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Until The End: Part 21

On the far-flung planet of Hayveon Blaze, a plucky army commander is fighting a seemingly hopeless battle. In a universe where empires span solar systems, a great war has split the galaxy into three. UCEF, the Union of Creature Energy Force, is an alliance of aliens fighting for freedom and justice. But set against the Cosmaratic Empire and the Barrens, an empire with mind-controlled citizens, UCEF must achieve the impossible in order to win peace.

Part 21

Landrel lunged at him again, his sword a deadly blur. Blaze thrust his own weapon in Landrel’s direction, he knew there was no chance he would hit the lithe Barren, but he just had to keep him at bay. However Landrel easily sidestepped Blaze’s attack and swung his sword up in a vicious arc. There was a sharp ring of metal and the sword glanced off Blaze’s right paw guard etching a vicious line across it. Blaze’s visor flashed a warning at him, but did at least inform him there was no real damage. Before Landrel got the chance to follow up his attack Blaze swung his gun arm at him, forcing him to back off again or be bludgeoned. Their fight was much like that between a buffalo and a wolf; Blaze was slow but strong, whereas Landrel was fast and lethal. Nevertheless if even one of Blaze’s strikes hit Landrel the Barren would either be crushed or hewn in two.

The Barren troops had now formed a half ring around Blaze and were beginning to fully circle him, only gunfire from the still open complex door kept them back.

“Leave him, he’s mine!” Landrel ordered, advancing afresh blade held forwards, coiled and ready to spring. Dutifully the Barrens backed off giving Blaze and Landrel space, the Dinos also stopped firing and a tense silence formed then hung in the air as the two commanders faced each other. Blaze’s mind was spinning with possibilities like an extraction ring in an energy core, if he could take Landrel out he would cut off the head of the Barren attack. While the Barrens would certainly still flood their last defences and eventually take Hayveon, they would be leaderless. But, deep down, he knew he could not beat Landrel, for the simple fact that if Landrel thought victory was not a certainty he would never have come forth and challenged Blaze.

Blaze had got back up again now and had his huge energy sword held at the ready, eyes fixed on Landrel, waiting for him to make a move. Landrel charged at him once more but Blaze was ready this time, fending off the attack with a sweeping overhead blow, the sheer force of it nearly flattened the Barren commander. Landrel however seemed to have anticipated it and rolled with the impact, before leaping up on Blaze’s left side. Blaze tried to strike, but Landrel was inside the arc of his weapon, too close for him to swing at. The darting tip of Landrel’s sword cut into Blaze’s side, punching through the thick armour and bringing a gasp of pain to Blaze’s lips. He flailed his left gun arm in response, hoping to simply club Landrel with the energy cannon. Alas he was already gone, having pulled back to a safe distance.

“Did that hurt?” Landrel sneered as he readied himself for the next attack. The blade had not gone in far, the armour having taken the force out of the stab, but it stung.

“Not as much as this will!” Blaze’s voice boomed in defiance, raising his sword ready to swing. But instead of bringing the blow down he flicked his energy cannon up and let drive. With a crackle a trio of heavy energy shots spat from his gun. Landrel, distracted by the potential attack from Blaze’s sword, only just managed to throw himself flat in time. The shots instead blasted apart several Barrens behind him.

This was his chance to end the duel. Lunging forwards on his good leg he brought his sword down in a chopping move to slice the wretch in two. Landrel rolled sideways in response, but Blaze had been ready for that. His blow landed where he guessed Landrel would go, not where he had been lying.

Sadly for Blaze, Landrel realised and pulled up at the last second, stopping his roll and just saving himself from oblivion. The huge sword instead tore through his left shoulder plate shredding his armour and drawing crimson blood. Instantly the Barrens opened fire with a volley of rifle shots, aiming to drive Blaze back from their precious commander before he could finish him. Blaze staggered under the impact of ten or so point blank rifle bursts. He felt his chest plate crack under the onslaught as the energy blasts hammered into him, but even so it held firm. A simple volley from his own energy cannon made quick work of his assailants, they, unlike him, lacked powerful armour.

“Stop shooting you fools! He is mine!” Landrel yelled as he picked himself up. The Barrens Blaze had not gunned down stopped instantly and Landrel glared at the armoured Dino with raw hate.

“I’m almost impressed, but you won’t do that again,” Landrel taunted. The wound on his shoulder was relatively superficial, little more than a cut; the damage to Landrel’s ego however was far greater.

Blaze swung his energy cannon round ready to finish Landrel off, but he was not quite quick enough. Landrel now rushed in full of fury, he was no longer toying with Blaze, now he wanted him dead. He charged in and Blaze struggled to parry the flurry of blows. Landrel was attempting to get in close, so that Blaze could not make use of the greater reach of his weapon.

Their swords clashed time and time again, Landrel slowly advancing, making sure he did not let Blaze take advantage of his superior strength or give him the chance to use his gun. Every time Blaze thought he could crush the Barren Landrel turned his attack away, redirecting the force of the strike so it did not quite flatten him. Madly Blaze staved him off, but he knew he had met his match. Landrel was too quick and too skilful, even with the PASHAS he could not beat him. His defence was getting increasing desperate, Landrel was gaining the upper hand and they both knew it, any moment now he would deliver the killing blow.

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Look out for Part 22 of Mathew Gill’s story!