Chapter XIX: Demons Enacted (Part I)
BEEN A WHILE. SORRY.
The skies of Montana were shrouded in a darker, bristling foam of clouds, though the land was less affected by the demonic apocalypse- while cracks and rifts in the earth were still present, most of the landscape remained somewhat intact. The valleys were deathly silent, its somber tranquility only disrupted by the heavy and rapid cracks of the Slayer's boots sprinting unwaveringly across the arid soil- each step causing a breakage in the ground and sending tremors through the earth without respite. Charlotte was soaring gracefully alongside the Slayer with unfurled angelic wings, having spent considerable time training the endurance of her body and wing muscles to keep up with the Slayer's unending stamina. She changed her trajectory to fly in closer to the Slayer, intending to satisfy a question.
"VEGA, how close are we to Helena?"
"Arrival at -Helena, Montana- in thirty minutes."
"Thanks, VEGA." Charlie shouted, barely able to carry her voice across the gale of wind pushing against them due to their high speeds.
"Now would be a good time to hold another sparring session- a complete one, that is."
Both the Slayer and Charlie began to slow themselves, until they came to a full stop in the midst of the vast plains. Charlie's wing flaps sent plumes of dirt clouds swirling around in the air as she hovered above the ground- positioning herself to be at the same head height as the Slayer.
"Yes, I agree!" Charlie said with a determined nod, her face pinched in concentration. A few days ago during their journey to Montana, VEGA had pitched the idea of the Slayer sparring with Charlie as a form of training her, having heard about her grievances of feeling useless. However, the first time they had sparred, they had been promptly ambushed by a team of Hell Knights before the match could even start. Though she'd gotten some considerable combat experience from fighting them off alongside the Slayer, she was frustrated that she hadn't gotten to face him in combat and experience his capabilities.
She had seen him from a distance; His masterful techniques and movement, his incredible agility and complete mastery over every weapon that fell into his hand- only to find out that this otherworldly warrior had righteous intentions, helped the weak, and even spent time hearing her out on multiple occasions.
But above all, she wanted to feel like his equal. Perhaps not in combat ability, but rather in the heat of combat itself. She wanted to contribute to helping others and fighting to protect what she cherished as much as he was doing for her and everyone else.
And the only way she could do that… was to improve her experience by facing the greatest warrior she'd ever laid her eyes on.
Subconsciously, though… it was much more than that. What Charlie had yet to understand was that it was not just her admiration for the Slayer's protection of her kind and humanity that led her to follow him- it was an inherent, practically genetic type of attraction. Demons were naturally inclined toward violence, sin, misery and vice. While Charlie had a virtuous soul that managed to quell most of those desires and inclinations as a full-fledged demon, there was one, all-encompassing concept that pulled at the hearts and minds of all demons, capable of rendering them obsessive, fanatical and euphoric at the mere presence of it.
As the hierarchy of Hell fell upon strength and power above all things, it was ingrained into the souls of those born within its endless wastelands. Charlie, being Hell-born and royalty, was even more indoctrinated towards the ideation of power itself.
And standing before her for the last several days was the single most powerful being she had ever seen, hands down. It was inevitable that she would find herself drawn to his presence, for this was not an attraction out of love; but power.
"Miss Charlotte, might I suggest that you attach me to your shoulder for this sparring bout? I could offer advice during the match."
Charlie was surprised to hear VEGA chirp the suggestion aloud.
"Is that… possible?" She inquired uncertainly.
"Of course. I can secrete a temporary gel to the outer casing of my hardware; it is capable of rapid attachment to any surface and will not unattach without my consent."
Charlie was mightily impressed by the abilities of the little blue eye in the Slayer's shoulder, but also slightly concerned.
"Are you a living being?"
"...Alright, then. I'm fine with it!"
The Slayer immediately reached up towards VEGA's hardware and detached it from his suit, handing it to Charlie. Hesitantly, she placed VEGA against her right shoulder, watching with awe as his metal coating began secreting a viscous blue gel that attached to her clothing.
"Don't worry, it won't leave a stain."
Charlie had to grin; she was a bit more inspired now that she had a mentor to aid her- even if it was against the most powerful warrior she'd ever encountered.
"Well, then," VEGA stated, his blue light blinking rapidly. "You know the rules. Take your positions."
Charlie stood opposite of the Slayer, about 5 meters apart. That was the distance she had to maintain, because standing any closer to him would have thrown her off focus; The miasma of screaming malice that pulsed from his being irrepressibly was simply unbearable, even when he was just preparing for a sparring bout.
