Chapter 9: Chasing a Morning Shadow
“Ahhhhhhhh!!!” The painful cry echoed, suppressing the agony of the injury while healing it rapidly. Amidst his screams, Brigan could admit the damage he suffered was the first experience of its kind. Never had he been hurt to the point his torso felt shattered.
Just examine the surroundings of footprints was more than enough evidence to show how strong the attack dealt appeared.
Rubbing his chest, he shot back to his feet glaring at the water rabbit. Its speed was frightening and its timing even more so. If he continued to regard it as a mindless beast, it might really have the capabilities to end his life.
“I understand now, things here have the ability to evolve, and that includes you right,” he stated confidently. The words were a question, but the way he spoke was declaring a fact.
“Starting now, I will view you as the barrier I will overcome.” He spoke again, using the talk to recover further. Once giving acknowledgment to water rabbit’s strength, he entered his boxing stance.
Only this time, his arms and front leg was slightly raised unconsciously for supporting kicks. If ancient people were to see, they would understand it as a stance from a lost fighting style called Muay Thai.
Tap! Tap! Tap!
Again he started bouncing, but he made no action to be the offender. Merely from the short exchange prior, he realized that because he was forced to swing downward, he had abandoned his support to stay rooted on the ground by the recoil that would follow.
Then with the water rabbit’s additional actions, it was the same as icing on a cake. Like the three running villagers before, everything was calculated to secure helplessness in the victim to resemble a hunter when hunting prey.
The water rabbit hopped, leaving indented footprints as it speared itself forward for a frontal attack. With bad angling for a strike, Brigan dodged the body charge while opening more space between them.
The water rabbit didn’t quit. It quickly repeated its former actions of blitzing.
He carefully observed, analyzing the height in which each charge would produce.
Around him, the earth continuously depressed on every hop.
At that moment, he saw an opportunity. Crouching down lower, he didn’t shy from the attacking beast. Instead, he met the water rabbit’s chest charge with a rising knee strike.
With the two attacks closing the distance, the water rabbit took a hit underneath.
As prior, the blow felt similar to hitting jelly. But damaging it wasn’t Brigan’s goal. His real aim was to lift the water rabbit higher in the air, the same as it did him.
After all, when receiving the water rabbit’s cunningness, the properties on how its body worked was also understood by Brigan. The water rabbit couldn’t control what got repelled. Instead, it could only use the ground to stop its own recoil.
His remaining foot on the ground caved the soil in from the collision as bulging veins sprouted to the surface of his leg.
“I’m not done!!!” He shouted, his body flickering in a violet radiance as he healed the aching pain coursing through his foot.
Before allowing it to distance far on the repelling, he sent a lightning roadhouse kick to steer it to a cluster of sharp branches.
Brigan stood stunned. The tree he targeted to help him end the fight rustled before a shadowy item cut the branches and a figure concealed in darkness dashed from the spot.
Still at a loss for words, he mindlessly watched the one arm shadowy figure escape. Only seeing the water rabbit recover and make its own slip did his mind reboot.
Quickly, he feet sped in chase toward the shadow instead of the beast. But there was a reason for his action as well. From the time he saw the shadowy figure, and to the time it was leaving his sight, he sensed a greater crisis on letting it go than the water rabbit.
“Stop!!! Who are you?!! Why did you save that thing?!!” He yelled annoyed. If he was to allow that water rabbit to roam around in the village, there was no telling what may come of the villagers by nightfall.
“I said wait!!!” Taking up a large rock twice the size of his hand, Brigan pulled his arm back before launching it forward.
The shadowy figure dodge without looking behind. However, the gap between the two became smaller as Brigan exerted more energy to catch up.
“Are you the one behind the monster invasions?!!” Brigan loudly asked. His hope was to stall the shadowy figure in any way he could.
Hearing a snort in reply, he didn’t notice the next happenings as another sound echoed out.
Due to the morning rising sun and traveling near the surroundings of shadows, the darkness concealed the black blade’s motion as scattered pieces of dirt flew toward Brigan face. “Dang!!! You’re petty!!!” He retorted. Thankful that his reflexes enable him to avoid most of it, but disappoint that some still got into his left eye.
“Where?” Scanning ahead, he spotted the shadowy figure heading toward a high slope as a violet glow radiated from its shoes. The glow was bright enough to provide awareness regarding its location as he resumed the pursuit. “There!!!” He exclaimed relieved.
After being chased around the village, the shadowy figure finally arrived at its targeted goal as it jumped over the edge while vanishing from Brigan’s view.
However, right before it left sight, Brigan was shocked again. The reason being, up until the moment it jumped over the edge, he thought it only possessed its left sword arm.
But it then revealed its right arm as it used it to leverage the jump.
“You are really petty!!!” He roared as he also arrived at the edge of the slope. And if one were to look down themselves, they would see nothing but the ground below.
Moving his hand off the edge, Brigan slightly felt a touch of moisture on his hand. Inspecting the edge closer, he saw a receding water spot that was evaporating fast.
“Hmm…” Thinking on it, he moved his hand in the same position he saw the shadowy figure take to support its weight. Once doing that, the evaporating liquid seemed to match in the same location where his thumb rested.
“Impossible!” He would never accept this truth.