142 Blood & Sand - Headed by a Snake
Pale deflected the pirate's guisarme, but his hands shook from the force.
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The pirate wasn't as strong as Lone, but Pale was exhausted, sweaty, and the cut on his chest started to bleed more. He needed to end the fight quickly.
Pale rocketed a spear stab towards the man's neck, but the pirate was able to bring his weapon haft up to deflect it.
Unbalanced! Pale took the shot.
He dashed forward, sliding low. He scissored his legs around the man's legs and twisted his body and pushed with his arms as hard as he could.
Yes! The man fell down, his back crashing into the sands. Pale got to his back, aimed his spear, and plunged it into the side of the pirate's neck.
Good. Now he could rest.
...No, wait. No, he couldn't. Crap.
"You're a gods-damned monster, kid."
Pale struggled to his feet and looked up to the voice.
Aw, butt. Eight more pirates. Where was Jacque?
The voice belonged to a pirate who was approaching warily, his trident pointed forward, "Put down the weapon, kid. We'll make it quick and painless for you."
Pale grit his teeth. Just eight more... He'd lost count of how many pirates he'd defeated. A hundred, maybe? Eight more was no big deal... He sure was tired, though.
"BLOOD AND THUNDER!!" Jacque leapt up on one of the pirate's backs, sinking a dagger in.
"What the--" The pirates turned.
Oh, good stuff. Pale sank his own spear into a pirate's neck. Running and sliding to the side, he slashed his spear at the back of another pirate's thighs, severing both of their hamstrings. Summoning strength at the end of his limits, Pale lifted his spear up high and whacked the haft into a third pirate's collarbone-- the man crumpled to the ground.
A net covered Pale, almost comfortable, like a blanket. But Pale couldn't yet rest-- it blocked his vision, it constricted his movement. He struggled to get it off.
A sudden shock jolted through Pale's body and he spat dark red blood.
Pale looked down and a trident was piercing into his stomach.
Pale tried to stab, but the end of his spear was grabbed by one of the pirates.
"Ehehe! We got you now, you li'l monster!!"
Pale grit his teeth as his eyes filled with hot mana, "Magnum BREAK!!"
A geyser of flame erupted from Pale, soaring 10 fulms in the air, disintegrating the net, and blasting the surrounding pirates back.
The fire withdrew in a flash, collecting around the Lifedrinker spear. With a heated slash, he cut off the metal haft of the trident still stuck in him.
Dashing forward, the flame-wreathed spear cut easily through a pirate's metal armor and into his chest. Rotating his body, Pale slashed another pirate's, completely rending it below the knee.
He leapt forward and stabbed a fleeing pirate in the back, dropping the man dead on the sands.
Not enough. There were too many.
He reached for his pouch and unfurled a scroll.
His eyes glowed cool blue with mana, "Lightning Circle."
Jacque ran over to Pale, who had finally collapsed on the ground, "Hey, kid. Kid! You still alive?"
"Y-yeah... I think so," Pale groaned.
"What in the hells did you do?" Jacque grabbed the boy's pouch and emptied its contents onto the sand.
The boy was a monster, just as the pirates were saying. In a circular blast of lightning magic, the boy had felled all the remaining pirates. Jacque fastidiously cut their throats before any of them could recover, then immediately knelt at the boy's side.
"Spell scroll... Last one I had, heh."
"Sea god's beard, you're a Mage? I thought you were a Spearman?" Jacque found a bundle of bandages and immediately began to unravel it.
"I'm both, I guess?" the boy's eyes were unfocused, "Why... why are *you* okay?"
"Every Sea Wolf carries a canteen of sea water. The stuff helps us heal."
Jacque had to work fast. He needed to bind Pale's injuries and hustle him back to the ship before he bled out, "Hold still, kid-- I gotta cut off your armor so I can patch you up."
"Can... can I learn to do that?" Pale asked with a hopeful smile.
Jacque laughed derisively, "Probably not. The sea god hates ya, kid. You're better off rubbing sand into the wound and walking it off."
There was too much blood. The ship was too far off... and Sea Witch Eilean couldn't patch up a corpse. The trident stuck in the boy's stomach and tearing up his guts only hastened the boy's demise.
The boy grasped at the sands, "Yeah, you're right... Water's no good."
"Hey, listen to me kid-- focus." Jacque gulped. He lowered his voice to a whisper, "I'm here."
He hadn't known Pale for long... but the boy had done remarkably well. Jacque had heard the boy was a Bronze-Rank warrior... and at first, he didn't believe it. But as it was, the boy was definitely on the level of Iron... and he would fight any man who would discount the boy's courage as anything less than Gold.
Jacque was a Corporal of Marines. He led men.
In battle, men died, and being a leader, many died under his charge.
It was never easy losing even one.
Jacque clenched his teeth, tears running down his face. He tightly held the boy's hand, "You... you got anything you need to say? I'll... I'll pass word to Sir Tycon."
The boy picked up a clump of sand with his offhand and poured it ineffectually on his cuts, "Healing Sands..."
Jacque furrowed his brows. What was the boy doing?
With an earthy orange glow of mana, the cut flesh on the boy's chest began to visibly knit together.
He could scarcely believe it, "You.. know healing magic?"
The boy pulled the remainder of the trident out of his stomach. New blood splattered onto Jacque's clothing, but he didn't give a single shite.
Jacque helped the boy up and helped steady him on his feet.
Pale smiled, looking up, "Just learned it right now."
Jacque laughed heartily, embracing the boy, "I thought you were dead, kid! Sea god's socks, ohhh, I thought you were dead."
Pale hugged him back, patting Jacque's lower back, "Hey, come on. We have to catch up with the rest."
"What?" Jacque stepped back, "Pale, you can't be serious. You were just in a life and death situation!"
The boy bent over to pick up his spear, then he pointed behind him, "It looks like everyone's still fighting, though."
Jacque grimaced, "You can be a little selfish, you know. Aren't you tired?"
"Yeah, I am pretty tired." The boy shrugged, "But my dad taught me that as long as we can save even one more person, we can't give up."
Stunned, Jacque's heart surged with pride. Where the boy's father was, he'd undoubtedly be proud of him, "Very well. I'll go with you."
The boy grinned, "Good. I need someone to watch my back."
Looking up, Pale stretched out his fist, "Blood and thunder."
Jacque tapped his fist to Pale's, "Victory at sea."