The general snarled and lunged fiercely toward his opponent. For he always was the one to make the first strike. He slashed his four glowing blades downward with an unrelenting savage fury. He was going to enjoy every brief moment of this fight for all to see.
Fereen raised his sword and parried the first four devastating strikes aside one after another frantically. The water from his thin blue blade emitted boiling steam as it collided violently against the general's searing yellow sabers being knocked aside.
The flying fish swordsman stepped back far away towards the edge of the muddy arena. Focusing with all his effort at keeping his distance from his more powerful opponent which towered above; while luring him away from Shena so as not to bring her into any harm.
The insect continued to bring each of it's elongated blades simultaneously towards the flying fish like a whirlwind of heat before then bringing all four together for a combined powerful strike.
Fereen raised his sword sideways to counter, holding the four heavy glowing blades strenuously above by mere inches away from his visor. Sweat poured down his face. His thin legs and knees began to tremble strenuously from having to support such an abrupt powerful weight being thrust upon them. It was too much.
The general snarled down below and extend his neck. Opening and thrusting his massive mandible's forward to attempt to pierce the exposed neck beneath him. Fereen panicked and instantly darted back far away from the attempt on his life, hearing the unpleasant sound of loud scraping metal as the mandibles barely missed and instead dragged across the face of his helmet to slam shut with a loud frightening snap. Fereen then raised his arms' and kicked himself back off from the ant's armored torso using his legs to spiral, flip, and summersault back through the air. He landed on his feet perfectly and stood up heavily relieved at being unharmed except for a large scratch now gashed across the front of his helmet.
'That was too close.' Fereen thought to himself nervously. Clutching his helmet in relief. As he looked back upward he was stunned by what he saw and began to grind his teeth in a surprised frustration.
The general smiled back, clearly seeing why the aquatic was so disappointed. The large army ant had hardly even moved in place from the sudden kick, still stood tall and mighty. Unaffected in the slightest despite Fereen having used all his strength hoping to push him onto his back. The insect's black devilish eyes gleamed with a twisted excitement at the aquatic's craftiness and desire to survive against his unmatched skill and invulnerability for just a brief while longer.
Fereen began circling his more aggressive and durable foe cautiously. Calmly walking back and forth. Flexing and twitching his shining wings as a sign of hopeful intimidation, to which the raider general saw through it as nothing but a desperate ploy and began to play along amused. Circling the aquatic as well in the other direction in the rain.
After a few moments of deadly courtship, Both charged at each other once again, ready to resume their deadly contest of survival and skill.
Fereen realized he would have to be patient yet again until an opening unveiled itself for him to exploit. As he had done countless times before. He would have to keep his distance and be on the look out in order to find as many weakness as he could to exploit in the coming moments. He was well accustomed to his particular strategy. He often preferred to let his slower and more heavily armored enemies tire themselves out before delivering the final blow as the glorious coupe de grace.
But he soon realized that this raider was different than his sons.
This veteran warrior was not hacking and slashing randomly with foolish rage desperately as his young children had. Each attack of the four sabers was precise and carefully planned one after another, with the intent not to kill but to maim him with perfect control in hopefully the most agonizing manner possible. He wished to make him suffer for as long as possible.
Fereen's arms began to ache from the larger unrelenting swords as they collided and simmered intense heat against his liquid saber which was now being tested to its absolute limits like never before. Feeling the harsh impact push his whole body back through the mud with each desperately timed parry that was now beginning to overwhelm him. The old raider was more spry than he thought. So much for tiring him out.
The deadly duel continued to unfold in front for all to see. The retired gladiator's children began to cheer him on. The enthusiasm of the small crowd reminiscent of his younger days fighting in front of his thousands of spectators. His final performance. The general grinned shaking aside the pleasant memories and continued with the assault, now even faster and more determined than even before. A true warrior returned to his purpose in life. His soul practically bursting with pride and energy. He had not felt like this in years.
"Kill him father!!!" The young raiders began chanting excitedly in the roaring rain. The crowd's excitement was building exponentially from the deadly entertainment so kindly provided before their eyes. They could not turn away.
The general pressed his attack. Each strike bashing and barely being deflected by the diminutive aquatic trailing hot shrieking steam behind. Fereen had been fighting so desperately just to stay alive, that the thought of going on the offensive hadn't even occurred to him. He finally decided he had enough this nonsense.
