Chapter 58

Chapter 58 : Bloody Result

Agni’s voice was stuck in her throat as she watched Katrin sink to her knees. A sense of panic set in as she watched her first party mate, her friend fall flat in a matter of seconds. She made to move but a sharp pain in her thigh caused her to reconsider before Shula’s voice echoed in her mind.

*She’s still alive, but you need to act fast! Her health is fading fast. Use a potion on her!* Shula said. Agni ventured a glance at Katrin’s health bar and realized it was true, though her health was dangerously low and fading by the moment, Katrin was still hanging on by a thread.

“Dammit! IC: Yue Potion, Katrin!” Agni shouted as she cursed her own lack of preparation. Never in her wildest dreams did Agni believe she would get pulled into a life or death battle inside the city of Grenvale. Despite all of Bracha’s low key warnings to stay on the well traveled path she had found herself in grave trouble almost immediately without hardly any restoratives to her name.

Meanwhile Katrin’s world was spinning. Her lungs struggled to intake the air she desperately needed as blood began to fill them and her heart was on fire as blood began to spurt from the wound in her chest. She could feel her life force slipping away as she began to grow cold. Her only solace was in the fact that she’d taken out one enemy by herself.

In her previous life Katrin was a nobody. A wallflower that most everyone she encountered would easily forget. She didn’t get on well with her coworkers due to her shy and inward nature. Her family was non-existent from the age of twenty and thus she was forced to make her way in the world on her own.

She had a few flings, as any woman had, terrible luck at romance and even more terrible times with building a career. In the end, she remembered dying before she reached old age, yet as a middle aged woman she was full of regrets. She had no doubt that these lingering thoughts were enough to answer the call of Adventia.

When Katrin found herself in a new land with a young, attractive body she took it as a second chance at life. She was determined to grab it with both hands. Though she only remembered key portions of her past life, there was a strong sense of determination to make full use of the one she currently had.

She started by pulling the knife out of her lung first and tossing it to the side. This was no easy feat as her limbs were heavy and lacking feeling. She doubted that she would even have the strength to do what she needed at this point — to pull out the remaining dagger and heal herself before bleeding out.

“Dammit! IC: Yue Potion, Katrin!” It was Agni’s voice, which forced a pained smile across her bloody lips. The blood within her began to recede as the wound in her lung burned and tingled. This was a sign of her wounds healing, as she’d felt many times under the effects of healing potions. The way healing potions worked were a mystery, much like magic in such a world, yet they would address any wounds first, then focus on restoring health.

Because Katrin still had a dagger embedded in her heart, that wound could not be healed. The potion instead focused on healing the rest of her bruises before finally restoring a bit of health. She was around 10% of her HP by this point and her limbs now had the strength to move once more, yet she was fading fast.

With another labored push of both willpower and strength Katrin pulled the other dagger from her chest as a wellspring of blood issued forth. This time she used the second potion herself. While Agni was busy haggling over prices, Katrin was looking at various things in Gadsten’s shop. One of which were potions of various types. She found a few that could help them in their travels, and though they were expensive she grabbed one of each at the time.

“IC : World Dew Potion.” Katrin said hoarsely as a second wave of healing washed over both her and Agni. The potion she used was a combined effect potion which restored 300 health and 150 mana for each member of the party. It had cost a pretty penny and it was something she was hoping to save for dire emergencies, this was one such emergency.

Agni felt the tingle of healing overcome her, but that sensation was overshadowed by her enemy who had gotten to his feet and managed to deliver a crushing blow to her abdomen, kicking her in the ribs and cracking them in the process. With her attention divided and his numbers dwindling, Glint the wounded and remaining snatcher had to act.

*There’s no f****** way I’m going back empty handed. I’ll be flayed alive!* He growled inwardly as he took action with an almost murderous intent.

Meanwhile Katrin struggled to wipe the blood from her lips as she felt the wound on her chest slowly sew itself shut. In the process she’d sacrificed almost all of the potion’s health restoring benefits to heal the deadly wound, thus her health only bordered at 15% of her total while her mana was brimming full.

She allowed the pain to subside fully before attempting to get up, unfortunately she was completely unprepared for what happened next as the charred face of Fargo appeared above her and stomped her chest viciously.

“I can’t believe…you nearly killed me!” He growled as his foot came down on Katrin’s diaphragm. The resulting blow shattered her ribcage, forcing several shards of bone into her once healed lungs again. Fargo had no intention of allowing her to use another potion so he reached into his own inventory and pulled out an amulet, holding it upwards as he spoke.

“Glint. Weaken her, but don’t kill her. We’ll lose our heads if we come back empty handed after all this trouble.” Fargo’s rage was unmatched, yet he spoke clearly and decisively. This was because, despite his anger he was happy that someone could bring him to such a state in an exciting battle. In a different place and time, he’d have congratulated Katrin but when dealing with monsters there was no room for complacency or camaraderie. And *he* was not to be trifled with.

The amulet shone with a flicker of purple aura as it’s effects took hold.

