Shatter…Shatter…Shatter…Shatter… that is the only word that is in Magnus' mind right now. He plunged his hand into the heart of another droid – Shattered. He roundhouse kicked another automaton – Shattered. He wrapped his tail around yet another automaton's chest and crushed– Shattered. He would have felt guilty, except for the sickening and deafening sound of whirring from the automatons. The euphoria he receives every time the deafening noises gets a little quieter is insignificant but definitely present. One thing that he found though, and it is something he is slightly smug about, is his discovery of his wings' use as a weapon. When slightly curved and drawn at an angle, the wings general enormous thrust to whichever direction he pushed his wings against. If he were to straighten his wings, though, he can actually turn them into makeshift axes. The edges of his feathers were not only hard as nails, but frighteningly sharp as well. Drawing his two wings horizontally around him at chest height, he managed to bifurcate a dozen automatons – as well as amputate both of their arms – at the same time. Even if the wings didn't cleanly slice the crystal shards in half – which he consistently did, but Magnus did consider this to be strange – slicing them into 2 is more than enough to disable them. Oddly enough, as he fought he seemed only to become stronger and stronger. Every movement, every twitch, every swing, every kick felt much more powerful than the last one did. Although he is beginning to feel the beginning of fatigue, he knows he could continue to fight for much longer. A swipe of his clawed fingers shatters automatons, chest plates and all. Slashes drawn by his wings generate a loud hollow noise with every swing, and the range of said attack seemed to get greater and greater.
Feeling slightly sick from the fighting, he beat his wings and flew up to quite a significant height, before he backed away from the army. As he had lost count of time, he looked up to the bright sun for a clue to the passing of time, but he noticed little to no change in the position of the Sun in the sky. It might not have been even minutes since Magnus began his battle, and already a third of the army is gone. Just as Magnus gazed upon the havoc he had wrought, multiple clicks can be heard as the remaining members of the automatons retrieved the tube from their backs. Without having to see, Magnus knew the village behind him would end up in flames should he dodge those attacks. But given the weapon's nature as an oil of some sorts, he is not confident that even if he did intercept them all that he would be able to keep the village free from harm altogether. His brain is now very much accustomed to the moment of pause the automatons experience. He thought of two possibilities. The first is to simply clash into the armies yet again and disrupt their need to launch a long-ranged attack. This might not work, for the automatons might continue to fire regardless. The other thought is to do exactly the same, but only after having flown to another angle. This way, the village will not be harmed one way or another. With this in mind, he quickly beat his wings and flew forward, his body horizontal against the sky. He tilted slightly to the right, and his trajectory followed. The automatons, whose weapons are still being drawn, quickly turned to aim at Magnus, whose relative angle will now ensure the safety of the village.
Suddenly he heard a loud voice. The voice is not loud enough for most to hear. Magnus is sure even someone on the ground will not hear that sound, but it struck him as significant, for the voice is exactly the same as the one he heard earlier, the voice of the angry man earlier. As he dived in, Magnus suddenly had an idea. This idea is wild, potentially dangerous, and it might not even succeed, but if he were to be able to take the armoured man, the man whom he presumes is commanding the army, then he might be able to get them to cease to function altogether. With that in mind, he focused the source of the sound from the waves of the army and began to fly towards it. As he flew, he felt the wind whipping against his face. Instinctively, Magnus narrowed his eyes, until he quickly realized that the wind did not hurt his eyes at all. Unnaturally, Magnus kept his eyes wide open and began to pay more attention to his ears and nose, hoping for extra signs so he could focus better. That would allow him to reach the armoured man better, fighting fewer automatons on his way to the man.
Now that he had a focus, Magnus can finally hear a hint of heartbeat amongst the endless irritating whirring of the machinery. The heart was racing. Thoughts of murder went through Magnus' mind, but now that his mind is not blinded with rage like he was when he defended Astral from Nessus, he did not see that as a viable option. But if not, then what can he do? His first solution may be to take the man as far away from the army as possible, but if that does not work, he had little idea what to do. Suddenly, his mind cleared, and an image re-entered his mind. The image of a dying man, his clothes singed and his skin burnt. A flame ignited in his heart and he felt the fire around him burn even stronger and hotter in response to his feelings. Magnus beat his wings again, almost doubling his speed. He might not kill him, but he will make the man suffer. He may char him as retribution, or amputate him. Whatever it will be, Magnus will make sure it hurts and that it lasts. He beat his wings again, getting ever closer to the source of the sound when all of a sudden he heard the man huff, and dangerously calmly, a single word of command.
