Manapocalypse

by

rykov00

Chapter 13 - Punching through

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A note from rykov00

Thanks to everyone who got us to 10,000 views! As a bonus and thank you we’re releasing an extra chapter! We’re glad we’ve been able to provide a story that you all are interested in. If you like the story, we’d also love to hear from you about the aspects you are liking in particular.

 

 

Thanks again for your support, and keep those Reviews, Comments, and Ratings coming!

 

Enjoy!

“Mark, follow me, we’re going to try and draw the big one away! Fire shots at its legs or exposed skin but keep your distance!” Liz watched as her dad fired a shot at the giant thing that was charging towards them. As Mark and her dad pulled away leading the giant creature off the carriage she was gripped by anxiety. It was the first time she was out in the crazy without her Dad and she now had the responsibility of getting Bob and Etta home safely.

 

Her brother and dad kept the giant beak bear’s attention with their covering fire and shouts. She wasn’t surprised that Mark was able to distract the thing; she knew just how good he was at being annoying. She hoped the added mobility they had on the horses would keep them safe. The giant beak bear whipped around the corner and Liz allowed herself a brief flickering of relief. Alarm for her family’s safety quickly replaced it and it was completely dashed when she noticed the smaller beak bear charging towards the carriage.

 

Bob was whipping the reins in an attempt to pull as much speed as possible out of the gelding, but the angle of the hill prevented them from getting much acceleration. “The thing is going to catch us!” Bob’s nerves were clearly frayed as he focused on doing everything he could to get the carriage moving faster.

 

“I help push!” Biscuit chirped happily noticing their plight. A slight glow covered the wagon and it lurched forward. Biscuit whinnied again as the light quickly faded but the momentum they were able to gain allowed them maintain a bit of distance. The sudden lurching had unbalanced Liz though, and she had to reset to get her bow to ready.

 

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she pulled back her bow and let fly. The arrow struck true and hit the beast in a fleshy part under its beak. While annoyed, it didn’t seem inclined to let them go this time around and redoubled its efforts to catch up. “It’s gaining on us!” Etta cried in alarm as she looked back to check on the situation.

 

Focus. She needed to focus. Liz took out the next three arrows in smooth practiced motions and three feathered shafts bloomed along the body of the beak bear. It still wasn’t enough. The creature seemed hell bent on catching the thing that had annoyed it and nothing was going to stop it. Etta shrieked in horror as the thing finally caught up and swiped at the back of the carriage. The force of the impact threw Liz onto her back, landing awkwardly on the luggage in the footwell of the carriage.

 

“Bob do something!” an alarmed Etta shouted. Liz knew there wasn’t much Bob could do and it was on her to come up with a solution. She quickly jumped back up and looked to see what she could be done.

 

The impact had actually launched the carriage forward a bit, stalling the momentum of the big beast. Liz shuddered to think what a strike like that would do to her body, and figured it would be best if she never found out. Blood was running down the beak bear’s legs and it was clearly injured by the numerous arrows, but it still persisted in its chase.

 

Fortunately for the group, they just crested the hill, and started to pull forward rapidly as gravity no longer was working against them. The sudden burst of speed caused Liz to wobble, fouling her shot. On the plus side, the carriage started to gain some distance as the injured beast loped onwards, but Liz knew she would probably have to put the thing down if they wanted a clean escape. She lifted her bow to make a shot but several unfortunate things happened at once.

 

First, as Bob continued to push the gelding to it’s limits, a huge roar sounded from nearby. The gelding spooked at the noise causing it to lurch the carriage forward and throwing Liz towards the back of the carriage. Secondly, immediately after the lurch, Bob swerved to avoid a corpse of something on the street, causing Liz to fall further off balance. Lastly, the rear wheel of the carriage didn’t quite clear the carcass, and the bump was simply too much for Liz and caused her to tumble off the back of the carriage to the ground.

 

She felt the fall coming and rolled to absorb the impact as much as she could. She recovered as quickly as possible and immediately set into a kneeling firing position. The beak bear roared in excitement as it saw its prey on the street. It began to pick up speed and Liz realized she would have just one chance to stop it.

 

Bob at this point had noted with horror that Liz had fallen, and he tried to arrest the momentum of the cart. Liz appreciated the effort, but knew it would be too late to do anything other than pick up her corpse if she didn’t do something right now.

 

“Focus. Focus. Focus.” She repeated the mantra in her mind as she attempted to stay calm as she prepared to take her final shot. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and she felt as if her heart was just moments from bursting free from the feeble confines of her chest, but she persisted. She focused. She put everything into this shot.

 

As the world narrowed in on the point of her arrow, Liz pushed past her fear and anxiety and found a strange sort of calm. Time slowed. Her focus improved. She felt like her entire being was condensing into her arrowhead. Energy flowed through her and she felt an odd coldness that started to bite at her consciousness. Had she been paying closer attention, she would have noticed that the energy was coming from the pocket where she had placed the mana cores they harvested earlier, but such details were lost to her at the moment. Twenty feet, fifteen feet, ten feet, the beak bear seemed to be walking through water as it slowed to a crawl in it’s approach.

