Chapter 397 – sacrifice

That crafty leather faced lizard! He’d let Garralosh regain control of her body a few seconds before me! Now I’m deep in brown town! My enhanced neural network fires at a speed beyond what would normally be possible and I’m dodging before my brain can fully process what has occurred.

Synapses spark, muscles fire and I fly to the right as mountain crushing might of that tail falls down on me like a meteor. My eyes are filled with burning scales and all sound fades from my ears. Heat is all my antennae can sense and the brief glimpse into the future is giving me confusing signals. The tail is obviously my main concern but something is also coming from my left? I don’t know! It does seem clear on one thing though.

I’m not going to make it.

Dammit, dammit, dammit! I can’t fail here. Not now! That damned wizard lizard isn’t going to get the best of me! Each of my four minds frantically spins to try and come up with something, anything that might get my oversized backside out of this predicament, but I come up empty.

BAM!

As the devastating tail of Garralosh is brushing against my antennae and about to crush my face, something, or somethings, smash into me. I get pushed twice, once on the side, and once from below, almost simultaneously. My carapace cracks a little under the strain and pain radiates out from the injury and I lurch to one side.

BOOM!

Like a mountain collapsing, the tail of my enemy crushes the ground, sending dirt flying into the air. My left side is still caught by the strike and my carapace explodes in pain as part of my body squishes in a very unpleasant way. My organs! My precious organs! And my legs? Forget ‘em! Stupid stick-like ant legs!

Before Garralosh can recover, I throw my dignity to the wind,  tuck what’s left of my legs and roll like a tumbleweed, scrabbling to put some distance between us. My health has been cut in half by that one strike, even the diamond carapace not able to withstand the devastating power of that strike.

Her mind may be weak but her body is OP. Way too OP!

As I frantically discharge my healing organ once more, desperate to fix my legs and injured body, I notice Vibrant is caught up with me, sprawled on the ground by my side.

“Vibrant?” I sputter. Talking hurts. Everything hurts.

For once, the hyper-active ant is quiet.

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Not far away, Garralosh appears to be going mad. She raises her tail and repeatedly smashes it into the ground in an uncontrolled frenzy, causing the ground to shake with her rage.

“You weren’t moving! Both of you went still and we weren’t sure what was going on! We tried to make sure you were okay, and then the fat croc started moving, but you didn’t! We had to get Senior out of the way!”

“We?”

“…”

Where’s Grant?

That stupid soldier had been down from the wall during the entire battle. She’d been wanting to help, I could see it in every line of her body. I’d hoped she would see some sense and retreat. She was supposed to retreat!

“Vibrant? Where is she? WHERE THE HELL IS GRANT?”

“Look out!”

Garralosh wasn’t willing to wait for me. She cast her head around until she saw her strike had failed. A choking roar burst from her throat as she dashes madly toward me. Reason and thought are gone from her eyes, only insanity and rage remain.

At this moment, I can’t bring myself to care about the human inside the monster. She’s going down. At this point the mind bridge has outlived its usefulness. With Garralosh in a frenzy, she is sending waves of aggression and lunacy across, assaulting my thoughts every second. Even if I try to send distractions to her, I doubt they’ll register. Time to drop it and move to more aggressive forms of magic.

The gigantic beast charges towards me in a mindless rage, any semblance of cunning or thought gone from her actions. Her claws tear great rents in the earth as she carves the ground apart to fling herself forward that little bit faster.

Need to dodge! Now!

Trying to match the timing, I wait until the last moment before I throw myself to one side. Without the use of all of my limbs, I can only get so far and Vibrant lunges forward to bite down on my legs and try to haul me clear. It’s almost enough. I catch a battering from one of her legs as the giant beast barrels past me, snapping at the air like a wild beast. More HP gone. The Vestibule is helping with a constant trickle of healing energy, but it’s going to take too long. I need to end this fight, and soon!

I’ll need to slow Garralosh down if I’m to have a hope of lasting for that much time. It’s time for some serious Gravity magic. I can only hope the Kaarmodo feels he’s interfered enough to satisfy whatever reptilian sense of duty he has. I don’t have the capacity to deal with both giant lizards at once right now. 

All four of my minds devote all of their attention to the task. My Gravity Mana gland is suddenly seized by four separate wills and mana begins to pour out at an unprecedented speed. The mana is gathered together and then crushed, held in place by my indomitable will, fuelled by my grief and rage. I will not yield to Garralosh, the Kaarmodo, and I will certainly not yield to my own mana!

Crush! More mana floods out and I seize it and force it to obey. As if I were crushing a bowling ball with my bare hands, I grip the rapidly condensing sphere of pure energy and tighten my hold, crushing it smaller and smaller each moment. The mana roils and spasms in my grip, trying to break free, to escape my containment, but I refuse to let go. The sphere of energy grows darker each second as I push my brains to the limit.

Naturally, this means I can’t spare the attention to know when Garralosh is about to eat me.

Vaguely I sense the giant beast turn, her movements feral and wild, as she tries to control her momentum and direct it into another charge. Saliva sizzles in her mouth and boils on the ground where it drips freely from between her teeth.

“Tell me when to dodge, Vibrant!”

“Wha-what!?”

“JUST TELL ME WHEN TO DODGE!”

Perhaps it’s stupid, but this is all I can do right now. Everything is being poured into this. Dammit! The mana isn’t flowing fast enough! The Gravity Bomb isn’t going to be ready by the time Garralosh reaches me. If I throw everything I have into preparing the spell, it might be ready before she gets to me the next time. It’ll have to be. With a little luck, I’ll be able to hit her before she gets too close and I get sucked in too.

This is no small Gravity Bomb. I’m going all out. Nothing else will satisfy my rage.


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