Among the various guards, Barrett spotted a second tier warrior. The fancy armor he wore designated him as the captain of the guard. “You know that’s my family’s crest, right? If you intend to wear it, you have to either work for me, or die. Now drop your weapon.”
“Hmph!” the captain of the guard approached, swinging his halberd, “What right does a brat like you have to give me orders!”
Barrett flared with berserk energy, giving the man a moment to sense that Barrett was third tier- but it was already to late for him at that point. Barrett chopped through the halberd and the man in a single motion.
Panic was rising in the banquet hall, with people turning to flee- but not knowing where to flee to. Barrett and Reina stood in front of the entrance, and the only other exits lead to the kitchens. Instead they chose to flee to the back of the room, away from the guards and Barrett.
In addition to Barrett, the guards fired crossbows at Reina. Though her armor would protect her in most cases, she still chose to avoid them. Her body movements made it seem as if they flew around her- and in some cases they did. Any guards who approached quickly found themselves with their throats pierced or if that wasn’t convenient their wrists slashed, causing them to drop their weapons.
In only a minute, the dozen guards up close had been defeated, and Barrett had taken out a few crossbowmen with casual flings of lead balls. That caused them to retreat uncertainly to deeper in the banquet hall- but it didn’t exactly come with defensive positions.
Barrett and Reina walked slowly towards the end of the banquet hall. “Anything to say for yourselves before you die?”
“Ha.” Raymond spoke, “If you think we will be intimidated so easily, you have no idea what you are dealing with.”
Barrett shrugged and casually lobbed another lead ball towards him. However, instead of impacting his head- and exploding it- it exploded early. Some shrapnel still grazed him, leaving a bloody trail on his cheek. However, most of it had been blocked by a black tendril of energy originating from Denton. He stood up and moved forward, and behind him came an old man who must have been Artur. Barrett watched him most carefully.
“Last time we met, you gained a bit of strength…” Denton said, “but now I have power too!” Dark magic coiled about him. When one of the tendrils brushed a banquet guest, they screamed and pulled away a dessicated hand. Denton just ignored them. “I’ll make sure to have fun killing you for this,” Denton held up his right hand with its gnarled wrist. It actually looked worse than how Barrett had left it- now it was blackened and rotting, but it seemed to be able to move still. Denton’s eyes turned to Reina, “You brought a woman with you. I’ll have fun with her after.”
Reina glared, “Your life as a eunuch will be short and extremely unpleasant.”
Artur stayed a handful of meters behind Denton, watching. He was old and wrinkled, and Barrett saw the hint of a few places of blackened rotting flesh on him as well. It seemed to be a very unpleasant way to deal with wounds that wouldn’t recover, but he supposed some people couldn’t do better. At about ten meters away, Denton pushed a mass of black tendrils towards Barrett and Reina. Their edges pulled in the light around them, leaving them indistinct and hazy.
Reina dodged to the side, jumping up onto the table while managing to avoid stepping on a plate or knocking over a glass. She slashed the few tendrils that diverted themselves towards her, severing their connection. It took them a few moments to start recovering.
Meanwhile, Barrett did much the same, though he dodged away from the table. His movements weren’t so elegant either, batting aside a number of the tendrils. However, the berserk energy on his axe and its handle was enough to shatter most of the tendrils. Barrett looked at his right arm, where one had managed to wrap around him. “Not bad.”
Denton’s face strained. He gave up on reforming some of the tendrils, focusing on three or four for each opponent. He also increased the size of the one wrapped around Barrett’s arm, then frowned. Sweat dripped down his forehead. “How… are you…”
Barrett pulled suddenly on the tendril which was connected to Denton. Before he could react, he was flying through the air towards Barrett. Ten meters was a long way, and the tendril wasn’t quite right for pulling… so Denton slid along the floor after about five, ending a meter or two away from Barrett. Barrett stomped down toward Denton’s back, which was immediately covered by all the remaining tentacles… until they shattered. “You made it all the way to second tier… but just because normal humans can’t resist you doesn’t mean you can just try to slurp up my life force like that.”
Denton wasn’t dead. Barrett’s stomp hadn’t even touched him- but it had shattered his concentration. Barrett grabbed him by the back of the neck and tossed him past Reina, whose sword slashed out as he went by. Reina kept her word… as the first slash made Denton a eunuch, followed by quick slashes on the front and back of his neck, cutting his throat and spine. That was followed by a stab that pierced his heart, then her sword went up through Denton’s jaw and into his brain. All that while he sailed through the air over the table, crashing into the floor on the other side. There was an incomprehensible scream from Melody as it happened.
The whole time, Reina and Barrett mostly focused on Artur. “Not going to try to save your disciple?” Barrett raised an eyebrow.
Artur rolled his eyes, “I can get a new one anywhere. Still, I can’t let you go unpunished. Do you know who you’re messing with?”
Barrett shrugged, “Do you? I’m Barrett Ravenhall, of the Immortal Berserker Sect.”
“Never heard of it. I am Artur Nicolescu, appointed representative of the Grasping Hand in Wosmil.”
“Oh? The capital of the Ostain empire?” Barrett shrugged, “I thought it might be somewhere important, but I guess not.”
“Hmph, that’s hardly something for you to say,” Artur was clearly gathering mana around him as well as similar black tendrils to Denton- though his pulled in more light, appearing wider. “We could crush Ashia in an instant.”
“So? Stredo could crush the entire Ostain empire in a day. Or either of our Sects.”
“Stredo?” Artur’s face actually showed a surprised expression at that. He hesitated for a moment, but Barrett was already charging towards him. Likewise, Reina was circling around to the side.