Author’s Note: Early update for Valkyrie’s Lament.
Kiss of Fire II
“Holy mother of..” Tyler was speechless. “That’s a dragon. A dragon!”
“Be quiet you idiot!” Rose hissed. “Do you want to be the next on its list?”
The large Dresden was hunched over a carcass of a Kasha. Three claws tore viciously through the thick pelt. Mixture of yellow fat and blood oozed out of the Kasha’s meat, making the scene a grotesque. In front of them, the Dresden was a mixture of a giant lizard and a raptor. No wings were present except two stubs that jutted out of its back. Its ashy skin were dyed red with blood, and its unblinking eyes were focused on eating.
“I wouldn’t say that is a dragon.” Whispered Jasper. “It reminds of me of a prehistoric dinosaur.”
“Who gives a rat’s ass what it looks like. It has teeth, claws, and a mean attitude, ready to rip through your body.” Tyler was not pleased at what they had to kill. “How are we going to beat that?”
Silver raised up her fingers to her mouth to quiet them. The Dresden tilted it head up and cocked it as if it was listening to something. Everyone froze, and paid close attention to Sliver. She signaled them to spread out with hand signals, and she herself started to slink around the Dresden.
“Is she nuts?” Rose hissed.
Tyler grabbed her mouth to shut her. The Dresden snapped its head towards them. All three of them ducked down even lower . They could hear the low, gurgling rumble of the Dresden’s throat as it growled. It snapped up the food in large chunks and slunk forward. For a large predator, its footsteps were barely audible, not even breaking a single twig.
Jasper slowly started to crawl away from Tyler and Rose. He understood that Silver wanted them to surround the Dresden, but being bunched up in one spot wouldn’t help them in bringing down the monster.
With a strange clicking like sound, the Dresden slowly walked forward. His huge head sniffed the air for any suspecting smell. A soft wind blew in the direction of the Dresden, picking up the scent of both Rose and Tyler at the same time. It whipped its beady eye towards them.
Silver jumped out of the bush with her sword drawn. She slashed through the air, creating a harsh frozen wind. A blast of cold energy hit Dresden’s back, and it angrily snapped around and made contact with Sliver’s sword.
Her sword glistened and with each strike, the Dresden fought back toe-to-toe with her barely dodging out of harm’s way. What was worse was that her sword was having difficult time, chipping away at Dresden’s scales.
This is not good. She thought, the angle of her cut slid down from its scales. With grumbling breathe, she twirled her sword over her head to change the direction of her attack. Her sword slipped through, underneath its scales, and she was able to take off couple of scales on its side.
Silver cursed under her breathe, she jumped backwards from being chomped in half by Dresden’s teeth.
“Silver!” Jasper jumped up from the bush, he launched himself onto a large boulder and sprung himself onto its back.
“What the heck are you doing?” Exclaimed Tyler, who ran past the Dresden to the back of its tail.
“T-trying to s-stop it!” Jasper was being tossed around like a rag doll. He held onto the stub of its back. Pulling back his hand , he punched downwards into the back as many time as it could.
A crack started to form from Jasper’s attack and the scales started to break away. The Dresden roared with anger and thrashed around. It bucked and kicked, trying to get Jasper off, but his hands and legs grasped tightly as if his life depended on it. He was not going to allow the Dresden to win, he continued to chip away at the Dresden. Each punch, drove in squarely into its back with a pinpoint accuracy. The hole becoming larger.
The Dresden snarled and turned its long neck around, but was a few inches away from grabbing a hold of Jasper. Jasper swung hard and hit the jaw of the Dresden with one hit, causing it to temporarily get stunned. With heavy hands, Jasper punched hard into the back with one punch. His hands pierced and broke through the thick scales, crushing its spine in the process.
With an squeal, the Dresden fell to the ground paralyzed. With panting breath, Jasper raised his arm, and with all his strength killed the Dresden in one final hit. The body twitched before it went lifeless.
“Impressive, you killed a Dresden before Silver.” Tyler walked up amazed at Jasper’s strength. “Congratulation.” With a slap of his back, Jasper tripped forward on top of Dresden’s dead body.
“That’s hurts.” Jasper pushed himself up. His gauntlets were covered with black blood completely out of breathe.
“Out of the whole group, you didn’t even use a single magic to kill it either. How did you do it?”
