He could not turn around in time to avoid her sword entering through his back. Then with some increase weight she was able to bring the sword down then up, cutting him into two pieces. He fell to the ground with a scream. There was a moment while his regeneration tried to recover him but it was not enough and he returned to a card.
Diene breathed in an out for a moment, recovering from the adrenaline. Then she turned and reached down, picking Blade of Unique Sway. His card was in the injured state so he could not speak with her. She wiped the blood carefully off of him and then placed him safely away in her card holder.
Then she turned back to where the man’s card had fallen. She walked over and picked it up. It said, Immortal Warrior of Legend. She also carefully wiped the blood off of it, not because she cared about him but because she had to put it with her other cards.
She heard a voice say, “You could call me if you need another hero.” It was Wrapped Charmer of Serpents. She was still stored with Diane’s other cards.
She shook her head in rejection, “Sorry, not right now. I need my crystals to keep my spells active and I still don’t really trust you. Not with the confrontation with Cockatrice coming up.”
“Alright, but remember that I’m here. If you can beat Cockatrice then I would rather stick with you. I only ask that if you are about to lose you take a moment to rip me up.”
Wrapped Charmer of Serpents would rather die then let Cockatrice get a hold of her. Understandable but Diane wasn’t going to let that happen. It was time for her to go up stairs and join any other fights that were happening. Her battle took longer than expected. They had hoped that the two of them together would be able to finish their opponent quickly before helping others.
She turned and began to walk up the stairs back to the first floor.
Tower of Madness
The battle had started like Demon of Forgotten Soot had expected. Cockatrice had called upon his Icon of Pain as his weapon to fight off her claws. For a human he was fast and strong but Demon knew that she would eventually get the better of him. The pain caused by his weapon was annoying but she was able to ignore it fairly easily.
Back and forth she attack and he barely defended each time. However as the battle continued she began to realize that she was being tricked. He wasn’t barely blocking her, he was looking like he was barely blocking her.
“Fine, I’ll have to up the ante.” She said and she began to push harder, to move faster, to hit harder. It pushed the crystals she was using to their absolute limit.
His defense kept up with her newly strengthen assault. However this time it was strong enough that he could no longer pretend to be barely blocking. His technique and finesse implied a lifetime of experience and battle, somebody who would be able to look death in the face and keep on fighting. However he was reaching the limits of what a human was capable of doing while Demon was already beyond that. He had only been keeping her at bay using combat experiance.
Then he spoke, “If this the best you can do? You won’t be able to defeat me with just this minor display of strength. Both of us know that. I could easily use a spell right now to defeat you.”
It pained her to admit it but he was right. Even with her advantage in strength and speed he would be able to win if he was capable of activating spell cards and she was not.
However she had learned a great deal during the training. Initially she had tried to use spells like Dreamers did however that turned out to not work. After all she was still use Patrick Andrew’s crystals not her own so the regular methods of casting were not usable by her.
A setback certainly but a small one. Instead she had learned an alternate way of casting spells. She had to activate more of Patrick’s crystals, pull their energy into herself. Normally she was just a 2 crystal brawler, three crystal heroes usually had more extreme special abilities but she hadn’t had any of those.
She was however able to learn a trick to overcharge herself, drawing in a third or fourth crystal. It boosted her power but not by how much those crystals were worth. This technique was the first stepping stone for casting spells. Once she was overcharged she was able to channel that energy into a spell card and forcing it to activate its effects.
The end result was remarkable different than when a normal Dreamer cast the spell. The spells she had trained to use all worked slightly different in her hands, less control but more power. Her unconventional means of activating the spells made them have strange side effects, thing that the Makers could not have predicted when designing the spells.
In the battle she quickly charged herself with the extra crystal and then cast her spell, “Activate Whirlwind.” The whipping wind spun up around her. Normally this spell would let the caster control where the whirlwind was but in her cast it simply spun around her uncontrollably.
As the eye of the storm she was mostly unaffected and was able to charge Cockatrice. He tried to guard with his weapon but the winds were too strong and the Icon of Pain was knocked out of his hands and sent flying across the room. That left him practically defenseless as Demon racked her claws against him and his robes.
There where specks of blood before Cockatrice called out, “Activate, Barrier of Friction” And he was able to escape the winds. The winds whipped against the barrier he had created and he remained unaffected inside. His spell had neutralized hers.
