Chapter 56 : How A Scribe Fights (1)
Katrin gritted her teeth as she realized that the battle had now begun in earnest. She resolved herself for the battle after finally deciding on the tactics she would use. She recalled her Mag-gun and instead decided to proceed empty handed, taking up an open handed martial stance.
“Oh? Are you sure? You might not last longer than a few seconds.” Fargo said, he disapproved of her choice yet he couldn’t help but feel excited at the prospect of the fight. Normally he hated his job as a snatcher. It was something wholly beneath him as a Striker. Preying on the weak or helpless frustrated him to no end and lately Gaines had only requested new adventurers.
*I’ll be happy when this all dies down and I can enjoy some free time. I hate that fat f***, with all of my soul.* Fargo’s eyes flashed dangerously of mana as an explosion of energy washed over his body.
Katrin felt a sense of pressure overcome her as the mood suddenly changed. Not only was mana a conduit for magic, but it also allowed emotion and intent to be transferred. Sometimes it could even alter the effects of spells used for free-form magic users. Katrin had read as much but it was her first time experiencing it firsthand. The impression she got was like facing a massive wall and it bared down upon her causing an uncomfortable feeling of oppression to cling to her.
She couldn’t help but feel pressured, her body reacting on reflex to force a hard gulp. It lasted for only a moment as she clenched her fist before the battle continued in full. Fargo walked towards her confidently until he reached a distance sufficient enough to bridge the distance in a single move.
Meanwhile Agni had her hands full with two highly skilled opponents. With her ‘Whisper’ ability sealed she couldn’t help but stay on the defensive. She’d been trying to compel her opponents from the beginning but one of them would always interrupt her command. Glint particularly was fond of sticking close to her to take advantage of the fact that she was unable to use her halberd effectively at such a close distance. His experience in combat had already exposed weaknesses that Agni never thought about. She was now learning the hard way that all of her abilities were suited to mid and long range combat. When it came to melee she was woefully unprepared. At this point the only thing keeping her afloat was her Agility score.
Agility was different from speed in the sense that it allowed for quick evasive motions, whether full or partial in nature. Ducking, weaving, side steps — these were abilities that Agni practiced constantly during the past week and a half of her new life in Adventia. The problem was that due to the experience of her attackers any edge she had was minimal at best. She was barely avoiding the tip of Glint’s blades while Ashe’s ambush attacks forced her to take the brunt of a blow from one or the other.
In the event that Agni was able to activate her Whisper ability, it would only take hold for a second, and that time seemed to decrease in duration each time she used it on one of her attackers. Furthermore compelling them to fight one another or simply kill themselves seemed to be impossible altogether. She was forced to dance between attacks while watching for Ashe’s irregular strikes. It was only a matter of time before she slipped up and with that in mind she decided to abandon the use of her halberd altogether.
*You’re going to get captured like this! I know a better way!* Shula mind-shouted as an alert suddenly appeared before Agni.[Acquire the ability ‘Iron Fangs, Iron Claws’? This will cost 10 PP. Y/N]
*What?* Agni’s slight moment of distraction was enough for Glint to catch her with a gash along the exposed flesh on her thigh. Agni gritted her teeth and ignored the pain which was now setting in as she focused on Shula’s words.
*You can fight hand to hand with this ability. It will turn your fingers and teeth to sharp instruments of death at just a thought. It’s the only way you’re going to break the stalemate.* Shula explained.
Agni had been saving her Potential Points, not because of her desire to obtain wings, she would manage that with her next rank up. Instead she simply planned on acquiring the most useful general skills to suit her. Realizing now that Shula was right, she had no choice but to acquiesce.
*Yes!* She confirmed mentally, and the prompt disappeared, subtracting ten of her remaining 30 Potential Points and learning the ‘Iron Fangs, Iron Claws’ ability.[Acquire ‘Extend’? This will cost 5 PP. Y/N]
*UGH! You’re making me use all of my PP.* Agni mentally grunted as she focused on dancing between Glint’s blades and moving to avoid Ashe taking a place behind her.
*Shut up and do it. I have a bad feeling about these goons, and Katrin’s fighting all by herself.* Shula commanded, defiantly. Agni ignored it because she felt the same. Ever since she acquired a new passive, Devilish Intuition, it had been helping her in many ways. In fact, it was due to this ability that she was able to avoid being checkmated by her two aggressors. She could “feel” Ashe’s attacks more than sense them. His technique made him invisible unless she was using Succubus Vision, only at the moment of striking would he be revealed and by then it would be much too late.
Devilish Intuition allowed her to avoid his strikes regardless of whether she had eyes on him and the ability was being forged in fire with each attempt. The more her opponents attacked her, the more she could feel the harm being directed her way. It was as if their intent to injure her became perceivable and she used this to augment her natural Agility. If not for this ability, she would no doubt have been defeated within seconds.
Agni quickly accepted the second suggestion of Shula. She already knew what the abilities were, but to her they both seemed lame at the time — thus she never even bothered to obtain or experiment with them. There would be no harm in acquiring either as long as her mastery with both failed to exceed 5% by the time the battle ended. It was a risk she was willing to take though. Agni was quickly learning that class related abilities were the bread and butter of an adventurer and they were almost always superior to general skills.
*Now listen up. I know how to end this stalemate.* Shula directed as the two began to fight with their combined forces.
