The Implock – Chapter 85 – “Reckless Abandon”
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∼ Reckless Abandon ∼

Chapter - 085

As tall and punchable in the face as Nyx remembered him, Eric towered over him. He noted Eric's dark leather clothes and intimidating air. He certainly had grown. But so had Nyx. In the surge of excitement that followed this revalation, the demon didn't even waste a moment's breath as he launched himself at the surprised human.

"Nyyy-!?" Eric blurted out in his best attempt at a surprised but hushed voice.

Deftly blocking Nyx's fist as his fighting instincts kicked in the next instant, Eric's stance took a full one-eighty. Seeing the eagerness in the glowing orbs underneath that hood, he couldn't help but feel eager to fight himself. Grabbing tight around the hand he blocked, he yanked the little guy towards him, a right hook coming in low.

However, in a surprising show of flexibility, the damn little imp leveraged his caught hand and turned with the momentum, foot flying at a full force into the back of Eric's head. Even to the young human's trademark inordinately thick skull, the kick sent his head rattling, stumbling forward with shooting stars in his vision.

Nyx dropped to the ground in a heap, not able to right himself after the awkward attack, but smirked nonetheless up at the human as he got back to his feet. His foot hurt as if he had just hit a boulder, but it did nothing to deter the demon. Shaking the dizziness away, Eric turned around and stared down at the imp, eyes narrowed as the demon flipped him the bird, Nyx cackling impishly.

"-Alright then, let's see how you deal with this," Eric smirked back, challengingly.

The demon was more than ready to face his rival. What Nyx hadn't expected though, was as Eric lifted his hands, he abruptly threw them down with a sudden whoosh of power that sent dust flying away in all directions. Nyx blinked, incredulous at what he had just witnessed. Glowing a deep blue as runes traced the indicated lines of his fingerless gloves, raw power billowed from them. A rune-forged twin weapon.

"Come and get it," Eric smirked before pausing, getting an inkling of inspiration. Knowing exactly what to say to get the demon geared up. "-And I suppose you can have them if you win," He taunted, his competitive nature peaking through in all its reckless glory.

Nyx's [Mark of Pride] flared a bright golden, lent power unconsciously saturating his muscles. He bared his teeth. "Promises, human." Nyx was damn well going to hold that stinkin' human to his promise, even if it meant to pry those gloves off his dead body.

A fistful of dust flew at Eric as Nyx sprang into motion, the imp attempting the same trick he had used on the other thugs just before. But expectedly, such trickery did not work on Eric. He was all too fast, his runic gloves sending a gust of wind as he swiped at the dust cloud and essentially threw it right back at the demon.

Covering his eyes as he slid under a leg kick, Nyx had little time to react before a powerful fist descended on the spot right next to him - only inches from striking true. The punch cracked the earth and made the footing unstable underneath Nyx for a moment, shocking the imp with just the sheer strength behind the attack. Regardless of whether it was Eric's increased strength or the gloves alone, all he knew was that getting hit would be a bad time.

Stumbling away, Eric came charging at him. Seeing that he needed some way to get through the brawler's tight defense, Nyx started running for the cliff. At least the demon's speed was far greater than that of the human, creating some distance as he suddenly leaped onto the rock wall of the crag.

Eric slid across the gravelly road in an attempt to stop his momentum so he wouldn't crash into the wall. But Nyx was already airborne, making a flip as he invaded Eric's defenses, claws raking whatever purchase they could find as Eric deftly shielded his head, throat, and neck. Nyx managed only to give the human some shallow wounds and the leathered armor he wore stopped the demon in his tracks. More so than Nyx had expected as his descent suddenly halted, claws caught in the leather. He could not dislodge himself in time to avoid the hand that reached behind and grabbed him by the neck of the robe.

"Aergh!" Nyx croaked, the fabric suddenly pulling on his throat and body as Eric hurled the small demon at the wall.

[You have taken 8 damage!]

In the moment before everything started ringing, Nyx was almost sure he heard something break. Rather - he could hear a many somethings break. Whether that was the wall or him - that he wasn't so sure about. But having just enough presence of mind to get back up despite the pain lancing through his body, Nyx dodged the next attack, allowing Eric's fist to crash into the wall that did little to dampen the force of his fist as it sent a spider web of cracks running through the rockface.

Head swimming from his untimely meeting with the wall, Nyx's high perception just barely made up for it. He centered himself, and before he truly realized it himself, he was dodging Eric's attacks, parrying those he couldn't with considerable trauma done to his forearms each time. But somehow, he was still keeping up.

Through the flurry of fists and kicks, as they both flew across their own little part of the battlefield, the demon saw that Eric was grinning. Not out of mockery, but genuine fun. Then Nyx suddenly realized - so was he... Nyx was at a considerable disadvantage, and even the prideful imp recognized he stood no chance against Eric without his magic. But in his want to do battle - his need to do battle. He couldn't have cared less in that moment.

He could almost feel his skill with close-quarters combat increase for every moment that passed. For every second that he came closer and closer to a crippling blow. It was damn intoxicating. Glaringly red notifications began slowly piling up as Nyx knew he was pushing his body to the limits. But he did not relent. He couldn't. His [Mark of Pride] burned with an intensity unlike ever before, allowing his beaten and battered body to continue beyond what was possible.