Despite his aura, and the likelihood that she would not be winning this match, she steeled her nerves and planted her heels in the soil- readying herself for a serious fight. Whatever happened here, she would gain invaluable insight for future battles. Looking across at the Slayer, she noticed him retracting his arm blade and folding the shoulder-mounted turret on his armor back into its slot. She was glad he was taking precautions for safety, but it also irked her immensely; She wanted him to take her seriously.
The rules of the bout were simple: the Slayer could not make physical contact with Charlie, but could allow his strikes close enough that the contact would be apparent otherwise. Charlie, on the other hand, was free to make contact, but to not make any attacks that could be potentially be lethal to the Slayer. However, Charlie highly doubted that any attacks she made against him would cause harm, much less take him out.
(Music: "Satin Black", by iamjakehill)
"Are both sides ready?" VEGA's voice echoed across the distance, and Charlie nodded, preparing herself as much as possible. Just the sight of the Slayer standing menacingly in her direction was enough to give her shivers. She had to be ready.
"Then let's begin."
In the span of Charlie blinking once, the Slayer had closed half the gap between them, raising his right fist to deliver an upward hook. Charlie barely managed to lurch back as the gauntlet flashed in front of her face; Was he really trying to hit her?!
Yet just as she had evaded the strike, the fist immediately retracted as the other hand craned back and flashed forward. Charlie sidestepped, unfurling her wings and launching into the air to make some distance between her and the Slayer, flying through the shrouded grey clouds and hovering above them to gather herself. Her mind was in panic rather than battle mode primarily because of the sheer difference in combat prowess between them; the speed at which he could move and fight had instinctively driven Charlie into retreating.
"Alright, take a breath," Charlie calmed herself, trying to quell the bodily shivering. "Think of how to catch him off-guard and-"
"The Slayer is closing in rapidly."
Charlie screeched in fright as the Slayer's hulking form tore through the skyline, launching straight at her like a ballistic missile. However, Charlie had a bit more time to plan her next move, and placed both hands together, her palms facing the Slayer's direction.
Immediately, a blue and white-hued fireball began expanding rapidly in size in front of her palms; The air crackled and hissed as the ball's fiery tentacles lashed out from the raw amount of energy filling it.
"If you were wondering why the Slayer seemed as if he was going to uppercut you earlier, he was planning to pull his punch if you hadn't dodged in time." Vega chirped up.
"Good to know!" Charlie shouted in a passive-aggressive tone.
Once the fireball had grown to about the size of a small car, she chanted the activation word in Latin.
The giant blazing ball of flames rocketed from her palms, careening towards the Slayer at about the same speed as he was traveling upward. Even with the unholy amount of energy she had projected inside the flames, she knew they wouldn't do much to harm him compared to the things he'd been hit with in the past.
Charlie gasped as a giant beam of plasma shot downwards, allowing the Slayer to arc right over the fireball, a massive and alien weapon in his hand. As she was being taken aback by the Slayer's ingenuity, she was also learning from it; she had to be more clever, more versatile and-
Gritting her fangs in anticipation, Charlie thrusted her palms rapidly back and forth, generating dozens of miniature spheres of explosive heat and shooting them at the Slayer in an attempt to hinder his movement through the air. One could only imagine her climbing despair as the Slayer easily re-oriented himself mid-air to dodge the majority of shots, blocking the remainder of them with his plated gauntlets.
At this point, Charlie was beginning to realize the limits of her combat potential; she only had a rare number of attacks she could use against an enemy. She had ancient and primordial powers gained from being a member of the Royal Family, but she vowed never to unveil them unless it was a life-or-death situation.
"You're awfully distracted for being in the direct trajectory of a 6'8", 360 pound armored hulk." VEGA prodded Charlie.
"I have an idea."
She watched cautiously as the Slayer reached closer and closer towards her position in the sky; 200 feet, 100 feet, 50 feet-
And at the last second, propelled herself to the right, sliding right by the Slayer's grasp and leaving him to careen through the sky uncontrollably.
"I have the advantage while I'm above my opponent!" Charlie declared in premature celebtration. VEGA craned his eye curiously, but said nothing. Charlie wrongly took this as a sign that she was beginning to find even ground to fight against the Slayer.