Fereen pulled in his saber and lunged swiftly toward the general's exposed face.
The blade of water was then parried away downward instantly to instead collide harmlessly against the center of the general's breastplate. The blade of water bent and flexed inward from the intense strain, losing its shape as it folded and splashed against the heavy armor falling along side its smooth surface with the rain. The general smiled and suddenly slammed the blunt end of each of his saber handle's into the top of Fereen's helmet. Causing a loud painful ringing to echo from the dark interior of his helmet that would not cease.
Fereen stepped back momentarily stunned, clutching his hand to his aching head. Struggling to catch his breath as his mind spun all around him in every direction before finally managing to return to some semblance of focus. He looked upon the general now folding his swords and laughing at his dazed confused state of the aquatic struggling to stand. Along with all his children behind.
A chill went down Fereen's spine as he gripped his saber hilt tighter nervously. It began to shake profusely. His mind started to race with desperate ideas as to what to he could possibly attempt in even harming such a deadly and seemingly invulnerable threat such as him. There had to be some weakness. There had to.
Should he spread his wings and fly in closer? Would that provoke the children to join the fight? Could he take them all at once and protect Shena at the same time?
He gasped aloud as the General resumed the battle. Striking swiftly in the direction of his leg. Fereen tucked in his sparkling wings and rolled out of the way at the last second but not cleanly and . He then stood halfway up clumsily, kneeling with one arm touching the dirt for added support covered in mud.
"Fuck." he muttered.
He couldn't even have the privilege to think to himself long enough to fully form a plan. The general's unrelenting onslaught was too much for him to ignore. Even for a split second. The general smirked back at keeping the small fool on his toes panicking in the cold. He loved to see his enemies crumble before his eyes.
Infuriated Fereen raised and dragged his hilt in an arch through the air above, collecting the rain droplets to fill the form of a fresh blue blade to rest beside tightly in his palm.
He charged. His wings fluttering to give him an added boost of speed against this creature.
The general grinned at him having to resort to using his wings. As if that would help somehow.
The insect stepped aside avoiding the charge at the last possible second easily with a twist of his torso before grabbing tighlty onto the Flying aquatic's leg. Proceeding to swing his entire body through the air and slamming his head against the dirt with a loud smash. Cracking the visor of Fereen's helmet with a loud crack, sending pieces of glass everywhere to fall and catch the rain along their broken surfaces.
Still not done, the insect continued to drag his face through the mud by his now broken ankle multiple times in a circle before finally tossing him to collide against a dead tree on the very edge of the soaked muddy arena. Much to the cheer and amusement of his spectators. Fereen wince in pain as managed to hold his grip of his sword just enough so as not to lose it even as his back slammed against the decayed oak with a loud force. But that didn't mean it was easy.
As Fereen started to weakly tilt his head upward looking for the raider, he suddenly gasped. Seeing the General now slashing all four heated sabers toward him all at once. He dodged barely. Making the general miss while instead slicing impressively right through the base of the dead tree in one perfect strike.
Felling it and setting it alight in a glowing fire that immediately started to fight against the rain in a battle for its burning survival.
Fereen dragged himself through the mud away to hastily stand and turn. Seeing the insect leap over the burning branches, ready to keep tormenting him with a sick glee. His dark four armed silhouette illuminated by the blazing inferno and glowing embers of leaves rising upward to fight against the rain as it ate and scorched the burning tree raging behind the invincible Gladiator's form.
He was terrifying. A savage creature of pure unrelenting instinct.
And he would never tire.
Fereen kept blocking the fatal strikes one after the other as he tried to land a hit himself, but nothing made contact no matter how hard he tried. His body grew weaker by the second as the one sided duel continued for all to see. His left hand which had stayed behind his back thus far now reached across to support his now exhausted saber arm.
Shena become nervous as she observed the fight worsen for her friend as she continued dragging herself through the dirt. He was now wielding his saber with both hands, he never did that. She forced her attention back away to slowly resume her crawl toward the pistol in front. Begging the raider's wouldn't notice her deception so she could help him. But luckily the spectacle in front was impossible for anyone to ignore.
Fereen collected enough rage and lunged once more, only this time upward. He leapt high into the air and landed in front, bringing his blade downward atop the ant's unarmored head again; Only to instead to be blocked by both the ant's sabers easily as they crossed in the shape of an x above.
