The Upper Hand.

Kage was engulfed by the energy from Dehr’s shotgun, as the blue plasma flame surrounded him. As the shot ended Dehr looked to see what damage he’d done.

Kage’s robe was flaming, and he was quickly pulling it off and flinging it to the ground. And in his eyes was a look of flaming fury rivaling the attack he’d just felt. “How dare you destroy the symbol of the Legion like that! I will destroy you!” He reactivated his laser sword and ran towards Dehr.

Dehr quickly jumped back, grabbing Reipar out of the ground as he did so. He brought it up to block Kage’s slash. The sword sliced through Reipar’s handle, but it slowed the blade down just enough for Dehr to jump back and fire again, flinging Reipar’s halves away. Kage jumped to the side to dodge it, and charged Dehr as soon as he hit the ground. Dehr fired at Kage and jumped away again, but as before Kage jumped out of the attack’s range.

This cycle repeated for a while, but Kage soon realized something was off. The attack range of the shotgun was getting smaller. And Dehr noticed it too. “Crap, the battery cell is dieing on me!” Kage was closing in on Dehr, who fired the shotgun again, this time producing only a small burst, then swung the bladed edges towards Kage. It slammed into his sword hand, knocking the laser blade away. Dehr brought the shotgun in front of himself just in time to block Kage’s attack with his claws.

Kage grabbed the barrel of Dehr’s shotgun, twisting it from his hands and slamming it into his head. Dehr staggered back, blood started to soak into his already deep red fur. “Oh, that is just not cool. You are really gonna pay for that.”

“We’ll just have to see about that,” Kage said, throwing Dehr’s shotgun away. Dehr withdrew a long double-edged dagger, the chain-wrapped handle clinking in his grip. He ran towards Kage, making a downward slash. Kage blocked it with his claws, the blade sliding between them. Dehr pulled it out and slashed at Kage again. Kage jumped back, then swung for Dehr, who brought up his gauntlet to block it.

Dehr dropped the dagger to his left hand and slashed Kage, who pulled his arm away to block it. Just like Dehr had wanted. He ejected a hidden knife in his gauntlet and slashed at Kage, cutting him across the abdomen. He stepped back, and reached down towards his stomach as blood started to soak into his shirt. “Hmm, you managed to cut me. And fairly well it seems. Well, it’ll certainly be the last time,” Kage said, picking up the laser sword that was conveniently now at his feet. The blade flashed to life, and Kage swung it around in his hand a few times before getting low and charging Dehr.

* * * * *

“So, if this Dehr guy said the bounty’s a fake, that means a Legionnaire is probably trying to kill them off right now, right?” Alerak asked Mitchell.

“From what you told me, I’d assume that’s the case,” Mitchell replied, seeming a little too calm.

“Well, do you have some way of finding them? They may need our help!” Alerak said, recalling how easily Ekajra got into trouble.

“I have a way of finding Dehr, but I wouldn’t worry. I’m sure he’s got it under control.”

* * * * *

Dehr could hardly see anything except the red blade rapidly flash before his eyes. Kage was rapidly slashing this way and that at Dehr, and he was having trouble dodging the attacks. Eventually, Kage caught up to him. The blade whizzed by Dehr, and he couldn’t get away fast enough as it slashed his upper left arm. “Ahh, gotta fill this thing before I start bleeding like crazy…” Dirt from the ground began to move towards Dehr’s arm, but stopped as he realized he wasn’t bleeding. “What the? I guess that thing is so hot it just seals the wound right away.”

“You are correct. An unfortunate drawback to many plasma weapons. But I’m interested in how that dirt was moving towards your arm, and that coffin technique you did earlier. That symbol on your arm is from the same ancient language I took my name.”

“Oh, you like it? Well here, let me show you some more!” Dehr slammed his left hand into the ground, and a series of rock spikes began to burst from the dirt, straight towards Kage. He jumped out of the way to dodge them, but was then hit from behind by a large wall of rock. Dehr stood up, the rock crumbling, and put his dagger away, drawing a similar sized dagger, but with a blade on both ends of the handle. Coupled with the knife in his gauntlet, he had three blades in one hand, and earth powers in his left.

Kage stood up slowly, rock and dirt falling off of him. He’d lost his sword when he was struck from behind, and it had been crushed by rock. “Hmm, very interesting. I’ll have to make sure I cut that arm off first.” He ran for Dehr, who got ready to block the attack. Kage swung sideways with his claws, and Dehr blocked it with his gauntlet, and thrusted towards Kage. Kage twisted around, slashing Dehr’s arm with his claws. Dehr jumped away, sealing the cuts with dirt. He winced as the stone hardened, but at least it would stop the bleeding for now.