"What-? AGAIN?!" Charlie screamed in fury, seeing the lightning shot of energy light up the atmosphere and acting as the herald for the Slayer breaking through the sheen of clouds once more, sheathing the two-handed weapon he'd used earlier.
"I will step in temporarily to say that fighting in the air, at least for this bout, is a bit counterproductive- his best method for aerial warfare is using firearms, which he cannot do here."
"Nnnnn!" Charlie moaned in agitation through her teeth. "Are you telling me to fight him in hand-to-hand combat?!"
"Is that not what a 'sparring bout' is?"
Charlie realized quickly that she needed to start getting more serious and composed; she would learn nothing if she didn't test her physical prowess before anything else. Once more, she sent a flurry of miniature flames at the Slayer, but this time with the intent of distraction. She launched them in the form of a screen, shielding her visibility and allowing her to dart down into the thick gloom of clouds. She rocketed towards the ground, slamming into the earth with the force of a crashing airplane- her immediate surroundings exploded outwards -grass, ground and everything above it all- and shared their destructive force in a half-mile radius.
Even while massive chunks of dirt and debris flew by her in great and erratic volume, Charlie's gaze was aimed upward, where the true threat was plummeting downward to meet her in close combat.
There, she spotted him; his arrival, no matter how mundane or foreseeable, always elicited a blood-freezing fear in her. It was comparable to seeing a city-consuming tsunami from the street-level. She could only take up a combat stance as his massive figure hurled towards her at great speeds.
"30 seconds until his arrival. Once he makes landing on the ground, he will immediately begin fighting. Prepare your reaction time. I have analyzed your physical composition and can say confidently that you could block and parry blows from the Slayer without taking lethal damage."
"I don't want to end up mutilated, either!" Charlie shouted at him in apprehensive irritation.
"Worry not, the Slayer can control his power output, as I explained before. I will transmit a message to his helmet that we are now engaging in full-contact sparring."
"If you really expect to stand on similar footing as the Slayer, this is the start of your path to great strength."
Charlie would have taken a long moment to ponder his words more deeply, but since the Slayer was practically 8 seconds from beginning a fight with her, she had to toss away the sentiments and go all-out.
"Hhhhhggghhh! HHHHGGGRRRRHHHHH! HHHHRRAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHH-!"
Charlie howled and screamed raucously as her body morphed and grew in greater proportions; large claws burst out from her fingers, solidifying into razor-sharp black talons; crimson horns sprouted from the top of her head and jutted upward with grace and indignant pride; her wings and body grew in tandem, reaching such size that Charlie's upright demonic form stood taller than the Slayer at around 8 feet.
In this form, her mind and psyche regressed from intelligence but spiked in combat intelligence. As the Slayer was about to reach ground zero, Charlie thrusted her claws into the ground, shooting a mountain's worth of her demonic energy into the earth and heating up every square foot of rock and dirt in a mile-wide radius until it was a hellscape of bubbling lava and fiery spouts; Charlie hovered above the boiling sea, grinning maliciously in pride of her cunning.
The Slayer had noticed her attempt to tilt the battlefield in her favor and unsheathed a grenade launcher, popping open the chamber and loading EYE-C40 gas canisters. In one motion, he aimed and fired three times at the lava that was soon to be below him.
The canisters slammed into the lava, flash-freezing the viscous solid-liquid and sending giant plumes of steam cascading into the sky, concealing Charlie's field of view. Charlie felt completely dumbfounded with sheer awe; it felt like every plan she tried to concoct against the Slayer was countered rapidly and effectively no matter the circumstances.
She had to do more. Analyze faster. React more quickly. Do better!
She knew the Slayer would be hopping around on those solid platforms he'd created, and decided that would be the best place to meet him in battle. Having wings meant she could move on and off the ground at will, while the Slayer was constrained by gravity.
Still, this fight would come down purely to how well she could keep up with his attack speed, agility, technique, and raw strength. Above anything else, she had to be able to endure his hits. With her strategy sorted out, she pinched her wings inward, gathering monstrous gale of force behind her body before accelerating at breakneck speed through the smog of steam-
She had spotted the Slayer leap several meters into the air before she collided with the lava, exploding through its surface and forcing out several tons of molten rock into the air to rain down upon the already-blazing landscape that preceded in every direction for miles. Subconsciously, Charlie wondered if VEGA had actually factored in the remoteness of the area for this fight.
Her blood-red eyes settled on the Slayer flying through the air, using more gas canisters to flash-freeze areas below for him to stand on. Charlie was perplexed by his choosing to do this, since lava could easily be stood upon for a being like him.
