164 A Lonely Existence*
Rassa's eyes narrowed as he looked across the divide between the ships at the malicious grin of the Pirate Captain. Was he really so arrogant as to believe that he could even make a dent in Rassa's defence? Even with Rassa's power significantly impacted by his move with the cannon barrels, he was still more than a match for a mere man.
As the pirate crew took up ropes and prepared long planks to board the Miranda, Rassa realised this man really was that arrogant.
Very well. Let's see how he deals with a Vampire rather than a sailor.
Rassa didn't even bother holding back. His strength launched him across the divide without aid, and his speed left the Pirate Captain with quite the surprised expression. In an instant, Rassa was before him, not a metre in front of the imposing man.
"Don't get cocky," Rassa spoke with a tilt of his head. Then he let his fangs extend as he dashed forward, ready to replenish his waning strength. Only, as soon as he went to bite down on the man's neck, he rebounded back.
Rassa grunted at the force that pushed him backwards, looking up at the Captain in surprise.
A protection charm? Seriously?
The Captain grinned darkly, "I have a right to be cocky".
He drew the sword by his side and then gripped the hilt tightly. Rassa registered the crystal in the hilt, and watched as the sword sparked and crackled with lightning along its blade. The Captain grinned triumphantly and swung the sword.
Rassa let the lightning hit him as it seemed to carve through the air unhindered. The lightning crackled over his own protective barrier, and where it didn't hit Rassa, it splintered the deck of the Miranda behind him with an almighty crack. Rassa turned slightly to watch as some of the Miranda's crew jumped out of the way, or were thrown away by the blast. The main mast, near where the lightning had struck, wobbled dangerously.
"Ebony get down!" Rassa shouted as he met his friend's terrified gaze.
Ebony wasn't arguing with him.
Rassa turned back to his opponent, taking out his protection charm, "My company makes these, did you really think I'd walk around with one?"
"From what I know, these charms of yours don't last forever, shall we see who's shield breaks first?" mused the Captain.
Rassa's eyes turned dark to the pirate, and he dodged to the side again to avoid a strike of lightning. Rassa was in a dilemma now. If he used his shadows, his energy would be depleted faster, and he wouldn't able to keep up the speed to dodge. But if he only used physical attacks on his opponent's shield, his own would weaken far quicker facing the magic attacks of his opponent. It was just how the charms worked, magic attacks consumed far more of the Mist's energy to disperse than physical attacks. Rassa's eyes narrowed, the pirate wouldn't be able to keep up with him anyway. He picked up a stray cannon ball and threw it at the pirate who seemed surprised by the move.
"Very well, let's see how long it takes your sparkly sword to deplete," Rassa taunted. After all, the crystal in the sword wouldn't last long either.
Aegin was right in the thick of the fighting. There was nowhere else he'd rather be as he wielded the two short swords around him, fighting off the pirates that wanted to board the Miranda. He sent them right back to the ocean they'd come from, not a shred of remorse in his eyes for doing so. Some of them were pretty tough, but with Midas, Tank, and many others fighting close by, Aegin never had to deal with more than one opponent for long.
He threw off another pirate before slashing low, and kicking the man overboard before he looked across deck to check on Rassa.
Who was no longer there.
Aegin's eyes strayed to find Rassa on the port side pirate ship, doing his best to look like the monster he was. Clearly he didn't need any help with that. Aegin then looked up towards the crow's nest to see Ebony's situation.
She wasn't where she was supposed to be either. The stupid girl was climbing down the ratlines towards the fight.
"Idiot!" Aegin cursed, darting through the fighting, slashing away enemies where he needed to before he jumped down to the main deck where Ebony was going to come down.
"What in the gods names are you doing coming down here?" asked Aegin.
"Did you not see the Vanguard cleave a hole in the deck?" asked Ebony.
Aegin turned to look. Honestly, he hadn't. He'd gotten used the cannon fire and hadn't realised there was more than that going on.
"What's that got to do with you?" asked Aegin.
"Rassa ordered me down, up there isn't sa-"
Aegin pushed Ebony down and drew his swords over her, stepping so that he was between her and his opponent as he fought him off, "Down here isn't safe either!"
"Nowhere is safe!" she snapped back, "We're under attack!"
Aegin grumbled, "Stick behind me but don't face my back, and duck when I tell you to".
Ebony didn't argue this time.
