Chapter 9 Internal Conflict
“Whoa!” I cried, while evading the spell; desperately trying not to get hit. I still couldn’t register what had truly happened. Nu-Ru attacked me. My thoughts were sporadic; it also didn’t help that he didn’t even give me a moment break.
Bolts of mana whizzed pass me and struck all around me as I desperately dodged. “Nu-Ru! What the hell are you doing?!” I screamed once more, trying to make him stop.
“What does it looks like? I’m stopping you!” Answering back, another volley of bolts flew towards me.
“Damn it.” Cursing under my breath, I finally equipped my sword and shield. “|Force Slash|” Activating my skill, a powerful shockwave shot from my sword after swinging it. The air in the room rippled as my attack destroyed Nu-Ru’s bolt.
My victory was short lived before another hail of bolts came. Nu-Ru didn’t let up, forcing me to halt my position. However, I held the advantage in this scenario. |Mana Bolt| was a low-tier spell. Already, I know that Nu-Ru has no real intention of hurting me, nor does he want to use a higher level spell, in case it might damage the things in the room.
The condition for his victory was stalling me. But if I can make it past him, through the door, then it would be my victory. As I danced around the projectile, I quick came up with an idea. Stopping for a split second, he fired a bolt right at me exactly as I hoped for. This time, I went for a different approach.
Flipping my sword, I attacked using the flat side of my weapon. Timing at the correct time, I managed to deflect or hit back the bolt. The attack ricochet back towards him, hitting the wall; causing a small explosion. I used the small window of time to escape.
“Don’t think it’s that easy! |Glacier Wall|”
Just as I reached the door, ice formed from the ground before rising up. Building up, they compacted together to cover the doorway. In a matter of seconds, a massive block of ice covered the door. I couldn’t easily break through based on how thick it looked. So, the only option left was to fight.
Turning my attention away, I jumped back just in time to evade another barrage of spells. With some distance between us, we held our position in silence. Silently clicking my tongue, I pondered on my next movement. Now I had to take down Nu-Ru just long enough to break that wall down.
Fighting would get us nowhere and I was running out of time. As I stared back toward Nu-Ru, it was clear that he was willingly to stop me at all cost. I wouldn’t be dissuaded, or rather I couldn’t, and neither would he.
Staring at one another in silence, I broke our silent staring contest. Charging at him once more, a barrage of spell flew towards me. Raising my shield, all incoming projectile was blocked or deflected. In a few seconds, I was in front of Nu-Ru. Rotating my sword, I swung with the broad end in hopes of incapacitating him.
Uttering the name of a spell, Nu-Ru completely disappeared from sight. My attack completely missed its mark. Frantically looking around, Nu-Ru was nowhere in sight.
‘Where is he?! The only place left is…up!!’ As I came to that conclusion, I was proven correct as Nu-Ru was slowly descending on top of me.
I was too late to act as the attack rained down upon me. Shielding myself as best as I could, I was knocked back once more. “Damn it!” Cursing aloud, I charged at Nu-Ru again and again. And each time I got close, Nu-Ru would just teleport away. Our persisting game of cat and mouse only further annoying me. He was stalling me!
‘Damn it…Looks like I’m going to have to take some risks.’
Using a pyromancy, a wild fire sparked from the palms of my hand before exploding and condensing into a mass of fire.
“So you’ve finally plan on using your pyromancy. Well it’s going to take more than that to destroy my wall.” Looking towards me, a sense of arrogance could be heard in his voice.
“I know, but I’m not aiming for the wall now am I?” Perplexed by what I meant, I quickly turned my body around towards the table filled with all the notes and paper sprawled out.
“Nooo!” Nu-Ru only caught on at the last second before deploying a barrier to protect the table. Hitting the dome, the fire spreads, covering the entire barrier. Emitting a terrifying heat wave. The flames eventually died down to reveal the table and content perfectly fine.
Distracted, I finally had the opening I was looking for. Using the opportunity, I attacked him with a flying dropkick, slamming him against the wall. Bringing my attention back to the blockade, I got to work.
