles and launched herself towards Randidly again. He raised his spear, then aimed a thrust towards her. As she raised her knives to knock it to the side, the Control monster used its different grips on her to discharge electricity, and when that failed to work again, it just twisted as hard as it could. It could not change her body’s position, due to her vastly superior Strength, but it did manage to rotate her body in mid-air.
Randidly scored a slash across her ribs but was forced to withdraw abruptly, because Cyndra unleashed a massively powerful blow that would not have been fine to take. He made some distance, but Cyndra just used that to turn and grab the tentacles of the Grove Defender, pulling it towards her. It had grips with about a third of its tentacles on her, and another third on various cracks in the arena, struggling to resist, but inexorably, her unbelievable Strength won out, and she dragged it forward.
Lucretia? Plan A?
….happening now. Buy another minute.
This had better fucking work.
Randidly rushed forward, spear raised. When Cyndra turned to face him, he held nothing back, heedlessly burning through his Stamina, smashing her again and again, using his edge in Perception and Reaction to move around her in unpredictable ways, reading her movements. Again and again, the summon unleashed its electric shock, and only on the most recent discharge was it enough to make Cyndra narrow her eyes-
Randidly created distance and produced the pistol, but at that moment Cyndra’s hand blurred, her knives slipping out of her sleeve and smashing the pistol from out of his hand. Immediately, the probes accelerated, only three still.
A root caught the pistol and fired.
“I expected her not to notice, but did you also forget?” Randidly asked, almost confused when he caught all three probes with the combustion of Aether. He was weakened, but Cyndra was still hacking at the body of the summon. It took about 5 slices, because of how stringy its body was, and Randidly was filled with a strange thankfulness.
After all, it wasn’t clear that he could survive that many.
But then his senses sharpened, because 8 probes raced forward, heading for his relatively thin Aether defense. Instantly, Randidly released everything he could muster, and Lucretia, who had been slowly learning from watching the way that the Creature interacted with Aether, and learned from it. So when she spread her hands, a new pattern of Aether shapes emerged.
They were tightly pressed together, and squatter, and hopefully that would buy them a little more time. Randidly didn’t have time to watch the effect, however, because Cyndra had finished hacking apart the Grove Guardian, and twisted and threw her knives before he could react.
The two heading for him he deflected, but a third hit his pistol through the trigger guard, carrying the pistol across the room, at a speed that Randidly’s roots would have a hard time grasping in time.