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Hylos VS Tempest

Hylos emerged from the dense forest into a large clearing, the place that he last encountered the species that he was calling Tempest Crows. He strode into the clearing with purpose, making no attempt to sneak up on the enormous bird. Hylos was not considered a short man among Piminians, and this avian was at least a couple heads taller than he was.
The huge crow turned to face him as he entered the clearing. He watched the intelligent eyes size him up.
“Yes, it’s me again.” He waved his hand greeting. “Are you ready for round 2?”
The bird seemed to be listening intently to his speech, but Hylos was unsure of how much the creature understood. He mimicked the pose that the bird had struck during his last encounter. He stood up straight and tall, and deliberately raised his arms and extended them out to his sides, making and keeping eye contact with the crow. The bird cocked it’s head at him, then hopped a little closer to him, standing directly across from him. It stood up straight, and performed the gesture back at him. The two looked at each other for a moment, each with their limbs outstretched like they were preparing to embrace each other.
Hylos struck swiftly and suddenly. He brought his arms together in front of him, clapping his hands and releasing a shockwave of energy towards the crow. It cawed and took a couple of steps back. Hylos pressed the advantage, stepping towards the bird while shooting blasts of energy from his fists. Step, blast, step, blast. The crow backed away as Hylos advanced. The attacks didn’t seem to be doing much, the bird appeared to be backing up out of annoyance more than anything else.
The crow pulled back its massive right wing, covering its torso with it, the purple feather tips glowing, and flapped it at Hylos. A sudden gust of wind sent Hylos flying backwards several feet, landing on his back in the grass at the treeline. He raised his hands in a defensive position and summoned a large connexa barrier in front of him. Hylos grimaced as a dozen purple, razor sharp feathers embedded themselves into his barrier with a dozen resounding thuds that he could feel reverberating through his veins. The barrer was covered in interconnecting cracks, and was now useless. Plus, sitting here waiting to block more projectiles would be a pointless waste of energy. He needed to move between volleys. He let the shield dissipate, allowing the feathers to drift gracefully to the ground, before they were blown off into the jungle as Hylos dodged an incoming gust of wind. He could see trace amounts of connexa in the gusts that the crow directed from it’s wings. Which meant that it wasn’t generating all of that power with just a flap of it’s wing, it was using magic.
The bird flapped it’s wings at Hylos several times in quick succession. He managed to dodge the first two, but the crow could attack faster than he could consistently dodge. He landed in a crouch after dodging the second blast of wind, but the next blast was already on it’s way. He could tell by the shimmer of magic in the air that he couldn’t dodge in time. He would probably take a partial hit, and being in the air or being off balance would probably be worse than just defending against the attack head on.
Hylos gritted his teeth and shifted into a blocking position. His right side was facing the oncoming gust, with his right arm up, as if there were a shield strapped to his forearm. He dug his feet in as the wall of wind crashed into the thick layer of protective magic that surrounded his body. He could feel the strain of holding up the barrier increase immediately, but it wasn’t to the extent that he expected. The winds were strong, but he could probably walk in this if he really tried, as long as he had a protective barrier up. Not that doing so would be particularly helpful in this moment anyway. He felt safer attacking from a distance than getting close to it.
But then the crow stopped flapping. It examined Hylos with one of it’s piercing eyes. Again, he felt that he could see a great deal of intelligence in the creature’s eyes. It’s sizing me up. It’s testing me.
“What now?” Hylos asked aloud. “Are you finished attacking me?”
The crow cawed in a manner that sounded chillingly like human laughter, unnerving Hylos slightly. It pointed a single talon in Hylos’ direction. Caw!
“Oh, is it my turn?”
The bird just looked at him, ruffling its feathers impatiently.
Hylos sighed. “Fine.” He raised his right foot, and channeled connexa into the muscles of that leg and foot, and stomped his foot forcefully into the ground, shattering and loosening up much of the dirt and hard pieces of stone and other minerals underneath him. With his palms facing up at about waist height, he twitched his fingers upward. Two dozen chunks of rock and stone and densely compacted balls of mud and dirt rose from the ground beneath him and hung in the air around him. They all shimmered with connexa. The crow watched curiously. Hylos thrust his right hand palm out in the crow’s direction, and a handful of blunt heavy rocks soared toward it. The creature was wholly unbothered by the incoming attack. It simply covered itself with one of it’s massive wings. The stones all shattered against the wing, without doing so much as ruffling a single feather.
