As soon as the signal was given, Thughe unleashed his Shroud and charged. I suppose the easiest way to describe his power is to have you imagine what the Bruce Banner looks like when he changes into the Hulk. His entire upper body went black and began to grow to an unbelievable size. He took up nearly a quarter of the available Arena space, cutting down on the options that Hiil and I had.
Thughe charged and immediately Hiil and I dove out of the way. Thughe would be able to reach high speeds if he was able to build up momentum, but the small ring didn’t allow for much of that. That was an advantage for me. I didn’t have anything on Hiil yet so I did my best to keep him on the opposite side. With any luck, Hiil and Thughe would go at it and beat each other up, allowing me to sneak in and finish things before they knew it.
I tried to feint in and stab at Thughe, but he anticipated the move and hit me with his fist. It felt more like I had been hit with a tree trunk. I almost flew off the edge, but I managed to pick myself up and stand. My knee was still holding up, but that hit hadn’t been kind to it. I decided to stay on the outside and hope that Thughe and Hiil would go at it for a while.
I was sticking to circling the perimeter of the ring when Thughe caught on and began to circle around to intercept me. I turned to run the other way, but found Hiil approaching me as well. I was forced to move into the center of the ring to avoid being sandwiched, but my position in the center wasn’t much better as the other two could now force me backwards.
I had to think. I didn’t have anything concrete on Hiil so my best option would be to outmaneuver Thughe. As he ran around the ring then converged on me in the center, it was obvious that he was indeed picking up speed. I was willing to bet that his control and handling weren’t the greatest, so I prepared myself to take a gamble.
Thughe was now moving quickly, and as he turned into the center, he passed Hiil and was barreling straight at me. I backed up until I was on the edge and then waited for the right time. It took Thughe about two seconds to cross the center and as he came within three feet of me I pulled a classic.
I stepped off the edge.
I’m sure you can guess what happened next.
As I fell, I latched onto the edge with my hands, and even lodged my blades in the floor for added stability. Thughe realized too late that he was heading for the edge and tried to slow himself, but it was no use. He fell off the fifty foot pillar and plummeted to the ground. In this case, even his immense bulk did little to soften his impact with the ground.
It was just me and Hiil.
I was tyring to pull myself up when Hiil ran up and went to stomp on my hands. I rotated the angle of saws so that they were perpendicular to my hands and watched as Hiil stomped down on one of them. His blood splashed my face and I saw him stumble back while clutching his foot.
As I pulled myself up I was able to observe Hiil’s power in action. It took a second or two to come into effect, meaning he wasn’t invincible. It meant whatever I did would have to be an instant kill. The two of us were now facing each other from opposite sides of the circle. I made the first move by firing a saw at Hiil. He didn’t attempt to move out of the way as it hurtled towards him and cut into his hip. He gave a grunt of pain but continued to stand and after a moment his hip healed back up.
Would he just keep letting me take pot shots? Was he waiting for me to lower my guard? Could I get a lucky one shot kill on him?
I created a second saw and fired it at Hiil once more, but this time I followed my shot. As it cut into Hiil I swung at his throat and-
My arm stopped cold as Hiil calmly grabbed it with a grip of iron. He smiled and continued to hold my arm still until his injury had re-knit itself. Then he turned and dragged me towards the edge.
He size belayed his incredible strength, which would have come close to rivaling Thughe’s. I was struggling madly, and he punched me several times; once in the face, once in the stomach, and once on my injured leg. He was very good at dissuading. We came to the edge and Hiil gave me a look that was half triumphant smile, and half pitiful goodbye. Then with contemptuous ease he threw me off the edge.
I could see Hiil turn around and raise his arms in what he believed to be victory, but I had been thinking about this situation ever since my fight with Pailadyn.
I wasn’t going to let a fall kill me.
My razor blades began spinning and they elongated as I morphed them into another type of circular blade.
They were now spinning faster than any blade I had created, and I could my descent slow, halt, and then reverse. I was flying. My ascent began to speed up and as I rose above the ledge, I morphed the propellers back to saw blades and let my momentum carry me in arc.
An arc that ended at Hiil’s turned back.
Whether he could sense the crowd’s shock and anticipation, or just plain hear me hurtling towards him, Hiil turned and his smug smile evaporated into a surprised and panicked look. But there was no time for him to react. I hurtled through the air, blades out in front of me. They connected with Hiil’s throat and as I continued in my arc, the blades drove into his neck and pushed him down with me. With Hiil under me, my fall to the floor drove both of my blades completely through his neck and decapitated him.
As the crowd roared and clapped, I stood and puked as I looked at the grisly scene I had caused. My head was swimming, and I felt like I was on uneven ground. I fell to my knees and drove my weapons into the ground to steady myself. I didn’t take them out until the platform had receded and the healers were tugging at me to come with them.
Dimly I could hear the announcer proclaiming my victory. I could see Pailadyn trying to push her way towards me, but I coulnd’t get to her because of the healers. I tried to shrug them and tell them I wasn’t hurt. My Shroud had always been red hadn’t it?
Or was it white?
Or was it… black…?
No that was just my vision fading as I collapsed to the floor.