Counter 25: Call of the Black Fog
Fifty-seven minutes after two o’clock in the afternoon
Administration building, inside the monitor room.
An unidentified person has breached the barriers of the admin building. He is currently standing by the window side of the monitor room; where the headmaster, Miss Malupit, and nine members of BK are staying. Covered in black cloak, the intruder stands there doing nothing. He says that he has no intention of spilling blood right now. However, the headmaster is more concerned about the pressure that these students are feeling at this moment. Even though they are members of BK, they are only in charge of documentation, reports, monitoring and the like. They are not trained nor have the ability to fight against a man of this level. Maybe, he just being too much of a worrywart right now but it is a fact that this attack is not meant for play. This man, as his instincts suggest, can kill all of them right now if he desires to do so.
“Whatever it is that you want, it’s not here.” Sadi says as she stands up closing in to the headmaster’s side. “What are you trying to accomplish by facing a bunch of powerless staff now?”
“You’re right,” he answers without budging from where he stands. “What I’m looking for isn’t here… but I think, I’ll be able to find it from here.”
Could he be…?!!
“Oryx, close your mind!” Sadi hastily shouts but then he is already feeling frozen.
Headmaster Dimasalang can almost hear him laugh menacingly. “Still,” the man declares with victorious voice, “I can’t believe you’d leave this place unguarded.”
His voice sends chill to their spine.
“We may not have the ability to attack or fight back, but it’s not like we are completely unguarded because--”
“Unguarded? What a joke.” Sylphid’s echoes with a teasing tone. Then they see her hand slipping through the wall, and then little by little her whole body follows to appear. “This whole building is my territory.” She stands daringly by the intruder’s side. “This isn’t a place for you to simply tread on without facing the consequences.”
The man in cloak steps aback as they both glare at each other. Everyone else can only stand like watchers in the sidelines. The pressure that the intruder emits inside the room makes them unable to move an inch. It’s as if something extremely heavy is weighing on our shoulders. The pressured silence makes them feel as though they can hear everyone else’s rampant breathing. Even Sylphid remains frozen for some unknown reason. Sylphid, she who is currently the most skilled mage they have in this academy, is standing still like a statue.
“For some granny, you’re quite the tough one.” He mutters after a couple of minutes then his body begins to dissipate like smoke that is slowly being blown away by the wind.
Sylphid pauses while watching the intruder vanish into thin air. “I’m far past my prime, kid.” She says as a crack appears on her right shoulder. “Oryx,” she calls and then the headmaster can suddenly move with ease. “Listen… Yhor Ergus, don’t forget that name.” Then more cracks follows to appear all over her body, little bits of dust fall from within those gaps.
“No way… What happened?” He cannot help but stare at her. “She’s breaking apart.”
“He got in my head,” she answers. “He might have gone into yours too. We are in troub--” She is trying but she can no longer finish her last words when she crumbles apart.
A lump of sand, that’s what this doll has become now. The one that maintains the barrier of the admin building is gone. Their last line of defense has fallen.
Fifty-three minutes after two o’clock in the afternoon
Beside the AVR building
Emil and Blair have traveled quite far from the green dormitory. They are able to chase away this monster as far as the audio/visual building. Had they stayed there, who knows how many of those students could have fallen victim to its mana drain. Since there is no flood of metaghosts in the past few minutes, it is safe to assume that Daisuke and company is doing fine in suppressing their advance.
“Emil! Emil!” Blair calls after throwing a metaghost to the emperor q’etsu’s direction to stop it from running away. “We won’t be able to kill that monster just by throwing these robots, you know.”
“Hey, the q’etsu just moved! Step back! Step back!” He already told her to keep her distance. “She seems to forget everything in less than two seconds. Tsk-!”
“Sorry,” she replies with a subtle laugh while moving a few steps back. “How about we attack in close combat and then run back after some time?”
“No,” Emil immediately rejects her suggestion. “Getting in direct contact with that monster is too dangerous. Were you listening to me?”
At this rate there would not be able to make any progress. Blair has a point but it is too risky, they have to polish our plan it a bit more.
“Its Absolute Drain could deplete your mana at once; and at the moment you run out of mana in your body, that means you are dead.”
Blair raises a brow while scratching her head. “All I have to do is to not touch it, right? As long as it’s not touching my skin then it would be fine, right?”
“Y-yeah, maybe?..” Emil answers reluctantly.
“Then there’s nothing for us to worry about, I’m fully covered!”
“Wait--!” Emil shouts to stop her from rushing towards the monster that is a little agitated. It still wants to attack the students in the dorm but somehow it already knows that they will not let it happen. “I’ve got a plan; I think this will work out just fine.” Emil continues while staring at Blair’s vambrace. It appears that the right blade is already about to break. He also realizes that his armor is also battered all over. “This is going to be tough… Alright, you can go on close combat but pay a lot of attention. I don’t think I can explain to you how his passive draining works… so take one minute of close range fighting. Within that time find a way to ram that blade into its chest and leave it stuck in there. Then take as much distance as possible. I’ll take care of the rest. Listen, if you can’t complete it, just retreat after a minute passed, okay?”
She smiles enthusiastically. “Yosh! Leave it to me!” She lifts a thumb before racing towards the emperor q’etsu.
While Emil is keeping the few metaghosts away so that they won’t be able to get in the way, Blair has started her offensive maneuvers. She dashes greeting that monster with a spinning side kick on its torso. Though Blair is very agile, it could still follow up with her movements enough for it to catch her leg. Watching how the fight goes on Emil almost had a mini heart attack that made him almost jump to her aid. Fortunately, Blair has moved to spin her body rapidly giving that monster a kick on the face as she frees herself from its clutch. She jumps back to put some distance between them. And then while it is still concerned of the pain it feels on its face, Blair quickly moves forward giving it a spinning back kick hitting the side of its neck. This time she is able to land a hit which stuns the q’etsu for a bit. As it staggers down its knees, Blair delivers an axe kick to its head slamming it on the ground. She is about to deliver another kick to its side when it dodged and rolls away as fast as it could. Because of its hyper speed retreat, Blair can only end up swinging her legs on air hitting nothing.
