Chapter 21: Prikade
I realized that Prikade was more willing than he should have been to allow me time to prepare, perhaps: It took a whole minute for me to properly get the End's straps on correctly, during which time Prikade didn't even twitch, and just stared me down with those ironically friendly eyes and grin, only a mask for worse intentions. Mario hadn't moved a muscle either, and Anne was merely observing the scene, but both were still ready for action at an instant’s notice. When I finally got it on and strapped in the End, and drew the Illicit Blessing in a fighting stance, he didn't even twitch his eyelid.
We then just stood, neither of us willing to make any kind of move. Prikade closed his eyes whenever mine were looking straight at his, aware of my abilities, as was Blizzard. It took two whole minutes of this for anyone to make a move, whatsoever.
"Avalon...Don't move a muscle...Don't even twitch..."
Mario suddenly spoke, noticing something on my backside that I didn’t, and approaching slowly. It had to have been something rather insufficient for real harm, had I been able to strap on the End without noticing.
I looked quickly at Mario, who still had an eye on Prikade, but was still approaching me at a calm pace. Prikade's grin seemed to extend. I knew this wasn’t good, but remained frozen in place, unwilling to make a move.
Mario got to me after a whole fifteen seconds of carefully, slowly walking towards my backside. Then, I felt something: Something tiny, like a miniature needle, leaving my body. Then another, then another, then another. I refused to move, all the while. Prikade's grin started to shrink, and he started looking more and more surprised, with each little needle-like object being removed.
"OK, you're good…I think."
Mario said, still looking at Prikade, and slowly starting to return to his spot.
Prikade chose to make his mind known halfway through Mario’s transition. "You've gotta be f***ing kiddin' me." Prikade blurted, not angry, but no longer pleased with staring me down. When my only response was a raised eyebrow, he continued: "Those darts had f***ing poisn in 'em, mother******* fatal poisn, Curze dotted 'em all over 'ya in the fight between him when you weren't lookin', and it takes just one, just one, to kill almost anything! And if that don't work, two does! And he peppered you with twenty-two, or sumthin' like 'dat, and you're still alive! And I’ve seen dem’ darts jam before, but rarely, and how’s all twenty two of ‘em jammed up like ‘at?! I repeat, man, how's 'dat f***ing possible?!" Prikade ranted.
Lethal poison. A lot of lethal poison in well over the lethal dosage got into my body, and I survived. How much stronger would I get? It was starting to have that
much power, and continue gaining even more at a rather rapid rate. Prikade, still rather dumbfounded by the mystery of the poison darts and forgetting my single most powerful weapon in my arsenal, let his eyes lock mine, and I got immediate access to not only every time Curze had used that poison in such tiny darts, but that he was telling the truth, and was honestly shocked at my survival rate.
That didn't matter. At last, somebody made the first move: Mario had briefly calmed from being thrown and removing the darts from my body, but had regained his rage, and had thrown himself onto Prikade with the force of a train during Prikade’s distraction, and Anne had now joined in by attempting to punch Prikade with her lethal-power ear punches in whatever spot held the potential to have a killer blow. I myself also got in on the action, readying my blade to behead Prikade: We were all NOT going to let the dude win. Sadly, Prikade was holding back in his fight against Mario prior, and easily flung Mario off before much else happened, took two of Anne's punches before he gripped her ears and flung her away as well, and didn't even need to touch me to let his Kinetic barrier block me, now fully restored, which flung me to another wall.
"You three b**ches can't touch this!" declared Prikade. Now it was his turn. He finally utilized those big blades, something he probably was dying to do, and did a 360 spin near the center of the room, arms outstretched. The Blades and Prikade himself were large enough to make the circumference of that blow larger than the room, and the walls started to Arbit-Burn. I ducked, and Anne and Mario jumped.
Without much warning, Prikade quickly transitioned from his spin to bring both blades up in a double overhead strike, targeted at me, which I quickly dodged: There wasn't any way the Illicit would be able to block the brutal combined force of two greatswords, even if they were small. The shockwave from when the blades hit the ground was enough to not only send me flying, even if I backed up, but also demolished the wall that I was thrown to.
The security office wall, now nonexistent, would have allowed every last Arbiter in the nearby vicinity to have joined the fight and killed us all, but they didn’t. Aside from those picking themselves up from the blast, they didn't even twitch. They were willing to sacrifice a guaranteed victory to make sure that Prikade got all the glory-or something else. Prikade took quick steps towards me and was nearly on top of me (thankfully not literally) before I knew it, but Mario snatched me away before our foe could do any kind of harm. "Where'd ‘ya go?!" Prikade asked, with an obvious hint of playful sarcasm about him. He then turned around.
