Chapter 10:

Impassioned Sacrifice


"I...I can't..."Bookmark here

Netty's body was quivering ever so slightly. Bookmark here

A gust of wind blew violently across the mini-open field between the parallel lines of trees that surrounded the trio and the monster. The trio watched in shock as Iris' body suddenly lift itself up from the bloody grass, its limbs cracked aggressively in all directions. Bookmark here

Its head started spinning rapidly like a drill before it suddenly stopped to stare at the trio with its set of hollow eyes and grin. The monster's silky long hair swayed. Its hair acted like a whip that could hurt someone's bum.Bookmark here

The monsters shrieked in sync, which prompted Runo to immediately run towards them with the blades in his hands. Iris' monster flung its hair forward to whip him, but the man skid under the wave of hair and kicked the monster's feet with all his might.Bookmark here

 It fell onto the ground, its creepy smile mocked him. The man proceeded to slash the creature's legs before dodging the monster's hair whip from behind.Bookmark here

The androids awkwardly watched from where they stood, amazed at Runo's flexibility with his fast-paced movements. He looked like he was dancing around the hair whip and the monster's stretched arms, throwing blades whenever he can, and grabbing new blades of grass from the ground to keep enough weapons by him.Bookmark here

"Netty, WATCH OUT!"Bookmark here

Of course, the androids couldn't stand there for long as the upper torso monster jumped and used its stretchable tongue to strike a tree behind them. The tree started to fall, causing a rumble on the ground as debris flew everywhere. Bookmark here

Netty tossed her baseball bat onto the grass when the upper torso creature eyed for her. Her worried expression never changed as the two androids jumped to dodge the fallen tree. 
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Blades of grass also started flying onto the air, so Dolly and Netty took that opportunity to grab a few before they dodged an incoming tongue attack from the upper torso monster. It shrieked in frustration when the androids then dug their blades into the tongue of the monster, but it proceeded to pull the androids forward since their hands were still gripping onto the blades. Bookmark here

"Dolly, LET GO!" Netty screamed as she lifted her arm.Bookmark here

"UM, OK!" Bookmark here

So Dolly complied.Bookmark here

Her body was flung across the field before she landed onto the soft grass and rolled several times as beams flew by her head. Netty had released her grip from the blades and shot at the creature, but the creature was fast in its reactions and used its injured tongue to whip the beams aside, sending them heading for Dolly.Bookmark here

Luckily for her, she was still low on the ground, so the beams Netty shot ended up destroying a tree, causing an explosion and an aftershock. Bookmark here

Dolly watched with genuine curiosity as the duo in front of her fought their own monsters. Runo was busy trying to fight off their former teammate, while Netty was occupied with the upper torso monster. They correlated their moves and their feet touched the soil while they spun around. Bookmark here

Their hair gracefully flew with the wind as the two continued to dodge the monsters' attacks and slash wherever they can. Bookmark here

"Dodge!" yelled Runo from behind. Bookmark here

He didn't even have to look at Netty for her to understand what he was referring to as Iris' monster sent a hair whip in his direction. Runo turned his curves aside and watched as the hair whip sped past him. It headed straight for Netty.Bookmark here

"Isn't this just the perfect opportunity!"Bookmark here

She performed an impressive cartwheel to grab the baseball bat she left on the ground earlier. Bookmark here

With the baseball bat ready on her hand, she observed the hair whip smacked the upper torso monster on the face before she screamed a warrior yell and swung the baseball bat onto the upper torso monster's face, sending it hurtling towards the trees ahead and crashing into the trunks violently.Bookmark here

Smoke and debris were everywhere. Runo coughed, his hands fanning away the dust lingering in the air. Bookmark here

"Behind you!" Netty screamed at him. Bookmark here

The man immediately jumped onto the side as Iris' monster lunged itself past him. He grabbed onto his blades and tossed them straight for the creature's hollow eyes, sending it shrieking in pain.Bookmark here

A ringing scream irked everyone's ears until the obvious ringing gave everyone a headache.Bookmark here

It stretched its arms and sent it heading straight for Runo. He turned his heels quickly and was about to dodge the attack when he slipped.Bookmark here