He laughed behind his metal mask and said, “A hero that has learned to cast spells. How exciting. Maybe you are the one that I was looking for. Let’s see how much more you are capable of. How about we play a new game, something exciting.”
Cockatrice reached into his robe and pulled out a card. Normally the magic in the cards protect them from damage but this card was old and weathered. He held it in front of him and called out.
“Activate, Tower of Madness!” Then he released the card. It stayed there, motionless in the air. However Cockatrice backed up pulling back to the end of the building.
Demon who realized a danger when she saw it began to do the same. Nearby, Berardo who had recently finished his own fight and turned to watch hers also sensed the danger and retreated with Demon.
Then the card began to spin. It flickered in place and gray lines began to appear around it. Then without any extra warning the earth began to shake and masonry began to push its way through the floor. The gray stone walls of what could only be described as a tower pierced up. The ceiling broke under the force of the building that was erupting from the ground.
The mansion shook and began would have begun to collapse had there not been a new structure in the center holding it up. Only seconds after Cockatrice has activated the spell there was a giant tower jutting up through the mansion.
He was laughing, they could no longer see him but they could certainly hear him. “Let us see how you survive this. Prepare for the horror of your lifetime!”
Then the door appeared. A black metal door covered in runes. The runes were all glowing. Then one by one the glow on the doors disappeared. Once they were all gone there was a loud crashing sound and a dent appeared in the door. Something from the inside.
“There was something you were right about.” Came the laughing voice of Cockatrice. “I do have a limit to how many crystals I can control. Normally this would take almost off of my crystals. So I would like to thank you all for defeating all of my heroes. That gave me the extra space to cast this. Now please enjoy.”
There was another crashing sound and another huge dent appeared in the metal door. Then it happened again. Something big, probably multiple something bigs, was in there trying to get out.
Berardo didn’t have time to waste waiting for the door to break. He pulled out his phone and pressed a number on his quick dial. It was answered almost immediately, “Plan B, please help.” He called into the phone before putting the phone back away.
He activated the communication spell trying to bring everybody he could reach into it. There were many non-responses. As he contacted them he called out, “Diane, quickly, I need your help. Everybody else but you and Demon are down. We are going to need your help.”
“Coming up now.”
Berardo could tell that both Horizon and Rose were down for the count but were also going to be alright assuming Berardo was able to recover their cards after this.
He saw Diane run up the nearby stairs and take a position near him and Demon. She looked well and he was thankful for that. Him and her were probably the most fragile of the combatants. Heroes could survive even normally lethal wounds assuming that their card was unharmed. Humans on the other hand could be crippled or killed much easier.
“We just need to survive for approximently 5 minutes then my plan b should be available. Do you think you can do that?” He asked them.
They both nodded to him.
He smiled at them, “We don’t even know what it doing to appear when they break down that door and you are already thinking we can. I’ll try to support your optimism. Now lets get ready.”
There were two more slams on the metal door and then the door fell outward under the force of the next blow. Then the creatures came out. They were huge but something else was wrong with them. They were hunched and looked almost human. Each of them also wore armor, old looking ornamental armor. And they each carried weapons larger then Berardo. There was also four of them.
Berardo gulped trying to keep the optimism that had just tried to run away screaming. Would the three of them really be able to beat those four monsters or even hold them off for five minutes. Berardo wasn’t so sure any more.
“Demon, this enemies are not going to leave this building standing. I’m going to speed boost you and I would like you to quickly recover Horizon’s and Rose’s card. I don’t want them to be caught in the collapse.” She nodded, “Then go quickly. Activate Speed Boost.”
And she was gone. There tower had caused a hole in the room that she was able to leap through.
“Sure that was smart. Two vs four isn’t good odds.” Said Diane.
“Their big, should let us keep more than one from attacking us at once.”
“Alright, which one first.”
“Well, the one with the giant sword seems to already be on his way over here. How about we do that one first.”
Then the stepped a few paces apart from each other. Parrying such a giant weapon was basically impossible so they needed to keep a little distance from each other so they wouldn’t get in each other’s way when dodging.
Berardo raised his mud mace and Diane her sword. They would probably be little more then minor annoyances to something this big but if they go in close to its neck they might be enough of an attack to slay the beast.