Drake looked to the large wyvern as it continued to roar out a name, demanding they come out.
This is the first draconic species I’ve met, even if it is a bit underwhelming. It’d be interesting to see just how they are, outside of the one I’ve chained up at least.
[Drake, don’t even think about it! Just hide your presence! There’s still plenty of time, it hasn’t found us yet.] Yami spoke to him urgently. Such a creature was beyond dangerous. The species that were capable of flight were almost impossible to truly escape from. They could simply hide in the sky and wait for their time to strike, or even run away the moment they felt they were in danger. In short, it was suicide unless you were sure of your own power, speed, and ability to outsmart them.
Drake only responded with a short smirk before he lowered himself to the ground. His claws dug into the dry soil, itching to fight.
“Hey Ella, hop off, alright? It’s too dangerous for you to stay on my back.” Drake said.
“Hoooh, alright mister.” She responded joyfully, quickly uncoiling herself as she looked to Drake in excitement.
[Drake, please. This is dangerous.] Yami pleaded with him again. She grabbed him by the arm and tried as hard as she could to pull him down lower to the ground. She couldn’t make much progress, given the size of her small wings.
Drake chuckled a bit, resisting her small attempt entirely. “Yami, what happened the last time you acted like this?” He tapped her forehead, making her look up in outrage. Drake couldn’t help tease her a bit.
“This happened when we first met, remember? You were so worried about some bear, even back when you barely knew me.” He chuckled.
“T-that was different!” She cried out in response. Tears were welling up in her eyes, although it was more out of a sense of embarrassment than anything else.
“It was not,” Drake responded with a wink.
True, when he first found Yami he was just starting to come into his own powers. But now, it was entirely different. He never truly felt like he hit a limit, and the Draconian always began to control him when he was put into a corner.
There was also the small issue of Gwyn’s potion. Soon after he awoke from the coma-like state it put him in, he realized that he couldn’t activate the small gem he had formed in his inner mind, although he was certain that he absorbed the Lord’s mana. If it wasn’t a matter of power, like the demonic cores gave him, or a matter of skill, like he could simply gain by practice, then he was out of ideas. So, Drake felt like the only true resort was put himself in a real battle, one that didn’t involve him overpowering the opponent so easily. Only then did he feel that he could break past the barrier in his mind that prevented him from utilizing his new ability.
So I need to do this, and not hold back. Drake thought to himself seriously.
He looked to Yami and smiled softly. “Just give me a moment, and I’ll be back.” Also…
“Therion, look after them and make sure they aren’t hurt.” Drake looked to the side at Yami and Ella before glancing at Therion momentarily.
“Of course, master.” The large Satyr gave a slow, firm nod as his response, and with that, Drake began to slowly walk out to the wyvern.
The Wyvern had continued to cry out in what seemed to anger, frantically searching back and forth for the presence it felt in the area. It wasn’t long before the Wyvern noticed Drake walking towards it, as the entire reason it landed was due to Drake’s signal.
However, when it saw who it was, it craned its neck curiously, before screeching out a horrible roar.
“Who the hell are you? Where is Ormir?” The wyvern roared. Drake couldn’t help but smile to himself nervously. If anything, the sheer power behind its voice didn’t leave anything to be desired.
This close, Drake began to truly appreciate just how threatening it truly was. Shockingly, even with him not restraining himself in the least, he could feel the force from the beast. It felt like an overwhelming wave that threatened to overpower him again and again.
Drake hid a reluctant smirk as he looked to the creature. I understand now why the others were so afraid of this creature. It’s much stronger than me in a straight up fight. I couldn’t feel it presence due to the distance between us alone. So, I need to cheat a bit… Drake thought with a smile.
Raising his hands in a non-threatening gesture in front of the beast, Drake formed a plan.
“I’m not sure who you’re referring to, but he’s not here. Just me.” Drake yelled.
The wyvern craned its neck dangerously towards Drake as it looked closer at him, it’s burning yellow eyes gauging his every move.
“You… you’re a high lizard. Why are you here? You… You’re the one I sensed.” The large draconic beast’s eyes narrowed dangerously as it examined him, as if trying to gauge just why he mistook a fellow wyvern’s power for this creature.
High lizard… Drake filed that term away for later. It seemed that the Draconic language certainly didn’t view those of his level very highly.
“This is the area I was born in, and I’ve claimed it for myself ever since then. You’re the first wyvern I’ve seen in this area.” Drake said tentatively.
