The forest, always the forest. Why did they always run through here? Did they think that the foliage and the trees would somehow keep them safe? Did they think they ever had a real chance to escape? No true Noxian would ever give up the chance for some Demacian blood on their blade, especially with the whole world watching. That it was a worthy opponent in Demacia's Wings just made it ever more the sweeter, because cutting down the helpless was never really satisfying. Katarina was a blur as she followed Quinn through the forest, leaping and dashing through the foliage with practiced ease.
Ever since the League was created, the grand wars of old were systematically replaced by these spectacles. The champions of each nation would fight for favor and advantages for their homeland, and the League would broadcast the entire bout to the world so everyone was informed of the events as they happened – cheering on their favorite champions and watching the strongest in Runeterra fight to the death – and then some. One could almost hear the chants for Draven from the Fields of Justice.
There was a sudden shift in Quinn's movements which raised suspicion. She no longer moved to purely safety, but toward a specific location more than anything. Summoner, inform Darius that there will be a nice little party at my location here shortly. Since this was not just a typical show match, only the most powerful Noxian summoners were provided. Katarina knew she could at least trust hers with following basic instructions. Jarvan's guard dog was here somewhere, and the ever-helpful Demacia's Wings would lead the way.
The best part about her prey not running purely for safety now, of course, was the fact that Katarina could start taking potshots. Every time Quinn slowed, a dagger flew forward. Sometimes she would be able to dodge, but the very quick to form blood trail on the ground meant that at least one had hit the mark. Valor never tried again to swoop down from the sky, because the last time that annoying bird tried it was dead before its claws even met the skin of the Sinister Blade.
The flank was given away by Quinn's turn back, showing the lack of discipline one would expect from a backwoods farm girl. This gave Katarina the time she needed to leap up in the air and grab a tree branch just as Jarvan's guard dog predictably charged forward and impaled the tree with his spear. Three daggers soon riddled the weaknesses in the man's armor, aimed at the joints to slow pursuit. There was no time for more, however, because the crossbow bolts were already starting to fly.
Valor started to make his move, but the Sinister Blade was no slouch. A few daggers thrown in the bird's direction made him back off to a comfortable distance – having to be content with just tracking the woman's movements for the others. Xin Zhao had pulled the spear from the tree, and had resumed pursuit as well. They would eventually catch her, but if anybody could buy time with some outrageous acrobatics, it was this daughter of General Du Couteau. She knew all of her famed father's tricks, and lamented at the fact that she may never know if she had finally surpassed him in skill... but if anything in this life was certain it was that no Demacian would come close.
Unfortunately, even the best can't look in all directions at once. Or at least that would be her excuse later. Katarina was doing fine dodging the crossbow bolts from Quinn and staying out of Xin Zhao's effective range... but she didn't see the giant beam of light headed towards her until it was already too late.
Katarina wasn't sure what hurt more, the laser itself or the spine cracking impact of hitting the tree afterward – complete with all the splinters. The tailbone shivering impact of meeting the ground at the end had to be an honorable mention as well. She could feel the wetness of her own blood as she got up and drew one of her blades with her right hand. The Demacians were already in sight, and she could not outrun them at this state. She just had to hold out until Darius got here.
Xin Zhao might have once been a nearly unstoppable warrior to survive the Fleshling, but his reflexes have dulled with age. Even in her weakened state, Katarina could fend off his assault. Quinn was getting in position to fire off some potshots with minimal risk to hit her ally, and Valor was no doubt closing in that very moment. Lux, being much less mobile than her companions would take a little bit longer to arrive. Katarina had no doubt she could hold off Xin Zhao and position the fight to where Quinn could never take a potshot, and maybe even fight off the damned bird too. But once Lux got there, it was over. Darius needed to hurry.
The sound of a distant explosion stopped the Valor right before swooping in to attack, and after one more dodge Katarina looked at the sky briefly with a look of smug satisfaction on her face. Swain was a ruthless bastard, willing to leave anybody behind if it meant getting an advantage. Since this was a League match, the Sinister Blade knew she couldn't put much venom in the thought, but had this been the field – the Master Tactician would not have batted an eyelash to make the same decision. A true Noxian must be willing to die for the cause, and since the brief moment of distraction ended for the Demacians … that death would come shortly.
Lux came into vision as Valor and Xin Zhao were both rushing towards Katarina, and it was then she made her move. Too fast for even the stupid bird to follow, she rushed toward Lux with a sword in one hand and a dagger in the other. The move was out of desperation more than anything else, but the sudden aggression caught the ever-useless Demacians off guard. It was as if they had never seen a cornered animal before. Garen's hopeless little sister tried to toss out a binding of light just before the kill was made. One of the benefits to being a Champion, however, was the augmented power the summoner provided. In a flash of light, Katarina teleported behind Lux and tossed the dagger immediately at the back of her knee to slow her reaction time. She ran the Crownguard through with her blade and drew another dagger with her left hand to repeatedly stab the neck of her opponent until she stopped twitching.
A crossbow bolt hit the Noxian in the left shoulder as she dropped the body at her feet, followed by another charge by Jarvan's lapdog. Katarina was able to dodge the charge, but another crossbow bolt hit her in the thigh as she did. There was no more running, no more fancy acrobatics. This was the last stand – and she went on the offensive. Valor must have gone back to try and defend the Demacian base, so she was left with just two more opponents. The Sinister Blade tossed out her remaining daggers the way of Quinn once she got some distance from Xin Zhao, which Demacia's Wings dodged quite handily – but at least she wasn't shooting that damn crossbow at her anymore.
After the last dagger was exhausted, Katarina drew a second sword and set to work on the Seneschal. Her left blade ran interference and provided the defense while the sword in her right hand looked for a nice, fleshy opening. With the finer points of finesse taken out of the equation with all of the wounds – specifically in important joint areas, the Noxian was left with just her skill with the blade to keep her alive for as long as possible. Another crossbow bolt hit her in the back, and the blood was dripping off of Katarina's clothes as this point.
“Quinn, go! The Prince needs you to defend the Nexus!” Xin Zhao roared, and after a moment's hesitation and a glare of pure hatred in the direction of the Noxian, Quinn followed the order quickly enough to not realize what was about to happen to her friend. While the Demacian had some of his focus gone, Katarina did a desperate move. She was getting slower and slower from blood loss at this point, and needed to end this duel quickly. She lunged forward with her right leg and immediately dropped her left hand to the ground, dropping the sword held within for a last ditch effort to survive. Blood soon soaked Katarina's right hand, and a quick look up confirmed what she felt – the blade had hit its mark, and had gone into Xin Zhao's throat. With his last breath, the Demacian mustered enough strength to slash open the Sinister Blade's arm at the bicep with his spear before finally falling.
“Nice try, old man.” were the words the Sinister Blade found coming out of her mouth. Had the stupid farm girl not needed directions shouted to her, the Seneschal might have been able to finish her off. As it stood now, however, she still stood undefeated by even the best that Demacia had to offer. Fighting three of the greatest heroes in Valoran to a draw and killing two of them single-handedly... Draven would be furious at her for stealing his spotlight.
Katarina's skin started feeling cold, so very cold. Her breathing became more and more shallow, and even as she tried to stand she found that she couldn't concentrate on much. Her perhipheral vision started to become more and more black as she still struggled to rise, getting more and more pissed at the situation with each failure. After a few more tries, she finally gave up and let herself fall to the ground. Her back to the ground, she could feel the wetness of blood and sweat pool up beneath her. The last sight she saw before finally succumbing to her wounds was the magnificent display of fireworks that accompanied the destruction of the Demacian nexus.
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