World of Karik: A Game of Villains Chapter 35: ON GUARD!
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When I looked at my paladins, I felt something that I never did before — fear for my followers. I mean sure, I knew of it: teachers were always worried about us at school during competitions and other voluntary-compulsory activities. However, we understood all this much later…
Looking at Cyril, proudly straightening his shoulders, and Lena hiding behind his broad back, I clenched my fists. I had considered all the possible options, played different combinations in my head and regretted that my followers weren't as strong as I was. They would definitely develop, become more powerful, stronger, and faster. But they needed all of that right now! If only I could be there and support them, distract the strongest opponents and confuse them with my dear Arkobaleno! However, could I, with my current abilities, really consider them opponents? Even having more people wouldn't help them against me.
Stop, I told to myself. That's enough. I'm not in the arena, my paladins are. They can count only on themselves. I can't help. All I can do now is to wish them luck. And at that moment I realized that I didn't worry about them losing, nor did I care about how I would fix our future problems — I was sincerely worried about my wards and only wanted to support them.
Stas pulled the bowstring; the sound could clearly be heard despite the distance. Sergei's face reflected his concentration; he aimed his crossbow at Cyril, clearly looking for a weak spot. Olga, her lips twisted in a haughty grin, stepped forward. She held the gun tightly, twisting her wrist slightly, making her pose seem feigned and unnatural. She was using the gun as a tool of psychological pressure. I wondered if Cyril and Lena figured that out.
"Come on!" someone shouted. "Fight, enough dilly-dallying!"
I couldn't figure out who was so impatient. Petrovich's loud shout made the murmur stop. I could even hear Dmitri's rapid breathing. He also kept his fingers crossed for my students. Them losing or winning meant as much to him as it did to me. After all, his reputation was also at stake: if they, and his armor, don't do well, the assessment of his contribution to the combat readiness of the settlement would fall seriously in everyone's eyes.
Marina's Werewolf barked, and could be heard all over the neighborhood; someone gasped in the crowd. Grinning, the beast rushed at Cyril, who didn't even flinch. Well done, I said to myself. A bolt of silver lightning flashed: it was the phantom Fox rushing across to the Werewolf. Marina burst out laughing, mockery and malice almost tangible in her voice. And although I hated to admit it, I understood it: the small, translucent animal looked like a bicycle rushing at a truck. Brave, but stupid. And, most importantly, pointless. Although, Light against Darkness — that might make sense.
The Werewolf squinted, bared its teeth, and then abruptly opened its mouth, watering its surroundings with sticky saliva. The brave little Fox rushed right under the giant's front paws armed with razor-sharp claws. Clap! The sound was like folded newspaper hitting the tabletop, but much louder. The seemingly invincible Werewolf disappeared into thin air, blown apart into billions of inky droplets. Marina screamed. The audience gasped. No one expected such a turn of events but we all learned that Light and Dark totems of equal level self-destructed upon collision. There couldn't be a winner in the fight between the Werewolf and the Fox, then? But how were the battles between Light and Darkness to be carried out? Damn, I hadn't thought about that! I was surprised to see that Cyril began to glow slightly. I wondered if everyone else could see it, too.
Cyril deflected Stas's arrow with his shield. To everyone else it looked like a spectacular trick, but to me it seemed that the guy was just lucky. After having warmed up, Sergei casually aimed his crossbow and fired. Olga stopped showing off and started firing. Cyril bravely stood his ground: arrows and crossbow bolts took away too little of his health, even if they flew past the enchanted shield and dug into the armor. Just as I thought.
"That's some protection!"
"That's enough to stand among the Skeletons and have nothing to fear," the crowd whispered.
Cyril's health, almost full before, was quickly restored. But how? My healing doesn't work so fast... He used Fortress! I guessed, having considered some of the possible options. It was a pity that he, more or less, wasted it, but he had done so ready to face the Werewolf, not expecting his totem to do what it had done. He did everything right: when being attacked by such a big monster it's really important to avoid being knocked down and to remain close to Lena. It wasn't for nothing that I made them train so hard in the cave. But if I were them, I would've shortened the distance and locked the ranged fighters in melee. We made this strategy our main one. But after the appearance of the Werewolf, the guys were, apparently, a bit shocked, and were now being too cautious. That in itself was good, too — they were showing that ranged attacks weren't a problem for them, which caused the Darks to move and attack. If it continues like this, their opponents will definitely make a mistake and we'll win. So I hoped, at least.
And so it began: two followers of Darkness moved toward the paladins. Actually, three, Olga realized the futility of her attempts to shoot my guys and joined Lina and Marina, replacing the gun with a dagger. The real fight was about to begin. It was to show what everyone managed to learn during their stay in this world: the Darks had an advantage in numbers, and they could easily surround and break my paladins' formation. Lena and Cyril would be in trouble then. But seeing how they've developed their skills, these five would have troubles doing that. However, these were just my thoughts, I was about to see what they had prepared for us.