“|Dragon Strength|, |Flaming Sabre|, |Cross Slash|”
Using my skills, I increased my strength while boosting my sword by imbuing it with a raging flame. Racing towards the fall at full speed, I tightened my weapon and swing. Using the skill, I swung at the glacier. The power at which I attacked rippled through the air.
Chunks of the icy wall were blown away instantly. The debris of ice littered the air around me, glistening a beautiful shine before melting away. The lingering flame caught on the remaining portion of the wall, melting it further.
“Just one more good hit.”
Bringing up my weapon for another attack, I felt a sudden coldness from my feet. Looking down I saw the ground being frozen, and frost slowly seeped up my feet. Looking for the source, I saw it came from Nu-Ru. Interrupted, my attention was divided between freeing myself and breaking the wall.
In the short interval in which I was distracted, Nu-Ru teleported in front of me. “|Heavy Breaker|” In a split second I used another skill to break down the wall.
“|Negate Barrier|” Cutting in, a hexagonal barrier appeared before Nu-Ru. As my sword touched the surface of the barrier, I felt the momentum behind the swing disappearing. He negated my skill attack. Before I could counterattack, Nu-Ru laid one of his hands upon my chest. “|Ventus Cyclone|” Blasted backwards, I managed to recover in time. Getting back on my feet, the distance between the two of us was the same as before.
“Back to square one…” The only difference, this time, was that there was a large gap in the wall for me to jump through. All I needed to do was get past him one more time.
“Give it up Nu-Ru. This is an uphill battle for you since you’re on the defensive side. You can’t beat me on your own.”
“You have a point…but I’m not exactly alone.”
Just as he finished his words, I felt a presence creeping up behind me. Turning just in time and using my sword; I deflected the incoming attack. Sparked scattered in the air from out weapons clashing. It was only then that I realized who the attacker was, it was none other than Sirva. Kicking me back, Sirva jumped and landed next to Nu-Ru.
I couldn’t help but let out a low cursing towards Nu-Ru. Calling an NPC for help while it was just me against them. That was just dirty. Growling under my breath, I didn’t have time to dwell on the matter as they coordinated their attacks. Roaring in retaliation I charged forward.
It was safe to say I was getting my ass kicked. Sirva was a quick fighter, her style of fighting involves quick and precise attacks. A complete opposite to me which relied on powerful strikes. All I could do was block her furious strike.
As for Nu-Ru, he was relegated to a support role. Staying in the back, Sirva dealt most of the damage. Staying in the back, he provided her with several buffs. Boosting her strength, speed, attack speed, defenses and so forth. If that wasn’t bad enough, he could occasionally take potshots at me to divert my attention between Sirva and himself.
It didn’t take long before I was exhausted. Their teamwork was unbelievable, each action were perfectly timed. As if they planned out the fight in it’s entirely. In a matter of minutes, I was on my knees while Nu-Ru and Sirva didn’t so much as had a droplet of sweat!
“You should just give up…Please.” speaking up, Nu-Ru tone was soft, he was trying one last time to talk me out of it. Unfortunately, it was too late for that.
“Like hell I am!” Mustering all the strength I could I rushed towards Nu-Ru! Sighing under his breath, Nu-Ru stopped me in my tracks.
Casting a spell, magic formed around me, and condensing itself before forming chains. Binding to my body, they stopped and restricted me. As I desperately tried to fight back, the chains only tightened even further. Trying to fight back, it wouldn’t budge, no matter how much strength I used.
Letting out a frustrated scream I watched as they walked over as I continued to struggle.
“Now sit there and….”
“Drakus? Nu-Ru? What’s going on?” Interrupting Nu-Ru was fourth voice. Taken by surprise, well all looked to see someone cautiously walking in. It was Altina, who was walking in through the gap in the ice wall. A look of extreme confusion passed her face as she looks upon the scene before her.