She didn't waste further time deliberating on this; hardly wanting to give him time to breathe, she darted forward across the lava, her clawed feet padding rapidly over the magma while she summoned more flames to launch at the Slayer.
Instinctively, she wanted to form a fireball in her hands, but it was becoming repetitive; instead, she changed the shape of her flames, forming spears that took less mana but allowed for increased speed and heightened precision.
Now that she'd gotten her creative juices flowing, a number of different ideas were flowing through her mind and body. As she flicked dozens of fiery spears toward the Slayer, she stuck her hand into the lava, chanting an ancient and eldritch incantation taught to her by her mother.
Through the boiling ground and blazing fire spouts, fiery igneous rock took form as faceless humanoids, who upon formation dashed at breakneck pace towards the Slayer, who'd just finished dodging a slew of flame bolts.
The first magma warrior assailed the Slayer, throwing a consecutive score of jabs, crosses, and haymakers which the Slayer parried with instantaneous reaction. He dispatched of the humanoid through a backhand of his gauntlet across the exposed warrior's head, sending its body crumpling back into the molten landscape. As his head raised toward Charlie, she swore there was a very faint musk of excitement emanating beneath his ichor of bloodlust.
Heightened to battle fervor by the Slayer's provocations, Charlie summon two dozen more magma warriors, filled with an indescribable euphoria that could only be brought on by friendly battle with a powerful opponent. SHE LOVED THIS.
The magma warriors, which she dubbed 'dregs', surfaced in tandem and immediately began their assault on the Slayer, flanking and surrounding him to come in from different angles and directions. In the same breath, Charlie flourished her arms outward, generating a dome of flame spears rivaling the size of a stadium; all pointed at the Slayer in malicious glee.
(Music: "Memphis Doom", by Kordhell)
All at once, the dregs, flame spears, and Charlie assaulted the Slayer in unison, filling the atmosphere with the deafening shrill of a blazing inferno. What came next was something Charlie could only describe through sight alone.
The Slayer moved as if his movements had no weight to them; his reaction seemed as if it could peer far into the future and make the best possible decision in response; his cunning, his flexibility, his agility, strength, power, energy, stamina-
It was all faultless. All-encompassing; a warrior demonstrating eons' worth of battle experience.
The first to arrive closest to the Doom Slayer was a fire bolt; he parried it with his gauntlet, using his other to grab a dreg's head and flicking their body towards a hail of oncoming flame spears; the Slayer shoved another attacking dreg and back-kicked a warrior behind him, parrying two-hundred and fourty flame bolts from his right and three-hundred and sixty from his left with his gauntlets or legs. Three more dregs made attacks on him from the left, right, and behind. He leapt into the air, throwing a canister downwards and flash-freezing the triple threat before smashing into their frozen carcasses.
A staggered line of fiery rods numbering in the thousands sliced through the air to deliver impact on his armor, only to miss by inches as he continuously oriented and twisted his body to dodge; all the while leaping from one open space to another, effortlessly evading flame bolts while countering, parrying and crushing the groups of insanely fast-moving dregs.
Dissatisfied with the ease of which the Slayer was avoiding her attacks, she once more thrusted her hands into the lava and chanted another incantation, this time placing as much infernal energy into the next familiar as she could spare for close combat.
The lava bubbled and intensified; a monstrous and giant humanoid composed of purple-hued flames and magma crawled out of the land, standing at the same height as the Slayer. Charlie, enamored by her own ingenuity, named the beast 'Holoserica' or 'Holo' (the Latin name for 'velvet'). It wasted no time accelerating toward the Slayer, moving at the same speed as its previous clones.
The Holo started with an overhead thrust, then changed its direction at the last second, aiming for the Slayer's stomach. He backhanded the punch, simultaneously parrying a left jab at his liver, before delivering a hard chop to the Holo's abdomen. The Holo delivered a downward elbow, which the Slayer blocked with his own and slid it inward, jabbing his armored elbow into the Holo's shoulder, before grabbing its molten shoulder and slamming the top of his helmet into its faceless front.
The Holo staggered back from the sheer force behind the headbutt, allowing the Slayer to step forward and deliver thirty-two punches in the span of a half-second to its chest.