The automatons, whose tubular weapon hoisted on their backs is something Magnus failed to pay attention to, all fired at once, the opening of their tubes aimed right at Magnus. Immediately, Magnus shifted to the left to avoid the weapons, but with two thirds of the army aiming at him, Magnus can only dodge so many weapons. Despite his best attempts to outmaneuver the projectiles, his increased speed made aerobatics a near impossibility, and they did hit him. Magnus felt massive impacts on several parts of his body, destroying his aerial balance and sending him spiraling out of control. With the world spinning around him, Magnus opened his instinctively closed eyes.
In his eyes, all he can see is a sea of writhing orange, and he knows just like the last time, the burning substance contained within the projectiles has clouded his vision. With the flames in his eyes and ears, and the world spinning anyway, Magnus felt his body hit against the floor with great force. The pain blacked him out for an instant, but he soon regains consciousness. His left shoulder, where he had hit the floor, is numb with pain. His mind sunk into half-consciousness, and the parts where the projectiles – now Magnus knew to be a searing metal column – hit also felt sore. His vision, though now improved, is still rather obscured, though his hearing has returned.
Magnus, lying on his belly, pushed his forearms against the ground, and lifted himself enough to a kneeling position. He heard footsteps in front of him, and when it stopped, he heard a sound he could not describe, but could imagine is the sound of a sword drawn out of its sheath. With it comes chuckling in the voice of the armoured man.
"There are not many ways to kill a demon. Usually it takes some effort to get some of the conditions correct. You need the right weapons, the right people, sometimes you had to set traps days in advance and still they won't fall for it. Fortunately, dealing with a hot-headed brute like you means that I do not need much effort to actually get you to into our little trap." The man meandered on. As the fires burn out on his eyes Magnus finally felt the return of his vision, and saw a blurred image. Under intense pain, Magnus' vision became yellow and purple and out of focus. He lay on the floor panting as the man continued with his excruciatingly long speech about demons, their behaviors, his previous and glorious encounters with them, and, mixed within it, mediocre insults directed at Magnus. Magnus did feel greatly insulted, though not by the insults themselves, but by the genuine lack of intellectual depth in those insults.
Magnus, though still immobilized by the pain, regained much composure by the time the armoured man had finished. A side effect of that time-buying speech, though is that the man's speech is so egotistic and unoriginal it gave him an immense feeling of nausea. He put his arms beneath him and tried to push himself up, but the man stepped on Magnus' head and forced him down. Magnus suddenly noticed that much of the pain has subsided, and that strength is beginning to return to his body. One thing that was strange though was a bizarre sensation all over his skin. The moment he drew this inexplicable power when he was in the woods he felt a faint sense of security, almost as though he had donned a set of armor at the time. As of now, it felt as though that layer of armor has somehow been removed, and while he can tell that his form has yet to revert to that of a human's, it had become weak. Relative to when he first changed, Magnus felt…exposed. This fear, started as an ember, began to burn and gnaw at Magnus' heart, filling him with panic he can hardly control. As the man babbled on, he can feel the protective layer of armor returning, slowly, bit by agonizingly slow bit.
"Oops. It seems that I've spent too much time talking. It is a bad habit of mine, when I often get engrossed in speeches – (speech? More like mindless nonsense, Magnus thought.) – So much so I lose track of time. Had quite a feast there, you stealing the energy off my Gears. The increased rate of recovery is a direct result of that then? Never mind. I'll just have to decapitate you before the Shell covers your neck again. With that Shell on, I can't even scratch you without a Sacred or Fallen weapon, but when you're without the Shell, that's easy." The man continued talking. It would seem that the irony of him chastising himself is lost on him.
Magnus began to panic even more now. Right until this point, the thought of mortality had never occurred to him. He wanted to help, he wanted to protect, and he wanted to avenge. That was all. He did not even bother with thoughts just before he had the mental conversation with Chiron. Before he had to find a solution his mind is constantly occupied with a single thought – Astral – Kill – Block – Dodge – Attack and nothing else. Now that he is thinking, the idea that after doing all this, he would die in the hands of a man with a ridiculous helmet seems almost… infuriating. His tail began to whip about. His wings batted and the momentum propelled him up. The man's boot slid off his head. As he straightens up he turn to face the man in the armour. Calamity security in the face of control slowly faded away from the man in the armour. Fear and uncertainty replaced it.
