1.4: One Man Army

Tameri resets her target as Victa’s clones charge in all at once.

     An ability like his, the definition of a one-man army, needs to be understood to counter properly.

     She conserves her morpu (fuel for one’s powers) by deactivating the cobalt glow and buzzing around her spadroon, already prepared to test at least one theory. She dashes forward and gains the attention of seven clones. She slashes at a downward diagonal motion to the right. The clone expresses pain even though no blood is shed. It evaporates as quickly as a frosted breath in the winter.

     They lack endurance.

     She skips back after avoiding blows from three of them, the breeze from their punches ruffling her raven hair. She races between the three and slices their chests open. Three more breaths evaporate.

     Either their physicality matches his own or he possesses absurd strength. Neither is a problem since he’s slower than I am.

     The fifth and sixth clones flank Tameri. She employs her Bond of The Blade to shoot her spadroon through the head of the clone on her right. The one on her left misses a jab, so she grabs his collar and brings his neck into contact with her knee, shattering his thyroid. The final clone races the spadroon to the professor. She catches it and seizes the clone by his neck, her fingers sliding between the muscle within using her phantom power. She yanks and stretches the muscle outside but it evaporates before the muscle has the chance to snap.

     She looks Victa in his eyes as her colleagues lineup once more, having dispatched the other clones just as swiftly. He returns her cold gaze, looking no worse for wear.

     Do the clones equate to a single breath each? Perhaps their creation doesn’t task him physically, even if they use up his morpu.

     She narrows her eyes when Victa starts vibrating again.

     “Any ideas, Tameri?” Zathony asks quietly.

     “Working on it. Just stay alert and together.”

     She pays no heed to the circle he forms, knowing her contemporaries will handle their business like before. His clones pose them no threat, but his endless waves do.

     I have to kill the man himself!

     When Tameri dashes forward again, an even dozen clones converge on her, bastions between her and the original. Tameri executes one of the first techniques taught to her as a child, the “Phantom Dance”. The technique was born to teach her how to swiftly ends the lives of many targets at once. She leaps through her targets with her intangibility, aiming for vital points in a surgical manner. Areas localized around the spine, lungs, jugular, and heart to strike and how became muscle memory for Tameri. From first to last, she severs the vertebrae, right lung, base of the skull, superior vena cava, ascending aorta, rotatores, intercostal ribs, the intercostal ribs again, left lung, external jugular veins, right ventricle, and a horizontal slash through the iliac crests.

     Liamria leaps away from the fountain as Tameri advances on Victa. The man vibrates back-and-forth this time and fires a clone last second. Tameri slides straight through it to attack the original. She lands in the fountain and snatches away his whole grey matter. She squeezes to top it like a balloon but it evaporates first.

     Tameri curses and whirls to strike again, only for three fists to crash into her jaw and knock her into the water. She rises quickly, her cheeks burning from the multiple blows.

     Victa’s arm vibrates as his extra hands fuse with the primary one. He makes his body vibrate back-and-forth and side-to-side intermittently, sending clones to keep her fellow professors at bay. He even speaks as he does so. The vibrating adds reverb to his voice. “Like you, I have fine-tuned my abilities. I may have no easy way to harm you but you will never touch me.”

     Let his taunts wash over you. His powers follow rules, just like my own. His cl0ones leave his body in accordance with which direction he vibrates. He’s trying to hide it with conversation but his breathing is no longer easy. I felt the strain in his lungs when I passed through him. He’s not invincible.

     Tameri steps out of the fountain as it starts to rain lightly around campus.

     But I shouldn’t hold to those ideas strictly. He could easily subvert them again. And now with the rain, Liamria’s–

     Tameri tenses when she doesn’t see the madwoman any longer. With the rain falling and the fountain behind her, her range and maneuverability are sure to increase.

     “It is a rough deal, to contend with not only myself but Liamria in the rain as well. You and your lot at this doomed academy are not equipped for victory. And just in case you expected help. Well…”

     Something splashes down in the fountain behind Tameri. She activates her intangibility and turns, the veins in her brow and hand popping fiercely. Roark’s bloody, scarred body stains the water red. Liamria laughs from the top of the fountain with a mad cackle.

     “Torturing him was quite fun. Only way to make it sweeter would be if Stark could’ve seen it. The way he defended her as I cut into him; oh, he was sweet on her, enough to make me gag. Then he tried to bluff an accomplice made it to Vanis Town. I checked and not a soul is any wiser to your predicament. I’ll return there after this and show them your corpse as I parade it down the street before piling all of theirs on top of yours.”

     Tameri raises her spadroon as she touches her chest, eyes shut to focus on the lack of sensation within. She draws strength from the vacuum. Her foes have no humanity within and she cannot compete as hers holds her back. Despite it all until now, she’d hoped to capture them alive with some small scrap of mercy. With the reveal of Roark’s body and zero hope of reinforcements, she realizes what she must do.

     “Oh, is she praying, Victa? How pitiful,” Liamria says insultingly.

     “As is their kind, Lia. A host of savages clinging to a legend that doesn’t–”

     Tameri blitzes Victa with such celerity that she cuts him and his scapegoat simultaneously, giving him a matching cut between his forearm and elbow like Liamria.

“I have no God. No legend. I had a lifestyle to protect and expand. Now, I no longer. When I cut you down, whatever soul remains, I will haunt beyond the end of your days. I, Tameri, the Phantom Slayer.”

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