The shattering blunt trauma demolished the Holo's upper torso, causing the remainder of its body to crumble and meld with the landscape once more. Right as its death had finished, Charlie had flew in to deliver an earth-shattering elbow to the Slayer's stomach; her attack was halted by his downward punch, which slammed into Charlie's head from above and caved her face into the earth; undeterred, she arced her body up and backward to deliver a rearing kick to the Slayer's head, caught by his gauntlet.
Charlie twisted her foot out of his grasp with a rapid rotation of her lower torso, delivering a sidekick to his abdomen with her free leg. She was completely shocked to see it connect, sending the Slayer sliding backwards a few meters and freeing her right leg from his clutches. She steadied herself for a moment, soaking in the injuries on her and the adrenaline pumping unendingly through her veins with a demonic euphoria she'd not felt ever before in her lifespan.
SHE WANTED HIM ALL TO HERSELF.
The sentiment fueled her like a mountain of cocaine; she cackled in pure ecstacy and set off towards the Slayer, who was charging at her with the same intent and like-minded energy.
(MUSIC: "AMV", by Lil Darkie)
The two slammed into each other with city-leveling speeds, their combined physical force exploding outwards like a miniature atomic bomb; their surroundings flattened from the shockwave and ignited the atmosphere's oxygen, converting every molecule within the local hemisphere into pure hellfire.
The fight between Charlotte and the Slayer could only be described as a constant, eye-evading string of attacks, blocks, parries, dodges, and counterattacks. With each blow followed an explosion of pure kinetic energy, and each missed attack sent a stream of pure force through the air where their target would have been.
Charlotte threw two jabs, blocked by the Slayer's forearms; he returned with an uppercut, which Charlotte blocked with a down-facing palm, before thrusting her free hand towards the Slayer's throat; he parried her attack with his left forearm, shoving Charlotte with his right palm to create distance.
Not even a second passed as the two met once more in close combat; Charlotte launched a kick at his head, blocked by his forearm once again, then retracted her kick and aimed for his torso and femur, both blocked by his unwavering strength. She planted her right foot arced her left from the ground, anchoring herself to deliver the maximum amount of power behind her kick.
The Slayer caught and redirected the force of the leg kick, swinging Charlotte in a circular motion and slamming her body into the molten ground; without hesitation, Charlotte slammed the ball of her heel into the Slayer's midsection, causing him to slide backwards a meter or so as she recovered.
At this point, Charlie was purely acting on instincts and combat experience, aided by a newly-developed sense of creativity with her pyrokinesis. She manifested a five-foot long flaming sword in her right hand, and dashed forward with renewed vigor, swinging her sword downwards towards the Slayer's neck. He ducked in the nick of time, delivering a hard jab to Charlotte's exposed abdomen, causing her to stagger for a moment and allowing the Slayer to hail a flurry of punches into her chest and face, before sending her flying with a right-handed haymaker.
In the midst of her careening through the air, she repositioned the hilt of her flaming sword and stabbed it into the magma below, trying to slow her flight backwards. Regaining her speed, she dashed forward in unbridled passion, flicking the sword towards the Slayer like a kunai, only to watch him effortlessly front flip over the projectile and counter with a thrown canister in her direction.
Heavens above, hell below- he's perfect.
Charlotte summoned a wall of fire to absorb the canister shot, exploding its contents and sending a cascade of frozen mist across her entire field of view. Unabated, she propelled the barrier of flames forward, leaping over and opening her palm to summon another fiery lance, which she shot at the Slayer as he stood his position and tanked the shot; somehow managing to withstand the shockwave that annihilated his nearby surroundings.
Righteous, powerful, intelligent- what a godly being!
