Barrett could feel- not just hear- the ground rumbling from the great worm’s approach. It was possible that he could outrun it, but Kail couldn’t unless it had exceptionally poor stamina. If Barrett was going to abandon him, it would have been a long time before. Now, they were friends who had gone through life and death together several times. Against the most recent attack, he would not have fared as well without Kail. He could have just run, but that wasn’t a real solution to many problems. Ironically it would have been a perfectly good one in this case, but the great worm was fast. They didn’t need to fight it, but it wasn’t going to leave them alone.
The rumbling of the ground was all Kail had to let him dodge the great worm. Fortunately, it was enough warning. Kail leaped to the side just as a giant figure burst out of the shining sand. It was as wide as a man was tall, and covered in smooth shining metal plates. Barrett couldn’t see its mouth as its body rose into the air over ten meters before it turned and dove toward him.
Barrett also stepped to the side, glad the great worm had no subtlety. It crashed into the sand next to him, throwing up clouds of dust. Meanwhile, its rear was still coming out of the original hole. Barrett couldn’t tell exactly how long it was, but it was closer to the hundred meters on the large end of his guess. Its body flattened out along the ground as it burrowed its front, and finally its rear came up. Barrett barely had time to dodge as its surprisingly small tail swiped at him. The worm tapered down at its backside until it came down to a spike- a spike still larger than any spearhead, but nothing compared to its two meter width at the head and along the body.
It had only taken a few moments for it to pass, and Barrett hadn’t even have the presence of mind to swing his axe at it. What was the weak point of something so large and completely covered in armor?
As the worm burrowed, Barrett moved further from Kail. He wanted to make sure they could tell who it was targeting. If it attacked both of them, it would spend longer aboveground, giving them a better chance to attack.
The second time the great worm attacked Barrett. It once again came from directly beneath. As Barrett jumped to the side, he saw its great maw, a ring of teeth that left the creature completely devoid of a face. He chopped down its axe at the edge of the mouth, but even with berserk energy his attack was deflected, bouncing off as if he had struck adamantine plate. The great worm obviously wasn’t coated in adamantine with its silvery color, but it also wasn’t the consistency of common steel.
The worm immediately swerved toward Kail after Barrett avoided it. It didn’t have the flexibility to turn sharply enough to continue at him, though Barrett maneuvered to a better position just in case. He took a swing at the side of the worm, but his axe once again was deflected. He resolved to not continue that action because it would damage his axe… more than just running berserk energy through it.
Kail didn’t turn and run from the worm as it approached. Instead, he stood his ground. Since it couldn’t make immediate changes in direction, it was better to dodge when it got close. Barrett appreciated that logic, but he got nervous as it approached Kail. He didn’t seem ready to attack, and while it wasn’t strictly necessary it was a wasted opportunity. However, as soon as it was a few meters from Kail, he threw with his left hand, then jumped up and towards the worm. The bag of poisons only contained a tiny amount compared to the mass of the worm… but if they were lucky it would still cause some problems. Barrett wasn’t sure what all of them were, and it was possible there were some particularly nasty candidates among them. They also were used in much smaller doses than a few dozen vials.
Kail leaped up and over the great worm as it vainly tried to tilt upward. However, without the momentum of a charge from underground it didn’t gain much vertical height. By the time Kail landed a moment later its head was a dozen yards past him, and he moved away from its body.
As its tail came up, Barrett resolved to attack near the spike. It was a dangerous weapon, but it was also a thinner part of its body. Thus, the armor would be weaker. As he saw the body narrowing, he chopped his axe down onto the tail, and with the strength of his body and berserk energy combined he managed to pierce through the thinner scales. A spurt of silvery-golden blood came out, but the tail whipped towards Barrett at the same time. Even though it wasn’t very accurate, it was fast enough he couldn’t completely dodge and it left a trail of blood along his left ribs. It had also carved out part of the bone, but hadn’t penetrated through.
“It’s tail is vulnerable!” Barrett called to Kail, “Though it’s very dangerous!” Kail might not be able to hit as hard as Barrett, but he still stood some chance. He also had a chance to strike the same spot as Barrett, in which case he wouldn’t have to worry about the armor so much.
The great worm didn’t seem interested in changing its tactics as it once again dove underground. However, unlike the previous times it left behind a several meter wide trail of silvery blood. Barrett didn’t even realize that something was odd about that until it came up beneath him much more rapidly than before. He’d barely even started to dodge when he found himself inside its toothed maw, along with many tons of sand. The teeth stabbed into him as the mouth constricted and started pulling him inward.