The little winged demon continues to idly flap and hovers in place as it glares at me with its maddened eye whilst I try to figure out exactly how this thing is higher evolved than me. If it poured all of its evolutionary energy into mental stats and organs that enhanced its magical ability, how the heck is able to fit all of that into such a tiny body? I know for a fact that my brains occupy more space than the tiny monster occupies and it supposedly has a much bigger mind than I do! Where did all that brain matter go? Does it have access to some sort of mega compressed neurons or something? If so, it's not fair! That sounds like it would be really useful!
Besides that, I need to focus. My sub-brains have already put together the mana constructs I feel I'm going to need for this battle. Firstly, condensed ice magic construct. Since the creature is a 'demon' from the Third Strata, a place of fire and ash, it stands to reason that fire magic wouldn't be too effective, therefore it seems as if ice will be the best bet. Granin supported the decision so I can't be too far off the mark. For my secondary option, I've actually gone with healing magic. If I'm going to get close to this nasty fellow and bite him to death, then I suspect that I'm going to take an absolute battering on the way in. With my newfound regenerative abilities, combined with healing mana, I'm hoping that I'll have enough staying power to absorb the punishment that's sure to come my way.
The real problem I have is that Granin wasn't able to tell me what sort of magic this little beast might be capable of. It's been trained by a triad of Shapers, just like every other monster in this place, but what they decided was the most effective use of that brainpower was I have no idea. I'm going to have to find out the hard way I suppose.
This is going to be rough.
I can't believe such a small monster is giving such an intense feeling of pressure, but even beyond what I've been told about it, the insane looking little bugger just creeps me out. The voice in my head sure isn't helping.
[Ahhhhh. I know you now. I can see your tasssssste.]
[You are one weird unit buddy. I think we're done here.]
Before the Shaper in charge of the fight can declare it's begun I reach out to the mind bridge connecting the two of us and flex my will, tearing it to shreds. The feeling of having the mental connection cut so suddenly is jarring but I'm certain its significantly worse for the mini-demon. A moment of triumph before the start of the bout! Good start. Before I can even finish congratulating myself I sense another mind bridge worming its way toward me. I don't know how he does it but the spell is so hard to sense as if he were using stealth mode or something. Reaching out with my mind I seize the threads and tear it apart once more, but before I'm even done I sense another bridge coming, then another, and another one after that!
Launching into action mode I sink my minds into meditation and put my main mind as well as my biggest sub-brain to work on tearing the spells apart before they reach me. Tense seconds pass as I focus all of my attention on cutting apart the spells that seem to fly at me without end. Every single one of them comes from a different angle, feels slightly different and moves at a different speed. It's impossible to sense any sort of rhythm or pattern and the demon is relentless. Each moment that passes brings the bridges that little bit closer to connecting and redouble my efforts. 0I focus so hard on the mental battle that I barely register the Shaper sweeping a hand to indicate the start of the fight.
Oh right! I need to atta -.
I fly back from a tremendous impact that sends me reeling, my legs scrabbling in the air as I struggle to gain my balance in the air.
I land heavily and try to put my feet under me as fast as I can. What the hell just happened to me? Am I damaged?! What's going on?
[I sssssee your pain. It's sssso nice!]
When the heck?! Speaking of pain, my freakin' head hurts! Just ignore it, Anthony! You need to move!
Another explosion rocks the position just behind me, once again lifting me off the ground. That first shot hurt. Checking my HP I can see I'm already down twenty points, a large chunk has been taken out of my carapace right between my eyes. Yeeouch! Don't want to get hit with another one of those, need to keep moving!
I try to collect my thoughts as I move around the outside of the ring. I think this little devil battered me with mind bridges just so I'd be distracted, then bopped me right in the face with a spell the second the fight started. How dirty! This damnable demon is sneaky! I don't think I've ever faced a monster this smart. This is going to be hard.
I decide not to pull the trigger on my healing gland just yet. Internal damage isn't too bad and external damage will be healed over time, I just need to give my plating a little time. If I get hit in the same place again it might be lights out, but I need to risk it to win the biscuit. The biscuit in this instance being some delicious demon meat.
[Give it all to me. All your thingssss are for me!]
I can barely see it. The little monster hasn't moved since the fight started and his spells are as fast as lightning. It's a small red orb that zaps out from the eye in a straight line and detonates when it contacts something. I've never even heard of that kind of magic! Dammit Granin, what the hell is this?!
No point getting mad, I just need to focus and get closer enough to chomp the damn monster into shreds. For now, I'll leave the mind bridge alone, it hasn't attacked me across the bridge yet so I'll leave it alone whilst being ready to sever it at a moment's notice. Instead, I'll use the brainpower I have to get my own offence going. If the floaty eyeball wants to talk smack then I'm happy to oblige.
[I've heard eating eyes is good for the brain. We're going to find out if that's true today!]
Start with the basics, I fling out a shard of ice, aiming to skewer the damned demon and pin him to the wall but before it reaches the target it dissolved to nothing in mid-air.
Another explosion sends sand and dirt flying in every direction and I scrabble to keep my feet. Can't stop moving, even for a second. The nasty little creature is clearly aiming for my head, trying to score the knockout punch. As if I'd let you! More Ice!
Weaving condensed mana takes more effort and energy on my part, but it's also harder for the demon to break apart, requiring more effort on his part. Judging from his earlier performance, he can shape a heck of a lot of spells at once when he wants to if I can distract his attention even a little then that's going to help me close in.
This time two bolts of deep blue ice fly through the air like spears. They dissolve once more but I notice they get much closer to landing than the single-shot did. When the monster is distracted breaking down my magic I angle my dash to reach a little closer. I'm coming for you!