[Utility Seal : Item and Inventory access has been sealed.] This was the alert which flashed in front of Katrin and Agni’s eyes. The truth is, even if they wanted to continue healing themselves they had no ability to do so. Katrin used the last of their healing potions just moments before Fargo’s sneak attack. His foot was still pressed against Katrin’s abdomen and she was aware that he could have crushed her further if he chose to do so, yet he didn’t. He watched her like a hawk as the purple colored magic filtered upwards into the sky and formed a half-spherical dome. All people within this barrier would be inflicted with the Utility Seal ailment, including Fargo and Glint.

Katrin’s mind raced for a way to defeat her enemy, but she knew the moment that she reacted Fargo would intercept her attack. She only had one card left to play. It was a dangerous one, but she would do it anyway. She took several deep breaths, as best she could with the weight of Fargo’s foot on her. It seemed as if the amulet was the type that required mana to be constantly fed into it to achieve its effect. She suspected as much because though Fargo had her pinned, he hadn’t taken action against her nor was he using his enchanted Guardian blade. Thus it would come down to focus and speed. Katrin wasn’t confident in either category, so she calmed her mind as best she could before grabbing at a scroll she’d stashed beneath her garments.

It was moist, filled with her own blood but it unfurled just the same as she activated the magical item in one swift motion. Fargo grinned at first, before the biting flames leapt out of the scroll. When Katrin knocked him cold and nearly killed him due to shock and sheer damage, a fear was implanted in Fargo. This was the only reason he stepped back initially, after all in his mind a Rank 0 Scribe’s flames would be child’s play if he had his weapon at the ready. Unfortunately he didn’t and so he decided to play it safe. The stream of flames were so powerful that he felt his charred face tingle with pain, they even managed to further damage his foot which was closest to Katrin.

“T-These aren’t the flames of a novice. That would have easily killed me!” He grunted in disbelief as a cold sweat overcame him. This was the same scroll that Bracha enchanted with rune magic and allowed Katrin to keep. She’d been tempted to use it many times, but after seeing its powerful effects she decided to save it for a dicey situation. From that moment on she’d carried the scroll on her person as a last ditch safety measure.

The moment Fargo lifted his foot, Katrin got to her feet, leaving the magical scroll fixed in its cast position just centimeters above the ground. Her body groaned as bones pierced into her flesh, but she gritted her teeth as she quickly began creating another makeshift spell. This would be her last attempt to end Fargo once and for all. The item he was using worked both ways, she was sure of it — otherwise he’d have healed himself by this point.

Fargo was taken aback by both the strength of the flames and Katrin’s movements. He lost a precious couple of seconds, but that was all Katrin needed as she finished her spell and tapped her chest, shooting forth a thick, spear shaped earth spike which was aimed directly at Fargo’s face. The next few moments played out in slow motion as the spire traveled forth, threatening to impale her foe instantly. Only Fargo’s skill and experience were enough to save him. His footing was awkward, thus all he could manage to do was use gravity and his own weight to alter his position. The earth attack gouged a deep cut into his already scarred face, grating against the bone as it passed.

Fargo summoned the remainder of his experience and sheer will to step forward and deliver another crushing blow to Katrin’s abdomen. This time the air rushed from her body, lifting her several centimeters from the ground as she doubled over, yet refused to fall. This single move was enough to end the flash earth spell she cast, causing the earth spire to crumble in mid air. She moved to bring her hands together once more to weave symbols but Fargo was much quicker. He grabbed her right wrist and pivoted, bringing both himself and her arm behind Katrin’s back. He then fell forward with all of his weight, forcing Katrin to the ground. His next move was to lay her on her back with her hand still behind her back as he mounted her so that she could no longer escape.

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Fargo managed to do all of these things without disrupting the effects of his amulet, using his position as a straddler to push his hips down and secure Katrin’s pinned arm while using his free hand to pin her left. With all of her movements sealed Katrin was surprised to find that Fargo’s eyes no longer spoke of anger, but respect and admiration.

“Give up. There’s no way you can win. Hell, I’m a rank 2 Guardian and even I’m still losing.” Fargo said, his voice was firm, but sincere as he gazed down into Katrin’s eyes. He meant every word, and in fact he was beginning to identify with his foe more and more by the second. He even considered letting her go, if not for the consequences such an action would bring down upon him. This thought forced him to try to use words of reason to get through to her.

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“I’m a Rank 2 Guardian. You’re just a Rank 0 Scribe. Your class isn’t suited to combat, so you never had any hope to defeat me from the beginning. Just stop struggling, it will make things easier from now on.” Fargo’s words were meant to share some semblance of resignation with Katrin, but for her it only reminded her of the life she once sought to desperately escape.

What bubbled up from within her heart was not the will of one who would submit, but rather something else.

“Ah.” She said with a sigh as she finally stopped struggling.

“Agni’s going to be pissed.” Katrin said as she looked up at Fargo with a devious smile. The look in her eye and the tone of her voice set Fargo on edge. He’d seen it before, and on occasion worn the same expression. It was that of a person who managed to win, despite the odds. She activated her final trap card as a massive earth spike ripped through her abdomen and pierced Fargo in the same movement, impaling and lifting them both.

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