B1 — 22. Myth vs. Legend

Rachel smirked as Conner moved forward, arms wide as if to hug her.  “C’mon, why not wrestle?”

“Why would I wrestle you when I don’t know any moves?”

Shifting into a stance, she watched him creep up to her.  I need to avoid his grapples until I at least know his game.  I don’t know how long I can last with my low endurance, but I’m under moonlight … I can finally go all out, and Maria healed my body.  I can put all my training and sparring into practice; let’s see what I can do.

Licking her lips, she waited.  Reaching striking distance, she launched from her stance into a teep, keeping her back foot firmly planted.  He grinned as he moved forward to grab her foot, but he was far too slow; she struck his chest, driving forward with her hips.  His eyes widened as he was pushed back, stumbling a few steps before managing to recover. The excessive strength was absorbed, but I still managed to push him back.  Looks like it can only absorb so much.

He looked stunned.  “What the…”

Cracking her neck, she bounced on her toes a few times.  “Alright, let’s speed this up!”

His eyes narrowed.  “What kind of martial arts…”

She sprinted forward, his movements slowing.  Coming at his right, she jabbed his head, right and left, snapping it back.  Ducking around his slow flailing right hand, she slammed her right fist into his kidney before kicking his left knee.  His stance broken, she reached up, grabbing the back of his head before bringing it down and driving her knee into his open metasternum; dancing back to gain purchase as he fell, she launched another teep, sending him flying off the ground.  He soared a few feet before tumbling across the asphalt.

He coughed a few times as he landed, breathing a long breath.  “Wow,” he grinned as he looked up, spitting before licking his lips.  “You—you’re a whirlwind!”  He chuckled while rising.  “What is that? Kickboxing or something?”

“You took all of that like it was nothing,” Rachel hummed.  “Kidney and metasternum strike included; that’s a pretty impressive absorption ability.” 

Conner yawned before stretching out.  “So, those were calculated blows? That knee was pretty strong; I’ll even say I’m a little bruised!”  He held his breath a moment before cracking up. “I’m joking, nope, not a thing. That kick though … it’s an interesting kick.  Wait, knee … Muay Thai? Well, what do you know.” He flashed his teeth, tongue rolling around his left canine as he looked her up and down.  There has to be some kind of weakness.  I weaken outside moonlight. He took a full six blow combo with a smile though.  It could be like some legends, and he’s weak in certain places; he keeps his front to me, could it be his back?

“How to deal with your speed?”  He questioned before his eyes lit up, clicking his tongue.  “Well…”

She ran left, taking care to avoid the gore; using the tank as support again, she launched toward the lower edge of the steel shipping crate behind Conner.  Her hair whipped behind her as she flew through the air; her previous hop returning to memory. I feel the pressure against my muscles; this is my max speed.  The steel screeched as her feet imprinted into the metal, folding it several inches before she jumped at his back.

Using her momentum to flip with instinct as her guide, she landed horizontally against his back.  Almost all of her kinetic force was absorbed, but she managed to break through. He grunted as all the air in his lungs expelled, and he flew off the ground.  It was at that moment, something changed. The momentum … it’s not being absorbed anymore?

Feet drilling into his back, they were both sent flying into a store wall, Rachel atop him.  Smashing against the cinder blocks, her feet still pressed into his back; their movement had slowed to the point Rachel was able to reposition and kick off his shoulders, grinding him further into the wall, but suddenly his absorption field returned.  Crap!

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Miscalculating the force, her momentum fell short; half spinning, she dropped to the ground but was able to catch herself with one hand.  Twisting back to her feet, she leapt back several yards in a single bound. I swear, this Mental Acceleration is my best ability!  His absorption stopped working for a moment? Was the force too great, and it had to recharge?  It came back when we struck the wall. If it has that short of a recovery rate, then I’m in trouble.  Could I stab him with some object?

Conner collapsed to the ground, coughing and sputtering as he tried to compose himself.  “Whathat—phew…”  Taking a few deep breaths, he rose to his feet, keeping her in sight as he cracked his back.  “That was—man—phew…” Sniffing, he reached behind his head to rub his scapula, working around his left shoulder.  “That was a hop, right? Man, that was fast! I just keep getting thrown around.” He chuckled. Still confident, but I have been seriously trying to kill him since we met and all I’ve been able to do is bruise him and knock his breath out.  I can’t do that kind of leap too often either, I don’t feel it, but I know those two hops strained my body.

“You keep running away,” he sighed with pursed lips.

Rachel stiffened for a moment.  “I’m not running! I’m evaluating your ability.”  She huffed.

