The battle was quite a strange experience.
Here they were, likely hundreds of different species waiting to be classified and catalogued, and Kiara was too busy slashing, jabbing, shooting bolts, lashing and choking to further the progress of the scientific world.
What a vexation.
It was, in some strange way, somewhat entertaining to be facing hordes of beings intent on killing you and surviving as long as possible. Much better training than the infirmary, at least.
Perhaps this could be some kind of future game-like practice, but with some means of guaranteeing the challenger's safety.
Food for thought. Much too violent an idea for children, though.
A somewhat-humanoid one of the enemy jumped at her, managing to exert the advantage of surprise.
Kiara put up an arm to protect her face and used the other to swing the stock of her crossbow at the thing's skull, using enough force that a crack resounded through the air.
It stumbled back, some kind of blue liquid pouring down its neck. Yuck.
The thing resumed its attack but was now easily met with snaps and cracks of the twisting whip, recoiling as the hard leather whizzed through the air. Kiara, now able to examine it in closer detail, felt her eyes widen.
A dark, pupil-less gaze and slightly bluish skin, not to mention webbed fingers and strange flaps of skin beneath the line of the jaw. Gills. She was looking at some kind of...merman.
Kiara, sensing her chance, lunged and dug a baselard through the prominent ribs of the creature, watching it collapse in a puddle of its own fluids.
Just in time for a foot-tall Fae to fly at her like an oversized wasp, baring sharp red teeth.
It ducked and weaved as she jabbed at it, managing to dig its fangs into the side of her neck before being grabbed in a fist and impaled.
That was reminiscent of the 'pixies' that certain farmers spoke of seeing.
The Fae they were facing had to have been coming to their world for centuries. Legends and yarns of mystical beings were actually true accounts of the Fae. Those stories were the true weapon in this battle.
A massive snake-like thing reared up in front of her, waiting a split-second before pouncing.
Kiara had just enough time to jump out of the way, picking up a discarded broadsword and twirling it about to get a feel for the weapon.
Swords were never truly her style, a little too hefty and just cumbersome, but she could still wield them with considerable ability. Her caravan had taught her many things, focusing on what was the most efficient, but swordplay had been one of them.
The serpent dived at her again, being dodged just in time. Kiara's reflexes were starting to slow somewhat. Probably just fatigue.
She waited for its next attack before looping her arms around its head, swinging up and onto its back, hugging it tightly as it thrashed about beneath her.
"Where in the world did a thing like you come from?" she muttered, half out of annoyance with its vigor and half from genuine curiosity.
"I'm not a thing," it rumbled in its deep, inhuman voice, "And I've been living in your world for a long time, in the Loch of Ne-"
Kiara ran it through with the broadsword before it could continue, jumping off as it teetered precariously.
She watched in amazement as the creature disappeared swiftly into the battle, using its massive flippers to propel itself away towards something half its size that looked to belonged to the same subspecies.
Its spawn, perhaps. What a pity.
Another one of the Fae was quickly beheaded, a break in the enemy allowing Kiara a second to rest.
And then she caught sight of herself on the surface of the bloodied sword. The bite from the pixie-like thing had swollen and reddened, blackened veins becoming apparent around the wound.
Venom. Poison from another realm altogether was coursing through her veins.
There was no time to dwell on it, though. Kiara pulled a roll of bandage from her belt and covered her neck up quickly, shaking her head to clear her thoughts and readying herself for the next wave of attackers.
No one had to know about the bite. It was best that way, actually.
She would have no time to tend to the wounded and record her findings with the Fae corpses if she was too busy being fussed over.
And if she could find the body of that pixie...there was a remote chance of creating an antidote. IF.
In the meantime she would just have to grin and bear it.