Dec 19, 2015

Black Stained Winter: Chapter 12 - "Exit the White"

The black stained assassin rushes forward with knife on his hand. His eyes look feral and focused on the man before him, ignoring the lady with fire floating around her. He moves fast but without elegance. His steps are heavy and too powerful, leaving behind series of cracks on the ground.

But, with that kind of kicking power, he’s already in front of his target in no time. This time, unlike Vahn previous sudden burst of speed, Rick is ready. He’s prepared and unfazed by the speed the assassin shows. With ease, he blocks one of Vahn’s attack. Yet, without any pause Vahn releases another attack. And another. And another.

More prepared than before, this time Rick can handle this kind of barrage of attacks. Each of the attacks is handled with no discernable difficulty. With more control of the battle, Rick able to confidently throw counters. But, even with losing most of his reasoning, Vahn still able to handle Rick’s counters and delivers counter-counters.

The two men continue to trading blows. The speed of their execution is so fast and hard to follows. To untrained eyes, they look like a blur and looks fuzzy. And even with their superhuman speed and senses, every now and then an attack connect, both from Rick and Vahn. Some of Vahn’s attacks slip through Rick’s defenses and so do Rick’s.

Although the two of them get hit a lot of times, but the damage resulted is different. Vahn is using his knife to attack, thus each time it went unblocked a long wound cut through Rick’s skin. And his punches hit Rick’s face several time too, leaving his nose bleeding.

Rick’s punches are more powerful than Vahn’s. It hits Vahn several time in the face and body; it even breaks some of Vahn’s bone. Yet, every time Vahn get hits, he stays unfazed. He doesn’t stagger nor slowing down. It’s weird how Vahn able to withstand all that attacks without getting hindered by it.

And then, Tama, who all this time watching from the sideline waiting for opening, notices something. She notices that Vahn’s left arm is already broken more than twice, yet he’s still using it vigorously as if it’s never broken in the first place.

“Mister Hobo! He can heal his wounds almost instantly!”

Hearing Tama’s warning, Rick finally realizes it too. He was too focused on the fight itself that he didn’t see how ridiculously quick Vahn’s injuries heal. If this keep going, he will be the one to fall down first.

While still dodging and blocking Vahn’s attack, Rick focuses his power for his one next attack. And when finally an opening for clean hit presents itself, Rick unleashes it. He delivers a powerful palm strike to Vahn’s chest, emitting a loud booming sound. A cracking sound can be heard coming from his chest. The strike is so strong that Vahn get thrown backward spinning and rolling on the ground.

“Does that does it?” Rick asks rhetorically as he’s trying to catches his breath.

Tama approaches Rick with floating flame still following her. They both look at the downed man in white with black mist coming out of him continuously. Blood can be seen flowing out from his mouth.

Even with that kind of injury, Vahn slowly rises. A cracking sound comes from his broken ribs as it’s fixing itself. Vahn stands in front of the two of them without no injuries left.

“Now this is getting ridiculous!”

The floating flames from behind time suddenly turn sharp. With a gracious hand wave motion from Tama, the fire arrows darted toward Vahn and puncture him in several places. The fire stabs and burns him at the same time.

“Arrghh!” Vahn screams as the fire start to burns him. But, as soon as the fire dissipates, his wounds close and the burns mark disappear.

“No way!” Tama looks very surprised with the speed of Vahn’s regeneration.

“How could we beat him?”

“Maybe, just maybe, we need to kill him in one strike.”

“Whoa, isn’t that too much, Tama?”

“Well, what else could we do then?”

“Guh….” Rick is unsure about Tama’s suggestion. He already seen how the white clothed assassin able to regenerate himself with amazing speed. Killing him with one single powerful strike might be the best way to win this. But, no matter how corrupted he is by the black mist, he’s still a human in the end. A demon he would kill without any hesitation, but fellow human?

“Damn,” Rick grits his teeth, “I can’t, Tama.”

In front of them, Vahn is already fully recovered and ready to attack again.

“So, what should we do?”

“Let’s hit him with everything we got. Let see if that could wear him down.”

“Uh, okay,” although agreeing, Tama is unsure about this.

Vahn, without waiting, charges to the two of them. Tama hastily makes a waving gesture and sends one of the floating fireball forward. It quickly expands and grows into a huge wall of fire right in front of the advancing Vahn. The sudden appearances of blazing flame ahead forces Vahn to stop abruptly.

