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Saturday, January 16, 2010

3.2.14.4. Dance of the Devil - Part 2


Meanwhile, back in the Levides Palace, the Paladins are outnumbered. More zombies from outside the hall come inside. Only the knights and a few soldiers are fighting alongside the Twelve. To make things worse, Arachus dives down from time to time, makes a one-hit and soars up again like an eagle hunting a school of fish.

Last time, the Archdevil stabbed an archer who shot at him, took him flying on the tip on his scythe and hurled him in mid-air, all drained up to skin and bone. As though he’s not satisfied, he sliced the armored archer into four pieces, half-by-half.

Seeing that dismal sight, Carolyn is now sure about Arachus’ power and summons a Guardian Spirit to pump up some leverage. Iris also shares Carolyn’s thought, so now the two guardians, Aegis and Eshmyria stand tall in front of the Archdevil. Arachus only laughs.

‘I’ve beaten them both before, long ago, and you shove them again into my face? Oh, well. At least they can scratch my itch.’

Carolyn ignores that taunt. She and Aegis shot Thunder Blast towards the devil. Iris and Eshmyria also shot Hurricane, making a four-way attack and no one can escape it.

Arachus flies left and right to avoid the blasts. Aegis’ blast catches him, he stops, and gets hit by the three other blasts, too.

He must’ve suffered some damage, but he’s not showing any pain and smiles instead.

‘Like I said, a scratch for my itch.’

Now it’s Arachus’ turn. He launches a big mist that looks like a ghost: Eternal Banishment. The Paladins barely evade the mist, but that shot is not going straight: It turns!

Like a homing missile, the dark spirit chases its target: Robert Chandler. Still moving swiftly, Robert shoots a Fire Slash, but the spirit goes through it easily without being cut. Rob thinks hard, and decides to leap as high as possible towards the caster, Arachus.

The dark spirit keeps on chasing Robert. Arachus just flies down to evade Eshmyria’s Wind Shear and is reachable by jumping. This is a perfect momentum, but at the last moment Arachus swings his scythe. Robert blocks it and gets thrown downwards. He quickly stands up after landing, and the dark spirit is already closing towards him! Death is unavoidable! is this the and of his journey?

Robert stands there, unmoving. His eyes widen, his mouth opens. His face looks pale and vacant, as though something just took his soul. He can’t believe what he sees. But it’s not his death. In front of him is a man standing with outstretched hands, wearing a full armor. His face is paler than Robert’s, and blood trickles down from his mouth, eyes, ears and nostrils. Robert recognizes him from his thick mustache. Yes, he’s Alaric O’Brennan, Robert’s fellow knight in the Order. He dies standing like a true knight he is.

Though they were never be friends, Alaric has sacrificed himself, shielding Robert from the dark spirit. Maybe Alaric thought that as a Paladin, Robert is too important to die today. Maybe he did that for the sake of duty alone, to protect his comrades, for Lore. Whatever it was, Alaric’s life is lost.

‘Good bye, my comrade. Your sacrifice will not be in vain,’ murmurs Robert. He gathers his aura to the max.

‘Now watch me.’

==oOo==

Meanwhile, Arachus raises his hands high. A ball of black energy on his hands are getting bigger and bigger. Eshmyria and Aegis are also accumulating their auras. The Paladins are too busy fighting the zombies that keep coming into the hall. Fighting Arachus in this absolute defensive position will be futile.

Just then, the devil roars! He slings the gigantic dark ball of Fathomless Abyss, his final attack! The ball falls slowly, and it’ll devour the entire hall into rubbles and every one in it into mash, friend and foe alike.

Eshmyria and Aegis, of course counter the ball with their combined ultimate attacks, Wrath of the Skies and Pandemonium. This is a more powerful combo than the one that destroyed Chimera in Enia’s Sanctum: The power of the swirling ball of wind, Pandemonium is multiplied with ultra-voltage lightning rain.

The two balls collide! They grind against each other, and then explode! The impact shatters the whole hall. The explosion kills some soldiers and zombies, and causes heavy damage to the rest, including the knights and Paladins. Arachus, of course, gets minimum damage.

