Friday, March 14, 2014

Page #41

Before long all four of the competitors were choking on smoke. That is until the air suddenly became very clear Kota thankful was still confused as the smoke flowed out of the maze and into the mouth of the beast. The young woman wasn’t just sucking in the smoke it was like her lungs had become a vacuum pulling in any essence from the lioness shifter. That is when Kota watched in terror as the beast began to change unlike natural shape shifters who flow from one form to another the beast forced her body to shift with an unknown magic. Her shift was violent and grotesque like watching some creature chew the young woman and the lion humanoid that stood in her place was as large as an elephant. 
“Okay Victor we have a problem that beast girl she’s nowhere near what I call normal. What the fuck is that girl?” Kota asked helping victor off of the ground.
“The beast is not a shifter or a mage she is a demon like Atlas, but just a different breed. The beast is an envy demon they consume the essence of fallen warriors and use their power and attributes to change their bodies and strength levels. Envy demons using this disgusting magic have the potential for limitless physical strength.” Victor has about had it and now with a powerful demon trapped inside the maze with both of them Kota begins to get worried.
“Victor I need you to get to Azelf and deliver a message. Tell him that I don’t give a flying fuck what his problem is. If he doesn’t get off his ass this thing is going to kill all three of us. And I’m sure he would rather face this thing with both of us than by himself.” Kota watched in horror as the scorpion regrouped with the demon lion then watched the demon pick up the shifter and bite through scorpion’s exoskeleton and the sound of the demon sucking out its innards was enough to turn any stomach. Victor heard it as well and stifled a scream as he realized how strong this demon was and how evil it had to be to eat its own teammate.
“Victor just leave I will hold the beast off.”  Victor fled unsealing the magic sealing the beast inside the confines of the maze. The barrier had been draining his energy in an outlandish rate. The demon’s body shifted again this time its arms and tail twisted and exploded sending chunks of muscle and black blood splashing against the stone walls. Its tail and arms now resembled the scorpion’s claws and stinger but they were much larger. The beast truly looked like the fabled creature the Manticore.
Kota ascended the stone wall nearest to him and stood on top of the maze. The beast stood now rising to its full height dwarfed both Kota and the stone walls that formed the maze. Whipping its monstrous tail over its head the beast struck at Kota but luckily Kota was barely out of its reach.
“Beast I know what you are now and the time have come to put an end to this game. You are a demon a spirit consumed with the sin of envy and now I have no other choice then to remove you from this world.” Kota roared this as rocks cascaded from the impact of the beast’s tail striking the maze. Before the beast could recoil her tail Kota jumped from his ledge brandishing his hatchet in the power gauntlet he screamed an incantation as lunged forward. “Ferrum citatus ira Draco.” <I summon the wrath of the dragon blade.> A surge of energy burst forth from Kota’s gauntlet and wrapped around the hatchet’s blade forming a flaming extension of the steel. When the hatchet connected with the Beast’s tail a trail of fire flowed from the point of impact to halfway up the Beast’s tail. The Beast withdrew its tail quickly but it was too late black blood burst out of its wound and splattered the walls of the arena.

“You insolate child do you think a scratch is going to stop me from eating you and your friends?” The beast spoke for the first time since the match had begun its voice was far to calm for someone who had a gash six feet long oozing blood.

Page #40

“Great works Victor take a rest then I want you on the offensive with some elemental magic.” Kota said as he pulled on his goggles. Reinforcing the stone walls around him Kota saw through the rock and realized Victor’s magic was bound to each wall, farther in though he saw the shifters trying to climb over the maze. Kota could see the second barrier with his goggles but all the onlookers could see straight through. The beast master remained still though on the furthest end of the maze she sat banging her drum. (Wait just a minute where did she get that drum from I shot that thing right out of her hands. Fine whatever this time I’ll burn it to a cinder along with the rest of them.)
 Kota could see through the maze but he had no mental map of it like Victor. So he relied on his goggle to locate the enemy. The shifter nearest to him was the lioness, in her humanoid form now much more deadly than the mindless beast that charged head first into danger. This time she stayed practically still only lifting her feet inches off the ground Kota listened carefully with each step she took the was no sound that followed, not even an echo of a whisper. Kota cursed his luck she was using her ears to follow the drums back to the beast master. They were regrouping he looked farther in past the lion and just as he had predicted the scorpion was making his way back as well. There was no time to be stealthy and pick them off one at a time slowly he had to hurry before they were all able to regroup. Kota shifted his tactics drastically instead of inching around corners he would have to race to take out the two shifters and with no way to communicate with Victor their plan was crumbling fast.
 Looking through the walls Kota found an opening he might be able to exploit far up the maze near the middle of the field two pathways seem to intersect, but he would have to run at a dead sprint to get there before the lioness. Kota took off running at full speed inching closer and closer undoubtedly giving away his position as his feet met the earth and if the lioness was clever she would be expecting an attack. When Kota stopped he was only one turn away from meeting up with the lioness and she lied in wait at the end of the hallway. Kota saw her crouched in position ready to pounce but she kept one foot hidden behind a wall ready to jump back if Kota attacked. (She’s not going to wait for ever do I attack of do I wait her out.) That’s when Kota noticed Victor sneaking towards the other alley if he kept on course he would drive the lioness right to Kota.
Victor then tripped and fell on his face alerting the lioness to his presence she turned immediately that’s when Kota rounded the corner and cast “Infernus” <hellfire> The jungle cat was engulfed in flames, as they consumed her corpse smoke began to fill the maze much more than Kota had anticipated. 

