For a split second, everything went blank.
(Wake up…LITTLE DUMMY! WAKE THE FUCK UP!)
The very next moment, his eyes snapped open just in time to see a tree stabbing towards him.
Kazuki grit his teeth and managed to roll out of the way.
The tree struck the boulder he was on before being flung away. At the same time, both Kazuki and the boulder went spinning out of control.
Kazuki jumped away and landed on a flying tree. His head was dizzy and it was hard to breathe, hard to think.
Kazuki bit his lower lip and the pain helped clear his thoughts. He had to literally think for a second before he could recall what had just happened.
(That was just her breath she struck me with. She was hiding such a move the entire time.)
Kazuki felt both fear and elated.
(Such terrifying power, yet I forced it out of her. She must have truly been desperate and couldn’t dodge my attack without it.)
Kazuki inhaled deeply and shouted.
“TRISKA I’LL ADMIT YOU ARE QUITE STRONG BUT ALSO QUITE COWARDLY, NO. I MEAN TO SCREAM IN TERROR FROM ONE OF MY FLAMES, HOW PITIFUL! I GUESS A GREAT WARRIOR YOU ARE NOT!”
Kazuki managed to jump onto another boulder and rip up several more chunks of rock.
(I don’t have the energy for all of these.)
Triska on the other hand felt a sting to her pride but even this would not make her move.
“HMPH! WHO’S THE PITIFUL ONE!? DEATH IS CLOSING IN ON YOU NOT ME! YOUR USELESS SPOUTING WILL GET YOU NOTHING FROM ME. NOW FACE YOUR DEATH!”
Triska waved her hand and several large boulders as well as several trees turned and shot toward Kazuki.
Kazuki as well took 5 rocks that he tore out from the boulder and threw them at Triska in a strange fashion.
As the boulders came crashing toward him, Kazuki had already covered his hands in a blue flame. His shoulder was not fully healed but as long as he dealt with the pain he could move it freely.
The air hissed as it tried to quell his flames but Kazuki was feeding his flames with more and more energy and when the first boulder came, he punched out.
The boulder shattered to pieces. The next two boulders were easier to deal with and with slight movements, Kazuki twisted himself out of the way. Since they were still rotating within the tornado, some of these attacks would go off the rails at some point.
(It seems even Triska with all her skill can’t control so many things at once. Her aim is off.)
Kazuki kicked away the last few boulders and forced them to into the incoming trees. The more he deflected things away the more he was sure of it.
(It really is too much for her to control.)
On the other side, Triska saw the rocks flying at her and decided to simply avoid them. There was no need for her to confront these devilish traps head-on. She quickly moved out of the way and let the rocks fly past her but to her surprise, when the rocks slammed into something, there was no explosion of flame. The rocks simply shattered against other things or simply flew away with no reaction whatsoever.
(Duds, has his power run dry?)
Kazuki was pale as a ghost and his breathing was labored and difficult. Sweat was constantly pouring down his face and he was shaking.
(He’s weak, is he about to enter mana sickness, or is my wind draining the breath from his lungs. He can barely stand.)
Triska thought about the duds he threw and his current state.
(Let’s test him.)
Triska spoke softly but her power allowed her words to still travel through this storm with ease and arrived next to Kazuki.
“What’s wrong Kazuki, no more taunting? Could it be you have been putting up a front? Look at you, where’s your anger, why don’t you scream and shout? You can’t do it, can you? Why don’t you throw another rock, I promise I won’t avoid it. Just show me that determination you had only a moment ago. What’s the matter, are you truly drained, hehehe. You realize you are the last line of defense for your friends. If you don’t try your hardest, I’ll kill them all. Come on, try…”
Kazuki grabbed a rock and wrote something upon it with blood before he chucked it at Triska.
(Even his throw is weaker.)
Kazuki’s throw was indeed weak. He had used greater strength earlier to cut through the tornado but now he simply chucked it to the side, seemingly hoping the wind would carry it around in rotation to meet Triska.
Triska watched the rock with vigilance. Before it came too close, she used some of her wind to stop it and hold it in place. Slicing down with her hand, a blade of wind came cutting out and met the rock which was still a good distance away from her.
