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Guy had some hella reactions. Sure her Bala clipped him, but she had specifically gone full tilt to make sure it did more than just clip him. Maybe he wasn't so great in all other aspects because he had focused himself into speed exclusively. Either way, she'd find out later, and so returned her Devil Bonds to their normal scale, restricting her to only 25% of her output. And then guy went and showed he wasn't in any way a smart person by ripping his clothes away and standing bare-chested in one of the coldest places on earth.
Having no interest in seeing him quickly die of hypothermia, she turned up the heat with her Resolve Flame, focusing it on the man as well as her. Not wide enough or hot enough to cause an ecological disaster unless she spent a few days here, she shook her head at the man. Where did Rakki find these kind of people? "Being aware of the danger is one thing. Taking no precautions like, moving out of the way for instances, or dropping all your power into a Blut to mitigate the damage, or anything like that, is foolish. And I will not have fools around her" Ulv shook her head and then, even though they were far from each other, threw a palm strike.
This strike, didn't hit him, but it did fire off a mighty gust of wind, whipping up a sudden blizzard with all the snow and ice surrounding them. Not quite fast enough to cut deep, but they would certainly leave minor gashes about him were they to strike. And the blizzard, while not spanning several miles like a normal one, was of decent height and width. Once the blizzard was in place, Ulv used her physical and spiritual senses to aim into it, and shot off a few Bala for good measure.
The wound Cyrus took had already begun to bleed, and not insignificantly, it must be noted. He had dismissed it as being fairly marginal, but that was not entirely accurate, or even slightly accurate, for though he had moved, it had not actually stopped the Bala's ability to harm him a single iota. The moment Ulv’s enforced blizzard began to whip around him, the most primal segment of Cyrus’ brain prepared him for one thing: Pain.
Indeed, while the small cuts across his body were brutal in their own right, it was nothing short of torturous as they further exacerbated the wound he had already taken. Most men would have given up here. Indeed, Cyrus felt the need to do so screaming in the back of his mind, and even he could not help but visibly wince at the agony. He wondered, briefly, if this was what eternity was like for the damned.
However, as the woman fired off more Bala, he found that perhaps his single window of opportunity had shown itself, an act of good grace from the heavens. It took him mere moments to discern her location from the trajectories of the bala, and with all his strength he fired one of his eigenpfeil, unable to fully see her but confident beyond any doubt that this shot would fly true.
“Precautionary measures would surely only waste what energy I have. And against a foe like yourself, I suspect they would have been for nothing regardless. I would sooner use what I have for something that matters.”
Ulv could smell the blood that was being spilled by the ice shards launched by her palms. But in the face of Bala, he planted his feet and drew his bow, firing off an arrow at her with all his pride and all his power! And, between the concussion Ulv had given him with her first post and now the blood-loss, the ice and snow fell back to the ground gently just in time to give him a clear view of his arrow cleaning missing Ulv. She hadn't even moved, not one centimetre. The miss was entirely because of the Quincy.
"Protecting yourself is important. People love to forget that their bodies are important but there is a lot between standing up and falling down. A strong Blut would have protected you from the impact you suffered, and is now throwing off your perception and balance. Poor perception and balance means even if you think you are shooting straight, reality comes in and tells you that you are not. Keeping a strong Blut between yourself and me would also have protected you from the Bala graze and the ice that is slowly causing you to haemorrhage towards unconsciousness. More blood you lose, the more spiritual energy you have to spend to keep warm" Ulv cracked a grin and felt that, between the Devil Bonds, her own warming, his warming, and shooting a fair few Balas, she was feeling the strain of expending too much.
"If the enemy is going to fall so fast you don't need defensive techniques, then strike hard, strike fast and strike mercilessly. But if they survive, then protect yourself. Even someone like you can reduce a debilitating strike into one that only hurts a lot. And that makes all the difference in a fight. Bruised arms and flesh-cuts can be dealt with much easier than concussions and broken bones after all"
She then raised her hand, and charged a Cero into it.
"Now, if you can move, I would suggest doing so. But, moving will aggravate the wounds you shouldn't have because Blut can easily take them. So, your choice really"
No. No, surely his eyes had deceived him. His arrow could not possibly have missed his opponent, for the arrows of Shehai never veered so much as a single inch. His foe was precisely where he had calculated she would be. So then… As the inevitable truth of the matter struck him, Cyrus could only grip his spirit weapon tightly, the bowstring of reishi flaring to the point that it seemed it might explode. He had erred.
