From the right there was a bright flash of light as a fireball flew towards our party. However it was short lived as Kasner threw up a ball of water to intercept it. While it didn’t completely negate the fireball, it weakened it enough that it dispersed harmlessly. Even though the enemy mage- Niven- was higher level than Kasner and thus would have higher attributes, water was well suited to defend against fire. Halette shot an arrow in retaliation, but it just barely failed to hit her.
Shadows started to spread throughout the hallway, radiating from Enok… but Alhorns swung his sword to dispel them. Of course, a sword wouldn’t do much against shadows, even magic shadows- but Alhorn was a paladin.
Socks, having received orders from Halette, charged the biggest of the bunch- the warrior Deepak. She leaped through the air- and while the man was giant, Socks was not small herself. Even so, stopping something with that much momentum would be difficult. Somehow he just managed to deflect her with the haft of his axe, sending her flying past him- but she rolled a few times and was back on her feet, charging for him again.
If I had a backup weapon- and perhaps my Strength- I would have attempted to throw my spear at Enok. However, I couldn’t afford to give up my only weapon- and I couldn’t safely get to the downed body of Clint while unarmed. Instead, I stepped up next to Alhorn and stabbed at him using my reach.
I felt it again. That feeling of annoyance when my spear didn’t move quite as I would have liked it to. Not because I was weaker, but because it bent and warped in unpredictable ways, and somehow I managed to hit the floor when drawing it back. That threw off my attack. The feeling of Luck.
However, Luck wasn’t everything. It could be beat. I just had to focus. Sure, I was much weaker than I was before… but more cautious, and I was not alone. Alhorn stood next to me, and my friends fought with me. It wasn’t just moral support, but the actual practical differences from practiced teamwork. I could trust that Kasner would deal with any attacks from the mage, and that Alhorn would hold back Enok. Socks and Halette would work together to control the battlefield… and my job was to do whatever I could to kill people.
With Enok, that was hard. He didn’t bother trying shadow magic again- whether because he didn’t think it would work or just didn’t care, I couldn’t tell. He pulled out a wicked looking dagger and moved in to attack. Alhorn blocked him, but only just barely. Even though the dagger was light, Alhorn always seemed to be a little bit off balance.
From behind him I once again stabbed at Enok. He occasionally dodged- but much of the time he seemed to rely on luck… my spear going wide, Alhorn stepping in the way to prevent an attack, or his head turning at just the right moment.
“Dammit!” Halette shouted, “Why won’t they hit?”
I glanced over for a moment- a very tiny moment, because Martial Trance allowed me to take in the scene that way. Indeed, her arrow just missed… every time. A glance at Socks told me she had the same problem. Though she managed to avoid most blows, she still had a few bloody slashes on her even with her ironlike fur. Meanwhile, she slipped or had her paws catch on the floor even though it was nearly flat and had sufficient grip that it shouldn’t have been a problem.
It couldn’t be a coincidence. Well, it could be… but having a party so full of Luck would be a strange thing indeed. My mind flashed back to the last time I saw Kantrilla, in the room just ahead. She was chained up… and there was a table full of magical junk. At least, that was all it mattered to me at the time. Vials, magic stones, a book… that sort of thing. Obviously it was for something, but I had no way to know what and saving her had been the important thing at the time… but I realized what had happened.
“They stole her Luck.” I said it to myself, not really believing it at first. After all, Luck was an ephemeral thing, an attribute. But… attributes were something in this world, weren’t they? They had points. More importantly, those points could be taken away. If so, did they go… somewhere? They would. Maybe most of the time they went somewhere that they couldn’t be used, but it wasn’t absolutely crazy.
I had to admit Enok was a skilled fighter, but the situation was far too disadvantageous for him. Fighting one-on-one with a light weapon against an opponent in heavy armor and carrying a shield was hard enough, but one-on-two was harder. He was not that skilled, not without magic. He was a cleric, after all.
I could only take what chance I had. Luck… wasn’t perfect. Sometimes, no matter how much Luck you had… it did nothing. Enok’s party knew that, and set up an ambush beforehand- but actually used poison. The key was Luck could only do so much. Otherwise, everyone would only upgrade Luck. I just needed to make a situation where Luck wasn’t a factor- or only a small one.
“Alhorn! Plan S!” I shouted. We didn’t have 19 or more plans, for the record. We only had a few, and they weren’t significantly practiced. Sure, we had teamwork we did- but usually we just said what we wanted to do instead of secret codes. This was one of the few possibilities we accounted for.
“Confirmed!” Alhorn held up his shield, his sword poised to stab… and then he stepped to the side. In a moment, he would take another, until he felt comfortable safely disengaging from Enok. He would just leave me to fight him Solo. That he didn’t ask about it showed how much confidence we had in each other. I had lost to this guy before, and now I was weaker and less equipped… but Alhorn didn’t hesitate.
That was good, because I was already lining up my stab. Now there was just open air between me and Enok, and I had all the time in the world to do it. Well, as much time as my mana could give me. However, since this was the only battle we planned to be in today… using a good portion of it on Martial Trance was acceptable. Honestly, I didn’t really want to fight Enok. I was just going to kill him.
My spear stabbed straight. How could it not? I’d taken note of my surroundings very carefully. I aimed for Enok’s gut, straight in the center. If he went down, I would stab down. If he jumped, I would tilt up. If he went to either side, he’d still get a spear in his side. Perhaps I couldn’t stab as quickly as before, with my reduced Strength, but I still had over 440. Over, because my Strength went up a few points during the dungeon crawl… and one or two while I was injured. That combined with Bash allowed me to pierce straight through Enok, and out his back. His eyes almost popped like balloons he was so surprised.
Then there was the sound of thunder- which meant strong electricity magic. It nearly knocked me off my feet as I turned to look at what Kasner was up to in more detail.