"SHI-" Bookmark here

The sound of a powerful blast struck the arm away from him. Runo closed his eyes as a gust of wind blew against his face, and it felt filthy. Rubbing his nose, he wiped his face with his hand and glanced up to see Dolly standing in front of him like a barrier, her arms out and legs standing ever so confidently between him and Iris' monster. Bookmark here

"Dolly," his voice softened upon saying her name.Bookmark here

"This is a mess," she commented as she took a quick peek at Netty, whose body was getting slammed against a tree trunk several times with the monster's tongue. Like a frog trying to beat up a fly. "We should probably-"Bookmark here

Runo's eye widened when Iris' monster tried to swing its hair whip towards Dolly, but the android simply grab ahold of it and pulled the monster towards her, before sending a forceful punch right on its face. Its hollow eyes and mocking grin were disgusting to look at as Dolly could feel the rage seeping out of her wires. Bookmark here

"Get out of my sight." Bookmark here

With her condescending tone, she struck the creature. It slammed onto the ground and skidded several times before landing its cracked limbs onto the soft bushes ahead. It howled for a brief moment before its life was gone with the breeze.Bookmark here

Dolly turned to look at Runo as she held her hand out to the man sitting on the floor, befuddled. Bookmark here

"Get up," said Dolly. Her hand was beckoning for his. "Why are you just sitting here?"Bookmark here

"Ha!" Runo gripped onto Dolly's hand and stood back up. A prideful smug was plastered onto his face as he adjusted his side bang. "Now you're getting to the point, I like that."Bookmark here

"HEEEEEEEEELP!" Netty screamed as her body clunked onto the damaged tree trunk again. The upper torso monster was slamming the poor android for several minutes, while she tried to send deadly beams out of her hand to distract it. Bookmark here

The monster that collapsed onto the bushes from Dolly's blast earlier was still jolting, its limbs cracked and the stench of blood lingered within the air. Bookmark here

"Ugh," Dolly sighed as she lifted her arm and opened her palm. "One down."Bookmark here

The blast exited out thunderously as the shining light heading towards the monster only gave its hollow eyes a glimpse of its incoming doom. Bookmark here

An inevitable explosion occurred, sending hundreds of leaves scattering around like trash on a windy day as Dolly and Runo covered their faces from flying debris. Bookmark here

Shrieking, the upper torso monster was being thrown onto the air from such a shockwave. It screeched in frustration when its tongue could no longer toss Netty against anything solid, so it started pulling its tongue back to try and slice her with its sharp fingers.Bookmark here

The android laughed, for this was the perfect opportunity to bite onto the monster's wrapped tongue around her waist.Bookmark here

It wailed as it let go of Netty. The android and the monster were both falling from the air. She aimed for its head.Bookmark here

However, the monster was quick to lash her with its elongated tongue. In just a split of a second, Netty saw her fingers were being sliced off and was now falling onto the grassy field underneath her.Bookmark here

"NETTY!" Runo screamed, his legs bolted to catch the falling android. The monster suddenly sent its tongue heading straight for him, so he turned his body sideways and grabbed onto the tongue.Bookmark here

As Runo pulled the screeching creature towards him, he realized that Netty had just fallen onto the ground between them, and the monster's claws are heading straight for the android's neck.Bookmark here

She sat there groaning, her eyes paralyzed at the sight of her hand with broken and missing fingers. Would this be something Runo can fix? She wasn't sure anymore.Bookmark here

"Netty!! It's fine! MOVE!" he shouted, his voice profusely begged her to get out of the way. Bookmark here

Its gnarly claws of razor-sharp ends were a few feet away from her now, and Dolly was also running towards her in hoping of reaching the android on time.Bookmark here

"Oh." Bookmark here

At the last minute, Netty dodged the monster's claws as she bent over to take a closer look at her decapitated fingers. A bunch of wires and sensors were sticking out. Several mini-sparks ignited between her broken fingers.Bookmark here

Just then, Dolly saw Netty's baseball bat, lying on the grass-covered with the monster's ink-colored blood splatter.Bookmark here

Huh, I can definitely use this!
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She picked it up, but the monster's tongue suddenly aimed for her. Before the android could take a swing, it wrapped its tongue around the bat. It pulled vigorously at the thing, before tossing it away till it's out of sight. Bookmark here

