Hunt - Chapter Thirty
~ 30 ~
27 Arodus, 4692 AR; Grey Garrison 1st Floor, Kenabres

The tiefling was fast. Before Snaga and Mordria had made it halfway across the room, he had downed two of his vials and was preparing a third to throw. When he drank his potions, his body started to change. His body seemed to shrink in on itself, showing the lean muscle underneath and making him seem lighter. Then after the second potion, his body started to blur, as if he was rapidly moving back and forth within a span of an inch.

With a flick of his wrist, he tossed the vial over the heads of both front line fighters. It crashed and shattered against the stone floor. When it did, the gel inside exploded, sending fire, glass and stone outward in a deadly blast.

Shayliss could feel the explosion as a punch as wide as a giant slamming into her front, sending her flying back to hit the wall behind. Trying to recover from the attack, she shook her head and got back to her feet. She had a hard time keeping her focus as her brain struggled to right itself again. Shaking her head, she pulled herself together and rushed forward, hoping to flank the tiefling.

Irabeth and Strune both had beaten her to the punch.

The holy warriors recovered from the bomb faster than she had and ran up to meet the enemy, positioning behind him and taking advantage of the situation. Like two dancers that had trained together for years, they moved in sync, swiping high when the other swiped low, thrusting forward together, parting aside when the tiefling tried to attack them with his longsword, and otherwise working together to give the tiefling as little advantage as possible.

However, with four of them surrounding him, that left Shayliss, Blueeye and Kaira unable to assist. For Kaira, it was that the movements of the five combatants were too fast and chaotic for her to safely fire an arrow into the mass. Of course, Blueeye did not have any room to work either, so he was forced to sit by his master’s side. Shayliss would normally try to get in there, but even she could see that she would be more of a hindrance than anything. There had to be something she could do. She was getting antsy not being able to fight. In the corner of her eye, she could see Kaira and Blueeye trying to control their own battlelust.

“Do you have any ideas?†Shayliss asked her.

Before Kaira could answer, Shayliss saw a glint above her. Looking up, she had enough time to see a vial fly over her head to crash into the barricade. She was able to stay standing from the explosion, but it sent her sliding away from the door. Thankfully, the leather of her coat helped prevent any shards of wood from piercing her completely. However, that was the least of her concerns as she saw what the explosion did: destroyed the door into the hallway. With no door to hinder them, the demons on the other side started stepping into the room.

Her stomach fell. She wanted to do something during the fight, and her wish was just granted, but she did not want the fight to be against demons that outnumbered her at least five to one including both Kaira and Blueeye. She did have one advantage, though, if she could move fast enough, she could contain the fight to a one-on-one fight since only one demon could get through the door at a time.

With that thought guiding her, she moved forward to place herself in the way of the doorway. As she did, she called, “Kill any that get past me!â€

The response went unheard from the clash of metal against metal. Sparks rained down on her as she parried her opponent’s blade aside. She had to duck under the demon’s retaliation which let her bounce up slashing. Her blade left a shallow cut up the demon’s center. The demon launched forward from his backstep and his blade slid under her armpit, nearly hitting her heart. That also let him get close enough to slam a fist into her face.

Shayliss fell onto her back, the blow stunning her for a few seconds. Her vision blurred, but she could see arrows sailing over her head to pierce into demons. Following them, Blueeye launched himself at the demon trying to move through the doorway. Darkened blood sprayed from the demon’s arm as the wolf’s teeth sank into it. Using his weight, he sent the demon to the ground, effectively blocking the doorway for a second or two.

Shayliss used that time to push herself back to her feet, making sure not to get in the way of an arrow.

“Get back!†Kaira said, “We can hold the door!â€

“Are you sure?â€

Kaira’s mouth curled into a predatory smile that made Shayliss take a step back, “We’ve been together for a long time. Besides, Blueeye hasn’t gotten to fight much and you are too tired.â€

Shayliss knew that Kaira was right. While she would not admit it, she was not quite an endurance fighter yet. Being self-taught, she had not quite learned how to move around the battlefield efficiently. Not only that, but fighting in the foyer and holding back a tide of demons in the hallway had exhausted her to no end.

