Zorlo stumbled back as he was beaten with his own former arms and laughed. This woman was a spicy one. A violent one, but spicy nonetheless. Okay, okay, okay. Time to be a bit more serious, the Aura Master thought to himself as aura began to erupt from his body. His eyes glowed as the flesh on his cheek, hands and arms began to react. Now it was time. Seventy percent.
Flesh tore from Zorlo's cheek as he looked at Aurora. Blood seemed to float from his cheek for a moment before it just remained there, floating in the air. Bursts of Aura from other places tore away at his shirt and flesh, leaving bloody sores. Still, as Zorlo released his power, the exposed wounds began to glow green and the flesh was covered in aura. At least, that what it looked like anyway.
In another powerful pulse, a large chunk of the back of Zorlo's shirt exploded as blood sprayed out briefly before glowing green. "Eighty percent," he muttered to her. "From here on out, I don't know what's gonna happen, so I hope you're ready!" Zorlo said as he erupted forwards and pressed his attack fiercely. He couldn't pull off most of his cheep tricks or stunts. Really, all he could do now is fight toe to toe with Aurora and hope for a break.
"It's about time!" She smiled triumphantly. She dropped the useless lumps of flesh that were once Zorlo's arms, and stepped up to meet him blow for blow. She matched his power, her eyes glowing, blocking and parrying his blows, her ferocity bearing down on him. Her aura shown in a tight halo around her body, pale blue as his did green. He was strong, but he was a weapons fighter, not a striker or a grappler, and severely outmatched, few of his blows landed, leaving deep bruises on her arms and legs as she blocked them. Her blows disintegrated further chunks of his flesh until most of his face and torso shown only the green light of his aura.
And here I thought I was finally becoming an accomplished bare-hands fighter... he thought with a chuckle. No, it isn't that my fist-fighting isn't better than it was... its that hers is better still. I've got a lot of training to do if I want to go blow to blow with her without my sword. The fencer looked at his hand quietly and thought for a few seconds, more time than he was aware he had, and tried to compile an idea to gain some kind... ANY KIND of advantage.
I can't crystalize my aura to make a real sword... but... the fencer thought as he back-dashed with a powerful pulse of aura from a breath he exhaled, maybe I don't need a physical one. Even though my aura is too unstable to fully materialize a real weapon... a makeshift weapon should work fine, the fencer said as he held his left hand out and smiled. The green-haired man erupted forwards as aura acted like jets from his boots and he focused aura into the form of a blade, in even the most basic concept or manner of doing so, and quickly slashed at the woman. His only real edge here now was that he could still be somewhat inventive, just not as much as he enjoyed being.
Aurora smirked. "Haven't we done this?" Sure he was fast, but when you're faster, time seems to slow down. She watched him think, watched him form a crude blade from his aura and watched him rocket toward her. She stood her ground, waiting for him. In the moment he struck, a katana of shining crystal, glowing with a blue light from within parried his blow, then struck back at him. Only his reflex, honed from a lifetime of swordplay saved him. They struck, parried and counterattacked across the arena and back again. She pushed him constantly, forcing him to use every trick and grain of knowledge he possessed.
"That was fun," she said finally. Then, with a grunt and a swing, her blade cut his in half, the loose piece dissolving as it fell to the ground. "What game are we gonna play next, kiddo?"
"Good question, refined, slightly middle-aged woman," he said, thinking about that thought for a second. That one was gonna acquire him a second beating when he was unconscious, he knew it. Still, he was too far away from her in strength to fully overcome their difference, even with a sword, or whatever he could produce...
Or could he?
Perhaps a trick from someone else's book might work better than a simple trick from mine... Something that's simple... and involves explosions would be-... I've got it! Zorlo thought as he shifted back and looked at her crystal sword. The woman was spawning weapons out of thin air now. That hadn't occurred to him until just that second. How in the-
Now isn't the time to think... its the time to NOT DIE!
His thought echoed through the corridors of his mind as he formed a lance of aura and stabbed it into the ground in front of him. His body seemed to vanish for a second as several images of his danced around her. He knew she could easily see through such a simple trick, but he needed to bide his time. This attack took time, even with the cheap version Zorlo could pull off.
The images zoomed back and forth and to and fro as he moved as quickly as his body could manage and seemed to randomly place spears about the battlefield. He managed three before he stopped and rushed her. He had three of the spears set, now he had to be calculating, careful and devious. He only had one chance to make this work, and he still needed to place two spears before the whole trap was laid out.
Even if this worked, there was no doubt in his mind that it would probably not hurt her... but it would hopefully surprise her enough to buy him time to think of another plan.