“Altina? Good, you’re here. Help us with this. We need to detain Drakus for a bit. Sirva, inform the othe–“ Nu-Ru couldn’t finish his sentence as Altina attacked him. The speed at which she attacked managed to catch both Nu-Ru and myself off guard. He received the full force of the attack and was knocked backwards. Instantly attacking Altina, Sirva’s daggers were stopped by her bayonets.
“Altina! What do you believe you are doing?” Remaining silent to Sirva’s question, Altina planted a kick towards Sirva’s stomach; kicking her back. Dashing towards me, she gracefully swung her hand in a shift motion. The next second, the magical chains were destroyed.
“Drakus! Are you unharmed? What exactly is going on?” Her voice was filled with panic as she inspected my body. Helping myself, I informed her of the situation. As I finished my explanation, I looked up to see Nu-Ru and Sirva up and ready as well.
“Looks like the playing field is evened out.” Ignoring my joking remark, Nu-Ru fixed his gaze on Altina.
“…Altina. Surely you can see that what’s he’s doing is reckless.” Speaking up, Nu-Ru tried to reason with her.
“…That is true. Drakus’s plan and action is driven by his emotion…”
“Then that makes it all the more important that you help us in detaining him. Before h–”
“However I am loyal to Drakus before Crimson Strife. If he chooses to go against it all, then I will stand by his side.”
“Tchhhh. Damn love command.”
Despite the whisper, I managed to make out the words he spoke. Referring to the original two commands, it looked that her loyalty to me was more powerful than to the guild. A small smile formed as I silently thanked my luck.
But this once again puts us at an impasse.
“We need to hurry and finish this fight before something happens to the princess.” I whispered, trying to formulate a plan of action.
“Drakus, why not use the ring and teleport away?”
“Easier said than done Altina. The Guild ring only allow us to teleport to the Earthen Sanctum and from there, the exit. Nu-Ru would be right behind me if I do teleport. Also, if I tried to teleport away to some of the floors to lose him. all he would have to do was wait at the entrance to stall us. The condition for this battle is for us to knock him down long enough so that he can’t catch up to us.”
“…I see. Then, I shall fight by your side Drakus.”
Turning my attention back to Nu-Ru, his gaze was fixated on us. Neither one of us made a move, we only stood there watching one another.
“Why? Why are you so fixated on saving her?” Speaking up, it was Nu-Ru’s turn to break the silence.
“What kind of question is that? If you see a person in trouble then you help them.” I answered back.
“I mean more than that…You barely even know a thing about her. You’ve met for like what? 10-20 minutes, and all you know of her is that she’s a princess. And it’s enough for you to charge in. What exactly compels you to do such a thing?!”
Faced with such a question, all I could do was stare back at Nu-Ru, whom was waiting for an answer. In truth, I didn’t know why exactly I was so adamant on saving her. In fact, the more I think about it, the more idiotic it sounds. My original plan was to just rush and wing it.
In the end…what reason did I truly have for saving her? Nothing.
“You’re right about one thing Nu-Ru, I don’t have a real reason for saving her…But then again, do I really need a reason? If I see a person in trouble, then I’ll lend them a helping hand. After all…that is what makes us human; compassion.”
Even from afar, I could see Nu-Ru’s eyes widening from my response. “That’s it? You’re doing all of this, for something as simple as ‘it’s the right thing to do?’”
“Well you know what they say, sometimes the best reasons are the most simplistic.” A small chuckled escaped as I answered back.
“…To think, you’re doing all of this……But then again, I did originally follow you because of that mentality.” Exasperated, our conversation quickly died back down. Nu-Ru kept his head low, making it hard to discern what he was truly thinking.
Slowly he raised his head and our eyes met. Letting of his staff, it dissipated. Seeing his unusual action, I couldn’t but grow weary. Part of me hoped that Nu-Ru gave up but the other part told me it wasn’t that easy.
“As your friend I respect your decision…but it is because we’re friends that I must stop you from making such a reckless choice.”