 

To the Carlson’s, it didn’t appear this way all. The only thing they saw was the daughter of their friend crouched with a bow standing against a monstrosity twice her size careening towards her at a breakneck pace. They could only shout in horror and despair knowing nothing they could do would make a difference for her now.

 

Liz was beyond worry at this point. There was her arrow and the target. The rest of the world had faded away, grey and blacks replacing the vibrant colors that were previously there. Pushing the last bit of strength she had into the arrow, she lined up her shot and released it.

 

She kept her eyes on the path of her arrow, watched it leave the bow, and followed it as it moved towards the center of the beak bear. She had seen arrows bounce off the hard beak, but she knew this time would be different, had to be different if she were to survive.

 

Her lips pulled into a grim smile as the arrow sailed straight, punching through the beak, through the head, through the body, and out of the back of the beast. The creature’s momentum carried it forward, but its legs had stopped working and the corpse of the thing slid to a stop just a few feet in front of her.

 

For a moment, the only sound she could hear was her own ragged breathing. Slowly the world regained its color and returned to a normal speed. The Carlson’s had managed to stop and jump down from the carriage and were rushing to her side.

 

“I freakin rule.” they heard Liz whisper as they just barely manage to catch her before she blacked out.

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A note from rykov00

Please consider a Review to give us more detailed feedback on the aspects of the story you like or dislike. Thanks!


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rykov00

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Azcheron @Azcheron ago

like: the story

dislike: low wordcount/slow chapters.

 

Just kidding with you, for now I don't really see any problems. I promise to do a review by chapte 15 too. This story needs to make it to trending.

    gruberik @gruberik ago

    I agree with your dislikes though. The story is slow paced and short chapters do not help to fix that perception. I imagine this might turn some of the readers down. Although I don't like this aspect either, my curiosity asks where your story will lead and how it turns out.

    This is also why the review might not make much sense yet, because we are just about to step into LitRpg part of the story and outsider interaction did not had much shine either. Do not misunderstand. I like the story thus far and will probably continue to like it, but not much has been done yet.

      rykov00
      Author

      rykov00 @rykov00 ago

      Thanks, appreciate the feedback (from everyone!). The System definitely becomes more of a part of the story from this point forward, and hopefully the response will be positive to that.

      As for the length question, I debated trying to double up on some of the chapters, but have been pretty happy with the current set of chapters being around 1500 words. I will say, pretty much starting next chapter, the average jumps up to around 2k so hopefully that will help the release rate for some as well.

      Again, can't say thanks enough for the feedback, please keep it up!

AceRoyalty @AceRoyalty ago

Haha! Great story so far!

Keep it up! ;p

FirstDragon @FirstDragon ago

Agree with other commenters. Short but good. A nice mix of description and some characterization. 

reddir @reddir ago

I'm not sure how to express it...

I like the 'clean' feel. Crisp? I have a good sense of the neighborhood and the people, and you managed to get it all across without....I don't know. I like the style of writing, its easy to read, and it conveys the needed info :)

    rykov00
    Author

    rykov00 @rykov00 ago

    Thanks, appreciate the feedback. We actually set the story nearby in our neighborhood. It really helps us keep track of where things are, and also makes it fun to go for walks and see where we killed things.

     

    We may post the map in Google maps we are making that marks the battles and other places of interest later. If I posted now you would see where all the nearby crystals fell and you'd know what was coming.

SomethingWitty @SomethingWitty ago

I wish chapters were longer, and some of the reactions/interactions don't ring true to the situation, but that's to be expected with a new story, and isn't detracting from it much. The positives are that I'm enjoying it not being incredibly grim with constant betrayals (yet) and that whatever force is instituting the system seems to be trying to alleviate the damage done, and isn't uncaring. Good other RPGocalypses imo are Life in the North and Upheaval, the Gentle Apocalypse, for reference. Change: New World isn't good, as the characters are both shallow and horrible. (There's some creepy, immature perceptions among some authors/readers on this site that being emotionless or cruel is both positive character traits and good writing, when it is neither.)

    rykov00
    Author

    rykov00 @rykov00 ago

    Thanks for the feedback! Really appreciate the thoughts. I am working to try and get a more definitive voice for the characters and have someone helping me edit the character arcs now, so hopefully that will help get them on a more even keel. I'd be curious as to which reactions seem furtherst afield for you. I tried to balance out "born and raised to be survivalists" to "we are humans who generally react poorly to civilization ending", but I know there has to be a balance.

    Also, just for reference, the chapters in the queue are tending to be close to 800-1000 words longer than early chapters as I'm finding better pacing for things. I imagine I'll probably go back and squish together some of the earlier parts into single chapters on re-write. Also give myself some more room to explain things out better. Let me know if the later chapters are flowing better, I don't want to bog down in words for the sake of words, but do get the desire to have some more details.

Chawki89 @Chawki89 ago

I will definitely be writing a review after I get done binging on this story. Great chapter, it went so fast but I didn't see the words just the story the words painted in my imagination. Corny I know but hey...

kao @kao ago

aha. and Liz has discovered she can "charge" up arrows...her brother will be so annoyed later. lol

Rahler @Rahler ago

"in it’s approach" should be "in its approach"; "it's" is a contraction for "it is"