“There’s really nothing too it. I just did it.” Jasper spoke with embarrassment. When he glanced up, he noticed Silver staring at him with a piercing gaze. He felt himself look away embarrassed.
Silver walked up next to Jasper and tousled his hair. “Well done squirt.” She squat down to see the damage between hers and Jasper.
“I’m not a squirt!” He retaliated.
Silver noticed, Jasper attack hit multiple area at one time, ruthlessly crushing away the scales that stood in his path. What was more surprising was that compare to Silver attack that were swift, precise, and even clean, Jasper was the opposite. It wasn’t precise and accurate, but by hitting it in one spot multiple times it broke the scales.
Silver reached over to peel away the scales and notice that it broke it into pieces, falling in-between her fingers. She was glad that Jasper was growing stronger, but at the same time, she felt a bit jealous in the speed that he was growing. With a sigh, she got up, and walked away from the carcass to allow jasper to do his own thing.
Jasper whistled with happiness, he bent down to dig out the crystal and dismantle the tough carcass.
Silver left Jasper and the others behind, and went over towards the dead Kasha. She reached over into the half-eaten carcass and pulled out the small crystal. Getting up, she followed the footprint of the Dresden towards open water. Off in the distance, she saw a large group of Dresden. Half were submerged in the murky water, while the rest were out lounging around in the sun, taking a sunbath.
Sliver knew that she couldn’t take on all of them at once. From her estimation, she saw a total of six Dresden lazily moving around. She wanted to know how strong she was after she ate all those crystals back at the last game. Getting back up, she walked back to the dead carcass of the Kasha and hacked it away into smaller pieces.
Scooping up a large chunk of meat, she walked back towards pool and chuck it with all her strength into the group of Dresden. Like a hungry alligator, the Dresden flocked over towards the carcass in a frenzy. They snapped and hissed at one another, trying to out do each other for a larger piece of meat. Some even wrestled the other, going into a full out brawl.
Silver slinked forward, hidden behind the bushes, she ran towards the nearest Dresden that lost the battle for meat and strayed away from the rest of the group.
With a grin, Silver sneaked over. She patiently waited for the Dresden to get closer, until finally it was almost next to her. Jumping out, she striked like a snake. Her sword cut through air in such a high speed that a whistling like sound was heard as it pierced into the Dresden’s eye. She pulled back her sword and lunged forward to take out the other.
The Dresden howled in pain. It thrashed around, trying to reorient itself, but Silver didn’t give it a chance to find her. Her sword swirled around and pierced deeply into the other eye. This time, she put more weight into her strike, breaking into bone and destroying the brain.
With a hacking loud sound, the Dresden fell onto the ground dead. It didn’t take a second for one of the five of the remaining Dresden’s to turn their head towards Silver.
Silver gritted her teeth and knew the trouble that she was in. She didn’t freeze up, and instead charged forward. A Dresden sprung forth and attacked with its gaping jaw towards Silver. Her sword danced through the air as she attacked the Dresden in front of her. Each attack were precise, her motion beautiful and fluid.
Her foot works became quick. She was dancing around the Dresden like it wasn’t a big deal, striking when necessary like a cobra. Her sword repeatedly drive into soft areas or difficult to reach areas then the thick scales that covered its body. The movement was difficult, but that didn’t give her too much of a problem. She was able to dispatch her second Dresden effortlessly.
Three out of four Dresden, who were eating, stopped what they were doing and rushed her. There pearly white teeth snapped downwards in the attempt to maul her. Each strike was coming from unexpected angles that gave her a difficult time dodging. She had to do a diving roll over a Dresden head, so she wouldn’t get bitten on the leg by another. A couple of their teeth were able to get through her defense, cutting into her skin, though luckily didn’t get a hold of her. She quickly stepped up her speed, allowing her to attack more furious than before.
She didn’t waver a single bit, but her breath became heavy from the rapid increase in using short burst of energy. The three surround her on. Her stamina was draining fast, and she knew that she would only last a few more minutes.
With a hiss, the first Dresden snacked in from her side. Silver moved to late and was bite down onto her shoulder.
“Augh!” Silver yelled in pain. Her hand reach over into its eyes, clawing at it with as much force she could muster. The Dresden howled, pulling backwards from the rough treatment and stumbled. She quickly stepped backward, willing dark magic around her sword, she coated it thickly with power. Her sword swung in an arch, cutting deeply into the Dresden’s neck. Blood splattered, her sword broke through half of its neck, but was stuck.
