"Mmm...blegh...where am I?", a young man said as his consciousness returned to him. His limbs felt like lead while his head felt like someone ran a pickaxe through it. "At least I'm not cold", he thought. What he couldn't figure out, however, was just how was he standing up if his entire body felt like someone had just smashed it into pieces. He looked around a bit, only to see a pair of young women and a kaiju dweller with porcine features hiding nearby him. It wasn't until he turned his head to see his sister that he managed to put two and two together.
"Boleros? You're awake"!
"S-sister? What's happening...", Boleros was asking until his attention was grabbed by the battle raging before him.
Raging before him, a light blue sprite-like woman was fighting toe to toe with a creature that had silver claws and looked like an upright hyena but much much larger. A strange feeling overcame the young man as his body straightened itself up. Something about the strange hyena majimonster messed with his head, but he couldn't figure out exactly what it was...up until the blue humanoid majimonster began to fire a hail of fist-sized ice balls at it.
"What? What is it"?
With a sudden burst of energy, Boleros turned towards the strangers he saw earlier and abruptly asked, "Do any of you have an empty drajule"?!
A huge amount of dust and mist was kicked up when the last of Voxea's hailstorm hammered down on the Bultungin. A feeling relief came over me as I felt the Fog of War fading away...only for it to be replaced by disappointment as the Fog suddenly came back in full force.
[How is this thing not dead yet?!], I asked Voxea while staring in wide eyed shock at the giant cloud of mist and dust.
[It should be, unless...Gale Breath, scatter]!
Voxea took a deep breath as a Wind affinity spell circle manifested in front of her. As she blew out the air from her chest, the spell circle flared to life with light and a powerful gust of wind blew away the dust and mist.
"What the heck is that thing?!", I exclaimed
[Of course...starting to get super annoyed about all of these "familiar faces"], Voxea muttered.
Standing in the now cleared area was not the Bultungin but a weird outline of a human being with what I assumed to be a hyena skull flying around it. It gave off the same inhuman vibe as Belladonna but... more off putting. The weird black dots serving as its eyes staring directly at me did not help either.
"MuuuSssSTtt/SssUUUrrrViveee", the figure uttered in a distinctly inhuman tone. The next moment, the hyena skull suddenly and violently slammed itself onto the figure's face, promoting the aether to coalesce and form...meat. Yeah, that didn't help either in terms of feeling sympathy towards...whatever the heck this thing was.
"Voxea, seriously, what is that...thing?", I asked trying to keep the fear out of my throat. It was still unsettling seeing what's essentially a reverse butchering, moreso when there was no body to begin with.
[Factoring in all the bloodshed from before...I don't even need to hazard a guess for this one. Remember when you helped me perform that ritual all those months ago? How I went from a bodiless spirit to the majimonster before you? That is what would have happened if we had failed. I would be a hollow shell of myself and driven by a single mad desire. For all intents and purposes...that is an Echo], Voxea explained.
A long, long, long time ago in the forests outside of what would one day be the New Capital:
"Dammit...how am I going to survive this?!", the maji said between gasps of air and through a perforated chest. A moment later, he coughed up a mouthful of blood.
Karma is...a rather vindictive force of nature. The maji currently bleeding to death and limping his way through a dark moonlit forest was one Alexander Ilexi, a young twenty something year old man who was high ranking member of the Argenti Bestia and a middle tier Gold grade maji. Alexander, for all intents and purposes, could be considered quite powerful.
Unless they happen to kick the iron wall known as "Someone stronger than you".
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