Page #39

Watching the energy swirl around and through his opponents Kota realizes that all three of their opponents have grounded their energy drawing large quantities of power from the earth. That’s when the drumming begins a slow and steady rhythm the Beast taps slowly but powerfully onto her tiny drum. Soon though the crowd joins in stomping their feet to the beat of the Beast song. Kota looks back to Azelf for a moment who is for some reason sketching the battle in a lightning fast pace. Page after page Azelf finishes one then starts the next without removing his pipe from his mouth.
“ALRIGHT ladies and gentlemen we are about to begin the second match in the annual Atlas bloodbath please be seated. Wait what’s this it looks like team Kota’s Azelf does not wish to participate in today’s fight. Instead I believe he has decided to keep his nose out of this one. Could it be the vampire is still injured from yesterday’s bout against team spirit? Or is this vampire just not willing to risk his life and limbs again for a human? Either way looks like team Kota is fighting one man down, because this match is starting in 3, 2, 1, Lets Go.”
Kota was the first to move firing a shot from his hatchet straight down the field striking the drum right between the Beast’s hands. The shifters began tearing down the field at a blind pace zigzagging and crossing paths.
“Anytime now Victor my hatchet isn’t big enough for both of these things.” Kota called as he reloaded. As Kota snapped his hatchet closed the two shifters were less than three yards away. “Dammit Victor drop the damn maze!!” Kota called before he cast. “In flammam flammas meum super inimicos aestus.”  <wash my foes in flames Flame tide.> A sudden column of flames burst forth from Kota’s hand and collapsed falling towards both of the shifters  and driving them both back desperately trying to escape the pain of the fire. As the flames began to lick at the shifter heels a series of large stone tablets began to fall from the sky and strike all over the arena until a large stone maze formed in-between both teams and each of the competitors.

“Look at this folks the labyrinth mage finally strikes with one of his signature barrier spells the stone wall maze! Each of the competitors is own their own now as they now have to transverse this this confusion of stone fortifications.” 

Page #38

“Welcome back ladies and gentle monsters It’s day two of the atlas annual bloodbath and wow wee what a show Atlas has set up for us today! Yesterday’s victors team Kota will be going up against a deadly combo that took second place at last year’s bloodbath. For those of you in attendance last year please no spoilers for our new attendees. Now ladies and gents put your claws together for Team Kota as they make their way onto the field.” Atlas’s announcer Eve has the talent for whip the crowds into frenzy. The air is filled with riotous applause as Kota, Azelf and Victor make their way out onto the field. Atlas glares at Kota from his seat on high and Kota doesn’t even acknowledge Atlas’s presence he focuses instead on the gate on the opposite side of the field.
“And now the opposing team for today’s match some of you might recognize this crew from their wanted posters all over Etherya. Other might recognize them from this very arena one year ago. Either way give it up for the Manticore gang! With their leader the Beast of wind vale, and his two shifter comrades King the scorpion and Queen the lioness.  A scorpion larger than most full grown dogs emerged from the pit first its tail brandishing a venom filled stinger the size of a melon. Second to emerge was a ferocious fanged lion its paws twice as large as Kota’s head. Finally wrapped in a dark hooded robe a lone man rests on hand on both of the terrifying creatures, calming them.
“Victor what do you know about this man this beast of wind vale?” Kota asked eyeing the scorpion warily.
“Well first of the beast is a she. Second is we are so dead.” Victor says while preparing a spell.
“Azelf what do you think…Azelf!?!?” Kota screams as the vampire begins to walk away smoking his pipe.
“Whatever you decide to do… do not summon a monster.” Azelf says as he waves goodbye walks over to the edge of the arena and slumps against the wall.
“You lazy good for nothing Vampire I should broil you ass alive!” Kota screams as Victor works and abacus suddenly very nervous. Kota grabs hold of both of Victor’s shoulders.
“Don’t worry …Victor hey Victor! Focus man look at me we just got to stick to the plan. Divide and conquer okay say it with me Vic divide and conquer.” Kota while the entire coliseum looks on.
“Divide and conquer okay Kota let’s do this.” Victor says grabbing his staff and beginning a chant. On the other side of the field the Manticore gang is getting ready as well the beast of wind vale removes her hood to reveal a young women wearing fur from only to hide her chest and legs. Her face and arms covered in green war paint and leather straps. She removes two poles connected by a chain each tipped with a spears head from her robes along with a small drum. Kota grips the trigger inside his gauntlet ready to invoke the first spell, his other hand on his hatchet waiting for the countdown to begin. 

