A note from puddles4263

(special bonus because ending in the middle of a fight sucks. but don't tell anyone)

As quickly as possible, Randidly began to fuel his different Health Regeneration Skills to funnel Health back to himself. Ending Aegiant would be a dance on a knife’s edge, and he couldn’t afford to be so close to death while moving close enough to strike a serious blow. In addition, Randidly continued to use Extinguishing Ash, Devouring Storm to cool the surrounding lava enough for them to stand on it.

He could use Influence of the Molten Core to reduce his weight, but he couldn’t float. And Rejt couldn’t just endure lava.

With a flip of the hand, Rejt produced a thin saber from his interspatial ring. “This foe does not look simple.”

Randidly nodded grimly. Aegiant seemed to find himself. Instantly, the surrounding air rumbled as waves of heat swam outward with all the haste of spooked eels.

“But…” Randidly communicated after a hesitation. “He’s been much less mobile recently. I think… I hope… that my suppression of him is gaining traction.”

“So, this is a foe we tire out,” Rejt said.

Randidly winced. “ quickly as possible. I have somewhere to be.”

“So many demands…” For a moment, Rejt raised his gaze and considered the surrounding area. “Yes, this place… well, it is not exactly how I pictured your world. Very gloomy. Although the sky-”

But suddenly they were out of time. Aegiant roared into motion, aiming straight for Randidly. Grimacing, Randidly blew about half of his remaining Mana to cause a dozen Lava Golems to surge up from the surrounding area. These were empowered with Mana as well, so they were a bit hardier than the previous wave.

To add in the defensive effort, Rejt shouted and slashed with his saber. A bristling blade of wind screamed forward, crashing against Aegiant. Leaping to cross the distance, the lava golems hurried to add their blows onto the effort.

Randidly examined himself briefly. His health had now risen up to seven hundred, but he still needed to reach about one thousand Health before he would be comfortable closing the distance to Aegiant. And obviously, with this tier of foe, the battle wouldn’t finish if he did not. At least not in the time frame Randidly wanted.

Damnit, Azriel. Don’t die on me.

The wind blade smashed into Aegiant, but the man only gritted his teeth and pushed forward. Instead of dodging the lava golems, Aegiant blasted outward with waves of heat. When the reinforced bodies held against the wave of heat, he smashed forward with his spear.

To Aegiant, these distractions could be handled with a blunt instrument; he ripped them apart with raw power.

Which was the opening Randidly needed to smash Aegiant in the face with an Ignition Bolt, and then follow up with an Eruption of the Emerald Essence underneath him. It slowed him slightly, but it wasn’t enough. And Rejt-

Unfortunately, Rejt seemed distracted by something. “Randidly, it is strange. I hear-”

Randidly grabbed Rejt by the scruff of the neck with his good arm and threw him to the side. Which gave Randidly himself barely enough time to dodge sideways away from the avalanche of heat and weight that was Aegiant. The man burned with so much power he crushed their brief island of peace in a single blow.

Grimacing, Randidly shook his head sadly. So much for waiting for a thousand Health…

But now Randidly knew for sure the Aegiant was definitely a hair slower than he had been previously. And Aegiant was continually smashing against Breath of the Spear Phantom. The man was getting desperate.

Unfortunately, he was also still so fast that he could cross distance faster than Phantom Half-Step would open it up between them. But that was only when it was a one versus one.

Randidly backpedaled wildly as beams of light narrows cut through the air around him. With a single step, Aegiant launched himself once more, rushing up to Randidly like a cataclysmic meteor wreathed in bright orange flames. Behind him, Rejt just stood, staring at the sky. Randidly’s gaze grew sharp. There was… a wind around Rejt…?

Either way, Randidly Phantom Half-Stepped to Rejt, teleporting directly through Aegiant. He lost a chunk of Health in the process, but it gave him several much needed seconds to gather himself. Aegiant crashed out of the plaza and into a nearby building that collapsed into a pile of muck. The man simply burned his way out, striding out with blazing eyes.

