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The robot shot a beam of light from its head. Ragna summoned a sphere of water, acting as a shield. The beam hit the ball, and the liquid evaporated. Mist surrounded the AG Machorsia, obscuring its view.

This was her chance.

She stormed at the robot and swung her saber. A dome of light built around it and repelled her blade. The ground under the machine froze, but it jumped high in the air before the spikes could reach it.

The dome expanded into a ball, covering the floor as well, and repelled the ice by the time it had caught up. Inside the AG Machorsia’s head, the glow of the worm had increased to the point that one couldn’t look straight at it.

The barrier dispersed, and light beams shot out of its legs, destroying the ice underneath the machine. It landed on the ground and steadied its position. The light in its head had engulfed the entire crystal.

Whatever was coming, it was big.

Ragna dived, and a beam shot from the crystal. It flew past Ragna and hit Altera’s ice barrier, shattering it to smithereens.

So that was their plan the entire time. Well, considering that Grendel had defeated almost all of them, it wasn’t of any use. But that only strengthened her assumption that this machine didn't operate in combat. It had too many flaws for that. And now she had gathered enough information.

She charged at the robot with her sword. It repelled the attack with a dome.

The first flaw of the AG Machorsia was that it couldn’t maintain a barrier and shoot those light beams simultaneously. In all likelihood, the light would reflect it. Another flaw was that as long as it was on the ground, it could only create a dome and not a sphere. The machine was open to ground attacks.

Water, Ragna had summoned underneath the robot’s feet while it had shot the beam, surrounded the AG Machorsia.

And the last flaw was that it couldn’t create a second barrier inside the first.

The water hit the machine, and within seconds it froze. The dome disappeared, Ragna covered her saber with a layer of ice and hit her enemy. The AG Machorsia shattered, its pieces falling to the floor.

֎

Grendel grabbed the mantel of a soldier and lifted them. The soldier dropped their machine gun.

He could snap their neck or crush their body in an instant. But he wouldn't. Monsters deserved death, soldiers mercy.

The soldier grabbed his claw, tried to remove his hold on them.

Grendel’s eyes wandered through the scenery. On the ground lay his enemies. They twitched and crouched in pain. Some of their limbs bent at angles they shouldn’t. Blood and wounds covered their bodies. And their weapons' components lay scattered across the floor.

The commander was the only one still standing. They panted and grunted. An open wound in their chest sullied their cross with blood. If one looked at them, one would think an animal had mauled them. Any moment they could collapse.

He had to do this. It was either transforming or letting his companions die. To fulfill his duty as a hero, he had to become this. Had a curse blessed him?

The commander gaited at Grendel, each step weighting on them like a cross on their back. He swung his tail, sending the soldier across the corridor.

Grendel crushed the soldier’s weapon under his talons and tossed them aside as an afterthought.

Should he turn around? And let them see him like this? His deformed and twisted face?

He looked over to the commander. They had found the strength to stand up again and forced their body to reach him. It would take ages for them to come close to him, and he would only kick them.

Their courage and desperation had reached the point of stupidity. Didn’t the enemy realize how futile it was? Their comrades were on the ground, and the machine had become junk. They should retreat as long as they were able to. Was whatever glory they hoped to achieve worth the pain and potential loss of lives?

Well, it was better if he addressed his comrades. If he didn’t, they would assume the worst. After a moment of hesitation, he turned.

“Ah…Ahhh…Iiiih.” Grendel opened his mouth, but two gunshots erupted, and a burning sensation shattered his scales.

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YAK Edge

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