His grin vanished. Mario threw me at the dude, with my aerial speed forcefully breaking the Kinetic Barrier, and with my sword in front, infused with the Starblazer, there wasn't a way in the world that wouldn't hurt him. It did hurt him, of course, stabbed him right in the chest. I missed his heart or anything else really critical, though, I barely got a quarter-inch inside him, and...
"Oh, now you gettin' all cocky! I like
that." Prikade said, sword in his ribcage (or at least dangerously close to it) aside. "Lemme get tha-" Then, mid-sentence, he was suddenly tasked with not dying from being hit with Red thunder-in the mouth. The efficient style of my new circle-knife was enough to create a ball of Paradoxial Lightning large enough to have an impact, yet small enough to fit inside his mouth. Of course, even with that, he simply pretended to choke, slightly harmed but otherwise fine, making fake coughing and whatnot. He was teasing
us, not taking it very seriously, if he was even being slightly serious at all.
"Prikade, you're acting's s**t. Absolutely, positively, s**t. Like the rest of you."
I said, mostly serious, if not totally.
He stopped his choking mid-cough just to laugh, with little resistance. His wild flailing presented no opportunities. Dear god, Gear could defeat Prikade, all he needed was the Coganan energy to botch Prikade's defenses...Oh, wait.
"Anne, you've got the Coganan energy, right?"
I asked, over Prikade's loud laughing.
"I didn't need you telling me what to do..."
Anne responded harshly. In the imaginary world I created, I made Anne to be Gear's Boyfriend and a field medic. She was one hell of a fighter when she needed to be, but her style was mainly to reach out and grab stuff that she could throw or bring close due to her role. She wasn't as capable when offensive was the objective and her target was larger than her, nor had she came face-to-face with anything like Prikade prior to this, nearly invincible in many aspects.
A brownish orb of energy silently formed behind Anne, her hands doing the work while her ears got ready to punch back whatever attack Prikade would do, even if he was rolling on the floor, laughing his dumb*** heart out.
"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH...AHhaHA...Hehehe...HEHEhehehe. ..HEHEHEH...heh...Kid, you don't disappoint nobody in the comedy department, nobody! Hehehehe!" Prikade said, starting to recover from his laughing riot and get up, back turned to all of us. Anne launched the sphere of Coganan Energy straight at Prikade's half-turned face in the meanwhile.
The Coganan Energy's primary effect is to neutralize other energy in the Basic Energy category, and if you're really that thickheaded, then let me kindly remind you: Light, Dark, Space, Time, Life, Death, Kinetic and Psychic. Of course, that meant that Prikade hadn't a way in the world to keep it at bay, unless, using that limitlessly (annoying/)strong Arbitarian Energy, blocked it. My own wit allowed that to not be an issue. My illusions are top-notch, no doubts.
Prikade's grin vanished entirely upon the loss of his ever-so-critical Kinetic Barrier, less so than the smack in the face he got when the orb of the opposite of Arbitarian Energy hit his face, and was now starting to get serious, or serious looking, at least. He knew one thing: He wasn’t getting that back until an hour later, and from the looks of it, he didn’t have Time-based energy either.
"Kid...You're startin' to get irritatin', and when people get irritatin', I get them to do two things: Shut the f*** up, or wipe 'em out, and either way move on with my life." Prikade said, now up totally, ready for almost anything, no longer playing around...Or at least, was going to put actually fighting me as more of a priority...Whatever it was, some of that playfulness that was hiding an otherwise totally malicious personality had totally evaporated.
Prikade took a running start, blades at a good position to charge into a foe's potential spray of defensive stabs and flurry of furious strikes. I kept backing up, Arbiters backing up with me to ensure I had the room for it, while using the energy within the circle-knife to keep firing small pellets of energy at Prikade, which were deflected skillfully off his blades.
The running approach wasn't working for him, obviously, so he did a large back-flip, getting major aerial distance before landing nearby, creating a shockwave that was sent straight towards me, Arbitarian-energy infused. I jumped over it. Then it exploded, straight beneath my feet, and my jump turned volatile and unintentionally powerful, and my head hit the ceiling with fatal force, if I wasn't as strong as I was. It would have killed a regular joe, but we know I’m no regular joe.
Prikade then flipped gravity, just for him and my allies: henceforth, while Prikade was prepared for it, the landings by Mario and Anne were rather hasty (but not to the naked eye). Surrounding, observing Arbiters aside, I was the only thing that wasn't affected, and I was falling down. Prikade then righted gravity and went in for a midair kick. I, of course, was ready.