The rock was cut in half and a tiny, insignificant flame sparked out for barely a blink of an eye before it was snuffed out.
(I knew it, he really has weakened. If that’s the most he can muster, his power is no more. Should I take him.)
While Triska was in her thoughts, she noticed Kazuki saying something. His voice was far too low to hear, however, Triska could make out what he was saying by the way his lips moved. As soon as she saw what he said, something inside of her flipped and she screamed.
“YOU BASTARD! I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU!”
Triska rushed at Kazuki, ready to punch through his head, cave in his chest, crushing his bones into dust and spraying his blood into the sky like a fountain. Kazuki’s few words had touched on her weakness.
A few seconds earlier, Kazuki was stuck between a rock and a hard place and he couldn’t figure out how to draw Triska in. That is until he remembered what Degra had told him. Triska had a sister, one that she would protect at all costs. Triska was prideful and strong and was someone that normally couldn’t be shaken. You could insult her a million times over but in such a situation she had the frame of mind to not risk close combat with Kazuki due to his blue flame but with a single sentence, Triska had thrown it all out the window.
Like a bolt of lightning, it had come to him and he mouthed it silently to draw her attention further.
“I will murder your whore of a sister.”
So soft were his words that Triska almost couldn’t believe he actually spoke them but with a simple smile spread across his face, this simple gesture cemented it into reality.
(YOU DARE THREATEN MY SISTER!)
With Kazuki’s weak appearance and his lack of power, add to the fact he touched upon where he shouldn’t, in this short exchange, the one unshakable…snapped.
“YOU BASTARD! I’ll FUCKING KILL YOU!”
As Triska came charging forward, Kazuki remained unmoved. His eyes locked on her but his peripheral off to the side, observing the tornadoes.
(There still stable but she’s clearly furious. One more push…one more push should do it.)
Triska blurred and she left after images in her wake. She appeared before Kazuki and was already sending out a punch. Kazuki as well moved. The armor atop his body had already been torn up pretty badly and with a slight movement, he tore it off and had thrown it in Triska’s face.
Triska was not having any of it though and her fist ripped through the armor with little effort. This however was exactly what Kazuki wanted.
With a single thought, the entire armor suit shook before igniting in a blue flame. A deep sense of dread hammered Triska’s thoughts and she had no time to move away. The entire armor melted down in an instance and became a liquid flame. It was like a blanket of fire trying to wrap her body in death.
The flame was close enough now that her skin was already starting to blister and small bubbles formed on her skin. Triska screamed at the heavens and just as the liquid flame was only an inch away and the surrounding air rushed to her side and formed a protective layer between her and the liquid blue flame.
Expanding outwards as fast as an explosion, the wind formed a sphere of air around her and pushed all of the flames away before they could reach her.
A hand came shooting forth but it slammed into Triska’s barrier of wind and bounced off.
Kazuki’s hand was covered in blood as the impact had broken a few bones in his hand but he held a wide grin.
Triska had no clue why Kazuki was smiling. This was the last of his efforts, he failed to land a decisive blow. Triska had come to her senses just in time and her guard was fully up. Kazuki would get no second chance.
Kazuki held his hand up and looked at Triska’s hand.
“We’re like twins.”
Only now did Triska feel unbearable pain in her hand. The adrenaline from almost dying had held back the agony but upon Kazuki’s comments, she looked down at her hand.
That was the first thought that popped into her hand and the very best way to describe it. There was no more skin on her hand at all and nerves had been burned away, leaving a sticky wet residue from her blood that had boiled and her muscles that had turned to little more than mush. The exposed bone had charred and turned black and her hand resembled something akin to a nub instead of a hand.
Kazuki burst out with wild laughter. He no longer appeared pale nor was he gasping desperately for breath. Triska realized that she had been played and her face twisted in fury.
“I…GIVE ME YOUR HEAD!!”
Kazuki instead of offering his head up, shook it.
“It’s too late.”
As soon as he said those words, the world went dead quiet before a gust of freezing cold wind stirred and rushed at them. Kazuki pointed past Triska with his chin and something instinctively forced her to turn and look behind her. Her eyes widened as big as saucers and a single thought echoed in her mind.