“Ah… Yes, that does seem to be the case, doesn’t it…”
Were he more melodramatic a fellow, he might have laughed at the absurdity of the whole situation. This was all his own fault, and he could not so much as try to blame any outside factors. Even having expected his opponent to thoroughly crush him, he had entirely underestimated her. Too focused on what she might do, and not what she had done.
Raising Shehai for what he knew would be the final time in this fight, Cyrus stared confidently, almost defiantly toward Ulv. He drew back the bowstring, focusing all of his remaining energy into this final Eigenpfeil. Shehai seemed to scream with the strain, and the bowstring flared to the point that even its own wielder was scorched by it. This was his everything, for he knew that dodging this cero was only delaying the inevitable. He had committed to this approach, and miss Asura had already pointed out what he knew to be true; that his energy had long since been wasted. There was no sense in changing approaches now, but he had already taken this fight to heart. The bleeding wound that continued to throb with pain was a reminder of that.
“‘Someone like me,’ such a good choice of words. I imagine this form of mine is like an insect to you, miss Asura. I must concede that I have learned from you this day, and that your deigning to acknowledge me in this manner is something I will not soon forget.”
The Eigenpfeil sat ready, every moment that passed filling it with more power through Shehai’s Superposition. Cyrus felt a faint disgust at having been bested so thoroughly today, but he remained calm by simply reminding himself that nothing was truly perfect, that his mortal form was made such in order to remind him of the true nature of the world.
“But I think today is a touch too late for your lesson to be put to much use, hm? So I must, unfortunately, wait until our next meeting to put it to use. I look forward to that.”
Even in pain, and having all but admitted defeat, Cyrus did not lose his pride. His confidence, yes, that had been all but destroyed. But his pride was still intact...at least for now.
More energy charged into the Cero, the ball growing thick and ominous with the sheer potency that was being packed into it. Ulv didn't think she had ever put so much energy into one thing, and it was only Hvit's guidance that allowed her to keep it stable and not blow herself up with it. "Actually I was more referring to your brain-dead moronic mindset than your power. I mean, really, is 'Hurting Less' really that difficult of a strategy to come up with?" Ulv asked rhetorically, her cero growing even further. It taxed her restrained energy reserves to make something like this, and they were already taxed with the rest of the exertions.
The Quincy was packing super-everything into his arrow, after the last arrow had his normal everything. He was a fun one, proud enough to not give an inch even in abject defeat. To bare fangs against the falling sky and be crushed with a roar on his lips. If Ulv could teach him that basic combat tactic existed, then she would be most happy to leave her Resolve Flame with him, so that he might carry this determination onward, to the rest of the Quincy.
And then the Cero fired. It was a tremendous thing, raging across the ice fields like an ejection from the heart of the sun. But it was a paper tiger, as Ulv had burned out all the energy that made up it's core, and there was only the outer edge that held anything, an outer edge that would easily be penetrated by his arrow. Her Resolve Flame was pretty handy, if only she could burn other people's energy, she'd be onto a winner. But, from the way it felt, that wasn't something that'd ever happen.
At that very same moment, the Eigenpfeil screamed forward, and no sooner had it fallen than Cyrus simply collapsed to the ground. He had burned far too much of his own energy. So much for the nature of the Quincy to draw the latent reishi around them, hm? Stupid, stupid, so very stupid… Yet, he found there was some faint happiness in his heart, even as his wounds bled into the snow and stained it red.
This Asura had given him a thorough beating, yes. One he would not soon forget, likely would never forget. His pride could not allow such a thing. He would, one day, shove her face into the dirt at his feet and show her what it meant to be a divine. But that day...ah, was that day so very far off. He knew that to be true with every fiber of his being, as much as it pained him to admit it.
“You would be surprised, you know.”
Cyrus laughed very briefly at that, but soon stopped on account of the excruciating pain filling his body. He wouldn't die here, even if it was just barely. That much he was sure of, for reasons he couldn’t fully explain. The quincy almost wished he could just pass out here, but he didn’t feel like he could. Tragic, truly.