“Oh,” he grinned, “touchy!  Menstrual thing? I mean, you’re a glowing girl—my bad, a glowing hare under the moon … your period and all,” he struck his tongue against the roof of his mouth.  “You know.” Well, that’s actually a pretty good jab … he’s trying to rile me up.  He even mentioned me glowing and connected it to the moon. I haven’t told him I’m a Lunar Hare, but he might catch on eventually.

Adopting a sympathetic smile, Rachel shook her head.  “Really, a menstrual joke? How ignorant; aren’t you aware that’s a myth?”

His brows shot up.  “Seriously? Huh, the more you know, but—aren’t you a myth?”  He chuckled. Ugh, that’s actually a good comeback.

“Hmm,” Rachel leaned right and left, stretching out her muscles.  He’s really chatty for all his talk about fighting.  He likes to wrestle, right? That could get him off the Lunar Hare train of thought.   “What about the myth of pro wrestling?  It’s not real, right?”

Clicking his tongue, his eyes narrowed.  “Hey, that’s a low blow—well, the period thing was too—huh, well, sure, it’s scripted, but that doesn’t mean the moves aren’t real or they don’t hurt.  How can you call dropping down twenty feet, slamming into a table filled with sharp edges fake, or driving people through glass sheets? The outcome, sure, it’s a drama, but the physical aspect?  Those guys have my respect.”

“Alright,” Rachel grinned.  “I can see that.”

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“You know,” he stretched his arms over his head before slamming his elbow into the cinder block wall, smashing through it with ease.  Rachel’s ears twitched with the loud noise. “I’m no expert in boxing, much less Muay Thai, but it could be interesting. Why don’t I give it a shot?”

Refocusing, she expanded her hearing to follow Maria.  She was running with the kids and had met-up with a large group of people hurrying back across the bridge, but she’d just stopped to talk with one of the SEALs.  Fiona and Scarlet caught her attention as Conner continued to work around his muscles, clearly trying to goad her into attacking.

Scarlet hummed.  “You’re a Legendkin?”

“That sounds made-up,” Fiona huffed.  “Release the hostages and those … Scarlet, what are those again?”

Relica chuckled.  “My, my, Scarlet was it?  Your little Fairy friend seems to be quite jittery, and no more preposterous than a Mythickin, no?”

Terrell seemed hoarse.  “What are you waiting for—Relica?”

“Oh, patience, Terrell, good things come with time…”  Scarlet’s sounds momentarily vanished as she teleported behind Relica, but she was gone.  There was silence for half a second before Scarlet gasped, Relica appearing five feet behind her, tongue clicking with amusement.  “Oh, how cheeky.” She purred with delight. “So, assassin-like, to move through shadow.”

“Woah,” Fiona muttered.  “Scarlet, what did she do?”  Seems like they’re as confused as I am about these Legendkin.

Rachel frowned as Conner ran toward her.  Tired of waiting for me to move?  What’s he going to try though? It’s not like he can catch me.  I could easily trip him; actually, it might be good to see if his own inertia can hurt him.

Darting forward, she rushed forward to sweep his legs, but as she neared, she caught his grin, the slow motion confusing her.  What’s he planning?  Did he expect… Her eyes widened as he abruptly stopped and slammed his foot against the earth.  Is this another…

Her thoughts broke as the earth trembled below her; a seismic quake that rippled up her legs, locking them and causing her to tumble across the ground.  The vibrations coursed through her, forcing the breath from her lungs. It only lasted seconds, but broke her thoughts; she could still feel the energy passing through her body.  She slammed against Conner’s shins, his field absorbing her impact; gasping for air, spots dotted her vision. I … earthquake?  She swallowed reflexively as her scalp and ears tingled; Conner had grabbed her bound hair.

“Finally, got you!”  Taking a deep breath, she tried to grasp his hands, but it was too late; she felt gravity shift as he whipped her back.  “I don’t think I’ll—what…”

The wind rushed past her skin as she swung through the air, abruptly, the force keeping her anchored seemed to let go, and she was sent spinning.  Everything was a blur before she slammed into something, sound deadening her ears as she continued to strike solid objects, sudden pain permeating her body.  Finally stopping, she breathed a shuddering breath before opening her eyes but quickly snapped them shut as her body felt as if a boulder had been dropped on her.