Charlotte followed right behind the flame spear, slamming into the Slayer's gauntlet with her claws in hopes of breaking his defense. Right as her feet touched the surface of the molten rock, she hurled roughly four hundred and seventeen different attacks at him, none of which she could trace by eyesight alone-
Left jab, right jab, left cross, right cross, left hook, right hook, left haymaker, right haymaker, left arm parry, right arm parry, left leg parry, right leg parry, elbow stab, left elbow jab, left elbow block, left elbow parry, right elbow block, right elbow parry, right elbow jab, left palm block, left palm parry, left palm attack, right palm block, right palm parry, right palm attack, left side kick at femoral artery, left front kick at shin, left side kick at abdomen, left back kick at kneecap, left roundhouse at neck, left roundhouse at torso, right side kick at femur, right roundhouse kick at head, right back kick at neck, headbutt, left backhand, right backhand, left knee-kick at chest, left knee-kick at groin, left knee-kick at femur, right knee-kick at chest, right knee-kick at groin, right knee-kick at femur-
Roundhouse left parry, at headbutt, elbow torso, roundhouse left chest, palm head, left side back right knee-kick cross, left palm artery, hook, left jab, palm arm at right elbow kick hook, kick artery, kneecap, haymaker, haymaker, left cross, headbutt, headbutt, at femur elbow block, knee-kick left neck, parry, elbow left side left artery, left parry, side side attack, neck, parry, at left at left at cross, right block, right femoral right at femur, left right front stab, haymaker, right parry, kick knee-kick left roundhouse arm right groin, jab, palm at arm knee-kick parry, left left at at right right block, backhand, right at left at elbow cross, arm at kick left parry, groin, palm elbow left backhand, at torso, right at backhand, leg kick at chest, right right chest, jab, left right jab, block, left at roundhouse right arm right backhand, elbow palm femur- Left left left elbow left kick right knee-kick right right groin, right jab, jab, palm right right elbow knee-kick palm right at left at right femur, right shin, arm attack, knee-kick at left right right jab, kick left attack, left elbow at haymaker, hook, at kneecap, jab, front stab, left Left parry, femur, right palm left left left roundhouse kick at right parry, kick left left parry, knee-kick abdomen, left elbow parry, kick back chest, at leg right at right left left block, backhand, back kick groin, groin, palm right side jab, left palm palm block, left right at knee-kick right roundhouse kick parry, at chest, right right at leg palm kneecap, side block, hook, head, head, left roundhouse jab, at left neck, cross, shin, at parry, right left parry, right palm right elbow femur, backhand, neck, kick left hook, right right left block, femur- Left left right hook, left elbow neck, jab, knee-kick left attack, at side right roundhouse parry, at left knee-kick right right at femoral at roundhouse knee-kick chest, kick elbow stab, right palm parry, torso, left at left front right leg side knee-kick at right leg at knee-kick at shin, knee-kick left left right block, elbow parry, parry, elbow kick at left palm left block, at elbow left kick knee-kick parry, left back knee-kick parry, at knee-kick elbow abdomen, parry, elbow left right femur, at block, attack, at femoral left kick back left left parry, abdomen, elbow block, at haymaker, side kick left right back palm leg right parry, kick palm kick right kick at neck, femur, right left right jab, cross, parry, attack, elbow then haymaker, groin, left right-
The combat was so unfathomably quick, so incredibly strenuous for Charlotte, yet with each and every attack she made, the Slayer returned a greater and more powerful counterattack; each and every part of the Slayer that moved was filled with inexhaustible, time-aged vigor that demonstrated its own primordial steadfastness.
