Maybe I could increase my chances of survival if I throw rocks in all those Eyes.
I leapt back as a giant fist made of intertwined hair strands attempted to squash me. One of the eyes in question glared at me from the back of the hand. I decided to continue backpedalling.
The fight had become much more of a challenge now. Isis's hair had no limit to its range of motion, nor to its length. It could sprout eyes at any point and form any sort of shape Isis could imagine. It also acted like a pack of wolves, herding me around like an injured deer. An image of wolves tearing into a helpless doe sprung to mind. Was it a coincidence that multiple, hairy mouths began to close in on me?
I dove in the only direction that didn't have teeth incoming, seeing the slight bump in the ground three seconds too late.
A rattle, then a bang.
The burst of shadow energy slammed into me and launched me out of the circling hair. I slammed into the ground painfully. The shadows clung to my clothes, clouding my vision and stinging my throat. My abdomen felt slightly bruised and my left shoulder had seen better days. I staggered to my feet, coughing and trying to wave away the shadows.
Isis's mass of hair, all teeth, hands and glaring eyes, made an amazing impression of an oncoming train. I was very glad that I'd visited the honey bucket before entering the Shadow realm.
I ran. Fear and adrenaline pumped through my body, giving strength to my weakening legs, and my thoughts became very repetitive.
Rattling filled my ears as I raced through a particularly bumpy patch of the arena. Shadows burst out of the ground left and right. Most of them only grazed me and the others staggered me. I didn't care about the mines underfoot, or the clinging shadows surrounding me, I only cared about escaping the formless, tireless mass of angry hair behind me.
Shadows erupted in front of me, filling my field of vision with an inky black smoke. I powered on, blind and dead scared. I felt my foot hit the mine, heard the hissing rattle, but failed to register the danger until I was airborne.
Does Isis have as much trouble with those mines as I do?
This pointless thought formed as I waved my arms and legs helplessly in the air.
It wouldn't be fair if they didn't explode on her.
Fair or not, my flight was terminated abruptly by the wooden walls of the arena. The part of me that wondered about Isis and the mines changed subjects.
I bet I look like Wiley Coyote when he runs into walls.
The shadows cleared from my vision as I turned around. All my emotion was knocked out of me during the impact. Disoriented, I watched Isis float through the clouds of smoke, suspended by several clumps of hair. She looked beautiful, all gold and glowing as she glided through the thick smoky shadows, the kind of beautiful that only applies to beings with a predatory presence.
I slide down the wall slowly before the ground stopped my decent gently. Everything was vivid, the texture of the dusty ground, the coarse breath of the wind, the chill of the shadowy air. I could taste the dusty tang of the air with every breath; I could hear the hush of Isis's hair has it slide over itself.
I felt so alive, but didn't have the strength to rejoice in it.
Why did I fear this so?
Isis landed with a tiny puff of smoke and looked at me, a question glittering in her green eyes. I closed mine. She wouldn't kill me….right?
The hush of her hair slithered close, and a tiny tickle traced itself up my legs. A dribble of saliva landed on my upturned face. I felt myself pulled forward slightly.
So, I'm just going to give up?
The fight ends when either opponent can't continue, and I've maxed out.
Do I really believe that?
I could no longer feel the wind on my face and the ground felt less like dirt.
How can I continue when it hurts to stand?
How can I ignore such a large part of who I am?
I'm so tired.
Shut up and get back in the game.
I'll try again tomorrow.
I am not going to lose just because my opponent has salivating hair! Not when I've got an Ace up my sleeve! Now, pull it out and let Isis know who owns this turf! Show her what real power is!
A deep thrum sounded. Steady drumbeats pounded out a rhythm in my head. A chorus of whispering breaths strummed. Chimes reverberated through the marrow of my soul.
My eyes are open, let my ears be also.
Power coursed into me, like floodwaters after the dam breaks. All my aches and pains evaporated, my thoughts became crisp and my strength was magnified. I could feel the pull of beyond, the pull that every soul succumbed to, but I found that I could resist. No longer was I bound, I could grow, be everywhere at once.
I felt ALIVE.
Grinning, I opened my eyes and stood. The strands of hair surrounding me were cut, sheared through by the sudden influx of spiritual energy. Isis grinned back at me, her hair already repairing itself.
"It didn't feel right beating you like that."
"Didn't feel right losing like that."
Isis tilted her head slightly, grinning even wider.
"I won't hold back anymore, we'll fight to the bitter end."
Isis nodded vigorously. "As long as we both come out okay!"
"Then we should get started."