With a simple handwave, the fire suddenly dissipate. And there, behind the now disappear flame, is Rick. Covered from Vahn’s view by the blazing flame, Rick is now already in front of Vahn. With immense momentum, he darts toward Vahn and hit him hard in the stomach with his elbow.

The attack lands cleanly and almost sends Vahn flying backward if Rick not instantly catch his arm with his other hand. Blood coughed out by Vahn, but the attack is not ended yet. Not giving Vahn moment to breath, Rick uses his free hand to hits Vahn’s chin with an upward palm attack and releases his grip on him.

Vahn is launched high up to the air from the attack. His body flails without control in the air. The knife he used thus far falls from his grip and fall to the ground. And before he’s able to regain control of his body, Tama decides to add more damage to him. She inhales a lot of air and then blows a fiery blaze from her mouth toward the falling Vahn. The flame burns Vahn before he falls to the ground engulfed in fire. His skin is charred black in some spots and his clothes are burnt badly.

Not sure if that’s enough, Tama takes another deep breath and blows more fire to the downed assassin.

“Wha- Tama, that’s enough. Stop it.”

As if not hearing Rick’s words, Tama continues to burn Vahn with her fire breath.

“Tama, stop it! You’ll kill him!” Rick grabs Tama arm. This surprised Tama and stops her fire breath, leaving Vahn’s body still burning on the ground.

“Ah, sorry,” Tama apologizes. It’s not like she didn’t hear Rick the first time. She simply thought that killing Vahn is the only way to stop him. If Vahn left alive, Tama’s afraid that he could give Rick a really bad beating, or even death. And, of course, that’s something that Tama doesn’t want.

Rick lets go of Tama’s arm as she stop blowing out fire. He’s not too comfortable with how Tama burned Vahn without any mercy. He looks at the flaming body that still lying on the ground. It stay still and not moving at all. Is he dead, Rick wonders. He doesn’t want to kill a fellow human. In his mind that put him on the same level as demons that he detests.

“Do you kill him?”

“I don’t know,” Tama shakes her head. Her fluffy yellowish foxtail is a little bit down, seemingly reflecting the emotion of its owner.

Rick decides to check Vahn’s condition and slowly walks approaching him. But, after only a single steps, he sees a movement.

“Guh,” the body which is still engulfed in flame lets out a voice. Slowly Vahn supports his body with both of his arm. Even covered in fire, Rick can see that the burn injury is getting healed.

“What in the hell….” Rick understandably surprised seeing the burning man still able to move.

“What should we do now?” Tama says it in a tone that basically saying ‘I told you so’.

Before Rick able to replies, the man on fire darts to Rick and tackle him to the ground. Rick is unable to dodge the surprise attack and ends up on the ground with Vahn, still on fire, on top of him. The heat from the fire on Vahn’s body can be felt by Rick and slowly the fire start to crawls on him too.

Having the upper hand, Vahn grips Rick’s neck with both of his hands, choking him. The fire adds to the damage Vahn’s given and burn Rick as he’s getting choked. He grabs Vahn’s arm and tries his best to push the arms back. It’s not easy, though. The fire is still burning on Vahn’s body. This means that grabbing Vahn’s arm will also burns Rick.

Seeing how her flame damages Rick, Tama makes a wide wiping gesture with her hand. The flame on Vahn and Rick disappear completely as soon as she does this leaving behind black charred ground and burnt clothes.

With the absence of the fire, Vahn heals more rapidly. Within seconds, almost half of his burn injury healed. The speed of regeneration is insane. Tama is astonished by how fast the burn marks gone.

She throws away her astonishment and runs to help Rick. She charges and tackle Vahn off Rick. Tama jumps away from the downed Vahn and quickly rise her right hand and open it. Several meters above Vahn, dozens of small fireballs appears and paint the sky red. Tama waves her hand down and, with it, the cluster of fireballs raining down on the assassin.

One after another the fireball hits Vahn and explodes instantly on impact. With the amount of fireballs like that, the explosions keep on coming. Vahn is now literally covered by numerous explosions that generated by the fox girl.

When the fireballs all gone, the explosions stop. Tama breaths quite heavily after dispensing such amount of attack. In front of her is something like a mini crater. The grass is all gone and only hard dirt left on that part. The crater is blanketed by smoke that was caused by the explosions.