They indeed tried to surround my paladins. Olga separated from the trio, clearly intending to take Lena in the reverse, while Marina hid behind armored Lina. Sergei and Stas continued to fire at Cyril, even though they obviously could see that there was little sense in it. Their movements became automatic, and their faces reflected boredom. They probably thought that the girls would do all the dirty work for them: while Lina and Marina were attacking Cyril, Olga was to attack Lena, who would be forced to defend herself and leave Cyril without support. Fighting off two opponents at once, Cyril wouldn't be able to heal Lena's wounds, and she had already lost enough health supporting him. Realizing this, he turned and restored almost all of her lost health. Now they were both ready to fight, but could they keep it up? I hissed in pain and immediately unclenched my numb fingers. I was worrying too much. I had to calm down and pull myself together. It was much easier to fight than to watch others do so.
And then my paladins showed that we haven't analyzed all those strategies in vain. The attackers shortened the distance to about twenty feet, feeling completely safe. False safety, my friends. Lena stepped from behind Cyril and waved her hand, her moves quick and sharp. The gleaming whip whistled through the air, and Olga gave a short cry. It was more a cry of surprise than one of pain, but it was enough. Lena nailed her right in the noggin, disfiguring Olga's beautiful face. A spark fell from the tip of the whip, singeing Olga's blond hair. Sergei and Stas belatedly started to fire at Lena but couldn't stop her. The girl turned devilish, her weapon whipped the business lady with great speed, not allowing the latter to recover. Olga's health dropped, and once it was near zero, my girl decided to demonstrate her best move — spinning, Lena gave the whip even more momentum and attacked. Olga let out a pitiful sob and collapsed.
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"Yeah!" Dimitri shouted in my ear. I poked him angrily, but then decided to let my emotions out and shout something encouraging, too. I won't lie, Innokenty and Dasha's sour faces looked very inspiring.
Someone whistled; there was an uncertain applause, and even Petrovich clapped. No one expected that, me the least, but this was not the time to think about our ex-leader's behavior. Lena sent Olga to respawn, but this didn't mean that the victory was ours. They shouldn't relax.
Taking advantage of the confusion, my guys began to restore each other's lost health. Again, I wouldn't be overly cautious if I were them and would try to take advantage of the confusion to attack. But there was nothing to be done, everyone had their own way of fighting. In the meantime, Stas and Sergei attacked Cyril. Lina and Marina made peace with the loss of a team member and hastened their step. The former tanked, covering her partner with her staff while the latter attacked from behind her, as the length of her weapon allowed it. The blows came one after another, almost without stopping, forcing my paladins to concentrate on healing instead of attacking. The Fire damage of their weapons didn't care about armor, and a couple of quick blows would've made their opponent retreat very quickly. However, it was easy to talk when you had time to think; in battle, they could only rely on their instincts, which, unfortunately, couldn't have been trained in three days. Cyril missed several blows that Marina struck him with, hitting his head and chest. Given the damage dealt to his health, the blows were clearly reinforced by Rage. Lena had probably used it against Olga as well. She was now either trying to calculate her moves and reduce her opponent's health with occasional blows, or planning to wait for an hour for the cooldown to end. But did she have that hour? And why the hell was Cyril defending himself so obviously?! He had my potions, so he also had level two Rage; he could've dealt with someone long ago, and two against three was almost a guaranteed victory. Of course, my wards could endlessly dodge their blows, healing each other and waiting for the perfect moment to strike, but the enemy should never be underestimated. Even the most useless person can sometimes come up with something good, so why give them a chance to do so? The Darks decided to change their strategy a little: Sergei and Stas changed their location and chose Lena as their new target. Poor Cyril was forced to keep defending himself against Marina's blows, trying to break through Lina's shield, and restoring Lena's lost health. All in all, we were winning; our flaming weapons did their job, but their performance was nothing to boast about and could be improved.
Lena gently patted the guy on the shoulder, and he gave a little nod. Did they finally come up with something? They suddenly went around the two, bypassing Lina and her shield and trying to get to Marina, who was sensing that something was wrong. Lena swung her whip, and Marina rushed to dodge, but Lena wasn't aiming at her.
"Ow!" Lina cried, nearly dropping her shield when my girl hit her hand.
At this point Cyril rushed to Marina, dodged the oncoming blow, and stabbed her in the stomach. The girl bent over in pain, then quickly straightened up and made a sudden movement with her staff in his direction. Her weapon flashed bright purple, her speed increased, and Cyril missed the blow. This must've been some special ability, as he bent over and fell to the ground. I made a mental note about this interesting skill. It was either able to break through Fortress, as its attack power clearly dealt less than a 1,000 damage but still knocked Cyril over, or someone managed to invest their endurance somewhere and lowered it below one hundred. It hurt me to see them fighting.
"Finish him! Finish him off!" Dasha shouted, her voice unnaturally loud and sharp.
The Way of Deception is coming on Amazon!
After editing for a couple of days, I've now finished up all of my revisions for Amazon, and officially posted the book! It will be coming on November 4.
If you want to buy it to support me (and leave me a nice review <3) please go to Amazon.
Thank you SO much to those that do. Without that, my elder brother would not be able to focus full time on writing interesting books, and I on translating them. There are already ten great books in this series that have become very popular in Russia, and I really hope that I'll be able to translate them all.
As part of putting it on Amazon to make money, I have to take it down from other sites! So, I just wanted to warn you all that I am about to take it down tomorrow.
Sorry that I didn't publish the full book on webnovel.
The next volume will start up on here in ~1-2 weeks.
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