43 – A Fight and Kimono Dropped
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The monster was easy to pursue as it had grown large enough to knock down a clear path through the woods. I chased after with ease with my daggers held close to my chest—the blades sticking out and ready to slash.

After several sharp turns where the creature must have changed directions, I finally caught up with the giant mass of fleshy clay. Its head rotated around completely so it could look at me while running away. A loud hiss came from the four-tongued mouth as if to warn me that I should not get closer. My grip tightened around my blades and picked up my pace.

Just as I was getting near striking range, we pushed out of the forest. We were running straight for a glowing blue river. I gritted my teeth and slid to a halt while the beast leaped over the river with ease. It landed on the other side and turned its head back on straight. We stared at each other for a moment. Perhaps the beast was waiting to see if I would pursue it. Or, it was waiting for me to make a move before striking. I could not tell how intelligent this thing was, but it certainly was cautious.

There was no way I could clear the river in a single bound, and there were no bridges to cross, but it continued staring at me.

In the distance, loud crashes indicated the intense battle between the giant armor and the mother of hunger. It sounded like they would tear the world apart in the fight alone. My opponent and I stood and listened to the clash for a moment before it began to run down the river. I followed after on the other side. Behind the monster was another patch of forest, but it did not retreat into it. I think it wanted me to follow. To what end, I could not tell.

A piece of glowing armor sailed through the sky and crashed into some trees in the distance. The sight did not bode well for the battle in the distance, but I did my best to keep focusing on the monster.

It came to a sudden halt and turned in my direction. I held both blades at the ready as I watched from the other side. The river had grown narrower in the spot, but it was still too much for an ordinary person to jump across. I watched as the form leaned back, then suddenly, several vines of fleshy clay shot in my direction. I barely managed to avoid the attack as one of the tendrils tore the sleeve of my pink kimono.

A burst of energy filled my chest as I felt the new hole. The desire to stab the creature intensified, and I gritted my teeth. My dagger just barely missed slashing the vines before they were pulled back.

The monster grew to full size as the extended portions of it were pulled back in. It made the same motion for an attack, but this time I was ready. As the tendrils shot out like a storm of spears, I set one of my golden daggers in its sheath and dropped the kimono to the ground. The attack tore through my black armor and cut into my skin as I dodged only enough to avoid a lethal blow.

Before it could be pulled back, I grabbed onto some of the vines. They were squishy but covered with sharp barbs that dug into my hand. My palm was probably bloody, but that didn’t matter. A sudden jerk pulled me into the air above the river. The creature was in no way prepared for me to come flying at it. The portion that stood on the river bank took a step away as I flew in close. The vine I held onto was quickly detached and fell to the ground, but I had already gotten enough momentum.

I flew in close, and my blade cut cleanly through the neck of the monster. It let out a cry as the blade burned the skin across the whole spot. I landed roughly and began to roll across the ground; luckily, a grey tree was able to stop me. My legs were shaky, but I did my best to push to my feet as I eyed the creature. No head regrew from the cut spot, but it still stood.

The monster turned in my direction and picked up the dismembered head. It held the missing part like it was staring at it, even without a head attached. It grunted, and the head was thrown in my direction. The four tongues still moved as the dismembered section soared through the air. I lunged back while cutting the head in half, then in fourths, and so on, until many tiny burnt sections rained down on the ground. They slowly began to disintegrate. My breath was heavy from the feat, but I think I had chopped it up enough to keep it from moving. Still, the prospect of chopping the thing into so many tiny pieces to defeat it was disconcerting.

I turned back to the still giant mass of the remaining creature. A new head emerged from its shoulders, each with the four-tongued mouth it had copied from the hungers.

“You don’t happen to know any magic, do you, Kiko?” Azul asked. He must have been getting concerned with the direction the fight was taking. At this rate, I would be exhausted long before I could defeat the monster.

“Knives are all I have,” I replied through heavy breaths. The blue dragon made a ‘hmm’ but didn’t say anything more.

The creature began to shudder; I pulled out my second dagger and held both up for the next attack. Instead, two large, misshapen wings stretched out of the creature’s back. It was trying to retreat; there was still hope for a win.

I charged forward as the wings flapped. Stabbing my blades into its smooth leg, I was pulled into the sky with it. The fleshy monster screeched as burns appeared around the stabbed sections. It flew frantically—going up and down like a wave and spinning in a spiral. I couldn’t tell if it was trying to throw me off or couldn’t fly well, but I held on tightly all the same as the grey trees grew small under us.

From the sky, I could see the battle between the giants. The glowing armor revealed the metal skeleton underneath from its tears and gashes. The left arm had been smashed to the point where I suspected it would not be useable. The mother of hunger didn’t fare well either. The beast had been beaten and cut in the battle. Something flowed from its cuts like blood, but I think they were bones.

I turned back from the fight below and focused on my opponent in the air. With a twist, I lodged on dagger into it and pulled the other dagger out. It was difficult with the flailing, but I managed to stab my blade higher on the body. My arms burned as I began to slowly pull myself up the side.

The beast must have figured out what I was doing rather quickly. I didn’t get very far before several sharp points shot out and pierced my whole body. I grunted and held tight. They were not very deep wounds. The monster likely could not get enough thrust when I was so close.

I continued up until I reached my target—one of the wings. With as much force as possible, I slashed a burnt gash in the center. We immediately began to fall. I did my best to position the monster to hit first, but it struggled in a frantic way that was hard to manipulate.

We hit something inclined and began to roll on an uneven surface. I pulled my blades free and pushed away from the monster. Only after I had stopped did I realize where we had landed.

I stood up on the back of the mother of hunger and faced the fleshy beast as its two heads stared back at me.