Hissing dangerously, the Wyvern raised its tail above its head, moving it in a manner that was shockingly similar to a scorpion.
“This is my area now, whelp. Beat it, or I’ll kill you.” The wyvern threatened, a deep rumble growing in its throat. Its tail circled above the wyvern’s head, moving in an hypnotic fashion.
Despite the obvious threat, Drake chuckled a bit. If he truly meant to escape, he would have done so already. Approaching such a massive beast out of a simple need to talk was suicidal at best. It seemed that the wyvern hadn’t realized that yet.
And, in light of that, Drake decided it was best to start this battle on his own terms.
“I refuse.” Drake suddenly raised his hands towards the wyvern’s face, before mercilessly blasting a storm of mana shards straight towards the creature’s eyes.
Reacting almost instantaneously, the wyvern craned its neck away from Drake, shattering most of the shards on its hard scales. Luckily, a few stray shards entered one of its eyes, but even then, his sneak attack only enraged the creature further.
You’ve got to be joking… Drake’s eyes widened in shock. Any normal attack from his would have left his mana shards in the enemy, slowly weakening them as he fought. With this wyvern however, the force from just him attacking wouldn’t be enough to even damage the creature, let alone hurt it. Even the stray shards that entered its eyes only really managed to blind it in one eye, but it didn’t do any real damage.
“You little bug, you’ll pay for that!” The wyvern roared out angrily, striking towards him with his tail in anger.
Realizing the danger, Drake quickly dashed to the left just as the end of its tail buried itself deep in the ground where he was just standing. As Drake focused on the dangerous point of the tail, , he was hit hard by a sweeping blow by the wyvern’s talon, blind siding him completely.
Catapulted by the blow, he hit the ground with so much force that he bounced back into the air, hurtling away from the wyvern with startling speed before he slowly slid and stopped almost thirty feet away.
Spitting out a small amount of blood, Drake quickly jumped up and away just as another blow of the wyvern’s tail struck right where his body had landed.
Bruised and bloodied, Drake looked again to the large beast, who seemed to be grinning sadistically as began to slowly circle him, taunting him all the while.
“Stupid High Lizard. What could your species ever hope to accomplish against me?” The creature’s voice was full of pride. It made perfect sense. Here was a Draconian that was quite literally lower on the totem pole attempting to fight against a creature that was outclassed in almost every way. Except…
“If you had half a brain, you’d be wondering how I was able to attack you.” Drake laughed half-heartedly, wiping the blood away from his mouth. After all, no normal member of his species would have access to such a strange magic.
The wyvern’s eyes narrowed, before its tail launched towards Drake again.
Jumping back from the dangerous spear, Drake let loose his mana for the first time. Letting out a huge plume of hazy red mist, Drake focused on dodging the blows from the wyvern as his mana spread out from him.
Forcing some of the mist together into shards, Drake launched three more blasts towards the wyvern. The air around the wyvern shook with the forceful movement of its defense and it quickly lowered its head, allowing the shards to painlessly bounce off of its scales once again.
As Drake watched the normally fatal shards do so little damage, he couldn’t help but scowl as he watched the wyvern. It always lowers its head and defends its lower body. If it didn’t have a weakness, it wouldn’t bother defending at all. It just means that I have a chance.
Raising his hand again, Drake took the initiative. In the beginning, Drake was simply outclassed. But, a fight like this, however dangerous, was exactly what he needed. His mana simply wasn’t of a high enough quality to damage the wyvern directly, he knew that now. He had gotten arrogant, thinking that no matter who he faced, the unique properties of his mana would insure his victory.
He wasn’t wrong, but that wasn’t all there was to it. He needed more than the simple tactic of waiting out his opponents, he needed a method that allowed him to fight against even those who were resistant to his mana. Even now, as Drake danced around the wyvern, his aura was continuing to spread and coalesce in the surrounding area. The more the wyvern breathed in, the weaker it would become. Furthermore…
“Take this!” Drake yelled.
Small, red balls of mana appeared from behind Drake as he raced around, firing into the body of the wyvern as it was forced into defending itself. If there was one advantage he had, it was overwhelming an enemy through numbers. His mana continually converted the surroundings, forming an almost inexhaustible supply to fuel his own attacks. All he had to do was keep it pinned down.
“Enough!” Growling in frustration, the wyvern suddenly spread its wings and it took flight, taking one or two stray crystals into its torso as it began to hover twenty feet in the air as it looked down on Drake.
“Sniveling worm. Your puny tricks won’t work on me.” The wyvern exclaimed.