PARRY, JAB, LEFT RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT PALM KICK KICK JAB, LEFT HEADBUTT, KICK RIGHT RIGHT KICK LEFT BLOCK, LEFT LEFT PARRY, ARM RIGHT RIGHT CROSS, HOOK, RIGHT LEFT FEMORAL RIGHT FEMUR, FEMUR, ROUNDHOUSE CROSS, ARM ELBOW LEFT LEFT RIGHT ROUNDHOUSE LEG LEFT JAB, KICK JAB, HOOK, ELBOW LEFT NECK, KNEECAP, ELBOW KNEECAP, RIGHT JAB, ELBOW RIGHT FEMUR- AT LEFT RIGHT BACKHAND, HOOK, ROUNDHOUSE AT HEAD, KNEE-KICK JAB, FEMUR SIDE CROSS, LEFT PARRY, KICK FRONT ARM FRONT LEFT PALM ROUNDHOUSE AT HAYMAKER, AT BACKHAND, LEFT RIGHT ELBOW KNEE-KICK ELBOW LEFT ATTACK, CHEST, PALM ROUNDHOUSE LEFT AT NECK, LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT RIGHT PARRY, RIGHT LEFT NECK, JAB, LEFT RIGHT ARTERY, SIDE KICK AT AT HOOK, RIGHT ELBOW BLOCK, LEG SIDE KNEE-KICK JAB, RIGHT PALM AT JAB, AT LEFT ATTACK, PALM PALM LEFT HEADBUTT, SHIN, JAB, AT ELBOW PARRY, LEFT LEFT AT KNEE-KICK PARRY, BLOCK, LEFT AT AT FEMUR- PARRY, HOOK, SIDE SHIN, PALM AT ROUNDHOUSE LEFT RIGHT BACKHAND, CROSS, KICK LEG PARRY, AT LEFT LEFT KICK ARM FEMORAL ROUNDHOUSE PARRY, AT AT FEMUR, SIDE KICK LEFT RIGHT RIGHT PALM NECK, ELBOW ARM ELBOW PARRY, GROIN, PARRY, LEFT KNEE-KICK HAYMAKER, FEMUR, HAYMAKER, GROIN, ELBOW RIGHT ATTACK, KICK BACKHAND, STAB, LEFT PALM LEFT BACK GROIN, PARRY, ELBOW LEFT LEFT FRONT AT LEFT HEADBUTT, LEFT RIGHT HOOK, LEFT ELBOW PALM AT KICK KICK RIGHT LEFT PARRY, PALM NECK, JAB, LEFT ROUNDHOUSE ARTERY, GROIN, ABDOMEN, STAB, AT PALM GROIN, PARRY, LEFT RIGHT TORSO, ATTACK, BLOCK, RIGHT LEFT KICK KICK AT AT AT KNEE-KICK LEFT RIGHT LEFT LEFT ARTERY, LEFT LEFT LEFT RIGHT RIGHT AT BACKHAND, LEFT CHEST, HAYMAKER, HAYMAKER, LEFT SIDE BLOCK, BLOCK, HAYMAKER, RIGHT LEFT AT KICK KNEE-KICK RIGHT RIGHT AT RIGHT RIGHT ABDOMEN, RIGHT LEFT ROUNDHOUSE AT RIGHT HEAD, RIGHT FEMUR, JAB, JAB, LEG RIGHT PALM CHEST, PALM RIGHT RIGHT AT RIGHT LEFT BACK AT KICK LEFT KNEECAP, KNEE-KICK LEFT AT AT HEAD, RIGHT LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT BLOCK, HOOK, PARRY, SIDE LEFT TORSO, LEFT RIGHT LEG SIDE NECK, ARTERY, PARRY, HEADBUTT, CROSS, HEAD, KNEE-KICK AT GROIN, CHEST, RIGHT AT KNEECAP, RIGHT LEFT BLOCK, KNEE-KICK AT AT KNEE-KICK ELBOW AT PALM ROUNDHOUSE ATTACK, ROUNDHOUSE KNEE-KICK AT TORSO, BACKHAND, AT LEFT LEFT SIDE PALM KICK JAB, PALM AT AT LEFT BLOCK, PARRY, ARM KNEE-KICK ARM BACK GROIN, AT PARRY, ROUNDHOUSE BLOCK, PALM KICK RIGHT RIGHT PALM NECK, BACKHAND, ELBOW ELBOW AT AT BACK BLOCK, STAB, RIGHT RIGHT LEFT AT LEFT RIGHT AT ELBOW FEMUR, RIGHT CHEST, CROSS, ATTACK, KNEE-KICK RIGHT LEFT RIGHT AT ELBOW RIGHT LEFT LEFT ELBOW ARM FEMUR, PARRY, PARRY, CROSS, LEFT BACK KICK RIGHT HOOK, KNEE-KICK CHEST, FEMORAL AT JAB, LEFT PARRY, CHEST, LEFT ELBOW RIGHT KNEE-KICK BLOCK, AT RIGHT BACKHAND, RIGHT LEFT LEFT PALM PARRY, KNEE-KICK SIDE RIGHT LEFT RIGHT AT PARRY, SHIN-
Charlotte had become completely and utterly absorbed in the fever of combat; the blows traded between herself and the Slayer were of such chilling fascination that she could no longer feel the burden of fatigue; her devilish instincts had enabled her to break her own limits and pursue the course of this battle. She had completely forgotten about the rules of the bout at this point, focused only on how to best the strongest warrior.
The confrontation came to a standstill for a brief moment; Their battlefield had been cooled completely by the wind propulsions that extinguished the broiling magma as a result of their fighting. Their eyes locked, and both saw in the other a type of bristling respect; one that could only be gained in the throes of battle.
And then, combat once more.
(Music: "YASOPP", by KxllSwxtch)
The Slayer rose from the ground, sending massive waves of lava cascading in the opposite direction during his missile-like approach towards Charlotte; she masterfully sidestepped his brutal assault from above, directing his blow into the ground before hurling a number of shotgun punches into his shoulder and side; the Slayer thrusted his elbow backward, catching Charlotte across the chin and sending her staggering. The Slayer followed up with a half-dozen different kicks to Charlotte's face, torso and legs, crumpling her for a microsecond; she recovered quickly, sweeping her leg to stumble the Slayer and succeeding, only for him to counterattack by planting his elbow into her upper leg.
