Just in case things start to turn south, I direct my sub-brains to start drawing on my gravitational mana. I'm not confident that I'll be able to subdue this lot, when push come to shove I need a way out. As I try to shape up to the looming shadows around me, the dust that still fills the air is sucked away into a ball, leaving everyone blinking in the sudden clarity. Everyone except Tiny, who keeps swinging his fists and blasting out lightning as if nothing changed.
There are fifteen Golgari in total and they are all moving in to fight. Thanks to Invidia, the fight isn't going to go out of our favour immediately due to lack of numbers. His barrage of mental attacks, illusions and barriers are enough to keep the opponent on the back foot as Tiny wreaks havoc amongst them. Light on his feet, Tiny shows what he can do when he gets serious. Lightning fast ape jabs, the powerful gorilla hook, not to mention the devastating kong upper. All jaw droppingly powerful weapons in the arsenal of his Ape Boxing Skill.
The Golgari respond with the sort of practiced ease that makes me nervous. The largest three, with their gleaming skin and oversized weapons, have regained their balance and move to the front. Even the one I threw is back on his feet, axe swinging through the air. Behind them the armoured guy, along with a group of Warriors and Shapers, are fending off Crinis' tentacles as they watch for openings. Particularly the armoured guy, he's barely having to fight at all, mainly just watching us, or watching me specifically.
All of a sudden the three giants dash forward, covering the few metres between them and me in an instant, their weapons flashing through the air, glowing with deadly light. Hah! No matter how fast you move, I can react! Their blows are coordinated, aiming to cut off my path of escape. It's impossible to angle my carapace to receive all three, so I dodge to my left, legs firing with impossible speed, and tilt myself to one side.
BAM! BAM! BAM!
Two of the strikes crunch into me and I brace my legs once again to absorb the impact as the third slams into the ground beside me. The diamond carapace proves it's up to the task and despite the glittering chips flying into the air, neither of the two great swords are able to puncture through my exo-skeleton. I can tell the two didn't expect to fail to puncture me from the surprise on their faces, but I've only just begun shocking you, chumps!
At point blank range I pump a gravity bolt into the two Golgari elites who managed to hit me. I wish I'd had the time to condense them, but regular old mana will have to do. At the same time I flood my mandibles with gravity mana and shift to the left. The moment it's charged, I reach out and yank the third elite toward me, causing him to crash into the other two. Unfortunately they're so monstrously strong that they hold their ground, even with one of their own falling into their backs. It's enough of a shock to give me the brief moment of time that I need!
POW! POW! POW! POW!
Eat rapid fire acid, fools! Point blank shots fire from the celebrated commercial empire straight onto the front two elites, splattering them with my patented cleaning agent. Having done the deed I do the only noble thing, turn around and run!
[Tiny, deal with these guys!]
[HRE HRE HRE HRE.]
The giant ape's gleeful laughter echoes in my head as we trade places, me running out and him charging in. I don't want to get bogged down with those three, they're tough as bricks and strong as an ox on steroids. I've got chunks missing out of my back! Chunks, I say! Luckily the carapace is healing itself already. No, my business is with the other members of this group. With Tiny supplying the threat and Invidia keeping him alive, I can plough into the softer targets that Crinis has been harassing all this time.
She still hasn't committed her main body, which is smart, until that armoured guy moves, I don't want us to get in too deep. If he's stronger than the big three, I wouldn't want to try taking a hit! More gravity bolts fly as I start to weave together something a little heavier. The regular Warriors are tough, better than the ones I faced before and they move with precision and power to strike at me. Without the sheer strength of the elites though, they struggle to break through my diamond shell. My reflexes fire with insane speed, allowing me to turn, weave and slant my body to deflect blows I see coming a fraction before they begin.
My mandibles lash out at the press of bodies around me. Every time I grip a Golgari in my jaws, I turn and throw them to sow more chaos, right up until the gravity domain descends.
A dark purple sphere of pure gravity expands outwards with me in the centre, pulling all the Golgari to the ground. They're strong, too strong to fall from such a spell, but it's enough to hinder their movements as their weapons drag their arms down to the ground. Probably my favourite thing about the gravity domain against opponents like these, is the way every blow becomes more difficult for them. With the weight of their own blades pulling them down, my carapace is easily able to deflect normal strikes, buying more time for the diamond layer to heal itself.
Still, things are getting crazy in here. Tired of messing around, weapons are starting to light up as Skills are put to use. The area becomes full of glowing ape fists, blade light and crushing mandibles as I fight my way back to the Shapers. These are the guys who need to get put out of action the most. Without mage support, I'm not as worried about the Warriors. When the potential exists for me to get half knocked out with one punch, I can't fight properly!
Get outta my way!
Protected by the domain and with the armoured figure still just watching the action, I bully my way through the surrounding Warriors to confront the Shapers, only to run into a familiar face. He doesn't look super happy to see me though. Gah! Making contact in this situation is risky, but I'll have to chance it.
[GRANIN! What the hell, man?!]
[I know,] he sighs. [Got recruited just as forcefully as you did.]
[Is that Torrina and Corun over there?]
[Yep,] he confirms. [We're the experts on all things Anthony and ants, apparently.]
Weapons continue to rattle against my carapace as I dodge left and right whilst trying to work out what the hell I'm going to do about my allies being here to hunt me down.
[So what's the plan then Granin? Going to attack me? Kill my family?]
[Honestly? I was hoping we never caught up to you. We aren't being particularly useful right now, but eventually we'll get an order that we can't refuse.]
[Dammit, Granin. You put me in a pretty damn awkward position here.]
[Tell me about it.]
This sucks. I think it's time to bug out.
[Retreat! Fall back down the tunnel and we'll scare them off with numbers! Tiny, get the he-]
In a motion so fast I could barely register what was happening, even as I sensed it in advance, the armoured figure drew his sword, lunged forward and crossed the space between us. His blade, illuminated with cold light and glowing runes, punctured my carapace with an alarming rip, the tip of the blade barely sliding past my core as I lifted my legs on one side to shift the angle.
What in the name of heck was THAT?!