Battle In The Mist

Chapter 36 : Battle In The Mist
Katrin hardened her resolve and fired the blast that would kick off the battle, the Mag-gun recoiled from the power behind the shot. Immediately she prepared another bullet in the chamber as she began to circle the Fulger Stag, even before the first magic bullet struck the creature in the chest.

The sound of Katrin’s gun fire snapped Agni out of her trance-like state. She quickly reacted, preparing to swing the axe portion of her halberd as swiftly as she could. The goal wasn’t to kill, rather to maim and prevent the creature’s full mobility. Agni positioned the strike in such a way that the Stag wouldn’t be able to avoid it even if it tried.

The next few moments played out in slow motion as the large mass of mana impacted the Stag along the front of its collar bone, the explosion resulted in a billowing wisp of blue energy which began to dissipate upwards. Around this time Agni’s swing, fueled by both of her arms for extra speed and strength, impacted the creature along the right side of its abdomen.

For a brief moment both of the women believed their attacks to be effective, so much so that they simply waited for a second or two. Agni was frozen in place while Katrin stood, her gun pointed at her target’s body. However, the creature didn’t move — at all. Completely ineffective. The bullet quickly dissipated into nothingness and Agni’s halberd met resistance at the last possible moment. The sound of the impact was blunted, dull, unlike the usual sound of metal slitting into flesh. Regardless the creature stood unperturbed, at least at first.

Agni could have been imagining it but she felt as if she saw a furious expression of rage fill the creature’s face. The next moment it’s eyes glowed a dangerous blue color and lightning energy rose from the base of the Stag’s horns to the tips. As this process happened small arcing strikes of lightning crackled and snapped the nearby air.

*S***!* Agni thought to herself as she prepared for the incoming attack. She raised her halberd and sank it into the ground as she gripped the leather handle. Agni then rushed to infuse her own body with as much lightning energy as she felt appropriate while sinking into a somewhat crouched stance. Katrin on the other hand moved her free hand forward and extended her palm outward as her Mana Shield activated. The creature lifted it’s head, the building lighting reaching a crescendo as its attack began.

This all happened in less than two seconds, which for Agni was much too soon. The other Stags she’d faced often took anywhere from five to ten seconds to charge the same attack she had now come to dread. Even Katrin’s face was one of shock, though her body had been trained to act against this particular foe, her mind was now reeling.

*H-how is this one so quick?* She thought just milliseconds before the attack struck.

Katrin watched pure white lightning whips arced forward from each point on the creature’s crown-like horns. In turn, these whips had points which branched off and created other whips. The display was both dazzling and terrifying. The points danced along the ground, issuing forth from the horns as they bent and crinkled, setting the dry dirt aflame with sizzling power. Agni braced herself, setting aside another 20% of her mana in an effort to nullify the incoming damage. During the previous week’s training she’d found this technique and percentage to be effective enough to minimize or sometimes even negate lightning damage altogether. Unfortunately this was not the case today.

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The number of times Agni was struck by the attack was both mind blowing and swift. Within a split second her health was nearly decimated by sixty percent. Katrin would not escape without difficulty either. While her mana shield fared better , the attack completely drained her mana in a single strike. She was simply lucky enough to avoid being struck a second time due to her distance. Katrin couldn’t help but feel light headed and disoriented, after all such was the effect of depleting one’s mana suddenly.

Agni forced all of her mana into her lightning cloak, gripping her halberd more intensely as she did so.

[-9][-7]

She gritted her teeth as the blows kept coming, the sound of surging lighting and popping energy echoed through the clearing.

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Finally, after nearly ten successive strikes the creature lowered it’s head slightly, ending the area of effect attack.

Agni gritted her teeth as the last of the invading energy filtered through her body.

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As she lifted her eyes she realized that she had been forced to her knees, the sight of the Stag was one who looked down upon his foe with unmatched sovereignty. What’s more, unlike a normal Stag, it’s horns still held more lightning energy to spare.

*S***. This one’s too strong!* Agni thought to herself as she was forced to reexamine her opinion of her foe. She shot a glance at Katrin who, up until this point had been making an effort to stay mobile — after all this was the first rule of combat for a gunner. Limited mobility resulted in death so always stay moving! But now Katrin was frozen in her tracks, her mouth agape as she struggled to comprehend the sheer power of a foe that depleted her mana reserves in a single strike.

The reason Katrin was in such shock was because her maximum mana was currently over 400 points. Her health by contrast was significantly lower at just around 195, in just one blow she would have been stricken dead.

*One shot.* Katrin’s face morphed as she struggled to overcome a sense of despair which began to creep into the back of her mind. One word began to form clearly in her throat. “Impossible.”

“IC : Yue Potion.” Agni said as she slowly got to her feet.
“IC : Belle Potion.” She followed up her health recovery with a mana potion.

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Seeing Katrin falter, Agni knew she had to step in, regardless of how bleak the situation felt. Bracha was many things, talkative, insightful, strict and strong — but cruel was not one of them. No matter how Agni looked at things, Bracha would never place them in a situation that was hopeless. This was especially true considering Bracha allowed them to properly prepare beforehand earlier in the day. In Agni’s mind this meant Bracha understood what was to come, thus Agni considered it a part of her training where there was a chance to succeed.

Seeing Agni recover also gave Katrin the strength to snap out of her own shock as well.

“IC : Belle Potion!” Katrin practically screamed as a bead of nervous sweat rolled down her brow. She followed up that command with “IC : Lesser Flame Stream Scroll.”. This time Katrin summoned forth an item scroll.

After seeing the resolve to battle form in Katrin’s eyes, Agni felt a newfound determination herself. She took in a deep breath and began to flow her mana into the tip of her halberd.

“Ignite.” Agni whispered, causing the head of the halberd to burst into flames. Both of the women prepared for round two of their tense battle in the mist.

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