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ONI

CRAAKK!

‘Three more bolts to go then I won’t have to deal with this shit anymore.’ String thought to herself as she returned her chain whip to its spinning position and used winds to pick up and compress some snow into a sizeable ball before using these same winds to catapult it into ball of fire that Alex had thrown at her.

The chieftain was currently sailing atop a wave of snow through the nearby forest with Alex following closely behind her, riding on a gust of wind with a shroud of fire around him while sending blades of wind and fireballs her way with every chance he got.

“I’m not sure whether I should feel respected or annoyed at the very clear killshots your aiming at me!” String shouted at Alex as she wiped away the rain that covered her shades and used her muddy snow to sail up a tree

“You think these are killshots!?” Alex shouted back, his tone dead and serious as he went around the tree and cut it in half with another blade of wind, “A killshot would be creating a blade of wind just in front of your neck and waiting for you to run into it decapitating yourself!”

String, thinking quickly, leaped from the now falling tree and used a current of wind to launch her upside-down self away from Alex while using her chain whip to strike one of the trees she passed by. Flipping herself upright, String once again called a wave of snow to her feet and began riding atop it once more.

CRAAKK!

A bolt of red lightning struck the tree String had hit, causing it to launch burning shards of wood everywhere and for whatever wasn’t launched to be reduced to ash.

“A killshot would be me simply igniting the air around you with a thought!”, Alex shouted as he dodged around the flaming shards with ease and even took control of a few and launched them towards String. The chieftain crouched down and allowed for some snow to flow over her and take the attacks. Pushing the snow from above her to her sides, String abruptly stopped and flung herself into the air with a strong updraft.

Once just above the trees, String flipped herself upside-down once again and began spinning with her chain whip striking all the nearby trees. Once done, String quickly switched the wind currents to carry herself along and above the trees while also diverging her attention to create a massive wave of muddy snow that immediately began to rush towards herself and Alex. As the first bolt of lightning struck, String continued to spin upside-down while hitting each tree she passed with the dart end of her chain. Alex followed from beneath the trees, just staying ahead of the wave of snow, lightning that came down and the flaming pieces of wood launched at each strike.

FWOOSH!

String’s eyes widened in shock as she paused before a wall of fire that had shot up from the ground to block her path.

“A killshot would be me simply telling you that you’re going to die!” Alex shouted as he shot up into the air and swiped at String’s feet. String simply let go of the winds holding her up and went into a freefall looking up Alex as he followed closely behind. String swung her weapon at her pursuer, but the human managed to lean just out of the way of her dart-end before grabbing the chain part and disarming String with a sharp pull.  Throwing the chieftain’s weapon higher into the air, Alex fired a ball of flames at String that she blocked by calling the snow from the ground and around her to form a thick dome shield. Steam filled the air as String opened up the bottom of her dome and called for another draft a wind to carry her out of the way of the falling sphere of snow.

Landing with a graceful roll, String came up and raised a hand into the air as a current of wind carried her chain whip back into her grasp. The now abandoned dome of snow and Alex hit the ground with a cloud of steam following shortly after their impact. String used this steam to her advantage, rolling forward and whipping her chain towards Alex’s chest.

CLANG!

Sparks flew as Alex was forced to use Nike to deflect String’s attack. As String reeled her weapon back in, she spun to side as Alex’s dagger flew past her and into a nearby tree. Spinning towards Alex, String tried for an overhead swipe with her weapon and only hit air.

“ACK!” String gasped out with Alex having closed the distance between the two and slammed his right fist into her stomach. He then followed this up by creating a blade of wind with his other hand and swiping at the side of String’s head with it.

SHIRK!

CRAAKK!

“SON OF A BITCH!” String screamed as Alex spun around her and used some wind to diverge the flaming wood shards that flew towards himself and String to get to his dagger. The chieftain felt warm blood rushing down the right side of her face, the liquid gushing from where Alex had cut off her ear. Pulling her weapon back in towards herself and spinning it at her side, String used her left hand to put pressure on the wound as she turned to face Alex.

