A single attack, a Refined Energy Dart released from a hand clutched low and pointed at its target, the spear tip that the hand held dipping to point. The clipped off portion of energy and aura, spinning through the air to flash past Boss Choi cut inches away from his body.
All on its way to its final target.
A hand, clutching a blade. It struck hard, splitting open skin and breaking tiny bones in the hand as it did so. The blade held pressed against Mel spasmed open, the weapon digging in at first a little deeper into bare skin before falling aside.
Mel, having waited so patiently for a chance to escape, reacted. The arm holding her loosened and she sunk an elbow deep into her captor’s stomach.
Retching from the pain, her captor doubled over. The other man clutching her had released her hand and turned to flee, for Amah Si and her people, along with the beggars, had charged at the Suey Ying when they realized Boss Choi was attacking Arthur, forcing him to back off. He bounced away and reached backwards, his spear landing in his hand as it was tossed to him. Initially stunned, they had unfrozen and were now unleashing their vengeance.
Even with her bonds, Mel fought, raining elbows and knees on her remaining captor. So doing, she managed to set him on the back foot, free of his interference. A particularly hard strike to the back of the neck left him choking, larynx shattered. As she got ready to run, another pair of Suey Ying cultivators sought to block her way.
All this Arthur took in as he ducked and weaved, his spear now rising and falling as he attempted to create space to fight at his preferred range. Boss Choi was too canny to allow that, forcing himself forward with each step, taking the occasional glancing blow of the spear shaft to close the distance. In the meantime, Choi’s dark kris scored along Arthur’s arms, depositing its poisonous curse.
Yin chi flushed through his body, combating the poison. His vision wavered a little as the invading energy—itself Yin—attempted to make him sleepy and lethargic, while his own chi tried to subsume the foreign energy. Thrumming through his body, acting on an instinctive level, his cultivation exercise flowed, acting against the invading energy in a way it had not before.
Thankfully, the minor change was only slightly distracting. Nowhere near enough to keep him from doing his best to defend himself against Boss Choi. He was also deeply grateful that he had put that extra point into Body, for Boss Choi was still significantly faster than him. If he was a seven, his opponent was at least a nine.
The only thing saving him was the fact that, for all his aggressiveness, Boss Choi was both distracted and less trained. The distraction was understandable though, for in the handful of breaths that they fought, Arthur’s men and Amah’s had closed half the distance.
“Just die lah, you!” Boss Choi snarled, throwing himself forward into an extended lunge.
Ill-conceived, for Arthur managed to sweep the kris point away and then, shortening his spear, brought its tip to point at the other’s chest. Only a heroic twist at the last minute saved Choi, though a long tear across clothing and flesh spoke of the danger he had been in.
Choi rolled on the ground and came back lithely on his feet. He pointed his weapon at Arthur, daring him to close in even as he backed away, eyes darting towards Arthur’s freely bleeding wounds and the creeping darkness on Arthur’s skin. A savage grin of satisfaction crossed Choi’s face, even as his opponents moved to surround him.
Arthur read it in his eyes, the way he shifted his feet and had begun to turn his head to verify what was behind him. In that moment, Arthur resolved to end it, throwing himself into a high leap and raising the spear above his head. At the same time, energy surged down his body as Heavenly Sage’s Mischief empowered him and increased his speed.
At the same time, Focused Strike empowered the spear, flowing more easily than Arthur had ever expected. He swung his weapon down with everything he had, unleashing a shout of anger at the same time.
Boss Choi looked up, then brought his hands and kris together in defense. However, it was not enough, not against the twice-empowered attack. Wood crashed into metal and the slim kris’s handle slipped out of Boss Choi’s fingers as the impact made his fingers numb.
The blow had not finished. The spear shaft cracked against Choi’s defense and broke it, before coming down on his collarbone. It shattered the delicate bone, forcing him to his knees.
A wave of weakness flowed up Arthur’s arms and threatened his balance as he landed. At that moment he was vulnerable to a counterattack. But without a weapon, the kris having fallen to the ground, Boss Choi had a single option.
He used it.
A glowing redness enveloped Choi’s fingers as he thrust them forward with his uninjured arm. It sunk deep into Arthur’s side, the penetrating strike puncturing his body. A savage twist of his hand and a slight curl of his fingers as he exited allowed Choi to leave a wider wound on exit. Arthur collapsed.
But in his quest for vengeance, Boss Choi had forgotten his other opponents. A running tackle from Yao Jing took him in the side, forcing him off Arthur. The pair rolled on the ground for a second before Yao Jing used his feet to launch Choi off his body.
A shimmering field of energy had formed around Choi in the meantime, and a few stray ranged attacks bounced off him. As he landed and rolled aside, letting out a long cry of pain as it jarred broken bones, the beggars descended.
Makeshift weapons rose and fell, slamming into the protective shielding that flickered. Blood flew as Boss Choi empowered his attacks, but he was only a first-floor cultivator. He had not the strength to endure such an assault for long. Beneath the gleeful blows rained upon him, Boss Choi’s shield faltered. And died.
Much like the leader of the Suey Ying tong soon after.