Aegis and Eshmyria withdraw into the limbo after using up all their powers. Iris, Carolyn, Andreas, Eidos and Desmond are all exhausted, unable to move.
Alexis is heavily wounded and falls unconscious. Almost all knights and soldiers are unable to fight, and the surviving zombies flee.

Knowing that situation, Arachus laughs most evilly. He is about to grasp a total victory. The devil is so full of himself that he doesn’t see three pillars of light drilling towards him. One is fiery red, one is holy white, and one is sparkling gold.

The pressure of the forces is so great and concentrated, forcing the devil to choose. He has used most of his energy so it’s impossible to block those three attacks at once.

The next moment, Arachus uses his scythe skill Soulsnatcher Crow, waving it in criss-cross manner to block the white and the gold shards. Got it! He still has enough mana, throwing the two attackers away. The white shard is Cristophe with Singular Voice of Truth, and the gold is Adler with the same skill as Cristophe’s.

However, this time the Archdevil doesn’t laugh. He knows that the three shard is closing in: the red shard, namely Robert with his move Wrath of the Dragon God, the single hit accumulated from the sixteen variants of Dragon Slayer Sword. Arachus has used all his strength to block the two, and now he only concentrates his shielding aura on his back to absorb Robert’s attack with his technique, Soul Drain.

Arachus grins. Robert is going to fall into his trap. The tip of Grimlock is about to touch the devil as it suddenly disappears! Arachus is shocked! Did Robert know his tactic and cancelled his move? Or he got badly injured from the last attack and can’t continue?

A second later, Arachus gets the answer. Well, he is half-right, though. Robert cancelled his move all right, but he diverts the energy into the ultimate combo: Regrets of the Dragon. The combo targets Arachus’ front body with thinner protective aura. The eighteen techniques of Dragon Slayer Sword crammed into an 18-hit combo hit every possible weak point in hyperspeed. Arachus is now a sitting duck. His defenses are breached, and black blood sprouts from all over his body.

The rain of hits is ceaseless. Now the devil knows what happened to his minion, Zal’fira the Necromancess in the Battle of Mount Hvalgarr. He recognizes this move, yet he doesn’t have a way to repel that. He has calculated the timing of the blows, and before Robert delivers the seventeenth blow, Arachus explodes his aura!

Nevertheless, this desperate move throws Robert away, slamming on the floor. He gets up, but falls again on his knees, vomiting blood. His internal injury has depleted his power, disabling him from executing any more techniques. Robert looks up and sees that his opponent is now in the same state as him: Badly injured, powerless and vulnerable.

The next moment the devil sees Kyflynn, the least injured among the twelve, diving from the ceiling, targeting him with his twin daggers Maraj’vriad. He moves aside, but the daggers keep chasing him like a homing drill. As the last resort, Arachus blocks the Soul-Splitting Drill attack with his scythe. Relying on physical strength alone, he pushes himself away and crashes into the wall.

Kyflynn does a somersault and lands. Arachus murmurs curses, flying out from the broken-down wall. Peering from above, he observes the Paladins’ conditions. He then nods and laughs out loud.

‘Ha ha ha! Is this all you can do? The so-called Paladins, all twelve of you, can’t defeat one single devil, namely, me? And who is this Heir of Vadis? Only an inexperienced little whelp, stumbling at the very touch of my scythe.
Now let us end this show of power. Let this be the ultimatum that no way, no way in this world can you defeat me and my master, the Heir of Vordac, not even in a million years!’

‘Well I don’t agree,’ says Cristophe. ‘We Paladins can grow beyond our limits. And we shall make you eat your words, right here, right now.’

Arachus sneers, ‘Ohoho, so this whelp has some guts after all. Well just look around you. Our forces are storming into the palace as we speak, and my job is to make sure that you are deprived of your powers to fight back, and my minions will have a good time ripping you all apart. Well, now my job is complete. Good bye, and see you in hell!’

Saying so, Arachus flies away through the hole on the wall, all the way to the outside of the palace. Seeing that, Cristophe and the Paladins who can still fight: Kyflynn, Adler, Agustina, Iris and Desmond rush out from the hall.

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