Vanishing the Devil Bonds and catching the arrow as he felt, Ulv discarded the projectile and walked over to the fallen Quincy and crouched down, looking at him with a smile on her lips. Hell of a guy, if he could learn that he was important in a fight, then he would be Ulv's Protogee in the punch! "Well, you know what happens when an Asura beats someone as prestigious as the Lord Of Wisdom. They eat him, so as to absorb the wisdom inherent within his flesh. So, excuse my while I go do that. You, don't need to be present for that part though"
Ulv would then give him a flick to the forehead for that final push into the lands of sleepy time, and carry him indoors. There was a bit of awkwardness with the people inside, but one awkward conversation with Rakki later and she was allowed in. Cyprus in the infirmary, and Ulv making him some food for when he woke up. She was, with the tutorage of Ci, quite well versed with the creation of specialist foods. And this one would help his body recover what it had lost in the fight and get him on his feet quicker. "If he could shoot arrows of stubborn, I'd be dead by now" she muttered to herself as she waited for the waking of Cyprus.
Cyrus did not dream. It wasn’t this time in particular that he didn't have any dreams, just, generally speaking, the Sternritter Grandmaster did not envision anything when he slept. That made it all the more jarring, then, that his enforced unconsciousness was accompanied by all manner of visions. Most were unpleasant. He did not wish to look at those faces again. But among them was the lovely asura that had crushed him underfoot. He supposed he had positioned himself for it, to be fair.
Ah, was he already waking? Good. Better to rid himself of these terrible things. However, as the Wise Lord woke, he released an audible groan as he was once again greeted by the exceptional countenance of Miss Asura. Was there no escape from this personal hell of his?
“I must admit, I did not expect you to still be here when I awoke.”
There was a definite disappointment in Cyrus’ voice, that was undeniable. He would have rather recuperated alone, ideally back at home in the desert with a cold cup of tea. Maybe a short visit to town, the desert wind blowing across the sands… But instead, here he was, laying in a hospital bed with the woman who had caused his injuries right next to him. It was humiliating, bordering on infuriating. So then… Why did he find himself decidedly happy about the development?
"You don't sleep well, huh?" Ulv said,a soft and supportive tone in her voiceas she flipped the patties on the portable grill. Another one she ha to save, so she could bare being around him. Well, at least she wasn't begrudged of this one. She was always down for helping her Fiancee with none-war effort related stuff. "Anyway! Sorry about the whole beating you up thing. I got poor impulse control. I wanted to see who was claiming such a grandiose title. And it turned out that you were, and not entirely worth either one that you are claiming"
She looked over and showed off a Soul-Synthesised Silver ring, which had the faint but noticable energy signature of Niflhiem, the Quincy Elect. "I originally came to invite you to my wedding. Me and Niflhiem are getting married and I worried that people all the way out here wouldn't have heard. And then seeing you I wanted to see what kind of people my future wife had serving her" Ulv finished cooking the food, and served it up on a plate for him. It had medical herbs and spices in it to help promote growth and recovery, but nothing magical. And nothing expertly done, Ulv just had an interest-level skill in it, like a lot of things.
"Your arrow is very interesting, and if we get you trained up to where Niflhiem is, then it will be quite the potent weapon for you. But as of right now you have to much hubris in thinking yourself great. If you really must take an enemy's hit, then at least use Blut to protect yourself if it is stronger than you expected. Outright foolish otherwise. So I thought I'd stay here for a little longer and help you train to be a proper fighter. Combat theory and battlefield manoeuvrability. You don't exactly have the style for me to teach you how I fight, but I can help how you fight"
Cyrus said nothing more on that matter. His sleeping habits, much like the rest of his life, were none of this woman's business. He suspected that, much like anything else, she could have easily simply taken the information for herself, one way or another. Oh, how that deeply and truly irritated him. But he was practically making himself angry at this point, ruminating on these ideas, and while he was not happy to be in this conversation, Cyrus also did not like to be rude.
“I claimed neither of these titles for myself. Both were given to me, and I have continued to use them. Is it a sin to retain such a title?”
Shaking his head at the very idea, Cyrus pressed on to the other topic of conversation. He'd not even known the Elect was engaged in any sort of romantic relationship, much less one of this caliber. Good to know, he supposed.
“I appreciate the invitation. Naturally, I will attend.”
Ah, but now it was back to his combative prowess. And with food to accompany it? Cyrus was admittedly surprised that the food was for him, but after some trepidation, he dug in. It was good. Not the best he had ever had, he had very high standards after all. But...good.
“Defense has never been my strong suit. Truth be told, my mastery of Blut is...minimal. I have never had much reason to pursue it. The strength of my arrows has near-always been enough. I have never had to deal with someone of your caliber before, but something tells me that I will be doing so more and more in the coming days.