PowerPlay! ~ The odd tale about awesome powers, quirky personalities and why they make for an awful mix.
The silence lasted only a moment.
With only a step, the woman shortened her distance from the knight.
Her axe fell ravenously on the paladin while bursting flames enveloped its blade.
The blow had hit the man like a speeding wagon, its lingering echo bellowing throughout the vale, addling some of the onlooker minds with its high pitched sound of metal screeching against metal.
But the paladin’s defense was impenetrable.
His shield, humming with the airy vibration of a chime, had easily blocked the blow and the knight was prepared to strike back. Crackling with the intensity of a lightning, a pure light cut the sky in half, right where his weapon had described an arc towards the spot the woman had occupied just a brief moment ago.
The girl was a fury, however, ducking to the knight's feet she had evaded his attack and was now attempting to unbalance her adversary by aiming a vicious blow at his legs.
The paladin closed his eyes in serene concentration as the massive axe swung for his legs.
A blast of pure azure energy burst from the paladin’s body, cracking the ground he was standing upon and crashing onto the warrior’s blade, forcing her to evade its violent explosion.
Rolling for several feet in retreat, she stopped her moving body by crudely gripping the ground.
“Not bad, holy knight...”
A mad smirk painted her face, as she rapidly jumped back leveraging her weight over the massive weapon she held.
While in the air she adjusted her body and tightened her grip on her weapon.
At that moment, flames erupted from the two mysterious barrels at the back of her formidable weapon, in an explosion that echoed like a monstrous roar and changed the momentum of her falling body. With the force of this hell-fire, her axe swung again, ravenously aiming for the paladin’s neck.
The paladin, that had positioned to take the blow from above, was now forced to defend his side. Without betraying even a moment of doubt, he raised his blade to the sky instead of meeting his attacker’s taunt.
“「EDGE OF CREED」”
A circle of power hummed into existence and covered the sky between the two combatants, spewing forth a massive crystalline blade that planted itself firmly into the ground next to the paladin, rippling with energy.
The girl once again evaded the falling sword with uncanny agility but bared her growing frustration.
“GET HERE SO I CAN SMASH YOU, YOU COWARD!!!”
The dark flames began enveloping her whole figure while her features twisted into a feral grin. With a terrible blow she shattered the crystalline formation with her flaming axe, and struck her adversary with a succession of vicious and formidable blows, that felt like a wild stampede.
The Holy knight, however, was expecting this and had used the brief respite he had created with his spell to reposition for impenetrable defence. One after the other, these mighty blows, driven by the girl’s rage and her masterful use of her weapon’s fire discharge, rained upon the paladin’s raised shield.
Her flurry cracked and splintered the terrain, burning and gnashing at the ground surrounding the two opposing fighters. The blows created great shockwaves that tormented the vale with their terrible booming cacophony.
The paladin was completely unfazed, as he stood there with no emotion on his stern face but concentration, parrying each subsequent blow.
This was becoming more and more surreal, by the minute.
My eyes were entranced by the logic-defying view.
I had been looking at the furious exchange for a while now, with nothing but fear for my safety pumping in my brain.
...something else had begun to creep in the back of my head, coiling up from my itching spine.
A strange feeling.
A somewhat nostalgic and sentimental emotion.
The tingle of intrepidity on the battlefield, the lights, the rumble…
Just like in my tales.
I must be dumber than I look.
Somewhere deep inside…
...I’m enjoying this?
The paladin swung his sword, aiming for the girl’s abdomen. Energy flared up like a lightning of pure light. The girl jumped away from the crystalline blade, evading his attack.
She finally stopped a few feet away from her adversary and locked her eyes with his.
“Impressive, paladin! Not a single dent! I see now why they call you immortal knight…” She hissed, laughing.
She was right. It was almost reality defying. Each blow had been strong enough to leave gashes and craters in the ground, but the paladin was standing there completely unscathed.
The taunting smile slowly disappeared from the girls face as a shadow veiled her face…
For a moment her face drooped down, her bangs of ashen hair covering the reddish gleam of her eyes. She looked so frail. Almost afraid of what she was about to say...
“…I did not want to do this, but you leave me no choice…”
At those words the paladin’s gaze grew sharp as if understanding something. On the other side all I could see was the girl's eyes glowing madly in the blood-like smoulder of the evening sky.