“I figured as much” Sighing under my breath, now wasn’t the time for hesitation. “Altina, please make sure Sirva doesn’t interfere, I’ll take care of Nu-Ru.”
Silently agreeing, round three started. Charging forward, Altina and Sirva clashed and their battle moved away from ours. As the sound of their battle rang through the room, the two of us stood; unmoving.
Nu-Ru was definitely up to something, but the question was what? Already this has dragged on for long enough, I needed to hurry before something happens to the princess! Ultimately, I charged forward, readying my strike.
However, as the distance closed between us, Nu-Ru showed no sign of reacting. My instinct was telling that something was wrong, but the time for hesitation has passed. Wavering for a second, I brought my weapon down upon him. It was supposed to be a clean strike, enough to knock him down. Unfortunately for me, it beyond anything that I had imagined.
“|Enchant: Adamantium Armor|”
Uttering a spell at the last second, Nu-Ru’s body radiated a powerful and majestic light. As my sword descended on his body, he flicked his arm up. He stopped my attack with just his hand. Even I was unable to hide my shock at the sight before me. My hand jerked at the sudden halt of attack.
While I was distracted, Nu-Ru retaliated. Bringing up my shield just in time, Nu-Ru’s fist pushed me backwards. Skidding backwards, my shield hand was shaking from that one simple punch.
“|Legacy Aura|, |Calm Mind|, |Secret Force|, |Greater Agility|, |Greater Vitality|, |Imperial Dominance|, |Warrior’s Fury|”
Bringing my attention back to Nu-Ru, he was bathed in a multitude of light rays. Each one, either a buff or support spell that dramatically increased his abilities. Taking a step forward, Nu-Ru left a dust trailed as he appeared before me in less than a second. Positioning his body, he attacked with a horizontal Axe Kick.
Raising my shield, it too radiated a heavenly light. Making contact with my shield, his kick was so powerful that it was enough to create miniature sonic boom. Negating his attack, the force behind it was enormousness enough to blow my shield hand back. Left wide open, I was forced to retreated back a few meters.
“To think…you would resource to this….” I grimaced. In Eternia, both Nu-Ru and I were among Eternia’s top rated players. For me, my strength lied in mixed combat. When it comes to defense and countering, I was among the best. In addition, my pryomancy added another layer of unpredictability.
Compared to me, Nu-Ru was more famous. Typically, when someone play a mage character, they either fall in the category of damage dealer or supporter. Nu-Ru had three distinct play styles. The first one was the basic magic build of using powerful spells at a distance. Second was a supporter style, where he took a back seat role. His use of powerful support and enhancements greatly aided powerful players.
Finally, there was the combat mage fighting style. A style that he created by combined the first and second style together. Using all the spells at his disposal, he would engage in close quarter combat. A very unorthodox way of fighting for a mage but he was damn good at it.
He rarely uses the third fighting style, so it only goes to show how serious he was. Dashing forward with ridiculous speed, Nu-Ru came in for another attack. This time I was ready and prepared my own counterattack. Swing my sword in a horizontal arc, it was intercepted when Nu-Ru raised his arm.
Clashing against his arm, I winced in pain as my attack completely bounced back. It was as if I struck a wall instead of flash and bone. As he readied another punch I raised my shield and countered it. Attack, block, attack, parry, counter parry, attack. We danced to the rhythm of our attacks.
Blow for blow, we attacked each other unceasingly, not giving the other an inch. But it became painfully obvious who was gaining the upper hand.
As I call forth the name of my skill, Nu-Ru stopped his next attack. In a split second he was gone, Nu-Ru teleported himself way in the air. Exactly how I wanted it.
While in the air, it would be difficult for him to dodge and/or get away from my attack. The area around sparked and burst into flame. They gathered together before forming dozens of spherical pulsating fire orbs. Shooting towards Nu-Ru, they each left behind streaks of flame.
Spreading out his hand, the air cooled. The water molecules condenses before ice appeared all around Nu-Ru. They took the shape of spears and looked sharp enough to skewer a human.