Drake smiled. “What won’t work? Because it seems like you’re the one running away.” Drake had managed to land a few blows. Now, it was truly a matter of time before it was weakened. Still…
Drake scowled as he looked at the flying wyvern. I need to damage its wings somehow, otherwise it can just run away or fly out of reach of me again.
He recognized just how different the Wyvern was compared to the other creatures he had killed. It seemed to brim with energy, and its natural defenses were leagues better than against the others who could be so drastically weakened by one or two stray mana crystals. He needed to trap it so he could ensure that he had the time he required.
As for the wyvern… up until the moment Drake had released that strange mana, the wyvern felt as if it had complete control over Drake, but now, he was unsure of himself and had chosen to be cautious. What the worm mentioned was true, no normal high lizard would be capable of such an attack. Those of the Draconian race were much like himself, instinctual predators who had overwhelming power physically, and capable of killing prey even larger than themselves. The Wyvern also had the advantage of flight, but that was a given.
This particular whelp however… somehow or another, he had managed to gain access to a strange magic, one that would normally be impossible for them to gain access to. Being of the red race, such a Draconian should have simply had a form of fire magic, but whenever he entered the strange mist he could actually feel himself slow, and his attacks weaken.
However, this intolerable creature had challenged him, even going so far as to attack him blindly. Even more, the insufferable insult and mockery by a creature that it viewed as so lesser to itself, it couldn’t help but roar in frustration and rage.
The wyvern sucked in a deep breath and bellowed as it folded its wings, and dived downwards like an arrow. At the last second, it swept open its wings, blowing a harsh wind tumbling towards Drake. “Die, whelp!”
The wyvern struck down towards Drake, its legs crashing into the ground as leaves, branches, and dust flew upwards. Its jaws opened widely, white pristine teeth sparkled dangerously as it attempted to bite down on Drake.
Surprised by the wyvern’s sudden speed, Drake was barraged by the intense wind. He stumbled, but quickly picked himself up and dashed to the side to avoid the fatal bite attack. But he made a fatal error.
“A-ahh.. ah…” Drake looked in horror at his side. He had been so distracted at the sudden dive by the wyvern and avoiding the obvious bite attack that he had been careless. The wyvern hadn’t truly been attempting to bite down on him. It had been just forcing an opportunity to stab in with its stinger.
“AHHHHH!” Drake screamed out in pain as he doubled down onto his knees. A burning, scorching venom was making its way through his body.
There are several reasons why wyverns are so feared. They are aggressive, reckless hunters with an arsenal of weapons at its disposal that make it well balanced in hunting those whom it views as enemies. Claws, teeth, and its most potent weapon, its stinger.
Drake was right to attempt to avoid its initial attacks with its tail. The venom contained within it was a deadly cocktail that worked to destroy the veins and arteries that it came in contact with. Even now, Drake was struggling as the venom coursed through his veins.
Still dazed by the sudden onset of the horrible pain wracking him, Drake was unaware of the ferocious sweep against him from the wyvern’s talon. Again, Drake was sent hurtling high into the air as he landed with a sickening thud against the hard ground.
[Drake!] Faintly, he heard Yami screaming in terror as she watched, but the voice was only a passing thought as he coughed up a large globule of blood, wracked by pain on the ground.
Around him, various crimson scales littered the ground, although whether it was due to his own blood or not, he didn’t know. The last claw attack had buried itself deep in his shoulder before it released him, and it felt like the arm that took the blow was almost useless.
Then, just as Drake began to give in to the poison, the horrific pain of it began to fade ever so slightly. The burning, scorching pain stopped progressing through him, and Drake could forcefully make his way to his knees through the pain, even as he coughed up another mouthful of blood as he did.
The wyvern had been quite pleased with itself, and was slowly crawling towards Drake with a dreadful smile on its face.
The wyvern laughed to itself without a hint of humor, the threat within it clear. “Insolent fool. Now you will suffer for injuring me so.”
Smiling deprecatingly at himself, Drake slowly made his way to his feet, coughing as he did. The point where the stinger entered him let almost a half foot hole in his side, and the talon of the wyvern felt like it almost tore his shoulder clean off. Without a doubt, it was a mistake to attempt to fight it straight on. It was immensely more powerful than him in physical combat, but his mana was simply too weak in normal combat against something like this.
However, at least one plan had gone well. They were now completely surrounded by his red mist, and the wyvern seemed so assured of itself now that it chose to ignore it entirely.