The sound of sizzling water vapor erupted from the prolonged contact between each of the weapons held in place pushing against one another.
The general sneered. He had hardly broken a sweat so far.
He then sheathed his two lower blades beside his hip, and quickly pulled out his hands to grab tightly on to the flying fish's arms in an unbreakable grip.
Fereen's eyes widened in fear.
The general smiled and lifted him high in the air. Wrapping and squeezing his wrists painfully. Fereen yelled aloud in pain unable to move as his wings began to flutter strenuously trying to escape the insect's clutches to no affect.
Seeing no other option he then headbutted his metal helmet hard against the General's unprotected face. The general then simply stuck one of his sabers in the ground, wiped away the fresh blood from his mouth.
"Dirty move aquatic." His voice swelling with excitement.
"Excellent. Honorable opponents make for boring fights."
The General then slammed his captive prey in the stomach with its powerful fist with such force, it knocked the wind out of Fereen's lungs instantaneously. He then releasing his grip, letting the pathetic fish fall gasping atop his knees in the dirt. The old gladiator then reached for his yellow sword's he had stuck in the ground and resting on his belt, considering if he should just end it right here and now.
But he could hear the enthralled cheers of his children however, and they wanted more. This was the most fun they or even himself have had in weeks. Was he so cruel as to deny them of such entertainment? He looked down at the stunned flyer gasping for air and groveling at his feet.
'The show must go on.'
The raider violently kicked Fereen in the chest with a loud crack. The deadly blow from just the insect's strong leg sent him spiraling back and sliding though the mud. He hit the ground hard on his back painfully, losing his grip on his sword in the process.
"Crap." Fereen said as he winced in pain. He felt broken ribs. "He's good."
Fereen tilted his battered head and stood up off the ground, wincing in pain and clutching tightly to his stomach with one hand. Only to be surprised at seeing the general kick Fereen's saber hilt with his foot, and tossing it back in front of him on the ground.
"Aww for me bug? You shouldn't have. I didn't. He coughed. "Didn't... get you anything." Fereen said greatly annoyed as he fought to regain his breath, his innards aching. The general's kind gesture of tossing him him back his weapon and waiting in place patiently was only so that the old ant could continue kicking the crap out of him for all his brats to see.
Fereen sighed as he limped over and pick up his weapon. His chest and stomach hurt immensely, but he had to keep fighting. That was all that could be done. Just a bit longer.
He leaned down and picked his saber out of the dirt. The general still kept his distance, waiting intently until he could resume the humiliation of this weak soldier. This was the fool who bested his sons? He was not impressed.
Fereen reignited the liquid blade as both the opponents raised their weapons and lunged viciously towards one another. One fighting for entertainment. The other survival.
But not for himself.
Shena could hear the desperate duel unfolding, as well as the cheers of the raiders. He was losing.
She fought the urge to stop and look at her friend's desperate struggle, but she had to focus on getting to the pistol. That was all she could afford to think about now. Nothing else.
She grunted as she strenuously raised her weak arm's slowly one at a time. Dragging her bruised body through the muddy water. Her head felt like it was going to burst at any second. But she could see the pistol just in front of her. She was almost there. As she continued her struggle she saw something buried in the mud that caught her eye just enough to make her stop briefly for a second.
The severed antenna she had spat out from earlier.
An idea formed instantly in her mind that might assist her desperate friend in his battle.
Fereen fell back against the dirt hard after failing again to make contact yet again. Having been tossed aside effortlessly by the raider. The general then turned his back confidently to raise his arms and let off a mighty roar of excitement towards his offspring. His children loved it and cheered aloud in response as gratitude for the entertainment provided tonight so kindly from their mighty father.
'Cocky bastard.' thought Fereen, greatly annoyed while wheezing for air. 'Someone's a bit of an attention hog. Although to be fair so was he.'
Fereen weakly stood up shaking and covered in dirt yet again. Hearing a faint hissing noise being created behind his back.
"Pssshh!" Shena whispered trying to get his attention without attracting the attention of the crowd.
He briefly turned to face her staring slyly right at him from on the ground. Raising two fingers with one hand to rest atop her head like rabbit ears, and with the other, began gesturing a cutting motion with her bloodied palm across.
He got it immediately.