After all, in this battle, all he could do is try to find an answer among the hundreds he could formulate that could wear her out enough or frustrate her to a point where she would end the battle with something cataclysmic.
She watched him, not with her eyes. The afterimages bored her. She watched him set three spears, then thinking he was out of time, turned to charge her again.
She was already there, and a quick knee to his stomach let him know it. She followed it up with an elbow to the kidney, then caught him by the collar, pulled him back and plowed another knee into his side, breaking at least two ribs before letting him drop. "I don't have all day to wait for you to quit playing around, dipstick." She walked around the arena, waving a hand over each spear. One by one, they dissolved, energy disappating into thin air, and into the earth.
She stalked back as he regained his feet, grabbing him by the collar and plowing him into the nearest wall. His head bashed back against the stone a moment after his back. "I. Have. Better. Things. To. Do!" Each word was punctuated by a blow against the wall, and by the time she was done, there was no flesh left on the back side of his body, only aura showing through. She pulled his face close and all but growled into his bloodied face, only an inch from his broken nose. "Now, get your act together, or I will break every last bone in your body until you get the picture." Then, she let him crumple down the wall, walking back to the center of the ring.
Zorlo simply laughed for a moment as his body shined like a beacon before power exploded from him. Whether or not it was strong enough to push her away was inconsequential this time as the energy that exploded from the fencer seemed to surge from where he was held into the center of the ring.
A bright, powerful ellipse formed, shining just as bright as the man before he had exploded. Now, however, there was no flesh left. No scrap of cloth. Simply energy floating inside of a contained area. Even though his body had seemingly vanished, Zorlo hadn't. If anything, he had used the same trick, except this time, the stakes were greater.
Slowly, the light faded, or to be more exact it seeped inwards, until a body of pure aura formed. Slowly, details filled in as a face formed. Eyes opened and eye balls of aura formed. A nose, ears, and even tendrils of aura reminiscant of hair formed. Fingers formed where his hands seemed to be as he looked at them and examined his newly reformed body of pure aura.
He smiled. His aura had taken the form of teeth and a tongue, even. I can see, but I cannot comprehend. I can hear, but do not understand. I can feel, but not grasp. I smell, but don't differentiate. That is to be human. It wasn't until this moment I understand. I was confused. It wasn't that my body could not handle the power I released... but that my body had not fully transformed. My flesh is the illusion, as my flesh, bones, blood, muscle, and organs are all so saturated with aura... no, they are aura that has taken the form of those things. That was my mistake. I am aura, and my body is aura that has taken on the properties of flesh and blood.
The Aura Master looked at the woman and chuckled. "Here it is. My full power. Now you can finish this battle up and be on your way... but I'm going to make you fight with everything you've got before I end this. The only thing I hope is I've got enough power to return myself to my sealed, human form. After all, as much as being pure aura is invigorating... it feels strange... Bah, I'll make sure I keep just enough power to revert to my normal state," Zorlo said with a smile as he held his hand out.
"I'm sure you can block this, so en guard!" Zorlo said as a powerful rush of aura exploded from his hand and covered the entire area in front with the arena being the only thing containing how far his blast had spread.
Zorlo saw the beam, a first he had to admit, and held out his hand as he blocked the attack and held it back before redirecting it at the wall to his side. "Yeah, first time, you know," he said as he stepped back and rushed forwards as the aura spiraled around his body and began to attack on its own accord as he moved his body to attack as well. This was everything he could hit her with now, and he'd be damned if he didn't use it all. "Take this!" he said as his power surged and continued to pressure the woman, even though Zorlo accepted it would be to no avail.
Aurora's own power burst forth in the same way. She felt Valron's image blaze across her skin. If you could see her skin under her tattered clothes, you'd see the dragon tattoo in brilliant silver relief, wrapping over her shoulder, down her back and around the opposite leg. All Zorlo could see was a serpentine shape glowing white hot with power through her clothes, her eyes blazing with blue fire. Tendrils of white energy slapped away his attacks like so many flies. "You haven't earned a glimpse of everything I've got. Not even half." Then, she lunged into him and struck again, double palmed into his gut, releasing a burst of energy with her blow, sending him flying. "Come back and see me in a few thousand years."
Zorlo coughed as he pushed himself to a knee and smiles. "Well, at least I gave it my all, right? So... now..." Zorlo said as the glow from his aura faded away and his body returned to his fleshy, normal state as he smiled. He could feel it... the barrier had fallen. "I'll see you again before those thousands of years are up, but for now... I'm going to leave, and hope I never have to fight you again," the green haired man said with a smile as his body became tendrils of aura wind and he made his quick escape. His luck had held long enough. Now, he needed to get new cloths and recover.