The strength behind Prikade's muscles wasn't any kind of joke, and I needed serious telekinetic energy just to forcefully get his foot away from my body. Fortunately Prikade didn't realize I could just float in midair, no trouble at all. He had to waste valuable energy on invisible platforms to stand on, while I could just float around, totally able to just stop where I was. In the air, I was in command. I easily went around Prikade in ways that were very fast, easily showing his own annoyance with my sudden advantage, in the fact that he now had to manipulate his own gravity while creating more invisible platforms for him to stand on without hampering his own attacks, blocks, and counterattacks, and he had to do it at a fast rate to keep up with me, lest I strike him in where the armor didn't protect him, weak cloth that easily gave way for most forces to strike his flesh. At times, he failed to keep up and was stabbed, kicked, punched, or something to that effect, but my own issue was that he was quite similar to Gear: capable of taking a lot of s**t, even without a Kinetic Barrier, only he was slower and tougher. That skin of his seemed rock-hard, and it was starting to get ridiculous to even attempt damaging him like this: it would take far longer than I could have held up. However, that wasn't the real selling point behind this.
"Come on, ba****d!" Prikade yelled, irritation showing. "I've had 'nuff of yo' flyin' round, pokin' me like a doll, or sumthin'. Fight me like a man, boy!" He added. That accent, something I'd relate to my home world, and the Country of Jamaica, was starting to annoy me. That wasn't the real selling point of doing that either.
Prikade, too focused on me to notice my allies, was a sitting duck for a nasty attack, and Mario was in particular not going to let the opportunity to kill or severely wound Prikade go. The fury in his eyes was intense, but I didn't look at them directly, knowing that pupil-to-pupil contact was all that I needed for immediate immersion into a vision, and an instant was all that Prikade could use to get the upper hand.
Prikade's back was turned to Mario, upside down, as Mario made the jump, and as Prikade took the full brunt of that blow to the back, I dropped down to the floor, landing gracefully. The same wasn't true for Prikade, whose impact with the ground was nearly like a comet slammed into it, and careened both him and his assailant two floors beneath this one. Anne and I jumped down to follow.
<"What's with that guy? I've seen people hold grudges against Arbiters, but that dude's just gone and lost his senses!">
<"I know. You have no idea what's going on in his head, I have no idea what's going on in his head, and it's best for now we let him pummel the dude into oblivion.">
I sent back, the two of us touching the ground floor.
That Prikade was still alive, after twenty-or-so rapid beatings to the neck and spine with the iron balls Mario had, was in itself miraculous. That he was struggling to get up at all was even more so absurd-looking, because at this point Prikade was starting to get beaten into a pulp, some of his skin-deep guts already flattened out on his back. That he had a recognizable anything on his back at all with some of his internals so brutally scattered around was totally astounding. This dude could probably survive a nuclear blast.
"NOOOOOW you pull out all 'da stops! NOOOOOW you save what you hold dear! NOOOOOW you give me 'dat beat -down you've been dying to deliver me ever since 'chu FAILED!" Prikade said, obviously mocking Mario more so than I or Anne. "Oh, but what's 'dis? YOU FAILED, and it's 'dere, foreva!" Prikade added. Mario, far from getting more offended and pummeling Prikade even faster and harder, now stopped altogether. Prikade had taken a severe toll, dark-red blood still streaming down his back, and he got up slowly, but his grin had resurfaced. Mario wasn't dumbstruck-he remembered something, something painful that involved Prikade. Obviously.
That's when the remaining two of us that thought better than to dawdle on the distant past in the heat of battle acted. Anne took major advantage of Prikade's wounded backside to resume Mario's work with her ears, while her hands were engaged by trying to rip through the wounded flesh of Prikade for some critical organ to crush. Hopefully, my guess about Anne's profession within the Onlisk's armed forces was correct, and if so, she probably would find it…If Prikade didn't crush her before then.
Meanwhile, I had to somehow distract Prikade from something immensely obvious and excruciatingly painful, so that he didn't grab Anne. My first attempt was to use a ton of light-based attacks to blind Prikade, specifically by aiming them in the face. I barely registered what I was doing in order to use the energy, but the brilliantly shining attacks, one way or another, made contact with Prikade, and it usually slammed into the noggin when it did. But Prikade was starting to get over this after a while, and was starting to try to grab Anne again.
After some brief thinking came my next solution: My blade, his body. I got in close and started slicing away, my next task being to attempt cutting him up. His skin was its own armor, and it wasn't helping that I had to dodge his arms when he decided I hit somewhere just a little too annoying for his ignorance. This, too, was also nearly ignored, and Anne had to dodge Prikade's grasp more and more, as more of his blood was draining and more chunks of flesh came flying. Anne didn't look totally calm at this point: to be soaked with blood, literally punching somebody's guts, and ripping out their organs, is just one of many ways one can get terribly phobic of death, and Anne's been poking around inside bodies, but usually with the intention of healing them, not hurting them. I could name several more ways that one could find distaste in war.
Anyways, in short, stabbing him failed. I eye-locked Mario, still totally frozen in place, thankfully being ignored totally by Prikade, hoping that he had faced him before (he probably did) and knows some kind of weakness, or something like that.
I got something totally different. It was Mario's past. And, just like mine, it wasn't pretty.