“Silver!” Jasper yelled. He jumped out from the bush and slammed into a Dresden that was aiming from her back. With a powerful punch, he attacked with everything he got, causing it to be temporarily stunned. This allowed Jasper to strike downwards again with rapid succession. Each strike more powerful than the next. “You’re not getting away!” With bated breathe, he killed the Dresden with multiple hits.
Tyler ran in with a powerful battle cry. He swung his dagger downwards in the attempt to skewer into its eyes, but it moved it head and instead he hit it’s tough scales. The Dresden swung its head, but Tyler lunged forward. With a grunt, he hung onto the Dresden’s head and used his weight to bring it down by sheer force. Locking the Dresden’s head in between his armpits, Tyler twirled his dagger into its eyes.
They rolled and twisted, both trying to get the upper hand. The Dresden snapped, tearing apart his shirt barely missing from taking a chunk out of his arm. Tyler didn’t stop from the wounds that he was inflicted, he pushed through the pain. His attack any uncovered areas without the scales, allowing him to defeat the Dresden.
The fourth Dresden that finished up the meal, finally joined in on the fight. This time, Rose sprung forth, throwing a burning pinecone at the Dresden. The Dresden turned in haste and flicked its tail at the burning pinecone as if it was nothing. She had another and threw it at the Dresden with all she got.
She didn’t give up, but the Dresden ran forward, snapping at Rose. Rose ran around in circles, throwing her burning pine cones behind her. It was an ongoing chase between the Dresden and Rose. It snapped and slashed at Rose mercilessly, causing her clothes to be torn. Rose gritted her teeth and retaliated, she lit up more fire pinecone with a kiss. That was the only way she knew how to use her ability.
Rose took a sharp left, the Dresden opened up its mouth in attempt to maul her, without thinking she chucked the pinecone into its gaping mouth. Her hands were chomped down, making her scream out of pain.
“Gyahhhhh!” Rose punched the Dresden in the face, but was not able to harm the Dresden at all. “Nooooooo! Get off! Get off! Get off!”
At first the Dresden was delighted at its meal, but all of a sudden, the Dresden halted in its track, looking as if it was about to hurl. Its body started to turn bloated, his stomach glowed fiery red. With a loud bang, the Dresden bursted into flames, allowing Rose to pull out before she loses her arm and get completely burned alive.
Silver slumped onto the ground winded. She was reckless, almost leading to her death. At first she thought she had the ability to take the six, tricking them in the process, but she was wrong. The large expenditure of energy had caused her to lose feeling in both of her arms and legs. Jasper, Tyler, and Rose were all heavily injured as they collapsed on to the ground with heavy breathe.
“Silver.” Jasper was gasping. His shoulder was throbbing from pain, while even his gauntlets had a tinge of red where his blood mixed with the black blood of the Dresden’s.
“Yea?” Silver turned her head to the right where Jasper were splay out on the ground.
“Please stop going on a suicide mission. I know you’re strong and all, but you should be careful. I mean ten to one? Really?”
“I’m sorry. I thought I could handle it, but I was wrong.” She got to cocky, thinking just because she had information of the future and the amount of red crystals that she ate, she could take on the monster in this level. She was seriously wrong, and knew that she couldn’t be to prideful, because of the slight advantage she had.
Jasper was shocked to hear her say sorry. He blushed.
“He got a point, Silver.” Tyler heaved a heavy sigh. He rolled over onto his side with a grunt and held onto his bleeding arm. “Give us a heads up when you’re going to do something that stupid, so we can back you up next time.”
“Diving into death is all good and all, but next time keep me out of it.” Rose was holding onto her bleeding arms in pain. “I almost lost my arm because of you guys.”
“No, you just suck at fighting.” Tyler replied. He was already up and bandaging his arm with a gauge.
Silver pushed up on the ground with shaky arms. She still felt exhausted from the fight and pulled out the red crystal that she had saved. Taking a bite, she felt an increase in her energy, giving her the needed energy to dismantle the corpses. She put away her sword, and took out her dagger.
She knew that cutting it normally wouldn’t go through the scales that was proven repeatedly in the fight. Drawing out the magic inside herself, she thickly coated the dagger with ice magic. A third of her energy was gone. This time, she packed the ice energy to the point where it could even rival a diamond.
