Cat小說 >  Punisher: A ONE-LIFE >   CHAPTER 21

Not to mention that this monster had been scary enough, and it was just the first of five! If they got progressively stronger… Saiman suddenly wasn sure he could beat them all.

Hed hoped to be strong enough. But he just didn have enough stat points. He put them all in magic to help his party, and now that seemed like a tremendous mistake. He was almost useless by himself once his mana ran out. His mana replenished almost at one a minute now. By the time the battle started, he might have one or two mana back.

But he had a weapon now. A good one if activated, even though it cost mana to use properly.

Maybe just one more fight.

*Three. Two. One. The fight will now commence. Good luck.*

Good luck? That almost felt personal. Was someone trying to warn him it would be dangerous? Or was it just programmed that way?

Saiman had no more time to think as the floor dissolved from beneath his feet, into a freefall.

Chilly air rushed past as Saiman fell endlessly downward. Blackness filled the space before his eyes as the light of his firewall vanished far above. Saiman gripped Fangblender with both hands, fighting the urge to wave his arms for balance. Without mana, losing his weapon was a death sentence.

The wind slowed. No, Saiman slowed. Until he stopped completely. He floated in the pitch-darkness. His hands hurt from how hard he gripped the haft of his unique weapon. Suddenly, Saiman fell once again, and icy water enveloped his entire body.

Bright blue light illuminated the grotto in an instant as huge underground crystals sprang to life. Saiman kicked his feet and flailed his arms awkwardly, still holding his weapon. He kicked for the surface, while he searched wildly for his enemy. Saimans wounded arm stung in the fresh water of the lake. Surely this was the new arena in which his deathmatch would be held. Saiman broke the surface of the lake and gasped for air, but something clamped onto his leg and pulled him back under the water.

Fresh water filled his mouth and throat as Saiman glanced downward at the hard green lobsters claw that gripped his leg. Saiman choked and vomited water out of his lungs as the lobster claw pulled him farther and farther from the surface of the underground lake. The claw belonged to a dark green creature covered in rough scales. The water in the lake was as clear as glass, lit by shining blue crystals, Saiman could see straight to the bottom of the lake far below. The face of the creature was like some twisted version of a pig and a fish. Its nose was pig-like, but every other feature looked like it had been stolen from other aquatic creatures. Lobster arms and claws, mermaid tail. Human-like head with a pig nose. It was one of the most bizarre creatures Saiman had ever seen.

The claw on his leg tightened as Saimans leg bone creaked. Was it broken already? He needed to get to the surface. His lungs burned, his coughing fit let most of his air escape. Saiman tried to swing his weapon down toward the lobsterpig. Underwater, however, the weapon had too much resistance to swing effectively. Maybe if his strength score were higher, he could attack with it, but it was impossible. His grip loosened as the drag of the water increased on the weapon, threatening to rip it out of his hands. Saiman cursed himself. What he wouldn give for some extra points in strength!

The second claw sliced through the water as it grabbed Saiman around the ribcage. Saiman felt a pop and then immense pain as a rib broke inside his chest. The incredible crushing force of the claw pushed out what little air remained in his lungs. Saiman had to do something quick or the lobsterpig would crush him before he even had time to drown! Saiman pushed Fangblender down toward the face of his foe and glanced at his mana. The time between fights and the freefall replenished two mana. Warmth sprang down his neck into his arm. It pooled into the unfamiliar weapon, consuming one mana.

Fangblender roared to life as the tiny glass teeth spun like a vortex. Saiman drove the weapon farther into the creatures face as a cloud of blood obscured his vision. The claws on his leg and ribcage released as the creature retreated from the attack. Fangblender pulled Saiman deeper into the lake before it spiraled out of control. He hung on for dear life. If he were to let go, it would shoot down into the depths, irretrievable. His lungs burned for air. His health hadn started dropping yet from suffocation, but only thirty-six health remained from the crushing claw attacks of the lobsterpig. Finally, Fangblender stilled. The lobsterpig watched him from a distance as Saiman repositioned Fangblender above him, toward air. This had to work. It was his only chance. Saiman wrapped his arms and whole torso around the haft of the weapon, then activated it again.

Fangblender propelled forward. This time, Saimans aim was true. His entire body steered the weapon toward the surface. His strength barely sufficient. Saiman rocketed out of the lake and flew ten feet into the air. He spat water and inhaled in a gasp so deep, his broken rib screamed in pain.

As if in slow motion, he fell toward the crystalline depths below. He would die if he fell in again. Saiman watched his health and mana.

*Health: 36/110

Mana: 0/42*

Please! Regenerate! His mana ticked from zero to one. Saiman pointed his finger like a gun toward the lake beneath him.