She groaned, breathing sharply as her hand moved to grasp the back of her head.  Squinting as she examined her surroundings, the world was a hazy, but cleared after several seconds.  Looking down, she half noticed that there were a lot of cuts and gashes in her clothes, showing white blood that oozed out of her wounds.  This is my blood?  It’s really white … wait, didn’t I already know that?  What am … I … there was someone…

Her mind started to clear as the dust continued to obscure the area.  That guy … Conner?  He grabbed my hair and…  Taking another shuddering breath, she tried moving but winced as pain shot through her mid-back, tail, and her head swam, vision dotting.  I’m hurt, not as bad as…  She noticed the glowing white coat that still surrounded her body.  Wenet’s Minor Protection … it saved me from heavy injury.  My mind feels so…

She could feel her Lunar Energy draining rapidly out of moonlight.  Why’d he let go of me?  He had me right where he wanted me.  Shifting her legs, she winced, feeling pain in her back left side.  I’m definitely bruised, pretty bad; I might even have internal bleeding, but I don’t think I do.  She licked her lips, tasting a minty chocolate flavor; confused, she cleared her throat before lifted her hand to press against her lips, feeling the sting her touch left.  Did I bite my lip?  My blood tastes like chocolate mints?  She huffed with laughter, wincing at the pain.  Wow … what a thing to discover.

Fighting through the pain, she cupped her face, rubbing it with a moan.  Wiping at her eyes, she used her elbows to push away from whatever she landed on with a heavy sigh.  Her ears twitched as she began scanning for his voice, feeling the cuts in them.  She heard him grumbling as he walked her way.

“I can’t believe it … her hair might as well be as greasy as a wrestler.”

Looking around, she saw a bunch of clothing racks.  I guess my hair slipped out of his grip.  How far away is he? A hundred feet or so.  He sent me through some buildings? Looking behind her, she saw a crushed car that had smashed into part of a checkout counter.  I guess I brought a car with me…

She was sitting on her hair; it was unbound, fanning around her back.  My band must have broke when my hair slipped through his grip; it might have protected my back from any sharp objects.  She quickly spotted the exit doors; rising to her feet, she was relieved that her hair wasn’t caught on anything.  She wobbled for a moment as her back tensed with pain. This guy is unreal … there has to be a way to beat him!  No wonder the military was having a tough time with Terrell’s gang.  In power, this guy gives me a run for my money, and his durability is off the charts.

“Hare … where are you?  Did you really go through this many buildings?  Why does this keep turning into hide-and-seek? You can’t be dead, right?”  He’s getting closer.  First, I need to get outside.

She began limping to the open front doors, hearing several people in the third story of the building.  She made it to the doorway and almost collapsed against an upturned table, legs shaking. This can’t be my limit … this is pathetic!  A rumble resounded in her throat; blinking rapidly, she rubbed the side of her head, trying to clear her lightheadedness.

“This is the third building … you in here, hare?”

Stumbling forward a few more steps, she made it to the sidewalk, and her pain vanished.  Her brow furrowed. Why … Lunar Deadening?  Oh, well then, moonlight acts like a pain suppressant.  I know my body is sore and I’m cut all over, but it doesn’t bother me.  Just like when I crashed through that crate; all the pain went away when I hit moonlight again.  She looked behind her as Conner entered the shop.

“Well, there’s the car, but where’s the hare?”

Tasting the minty chocolate like flavor of her blood, she sucked on her lower lip, stretching out her arms.  It feels so strange.  She quickly examining the damage as Conner did a sweep of the store, she was surprised at how well she took the abuse.  I’m mostly bruised, but my arms and legs have several decent cuts; my blood seems thicker than normal blood.  Whether that’s a good thing or not … who knows. Conner still couldn’t see her past the large table umbrellas that were flipped over, lining parts of the streets. 

Smiling, she licked off some blood on her wrist.  Chocolate mint, out of all the flavors in the universe.  Pumping her hands a few times, she glanced back before doing a quick round off followed by a backflip, soaring twenty feet into the air, she watched the world slow as she stared at the ground.  I feel like I can move just fine.  I know I’ll be extremely sore if I leave moonlight, but as of now, I can still fight.  Gracefully landing on her feet, she did a quick back handspring before hopping a few paces back on her toes.

Conner moved to study the destroyed car.  “White blood, eh? Looks like … you went outside!”  Chuckling darkly, his muscles suggested he was prowling a wounded animal.  “I’m coming, little hare.” Right, the big bad wolf, chasing after the defenseless hare.

She waited for him to make it to the street, stretching out her tight muscles.  He may have a bit of power on me, and his absorption is nothing to scoff at, but my sensory skills are far superior.  I guess there are always trade-offs.

He walked around the umbrellas, grinning when he caught sight of her.  “Well, well, here you are. Done with hide-and-seek?”

Rachel’s eyebrow lifted.  “I was never hiding; you were just slow.  I mean, you walked the entire way? Did it make you feel powerful?  Get a rush?”