Fereen was now exhausted and bruised, but regardless he raised his saber, positioned his feet, and charged to slash at the distracted ant with his back turned yet again. Only now with a renewed vigor and confidence. The general shifted his eyes behind toward his hasty opponent and grinned. He loved letting his enemies think they had an opening. He turned around and attacked with both saber's simultaneously. His intent was to go for the legs not to kill. He wanted to keep the excitement going for just a bit longer.
But to the General's great surprise, The aquatic didn't follow through with the desperate assault.
Instead the flying fish jumped over the two swords and spread his wings far apart. Flapping them just once in order to soar over the general's head. The acrobatic aquatic spiraled as he severed cleanly through both of the insect's thin sensitive antenna in one precise motion, before then grabbing them right out of the air with just one hand for a bit of added flair as the finishing touch.
The other raiders feel dead silent, as Fereen landed on his legs in perfect skill behind their stunned father.
"Aghhh!!!" Screamed the general in agony. He clutched the top of his bloodied head with two of his arms as he knelt down in great discomfort. The pain was absolutely unbearable, more so than losing even a limb. He could barely think let alone stand.
Fereen was breathing quickly, his heart pumping blood like a machine. He shifted his stance and looked over toward Shena in the distance. She had reached the pistol. Shena loaded the last mag into the small gun and hid it behind her back. She looked toward her corporal just standing in the rain, doing nothing.
She decided it was time to give her corporal a little bit of friendly advice.
"Quit beating around the bush and Kick his ass Fereen!!!" She grinned.
Fereen smiled under his helmet and turned back toward the enraged general clutching the top of his head in pain.
"What? I thought you liked fighting dirty bug." said Fereen amused. Tossing the insect's severed antenna dripping yellow blood with a flick of his wrist into the dirt right in front of his dumbfounded children. "Well now were playing by on equal footing." He raised his saber, spread his wings wide apart and charged to finish him off once and for all. Forming a heroic and swift arc of motion with his blade to aim right for the general's arrogant head and end it once and for all.
A single gunshot suddenly emerged throughout the stormy night sky.
Shena's eyes widened in horror as Fereen instead stopped in his tracks and collapsed atop his chest in the mud.
The injured old ant after recomposing himself from his discomfort, turned confused behind toward the source of the sound. It came from the crowd. He narrowed his eyes enraged by what he saw.
One his eldest daughters gun was smoking. Her face filed with fear the fear of her father's wrath for her sudden interference. She dropped her weapon as her brothers and sisters slowly stepped far aside from her.
The general struggled and marched toward her in quick wide strides as she knelt to the ground terrified and crying. His eyes full of anger at her sudden interruption against his command.
"I sorry father, I thought.. I thought he kill you!! I Sorry please!!!" whimpered the young ant warrior as she groveled in the mud, clutching her fathers leg timidly and fearfully.
The general raised one of his remaining fist's enraged high into the air. But did nothing with it.
He could not let his ego cloud his judgment. He was above such loss of control.
Instead He just let out a deep sigh of disappointment and raised his daughter's head with his hand gently, gesturing for her to stand up. He said nothing as he slowly turned and marched around to finish his daughters fight in great dispirit.
Shena's arm began to shake behind her back as she watched the raider approached closer to Fereen, trying to stand atop his knees still conscious. His sword being held in front of the ground struggling to keep his injured body from collapsing forward.
He raised his weak head up strenuously looked in front beneath him.
The two discarded energy gauntlets were just out of reach in the mud. He turned his gaze right to Shena She was about to attack with Vesa's revolver. But there were only six bolts in the chamber. That would Leave them both three left to deal with. Each were exhausted and could barely stand let alone fight...
He couldn't take the chance.
"Shena... Don't." Blood began to pour from underneath his helmet as Fereen spoke slowly and weakly. He gestured with his trembling hand for her to stand down desperately to not make herself a target.
Shena clutched her pistol tighter full of anger at him. Did he really expect her to just stand by and do nothing?
'What the hell is he thinking?!!!' She screamed to herself internally. Her fury and fear growing in her mind over what the General would do to them both. But what she was afraid of didn't matter. Only saving him. She began to raise her pistol from behind her back. Ready to draw the bugs away from him and towards her instead.
"Shena... Please..." Fereen muttered feebly. Fighting the excruciating pain just to let out a few words to her.
Although she couldn't barely see his face through the broken helmet, She could tell by his one nervous eye revealed through the cracked visor that he was as serious as he had ever been about this. And that he needed for her to trust him now more than ever.
