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Monday, June 30, 2008

3.2.13.4. The Animorpher - Part 3


The walk through the Windy Hills of Ekalla gets tougher and tougher as the terrain gets rougher and the hills get steeper. The journey goes slow, and is delayed even more by monsters skirmishes. The champions only concentrate on their heavy feet and take care not to stumble or be pushed back by the wind until Carolyn yells,
‘Look! Over there! Sleipnirs*)!’
Andreas responds, ‘Don’t come near them, Carol. Just let them be. We don’t want a new pet or trouble now.’

(* Sleipnir: Mythical horse which has thick hide as armor. Common sleipnirs have four feet whereas the unique ‘god’ has six feet. Their wind and lightning attacks are devastating if not deadly.

‘We don’t look for trouble, but they do!’
Carol’s right. The sleipnirs are charging towards them! The three hide-armored horses are bigger than common horses or even unicorns. Although not as fast as drakes, they have greater power and can move evenly fast against the wind. Galloping, not flying.
The champs barely evade the triple Sleipnir Wind Charge attack, but one of them hits Alexis squarely on the chest! Obviously, the protection field on Alexis dispenses him from the worst, only leaving a few surface cracks on his battle-battered armor, and throwing the Red Prince three meters back.
The sleipnir charges on, trying to finish Alexis off with its big horns as Alexis is only thirty centimeters away from his death, suddenly Father Andreas pokes the horse hard with his poleaxe, knocking it sideways.
Recovering from the last attack, Alexis yells, ‘Here, have a taste of Griffin Scissor Slash!’ He clasps his twin swords on the sleipnir’s neck – stunning it, then splits them sideways, cutting the neck right between a tiny opening between its hide plates, decapitating it altogether. One sleipnir down, and Andreas raises a thumb-up towards Alexis. The Prince only smiles and nods as a sign of gratitude.
Meanwhile, Carolyn casts Fireblast that knocks the third sleipnir over. Then, the other sleipnir attacking Hernan pulls away and charges towards Carol. Alas! There’s not enough time for Carol to cast another spell! Now even the protection field cannot save her from internal, fatal injury!
‘Hey! I’m your opponent!’
Catching up from behind the sleipnir is Hernan. By enforcing his feet with water aura he runs extra fast like riding the wind. The favorable wind direction allows him to jump on the sleipnier and with accurate timing and positioning launches a hyper-speed downward thrusts combo: Shears of the Falling Rain. The rain of swords fall on the armored horse’s back. It doesn’t hurt the sleipnir very much because of the hide, but it stops on its track.
Hernan looks forward and sees the sleipnir’s head is already on Carolyn! No! He’s too late! But wait! The Escudian takes a better look and actually, Carolyn is blocking the head with her trident! However, as the monster stops, Carol is thrown backwards. She falls with a crash on a hill full of sharp rocks. The Omnigalatr field prevents her from getting the worst of it, as usual, but she gets injured anyway, spitting blood on her robe.
Hernan is going to help Carolyn but apparently he still doesn’t finish the sleipnir off. The angry beast kicks back, its back moves up and knocks Hernan, throwing him upwards. Then suddenly two whip-like tentacles shoot up from its body, catch and coil Hernan in mid-air, and electrify him!
Carolyn hears Hernan’s scream of pain. She hesitates a bit, looking around to see what the others are doing. Apparently, Alexis, Andreas and Dejan are busy with the other sleipnir. So, gritting her teeth, the sorceress points her trident at the sleipnir torturing Hernan and shouts, ‘Pyroagnios!’
Fire erupts from her trident, blasting squarely on the sleipnir’s head. The continuous and intense Fireblast roasts its face. It closes its eyes, frantically leaping around, throwing Hernan away and runs away. Carolyn doesn’t chase it. She just stares at Hernan writhing in pain on the ground. His outer shirt is scorched off, revealing more of his Mythril Armor, but otherwise he’s recovering.
We’re even now, Don Hernan.
Andreas pulls off from the battle to tend on Carol and Hernan, leaving Dejan and Alexis still engaging the last sleipnir. The Electroshock from the whipping tentacles really gives them a hard time. Alexis tries to make a hit with Eagle Fishing on the Lake combo, but the blows only meet the thick hide.
Suddenly, Dejan gets an idea. He slides down, pivots and kicks the running sleipnir’s left front foot. He quickly does another pivot and kicks the right back foot to the opposite way. Such is the speed, power and flexibility of Dolphin Water Slide, forcing the sleipnir to stumble and fall on its track.
Seeing this chance, Alexis charges with a single thrust of the twin swords rejoined as Colathaloc in the form of one broad sword – the legendary sword from the land across the Petravia Ocean. The thrust comes with a concentrated energy that covers Alexis’ body, making him look like a giant drill.
It’s called Griffin Noble Sacrifice, and it can penetrate iron armor, let alone sleipnir hide. It’s a high-risk move which concentrated energy will backfire if not hit on target. High power, low flexibility, and Alexis knows it. Therefore, he only uses this skill on golden opportunities like this.
The thrust lands on the sleipnir’s side! The drilling energy makes a crack on its hide. Then the crack gets wider and wider and finally bursts open! And it doesn’t stop there. The drilling energy spins on and on, penetrates though until it comes out from another side. The thrust ceases, revealing Alexis kneeling, holding his legendary sword with style.
The attack leaves the sleipnir with a big hole on its sides. Then it falls aside with a crash. Dejan witnesses it and shakes his head.
Such a great beast. Too bad you can’t ride on it, but it only protects its territory. It’s a waste that we killed it, but ‘twas better than it wasting us.
So, he takes a bow towards the fallen sleipnirs, looks up to the sky and shouts to his companions, ‘When you’re all patched up, follow me. The wind is weaker here, so we are not far from the village.’

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