A sudden glint of madness filled his face as he screamed at Magnus before him, stretching his wings, head held high. The sword drawn in his hand sprung to life as amidst the scream, he swung the two-handed weapon at the monster before him. With his mind dulled by the injury, Magnus was caught off guard by the sudden attack as the blade drew a glowing horizontal arc across the space, approaching Magnus' neck at alarming speed.
The blade hit Magnus' neck, the force knocking Magnus' body to the right for a few inches before he stopped the momentum. Magnus can feel the dangerous sharpness of the blade against his bizarre, exposed skin, but the blade did not penetrate. Just like the sword of the Templar Nessus before it acquired the odd glow, it was pushing hard against his skin, but it failed to enter.
Magnus can almost see the veins on the man's face enlarge, as moments after the blade hit he pressed his hands even harder. A tinge of sensation suddenly came across Magnus' neck where the blade hit – a sensation Magnus recognized as pain. Magnus' own eyes widened as the pain began to slowly intensify. The man, with stress all over his face, suddenly smiled. The efforts he is exerting made the smile twisted, contorted and simply frightening to behold. Magnus quickly raised his right hand, intending to hold the blade and pus hit back.
Suddenly, the right hand intended to grab the sword grabbed nothing but air, and the man screamed as he fell to the floor with the sword. The sword dropped on the floor with a dull sound. The man put both of his hands over his face as he screamed. Magnus stood and quickly scanned the man – the smell of blood fills his nose. A bloodied dagger lay next to the man's kicking feet. He turned around to see the source of the thundering heartbeat and his own heart skipped.
Standing amidst a pile of broken automatons, panting with a hand stretched before her was a beautiful girl. Her white skin glistened under the mild sun. Her midnight black hair flowed down her back and over her shoulders. Magnus thought he had detected a hint of panic in her dark eyes, a glint of purple flame, but he thought twice when the chills ran down his spine at the sight of the damn near murderous look on Astral's face. He turned himself to face him when he noticed that to his right, another girl is sprinting forward. Unlike Astral, her glowing light-blonde hair, tied into a pony tail, stood out from the scene. She had a leather vest strapped tight to her torso and a shirt underneath, emphasizing her curves. The dark dull leather pants almost blurred as she dashed towards his direction. As she does, Magnus could see that she had entirely ignored his existence for as she approaches, her eyes were not directed at Magnus, and an even stronger, damn near murderous look on her face sent yet another chill down his spine. As she grew ever closer, Diana unbuckled the massive hammer on her back and held it with both of her hands.
He was suddenly distracted by the sound of clinking armor, as the man climbs up and picks up his sword. He turned around to face the man just as his right hand leaves his face to grasp the sword his left hand could do nothing but lift. A long line of deep red drew from the man's right brow and runs vertically down, cutting the eye apart and stopping just a little above the line of the mouth. He groans as he blinked and picked his sword up.
"Move away, you filth! I will tear that little girl apart before I execute you. Your death will be quick, but her death. I'LL MAKE HER SUFFER THROUGH ALL OF HELL FOR WHAT SHE DID! YOU WILL PAY WITH YOUR LIFE!" The armoured man bellowed. His eyes were fixated on Astral and he began to walk forward.
Magnus almost smiled. You try touching her, he thought. With a swift motion, his right hand, now dangling at his side balled. Roaring, Magnus threw his fist at the man square at the chest. It dented and cracked the weird metal on his chest and sent him flying back for a good ten meters, leaving a long trail of upturned dirt. The man moaned and tried to get up, but failed.
Magnus was about to jump over when suddenly Diana ran past him, her massive hammer at the ready. Sensing potential danger, he jumped ahead and landed before the man. He landed slightly to the left of the man just as he sat up. He paced to the man's left and raised a hand. He means to crush the man's skull, thus ending his life. The man, though, suddenly grabbed one of his legs and pulled with surprising strength. Magnus fell to the floor as the man stood up again. This time, he raised a sword, and pointed the tip directly at Magnus. He raised the sword high.
"Well, perhaps you do want to die first after all. Very well, I shall grant you that wish. Know this demon, your death is in vain, for your vill-pfffft" The man's words were cut short by the sudden blow from behind.
A massive hammer, with a head the size of a kettle, smashed into the helmet-less head of the man. Much of his face gave way before the hammer brought him down through momentum. Blood splattered. A few drops ended on Magnus' chest, and sizzled off immediately. Magnus was just about to stand back up when a rush of wind blew at his face, followed by the sight of a massive hammer, dripping with blood, held only inches from his face.