An insane amount of pressure rushed at us that it even forced Vai, Sorena, and Azula to kneel down. Even Fenril was barely holding on to keep himself from succumbing as his legs shook. Rage and a bit of fear was transmitted to me through our connection.
This seemingly physical wall of pressure appears to have been formed by the incredible killing intent Himalgrim emitted. The Avatar I once fought emitted pressure as well, but not this heavy and dense. It shouldn’t mean he’s more powerful, but it does imply he has more control of his own power. An enemy who knows how to wield a weapon is several times more deadly than a child with a tantrum holding a gun. Not that Merik was a child, but he did come off as seemingly flailing his power about. Not this undead though. The pressure I feel from him is heavy and sharp… like a blade pointed directly at me and could cut me anytime.
The girls slowly stood up, but immediately armed themselves and readied themselves for the fight. Time slowly ticked by as the tension between grew heavier and threatened to crush us. The first to fold to this tension… was Fenril.
He howled mightily as he leapt towards the 5-meter-tall headless knight, bearing fang and claw towards him. Simultaneously, as if it was planned, bluish-white mana flared in Sorena’s hands summoning two spell circles angled above to the left and right facing Himalgrim. From them leapt out two azure foxes made of energy that attacked from odd angles.
I waited to see his next move, but what happened next was nothing short of amazing.
Despite his size, his body moved with unbelievable swiftness. Instead of dodging backwards or to the sides, he dashed forward and kept low leaving Fenril to overshoot him from above. In that instant, wielded in one hand, his sword came from below as he cut the two foxes in one sweep, while his other hand caught Fenril’s tail when it passed above him. With unnatural nimbleness, he spun once as he threw Fenril, leaving him careening towards the wall. His motion ended with him taking out a massive shield from his back. Now, he was fully armed like a grand knight on its horse. Only in this case, the horse and rider are one and the same.
I felt my eyebrows twitch a little at his provocation.
The next to move was Azula. Sprinting towards the knight, she pulled out a short pole attached to her belt from behind and it extended into a spear. I have to admit, that’s a cool trick. It’s probably designed in the same magical way as my double-ended glaive.
As Azula sprinted, Vai conjured her rune magic as well and blew the pink colored mana runes towards Azula. They soon attached to her body on several places, and as they did, the runes flared on her limbs suddenly making her sprint at preternatural speeds. She was already fast, but with the aid of the runes, she simply looked like a blur.
Like a bolt, she struck his legs every time she passed him by, unleashing several thrusts before dashing away and repeating her hit and run tactics. The problem is that Himalgrim seems to be anticipating the point of her attacks. While it looks like her attacks are working, in fact, each time her blows struck, I noticed Himalgrim was able to block it with the slightest motion of his sword and shield. He only needed to block at the most critical points and the most damaging strikes, so in truth he hasn’t received any damage at all.
Seeing her attacks blocked, Azula backed off, but not before Himalgrim struck the earth with his massive sword. The impact caused a small shockwave around the point of impact. Since she was still in the middle of withdrawing, Azula was dangerously close to the origin of the shockwave, so to avoid it she had to jump backwards. In that timing, Himalgrim swung his sword towards her. Azula appeared helpless in the air since she couldn’t dodge, but anticipating the attack, she was able to position herself and place her spear’s shaft between her and the blade. Since she was already leaping backwards, she dispersed most of the damage and was able to somersault to safety. It doesn’t look like she was able to mitigate all of the damage, however, since she seemed wobbly and took a knee.
All this happened within the span of a few seconds. This short exchange showed exactly how skilled this guy is in combat. I really wanted to face him as soon as I could, but other than wanting to know this guy’s ability, there’s another thing that I’m more afraid of.
“If that is all… then… my turn...”
I was waiting for his turn to move, and confirming my suspicions, he dashed like a speeding runaway truck straight towards Sorena. The earth rumbled under his hooves with his charge. He’s fast, but not as fast as me when I’m in flight. A high ceiling and a wide-open area gave me more than enough room to spread my wings as I flew through the air like an arrow to intercept him.