He bent down as Kage charged, sliding his leg underneath to trip him, then brought a rock up into Kage’s stomach as he fell. Kage grabbed onto the boulder and flung it at Dehr, who jumped into the air, activating boosters around his ankles to hover for a moment, before swooping in towards Kage, slashing with his three blades. Kage blocked it, and Dehr landed back on the ground, pushing against him.

Kage eventually maneuvered Dehr’s gauntlet blade in-between his own, and twisted his arm around, grabbing Dehr’s at the same time and throwing him. Dehr smashed into the house, creating an indent as he did so. He slid down from the wall, picking up a large chunk of broken concrete in his hand as he did so. It began to crush itself into a sphere, and Dehr stood up, throwing it at Kage. He dodged it, but suddenly it swerved back towards him. He looked over to see Dehr was controlling it. “Cursed earth powers.”

* * * * *

Underground, Ekajra was planning how to escape. After initially just being angry he was missing out on the fight, and being slightly creeped out by being in total darkness, he realized that he was encased in rock underground. Which, he next realized, meant there was a good chance he might not have much air supply. So he assumed as still a position as he could, and thought. ‘Now, I could just try breaking out, but earlier when Dehr told me to not even try and break out, it seemed like he suggested this rock was incredibly hardened. But hey, I’m stronger than some stupid rock! I’ve just gotta find a good point of attack.

He began to feel around for cracks, and found what felt like one. He got his left arm aimed towards it. He let go as strong a punch as he could. There was a cracking sound, but it wasn’t coming from the rock. “Aghh! Dang it! What is this made of, diamonds?!” Ekajra yelled as he tried to move his smashed fingers. It was bad enough that Dehr’s knife had made it almost impossible for Ekajra to even use his arm, he didn’t need to break his hand. As he started to try and think of a better plan, he started to hear laughter. It steadily grew louder, but Ekajra couldn’t pinpoint a source. Like it was coming from all around him. “Who’s there?”

Ha, I’m surprised you don’t recognize me,” the source of the laughter said. “It sounds like you could use my help, pitiful host.”

* * * * *

The concrete ball flew towards Kage, but this time he didn’t jump out of the way. He swung his arm towards it with as much power as he could get, and caught it in his claws. The two forces strained for a moment, but eventually Kage’s prevailed and he sent the ball flying out of Dehr’s control range. “I think that’s enough playing around,” he said, turning towards the building where though Dehr would still be.

“I agree,” Dehr’s voice said, but he wasn’t standing by the building. Kage whipped around in time to receive an uppercut right to the jaw, followed by a series of quick punches to his gut. Dehr then grabbed Kage’s shoulders and kneed him, before rapidly kicking every part of his anatomy he could reach. He delivered one last roundhouse kick, before thrusting a giant stone fist from the ground, knocking Kage away.

He crashed into a tree on the edge of the clearing and slid down, landing with his face to the ground. Dehr watched him for a moment, but Kage didn’t appear to move. However, unseen by Dehr, a small hole was opening on Kage’s right hand. Dehr began to walk slowly towards Kage, panting. “Using all those earth powers really takes a lot out of a guy. I don’t think I can handle much more.”

“Then this will probably do the trick!” Kage yelled as Dehr got close enough, he suddenly stood up, his left hand outstretched and pointed towards Dehr. And the hole in the center of is palm was glowing red. There was a sudden flash of light as a ball of energy collected in Kage’s palm before it collapsed into a large beam of energy, shooting straight towards Dehr.

Dehr tried to dodge it, but soon realized he wouldn’t have time to dodge, and brought up a giant rock wall. The laser impacted with it, but it soon began to crack. Dehr rapidly brought up wall after wall, but the energy it took was too much and they soon became weaker and weaker. Eventually he couldn’t bring up anymore, and merely stood as the laser rushed up to meet him.

There was an explosion of rock and dust as the laser reached its end. Kage fell back to the ground, his arm going limp. “That should have taken care of him. Hopefully it did, because it’s going to take a while for my arm to recharge.”

The dust began to clear from Kage’s attack, and he stood up to survey his damage, and to find the body. There was plenty of rock, and series of rather large holes from each of the lasers impact points. But even as Kage zoomed in on where Dehr’s body should have been, there was nothing. He couldn’t even pick up the slightest heat reading. “It seems I managed to completely vaporize him. Oh well, it can’t be helped. I guess I’ll just have to get to the traitor without him.”

“Guess again!” Dehr said from behind Kage. He fired off a blast from the small flamethrower in his gauntlet, before slashing his back and kicking him away. “It’ll take more than a giant death laser to beat me!”


Previous Chapter.


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