This plan was really more of a last stand, and proved just how desperate he really was. The wyvern slowly approached him, boasting again as it did. “How pathetic. Die for me, High Lizard.”
Drake attempted to laugh, only to tense up in pain as his body recoiled in protest. “I guess I should make at least one real attempt.”
Just as Drake finished speaking, the wyvern’s tail abruptly snapped forward at Drake, attempting to spear him straight through with one last blow.
Dodging out of the way in one last, pained movement, Drake’s mana quickly coalesced around the streaking stinger of the wyvern’s tail, completely encasing it in a dark red mana.
“Now that’s done,” said Drake, his smile almost spreading into a mad laughter at his small accomplishment. “Now you can’t use that annoying poison anymore.”
He quickly retreated as fast as he could manage, holding his side as he did and began to circle the wyvern. Keeping well out of range of its jaw and talons, he changed his plan of attack. It was certainly true he couldn’t imitate the Draconian, but he could certainly try.
As for the wyvern, in the brief moment that its tail was frozen in Drake’s crystalline mana, it was left utterly puzzled at just what had happened to it. The strange magic that the whelp used was useless against it, but somehow it had managed to trap its tail in a ball of red crystal.
As the wyvern looked to Drake with fury at what happened to it, a sphere of crystalline mana instantly condensed around the foot of the wyvern just as it began to charge at Drake again at a blistering speed. The momentum of the wyvern forced it to stumble onto the ground as it almost flipped onto its side, given that it completely lost the use of one of its legs to walk.
“You impudent worm! What did you do to me?!” The wyvern roared out, just barely able to keep its balance as it desperately made its way towards Drake. “I will rip you in half!”
“You really are just a dumb beast after all.” Drake mocked the wyvern.
Truthfully, it was due to its own pride that it fell into this trap. It took a lot of time, almost too long, for Drake to have forced out enough mana for this to work. He could have simply waited for the surrounding mana to slowly convert for him, but it simply would take too long.
Soon after he learned of technique the Draconian used on the doppelgangers, he immediately attempted to imitate it. It was soon after that he learned, no matter what he did, that he simply couldn’t make it work. Encasing something even six feet tall was an impossible order, let alone something as large as the wyvern.
All he could do to compensate was use an immense amount of mana in the environment, and even then, he could only manage small sections at a time, roughly two to three feet at max. However…
“You’re the perfect target for something like this.” Drake said with an almost fanatical zeal.
Glancing up to the large wings of the wyvern, Drake began to focus mana around them. Completely encasing something that large certainly took too much effort, but for something that needed to be light and flexible for flight, all he really needed was to cover them in a thin layer of crystal. That alone would be enough to stop the wyvern from taking off and escaping.
“You sniveling whelp! What are you doing to my body?!” The wyvern roared out again, this time a faint sense of panic rising in its voice.
Its stinger, one of its greatest weapons, and its wings had already been rendered useless. With one of its legs also severely hindered by crystal, the look of desperation in the wyvern’s demeanor was already becoming apparent to Drake.
“What’s wrong, what happened to all of that confidence from before?” Drake couldn’t help but taunt the beast. He had suffered badly from its various attacks at the beginning, and badly wanted somewhere to vent his anger. And after his torturous session with the wyvern’s poison, he couldn’t wait to return the favor.
The wyvern’s eyes narrowed dangerously, and it awkwardly attempted to use it crystallized wings to increase its speed. While such a technique was useful for sudden lunges, even as injured as he was, it was child’s play to avoid the wyvern as long as he stayed a certain distance away.
“Next.” Drake smile evilly. Raising his hand, he began to envelop the wyvern’s other foot in a red crystal. After only a short moment, the last of its legs was completely encased in a deep, red crystal, completely incapacitating it. Now, it was impossible for the wyvern to escape from him now. Truthfully, the moment that he has encased one of its legs, he felt that he was able to keep the parasitic mist of his around the wyvern even if it attempted to escape. Trapping it inside by crystallizing its wings was simply to make it easier for himself.
“Aaahhhh!!!” The wyvern roared angrily as it realized what Drake was doing. It was almost completely immobile at this point, and was forced to only crawl sadly on the ground with its talons.
Drake looked at the wyvern with a complex expression before letting out an ever so slight smile.
“I have to thank you a bit, you know. You let me know my limit. You were so much more powerful than me, to the point that you very well may have killed me. But…” Drake trailed off with a sense of malice in his voice. “Now all that is over. You know, if you were weaker, I may have even let you live.” Drake said whimsically. “A creature like you, who can fly through the skies truly would have been so useful if I could have tamed you.”
