Pow-Pow hummed as the bullets tore through the tree line. Morgana kept an eye to the river, tuning out Jinx’s maniacal laughter and the cursing of the poor sod she set her sights on. The river seemed peaceful. Morgana felt mildly tranquil as she turned and raised an eyebrow to Jinx’s fooling around. The blasts of light turned even her bullets to smithereens, but she didn’t seem to care. Her body was tense, she was itching to give chase, but there was no telling what was waiting beyond the treeline.
Morgana grinded her teeth as Lucian dove out from the trees firing like he had a machine gun of his own. With a flick of her wrist, Lucian’s hardlight was stopped with an invisible wall and with another, she fired a blast of dark energy at him. His body seemed to glow, and instantly, he dodged both her attack and a blast from Jinx’s lightning gun. Turning on a heel he fired a single beam of hardlight from his gun at Jinx, but she moved like snake. The beam vaporized a hole in her lightning gun, but she gave chase without hesitation, giggling, as she pulled Fishbones over her shoulder.
Sighing through her nose, Morgana walked after Jinx as she gave chase to Lucian into the trees, but an intense feeling of dread came over her. Instinctively, she turned and blanketed her surroundings in a pool of dark energy. Adrenaline flooded her veins. The bladeswoman that came at her was unhindered. With a glistening sheen, her sword was aimed straight for her throat as she propelled herself forward. The blade whistled as she shot through the air. Morgana pulled on her power to stop her, but in those fractions of a second, she realized she wouldn’t make it; then a snap and explosion, and her energy released from her hands desperately trying to keep the duelist away from her –Jinx’s explosive chompers. One had bitten into her leg and slowed her just enough for the blast to release in time. Morgana turned her anxiety of the near-miss into rage as Fiora tried to stand. The black roots wrapped around her and tightened their hold –suffocating her. Despite the snare’s power, she wouldn’t let her sword go. Taking care, Morgana shielded herself and approached as she drained the lifeforce from the grand duelist. The blood drained from her cheeks and the light slowly faded from her eyes. Even then she could sense the insatiable bloodlust –the sharpened focus she had to kill at the slightest oversight, but that was the oversight.
In a flash of moonlight Morgana recognized her error. The crescent blade pierced her skin and cut through her body so she could see it. There were two killers. Absent-mindedly holding the blade, she gasped for a breath that couldn’t be had, but she couldn’t drop her knees. The moonlight assassin raised her into air and Morgana gazed upon the clouds as Diana made it rain blood in a single crescent wave of bladed light.
The black roots turned to ash and Fiora had enough freedom to collapse. Diana hurried over to her.
“Are you alright? Can you fight?”
Barely able to take in a full breath or even see clearly Fiora nodded. “I can fight.”
Diana noticed her arms shaking as she hunched over on all fours.
“Come on.” Diana kneeled down and helped her up, no sooner had they stood than the ground shook and threw them off-balance, the wave knocked them over as a colossal second wave of uprooted deep rock and earthen metal rippled toward them at frightening speed. Diana reached for Fiora’s hand and they huddled together in a scrape for what little time they had to react. Moments before the wave hit, a giant rushed past them and laid down a wall of ice. They couldn’t even hear the impact as the earth uprooted itself and threw itself all around them. The weight of the Ice Witch’s door and her deadly ice shielded them all as Braum held it steady against the convulsion of nature. Uprooted, the ground and river caved into itself and a titan leapt from it at mind-boggling speed. Unmoved, Braum blasted the creature’s foot with burning ice followed by a chilling roar that shook them to their bones; following up on Braum’s blast, the dragonborn ran at the titan head-on and leapt pushing him back in a brilliant strike of explosive fire.
As Malphite and Shyvana shook the Rift with their coming to blows, Braum turned to Diana and Fiora.
“Are you alright!?”
With that, Braum rushed after Shyvana without another word. Diana looked down-river at the fight taking place and paused before turning to Fiora.
“I’m going to find Lucian. I’ll be back.”
Fiora nodded and stood as Diana rushed into the jungle. Fiora took a few steps and realized how badly she was hurt. Her ankle had been deeply cut into and the explosion burned her skin beyond convenient healing. The pain of it was only somewhat numbed by the worse damage Morgana had inflicted. It was as if her body only sustained its form by the pressure of adrenaline and cortisone pumping through it. Her vision was dark if not blurred by tears of pain. Her numbed senses dulled the pain of her broken ribs enough breathe. Of course, Diana and Braum didn’t know that, but she wasn’t going to let them die because of her. She wouldn’t disgrace her name being defended by others, but she would fall prey to hunters.
“Did you do this?” The voice was deep, harsh, and murderous; chilling like a demon’s. Turning, Fiora stood off with the gladiator; nothing of his face could be seen beneath the shadow of his helmet but the murderous glint in his eyes. He was kneeling over what was left of Morgana’s body.
“And if I did?”
