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    Invnarcel
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the Mini-Crusher-Tournie - 15. Fourth Match

As Marine was carted off Jane felt herself grimacing for another reason. It'd been an hour since her fight, and the anaesthetic was beginning to wear off. If she said anything she'd have to leave for treatment, but she was going to stick it out as long as she could. Leaf was to fight Ophelia, and this fight would probably be the most dangerous of them all.

From across the dojo Leaf was frowning with his green eyes lowered. Lorac watched on uncomfortably beside him. At least Leaf wasn't by himself, Jane didn't trust her ability to walk on her own. How would she get to the treatment room after? She'd figure that out later.

"Jane." She couldn't turn her head fast, she turned in her seat to see Lyle.

"Oh… hey." His face was a little weary, purplish marks under his eyes. Apart from that he looked fine.

Lyle took a seat beside Jane and she felt the slightest bit uncomfortable. Jane decided to say something before he noticed how much pain she was in.

"Chris must be happy you won."

"I bet." Lyle faced forward. "…I hope your friend wins. And not just cause I think he'd be better for me to fight against."

"Thanks." Jane glanced at the waiting Ophelia, her yellow eyes were back on Leaf. "I thought you might've been cheering for the other Godrid."

"No way. She's awful."

Jane gave a short laugh and regretted it. She looked at the brooding boy beside her "Congratulations with your fight by the way. I didn't expect Dan to lose… no offense."

"I didn't expect Shiro to lose." Lyle looked at her and shrugged. "Congratulations to you, as well."

There was something toneless about the way he said it, and Jane remembered Evan. Lyle had just come from the treatment room, so he'd know what Evan's condition was. Jane didn't want to ask. She wanted to focus on Leaf's fight first, then afterwards she'd get her body looked at. Jane narrowed her eyes at the ground.

"Yeah… we're both semi-finalists."

"Same with Claire."

They spent the rest of the intermission in their thoughts. Jane was becoming aware of a strange throb behind her left eye, keeping time with a growing headache. Soon the elementals turned back to face the audience.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we can now begin the final fight! Hold onto your seats, this one's sure to be a doozie!" Blake announced.

Leaf gulped and Ophelia cackled. Some of the older patrons had left since the last fight. As impressive as it was to watch magical fights, it seemed some of the audience changed their mind after the violence. The school kids were still just as eager, some kneeling on their seats to get a better view in the stands.

Leaf Sprout vs Ophelia Langdon. The screen flashed and the two contenders finally stood. Lorac wished Leaf luck. The grey-tinged girl was giving her opponent a sadistic grin. They entered the square and the pillars flashed.

"You ready to die?" Ophelia mocked. Leaf narrowed his eyes and said nothing.

From outside the border Chris was watching seriously with his arms behind his back. The countdown began and the airhorn sounded. Jane could feel her heartbeat accelerating.

Biting snarls, narrowed fangs – Ophelia immediately began her terrifying change. Her pupils expanded over her entire eyes as she lost her sanity, black veins worming across her skin. As soon as she'd begun to change Leaf lashed out a hand and a vine wrapped itself several times around her neck. He was still ten feet away, the green tendril growing from his palm.

The vine constricted and Ophelia glared at him, all sentience seemingly gone. With a taloned hand she gripped the vine and yanked. Leaf was pulled off his feet as if he were weightless, flying over Ophelia and skidding across the floorboards with a grunt. The vine was severed and Ophelia yanked off the loops around her neck, curling over with her elongated limbs. It'd been several dramatic seconds, but now her transformation was complete.

Leaf looked up from the floor with dismay. The demon took a moment to assess its downed prey, long head tilting, before charging with an inhuman hiss. From the stands even the teenagers looked scared – Ophelia was nightmare material.

Without getting up Leaf forced his vine to regrow. It arced out and around, quickly moving to the charging Ophelia's foot and taking hold. The monster overbalanced and fell. It's just like with Shiro! Jane thought. Fast and strong in that rabid state, but she's too single-minded on killing.

Leaf hopped up and ran around the square. Ophelia straightened and glared at the audience. Jane's face became shocked when she saw the monster get up… and charge at them. Ophelia leapt and the patrons screamed. The air between the pillars rippled and she bounced back, growling and snarling. No one was laughing now. The elementals scowled.

Leaf observed with caution. It seemed like his vine, which had tripped her from the side had confused her. Ophelia wasn't in her right mind at all. He brought himself back to focus and sprouted a second vine from his other palm, it snaked out as it grew into the air.

Long range is probably the way to go, Jane thought. She saw from across the room, Marine standing by the entryway to the treatment room, pale but still watching her friend.

Leaf whipped an arm and his vine covered the distance to Ophelia, wrapping around her middle. She stopped scratching at the forcefield and turned to glare at her opponent. She took a prowling step toward him, and then gripped the vine like an intelligent predator. She yanked him off his feet again and Leaf flew. She darted forward, talons ready to shred through him.

A third vine sprouted from under Leaf's shirt, the green fading out from the flesh colour of his skin. The tip of this vine was a pointed thorn. It shot itself and speared Ophelia's side. The monster squealed and Leaf used his other vine to bind her forearm and spin himself around her. The two of them moving mid-air amidst flowing ropes of green.

They spun around each other but Ophelia was heavier, soon Leaf was dragging around her in a circle. Ophelia extracted the thorn and black blood oozed from her side.

Leaf tried to snap out of his daze, weaving his hands so his stabbing vine would raise up and re-orient itself. As Ophelia turned he made it tie around her leg, she pulled against it and with a quick turn of Leaf's wrist, it pierced again into the soft skin of her abdomen.

The demon's scream was one of fury, her batwings exploding out her back and hooked in a threatening pose. The audience was even more panicked to see she could fly. Ophelia ripped the vine out and stalked at Leaf. His other two vines bound her limbs uselessly and when she got closer he pulled himself through her legs and slid out behind her, missing a savage swipe.

Ophelia beat her wings and shot up into the air, toward the roof of the dojo; her long demon tail growing out. Jane's mouth dropped open as she watched them rise. Leaf hanging off her by his vines with a startled expression. Ophelia curving around and slashing the bindings, and the Sprout boy falling several metres, hitting the floorboards and rolling.

Is he unconscious? No. Though better if he had been. Leaf's regeneration kept him from taking much damage, but he was barely able to move himself. Ophelia looped around the air in what free space she had, Jane praying fiercely that Leaf would get up and move. Just not be a sitting target for her.

Ophelia swooped and Leaf's eyes widened – she slashed with her claw and most of his innards spewed across the floor beside him. Some plant green, but mostly red. The wet shiny tubes and sacs of his innards. The spray went metres across from him. Leaf's expression turned funny, comically goofy amidst his gore. Ophelia went for another slash, and another. The children screamed and Jane heard herself scream.

Ophelia was hit with a tranquiliser dart. She got in another lazy swipe, claws dragging through red before she slumped over and collapsed.

Several med drones buzzed onto the field and sectioned off the space around Leaf, one of them dragging Ophelia out of the way. Jane and Lyle, Marine from the doorway, Lorac, the audience were all horrified.

"Nothing to worry about folks!" Blake stepped over to control the situation. Hands up to placate the people who were getting to their feet or shielding the eyes of their children. "He'll be sorted out in a jiffy. Thanks for coming and we hope to see you all next time!"

Copyright © 2020 Invnarcel; All Rights Reserved.
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