"Shi-!!"Bookmark here

"Dolly, move!"Bookmark here

Runo was about to slice the monster when it was inches away from his face, but the monster simply ripped its tongue out and placed its feet onto Runo's chest. It giggled like a child and jumped from him as if he was a trampoline before it spun around and landed swiftly back onto the grass field. Bookmark here

"DID YOU...MISS THEM?"Bookmark here

The sudden question coming out of the monster's grin sent chills down Dolly's and Runo's back as they quickly paused on their tracks. It laughed, its vocals had a mixture of a low and high pitched tone. The sounds of mockery emitted from its unusual voice.Bookmark here

"What?" Dolly's confusion turned to horror when she recalled that Runo once told her that powerful monsters have the ability to camouflage and speak fluently.  Bookmark here

"RUNO...DID YOU MISS THEM?"Bookmark here

The irking sounds of displeasure and hatred can be seen based on how hard Runo was clenching his teeth. His fists gripped onto the blades he held, and his eyes focused intensively on the upper torso's monster's features. Something about it looks...oddly familiar now that he's taking a closer look. Bookmark here

The curls at the tips of the monster's shoulder lengthed hair, the burnt scar on the right side of the monster's forehead; It was a little too similar to a teammate Runo and Netty once traveled with weeks prior.Bookmark here

"Tch, I can't believe it," Runo's frustration grew increasingly concerning. His hands started to shake as the blades slowly wobbled out of his grip, and Dolly noticed all of this.Bookmark here

"RUNO...GIVE THEM TO ME..."Bookmark here

The monster's grin seemed to enlarge ever so slightly after asking a request Dolly didn't understand. Give what?Bookmark here

It looked like Runo didn't understand it either. "Give you what?" Bookmark here


It launched itself from the ground, its tongue now regenerated and stronger than ever; it started to surround Runo and Dolly like a snake. The duo scrabbled in different directions, but the tongue followed Runo.Bookmark here

"Damn it!" He said to himself as he turned to glance at Netty.Bookmark here

The monster was focused on gripping Runo with its tongue, but its body was being carried by its arms like a spider. It scurried across the field and was ready to leap onto Dolly. Bookmark here

She blew the flower petals that she was carrying with her hand at the monster and shot them. An explosion sent a gust of wind blowing debris aggressively against everyone's eyes, and the monster took this advantage to leap out of the smoke and jumped towards Dolly.Bookmark here

At the same time, Runo was trying to knock its tongue away from him. It followed behind his trail like a heinous snake playing with its prey as it tried to impale him from any direction. The man noticed the tongue was getting awfully close. Bookmark here

With a frustrated sigh, he turned and crouched over just as the sharp tongue sliced a few of his hair strands. His luminous earring was swaying furiously with each drastic move.Bookmark here

As if he was in a martial arts competition, Runo proceeded to kick the monster's tongue upwards. The monster lunged forward upon the kick, to which the man's scream of fury reverberated within the trees as he forcefully sent a heavy punch against the monster's face. Bookmark here

And attempted to leave another permanent mark.Bookmark here

The monster felt the emotions behind it, from Runo's frustration that this was his former teammate, to his fury of not being able to save his current teammates without them getting injured. It didn't even have time to shriek or retaliate, because the furious man suddenly smashed its upper torso with his other fist, sending it flying.Bookmark here

The guy then jumped from his position to where the creature was hovering, and with a powerful kick, he slammed his leg on top of the monster's head and shoved it into the ground. His uncontrollable rage overwhelmed him as he started to kick the monster's face. With his shoes covered in filth and pitched black blood, he pressed the soles of his feet into the monster's eyes and disgusting grin.Bookmark here

It never responded. After a while, Runo's fiery rage gradually fade, and Dolly watched in awe as Runo gave it one last kick to its head to ensure that it was unconscious.Bookmark here

The trees stopped crying leaves, and the battle was over.Bookmark here

Netty was still laying on the floor from all her aches from being slammed vigorously. Her hand was still jolting from the mini-sparks it ignited.Bookmark here