In silent agreement, Shayliss took a few steps backward until she was certainly out of immediate danger. Her body was still ready to fight, but this time she fought to control that urge while watching how her team was doing.

The alchemist had managed to hold out against the four fighters. Shayliss could see that his shifting body was making it very difficult for them to lay a strong hit against him. Attacks that Shayliss thought should have hit did not leave any wounds. If only they could dispel whatever he had on him. She was sure that if Snaga could, he would have tried already. She would have asked, but by how chaotic the fight was, she did not want to distract him with a question she most likely knew the answer to.

Snaga ducked under the swift swing of the alchemist’s blade, the metal only centimeters from his skin. In a near mirror of her move, he bounced up from his duck to uppercut the tiefling’s chin. If the tiefling was not blurred, it would have been a complete hit. Instead, his gauntlet passed right through. That did not stop the half-orc from twisting around to slam his elbow into the tiefling’s belly, this time managing to land a hit.

As he did, Mordira tried to use that attack as a reference to know where to grab. She succeeded, her claws digging into the alchemist’s armor. However, this did not halt the blurring spell, nor did it allow for the others to land guaranteed hits. Somehow, the spell still made it hard to hit despite the fact that he was essentially frozen in place. Seeing that, she dropped the alchemist and scratched at him. Her claws managed to leave gashes in him, sending him reeling backward toward Irabeth.

She waited for a split second before slashing horizontally. Her blade missed. In response, the alchemist spun around and aimed his weapon for her neck. Despite the man’s enhanced speed, she managed to interpose her shield, the impact letting out a massive ring and sending her back for a step.

The tiefling pressed his attack, aiming blow after blow at her. He did not seem to care if she still held her shield up which allowed her to block every one. Next to her, Strune tried to slide in between them so that Irabeth could get a break, but the alchemist was too close to her. He barely left enough room for accurate attacks.

Shayliss figured out what he was trying to do. If he could keep up his assault, he would effectively take Irabeth out of the fight. Do it long enough, and he can gain the assistance from his allies. Kaira and Blueeye cannot hold the door forever. Shayliss was surprised that they were holding so strong anyway.

“Strune!†She yelled, “Get under his blade!â€

Shayliss had no idea what happened. Something had left her body, that was the best way she would be able to describe it, and raced toward Strune. In the instant after she called out the order, Strune’s blade arm, which was positioned at her side away from the alchemist, suddenly lunged forward and caught the alchemist’s blade mid-swing. She should not have been able to move so fast, but there was the sound of metal against metal. The alchemist was forced back from Irabeth, who was able to catch her breath.

What the hell was that? Shayliss was no sorcerer or wizard. She did not have the patience to study nor any innate gift that she was aware of. So, how had she practically controlled Strune’s arm for her?

She shook her head. There was no time to worry about it. Maybe after she made sure the group survived this fight.

With the surprise move from Strune, the group was able to put more of an offensive against the alchemist. He was not able to keep up with the constant barrage of attacks, his only saving grace the fact that his blur spell was still active. However, even that was failing. More and more of his actual body was poking out of the blurring images. The spell’s duration must be at its end.

“Focus on defense!†Shayliss called, “Wait out his blur spell!â€

There was no reaction from them, but she could see their stances subtly change to ones that had a lower center of gravity. That would allow them to stand their ground against hard attacks while sacrificing the ability to attack well. Which, at this point, is what was needed.

It only took another few seconds for the spell to finally fade completely. When it did, the others did not need Shayliss to tell them to attack. They charged forward, attacking him from four different sides. Now that there was nothing to protect him, there was no way he would survive their onslaught of attacks.

As the tiefling fell, everyone turned toward the door, preparing to charge it and deal with the demons trying to get through. However, all they saw was Kaira and Blueeye leaning against the wall to the right of the door. A pile of corpses lay in front of the doorway, making a very effective if crude and disgusting barrier.

No one spoke for a few moments. Then Shayliss coughed and said, “Well, since we have a moment to rest, let us do so. We keep on in an hour.â€
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