“As of now in our fight, not yet have I come at you with the intent to kill.” Alex said lacking in any real sense of emotion, a blank look on his face, “If you truly think that anything that I’ve done up to this point was anything less than attempts in inconveniencing you, then you’re both dumb and suicidal.”

Before any more words could be said, String’s wave of snow finally reached the pair and came crashing down. With a snarl on her face and a light blush on her cheeks, String dropped the temperature in the area drastically as she took all the rain and air moisture within a fifty-meter radius, turned it into snow, then added it to the wave she currently had bearing down on herself and Alex. String knew that (just like herself) Alex was using wind to keep the snow from coming down on him, so she concentrated on the wind that Alex had surrounded himself with and for a single second dispersed it.

“Fu-” But before Alex could finish his sentence, he was swept up by the waves of snow.

String hopped on her own wave and followed after Alex as she directed her wave of snow high into the air, above the trees and towards Owen’s hat. Within half a minute, String and her wave of snow had arrived back onto the cleared out path that Alex had created. Looking towards the massive hat, String assumed she was a little over a mile away from her target. Just as she came to this assumption, String was forced to halt herself and her snow as a pillar of fire appeared in her path.

Alex sat in the middle of this pillar of flame, looking remarkably dry (despite the copious amounts of rainfall) and emotionless. Rising to his feet, Alex thrust out a hand and created a wave of flame that rushed towards String reducing all the snow in his path to steam. Just as the fire reached her, String created a powerful updraft of wind that shot it into the sky. Dispersing this fire and wind, String began to breathe heavily as she returned to applying pressure to the right side of her head with her left hand.

“Well that was annoying.” Alex said dispassionately as he dispersed his shroud of fire. “I haven’t hated snow this much since I fought and killed Khione.”

“Who the hell is Khione?”

“She was a goddess of snow,” Alex did a quick tilt of his head, “Now she is dead.”

String adjusted her stance to stand taller, while maintaining a glare on Alex. Alex only gave String a blank look as he asked her a question of his own.

“How the hell are you able to see me by the way? I know for damn sure you should be blind right now.”

“I am.”

Alex’s expression showed no visible change, though he began tapping his nose directly following her statement. As Alex studied String closely, she did the same to him with a single thought going through her mind.

‘Glad my assumption that you don’t know the full extent of Forecast was confirmed. That makes this much easier.’

Still watching Alex closely, String allowed for a tiny bit of her focus to be taken away from her fight to concentrate on everywhere else her storm covered. With the storm’s center having reached Owen’s hat, String was now aware of the entire battlefield. Owen was sitting before a map that showed everyone on the battlefield, Max was napping against a tree with tears streaming down her face and her strange shoulder pad glowing as if charged with energy, Moon was using multiple bodies to just decimate a latex-wearing Herah, and-

‘What the hell? I thought Alex killed all of you?’

-a newly born Keijo was sprinting towards the general area that Herah and Moon fought.

‘You can thank me for this one’s survival.’ String growled at the sudden intrusion of Norwe into her mind, ‘What he has planned is just too interesting to have ended because of a little thing such as well thought out attacks.’

‘Fuck off, you piece of shit!’

‘Just answering questions and telling you that your fight is getting sorta stale.’

‘Yeah yeah, I noticed! I’m waiting for something to be done before I do anything else.’

‘I know, just informing you of how I feel.’

Now alone in her mind once again, String directed her smidgen of focus towards a small area at the very edge of her storm that she had a gentle breeze going through. Within this area, C.C. appeared to be giving directions to a small group of Oni, some archers and the rest technicians for the catapults that were still being set in position.

String returned her full attention to Alex, the human having only placed his empty hand on his amulet in the five seconds that she had spent observing all the others. Studying him closely while also keeping the pressure on her still bleeding wound, String called out to Alex.

“Why are you so afraid of Norwe?”