Dolly breathed a sigh of belief, her eyes glanced over at the monster she killed earlier. Iris' monster wasn't considered one of the stronger ones, so it didn't leave an energy bar.Bookmark here

Her thoughts dwelled on how the system worked. She was aware that stronger monsters would leave behind bars, but why is it that the weaker ones don't? Besides, how do monsters who get killed leave edibles? If anything, she began to question what makes a monster strong or weak enough to be considered as such. Bookmark here

Her questions scattered when her peripheral vision caught a glimpse of motion from the crater Runo made after shoving the upper torso monster hard onto the ground. She watched in horror as the monster's tongue slipped out and scraped the side of Runo's skinny jeans.Bookmark here

"Son of a-!" Bookmark here

He fell backward as his hand grabbed onto the tongue and jerked it hard. The monster was lifted from its position in the crater and it shrieked, its hands started clawing onto the air around it. The pungent smell of corpses lingered closer as its body swayed across the air towards Runo.Bookmark here

"RUNO!!! GIVE THEM TO ME!!" It shrieked as it furrowed its eyebrows. Suddenly, a random tear fell from its sunken, hollow eyes. "RUNO PLEASE!!! PLEASE GIVE THEM TO ME!!"Bookmark here

Dolly wanted to help the man, but something about the desperate tone coming from the monster's shrieks felt genuine as if it was really trying to get something from Runo. She gazed at him as he fought the monster and dodge a tongue attack, wondering what could Runo possibly have that the monster wanted so much.Bookmark here

His earring? No...His jacket? The man is literally not carrying anything!Bookmark here

"GIVE THEM TO ME RUNO!!"Bookmark here

His scanner in his pocket??Bookmark here

"RUNO PLEASE!!"Bookmark here

WHAT IS IT?!Bookmark here

"I think it's time for you to shut up," Runo suddenly grabbed onto the monster's face and crushed its tongue with his other hand. Its blood splattered all over poor Runo and his stylish jacket, and his shimmering golden earring became stained with darkness. "I don't understand what is it you want me to give you, but if it's to end your life, I will do it."Bookmark here

"RUNO-" Bookmark here

The man took one of his blades and stabbed onto the creature's face, before dragging his knife across its disgusting surface, sending a waterfall of black blood oozing out onto the grass. He mercilessly flung the creature away from him and watched it bled until it was no longer moving. Bookmark here

This time, he wanted to make sure the creature was really gone. Bookmark here

"Dolly."Bookmark here

"You got it," The android's arm immediately went up as she opened her palm. Bookmark here

The man sighed and turned to take a look at Netty's injuries. His eye gazed at her scratches as well as the broken fingers laying on the grass. For a man who knew how to fix androids, he had no reason to struggle with patching Netty up again.Bookmark here

And yet the sad reality had to strike once again when the creature suddenly shot its last attempt using its tongue to attack Runo.Bookmark here

"Runo, watch out!!" Dolly screamed, the frustration and power in her voice rung inside Runo's ears as he turned. The monster's tongue was aiming straight for him, and so he gripped onto his blades.Bookmark here

Until at the very last minute when Runo was about to slash it, the tongue curved sideways and avoided the man.Bookmark here

It was aiming for the injured android, Netty.Bookmark here

Runo watched in horror as his eye could only witness the powerful blow of impalement through Netty's stomach. The barrier-shattering sounds of clunky sensors, wires, and blocks inside Netty made a thundering noise upon impact.Bookmark here

Bits and pieces of Netty's components fell like raindrops. Her body collapsed onto the grass with her wires tangling upon themselves. Bookmark here

Her expression was one of bewildered and frightened, for now, she realized she's in serious trouble.Bookmark here

"NETTY!!" Dolly and Runo synchronously called out to her when they witnessed the brutal attack. The android ran towards her injured teammate as Netty's rosy cheeks and colorful eyes began to lose that sparkling excitement she always carried.Bookmark here

But before Dolly could say anything, she turned her head to see Runo, who threw himself in front of her and Netty to block the monster's second attempt at slashing them. The tongue headed straight for Runo's head.Bookmark here

The only sound she heard next was an ear-piercing scream that reverberated within the forest. Bookmark here

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