There was a certain comical effect inherent in attempting to dodge shadows while being unable to fly. As Lock began getting closer to the Curador, he noticed this humorous effect. He was rather preoccupied however and therefore unable to fully appreciate it.
Preoccupied with what one may ask? Well to Lock himself it was clear that the preoccupation concerned his attempt at getting closer to the healer, and having to pull of leg breaking stunts to avoid stepping onto a part of the stretching shadow, and occasionally to avoid the veritable hail of spikes that came after him, and remembering to breathe through that entire mess, you get the idea.
To an outside observer it likely looked as if he was trying to pull off a folk dance. The entire thing was made doubly difficult by the fact that he was still forcing himself to emit killing intent. Thankfully his endurance was high enough that he managed to bear with the bruises and cuts that his multi-tasking got him.
The healer was fearfully sneering at him, once again holding up the white barrier that would prevent him from physically attacking the man if he did actually get close enough. Not that it mattered.
Lock had gotten as close as he was going to get, and thus he halted his use of killing intent, dodged backwards to avoid a spike penetrating his neck. It only ripped off his helmet, which he'd intentionally loosened. Then sprang forward in a heroic leap that was not all too impressive, but still enough to let him clear the ten or so feet of distance between himself and the healer.
Naturally, instead of doing anything, the leap simply meant that he was unable to dodge, and even added to the penetrating power of the shadow spikes that awaited him upon his landing.
To anyone looking at the scene from behind Lock, they would suddenly find themselves searching for the very man, as he had seemingly been replaced with a hedgehog, blood dripping from its spikes.
Numbly watching the healer sigh in relief before promptly dropping the white barrier and turn to his teammates, Lock smiled a bloody grin and forced himself to throw up violently. A red smoke was forcibly ejected from his stomach at such a velocity that he saw the healer's hair get blown back before he disappeared in the cloud of poison.
The spikes that were holding his body up about a foot above ground started vibrating, bringing the pain that he'd been successfully ignoring to a truly agonizing level. Then the spikes suddenly froze and retracted with a sickening squelch.
Lock fell onto the floor face first, barely being able to gather enough power to lift his head. Thankfully his neck muscles were still intact. To a certain extent at least. He saw the shadows retreat into the slowly dissipating into the cloud of red smoke, which thankfully enough, was not coming towards him.
Several more moments were spent lying in wait, knowing that while his body probably looked like a piece of minced meat, his Endurance assured him his survival for at least another minute. Then, when the red smoke truly started disappearing, revealing within it a skeletal frame encompassed by a luminescent green cocoon, Lock activated the skill granted to him by Kruto.
His awareness suddenly shifted, a new body being created within the stomach of his old one. Lock tried not to think about the implications of being able to fit inside his own body, and what he was now about to do. Extending two hands outwards from his former mouth, he grabbed at his upper and bottom palate respectively and stretched out the now elastic material that his former body and equipment had transitioned into.
The old 'skin' was quickly shimmied downwards his reborn form. All thanks to the birthing fluid inherent in the skill. He'd need to wash all of his armour afterwards, but the skill was well worth the price. Lock took a moment to marvel, just like he'd done when he recieved the skill, before taking a step towards the healer, and slashing at the green cocoon with his sword.
It easily parted and he unceremoniously stabbed the emaciated form which had been hiding inside through the heart. Then in the throat, and in the heart again, just for good measure.
Then he was forced to jump backwards to avoid standing inside a perfectly round circle of writhing shadows. They overlapped around the healer's corpse, tentacles of black greed swallowing it up until there was nothing left.
Lock watched warily as the black tentacles solidified around the now lying corpse, the edges marking them as separate entities smoothing out until there was nothing but an indistinct human shaped blob on the ground. The head of the blob suddenly stretched open revealing an ear-to-ear grin full of perfectly white teeth.
Not that Lock was there to see it. He was already running away.
Harald was beginning to flag, there was no mistaking it. His body was failing him, just like earlier in the tournament. It simply couldn't keep up with the fight. Sacrificing another vitality point to gain access to the spirits probably hadn't helped his stamina, although to be fair, he certainly wouldn't be alive right now if he hadn't done so.
If he got out of this alive he was going to train his ass off, this he swore as Lily once again turned into smoke to avoid what would have otherwise been a perfectly executed stab in the kidneys from Mia.
This wasn't working. But there was nothing else they could do.
Lily shifted back into human form, just in time to duck under a lightning bolt.
They simply didn't have the variety of skills necessary to counter the blasted intangibility.
Harald was just about to suggest a retreat, likely being the only one in their party clear-headed enough to do so. Not being in control of your own body had certain advantages. When he saw something horrifying happen out of the corner of his eye.
It seemed almost in slow motion that the veritable forest of black spikes extended from the ground to halt Lock mid-leap. One might have suspected that they were benign, only there to catch him in his fall. That was if they didn't, after collision, suddenly extend out of the man's back.
The fight they were currently having remained completely unaffected by the scene, after all, he wasn't in control of his body. And he was the only one capable of taking his attention off Lily due to this privilege.
What he was in control however, was his killing intent. He hadn't bothered using it until now, it hadn't done anything in the tournament after all. Now however... Things were different. He could feel it.
Instead of the metaphor of an unsheathed sword appearing in his mind. Harald just really, really, wanted to kill the woman in front of him. It was for the first time perhaps, a genuine use of the skill.
It still wasn't enough, however strong Harald imagined the effect must have been in that moment. Lily simply shrugged it off after halting for less than a second.
They didn't even get anything out of it as she hadn't been getting attacked in that particular instance.
That was when the killing intent grew heavier, thicker, more experienced. Harald developed a splitting headache as he felt his usage of the skill beginning to vibrate for some reason. With every vibration, it grew larger, and larger.
It wasn't vibrating he realized, once he turned his attention inwards to the phenomena.
It was resonating.
A certain awareness of the shades he was lugging around had always been present. A cold feeling in the hand which held them. A whisper, here and there. An impression of the past coming to life. He felt more now. He heard more now. The shades, they were singing.
And with every note coming out of their metaphorical throats. The killing intent grew, and Lily, became slower. He could see her eyes widening in fear, her movements becoming clumsy. Whatever this was! It would allow them to win! Harald jubilated as he helped concentrate his intent into an even sharper edge.
First Lily, and then vengeance!
That's when the enemy they were facing suddenly pointed her knife at Harald in a position that made it look like nothing but a small line to his eyes, muttered something, and had the thing extend rapidly by at least a dozen-fold to pierce Harald's head. Or at least that's what would have happened if his body hadn't instinctively leaned back. Hot pain assailed his eye and, a disgusting feeling of steel impacting bone resounded through his head as the blade scraped past his eye-socket and cut into his fore-head.
Harald lost the concentration required to keep up the killing intent and he stumbled backwards, instinctively ripping control of his body back from the shades to clutch at his bleeding face.
He would have likely died in the following charge had not another lightning bolt passed over his shoulder to ward off the murderous woman.
As he retreated, trying to give over control back to the shades, he gleefully noted that Mia had been able to use the opening of Lily attacking him to stick several needles into her side.
The ninja was retreating now, forming her hands into the position that had brought doom unto her first opponent in the tournament today.
Only for nothing to happen.
That's when Lily fell down like a puppet with its strings cut, revealing a sword lodged in her spine, and a miraculously alive Lock standing behind her.
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