Paragon of Destruction - Chapter 106

Published at 12th of August 2019 08:28:14 PM

Chapter 106

"Who's there!" Arran called out .

Although he knew the growl had not come from a human, perhaps the sound of his voice would drive off whatever creature was stalking him .

"If you come closer, I'll attack!" he yelled, giving his sword several swings to give some weight to the threat .

Another growl sounded, this time from Arran's side . He quickly turned to face it, holding his sword in front of him as he prepared to be attacked .

But no attack came . Instead, a few moments later yet another growl sounded, now further to his side . Again he turned, understanding that the creature was circling him, probably looking for an opening to attack .

The realization caused him to feel some worry — if the creature was testing his defenses, it was no simple beast . Perhaps it might even be intelligent enough to figure out that he was blind .

His Sense told him there was only one creature, but other than that, it was as good as useless . All he could feel was a single presence, but he could not tell where it was, nor how far it was from him .

A fireball might have frightened off the creature, but Arran had sealed all his Realms except for Shadow when he began to purify Essence . Removing the seals would take moments he did not have, and after that, it would be minutes more before he had gathered enough Essence to launch an attack .

Again a growl sounded, and again Arran turned toward it, swinging his sword in what he hoped was a menacing manner . He did not dare move from where he stood, because right now, a single stumble could leave him completely exposed .

Arran waited for the next growl to sound, but no more sound came, and Arran grew even more worried . Although he hoped the creature had decided to leave, he could still Sense its presence . And if it was still there, it had probably understood that Arran was only reacting to the sounds it made .

His fears were confirmed only a moment later .

A sudden rustling sounded in the trees behind Arran, and without thinking, he instantly ducked to the side — and not a moment too soon, because an instant later, the creature struck his shoulder with terrifying force, and he could feel its claws tearing into his flesh .

Had he not ducked at the last moment, the claws would have torn through his throat rather than his shoulder .

Ignoring the pain, he got back on his feet, then used his sword to attack the space where the creature had been a moment ago . Yet he didn't hit anything, and he knew the creature had retreated already .

His breath quickened from fear and pain, and he had to fight to keep his hands from trembling . The creature was clearly both stronger and smarter than he had feared, and if he didn't find a way to defend himself, he would die .

Nerves on edge, he attacked several times when he thought he heard something, but each time, his sword only struck air . Whatever kind of creature it might be, it was dangerously smart .

Another attack came shortly after, but this time, Arran was luckier . As he heard a sudden noise to his side he dodged rapidly, and the creature's claws must have missed him . Instead, he was hit by a large furred mass that he took to be the creature's shoulder . The blow sent him sprawling to the ground, but left him otherwise unharmed .

Again, he got up, instantly waving his sword around to keep the creature from following through on its attack . It seemed to be wary of the sword, and that, at least, gave Arran a moment of respite — until the creature had time to move to his side or back, anyway .

He knew that if the fight continued like this, it would not be long before he lost . Without knowing where the creature was, he had no way to defend against its attacks and no way to attack it himself .

Perhaps he could get lucky and strike the creature just as it attacked him, but then, he could not afford to rely on luck .

With Arran blind, it was far more likely that the creature would get a good hit in before he managed to dodge, and that would be the end of it — the wound on Arran's shoulder was all he needed to know that his foe was strong enough to disable him with a single blow .

Unable to defend himself with just his strength, his thoughts turned to Essence .

Shadow Essence would not be able to harm the creature in the slightest . All it could create were shadows, and small ones at that . But perhaps, he thought, if he hit the creature with a large blast of Shadow Essence, he could blind it just long enough to—

Suddenly, he gasped in surprise . He knew what to do .

"You want to eat me, you furred bastard?" Arran said, a mad grin appearing on his face . "Let's see who gets eaten today . "

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He gathered as much Shadow Essence as he could, then forcefully expelled it .

It was the exact opposite of how he normally attacked . Rather than concentrate the Shadow Essence as he would when using Essence from his other Realms, now he cast it out in a thin mist that spread all around him .

He could not yet properly Sense Natural Essence, but the Essence from his own Realms was another matter . That, he could Sense with little effort .

That alone would not have helped him, but if he could Sense where it was, then he could also Sense where it wasn't — in the ground, in the plants and trees, and most importantly, in the massive shape that was barreling toward him right at that moment .

Now that he could tell where the creature was, he easily sidestepped the attack, then lashed out with a deep cut into the creature's flank as it hurtled past him .

The creature roared in pain, then came to a stop a dozen paces from where Arran stood, on the edge of Arran's mist of Shadow Essence .

Arran could roughly make out its shape as a gap in the mist of Shadow Essence . It seemed to be a bear, albeit a freakishly large one, at least nine feet tall at the shoulder .

For a moment, the creature stood still, as if hesitating what to do . Then, it slowly began to back away — perhaps it understood that the situation had changed .

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"I don't think so," Arran said quietly .

If it moved any further away, he would be unable to Sense it . And if it attacked again later, it might succeed in killing him before he could respond .

Arran knew he could only maintain the mist of Shadow for a short time, and after that, he would once more be vulnerable — at least until he replenished his Shadow Essence .

But more importantly, the creature had attacked and injured him . And for that, it would pay with its life .

At once, Arran dashed forward as fast as he could, toward the creature . Then, with all the power he had, he rammed his sword into what he thought was its head, driving the blade in all the way to the hilt .

For several seconds, neither Arran nor the creature moved, and Arran could feel his heart pound in his chest as he feared the creature might have survived the blow .

But then, the creature slumped to the ground, the life ripped from its body by the four feet of steel that had torn through its brain .

A moment later, Arran slumped to the ground as well, panting from exhaustion and trembling with the knowledge that he had only barely escaped death .

It took him some time to gather his wits . Even if he had won the fight, the experience had been one he did not care to repeat — short though the battle might have been, and despite him escaping relatively unscathed, he knew he had only narrowly avoided a terrible fate .

As he calmed down, however, a small smile appeared on his face . He had found a way to see without seeing .