Her dagger slipped in through the thick scales as if it was butter. She fished through the muscles, and pulled out the large heart that look crystallized. The next thing she got was the crystal, which was a lot bigger than any other crystals that she had gotten so far. A large smile appeared on her face at the large harvest that she was given. Without a second thought, she ate the crystal.
Sliver didn’t just stopped on taking the the crystallized heart and the crystal. She took the pelt as well and stashed them all away. Getting up, she moved on to the next, dismantling them faster than before. The reason why she didn’t have time to use this same technique was because the amount of time and strain it took to enchant the sword, making her even a bit weak. She needed every ounce of her strength to just dodge the Dresden’s attack, making it difficult to even enchant the blade.
“Um… Silver do you think you can dismantle mine too?” Jasper sheepishly asked. “I know I should, but i’m not sure how to on this one. Also, I can’t get past the scales. You can have the pelt for skinning it. I feel bad that I can only do this much.”
“It’s fine.” Sliver said quickly. She got up and began to dismantle his.
Tyler glanced over at Silver, watching how she dismantled the Dresden. He glanced down at his dagger and followed her example. Using a small opening, he slipped the dagger into its skin, but was stopped by the tough hide. He grunted a couple of times, until he was able to open up a small hole and fished through the body the reset of the way.
While Rose on the other hand, placed her hands and started to burn through the body, her lips became a wide grin as a evil chuckle escaped her lips..
“What the hell is her problem?” Tyler turned towards her direction and look at her suspiciously. “I seriously think she gone crazy this time.”
“I have not.” Rose was finished chuckling like a maniac and gave him a sly smile. “I have killed my first ever monster without anyone’s help!” She proudly stated as she puffed up her chest.
“Good job, Miss Sliver over here just knocked fifty times more than you.” Tyler pointed out towards Silver from behind him.
“She doesn’t count as normal,” said Rose with a frown.
Silver finally finished dismantling all the Dresden and ate the crystals. She could feel a surge of energy, filling herself back up. Even the wound on her body were quickly dissipating, leaving behind a white scar that blended into her skin. She once again started to explore the surrounding.
The others followed carefully. They cautiously look around, any sudden unknown sound froze majority of them, while Silver just continued forward. Until they came towards a clear opening.
“Look, over there.” Jasper raised his hands slowly for everyone to follow. Off in the distance, they saw a small group of four Kashas, pacing back and forth. Their yellow fur shined healthily. While, their large tusk came out from the edge of its mouth into a curl.
“We each take one.”
“I can handle two.” Rose arrogantly stated with a confident smile on her face.
Tyler rolled his eyes. He pulled out his dagger and he tried to coat earth magic on his blade. Soil trailed up his leg like ants, and started to create another temporary dagger that look like they were connected on both ends by compressing the earth soil. He was able to turn it into a hard jagged rock. While Rose had a couple of pine cones in her hand as she lit it with fire with a kiss.
Sliver instead kept the dagger that she had in hand that was encased in ice. Even though it was small, the use of the dagger was more useful if she ran into another Dresden. She didn’t wanted to waste the magical enchantment that she did on the dagger.
“Let’s go!” Rose burst out of from the right and threw her flaming pine cone in between the group of Kashas, causing them to stir in panic. They pulled back in fright, hissing and spitting with anger. They all splitted apart, running away from them.
“You gotta be kidding me.” Tyler dashed forward. With his dagger in hand. He crossed the land in a short amount, but the Kasha swiveled back towards Tyler into a one-on-one fight.
His dagger slithered around, digging into sensitive area of the Kasha’s. It wasn’t like the Dresden who had thick scales, while the Kasha’s didn’t. He sidestepped and twirled, using the movement to impale the Kasha with the other end of the dagger.
Jasper ran forward and slammed into the Kasha with his fist. He pummeled into the monster body without pulling back. His hands were like a machine that didn’t stopped its attack and viciously tore through the body without a hitch.
Sliver dashed forward with her diamond hard dagger. She felt her feet flying through the air, making her light on her feet. The speed of her body gave her the edge to fight the Kasha in front of her. Compared to the Dresden that hey fought, the Kasha was a lot more easier to handle.
It didn’t take to long before everyone to killed their own respective monster. Silver was finished, dismantling the Kasha’s, while the others killed theirs.
“These monsters were a lot easier to deal with.” Tyler was patting his hands. He was whistling with happiness at the kill.
Rose was the last one to kill her prey, she on the other hand look a lot worse than the other three. But even still, she preserved and survived. “Who would’ve thought these Kasha would be so fast.” She spoke with a huffing breathe.
