V4: Chapter 16 – Tournament Arc | Fiend Bracket (27)
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Announcement
New Volume 4 Chapter(s) Weekly. Volumes 1-3 now complete!

Jaid vs. Laurim

“Our first Fiend has been unable to escape her past throughout this tournament, and it seems that trend is just going to continue. The Prude Paladin, Jaid!”

“And our second fighter won once by becoming horrendous, then won again by becoming cute. Will she try to tug on her opponent’s heartstrings once more or will she finally embrace the monster within? The Zonked Zoo, Laurim!”

Kada: Don’t let her scare you, Laurim! You can do this.》

“It’s good to see you again,” Jaid graced her opponent with a friendly smile.

“Umm, uhhh,” Laurim who was quaking more than ever before eased up her shivering just a tad. “You’re not mad?”

“Why would I be mad?”

“Because I ran away!” Laurim choked on the words, clearly in pain just by saying them.

“No, I’m not mad about that,” Jaid swung up her broadsword and rested it on her shoulder. “You were never meant to be a soldier, Laurim. And honestly, I always pitied you and hoped you’d find a way to get out. That life didn’t suit you, so I’m glad you found somewhere you belong.”

“But that said,” Jaid them aimed the tip of her sword at her opponent. “I’m not going to pity you anymore. I’ve known from the start that there’s more to you than just a scared little girl. You can do amazing things, but first, you just have to accept that you’re actually strong. So show me what you can do, Laurim. Or I’ll cut you down!”

The girl’s shaking stopped entirely after hearing those words. “You’re right. I just need to give it my all. Thank you, Jaid. Not just for this, but for back then too. You were always nice to me. I thought you were so cool how you presented yourself too. Everyone called you stuck-up, but I thought you were just an awesome knight. I wanted to be just like you!”

“And can I tell you something? This is a bit embarrassing, but I used to have fantasies of us fighting alongside each other. You, the brave paladin, and me, the ferocious monster you’d ride into battle. I guess that’ll come true today, but for us on opposite sides. And what better suits a knight than to fight a dragon?!”

Laurim held her hand up high. “Transform: Hippagon!”

Kada: Well this fight took a turn real quick!》

Jaid made a single attempt to blast the egg that appeared with her railgun, but gave up any attempts when it didn’t even leave a scratch. The egg started around the size of the girl, but then it grew, and grew, and grew to an immense size, nearly taking up half of the arena just from the shell. And then it started to crack.

Instead of a simple hatching where the shell dissolved away, it exploded as the monster inside tore itself free.

Drim: It would seem that Laurim has taken a few of her own liberties with the Hippagon. Which I suppose is to be expected, since they’re not a monster that most people have actually seen. Or at least have lived afterwards. But they’re usually not quite that big. And they definitely don’t have wings.》

Laurim spread the wings on her back wide and began flapping hard. It took extreme gusts to lift the heavy hippo body. Jaid had to stab her sword into the ground to keep herself from being sent flying out of the arena from the sudden typhoon.

The Hippagon took to the sky and roared down at her opponent. Laurim then inhaled and reared her head. She jutted it down and opened her mouth wide. But what came out wasn’t fire. Rather it was a viscous sludge, more suited to the swampous environment of a Hippagon.

Jaid spawned four clones and they clumped together, slamming their swords in front of them into a wedge, huddling behind it and diverting the blast of likely toxic ooze.

Drim: Uhh, yeah. Hippagons can’t do that either. Thank Cosmos for that.》

Kada: Err, don’t know what Laurim was imagining to come up with that ability. But I think she’s literally just throwing up on Jaid. Hopefully there’s not much more in the tank.》

Drim: But it is great to see how far Laurim’s come. Not long ago, she wouldn’t have had the strength to turn into a monster like this. Overcoming her own insecurities has always been her biggest struggle.》

Kada: Heh, some high praise from the man who punched her in the face the first you met her.》

Drim: Did we really need to bring that up? It’s one of my biggest shames in life.》

Kada: Speaking of shame and our competitors. Wouldn’t you say you’ve been in many shameful situations with the other one, with something happening just recently?》

Drim: Is there a reason you’re attacking me so much today?》

Kada: Not really, just seeing all these fights and not being able to join them has left me with some pent up anxiousness and aggression I guess.》

Laurim reared her head back again, proving Kada’s speculation wrong, preparing a second dose of bile as she flew up higher. Jaid and her clones took this opportunity to all swap their swords into railguns and open fire. Their bolts of lightning all merged into one giant electric pulse that struck Laurim right in the chest. But it didn’t even phase the monster, just leaving a scorched burn on the girl’s front.

Drim: So Hippagons have notoriously tough scales. The only way to really harm them is to aim for the small gaps in their armor or somehow tarnish their insides. Just a bit of advice, Jaid. You’ll never win this fight from a distance.》

The woman took the unsolicited advice to heart. After blocking the next torrent of bile-breath, Jaid unsummoned all of her clones but one. The girls locked hands and started spinning. One of them dug in their heels, continuing to to spin while the other lifted their feet in the air. Soon, the main Jaid was completely off the ground, swirling at high speed, and then the clone vanished.

Jaid was sent flying up at her enemy, but it wasn’t quite high enough. However, she just needed to cover enough ground that she dodge the next putrid vomiting. At the crest of her flight, Jaid sent a line of clones to the monster. The final one at the end of the line slammed their sword into Laurim’s leg, the tip sliding in between two of the scales.

Laurim cried out in pain and jerked her head towards the source. The Paladin quickly made more clones and zoomed up onto the monster's back, out of the way of the snapping maw. The small battalion of knights all then readied their swords and lined up their strikes. In unison, each of them shoved in their blades and struck deep.

The monster flailed wildly and quickly flipped over in the air. Even though its range of motion wasn’t great, the giant arm still managed to grab a clone that was lingering near the edge of its back and Laurim dug her claws into it. Jaid screamed in anguish, forced to take the body of that clone and get rid of the rest from the sheer pain.

All swords except for one vanished along with them, instantly reliving much of the monster’s own grief. Laurim uprighted herself but didn’t stay long in the air. She dove straight towards the arena floor, holding her claw out in front of her, primed to slam Jaid into hard ground.

But at the last second, The knight managed to recover just enough to make another clone free of the monster’s grasp and escape. Once more, she zoomed up to the Hippagon’s back and grabbed hold of her sword that was still impaled. And before Laurim could try to shake her off, Jaid pulled the trigger.

Electricity flooded into the monster’s body between her scales, frying her frail flesh. Laurim crashed to the ground, smoke emanating from her charred skin. She then dissolved back into an egg that spat out her human body a few seconds later, unconscious.

“Jaid wins!”

~Unfulfilled Wish~

Laurim: To make a world where humans and monsters can get along. At least the nice ones.

Thanks for reading this chapter. Feel free to leave a comment or review. I'd love to hear from you!

If you have an idea for a Fiend or Lesser, feel free to leave a comment or send me a DM and I may use them in a later Volume!

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