Page #37

“Can you really do that spell our clothes?” Kota asked pulling on his pants then reaching past Victor and pulling out a gauntlet from the chest of armor.
“In theory yes I can spell a barrier that can withstand either projectile attacks or close range strikes but the barriers would have to be rather small or they could hinder movement.” Kota mulled that over for a moment. Azelf looked puzzled at Kota while Victor bit into an apple. “Okay fine what is the lightest barrier you can construct that can repel projectile attacks?” Kota asked as he began to tear through the chest of armor taking out gears and hoses.
“Well that would have to be a fire screen burns up physical objects that come in contact with the screen and absorbs magic and energy based attacks  but the heat from it would incinerate flesh in about five minutes six tops.” Victor said not sure how Kota expected to accomplish this.
“Great can you spell it on fly like in the midst of battle or does it take a minute to set up and do you need to make contact with the armor to spell it?” Kota found a pair of leather gauntlets and three other pairs in steel, bronze and copper.
“No I don’t need to have physical contact to the object but at least a clear sight of the clothing I’m spelling.” Kota slid one leather gauntlet on then a steel one over that one and repeated the process on Azelf shoving his arm inside both of the gauntlets.

“Great these should buy us about eight minutes after you cast the fire screen to drop these suckers before our arms burst into flames. Now this is what I’m thinking boys.” Kota says as he snaps on his goggles and straps on his power gauntlet.

Page #36

“Alright Kota that was funny and all but Atlas is a cold blooded killer, keep prodding at him like that and you’ll end up killing all three of us.”  Victor’s eyes conveyed the fear that Kota was inherently lacking. Azelf said nothing but nodded in agreement.
“Calm yourself Victor I promise not to tease the master but I meant exactly what I said. I am here for one reason and one reason only Self-preservation. The only thing I have left is my life I’m not going to spend it pleasing him.” As Kota said this both of his comrades seemed to look at him with a new found respect. Something Kota was glad to earn off the battlefield. “Now on to the next subject seems our most generous master has supplied us with a few medical necessities. Azelf jumped up when he heard medical, a bit too fast and the gnarly cut in shoulder made him jolt with agony. Kota leaned down in his bathing gear and handed the vampire a glass jar containing blood the life source for all vampires.
“You know not many men human or otherwise would jump in front of a blade for a stranger. That tells me more about you than could fill a book. But I do have to say thank you Azelf I hope to be able to return the favor one day.” Azelf smiled a wicked grin that sent shivers down Kota’s spine as he undid the lid to the jar and gulped down the contents. “Well you’ll get your chance tomorrow we have another six rounds coming down the pipe so I suggest we all wash up, get to bed and wake up bright and early to get some strategizing in before the next match. The men followed Azelf’s lead washed and went to sleep. Kota was grateful that these two men seemed like the sort he could trust but that lingering feeling of curiosity was gnawing at his innards. Who were these men really? What did Atlas have on them that they would both serve him blindly? How was he to ever get out of this hell hole? What challenges faced him tomorrow? All of these questions plagued him deep into the night. The next Morning Kota woke with a start his hand wrapped around the hilt of his hatchet. He began to swing and stopped just short of cutting off Victor’s hand shaking him awake.
“So not a morning person got it… but you might want to save that for the fight today.” Victor said sliding his hand off Kota and opening the chest left by Atlas last night.

“This armor is barely usable so by new I’m guessing Atlas meant new to us. Ughh just when I thought he might give us a hand up. At this point it would be easier to spell the clothes we have on.” Kota dragged himself out of the bed and half pulled on his trousers jumping over to Victor.