Just as I was about to strike him, he suddenly made a sharp turn and avoided my attack. He then headed straight for Vai, which made me panic and do an aerial turn. After rising high enough, I made a dive towards him, but just as I was about intercept him again, he made another sudden turn. This made me realize that while I was faster in the air, he had the advantage in maneuverability. He’s also moving too fast for me to reliably use my fire breath on.
As if reading my thoughts, Sorena cast another spell which summoned eight ethereal tendrils from portals on the ground. They made a grab for his legs, but he jumped to avoid the tendrils behind him while slashing forward in a wide arc, cutting apart the ones in front. This left him vulnerable in the air though, so I took this chance to circle him from above then aim a slash to his humanoid back.
I expected a sensation of ripping through steel, but instead I felt as if I struck hard metal; numbing my hands. What I saw in front of me was him blocking my sword with both his shield and sword while directly facing me. I understand he’s an undead, but I never would’ve expected him to be able to make a complete turn to face me as if his spine didn’t exist. While I was surprised, I didn’t waste time and opted to use my fire breath at point blank while he’s defending himself.
While he was quickly bathed in flames, a surprise jolt struck me from below, hitting my lower jaw and knocking me away. My head was spinning for a moment there, but I shook it off and felt something cold under my muzzle. I felt a cold U-shaped object and pulled it off. Looking at it, I noticed it was a block of ice in the shape of a horseshoe, which I immediately knew it meant he gave me a nice good kick in the face.
Annoyed, I looked towards him and noticed he was surrounded in an aura of frost. Frigid air emanated from his body, which explains why my fire wasn’t able to completely burn him.
As he kept running across the area, he made a turn to face me directly. This time he looks eager to test himself against me as he dragged his blade across the ground. Not wanting to back down, I readied myself to meet his attack.
It was a bit nerve wracking considering it was the first time I’m facing the charge of an armored cavalry. Despite him being a single rid- err, knight… the pressure he gave off became incredibly oppressive; much more so since he’s over five meters tall.
As soon as he was close enough that I could practically feel the air pushed forward by his charge, I swung my sword as he thrust his.
Our swords clashed so loudly it sounded like a truck crashing into a steel wall. Speaking of truck… before the sound, I felt the full force of his charge which almost made me buckle my knees. Forget a truck, it felt like I was trying to stop a speeding locomotive. While I held on, it felt like I was pushed several meters from where I initially stood my ground. It initially felt like my muscles were screaming in protest, but once he lost his momentum, a lot of the pressure was gone and I could compete with his strength.
What came after was now a test of our sword skill. While he held the vertical advantage, my reach was long considering World Breaker is over two meters long and could easily contend with his height. The problem was that he was much more skillful than me in actual swordplay. Despite my blows being heavy, he’s able to easily parry my strikes while not taking the force directly with his shield. Whenever my sword bounced off, he countered with his sword, and whenever he parries it with his sword, he bashes me with his shield.
If it weren’t for my scales, I’d have been cut several tens of times already. I do feel like I have bruises though since certain places he’s hit me have started to become sore. I even tried shifting to my faster form, but for some reason I still felt as fast as normal. Something about his cold aura might be interfering with my speed, and it doesn’t seem to be related to mana or miasma as that wouldn’t have worked against me.
With all the frustration built up, I tensed myself for a super heavy blow and swung while carving up the earth from below. This prompted him to jump backwards instead of taking my attack head on, bracing himself for the shockwave I caused.
Earth and stone surged forward while he held on. When the attack was over, he got up from his shield and found himself surrounded by everyone. While we were fighting, although he held the advantage in skill, my blows were simply too heavy to take if he kept in place especially since I could ignore most of his attacks, so I made sure to pressure him towards a wall so that we could easily surround him.
“While ‘tis fun to face thee… even I know I’d eventually fall. Hence… let me even the stage…”
As soon as he said that, he struck the earth with his sword and unleashed a torrent of cold air towards the ground. As the cold air flowed into the earth, it churned as a great number of bony and rotten limbs tore through the ground. Soon, over thirty undead riders armored like knights on top of skeletal horses stood menacingly before us.
“While my warriors face thy friends… thou shalt face me in single combat…”
Even though I didn’t really do any damage, it looks like its phase two of a boss fight. He has finally summoned some mobs.