“Huh,” he frowned, examining her closer.  “Well, aren’t you tough; I was afraid I killed you, but it’s not like you came away from that scotch free.  Is it that glowing white coat?”

Smirking, Rachel pressed against her left palm, lifting her arms above her head.  “I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours.” The absorption isn’t the only issue now though … there’s that earthquake that can knock me off my feet.

Conner’s smile returned.  “You’re not scared in the least, are you?  Even after being tossed through three buildings.  I like it! You’ve got guts. Ready for round two?”  If I get close, then he’ll use that foot stomp.  It’s the ground; how can I move without touching it…  Her eyes widened as a smile lit her lips.  No … that easy?  This instinctual knowledge that comes whenever I need something is really something.  Lunar Step, huh? Where did that come from? The Grace of Chang’e Branch? What’s that?  Her mind blanked.  As helpful as ever … so, Lunar Step?  I can create two Lunar Steps within a three second period if I’m under moonlight, but it has a forty-five second recovery time.  These skills are odd but pretty cool.

“What are you grinning about?  Did you figure something out?”

“You’ll find out soon enough,” she tilted her head to examine the moon’s position.  It’s just scaling the buildings nearby.  It should be in line-of-sight of the street for a while, but if I move to my right too much, then some of the hotels could block it.

Conner sucked on his lips for a moment, glaring at her.  “You know, you actually have me a little worried.” He glanced up at the moon.  His confidence has given me breathing room; if he starts getting serious and actually starts thinking of a strategy … I mean, the moment he wished to stop my speed he got that earthquake ability.  Wait … it’s no different than me. How many more skills can we gain from this … I don’t even know what to call it … gaming system? Zoey and Julia seem to think it functions that way.

“You know, I didn’t recognize it before, but you always seem to move in the open.  You could have ambushed me in the building…” He’s starting to think … that’s not good.  If he realizes I’m connected to the moon … it could really be bad.

“You think I’m that desperate?  I need to try and stab you in the dark or something?”  She scoffed.

He smirked.  “Well, yeah, look at you.  Your punches aren’t working; you’d need to figure out something, but…”  He looked back up at the moon. “You do seem to glow a lot … a myth about hare?  I’m pretty sure there was something about rabbits and the moon, why not hare?” Seriously, he’s made the connection?

Eyebrow rising, Rachel took a deep breath.  “Honestly, you going to talk all night? This is getting boring.”

“Oh,” his eyes lit up.  “You think I’m boring? You’re the one waiting and retreating all the time.  I’ve been waiting to slug it out since the start, but I mean, what should I expect, you are a girl.  Probably no older than twenty.” Good, he’s at least off the Lunar Hare topic.  Let’s keep it that way!

Dashing forward, motion slowed around her; Conner’s grin grew as he rubbed his hands together, lifting his left foot.  Good, let’s see how he likes this then.  Just as he was about to stomp, she activated the Lunar Step with a desire; a small transparent glowing disk appeared underneath her left foot a few inches above the pavement.  It didn’t feel any different than smooth solid ground and tilted with her ankle rotation. Let’s see how much weight this thing can take.

Feeding power into her legs, she launched up, feeling G-force strike her body as she accelerated at a rapid pace.  It’s even more sturdy than the steel crate!  Flipping above Conner, he slammed his foot against the ground, oblivious to her sudden disappearance as he stared at the pavement.  Perfect, let’s test his absorbing ability again!

Activating the second Lunar Step, she launched toward Conner’s head, flipping to slam both feet against his skull, and all the force vanished, only making him squat as she watched everything in a twenty-foot radius shake with quakes.  What happened?  That was the same force I used last time?  There’s no way my legs can take another launch impact like that without lasting damage!  What’s different?

Her teeth clenched as she began to fall; thankfully, Conner was too confused to realize what had happened.  The tremor ceased before she touched the ground. Trying to catch herself with her hands, she pressed against Conner’s back to flip backward, but her force was absorbed again, causing her to stall, feet still pressed against his lower back.  This is ridiculous!  She used Conner’s back as leverage to flip around and drop into a somersault, Conner twisting to try and bat her away.

“What the…”

Rachel launched into an aerial as she rose, shooting fifteen feet into the air and landing thirty feet away.  “I don’t get your ability!” Rachel shouted.

“Mine?”  Conner shouted back.  “How’d you escape my Earth Stomp and attack me from midair?  What kind of Mythickin are you?” How the heck do I damage him?  What’s different? I attacked him with full force!  Last time, I struck his back, we both went flying … Earth Stomp?  He wasn’t on the ground. The moment he touched the ground again, his absorption returned.  So, he draws his strength from the earth like I draw from the moon; alright, that makes a lot of sense.  Still, Antaeus is a lot more obscure than Lunar Hare; how was I supposed to know that based off his name?

