106 Madison - Headed by a Snake
Tamaki fired a barrage of arrows at a green-skinned humanoid, complementing the black thorns growing from its flesh. Lone spun his dual blades in a 720 degree circle, slashing the injured plant-creature's flesh and decapitating it.
"Thanks, Chosen One!" Tamaki wiped sweat from his brow, "I thought I was a goner!"
Lone kicked the severed head off of the stairs and it plummeted into the fiery explosions geysering up from the bottom floor, "Not a problem, brother. No man or woman left behind-- like Boss says."
Dragan bounded up the stairs, an uncommon look of worry on the big man's face, "Yeap! Move! Both of you, have to catch up with Maximus, riiiiight NOWWW!!"
Without a word of complaint, the giant, the archer, and the swordsman powered up the stairs to catch up with the winged dovahkiin. The sounds echoing in the tower were deafening: boots to stone, roars of the fires below, and plant-people dying to Maximus' lightning bolts.
Lone had to yell to make himself heard, "Dragan! Where's the Wind General?!"
"Dead! Reeeaaaallly dead!! Which is why we are RUNNING!!" Dragan placed his hand and the flat of his axe on Tamaki's and Lone's backs to push them along.
A crack opened in a nearby wall as a trio of plant-men spilled out of it. Lone deflected a thorn-covered sword and stabbed one in the eye, "What do you MEAN, DEAD??!"
Dragan slashed his heavy axe horizontally, knocking the enemies back, "Axe BURST!!-- It's exactly as I said, the elf got cut into two by something that's chasing us, so MOVE YOUR--"
Lone and Tamaki had run up the stairs to the next platform, leaving Dragan behind.
Dragan stared up the stairs at their backs, "Yeah. Like that."
He looked at the crack in the wall. Over a dozen more feral plant men crowded to get through, clambering over each other to bite into the flesh of men. Dragan leaped up powerfully, smashing the corner of the wall with his axe-- blocking the entrance with rock debris, "That'll slow 'em down, now to get away from the--"
Vines latched onto his knee, dagger-sharp thorns pricking into his flesh.
Dragan looked down, "Aw, fff--"
Tamaki hurriedly shot past Lone's head, the arrow pinning to the tower wall. As they ran past, Lone noticed... a tiny creature still wriggling on the arrow.
Lone ran past it quickly, starting up the next set of stairs, "What the hells was that?"
"Looked like a big ROACH, Chosen One! Mama taught me ta shoot 'em, whenever I saw one," Tamaki yelled between breaths.
Lone glanced up to where Maximus was fighting, one platform higher. He was surrounded by plant-men, pouring out of another large crack in the wall. With every strike of the dovahkiin's spear, two or three fell to a chaining bolt of lightning. The plant-men weren't even metal rankers-- once Lone, Tamaki, and Dragan arrived to provide support, Invictus would be able to break through.
Lone arrived atop the next set of stairs, stopping abruptly.
Tamaki collided into Lone's back, "Chosen One! What's the big idea, we hafta--"
A woman with dark eyes stood at the center of the pathway. The only thing that covered her barefoot nakedness was long, curly hair that dropped down to her waist. Past her were the stairs to Maximus' platform.
"Nice to see you again, my love," the woman waved a dainty hand. A red millipede, half the size of her arm, licked the tip of her fingers.
Lone squinted his eyes, weapons out and slowly edging forward towards the woman, "Madison. This is... awkward."
"It shouldn't be. I'm not ashamed of my body, Master Lone." Madison sucked on two of her fingers, the millipede crawling onto her face and retreating into her hair.
"I was a virgin!!" Lone yelled, wiping away a tear with the back of his hand. He didn't have the time to be cordial.
"You can't take it back, Master Lone." Madison swept her hair back, showing off her nudity, "But my legs are open to another reservation if you're so inclined."
Tamaki nocked another arrow into his bow, "We're kinda in a rush, Miss Madison. Would be a shame ta put ya down, after all ya did for the Chosen One."
Lone pointed his sword angrily at the naked woman, "BITCH, YOU HAVE CRABS!!"
The woman waved a slow hand in the air. Hundreds of black and crimson roaches spilled out from her dark hair and hovered by her head, "I command far more than just that, Master Lone."
Tamaki pulled Lone's shoulder, whispering loudly, "Chosen One, I think the naked lady has bug powers."
Madison narrowed her eyes, "Master Tamaki. You've killed one of my children."
"Oh, wow," Tamaki scratched his head. "That was before I knew ya had 50 million of 'em living on yer head."
Thrusting her hand forward, the roach swarm rocketed towards the two.
"Millions of young will feed and lay eggs on your flesh!!" She screamed.
"Ow! Augh! Ahhh! --Grah! Ah!"
Dragan bounced down the steps. Flailing about, he tried to smash his weapon against the vine wrapped around his ankle, but he was being pulled too fast.
Sparks flew as he tried to catch his axe-blade into the rock to slow his descent.
"(GIVE UP. SUFFER. DIE,)" a gravelly voice that crackled like kindling emanated from the Monarch's ram skull. The ancient magic in its words was powerful enough that Dragan didn't need to parse through their meanings.
Dragan righted himself at the last moment, springing up at the fae creature, "Aha! Got'cha!!"
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His two-handed axe bit into the creature's flesh, cutting into the roots, cleaving the Monarch nearly in twain.
Dragan pointed, grinning, "I got'cha! You're dead! Fall over!!"
The figure stared up at Dragan, red worms bulging in the Monarch's skull. It lifted its curved ivory blade.
Dragan winced as he caught the blade with his forearm, cutting deeply and touching the bone, "Oh, come on!!!"
The Titanblood sent a powerful forward kick at the stuck axe's haft, knocking the Monarch back a step. Dragan unstuck the bone blade from his arm, "I'll be taking this, then!"
He turned to run, easily bounding up the steps. Black spines dug into the flesh of his left hand-- the hand holding the Monarch's weapon, "Eeeaarghhh!. Are you SERIOUS?!"
He felt a tingling sensation along his forearm-- likely the burning sensation that the dead woman Naedrielle had warned about. Dragan ignored the pain and bounded up the steps. Having a weapon was worth the annoyance of a few holes in his hand. And at least he wouldn't drop it easily.
Dragan ascended another platform, "Why haven't you two caught up yet?"
Tamaki was rolling back and forth on the ground, swatting at dozens of fattened insects. Lone was doing a little better, flailing around with his two swords as the hundreds of flying, skittering creatures swarmed and bit at his face, neck and the unarmored parts of his body.
"It's MADISS-OHHARRGH" Lone tried to yell out, allowing the insects to crawl into his mouth.
Dragan smiled weakly, patting Lone's back with the flat of his ivory blade, "Sorry, bud. I kinda set you up for that one."