“You’re an abomination.” The wyvern spat as a deep growl rumble in its throat, shaking its body in a manner that made him look like he was trembling, “I would never serve someone like you.”
“Is that so?” Drake said in a rather fickle manner as he shrugged his shoulders. “That’s too bad.”
Raising his hand, a series of red, crystal collars began to circle around the wyvern’s neck, before firmly clamping onto its scales. This wasn’t to capture the wyvern. After all, Drake had no real way of breaking such a creature. Instead, he smiled maliciously.
As the crystal collars slowly clamped onto the wyvern, it looked at Drake in dread. The crystal shards that were used against his scales were truly useless. But if enough force were used, the pressure could eventually force its way past his scales. This… This High Lizard was planning to crush his scales before ruthlessly killing him.
“Drill.” Drake said as he pulled his hand towards him. As he did, the wyvern began to scream out in horrific pain.
Much like his crystal gauntlets he used on the Helboar, his mana could expand at will. Only this time, he would use it to slowly grind away at the wyvern’s hard scales, and kill it the moment his crystals entered its neck. The life force of such a creature was too strong for his mana to truly kill it in any other way.
“Aahhhh…. Grraaaahhh!” The wyvern roared out in pain, thrashing around wildly as the spikes began to slowly drill themselves into its neck. Faced with the prospect of certain death, the wyvern turned to Drake with a wild look in its eyes. They were glazed over with a maddened look, as it slowly turned itself towards Drake.
“More…” Drake muttered to himself, trying to intensify the power of his crystal mana. Now that he had a good estimate of just how strong the scales were, he realized the scales were truly too durable, almost to an unreasonable extent. The menacing look in Drake’s eyes intensified, with the mana surrounding the wyvern funneling into the crystal shackles as if it meant to empower them. As Drake focused, the mana in the air grew to an almost fevered pitch, and the distinctive sound of the crystal beginning to almost ring began to sound out.
“I… will rip you into pieces.” The wyvern’s voice dropped into an utterly demonic sounding tone, as its entire body began to tense up. A wave of tension built up from its tail as it scrounged up every last bit of power it had left.
Lunging forward towards Drake, its jaws spread open hungrily as it made one last attempt to wrap its teeth around Drake’s neck..
What?! Drake’s body tensed up as he attempted to retreat.
Drake had made sure to keep out of its range as he watched it initially. He had made sure that the wyvern was only able to clear a little more than ten feet at a time without the use of its legs, but during this last, desperate attempt, it was able to clear more than twenty feet in one last lunge.
Dammit! Focusing a block of crystal around himself, he felt the wyvern’s jaws suddenly clamp down around him, attempting to crush the makeshift shield he had made for himself. Glancing around, Drake could see nothing but teeth as he maintained his concentration on his shield. Drake wanted to lash out, but he was just barely able to stop the jaws from crushing him.
This… this is how it all ends? Drake cursed to himself. Dammit! I’m so pathetic. This is how I die, crushed by the jaws of a half dead wyvern? For a moment, Drake thought back to those he had met. Yami and Therion… will they even be able to rescue Ella’s village members without me…
Overwhelming pressure assaulted him as he continued to hold off the crushing strength of the wyvern.
The pain in his shoulder and side throbbed horribly, assaulting his senses and mind. He gritted his teeth to the point where he could feel his jaws pounding alongside the other injuries.
As he held back the rows of teeth, he could feel his energy began to waver as cracks appeared in his crystalline shield. His mana crystal had to put a significant amount of pressure to even hope to crack the Wyvern’s scales. His own crystal shield under the intense pressure of the Wyvern’s jaws? It was an inevitability that he wouldn’t be able to hold out for long.
The slight taste of blood erupted in his mouth, washing along with his other senses as his breathing became more haggard and sharp as he gasped for air.
How much longer am I gonna last… Drake thought to himself morbidly, I just need… a little more… anything…
Drake’s vision blurred slightly, dotting out his vision out into spots. This battle.. he ended up seriously injured, and now, he was just barely holding back his painful death. This feeling… this was what the Draconian always took away from him. It held back those who would attempt to injure him. That crimson castle in his mind… it would stay trapped there for all eternity now… and…
Yami… what will she say… what will she do now…
Drake’s thoughts slowly started to drift, and with one final crack in the crystal holding back the jaws, an opaque, crimson glow surrounded Drake’s body as the wyvern’s jaws shut closed with a final snap.