“Now, that should take him-” Before Tama can finishes her sentence, Vahn launches from inside the smoke towards Tama. His hands both stretched forward with intent to grab or choke the girl in front of him. Tama, still quite exhausted from conjuring tons of fireballs, unable to react.

But, just before Vahn’s hands touch Tama, Rick is already sprints there. He grabs Vahn head and slam it hard down to the ground. The ground cracks and crumble as Vahn’s face hit it with a huge force.

“Why can’t you stay down?” Rick shouts it in annoyance.

“I’m not sure it’s over yet.”

“Yeah, I’m not sure either,” Rick stands and walks away from Vahn. He grabs Tama’s arm and takes her a little bit far from Vahn who’s still not moving, “Make a distance. And prepare any long range attack you have. As soon you see him moving, attack him. Don’t let him get any chance to launch an attack.”

“Okay!” Tama nods. The two of them stands and watch the Assassin stay still on the ground. Tama readies her right hand low with her index and middle finger pointing out. Her eyes focus on the assassin in white who still has black mist seeping out of him.

“There!” Rick shouts as soon as he sees a small movement on Vahn’s shoulder. Without wasting any moment, Tama raises her readied right hand upward. Under Vahn, a pillar of fire erupts and swirling up to the sky. Vahn is eaten by the blaze and lifted up by the blazing flame.

Suddenly, a pair of long and elastic things rush into the flame. It grabs both of Vahn upper arms and easily pull him out from the flame. These tentacle-like things hoist Vahn in the air by holding tight on his arms. It raises from down in the ground and on the other end stands a man with glasses.

“Mister Gerogom?” Tama surprised by the appearance of the elf. She puts off the fire as it serve no purpose for now.

“My, my. Evening to you two,” Gerogom greets Rick and Tama who are still surprised seeing him. From his back come two elongated and elastic organs not unlike tentacles. These tentacles are the one that holding Vahn whose consciousness starts returning.

“What are you doing?” Asks Rick.

“Can’t you see? I’m preventing you two simpleton from killing such a nice subject.”

“Subject? What do you mean by subject?” Tama asks while slowly moves to hide behind Rick.

“What are you doing, Tama?” Rick whispers to Tama.

“Those things are creepy. It’s gross,” Tama points to the Gerogom’s tentacles.

“Do I need to explain it to you?” Gerogom sighs, “This human here has been exposed to an enormous amount of the black mist. From him, I could get many data that I need to discern the origin of this unknown substance.”

Vahn is now fully awake and starts to struggles hard trying to escape the tentacles and growls. Gerogom calmly looks at him, “Oh, awake, huh? It will be better for you if you are not resisting.” Vahn is ignoring Gerogom and continue to struggles and growls.

“Well,” Gerogom shrugs, “You leave me no choice.” The tentacles lower Vahn to the ground and put him in from of Gerogom. He reaches to his white lab coat and produces something that looks like a breathing mask. With the mask on hand, Gerogom shoves it to Vahn’s face. The breathing mask instantly extends its edges and wraps itself around Vahn’s head tightly. Vahn struggles to try to remove the mask but finally stops when sleeping gas starts to discharged by the mask.

“There you go,” Gerogom smiles in a creepy way.

“You said you prevented us from killing him. Does his regeneration has a limit?” Rick asks now that the threat has been subdued.

“Of course it is,” Gerogom looks annoyed, “Human doesn’t has this kind of instant regeneration. My hypothesis is the black substance simply forced his body to regenerate.”

“...And shorten his lifetime each time he heals,” Tama suddenly cuts as she finally realizes how Vahn’s regeneration works.

“Correct! And so, if you keep damaging him, he could be dead when his body simply can’t heals anymore. Oh, and we don’t know how many days or years you have taken from him, too.”

The tentacles pulls out a large white cloth from under Gerogom’s coat as he explain all of this. It carefully, yet swiftly wraps Vahn with the cloth and ties it. It takes the wrapped Vahn and hold it right behind Gerogom.

“What’re you gonna do to him?”

“Oh, just the usual,” Gerogom turns and walks away bringing the unconscious and wrapped Vahn without saying anything more.

“He’s kinda creepy,” Tama comes out from behind Rick when Gerogom is already far.

“Yeah, he sure is one weird guy.”

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