Aurora made a disgusted sound as he vanished, her glow fading, Valron's tattoo resuming its usual form. Then, she looked down at herself, mentally flipped off the Dome and walked out of the arena. What a waste. "I really liked this shirt..."
For what was supposed to be a fight, Omentus thought there had been a terrible amount of talking between the two fighters. One, he recognized as a woman from that quaint little tea shop the day before. The other he did not recognize, but he was clearly new to the art of combat. Someone who could stand to bone up on a few books.
Despite what was an obvious disadvantage now, that wasn't the way it looked at the beginning of the fight. The old alchemist had learned a lot in the last several minutes, too. Neither of them seemed to rely on any significant measure of skill, although they each had an abundance of colorful ability. From his place in the stands, it seemed to be a similar sort of energy channeling that he'd previously witnessed in the astral faeries and a troupe featuring ascetics from one of the southern kingdoms.
All in all, however, the fight barely lasted for ten minutes. The crowd around him loved it. Omentus suppressed a yawn, and got up from his seat. In a place with so many unusual people, working his way through the crowd down the arena level took only a couple of minutes. Just because the contest was a colorful flop didn't mean it should be a total waste.
He pressed himself through the droves of leaving spectators and into the locker rooms before the arena. More than once, a muscle-bound knucklehead asked him when they'd get a chance to beat him into pieces. Omentus shook his head each time, saying only, "Sorry, friend. The janitors don't fight here." It got him some strange looks, since he didn't look particularly like a janitor (or a domerii for that matter), but no one contradicted him.
As he reached the gates, the blond woman was walking out of the arena. He inclined his head to her. Be careful, Boltvein's voice spoke in his mind.
Aurora walked down the tunnel leading out of the arena and into the tournament grounds, since the Dome obviously wasn't going to be nice enough to just send her back to her rooms. No, it was going to be spiteful because she flipped it off, and make her walk the halls, clothes tattered and covered in blood and gore. Needless to say, she wasn't in the best mood.
She looked up, emerging from the gate to see a passingly familiar face, who inclined his head to her. "Mr. Anima," she returned, "what brings you down here? I'm guessing it isn't an autograph, since that 'fight' was pretty much a joke."
"On the contrary," Omentus said, his eyes lighting up as he looked at Aurora. His smirk reached his ear. Somewhere in his features, mischief twinkled. "It is precisely a signature that I'm looking for." A small chorus of facets on his animus jewel chuckled, taken off guard by this unusual inclination to comedy.
"If I'm going to get it, though, I would best be on my way. Congratulations on your victory," the teal-eyed man told her. He inclined his head to her again, and began to lead his forward foot in the direction of the arena.
Aurora cocked a brow at him as he turned away. He didn't seem like one for a casual pun, but she supposed everyone had their moments. Oh, well. If he wanted to sift through the debris for some keepsake, that was his business, as long as he beat the Domerii there. He'd find nothing of hers for his alchemic playtime. "I guess somebody ought to get something out of this experience besides a foul mood and a ruined set of clothes..." She turned likewise and continued on her way, raising a casual hand in farewell. "Have fun, Omen."
As Omentus reached the middle of the arena, a pair of short, elf-like creatures were carrying away Zorlo's battered arms like a set of logs. As the seromancer walked past them, he reached down and scooped the arms up into his own inventory. The domerii looked at him, startled by his interruption of their work. He looked down at them with a smirk, and they backed away slowly, then went on to clean other parts of the arena.
He walked straight from the direction he had come in, and stopped in the hall of another gate leading out. He set the beaten arms down on a bench and drew Helir from the harness around his waist. Lifting an arm into a comfortable position, he slid Helir's needle deep into the limb's wrist, toward the forearm. With great patience, he began to draw out the syringe's plunger, while lifting the arm and squeezing its different parts. Slowly, he managed to collect nearly an entire 30cc barrel from the arm. He withdrew the needle, pushed a few drops of blood out of the syringe's tip as he slid the needle into the core of the other arm, and continued his work until the barrel was full.
As Omentus finished, he holstered Helir and stood up, looking down at the bench. The old man took a small, closed crystal tube with ornate iron latticing out of the pack on his hip, and then set it next to the arms. He lifted his hands over the two of the, beginning to weave intricate gestures as he spoke in one of the arcane languages that shuddered in the air. In response, the arms twitched, but without moving, and then slipped inside the much smaller tube with a sickening SHUP.
Smiling, Omentus picked up his vial, placed it into his hip pack, and left the arena without another word.