Chapter 101: Art Of Battle
Minuteman shook his head and sucked in a breath. This was no dream. This was real, and reality called for him to be strong. He looked around to see where he could be useful and found a swarm of fishmen surrounding a black armored knight.
After all, there were only fifteen black knights and hundreds of fishmen. Even if they were individully strong, the sheer number of fishmen was an issue.
The knight hunkered down behind his greats.h.i.+eld of spiked black metal and decorative bone, and though the fishmen were not strong enough to claw or chew their way through his armor, their swarming had rendered the knight immobile, especially because his choice of halberd as a weapon made it less wieldy in close quarters.
"I've got you!" Minuteman sprinted towards the knight and then leaped into the air. He twisted in the air, putting momentum into a throw as he sent his s.h.i.+eld spinning forwards.
The s.h.i.+eld flashed blue, indicating that it had stored kinetic energy to release, and when it hit the swarm of fishmen, the energy exploded outwards, knocking the fishmen back in a concussive blast.
The knight reacted immediately with his newfound freedom. He bashed his s.h.i.+eld forwards, knocking back the fishmen in front of him while swinging his halberd around him in an arc that trailed with cold blue light, slicing several fishmen in halves.
Minuteman clenched his right fist, recalling his s.h.i.+eld, and came to the knight's side.
"Are you with the guy in red armor?" said Minuteman.
The black knight stared at Minuteman, and Minuteman looked closely at the knight's face, looking behind the gaps in his visor.
Minuteman stepped back in shock when he realized the knight had no eyes.
The face beneath the helmet had gaunt, thinly stretched and rotted pale skin while the eyes were absent, baring only black sockets.
The knight nodded in appreciation at Minuteman before moving away, on to slaughtering the next group of fishmen it saw.
"Ah, this one truly is strong"
Minuteman turned to see the red armored knight in battle with the shark variant.
The red knight's armor was sleeker and more form fitting, showcasing a build far leaner than Minuteman's. The knight did not rely on brute physical strength, but superior agility to fight, and he moved with an elegant grace that looked like a dance. He side stepped claw swipes from the shark variant and twirled to unleash counter slashes with his crimson saber.
The knight's ivory white, red trimmed cape fluttered behind his movements, marking them with an elegance that seemed to elevate the brutality of battle into something artistic, something performative.
"Its scales are too thick!" called out Minuteman as he saw the red knight's many swift slashes cras.h.i.+ng upon the shark variant but skidding off in showers of sparks, deflected by its hardened, plate like scales.
By now, Minuteman's Minute of Justice had worn off, and this rendered him even weaker than he was in his base form, drained of much of his stamina and strength. "Focus on the cracks I've already beaten into the armor!"
"Graaah!" The shark variant roared into the air, and waves of sound echoed from its maw, pulsating over the battlefield. As these sound waves traveled, they triggered the fishmen, causing them to go berserk and start to focus on aiding the shark variant.
The fishmen dropped fighting the black knights and sprinted instead towards the red knight.
The shark variant then slammed both its fists down towards the red knight. The red knight performed a backflip, dodging the double fist strike with ease. The shark variant's blows drilled two craters into the dirt and mud with a resounding crack and splash.
The red knight looked around at the ma.s.ses of fishmen approaching and sighed.
"I would much rather prefer to deal with this brute myself," said the knight as he too looked up. "Do me a favor and take care of these rude hecklers."
With that, a medley of attacks came down from the sky. A bright blue beam of energy streamed down, cras.h.i.+ng into fishmen and blowing their bodies apart with concentrated heat and kinetic energy. Purple spiral shaped beams shot down, hitting fishmen and crus.h.i.+ng them into pressurized puddles under immense gravity. Bolts of lightning rained down, frying a dozen fishmen at once.
Minuteman looked up to see Alters. Fifteen Alters, to be exact, soaring down from the sky. Not all of them were likely flight capable, so it was probably that one of them maintained flight for all of them.
"Are you heroes!?" shouted Minuteman. He squinted his blue eyes, trying to see if they wore any identifying symbol, but no, they just wore the tattered remnants of dresses and suits over black bodysuits.
"Heroes?" A silver haired, dark-skinned girl, the one that fired the lightning, addressed Minuteman. "No. But we ARE here to deal with this pest problem."
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"I hate fish. They creep me out," said a young man wearing a visor over his eyes as he fired more bursts of kinetic energy beams. "f.u.c.king die!"
"Parry-," The red knight angled his saber so that its flat acted like a s.h.i.+eld. The shark variant's strike skidded down the length of the saber, angled perfectly to diffuse as much force as possible.
Minuteman knew heroes that used swords, and even if he himself did not know much about sword combat, he could tell that this red knight was an expert.
"And [Riposte: Returning Step]" The red knight used the force of the shark variant's blow to spin around rapidly and then unleashed a swift horizontal slash across the shark variant's neck, where the armor had been cracked from Minuteman's blows.
The shark variant stepped back before it placed both hands around its neck. A glint of red light flashed around where it had been slashed before the slash spontaneously appeared on its neck, carving through its scales and into its flesh.
Profuse amounts of blood poured out from its exposed throat.
The shark variant collapsed to a knee.
"With brutish foes like this that rely merely on their ugly muscle, it is best to parry and riposte, using their own unsightly strength against them," said the red knight and he turned around dismissively, as if he had already won.
"Wait-!" began Minuteman as he saw the shark variant grit its jaws, forcing the muscles around its exposed throat to flex and clench the deadly wound shut. But where the slash wound shut, violet floral patterns grew instead.
"And now, the finale." The red knight bowed deeply with an arm over his chest, dodging one last swipe surprise swipe from the shark variant without even looking.
The knight snapped his fingers with a metallic click and chanted, "[Crystal Blood Venom: Expunge]"
With that, the shark variant seized up, stiffening in its movements like a statue before it could unleash another attack. The flower patterns around its wounds shone brightly before detonating.
The flesh rippled and exploded as blood poured out of the horrible wounds like water draining from a popped water balloon.
As soon as the blood exploded out, it crystallized, entrapping the shark variant's half destroyed corpse in a casing of its own hardened life essence… The blood shone with a faint violet hue, glimmering with a jewel like, hauntingly beautiful incandescence.
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