The diamond carapace will never yield!
I hope! In the meantime, let's not put it to the test and get this freaky mole monster off of my back! As it continues to wail on my precious shiny exterior, I try to flip him off by flinging myself left and rightsand flies as I move with vigour but to no avail. I don't know if he's got glue on his feet or something, but he's managed to dig right in up there. I can't even turn my head around to bite him since I lack a neck and all that.
The answer will have to come from private industry! Even with the monster standing on me, with my newfangled accessories back there, I'm able to lift my abdomen enough that I can get an angle on the beast.
POW! POW! POW! POW!
A rapid-fire barrage of acid! Behold the might and efficacy of my latest product!
The creature sounds like steam escaping a vent as the acid clings to its body, seeping into its already open wounds and burning at its flesh. As it's distracted, I try to fling it off once more, and whatever tension it was holding in its feet breaks. It flies from my back and lands heavily nearby, writhing in pain.
I've been hoping for this moment! My sub-brains have been busy crafting the often underutilised inverse-gravity bolts! I have two in the chamber and ready to fly, and once I see the monster land, I unleash them. The two blasts of purple magic fly home and strike the monster right in the centre of its mass. Rather than celebrate I take a second to inspect the damage I've sustained.
It's not a great picture. The carapace across the back of my abdomen and thorax has taken a shredding. Deep gouges that cut almost the entire way through to my body cover me, each weeping the clear gel released from the inner-carapace plating. In terms of HP, I haven't lost much, only twenty points so far in the fight, but if this creature manages to cut through my defence, I don't think he'll need to do it a second time. The power contained in each of those strikes is no joke!
The question I have is, do I risk using my regeneration gland to patch up my carapace or wait in case I sustain massive damage later in the fight? I don't want to waste usage of the organ, only to find my legs have been chopped off in the next minute. Then again, I don't want to save it at then get cut in half from one swipe of those horrible claws.
Deciding that prevention is better than recover, I trigger the gland as my sub-brains spin up another set of inverse bolts. I've had way less practice with this form of the spell, and it shows, the relatively simple magic taking up to ten seconds to form. To save on brainpower, I drop the Gravity Domain. The low mass and high power of the monster made it ineffective anyway. Now that my strategy has flipped less gravity rather than more, it no longer makes sense to spend resources on it.
POW! POW! POW! POW!
The acid barrage doesn't stop for love nor money, and the creature rolls desperately away as the rain of high-quality merchandise continues to fall. The monster is still suffering the effects from overtaxing its own body, but even as I watch it stand and heave for oxygen, its wounds are starting to heal. It's triggered whatever healing capacity it has. I'm not too worried about it; this was something that I was always going to have force out at some point and getting done just as I've used mine makes me feel comfortable.
It continues to roll away from my acid rain, delaying until it manages to return to full health no doubt. But this presents another opportunity. Taking careful aim, I wait for my chance and fire out my second set of anti-gravity bolts just as the creature is about to finish one dodge roll. Even now, it's still damn quick, and its high dodge Skill allows it to evade one of my spells, but I'm delighted to see the other smack home.
After three bolts the effect should be starting to show now, surely.
After being struck, the mole-monster seems to have had enough. It's burning red flesh, and sizzling blood appears to demand it leap into action and so it does! Only it doesn't. It tries to dash to one side and build up speed for another of its devastating killing blows, yet something is different. Its legs are spinning, but it isn't able to get the kind of speed it expects.
Are you feeling a little light-headed, maybe? Perhaps a bit light in the body? Having some issues getting your feet to stick in the sand the way you want?
No traction for you!
Once more, the monster lets out a steam-like hiss. It's not in pain this time; it's expressing pure frustration. Whilst still moving quickly, the creature isn't moving anywhere near the sort of speed it was able to achieve before. Although my spell isn't affecting it powerfully enough to lift it into the air, the inverse gravity bolt has reduced the pull of gravity on it to the point where it can't get the sort of traction it needs to generate that blistering pace.
Not fast enough now, monster!
I snap my mandibles with glee, and for the first time in the fight, I begin to push forward, hunting for my foe with my mandibles. Uncertain and confused, the monster tries to dart left and right to escape, but I'm ready. My fire mana construct has been humming away in the background and drawing deeply on my mana reserves I pull together a demanding spell. Right before my enemies eyes, a giant wall of flame erupts from the ground. The heat is oppressive, even to me. But it's so much worse for the shadow monster. It flinches away instinctively which is enough to grant me a brief opening.
Another inverted gravity bolt hits home as I close in with a Dash. Get ready for a chomp!
Dammit! The creature slithers away from my mandibles like an eel, its absurdly high Dodge allowing it to evade even in such dire circumstances. I don't believe you can keep it up forever, monster! Sooner or later I'm going to get you!
The monster seems to understand the same. Rather than try and create distance, it instead closes in, angling to my side to avoid my jaws. I'm not going to let you! The wall of fire is still burning, fuelled by a constant stream of fire mana pouring out of me and with my back to it, the monster can't circle all the way around. I turn rapidly to keep it in front of me, and once it closes in on the wall, it's forced to stop and come at me directly.
I missed again! Where the heck did he go?!
I look around frantically only to see a flicker of movement above. He jumped! And he went way, way higher than he expected
Using the explosive power of its legs, combined with its lightened body, the monster has flown almost thirty metres into the air, nearly high enough to touch the roof of the arena! I think he wanted to leap onto my back and try once again to stab through my eyes or something, but he didn't expect the spell to affect him in this way.
It's a fatal mistake. I have all the time in the world to reposition myself and prepare my jaws at the point of landing. Frantic, the creature lashes at the air to try and change its path of descent, but nothing helps.