As my barrage of bullets closed in, so too did Nu-Ru’s spell. Clashing, the room shook and trembled from the explosion of our attack. Part of the room was clouded with dark smoke, making hard to see what was going on.
“I got you now!” I screamed as I jumped through the smoke, sensing an opportunity.
“Is that so?” Hearing Nu-Ru’s voice, I had little time to process what he said. It was only after I broke through the smoke that I realized his meaning.
Time seemingly slowed down as I took in my surrounding. Bursting through the smoke, I came face to face with Nu-Ru who too was in the air. Immediately, my body became aware of everything around us. Surrounding us in the smoke were small pockets of light. Due to how dense the smoke was, he carefully hide them.
Suddenly they all glowed and detonated. The explosion knocked me right back to the ground. “To think a warrior class would be losing to a mage class in close quarter combat…how embarrassing.” Whispering to myself, it was loud enough that Nu-Ru overheard me.
“It seems that you have forgotten something. This isn’t Eternia anymore.” Snickered Nu-Ru, as he levitated down.
“I know that, but what does that have to do with anything?” I responded in a vexing tone as I struggled to stand back up.
“In typically game logic, a mage and a knight at polar opposite. Should a knight close the distance, he holds the advantage. Should the mage prevent the knight from advancing, then he holds the advantage. A well-known concept. Tell me, what would happen if two individuals of equal power were to fight? What would be the deciding factor?”
Before I could say anything, Nu-Ru answered his own question.
“The answer to that is simple. Skills. And I do not mean skills as in the attacks you use, I mean true skill. In Eternia, if we were to square off, you would have a higher chance at beating me. However, that is only because we have to follow their rules. Despite being a VR game, it was far from true reality. As of now, we have become our characters. No longer are we bounded by the rules of Eternia, rather we’re now bounded by this new world’s restriction.”
“What the hell are you getting at? If you have something to say, then just say it.” Cutting in, already I was bored by the amount of exposition that was spewing from his mouth.
Scoffing through his nose, Nu-Ru continued on. “The point I’m making is this. Even with our new bodies and power, they don’t change anything. They have changed what we are, not who we area. Ever since coming to this world, I have only seen you use skills to attack. And the few times you don’t, your swordsmanship is sloppy at best. This is our new reality and as reality dictates, you’re no master swordsman as you were in Eternia.”
Making his claim, there was nothing for me to really say. As much I wanted to rebuttal him, he was right. I’ve never held a sword in life before until now. Let alone know how to wield one properly. There were so many things factor into wielding a sword proficiently. Even now, I fell that I’m just swinging around a sharpen stick willy nilly.
“What exactly are you trying accomplish by telling me this?”
Looking back at me, Nu-Ru released a quiet sigh. “The point I’m trying to make is this…This is an uphill battle for you. I am trying to convince you to give up. you say it is the right thing to do…but sometimes the morally right thing to do isn’t all always the best!!” Yelling in the end, Nu-Ru looked at me straight in the eyes.
“….Do I need a reason to help out a friend?” After a moment of silence, I finally answered him back.
“…That’s it?” asked Nu-Ru in a serious tone.
“What other reason do I need? I already told you, I’m going to save her because it’s the right thing to do. After all, it was this mentality that allow us to meet in the first place and form Crimson Strife as it is now.”
Looking back at me, a defeated chuckle could be heard from Nu-Ru.
“I should have expected as much…I guess the saying is true. An idiot who doesn’t know his own limits has no limits. Then again I am an idiot for thinking I could persuade you so easily. I guess I’ll have to bring you down a few notch.”
The soft chuckle ceased and Nu-Ru was back to his usual solemn look. Already, I have exhausted many of my opinions. ‘Desperate times calls for desperate measures…’ Taking in a deep breath I carefully ran the idea one last time through my head. Because it was all or nothing.
Letting go of my shield and sword, they dissipated as I stored them in my inventory. For the first time since our fight, Nu-Ru revealed a genuine surprised expression. Slowly, I shifted my posture, taking the position similar to a sprinter.
