Chapter 157:

Fountain Fight

The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)

Nighthawk jumped in Gwyn’s direction before the Nonpareil hardly had a chance to think about it. The blue metal fist of the Needaimus opponent was trained on Gwyn’s neck.

“Qin Shi Huang!” Gwyn shouted. He moved back and moved his hands up. In an instant, the ground liquified and moved up to form a wall. The barrier turned solid just as fast as it had liquified to create an instant, concrete wall. Nighthawks fist smashed through, stopping just a hair’s length away from the Nonpareil. As the opponent slowly pulled its fist out of the wall, Gwyn chuckled and spoke, ”How do you like that? I spent several days during the mountain car trip thinking of all sorts of special moves!”

“Your attitude is the most grating thing about you,” Nighthawk mechanically spat as it pulled the arm out of the makeshift wall. Once the arm was removed, the wall crumbled.

“Say what you will, and I’d love to test my new moves on you, but I need to go see Rheba!” Gwyn said as he turned and ran from the Needaimus opponent. As he ran closer to the partially finished building where Rheba had crashed, he turned around several times to watch Nighthawk.

Gwyn had expected his opponent to give chase, and the giant blue Needaimus obliged. The Nonpareil was not without a plan; he would draw Nighthawk away from Kako and bring him to Rheba, where they could double team the opponent.

“Bob Gibson!” Gwyn shouted as he scooped up a piece of the ground and threw it at the opponent with his good hand. The attack flew nowhere close to the chasing Needaimus giant. “Hmm, that one’s going to need some work,” Gwyn muttered aloud.

You should be wary, partner, this opponent doesn’t seem like one to be careless with, Mem advised.

“I’ll be careful, but he doesn’t seem nearly as strong as Grimes,” Gwyn replied as he ran close to the building. Gwyn stopped and set his hand on the wall by the entrance.

Nighthawk stopped short, and the two opponents stared at each other, though Gwyn wasn’t sure where to focus on the metal body.

“I have seen the limits of your ability,” Nighthawk muttered, “You would stand to be a bit more creative with your ability.” The giant blue Needaimus leaped into the air. As it sailed in the sky, Nighthawk oriented a fist to Gwyn’s head. The Nonpareil smirked.

“Vlad the Impaler!” he shouted as the ground in front of him turned wet. Stony spikes shot up from the ground and hardened. The blue Needaimus crashed into the spikes, but the stone easily gave way to its metal frame. “He’s tough,” Gwyn muttered as he retreated into the building.

Out by the fountain, Kako and Ripple glared at each other. The orange Zenotote held two swords firmly in his hands, and Kako stood proud with Basil, the dwarf, by her side. Her character readied his hammer and took a step forward.

“You better give me a good drinking scene for this, witch,” he muttered.

Kako laughed.

“I’ll give you the best one yet!” she replied to her character.

The dwarf charged forward and smashed his large hammer into the ground. The ground cracked and opened in Ripple's direction, who leaped to the side before the fountain square seemed to close like a mouth.

The orange Zenotote threw a sword at Basil and one at Kako. They whistled as they sailed through the air with points directed at each target's throats.

The writer smiled and waved a hand that glowed with purple magic. Before the swords could hit either target, two arrows flew free from the top of the fountain and knocked the blades off course. They harmlessly bounced off the ground as Ripple turned to the top of the fountain. The elf, Mina, was standing on top with her bow, prepared to fire more arrows.

The Zenotote opponent wondered where she had suddenly come from but let it go as two new swords appeared as particles of dust that spun and wove together into the blades.

He stretched out his arm and pointed the tip of his blade to Kako.

“What do you wish to gain from getting involved?” he asked.

“It’s interesting, and I might get a story out of it!” Kako answered. Ripple felt like she was lying but didn’t expect her to stay alive long enough to get more information.

He shook his head and focused on Basil. Before the dwarf could react, the Zenotote had closed the gap and cut him in two. Ripple expected a bloody scene, he was accustomed to such, but instead, the dwarf's body dissipated into purple particles.

“Ah…” Basil began to shout what would have been a long string of dwarven curses, but his mouth was gone before he could finish.

“Basil!” Mina shouted with concern as she fired off a series of arrows. Ripple spun like a dancer as he bounced the attack off the flat side of his swords.

As he spun and deflected, the orange Zenotote focused on Kako and her Needaimus, which sat on the bench far behind her. Once all the arrows were lying on the ground, the opponent again pointed his blade at Kako.

“I see; you are using a long-range Needaimus technique,” he said. Ripple had heard rumors of people practicing using the Needaimus abilities without being bonded but had not seen anything of substance before.

Kako frowned for a moment; she had figured that though her technique was more advanced than any magic the opponent would be familiar with, he would still assume it was just spells. Nevertheless, she was happy to use a misunderstanding to her advantage.

Kako made a chuckle which might have been more suited for a villain, but she didn’t dwell on the details with her opponent moments from striking.

“Ah yes, so you’ve figured it out! Yes, this little Needaimus is a type which allows me to make fictional characters fight for me!” she lied. “You best give up now before I am forced to call on the whole army of my anthology!”

“I do not fear your hollow threats; I simply have to cut the Needaimus apart first,” Ripple said with a chuckle.

Kako let out a deep breath.

“You young ones are always so reckless,” she said with a shake of her head.