Charlotte slid her leg from under his elbow, cracking her heel against his helmet and uprighting herself; her leg was caught by the Slayer's gauntlet, and he whipped the whole of her body back against the ground. She dug her elbow into the dirt, wrenching her ankle out of his embrace and cartwheeling her torso to deliver a whirl of kicks against the Slayer's helmet while bracing her arms beneath her chin to prepare for the riposte.
The Slayer aimed his left fist for her head where she was blocking then changed his trajectory at the last second and slammed his hand into her torso, sending her flying through the air once more. She managed to regain her composure and land gracefully, though by this point she knew she was at the end of her rope.
Gathering the last of her strength, she summoned fourteen flaming arrows and three magma warriors, dispersing them in different direction as she circled around the Slayer from a wide arc to flank him. She observed as the first magma warrior approach the Slayer and initiate a short fistfight; the dreg threw thirty-four consecutive punches at the Slayer's abdomen, every single one parried or blocked with ease. The Slayer grabbed the dreg by his right leg and slung him into the other two trying to ambush from behind. He finished them off by unclipping and hurling another C40 gas canister at the entangled trio, flash-freezing and finishing them off with a strong punch to their solidified bodies.
Charlotte engaged once more, sending in a flurry of arrows from above to try and disrupt his flow; she charged in with an overhead palm strike and followed through with a low-sweeping leg tackle. The palm strike had made contact with his helmet, but the leg tackle was caught by his hand, and he spun around rapidly only to sling her body northeast for miles.
Charlie had managed to correct herself in the air, despite being nauseatingly exhausted by the prolonged fight. She knew that this return to battle would be the last before she fell to unconsciousness, without a doubt. And yet, despite knowing she would lose this fight- Charlotte was unapologetically enamored to the experience.
She blasted off from her position, manifesting a flaming hammer in her hands to deliver as much firepower against the Slayer as possible. Yet, right as she was within a few meters of her opponent-
-Charlotte's energy faded almost immediately, followed by the Slayer's emphatic firmness dissipating into idle readiness. VEGA's announcement for the match's end had pierced the air of warfare, ending the bout in a single sentence.
Charlotte crumpled completely; her stamina had been exhausted a while ago, and she was rendered immobile as the Slayer approached her. She felt hopeless and in despair; even after this incredible and otherworldly battle, the Slayer seemed completely unbothered by the whole encounter. Was he even real, at this point?
Her courage momentarily returned to her as he propped her up on both feet, offering a helping hand even after the series of dangerous events that preceded this moment. For that, Charlotte could not contain her attraction to him; he had demonstrated everything she wanted in herself through this battle, and helped her realize her potential in just one match.
"I certainly did not get much time to advise you, Charlotte," VEGA spoke through her shoulder mount. "But I am nonetheless speechless at your combat capabilities. You somehow subverted the expectations of my internal calculations and carried yourself admirably in this battle. Well done."
Charlotte herself was still stuck in a state of combat-psychosis; she had not fully adjusted to the quiet idleness of her surroundings due to her extensive battle with the Slayer. However, this minor issue came with its own solution a few seconds after VEGA's dissertation.
In the far distance, a sea of ground and greenery exploded upward as an sky-blotting floating flagship unearthed itself from the soil, ascending into the thick clouds with a land-shaking hum; followed by dozens of sister fleetships that maintained their positions in the sky well below the flagship.
"SLAYER! LADY CHARLOTTE FROM THE REALM OF HELL!"
The voice over the realm-spanning loudspeakers echoed across the land, reaching the ears of the duo standing amidst a field of dead soil and molten rock. The mere sight of the encounter had staggered both the Slayer and Charlie, whose even ground was nearly broken up by the arrival of these new and hostile enemies.
"WE DO NOT SEEK WAR WITH YOU! JOIN OUR SIDE IN THIS PLANETARY WAR AND YOU WILL SEE YOUR CHOSEN WORLDS LIVING IN UNDISTURBED PARADISE! NO MORE SUFFERING- NO MISERY- NO REGRET!"
The Slayer and Charlie's eyes flashed between one another in quickness; almost as if anticipating the quips of one another. In this moment, they shared a common sense of humor that could only be gained through heightened battle and clarity with one's ally.
They now had live target practice.