Something surged. And the fear was gone.
“… I WILL TEACH YOU WHY THEY ALL FEAR THE BLOODY QUEEN!!!”
Shouting those words with a voice that was no longer melodious nor feminine, the girl lowered her stance like an animal. Reddish flames and black smoke erupted from her body’s tense muscles, her face was shrouded by a mysterious force that left only her shining red eyes glowing as a terrible omen of what was to come.
The paladin tensed, sensing the energies washing from his foe. He gasped as he witnessed two long and pointy horns part the spiky hair of her forehead.
“…so you finally awakened to the power of your kind…” He whispered.
The unrecognizable "creature" jumped in the air with a blood-curdling scream.
It jumped high enough to reach the fading image of the moon, dyeing it in crimson as it painted the vale in its unforgiving light.
At the climax of its ascent, the creature stopped. Her imposing figure trailed over the sputtering remains of the setting sun. Holding her flaming axe high atop her head…
…she smiled a final eerie smile.
All present felt a terrible sensation nibbling away at their sanity.
The sun had set over the horizon, and only the deepest night would follow.
“ Trigger-happy serenade of death 〜『BLOODY COMET』”
A thousand baleful fires had spirited their way onto the world and her massive axe had discharged a powerful blast onto the cold night sky.
Using the momentum of her axe’s burst, the creature had begun to spin rapidly in the air.
Soon her features had become indistinguishable and only a speeding ball of nightmarish fire had remained, aiming for her adversary on the ground.
The paladin looked at the incoming comets with unflinching courage. He then looked back and saw Romon and me standing by the inn door. Probably remembered the terrified patrons inside too.
His gaze steeled, understanding his duty.
As the fiendish stars drew close to the ground, hissing and screaming vengeance, he raised his mighty shield and chanted a solemn vow.
“ Fortress of a thousand hallow wards 〜『EGIDAS』”
The booming ring of a multitude of melodious bells resounded all around, as a sacred wall of pure crystalline perfection erupted from the ground, tall enough to shut away the haunting picture of the burning night sky. Holy prayers in the form of concentric sacred symbols resounded into existance filling the vale in a chorus of melodious resonance, as if trying to drown the raging hellfire outside.
Several seconds passed in suspended tension...
My mind was blank. I still have no words to describe the scene I beheld then.
The only thing I know is that it never occurred to me to look away.
The sound of the impact reached our ears several seconds after the light.
The ball of demonic fire had hit the holy barrier with the fury of an inferno of scorching heat. The otherworldly blast that had erupted from the impact had blinded the entire vale for almost thirty seconds, as the veritable fury of hell was unleashed upon everything beyond the crystal wall.
As soon as I managed, I looked around to see if anyone had been hurt by this brutal attack.
The inn was shaken and cracked, but it was standing.
The stalwart knights, harboring no doubts of the power their lord commanded, had rushed inside his protective barrier before he had even erected it. Fearing for their life, even the bandits had rushed inside the holy warding at the last minute and were now trying to put off their singed clothes while crying for mercy from their mistress.
The paladin, having withstood the brunt of that hellish explosion finally relaxed his muscles.
“…breaking six hundred sixty-six barriers with only one blow, uh? I thoroughly underestimated you, it seems.”
He said with a tinge of respect mixing in his calm and commanding voice. He then lowered his shield, shifting his stance for a strike.
An arc of pure energy shattered the night sky, dividing its now shining firmament in two and sending translucent shockwaves to clear the scene of smoke and fire in front of the holy knight.
For a moment, I forgot to breathe…
The scene before me struck a chord, forever etching itself in my mind.
The knight stood stalwart on the grassy meadow of the vale.
Facing him, hiding in the bleak smoke and fire of the inferno she herself had created, crouched the undefeated warrior queen, her eyes still shining with that mad gleam.
A contest of heaven and hell…
I must be truly dumb.
The dumbest idiot on earth.
Even as I feared for my life, even as I found all of this outrageously exaggerated and needlessly flamboyant…
…no, perhaps because of it.
I couldn’t help but etch this view into my heart.
Reality had matched my wildest tales.
And I was definitely enjoying it.