“What’s more surprising is that you’re still alive.” Tyler grumbled.
“Are you trying to kill me off?” Rose growled. She grabbed a pine cone and lit it with fire. With an evil smile, she raised up her arm ready to chuck it at Tyler’s face.
“If you’re not careful you’re going to burn down this forest, in which case, kill us all. There is too much foliage around here for you to be dangerously, waving that around.” Tyler took a step back, stopped. “If you do throw that and it lands in dry plants, I’m going to throw you in it to squander the flames.”
“Yes.” Tyler spoke with undaunted confidence.
She threw it and missed Tyler entirely. The pine spluttered and suddenly went out. Everyone was silent, staring at Rose’s small mishap.
Jasper stepped forward and stopped in front of the burnt out pine cone. He reached over and picked up the burnt pine cone in his hand. “What happened?” He look at her confused.
“Pft.” Tyler hold in his laughter. “It seems your fire was not effective. Quite pathetic.”
“Shut it, scarface.”
“You know that’s getting old. You’re not quite good at naming are you?”
“Does it matter?”
Tyler shrugged, and gave her a prideful smile that ticked off Rose.
Rose clenched and unclenched her fist. She was not happy with how Tyler’ was making fun of her with just a look.
Jasper dropped the pinecone, and gave up in interfering with their squabble. Instead, he went back to dismantling his monster that he killed.
Sliver walked over and watched. She noticed that he was getting a lot better and faster than before. With a flick of his wrist, he finished, wiping away his sweat.
“You doing pretty well,” replied Silver, examining his work.
A large smile appeared on Jasper face, pleased by Silver’s words. He then suddenly stood up and straightened his back, trying to make him look taller.
“Do you notice anything different?” He was puffing up chin into the air like a peacock.
“Not really.” She searched for an answer, but nothing came up.
Jasper smile quickly turn into a frown. “Can’t you tell I grew two and a half inches!”
“You did?” She was surprised to hear that he suddenly grew, but two and half inches in three days was quite extraordinary. The last time she remembered, he was below her elbow, and now he was past it. “You actually did.”
“I know right!” Jasper excitedly stated. Pumped up at the thought that eating crystals would help him grow.
“Though, your puffy hair does not count as growing. Deduct a couple of inches.”
“What?! That’s not true! I’m not short!”
“You are.” Silver flatly replied. She couldn’t help hold back her grin and burst out laughing. “I never seen someone so happy that they grew two inches. I mean it’s just two inches.”
“That’s not the point. I grew. That’s what’s matter and I know what helping me grow.”
Jasper was irked by Silver laughter.
Silver wiped her tears. “That is?”
“The red crystals!” Jasper was jumping up and down in excitement, throwing up his arms above him. “It has accelerated my growth. If I eat more, I’m positive I’ll grow taller. My goal is to be taller than you and call you short.”
“So, you want to be a giant?”
“No.” Jasper pouted. “Just tall enough where I can enjoy the breeze and look down on you, so you don’t call me short ever again!” He haughtily laughed with a clear voice that cut through the air.
“Well then. If you want to know, I grew an inch as well.”
Jasper jaw dropped. “You kidding. Right?”
“Nope.” Silver evilly smiled. “You want to see?”
“Yes!” Jasper demanded. He stuck out his hands for her to give him her ID card.
“I don’t want too.”
“What! That’s not fair!”
“Life’s not fair, kid.”
“I’m not a kid!”
“You’ll forever be short.”
“Don’t jinx meeeeee!”
“Don’t give me that condescending tone!”
“Me? Condescending?” Silver feigned innocence and gave him a puppy dog eye. “Hardly. I’m a saint that has descended from the heaven.”
“If your from heaven then we’re all going down into hell.” Jasper was acting more like an angry child every second, making Silver even more amused at his behavior.
“Aww, kid. Your being so negative.” She reached over and fluffed his hair.
“Hey stopped that.” Jasper brushed her hands away from his head. “I’m not a kid!”
“Mhmm.” Silver ignored his comment and went past him.
Jasper angrily stomped, furious that Silver didn’t take him as an adult. Tyler took a good look at him with pitiful eyes.
“You lost kid.” Tyler patted him on his shoulder, making Jasper fume a little bit more.
“I’m really not a kid. How many times do I have to say this.”
Jasper gave up, not knowing what else to say.