Now this is a fight. Not one I’m doing as well at as I’d like, but a hell of a lot more fun than the last one. I dodge as Allie shoots past me again, bouncing down a couple of stories off a bubble above me onto one below. She hits it and her momentum instantly changes to throw her towards a bubble a few meters to my side where she redirects back into me. The little force bubble at the end of her rod slams into my wrist as I try to dodge again and sends me swirling. I feel the bone fracture slightly, then begin to knit as Krieg’s nanobots start repairing it. My retaliation is hindered as I shake off the fire bubble suddenly burning around me.
I’m not sure what Allie’s limits are, but right now it’s looking like a stale-mate. A column of Gluttony shoots from my hand, but Allie dodges me again in midair, shifting her momentum with a bubble.
I don’t remember reading anything in Krieg’s dossier about Allie having this sort of skill. Pyrrha Valkyrie is supposed to have these sort of absurd reflexes, and Genevieve Sol obviously has super speed. But Allie … dammit, why can’t I remember her last name? Whatever, besides her varied bubble attacks she’s supposed to be a normal human with no record of prior combat experience. And she’s never risen past the mid-point in her classes’ combat rankings, unless she did it in the past week since our last report.
Yet Gluttony can’t materialize anywhere near her, much less in her the way I killed Nelle, suggesting massive power resistance. Not only that, her force bubble can pierce my Pride at full power, even if it’s just a little. It can sure as hell send me flying if I’m hit wrong, as it does now. I go hurtling down through the street, then immediately rebound upwards with Envy only to see a giant black bubble the size of a building slam down onto me.
I break through it easily enough and hurtle back upwards. As I reach the middle it constricts around me and I feel Pride resisting as rainbows streak through the darkness. I feel like I might be annoyed by how much prettier her powers are than mine if I weren’t so busy goggling over the pretty colors.
Wow, super ADD there. I was totally explaining why this is a stalemate right? Yeah, so the only thing she’s used that can really do damage is her force bubble, and the only thing I’ve even scratched her with was a Prideful Glutton technique. As if the fact I can’t materialize Gluttony near her weren’t hindrance enough, the only way I can make the stronger version while fighting is if I start the attack from my own person.
But she’s too fast for that to hit her often. I don’t even understand how a normal human body could take that sort of acceleration, but her bubbles rebound her faster than I can redirect my Prideful Glutton. It clips a building and several floors disintegrate into its mouth as she turns again in midair, foot daintily touching a bubble that shoots her off in a sideways dive.
Even the one time I grazed her with a little Prideful Glutton, she dissipated it before it could tear off her arm. Then she healed herself with the same technique she used on me. This leaves us in the position that neither of us can do much damage unless one of us does something to take the other out in one hit.
Which would be great if I didn’t have a mission to complete. Seriously, mad props to this chick. I don’t know if her healing bubble restores her stamina, but I could keep doing this all day. Unfortunately, I can’t. Krieg might be blocking their coms and the extinction level event means the people who actually could come as reinforcements have better things to do than check on their baby executioners. But sooner or later that’s going to change and they have at least a couple of classmates that even I don’t want to tangle with.
Ignoring that, I still don’t understand why she’s fighting this way. Executioners aren’t supposed to fight for fun, they’re supposed to fight to win. To kill their target and move on. I don’t understand her motives, but if Allie has some ace in the hole she thinks can one hit kill me, I have to use her overconfidence to end this before she can use it.
It’s a shame. I really don’t want to kill this one.
Oh well, as the executioners are always going on about themselves, sometimes you gotta’ kill people you don’t want to try and save the world. Hope she can forgive me for giving her a taste of their own medicine.
I rise up far above the city with Envy, leaving Allie and her bubbles behind. Then I cut off Envy entirely and focus all of my energy into surrounding myself with Gluttony and Pride. Black Gluttony billows around me, forming wings of gaping mouths and teeth.
I can’t see past the black clouds of Gluttony forming muscles around me and give a touch of Greed to create eyes, forming all over the projected body now enveloping my form. Gee, this is exhausting. Also way too damn slow. Normally since someone hitting me gives me a Wrathful recharge I never get even the slightest bit tired. But creating this form tires me out, a lot.
Still, if I need to kill someone who won’t go down, damn if this isn’t the best. “Get ready,” I scream down. “Because you’re about to face the Demon’s Sin.” Ok, might need to work on my battle-cry. This is the first time I’ve ever had to use it! Geez’, cut a girl some slack here.
I fall, flying down faster than I’ve ever moved before. Oh yeah, this is badass. How fast am going down right now? A dozen times more quickly than Envy lifted me skyward, at least. As I blow past the tops of the Skyscrapers they disintegrate out of existence, blown away by my awesomeness.
My projected body slams its jaws on the defensive bubble Allie’s erected around herself. Impressively, it holds for a second, before my jaws break through and crunch down on Allie. My projected body dissipates, leaving me only a bit of Pride left.
All that’s left of poor Allie are her shoes. Eh, her feet and her shoes.
“Sorry,” I say. “I really wish I didn’t have to do that. I had a lot of fun.” I turn to go look for Bone and Chain.
“Why are you sorry?” a voice asks from behind me. A chill runs through me. I recognize that voice. Krieg played it for me once. Actually like ten times since I kept not paying attention. He was very insistent about it, that I remember this voice. A voice of someone who changed faces and bodies at a whim, but always kept the same tone when she was feeling herself. The voice of one of the only people on Earth, that he said without a doubt, I should run away from as fast as possible. But that I couldn’t, no matter what I tried.
I turn and see a woman standing in Allie’s shoes. She’s beautiful, like a noblewoman of the Imperial line, elegant dress flowing down around her ankles. Her hair is black with pink streaks. Her eyes keep changing colors, Lilith’s blue, my brown, Valkyrie’s green.
She’s smiling widely. There is something that isn’t right about it. “You shouldn’t be sorry!” she gushes. “I had so much fun. Especially that part where you ate me. I haven’t been eaten in ages.”
Her. Allie was her all this time? I want to run, but I’ll die. I want to fight, but it’d be useless. Krieg was very clear. There’s only one thing to do if I encounter this woman.
I kneel before her and do something I haven’t ever done voluntarily, and haven’t allowed done to me except when I suspected Void would take away my emotions with it.
I suppress my Pride, pulling its protection inside myself, leaving myself completely vulnerable.
The fear hits me, terror swelling up, filling my mind and lungs. It’s a dozen times worse than that one moment in Albion’s world when I died the first time and forgot I was playing a game. I can barely breathe. But as the woman tilts my chin up with her hand, I force myself to look her in those shifting eyes, choking back a sob.
“That was fun, but if it’s over, why shouldn’t I eat you now?” she asks earnestly. She waves over a bubble I haven’t seen before, Bone and Chain motionless inside. “Why should I let either of you go instead of just killing you now?”
“Because we’re right,” I say. “And if you read my mind you’ll know that.”
The God of the West stares into my eyes, smiling ever wider.