The deck of the Miranda was absolute chaos, but so was this whole situation. Regardless, Rassa was more concerned about his current predicament than what was happening on the Miranda. Aegin could look after himself, and Ebony wasn't stupid either. The crew respected them both so no doubt they'd be well-looked after during the fight. Rassa was free to unleash. And unleash he did.
Rassa was limited to what he could do with his magic, even then, he used it where he could, sending all kinds of stray objects and debris at the barrier surrounding the Pirate Captain so that he wouldn't have to face the backlash directly himself.
Meanwhile, the Priate Captain swung his lightning coated Vanguard back and forth, destroying parts of the Miranda as well as his own ship. He seemed near crazed as he moved around and seemed to target spots randomly. To Rassa, his movements were so slow, easy to dodge. He'd counted at least nine slashes of lightning, at least four of which had managed to hit his shield. But this was nothing like when he'd been caught off guard in his cell in Jerrica. At most, this crazed man had four more strikes of his sword left. Judging from the mist left in his charm, Rassa could stand another two hits before he'd have to dodge the uncontrollable bolt of lightning by himself.
Though, Rassa was running out of ammunition. He spotted a shadow to the side and reached for it, only to find it not responding to him. He frowned and reached out again. That presence was there, the one he'd felt the night they'd left Rouke. He had no time to contemplate it though, as in his moment of surprise and confusion, a lightning strike hit him full power rather than glancing off his shield. His protection charm fluttered and he felt the protective shield around his body fall away.
"Ha!" the Pirate cried triumphantly. Rassa turned and saw the Vanguard cleaving the air in his direction once more. Rassa dropped to the ground as the lightning passed over him the air burning and sparking before another explosion of splinters aboard the Miranda. A big one.
Rassa turned in surprise at the sound, it was much more defined than the previous one's he'd heard. Rassa then watched in horror as the main mast of the Miranda leaned dangerously to one side, the ropes holding it snapping at the strain. Catching a glimpse of Aegin and Ebony standing back to back on the deck, looking up at the falling mast in shock as it began to fall, faster and fast, towards them.
"Look out!" Rassa cried.
He went to move towards them, only to find his feet stuck to the deck.
His head snapped down to find the sticky black substance he'd been unable to name holding him firmly in place. He pulled on his own energy to move away, but his moment of distraction has cost him again.
"You're done, monster!" the Pirate grinned. Rassa couldn't escape it as the lightning made it his way. It struck him painfully, just as awful and incapacitating as it had been in Jerrica.
Rassa collapsed onto the deck, flinching and jerking as the electricity coursed through his body unhindered. He turned to look towards Aegin and Ebony, and saw it as Aegin turned and grabbed Ebony in slow motion, then jumped over the starboard side of the Miranda and out of sight. The mast came crashing down, splintering the deck of the Miranda and the remaining pirate ship on the far side.
No. He had to get to them, to make sure they were alright. He gritted his teeth, pushing himself to his knees as he fought off the lightning.
"Tough one, aren't you?" asked the Pirate, "I take it I have your approval to kill him, then?"
The top half of a woman in a black robe appeared from the shadows trapping Rassa's feet, she grinned from the shadows of the cowl, "I will tolerate no threats to my Master".
The Pirate grinned, then slashed his sword down, a final strike of lightning cleaving the edge of the deck where Rassa crouched and throwing Rassa into the ocean below.
The water made the sizzling through his body worse, it was like it just kept coming as he sunk, choking on water as it filled his lungs.
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Finally, mercifully, it stopped as he dipped below the hulls of the Miranda and the pirate ship. Rassa pulled his arms up and through the water, making his way to the surface to gasp for some air, only to see the figure of that woman diving through the water, from the hull towards him. Her sticky darkness gripped him, then dragged him down. Her voice cut through the water towards him as he struggled against her, reaching to call upon shadows of his own.
"If you will not serve my master, you will serve nobody".
The shadows responded to Rassa call, reaching down from the ship towards him. Rassa paused right as the shadows were about to reach him, catching sight of a sinking Aegin and Ebony. It had only been seconds since they'd landed in the water, hadn't it?
It took barely an instant for Rassa to make his decision. His was a lonely existence anyway. Theirs? They still had a chance.
The shadows redirected from Rassa, pushing the two fragile humans to the surface. Rassa watched them gasp for air in the light as his world grew darker the deeper he went.