‘Here goes nothing.’ I said to myself, putting the plan into action.
“|Gate Acceleration.|, |Chandra Cloak|, |Ashen Immolation|, and |Novus Flash|”
Activating my skills, flames shot out from my body, covering me in a blanket of fire. Kicking the ground with explosive force, I rocketed towards him.
“So you’re planning on trying to close the distance again? You’re going to have to try better than that. |Aqua Dragon Stream|”
Raising his hand, a powerful stream of water shot towards me taking the form of the beast. I felt the full force of the attack. The heavy pressurized water hitting my skin. Yet I powered through until…
As I reached out to Nu-Ru, the all too familiar chains appeared, constricting me once again.
“Looks like I finally got you.”
“I can say the same for you.”
Furrowing his brows, his expression changed from confusion to shock as I revealed to him my true plan. During my mad dash towards him, I wrapped my arms across my chest. With my entire body ablaze, there was no way that Nu-Ru was able to discern what I was kept hidden, especially since it easily camouflaged itself.
Nu-Ru had no time to react as my attack detonated, blowing us both backwards. The explosion was more powerful than I had imaged, strong enough to send us crashing against the walls of the room. As Draconian, I was resistant to fire base attack and spells. Adding in |Chandra Cloak|, I reduce the damage even further.
However, being at the epicenter of a big explosion was going to hurt no matter how much I buffed up.
Our respective name was called out by Altina and Sirva. Footsteps rang through the air as they dove towards us.
Shouting my name, Altina ran to my side. Glancing back towards Nu-Ru’s direction, I saw that he was in the same state as me. Trying to stand up, I was forced back to my knees. My body was numb from the pain.
“Drakus! Please stop moving. You’re heavy injured…Here.”
Rummaging around, Altina bought out a crystal vial with a red liquid inside, a potion. The taste was just like cold medicine, but it there was also a strange burning sensation along with it. After drinking it, I felt some of my strength returning; I managed to stand back up with Altina support.
Over on Nu-Ru’s side, he too was standing, using Sirva as a support as well. An odd glow dissipated as he stood back up, no doubt some form of healing spell. And once more, we were at another stalemate. I have exhausted all of my ideas, not to mention I was both physically and mentally tired.
However, I wasn’t alone. Nu-Ru suffered more damage than I did from the explosion. Some of his clothes was partially singed. From what I could make out, he was just as exhausted as I am. Unfortunately for the both of us, we were back at square on. Neither one of us looked to be quitting any time soon.
‘Was it ever going to end?’ Wishfully thinking, we glared at one until a sudden voice attracted our attention.
“What the heck is happening here?!”
Hearing a sudden cry, we all turned to see the rest of the guild members standing at the doorway with a dumbfounded look on their faces. Looking back on them an idea came to me. This was the chance I needed! However, Nu-Ru was got to them a bit quicker than me.
“Everyone! Please help me! We need to detain Drakus before he does anything.”
“What?! Don’t listen to him I need your guys help.”
“Do you plan on dragging them through your mess too Drakus?!”
“This wouldn’t be happening if you didn’t try and stop me!”
Back and forth we argued again. At this rate, round four was inevitable. Readying ourselves for another fight. What happened next was something that no one expected.
The tension was already high and the two of us were about to duke it out one more time. Just as we’re about to start fighting again, Kaetzchen appeared next to Nu-Ru.
“Kaetzchen? Good, please I need your wi…”
Before Nu-Ru could finish his sentence, Kaetzchen hit him on the head. It wasn’t just a simple slap on the head. The force at which she attacked with, knocked him down; face first on the marble floor.
Everyone’s jaws dropped at her rather brutal display of violence. Picking Nu-Ru up by his cloth she dragged him over to me. Edging closer I broke free from my daze.
“Nice work Kaetzchen. I’ll be…” Trailing off, Kaetzchen came face to face with me. Walking over she raised up her hand and in the next second I was face flat on the floor. The last thing I ever heard was her screaming.