The gladiator stood. “Then you will know the pain and fear of death!” He marched forward, but Fiora could sense no opening. His pace did not vary. Readying her sword she took in a deep breath and quieted her mind. Reflexively, she parried his spear, but wasn’t sharp enough to stop or avoid his shield. Her head ringing and world shaking, she deftly parried a second spear attack, but was too slow trying to react to the shield. Her sight went blank for an instant and she felt her body being skewered and flushed of blood as she fell to the ground unable to move. Everything wobbled, nothing was clear, and the pain slowly crept up all over as the blood from his spear dripped onto her face. The demon gazed at her and her rapier for long while.
“You didn’t kill her.”
She could feel every moment as she saw the spear pierce her skin and cut straight through her heart. The final jerk and cut almost didn’t even mean anything. Convulsing and coughing up blood, she was dead before Pantheon even pulled out his spear.
Diana ran as fast as she could following the sound of bullets and laughter. As she entered a clearing, she could see the fight with Malphite moving towards them. She had to find Lucian before they got the drop on him, but the smell of roses distracted her. Swinging her blade before she even had sights on her, Diana severed a golden chain from The Deceiver, but she was already in front of Diana. With ease, Diana cut her down and LeBlanc’s wayward bolt fired into the canopy. The body turned to mist at her feet as her laughter rang all around her. Diana stood calm as more of the shadows appeared and ran circles around her. As they fired magic bolts, Diana shielded herself with moonlight –magic spheres winding around the barrier; and thrusting her blade into the ground, all of the shadows flew at her like ragdolls to be vaporized by the barrier’s light. As LeBlanc rushed in from behind, Diana turned with her blade already charged; a crescent wave of light radiated from it cutting her in-half, but even it was a shadow, even still, the real LeBlanc behind her wasn’t. The blast cut through her collarbone. LeBlanc lost consciousness before her body even hit the ground. But as Diana neared, she felt completely cut off from her magic power. Another shadow had grabbed onto her from behind and tried to hold her until the real LeBlanc could recover.
Diana laughed. “You think you could stop me even without magic?” Diana thrust her hip out and delivered a crushing blow the shadow’s kidney, with no armor, her ribs caved in as well. Without any tact, Diana overpowered her and flipped her over her shoulder and cut her down with a single strike. The light returned to her blade as she approached the unconscious LeBlanc on the ground. Pulling her blade around her throat, she put her foot to the back of her head before feeling her thigh muscles torn through and the nerve-racking pain that came with it. The sweep of bullets continued to mutilate trees and didn’t focus her again, but she crawled over to a nearby tree and took refuge behind it.
“You alright Diana!?” It was Lucian. He no doubt saved her, but it would be hard to deal with Malphite with her legs shot. Even numbing the pain wouldn’t overcome the crippling effect they would have. Because of her armor, the bullets didn’t pass through. The shrapnel knifed at her nerves. The motor effects aside, she still gulped down half a flask of painkiller.
“I’m fine! We have to get moving! Shyvana and Braum are fighting Malphite!” Diana stood and tried to gather her surroundings before leaving her cover. Tree bark hit her face as she pulled back and leapt to the nearest tree on the opposite side; flinging her sword around as she slid, a crescent wave cut through the trees and cut into Jinx’s calf. Lucian fired, but a cut of earth spiraled upward walling her off from them. The ground cut itself and checkered as the terrain shuffled itself in seconds. Jinx rode her spire into the sky raining bullets on them with incoherent taunts; but she was still marked, and that moonlight called.
Diana rode that moonlight as a wayward spire undercut her and Jinx leapt over the top of the new mountainous wall. Lucian gave swift chase, undeterred. Grasping at the spire that knocked the wind out of her, she found her balance on it and ducked as Malphite flew over the wall and landed on his back. Diana shoved her blade into the spire to avoid falling from the force of his flight and landing. Pulling herself up, she leapt after Lucian.
The pain had gone, but her leg movement felt sluggish. She adjusted best she could and tried to keep up. As Diana reached the top of the wall the Rift shook once more with massive concussive power and she wasn’t able to gain her footing. Balancing with her blade she slid down the muddy wall without getting sight on Lucian or Jinx. Pausing to listen she heard rubble from a nearby rock formation above her, but by the time she turned, the spear had already shattered her knee and cut through flesh and ligament. Doubled over, she lost all the air in her lungs to scream. She heard the whoosh of a heavy flapping fabric and the heavy jangle of metal and leather. As Pantheon pulled the spear from what was left of her knee, the air came in only to touch her lungs for a scream. The blade cut into her heart moments later and was skewered with a jerk. Pantheon gazed at her longer than he normally would have, but there was no doubt in his mind that she was Morgana’s killer.
“We’ll bake gingerbread in Hell, Morgana.”
Pantheon rushed into the jungle without another thought.