Katrin’s opponent had been growing more fierce by the moment. She got rid of her gun and opted to use her Scribe runes to do battle. By adopting what resembled the stance of a four legged creature, Katrin was able to force her body to move while keeping contact with the ground. In turn, this allowed her to activate runes on the flat surface of the ground. The battle unfolding resembled something out of battle between a wizard and a knight.
Katrin activated random elements, realizing that her foe only seemed to have one weakness at this point — his abilities were close to mid range. He could absorb only intangible magic types, thus most of her strikes consisted of earth attacks. Particularly, she used rising spikes of earth to attack her lunging foe. He would easily slash them with his blade, but this too was part of Katrin’s plans. She noticed that each time he cleaved one of her attacks the flickering blue flame of his blade would diminish.
In addition to these attacks Katrin had also begun to test various low level magic types. Within the world of Adventia magic was split up into roughly three tiers. Lesser, Greater and Celestial. Furthermore, there were over twenty known elements with several ranks of their own. Low level magic could be considered rank 1 elements of Lesser Tier.
So far, earth element had proven to be the most effective. Although Katrin had only three earth element skills she could use at the moment, she only used ‘Terra Rising’ to lull her opponent into a false sense of security. She found the darkness element to be the next effective, with poison being useful as well. Once she confirmed that both of these additional elements would work she began to formulate a plan to either injure or immobilize her foe.
In order for a Scribe to activate magical spells, they would need to carry a relic with the spell inscribed on it. In Katrin’s case she had several dozen types of scrolls in her inventory. As long as she had the mana required to activate a spell, she could avoid consuming a scroll’s use in order to create the magical effect. This was done through the use of a specific rune. The only problem was that Katrin needed her cast runes to be within a specific distance of another object or surface to take hold. This resulted in her animal-like crouching style that she was currently using.
Fargo was careful to keep her away from the walls as much as possible due to Katrin’s tactics. His reaction speed was sharp, suggesting to Katrin that he also had a much higher Agility score. That combined with his ability to quickly swing such a large, flat blade suggested he also had a great deal of Strength stat as well.
With each blow that Katrin avoided she would be forced to practically frog leap with the power of all four limbs in order to avoid downward or horizontal blows. Most of the time this resulted in a slight moment of imbalance as this was something Katrin had never practiced — it was born simply out of necessity and desire to win. Over time she made adjustments, using less force and more finesse but regardless moving in such an unfamiliar way was taxing on her body. Thus, the moment her reactions were a hair too slow Fargo broke through her latest barrage of ‘Terra Rising’ spikes and swung his blade with a battle-lust crazed glare.
Cursing the fact that she didn’t have enough time to put her full plan in motion, Katrin hastily took action. She slapped both hands down on the ground after forming two quick Scribe symbols, causing two thin tendrils of darkness energy to shoot forth. She then hopped backwards to create distance as Fargo reacted to her ensnarement.
He cloaked his freehand in fierce blue mana flames and swatted at the tendrils of darkness. The pair of magical constructs quickly dissipated under the power of his own blows as he continued his lunge towards Katrin.
It was at this moment that the second rune triggered, having been delayed by Katrin just a moment. Two more tendrils captured Fargo, wrapping around his forearm and waist. His forward motion slowed, but only momentarily as Fargo expended more of his flaming aura to once again dissipate the magical contracts.
He grinned and set his sights on Katrin once again, now realizing that she was in perfect range for a blow. He didn’t intend to kill her, thus he would flatten his blade on impact, making his strike more of a slap than a slice. Confident that he’d managed to checkmate his opponent he swung his blade, and that’s when Katrin chose to strike.
Her hands moved almost in a blur as she began writing a plethora of Scribe symbols in the air, then pressing her palm to her own body. She covered her chest in three separate runes in less than a second and activated them just as quickly. A ‘Terra Rising’ earth spike jutted forth from the spinning runic circle near her bosom, with another shooting forth from her abdomen. With both hands in an awkward position and such forward momentum Fargo could do little else but take the strikes head on. He was surprised that Katrin’s battle sense was so well honed, especially as the first spike pierced his shoulder at the exact point where his armor was weakest. He made sure to protect his head and heart as most would and Katrin anticipated as much. The Terra Rising spike she created was slender — more like a spear than a spire of jagged earth. Thus it easily pierced her foe’s armor, stabbing through his forearm and into his shoulder, impaling him with a portion of his own force.
What’s more the second attack was more jagged and struck at his midsection where the armor was weakest. The attack cut into his abdomen causing Fargo’s eyes to water as he coughed up a spurt of blood.
The third and final symbol activated, causing a stream of toxic poison to spray directly into Fargo’s face. The poison element ability was enough to cause his skin to burn fiercely, it felt as if thousands of tiny knives were stabbing his face. He pressed his eyes shut to avoid being blinded, but he couldn’t help taking a heaving breath of the mist-like poison thus his lungs were now on fire as well.
He could only struggle, waiting for the effects of the spell to wear off. Despite all of his injuries the blows weren’t enough to kill him outright. Thus he pulsed his remaining accumulated mana fiercely in a bid to burn away the constructs plaguing him.
*You little bitch. I’m going to kill you!* He growled in his mind as he flexed his muscles in an attempt to weaken the stone spears. With his eyes pressed closed and rage overcoming his other senses, Fargo didn’t even see what came next. Katrin took her time, tracing the same magic symbol on the surface of her palm multiple times before adding a second symbol. The four symbols merged as one as she pumped much more energy into the result than necessary. Finally she got to her feet and walked forth, thrusting her palm into his nose with all of her might before she released the full effect of her Scribe spell.