[You have taken 24 damage, a critical hit!]

In the passion of their battle, they both had not expected the sudden explosion that rocketed the surroundings, casting them both flying through the air. They had not registered it under the haze of battle, but they had incrementally gotten closer to the third wagon at the tail end of the caravan. Unfortunately for them, one of the Orphans had just rigged it with an explosive, taking one of three wagons down. And now incidentally - them with it.

Vision swimming, fiery debris falling all around him, and agonized screams echoing through what felt like an empty head, Nyx tried to get that high-pitched buzzing out of his ears. It took him a moment to fully comprehend what had just happened. Surveying his body to see if it still was in one piece, he was relieved to find that it was. His wounds weren't bleeding, at least not much. Most of the trauma he had suffered so far was from blunt attacks, and it would seem [Demonhide] and [Fire Resistance] had done wonders to negate most of the blast damage, suffusing into shock across his whole body.

Eric had not been as lucky, however. Even with having been further away from the blast than Nyx, without the demon's protection and sturdiness, he was worse off. Blood trailed from his ear and nose, and his arm looked to be broken as it bent in an unsightly manner. He was completely unconscious, even as a burning log from the wagon laid next to him, slowly cooking him.

The heat didn't bother Nyx as he stumbled his way over to Eric, grabbing the overly-large human by the scruff of his black leather armor and started hauling him away from the danger and still fighting gangs with great strain on his battered body and fatigued muscles. In the center of the debris, shrouded by a haze of smoke, and chaos, they luckily went unnoticed as one gang member helping another would've probably been a hard one to explain.

Propping the human up against the wall of the crag, Nyx collapsed beside Eric. "So heavy..." He grumbled. Glancing at the human's rune-forged gloves, instinct took over Nyx, making him reach out for them. But then... he stopped. Something compelled the demon not to. For whatever inexplicable reason.

He had not won against the human. In that, he could not fool himself. The imp in him wanted to take them, the pride in him felt it was rightfully his, but something else within him overrode all that. Something that had been slowly growing alongside his sense of self during the last months of growth.

Was it... respect?

‹ Macathy Brindleholm ›

Ripping his blade back, dislodging it from the spinal cord of his foe, Macathy kicked the limp corpse into the man right behind, impaling the thug through the dead body of his friend before he even had a chance to react.

With blood and grime spattered across his face and soaking his patched clothes and leathers a dark reddish-brown, he looked at the chaotic melee with a critical eye. The Orphans were being overwhelmed. He had already given the order to give up on looting the weapons, now simply wanting to sabotage the entire transport. But one wagon still remained. The first had been taken down with explosives, the other made unrepairable. Now the only one still standing was the centermost wagon, the one the damn warlock was supposed to have rigged already. The wagon had been undefended after whittling down the guards, but now where the abyss was the warlock?

Unfortunately, it was now too late. The Stained Tooth's goons were already swarming to it, not willing to give up the last of their cargo as they understood the Orphans' goal. Macathy grit his teeth, watching as his men were being pushed back, suffering heavy casualties.

He knew it was a terrible idea to let that outsider join the operation. From the moment he laid eyes on that damnable gnome, he knew instantly that he wasn't one to listen to orders. He should've not kept his tongue. Zechariah must've seen reason if he had protested.

By all appearances, it would be that the warlock had succumbed to his reckless bloodlust, foregoing his superior’s commands. An absolute waste of his magical talents. He thought. Doing all of this, just because of what; he wanted to brawl? Macathy could feel the injustice and indignation of it all burn deep within the pit of his stomach.

The elites and their commander were coming back. They could no longer hold them back and it would mean that other authorities of the Spine would soon be coming to investigate as this operation was no longer covert in any sense of the word. Regrettably, it appeared that even one of the Orphan's strongest had fallen for the Blind Eye's course.

It was time to retreat. The Orphans had suffered too greatly.

"Retreat!" Macathy called with a certain sourness on his tongue. Starting to jog as his fellow men started flocking past him, he regretted having to report a failure to the twins. However, suddenly, a commotion echoed through the ranks of the Stained Tooth. Soon, it was accompanied by a rumble that alerted Macathy. He turned to look, slowing his pace at the utter insanity he witnessed.

With slack-jawed surprise, he could only watch the horseless wagon filled with a duke's fortune worth of weapons tumble down the mountain pass with mounting speed, mowing through unaware and slow people who stood in its path. Atop the damn wagon, was a small figure in burnt robes that cackled maniacally, barely hanging on but seemingly having the time of his life.

"By The Blind Eye..." Macathy muttered incredulously.

The damn warlock had hijacked the wagon right under their noses. But Macathy couldn't understand why the gnome had such a death wish, as he predicted what happened next as it tumbled down the narrow mountain pass. With the strenuous cargo and blitzing speeds that kept mounting, the wagon could no longer take the strain and one of the wheels popped off, splintering and flying everywhere to even down some of the thugs that had been chasing after it. The wagon pitched, catching on the ground, and rode off into the crag's abyss, down the nearly vertical mountainside drop.

It pained Macathy to see such vast amounts of priceless craftsmanship being wasted, but he found relief in the fact that the mission was no longer a failure. The gnome had certainly gotten himself killed this time. A pity, Macathy supposed. At least, he had served his purpose and now he could return to the bosses with a pyrrhic if not successful mission.

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