“You heard me?  What are you? Don’t tell me some bull that you’re just some normal hare.”

Ignoring him, Rachel sucked on her lower lip; opening the wound again, she tasted the minty chocolate flavor of her blood.  I’ve got to wait for Lunar Step to recover; I can’t risk being thrown off my feet again.  Her blood ran hot with anticipation.  Finally!  I can see victory; I keep getting these rushes of excitement!  If I pick him up, it shouldn’t count as lethal force to be countered, right?  I was able to shove him back with a teep, but the deadly force was negated … I should be able to do it.

“Seriously?”  Conner spat. “That’s bull!  I told you what I am; the least you could do is return the favor.”  Rachel felt his words strike her. Why should I?  But … why do I feel like I should?  I feel dirty now? Why? Stupid transformation!  Why do you want me to tell him? Some kind of warrior pride or something?  I’m not a Japanese Samurai!

The more she struggled with the answer, the dirtier she felt.  This is bullcrap!  “Fine,” she growled.  “I’m a Lunar Hare.” Is it like revealing my identity as a sign of respect?  He’s been somewhat respectful, taunting, but respectful … do I always have to show respect to those that show me respect?  I really need to look into Lunar Hares after this is all over!

Conner snorted, nose twisting as he looked up at the moon.  “Of course, you’ve kept the moon in sight the entire time … you also came back out from the building instead of running back at me.”  I can use Lunar Step again.

Launching from her stationary position, she watched Conner begin his stomp.  His foot struck as she reached a meter away; using Lunar Step, she skipped the rest of the way, stopping her momentum by using Conner’s shoulders to flip around his back.  She lingered for half a second for Conner to cease his ability and dropped to the floor, gripping his shoulder and back belt buckle, she lifted him off the ground and tossed him into the air.

“What in the…”  He shouted a curse.  Yes!  I don’t feel any resistance!

She grinned as she prepared a roundhouse kick.  It’s over!  Just as he reached striking distance, her enhanced visual perception caught something strange; he shot his right arm out at her, eyes wild with desperation.  What’s he…  A massive jet of water slammed into her, sending her flying back into an umbrella.  She flipped around with the umbrella, causing her pain to return as she momentarily left the moon’s light before rolling across the pavement.  The memory of the pain made her wince reflexively as she rose to her hands and knees. What the heck was that?  He shot a water jet from his palm, but … isn’t his ability earth?

Pulling her wet hair away from her face, she got back up, tossing her hair back.  Great, I’m soaked … wait.  Looking back at Conner, she found puddles of water spreading across the street.  Can I slip on that?  Quickly testing a burst of speed against a small pool, she found it wasn’t a problem, her drag blowing much of it away.  Still, what was with that water jet?

Conner was scrambling to his feet, breathing heavily with soft curses.  “Tossing me into the air like that!” Making it up, he looked left toward the building and ran toward it.  Crap!  He’s trying to get out of moonlight!

Darting forward, she swore as he stomped his feet, causing another ripple to reverberate around him as he continued to run.  So, he can leave it going and keep running since it doesn’t affect him, great.  Lunar Step isn’t ready yet.

Making a quick decision, she leapt over the shaking earth, passing into the shade to intercept him.  She gasped as the pain of her sore muscles and cuts returned, worse than before with all her quick movements.  Her legs buckled against her will as she landed; tumbling across the ground, her wet hair whipping around, sticking to her skin.

Fighting past the pain, she scrambled to her feet and dashed at Conner.  Her body cried out, but she continued pushing forward, tears falling from her eyes.  Conner sent another jet of water flying at her from his right hand, but she managed to sidestep.

He cursed as she reached him; she grabbed his belt front before he could strike and swung him around to be sent flying back into the street, pants ripping and belt stretching.  She sighed with relief as she entered moonlight again, pain vanishing. I really hope Maria’s well enough to heal me after this because I don’t think I can go help Scarlet and Fiona in this condition.  This guy was way too annoying!

Without stopping, she quickly caught up to him and grabbed him out of midair, whipping him up to hang a few feet above her.  Twisting around, she heard him scream as she slammed her foot into his side, cleaving through him like butter.

Gore exploded around her; the force and drag she created leaving both halves of his body, organs, and guts, painted across the pavement and two storefronts.  His upper body slammed against the second story cinder block wall while his lower smashed through the right store’s front window.

“Finally,” she gasped, falling to her butt, she sank to her back; hair bunching around her as she glared at the sky.  Screw Legendkin…  A smile split her lips.  “But, man—that was satisfying.”

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