Beyond the wall, Shyvana and Braum fought. She leapt from his shield as he charged forward. Malphite hammering down on him and Braum heaving to hold up the weight of the blows. Shyvana fell from the sky with a whip-like hammer of her legs atop his head etching fire into his earthen skull. Steadying himself with his right hand, he battered her away with his left, Braum froze his right to the ground as Shyvana halted her flight smashing her arm through the nearest tree. As she landed, she caught it before it fell in a deep breath of draconic flame. It barreled Malphite down like a missile, but he rose again seemingly unfazed.
“I would normally come up with a joke at this point, but this is one sturdy rock.” Braum was impressed, but also unsure of how to proceed. Shyvana was the powerhouse and he was the wall. Even still, Malphite didn’t seem to wear down as easily as expected. He just had to think harder.
Shyvana shook off her gauntlets. The fractures widened and they split before she even undid the strapping. She pulled off her helm and tossed it aside, cracking as it hit the ground. Her head felt lighter, her body felt lighter and it was a little easier to breathe. Her blood boiled and she took a deep breath as a light breeze passed through. Malphite was approaching them slowly, perhaps even hesitantly, but she felt no doubt. The titan was her prey and she made that clear in the way she looked on him.
Shyvana looked at Braum, mildly stunned. She never expected him to say that, but looking down as Pantheon, there could be no question. Something had changed. Pantheon wasn’t human anymore.
He could feel the power brimming to even his fingertips. His breath felt extra refreshing. His muscles extra strong, his frame sturdier, his senses sharper, his response time –incredible. He felt exhilarated. The power had exalted him. All that was left to do was to use that newfound power.
With a single leap, he closed the distance between them. Shyvana leapt with him and flipped to add extra power to the kick she hammered him down with. Pantheon blocked it with his forearm; on impact, the explosion sent him flying like a bullet for the center of the lake. As he landed, the water spread out into walls around him as he sprung from the dry lakebed into the clouds.
Both Shyvana and Braum turned to run, but he landed ahead of them, his landing, blowing them back. Catching him off-balance, Pantheon flung his spear at Braum. As it hit his shield it carried him across the lake with the force of Baron Nashor. He rushed Shyvana with his gladius, Shyvana couldn’t wrestle him down, instead, she was driven into the ground and drilled across the bedrock. Focusing all of her strength on holding back his sword-hand she took a blow to the face and a headbutt that rattled her frame. She felt the blade touch her skin and held her breath desperately trying to hold it in place. She turned on her side to angle him, he didn’t move much, but she freed her leg to kick off his face as she wrapped herself in flames and bounded back into him blasting him through a tree. Pantheon seemed unfazed. He stood as Shyvana charged relentlessly and pulled off his ragged cape and what was left of his breastplate. He took the next hit as she forced him through another tree by the head, but his hand reached out for hers as he stopped her force turning on a heel and applying his own smashing her into a nearby rock formation. Stumbling, she could only catch his hand as he tried to stab her –the blade grazing her side, she grabbed him by the arm and swung him around and into the lake where she leapt after him.
Braum was already running from the shallows to reach them. Shyvana passed Pantheon after diving in to meet with him. The next blow came from out of the water like the serpents. His shield blasted Shyvana into the nearby rocks like a bombshell. As Braum hindered his pursuit, Pantheon followed with a precise blow of his blade’s tip to Braum’s shield. The blow thundered and forced Braum to his knees as Pantheon followed with his shield. Off-footing, Pantheon ran him across the river into the treeline. Abandoning defense, Braum cast his shield aside and delivered an earth shattering blow to Pantheon’s shield, but even as the river shot back in waves, Pantheon pressed on. Braum leapt back avoiding a fatal blow, but the blade pierced his skin. Locking arms with each other, they smashed their heads together in unison. In that, they went even, but Pantheon anchored Braum’s foot to the ground with his own as he shook free of him and stabbed him in the shin. Even Braum buckled at the blade’s severing of his bones. Wasting no time, Pantheon followed with a shield bash to his head, knocking him down, but a blast of fire blew him away before he could kill the gentle giant. Quickly regaining his footing, he ran at Shyvana as fast as his legs would carry him.
Inhale air, exhale flame, over and over, to stop Pantheon, to slow him, anything. With his shield he powered on –bigger waves of flame. Pantheon abandoned his shield for Braum’s, lifting it as he ran. Shyvana mustered her grandest breath, but it was too late. As she blasted the door, it blew away in the blaze. Pantheon came down from above and nailed her to the riverbed.
Thrashing and unable to breathe, she felt something smooth at her back, scrambling to get up, out, away, she grasped at it and took hold of the trigger. As Pantheon jerked the blade downward Shyvana screamed and fired Lucian’s light gun into his lungs as fast she could for as long as her strength would allow. The jerking stopped and Pantheon’s weight lifted as the current carried him away. As her consciousness faded she felt the gladius being pulled from her body and a massive hand pull her up from the water. She choked out the water on her own this time.
“Friends look out for one-another, eh?”
Too tired to speak, Shyvana looked over his shoulder and made eye contact. She closed her eyes and nodded with a smile.
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