It was clear from his red-eyed stare that he was past the point of discussion and monologuing; now, he wanted Randidly dead.

But every second that past, the struggles against Breath of the Spear Phantom were weakening.

Unfortunately, that also meant that Randidly could feel his own senses dulling. He was more prepared for this contest due to the benefits of his Skill, but he also had to endure without air. In addition, there must be an energy deprivation portion, for it to work so quickly. Now it would be a matter of endurance between them…

...with the edge Randidly had being Rejt.

But as Randidly turned to Rejt, he froze. His friend was just standing there, his large body covered in scars. His face was inquisitive, as if listening for something that was just out of earshot.

“Rejt,” Randidly began, but then he heard it too; the soft rustling of leaves.

Randidly knew that sound.

“So an image could be like this…” Rejt murmured. He raised his hand and a light wind circled around his fingers. “So understated. So distinct. And to think that the image could hate this man so dearly that it could persist without the individual who created it…”

But there wasn’t much time to question the fact that Rejt was touching upon what was clearly Versault’s image. Aegiant once more arrived, burning with the heat of a fading sun. Randidly spread his hands, pressing with every ounce of his Willpower to strengthen Extinguishing Ash, Devouring Storm. Beside him, Rejt raised his hands and gestured softly.

There was a rustling of leaves, and Randidly could see the autumn wind dragging the dried leaves across a worn game trail. When the blow struck Aegiant, it wasn’t enough to stagger him, yet still, Aegiant stopped to stare in shock at Rejt.

Apparently, Randidly hadn’t imagined the similarity.

Before Aegiant could decide to switch targets, Randidly gripped Acri with his good hand. As far as he could tell, because he had used the System template of himself as a base, his arm wouldn’t heal as long as the Domain was active. And even if it would heal while he wasn’t using it, Randidly sensed there would be… consequences to his arm when he activated the Domain.

So he would need to practice using a spear with one arm at some point.

I just wish it wasn’t now.

Spear Advances, Ash Trails.

Although it was dumb, Randidly rushed forward and crashed into Aegiant’s shocked form, smashing him backward. Randidly’s Health was knocked down to three hundred by the heat and proximity, forcing him to scramble backward before he lost any more. The point was to distract Aegiant, and it seemed to work excellently.

But there was also a strange and unlooked for benefit; after striking Aegiant, Randidly felt the sensation of being able to tighten the grip of Breath of the Spear Phantom while Aegiant was weak. Which he did.

As Aegiant snapped back to himself and gnashed his teeth, Rejt struck again.

Two extremely towering blades of wind smashed at Aegiant, this time with enough force to actually give him pause. Randidly’s eyes burned emerald as he tightened his Breath of the Spear Phantom like a python around Aegiant, slowly crushing his ability to resist.

Aegiant smashed again and again at Breath of the Spear Phantom, with enough force that Randidly knew Aegiant had been sandbagging in his attempts previously. But the shock followed by the blow had given Randidly and opening. And now he shamelessly leveraged that.

“The wind is the edge of something so large that it would crush the world,” Rejt said, speaking as if reading off of a scroll. “But since it is but the edge, it is limited. But in limits, it finds strength. It can do so much that nothing else can. It can brush. It can surround. It can avoid. And most of all… it can cut.”

There was a dull roaring as the wind began to whip around the surrounding area, blowing the edge off of the heat from Aegiant. Aegiant looked around with crazed eyes and gnashed his teeth once more. Then Aegiant’s hands when to his chest and he physically pounded at his ribcage, urging his lungs to resume function.

For a moment, Randidly could see the images that Rejt saw. The howling wind, the vast sea of air currents that covered the world, the endless strength of the air…

But he also saw the ramrod-straight figure standing behind Rejt, putting his hands against Rejt’s back. Versault looked grimly over at Randidly and nodded an unwilling recognition. Then the spirit’s gaze turned to Aegiant.

“Sever,” Rejt and the spirit of Versault whispered at the same time, and the sky fell and split Aegiant in half.


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