Alex didn’t even seem startled by this question, though his eyes did narrow at String before he dropped the hand that was tapping his nose and aimed it towards her. Summoning a ball of flames to his hand, Alex asked String his own question.

“Why the fuck do you care?”

String prepared herself for an incoming attack from Alex before saying,

“I thought it strange how you seem to harbor no hate towards him. He told me himself that all you ever feel when in his presence is fear, nothing but fear. I was curious as to why this might be.”

Alex snuffed out the flame in his hand and returned to tapping his nose. For a few brief moments, nothing was said between the two until Alex snapped his fingers and said,

“I’ll answer if you answer a question of mine.”

String appeared to ponder this for a moment before nodding yes. Seeing this, Alex let out a sigh and looked down at his hand lighting it with fire once again.

“Because control is something I value deeply,” Alex held out his hand towards String, the fire within it taking the form of a marionettist controlling a marionette, “Being in control of my situation and of the outcome of it is one of the few things that bring me joy in life. And Norwe, well he is able to take away all of that control,” Strings of fire sprouted from the marionettist and into a large hand of fire above them, “Without a single thought.”

As Alex dispersed his flame, String felt her glare lessen as she thought over his words. But before String could really delve into them, Alex asked his question.

“Why are you doing this?”

String’s brow scrunched up as she blinked at Alex a few times.

“Doing what?”

“Fighting me, attempting to destroy that tree, anything really.” Alex tilted his head to the side once again, “Your expression throughout most of our fight really tells me that you’d rather be anywhere but here.”

“”We elect you, String, to be the leader of our people!”” String quoted, looking down towards the ground as she spoke.

“What?”

“That was what I was told after I killed my father to complete my trial.” String looked up towards the sky, not at all irritated by the downpour that caused her clothing to cling to her body, “My people chose me to lead them to salvation. My father asked me, if chosen, to accept, just like he did when my grandfather died.” String looked down and towards Alex, “I do this merely out of obligation. To be honest, I’d love to just laze about and help keep the weather good for my people until my dying days. That would be a satisfying life for me to lead, in my opinion.”

“Hmmm.” Alex allowed for a smile to come to his face, as his voice loss its lifelessness and gained a tone of a honest pleasantness, “That does sound like something I’d be happy with myself. It’s too bad that this sense of obligation far outweighs your own desires.”

String could only nod as she allowed for a bit of her attention to drift towards C.C. and the others, with their weapons at the ready. Finding this, String quickly scrawled out the coordinates of their position in the dirt in front of C.C. with wind before giving her full attention back to Alex. The human had started nodding to himself in the brief moment String had taken to message C.C., and before String could ask another question she found her eyes actually looking at Alex. A quiet gasp and a few silent, surprised blinks left String before she then heard Alex say,

“Judging by your slightly agape mouth and that gasp, I assume that your vision has returned. This means my wind and fire manipulation will disappear soon enough. I’m also guessing that your archers and catapults are ready to add steel and earth to this rain.” String flinched at Alex’s words, getting a smirk in return, “I knew you were stalling for time, and I allowed it due to my need for stalling since I needed a bit of info from my sister.”

This set String on edge almost instantly, causing her to ask,

“What did she tell you?”

“You’ll find out soon enough.”

String let out a low growl.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be real soon. Speaking of real soon,” Alex’s voice and expression once again loss all sense of life, “Our fight is about to end, so its about time that we both get serious. Wouldn’t you agree?”

String removed her hand from the side of her head and entered a battle stance, just as Alex reached down to the ground and punched it.

I can control the ground.”

The ground around Alex began to break apart as rocks shot out of it and began to form a half dome of dirt over his head, just as String started to create more snow and begun to create several small tornados around herself while also generating strong wind currents to speed of all the projectiles that were heading her way. Once again, String’s chain whip began to buzz as her hair started to rise. Launching the dart end of her weapon into the sky just as the lighting stuck, String felt the energy course through her as she acknowledged that only two strikes were left.

“I agree.”

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Thomas Loud
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