Chapter 37 : Blood And Barrier
If normal strikes didn’t work, they would have to target the creature’s weaknesses. Over the last six days both Agni and Katrin had been honing their experience by constantly fighting. They had become exceedingly good at defeating Stags and pinpointed quite a few weaknesses besides the obvious. One was the creature’s lack of mobility. They could easily bridge great distances at a gallop, but mobility in nearby spaces was very difficult due to their large size. Thus, rather than move, Fulger Stags used their lightning to attack on their behalf. When they absolutely needed to readjust they would often pivot before dashing forward — because this was their quickest evasion technique.
The women now worked to exploit this weakness. In addition to that, Agni planned to make full use of her halberd to exploit the creature’s vulnerabilities — fire and piercing. Knowing that Katrin was on the same page, both sprung into action. Katrin’s role was to attack the creature’s legs to weaken them. She began firing a plethora of bullets at the creature’s knees, this was easy because the creature moved even less than normal Stags.
Agni lunged forward and swiped at the creature’s face. She didn’t expect to land a blow, rather it was a shot in the dark. She didn’t expect the response she got however as the creature shifted the position of its head, knocking away the halberd with ease. Normally the halberd would deal some damage, chipping away at the mineral deposit of the horns. This time it deflected with a loud clang, nearly knocking the weapon out of Agni’s grip. It took a moment for her to recover as the blow lifted her several centimeters off of her feet. In this short period of time the Stag lowered its horns and thrust it’s head forward. The blow caught Agni in the chest, both lifting her and piercing her stomach in several spots. For the most part her chest plate blocked the majority of the damage but the creature didn’t stop there. As Agni flew backwards a few meters another jolt of lightning sparked forward and zapped her directly in the chest.[-22]
Due to her agility it was easy for Agni to right herself and bring another swing to bear. This time she aimed for the creature’s body as she lunged forth to recover lost ground. The attempted blows were more of a distraction than anything, the goal was never for Agni to take out the creature — it was to distract it. Katrin stopped firing seconds ago, she was now directly behind the creature in it’s blind spot as she creeped forward — the Flame Scroll extended forth. Once she judged that she was close enough she timed the use of her item with Agni’s second blow.
It just so happened that Agni’s blow was effective. And it seemed like the Grimlock was caught unaware as well. Rather than the strange feeling of resistance she felt before, Agni could feel her blade cut–albeit not very deeply. The resulting cut was little more than a surface wound which caused a trickle of blood to issue forth. It was at this moment that Agni noticed something strange. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say she “sensed” it. Due to the dense miasma in the area and the amount of mana she’d been forced to expend, Agi deactivated her Succubus Vision. She turned it on now, a light blue filter covering her eyes as various colors began to take form before her. To use her enhanced thermal vision all Agni needed to do was think about it, upon doing so she noticed what appeared to be small black particles. The resembled thousands of tiny bubbles constantly growing and fading away, the entirety of which formed a thin outline around the creature’s body.
A roaring sound echoed through the forest as Katrin ignited her scroll. The stream of flames which shot forth caught the creature on it’s flank and for the first time it showed a reaction to pain. It was at this time that Agni also noticed the number of particles cloaking the creature diminish significantly.
She was so focused on this that she forgot to follow up her second blow with another to distract her target. Thus the creature responded with a vicious hind quarter kick, Katrin expected this to a degree as they’d used this tactic several times before. She did not expect the speed and power of the blow, which struck her full on in the chest, sending her flying towards a nearby tree.[-64]
Agni could hear Katrin groan as she watched the HP decrease by 30% in an instant.
“Dammit.” Agni grunted as she resolved to light into the creature. She raised her left hand and formed a fireball, pouring a significant amount of her mana into it before she pointed her palm at the creature.
“You bastard. Don’t f*** with me!” Agni grunted, her eyes taking on a pink glow as her Succulust began to take over. With that declaration the fireball blasted forth, slamming directly into the creature’s face. The resulting explosion caused the creature’s head to snap back. Seeing that the black particles decreased once more Agni realized that the creature was coated in some kind of protective barrier. Whatever this barrier was, it didn’t respond well to magic.
Agni planted her feet and prepared to put all of her power into her next blow as she reared back. The flames dancing on the head of her halberd flared up, doubling in intensity and quantity before she struck a monstrous blow which cleaved the air. Much like before she aimed low and arced the blade upwards to cleave, this time aiming at the Stag’s front leg. She watched carefully as the halberd impacted, cutting inches deep into the Grimlock’s thigh. She could see the small black particles buzzing like thousands of tiny gnats as they were consumed by the flames now issuing forth from her halberd.
This time, the black particles did not return.
“Katrin, once more!” Agni shouted as she pulled back her halberd and twirled it menacingly in her hands. She stepped forth, undaunted as a feeling of savagery began to take hold.
*If one hit won’t do it, I’ll just keep going!* Agni hardened her resolve as she did a three sixty spin and hopped, throwing the momentum behind the next blow. This too was a secret of dealing with polearms that she learned through combat. In many respects it was easier and quicker to land blows by following the momentum of each action. Rather than attempt to sink her blade into the creature’s body, she now focused on glancing blows. With each impact she exhausted more mana to flare her flames, spurring them to consume as much of the creature’s barrier as possible.
Katrin slowly got to her feet, clutching her chest as she did so. A trickle of blood ran down the side of her mouth, a signal that she suffered some sort of internal bleeding. She ignored this, however as she called forth another Flame Stream scroll.
Without hesitation Katrin circled around to the creature’s side, opposite of Agni and activated the scroll. The combination of both attacks was enough to fully remove the creature’s invisible barrier.
Bracha, who had been watching the battle unfold from a distance, smiled to herself at their achievement. She’d half expected the two to need saving from their first “Grimlock Baptism”. She felt pleasantly surprised that they handled the evolving battle well.
“A Succubus and a Scribe. Hmm..” Bracha remarked as she watched the end of the battle unfold.
Seeing that the creature’s barrier was finally reduced to nothingness, Agni pounced on the chance which presented itself. She took two hop-steps backward to create space and then lunged forward, the spear-like end of the halberd sinking deep into the heart of the stag. For extra measure she expended the remainder of her mana, igniting the entire creature’s body aflame from both inside and out.