I don't know what your insane plan is this time." Shena thought to herself as she looked upon him fearfully. She then lowered her pistol back behind her in concealment. locking her eyes back up with his.
'But I'll go along with whatever you think is right.' she whispered to him. Her face was encompassed with terror. But now also with sight hope in her friend.
Shena loosened her grip slightly on the pistol. Barely managing to control herself from raising her shaking gun toward the general's exposed face as it approached right behind Fereen.
Fereen breath a sigh of relief. Uninterested in the danger looming above his head, still focused solely on looking upon his friend lying in the dirt mere feet away. For he could now focus on nothing else. Not the pain, exhaustion, or fear. Just her.
She would survive.
The injured ant stopped right behind his incapacitated opponent kneeling in the rain greatly upset. Is this how his last duel would end? He now was almost craving and begging for the chance that the duel could still conclude in a civil manner.
"Can you fight?" said the General as he looked down at at the incapacitated aquatic. He tapped his opponent atop it's inured back with the tip of his sword. Now seeming strangely concerned with the state of his enemies well-being. At least until he could kill him properly how he saw fit.
There was no reply, not even a wince of pain. The general then let out a heavy, melancholy filled sigh due to the poor turnout of the battle.
"Then enough of this." He raised his two swords high above. And brought the blades down.
Severing the exquisite wings cleanly like paper.
Fereen collapsed on his stomach in agony in tears. The general reached over and grabbed the smoldering wings to rest atop his arms as another fine trophy to his collection. He then looked down with a vile smirk to his defeated opponent. Laying his clawed leg to rest atop it's now wingless back.
"I told you aquatic your wings would be mine." He grinned. "I don't make idle promises."
"Now that I have my prize, I think it time we end this. Wouldn't we you agree? He turned to face his children eagerly awaiting his next order." Kill the shark. I'll deal with this one."
The glowing blades came down swiftly again, only this time towards the aquatic's head. Fereen reached out and tossed the energy gauntlet's as far as he could right into Shena's lap and ducked. Rolling backward right underneath the army ant's legs at the last second. Much to the general's confusion and anger.
Fereen then stood up with all his remaining strength and plucked the belt filled with grenades off the general's waist and leapt back towards in front of the last of the general's children. His finger on the pin.
Shena's eyes widened in absolute terror. As did the raiders. Some tried to back away slowly with all their four arms raised, but there was nothing they could do. They were right in the blast radius. It was a complete standoff. Even the general stayed in his place. Completely dumbstruck as what to do next for the first time in his life. This suicidal fool now had his last children at his his mercy. He had to think of something. And fast.
"Alright aquatic." he said cautiously as he dropped his swords slowly towards the ground and changed his voice to a more sincere tone. "Stand down and I swear that you and the shark shall live. You have my word as a warrior and a father." He raised his arms high above head and slowly began to step closer.
Fereen stretched his left arm farther apart as he held the explosives toward the last of the general's offspring. His limbs shaking profusely. Blood trickling down his back from the wound. Now barely standing with his saber being reduced to use as a cane.
Fereen's visor locked with the general's worried face. The old ant then shifted his eyes slightly to the right in a sly gesture behind Fereen's back. One of his daughter's started to raise her gun slowly at her father's subtle command to fire."
The general instantly pulled two small knives from behind his thorax. Desperate to stop the detonation in time, he hurled the two daggers to spin and collide squarely in the middle of Fereen's chest with a loud thud.
But there was nothing the blades could do. For the pin's had already been pulled.
Fereen spurted blood as he smiled at the old ant under his helmet. Just as the flying fish collapsed on his back, he dropped the grenades to roll dead center into the mob of the raider's children.
The old warrior had been outsmarted for the first, and last time in his life.
'So this was his brilliant idea huh?' Shena thought to herself terrified and full of dread. She knew what would happen next, and she didn't want to end like this. But it was. She looked down and hesitantly grabbed onto the gauntlets, fastening them onto her wrists swiftly. With tears flowing down her bloodied face.
'His plan's really had been terrible....'
She activated the gauntlets and curled her head and tail in on the ground as a deafening noise erupted into the air. Hundreds of small metal shards scattered in every direction as screams of pain engulfed the night. The metal shrapnel pieces deflected and ricocheted off her solar shields harmlessly as she cowered in the dirt.