Chapter 8 (Overwhelming force)
Kkaj bowed to the opponent he expected to see, Moofuj. Kkaj shifted into River form with one hand inside his Drunkzard vest and the other swaying in front of him. Why couldn’t the previous match have lasted longer?
Moofuj shook his head and pulled out a pair of flasks. “Not against me.”
The cold stone of the ring bit through the soles of Kkaj’s worn fighting boots. Where had Roffor found them? With the crowd silent, each beat of his heart rang in his ears.
The judge raised his hand.
Kkaj drew his flask of gin. “I guess not.”
“Fight!” The judge chopped the air in front of him.
The chilled gin burned on the way down, and Kkaj’s stomach revolted. When was the last time he had eaten? Energy welled up inside his mind as the spirit of lust entered his body. It clawed for control, but he confined it to the back of his mind. Storm energy flowed through his veins.
Pure fire and earth essence danced around Moofur’s outstretched hands. Two different elements at the same time? That was dangerous.
Kkaj released the storm energy into the air above him and split it in two. He manipulated the first half into a shield of wind and wrapped it around his body. Of all the liquors, gin possessed the most versatile power.
Fire zipped across the ring and slammed into his shield. The flames spun with his shield, enhancing it and obscuring everything around him.
Kkaj broke the rest of the storm energy apart and flung it into the air. How long would it take to mature?
Something else slammed into his shield and sent him reeling backwards.
Pure force? He shook his head. It’s so wasteful. He shoved his hand into his vest and pulled out the whiskey. Two gulps.
Rage flowed into the space left by Lust’s exoduses and pounded against Kkaj’s mental shield.
Kkaj ground his teeth, and his vision tinted red. A low growl flowed from his throat as he released the metal energy into the air above his left palm.
The fire in Kkaj’s shield died as something else slammed into him, pushing him closer to the edge of the ring.
“Sorry to make you wait!” he said through gritted teeth.
Moofuj blinked before cocking his left hand back to throw another ball of pure, water energy. Was he a sandball player? His pitcher’s stance said, ‘yes.’
Manipulating the metal energy into magnetism, Kkaj grabbed the middle layer of the ring directly under Moofuj and lifted it into the air. Good thing they haven’t found a sturdier way to make these rings yet.
A squeal leaped from Moofuj’s mouth as he toppled to the ground. How did his deep voice make such a sound? Thud. He grunted upon impact, and his ball of water dissipated. In the blink of an eye, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a flask.
“No, you don’t!” Kkaj flipped the metal plate over and let it fall while grabbing two more around Moofuj. Kkaj flexed his mind and brought them up like clapping hands, expending the last of his metal energy.
Thang! The collision of metal rang through the stands.
Kkaj’s knees buckled. Why had it been so loud?
From the left, a light blue light indicated water energy.
Kkaj dove forward as a drill of water ripped through the area he had been standing in. Fuck.
Moofuj twitched, his eyes starting to glaze over. How much longer would his mind hold out against the spirits? He drained a flask and tossed it aside rather than returning it to his vest.
A lump formed in Kkaj’s throat, and he swallowed. Better question, how much longer will I last? He reached into his vest and took a long draw of rum.
Greed surged through his mental barrier.
Kkaj had to win. He needed more money. More fame. More women. More. More! MORE! Fire energy erupted from his hands, and he manipulated into a hulking suit of armor around his body.
Moofuj crafted a massive spear of water and set himself in River form. “I’ll —”
Kkaj charged. The ring’s stone layer shattered under his heavy footfalls. He shifted into Mountain form, and his shoulders tensed.
Moofuj’s spear shot forward and bit through the surface of Kkaj’s armor. Moofuj struck Kkaj’s chest again then stabbed both of Kkaj’s legs.
The size of Kkaj’s armor reduced with each hit, but he closed the distance and brought both elbows down, shattering Moofuj’s spear. Kkaj spun into Forest form, knees bent and shoulders hunched. He slashed with knife-hands, one for the neck and the other from the chest.
Moofuj brought the remains of his spear up to save his neck.
Crunch! Kkaj’s strike landed on Moofuj’s ribs.
A grimace crossed Moofuj’s face, and he screamed through gritted teeth as he flew backwards. He crashed into the ring, shoulders first. His body flipped over and rolled towards the edge of the ring. Was this it?
No. Kkaj bolted towards Moofuj before he stopped rolling and switched to Pains form. Kkaj twisted his hips and kicked Moofuj in the chest, sending him flying towards the stands. “I —”
Moofuj pulled out a flask and drank until the red aura of Greed radiated around his body. Full possession.
“Crocobear shit.” Kkaj scrambled backwards.
Moofuj allowed the fire energy to flow from his body, and a smoking chain appeared in his hands. The chain shot forward like a snake, avoiding Kkaj’s outstretched arms and wrapping around his body.
Kkaj’s armor pulsed once.
Moofuj pulled himself back into the ring with the chain. He grinned then tightened his grip on the chain.
Kkaj’s armor pulsed again. Thump. It exploded, sending out a wave of fire into the stands.
Screams. Crying sounds. Gurgles of death. When the fire extinguished, the first three rows of the crowd were nothing but specs of ash. The half of the ring that remained sizzled with gooey metal clinging to both fighters.
Kkaj panted. His arms and legs felt like large rocks, but he stood.
“You are quite resilient.”
“What are you talking about? I cannot possibly be possessed as you humans say.”
“It’s well known that you spirits don’t use contractions. Besides, you just referred to us as ‘you humans.’“ Kkaj reached into his vest.
Moofuj’s form blurred. He was directly in front of Kkaj. So fast.
Kkaj pulled out his flask of tequila.
Moofuj knocked it from his grip then backfisted Kkaj.
Kkaj’s head snapped around, and he landed on the ring, face first.
“You think I am just going to let you fight back? No. This fight is mine.”
A tingling sensation scratched at the back of Kkaj’s mind. He began to laugh. About time.
Moofuj kicked Kkaj in the side, sending him skidding across the ring.
Kkaj’s body slid to a stop on the edge of the ring. Close. He pointed an open hand towards Moofuj. “You should have put more into that kick.”
“Why? It’s not like you’re fast enough to drink. I mean —”
Kkaj closed his fist, and lighting poured from the sky like a trough of water. The blinding blue light left spots in his eyes and a gaping wound down Moofuj’s back.
Moofuj wobbled to the left before falling limp. Blood pooled out around him despite the heat of the lightning.
Kkaj stood and raised his hand in victory.
The now naked judge counted to ten then declared Kkaj the winner.
Kkaj stumbled from the ring, finding Roffor’s and Saffer’s shoulders there to support him. He needed a nap.
Next: Chapter 9