Hylos felt very foolish all of a sudden, with all of these stones and, most hilariously, balls of mud floating around him that would do absolutely for him. This technique had gotten him out of some sticky situations before, when he was fighting other humans. Starting to realize just how out of his league he was right now, he chucked the rest of the arsenal of rocks and mud at the crow all at once. The bird countered, however. It threw it’s head back and took a deep breath, then rocked forward and let out a near deafening KRAAAA!
The wave of energy that resulted stopped his attack mid air, instantly shattering all of the solid rocks, and scattering the balls of mud. Hylos couldn’t get his shield up in time, and has it hit he could feel the air forcefully leave his lungs. It was like every part of his body that was facing the blast when it hit had been crushed with a massive hammer. The world went white for a moment and he lost all bearing of where he was or who he was or what he was doing. There was just white, and pain. Eventually the white went away, and he could see his surroundings again. The crow was perched on a tree nearby, watching him. The white was gone, but the pain was not. He had what felt like a thousand questions running through his head, but it was really just the same few going around and around over and over again in a manic fashion, the pain across the entire front of his body affecting his ability to think straight.
Soothe the pain, I can’t think soothe soothe soothe
For several seconds the pain intensified as the organs that process connexa in his chest were activated. He groaned out nonsense expletives and gasped in pain. He clutched his chest as the veins in his neck and arms bulged and he writhed about on the ground. The bird cawed at him, hopping down from the tree branch to investigate, though keeping its distance.
THERE FIRST THERE FIRST NUMB THAT PAIN he desperately channeled soothing, numbing energy to the organ in his chest not far from his hard, one of several that humans used for channeling connexa. The pain subsided dramatically. Hylos relaxed a little and he no longer looked like a man having a heart attack and a stroke at the same time. Gradually he was able to spread that numbing spell all across the front of his body where he had been struck. It wasn’t healing, just something to keep the pain at bay until he could properly tend to all the bruising he was going to have. But even with the spell to stave away the pain, Hylos still groaned as he sat up, and then slowly rose to his feet. He looked at the crow, who seemed to be studying him. It rose to full height and extended its wings out.
Hylos shook his head. “Nope, I’m done for today.”
The crow regarded him for a few seconds, then slowly lowered its wings. It hopped closer to Hylos and looked down at him. They made eye contact. Then he could feel something in his head. It was like someone was knocking on his door. Knocking on the front door of his consciousness. Hylos’ eyes widened in amazement. He envisioned the crow standing outside of his home, and knocking on the door. He visualized himself checking the window and seeing the crow. His visualized self goes to the door and opens it, welcoming the crow in.
Hylos is immediately overwhelmed by an insane amount of power suddenly rushing through his body. He drops to his knees, his very veins glowing with the power coursing through him. It was more power than he had ever seen contained in one place. It would’ve taken dozens of his top of the line batteries to store this much power.
IT’S TOO MUCH STOP STOP STOP STOP
The flow didn’t stop, but it did calm down drastically. He could still sense the insane amount of raw power inside of the crow, but now it didn’t feel like there was enough flowing into him to drive him insane. He also realized that the crow was healing his body. The numbing spell was gone, though he didn’t remember canceling it. The healing process took less than a minute, and when it was done, he felt the crow sever the connection, and he lost access to the massive pool of energy. The crow hopped back a few paces, and turned to leave. “Wait!”
It turned to face him. He extended his consciousness out to the bird. Now he was the one knocking. The crow answered and again he felt the connection, but it was tamed from the start this time. He made eye contact with the bird. I’ll be back to see you again.
The crow cawed in acknowledgement and severed the connection again. Then it turned and took flight, leaving Hylos alone in the clearing to contemplate his encounter.
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Author
AlexArcter
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