“I hope she’d be more careful.” Emil watches carefully while still fighting the metaghosts that comes close to the area. He intends to provide immediate assistance anytime he deems its needed.
Blair chases after the boss monster and then continues to attack with different kick combinations. This time, the q’etsu appears to be more alert that it is now able to dodge every kick that comes its way.
The metaghosts are coming one by one, not in a horde as opposed to how it is a while ago. It seems that they are in an area that is not originally part of these robot’s course. Emil finds it easy to fight them now, because all he has to do is throw their large body off balance. On the other hand, the emperor q’etsu acts like an intelligent kind of monster. It only evades Blair’s attack and does not block; just barely evading at the last minute it almost gets hit. It stays close, and it is not attacking nor trying to get its hands on Blair. At this rate she will only exhaust herself. She has been fighting with metaghosts for long enough too. At the same time the emperor q’etsu’d the passive mana drain is on effect, and yet Blair’s continuous attacks only tire her out.
“Ahh—the idiot, is she even paying attention to the time?” Emil suddenly realizes. “I’m an idiot too. At this rate, she’ll only exhaust both of her mana and stamina!” He takes a deep breath before shouting as loud as he could, “BLAIR!!!”
The emperor q’etsu looks distracted for a moment. A chance has been provided. Emil immediately polishes his stance while watching Blair make her move. A butterfly kick rams into the q’etsu’s chin. The power of the kick has forced it upward, its feet is off the ground. While it’s on air, Blair jumps and pulls a fast right hawk punch to its chest pushing it back down and slamming on the ground. At the same time, that hit also breaks the blade of her vambrace leaving it stuck on the monster’s chest. Just as they have planned, Blair immediately pulls back after completing her objective. Then when the emperor q’etsu starts to stand up, Emil runs full speed delivering a double spinning kick. With both his feet drilling in the air towards the blade that is stuck in its chest, he sends it crashing down and then carving the ground with its body. The blade is now buried deeper in its chest. It is deep enough that it will surely have pierced its heart.
“That was way too cool, Emil!” Blair shouts while Emil retreats farther away.
“Don’t get close to it yet,” he warns. “We have to make sure it’s dead. It might still be able to drain us while we don’t pay attention.”
The metaghosts have decreased greatly. The students in the green dorm must be doing a good job. Emil can only see few of them that are currently moving around randomly.
Meanwhile, Blair keeps quiet as they both stare at the monster boss. At this time, Emil notices that Blair’s breathing has become heavier. Of course that fight was exhausting, and to think that she has also lost more mana in the process. They need some time to rest.
“Hey, hey, hey—Emil, look its standing up!” Blair says tapping Emil’s shoulder.
“Shit! We must have missed the heart!” He cannot hide the troubled expression on his face.
“Don’t worry, I still have another blade here!”
Emil stares at the blade on her left arm. It is a bit chipped off too. “I guess so… but I don’t think the same method would work again. It will surely protect its heart this time.”
“So we need only need to aim for the heart?” She tilts her head to the side wearing a marveled expression. “Alright! Leave it to me!” She grins.
Like a flash, Blair darts towards the emperor q’etsu in full speed. Emil is caught off guard again; she is gone before he could react. He does not know what she is planning, but he has to chase after her in case she gets in trouble acting rashly like that.
When the emperor q’etsu notices them charging forward, it lets out an angry growl before aggressively leaping towards the humans who hurt him. It is stretching its fingers, showing its claws, and then expanding its half folded wings; to increase its speed and prepare for a direct attack. It swiftly leaps from where it stands speeding up its attack aiming straight at the red head in front. Blair stretches her right arm as if she is reaching for something ahead. Emil can only watch a few steps behind. It is like he am watching two bodies collide with each other and just when he thought that one of them is about to break to pieces, nothing happened. The emperor q’etsu passed through Blair as though there is nothing there from the beginning. Blair continues to mov a few steps away while Emil ends up blocking against the monster’s claws. But something is odd. The scratch is delivered by the q’etsu feels weak, very weak. Much weaker than the impression he had at first. And just when he is about to hit it… all of a sudden, the q’etsu drops on the ground like a wilting plant.
Not knowing what exactly is happening anymore; Emil just distanced himself from the monster before marching closer to Blair. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah,” she replies without moving.
“Hey,” He taps her shoulder and then she turns around. “W-wha… is that..?” She is holding something in her right hand. It is dripping with red liquid.
Blair shows a playful smile while a bead of sweat rolls down her cheek. “Just that thing we were aiming for,” she answers while holding the still throbbing heart of the q’etsu. “This is kind of gross but very effective in a way. What should I do with this now?”
Emil is unable to utter a word for a moment. “How?..” He looks back to the body of the q’etsu. There are no noticeable wounds. No blood around it even. “Just how were you able to rip that out?”
“I used my D-shift.” She answers casually.
“You can do something like that?! You didn’t tell me anything?!”
“You didn’t ask.”
“Don’t give me that!”
She laughs. A forced sounding one, in monotone. “Well, I just thought of it a while ago.” She says while scratching the back of her head. “And… and I haven’t tried it before so I’m not sure if it’ll work well so… I kind of experimented. He, he, he.”
“Okay,” he sighs. He really cannot blame her. At least the problem is solved, though he believes that it is kind of dangerous to try without practice. “The monster is down. Now, we have to continue obliterating these metacraps.”
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