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Tuesday, September 23, 2008 The Stolen Helmet – Part 3

Adler and Eidos are being surrounded by more monsters. A giant serpent even bites Adler's armor, lifting the Viscount up high to swallow him whole. Chris rushes to the rescue, swiping his sword to ward monsters off, jumps on the back of a giant rat and leaps! He stabs the serpent's head and lets gravity pull him down. His sword also cuts down, ripping the serpent from head to tail. The monster falls with Adler still on its mouth and crashes on the ground, dead.

    Adler also crashes and injures himself, but it's better than being digested by a snake. The three champions surround Adler and protect him from monsters until he recovers. Their action touch his feelings a bit, but his ego still prevents him from showing any hint of gratitude. He recovers quickly and swings his Kraal'shazar again to chop the next monster.

    The four champions continue to press on forward and fight non-stop for another half hour until suddenly, the monster flee, scattering away! The fighters are puzzled to see this, and as Iris looks up, she shouts, 'WATCH OUT!'

    A freaky, huge monster is crawling on the walls of Griffin Cliff, and it dives! Thanks to Iris' warning, the fighters move away quick enough to avoid being flattened by that freak. And now it's surrounded by Chris and Eidos on its front, Adler and Iris on its back.

    The monster looks like a giant scorpion with serpent head and spider legs – a rare variant with no name. If Chris is his playful mood, he'll make up a name for it: Scornader, the scorpion-snake-spider, a modification to Scornak, the scorpion-snake. However, it's not a time to play. Judging from the monsters' behavior, this Scornader is the king of this colony, meaning there's no monster more dangerous than it for this time being around here.

     Scornader attacks the fighters at once with its scorpion tail and pincers, moving around with its snake head flailing on top to monitor. Iris' Hurricane has no effect on the Scornader's ultra-hard crust. Eidos, however, manages to slow it down about twenty percent with his Chronomancy.

     The close combatants Cristophe and Adler don't find an opening or anywhere not to hard to hit with their swords, even with the dragon-slaying Kraal'shazar.

    The fighters then resort to hit-and-runs, attacking randomly from different angles and run around the Scornader to confuse it. In addition, Eidos hastens up the fighters, making them easier to avoid the pincers, tail and occasional bites by the snake head.

    The snake head! Suddenly Iris realizes something and shots with her bow! The arrow vanishes from sight due to hyper-speed effect and reappears inside the snake's eye! The Scornader thrashes in pain.

    Its left pincer sweeps towards the elf who lost it an eye to snap her in two. Iris' face changes in terror! The pincer comes just as she is refilling her mana, so it's too fast for her to avoid. Suddenly, a hand pushes Iris aside and the pincer sweeps past. Iris is relieved.

    But, where does that pincer go? Ah, there it is, just up ahead. But what is it holding? It's Chris! Agh! He sacrificed himself to save me! Chris, you fool!

    Chris' sturdy iron armor and Shield of Faith prevents him from being cut in two by the pincer, but the armor begins to crack and the pressure begins to hurt him.


    The pain is killing him. His shield hand tries to push the pincer open, and his free hand holds his sword tightly as his life depends on it.

    Focus, Chris, focus! Aim for the head!

    Darn! The serpent head keeps thrashing here and there upon the loss of its eye. Chris can't seem to hit it. It goes in range a few times, but it's too quick for Chris' short range attacks.

    Meanwhile, Adler just escapes from Scornader's tail by rolling aside. The tail sweeps again and sends him flying and hitting the cliff, though parried with Deathblade.

    Adler spits blood from internal wounds and sees Iris moving here and there, avoiding attacks and trying to get a clear shot on the ever-thrashing head. Of course! The snake head is covered with scales. Maybe it's not as hard as the scorpion crust. And he remembers one more thing his teacher told him about slaying a dragon:

    "From where the fire comes out, there the sword comes in."

    Adler's wit flies fast, and he moves fast towards Iris, shouting, 'Iris! Lure the snake head to me with your magic! I'll handle the rest!'

    'But, Chris...,' Iris hesitates.

    'No buts! Do as I say! Don't be lenient to your ex! If he dies by your magic, he's a loser, not a champion! Do it now! Or it will kill us all!'

    With tears in her eyes, Iris gathers her aura. She's about to attack the man who loves her, who saved her life just now. Wind swirls around her, and she casts, 'Eshmyr!'

    The razor-sharp gust of wind hits the serpent head and follows it wherever it goes. Scornader is annoyed and moves its pincers to block the spell. Chris is now tortured by two forces, and he barely blocks the spell with his hand and sword covering his face and head. His aura also protects him.

    And then, Iris stops casting, thinking that it's enough. Scornader moves its pincers aside. The serpent head shoots forward to devour the spellcaster who annoyed it.

    'Animal instinct. So unpredictable.' Saying that, Adler positions himself in front of Iris and launches his skill, Singular Voice of Truth. The Deathblade shines brightly red and shots forward to the target, and Adler's leap reinforces it. Together, the man and sword look like a giant arrow.

    Scornader's head darts on, quicker, with its jaws open to the fullest, preparing for another unpredictable move: sliding aside and biting Adler from the side. Suddenly, a pointy red light shoots right into its mouth, piercing its brain and out from the back, killing it instantly.

    'We humans can be unpredictable as well!'

    As though he's not satisfied yet, Adler thrusts on with the second blow of his single-directional skill. He stabs Scornader's lower jaw and slashes downwards, ripping the body of the snake, namely the neck, all the way down to the ground.

    Blood, venom and fat rain down, and Adler shoots on forward to avoid it. The snake head flails to the side and drops lifeless on the ground.

    As the snake head is an integral part of the scorpion-snake-spider monster, the whole body collapses and dies as well. Chris also falls with Scornader's pincer. He is free from pressure now, but he uses the last drops of his strength to open the heavy, gigantic pincer and frees himself.

    The fact remains: Adler killed the Scornader with one blow (plus one for overkill). He stands tall and proud, watching at his masterpiece. He looks around, trying to get some recognition from his rivals. To his disgust, Iris is tending to Chris who is heavily wounded from all those blows and pressures.

    Only Eidos comes towards him, and showers him with butt-licking praises as usual. Adler's ears have turned deaf to that, so in order to forget his disgust, he shouts to the ungrateful rivals.

    'Come on! We move now. There's no time to waste, and this is a race, remember? Move it, kids, or I'll get the helmet before you do.'

    Adler walks forward, followed by Eidos who is mouthing something about resting his old bones for a while behind the Viscount. Chris is recovering from his wounds, thanks to Iris' nature healing magic, and he trails on quite a distance from Adler and Eidos with Iris supporting him.

    No more monsters come out and attack them, because their 'king' is dead and the griffin sanctuary is now near. Adler hears nothing but Chris' faint shout far behind him.

    'Thank you, Lord Adler. You saved my life.'

    Adler looks back, puts a smile on his face then turns again and moves on forward.

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