Hymir had been ready for hours. The fight began without warning.
He let his blood boil with artificial light and allowed it to pour out of him. The trees bordering the arena lit up with small orbs of light. Hopefully enough for everyone to see comfortably.
Dima was in the middle, Pallas on the right, Hymir on the left. Pirhum was straight in front of Dima. Out of the ground sprung six undead soldiers, three on each side of Pirhum to make a semi-circle. Without need to shout an attack, Hymir and Pallas went off to their respective sides with their melee weapons, Dima staying put and attacking the two soldiers in the back with a volley of arrows. A seamless transition. How pleasant. Finally, something done right.
Hymir ran up and stabbed a foe quickly, more out of habit than anything else. The second soldier was able to cover ground before it was slain. Pallas was still fighting his two, but from what Hymir could tell, he was doing fine. His halberd’s edge glinted in the fragments of light.
Two more soldiers crawled from the ground in front of Pirhum and made their way towards Dima, who was wrapping up shooting his two. He was able to get one of the new ones. The other one was getting too close. Hymir threw his spear. It barely hit the guy, but it gave Dima enough time to fish a knife from his pocket and stab the opponent.
That was eight people. Not too tricky. Not what Hymir was expecting. “It’s like a video game,” Pallas shouted as he ran over, gesturing to the edges of the clearing. “We just have to make it to the next round.” There was no time to guess what a video was.
More soldiers rose from the ground, stepping out from behind trees. Some tried to smash the lights before entering. They would fly back, a little trick Peter had taught Hymir. It was a concept called ‘electricity.’ Apparently, humans loved it, and human-adorer-Peter thought it was such an insane thing to consider normal.
Hymir smiled at his thoughts, fangs on full display, blood dripping from the corners of his mouth, a body dropping in front of him, a half-circle of blood oozing from the neck. The whole point of this was to be as gruesome as possible, to get to the end with less injuries than the opponents. Maybe being gruesome was looking between too many lines. Levin wanted him to behave like this in raids, so obviously, Hymir couldn’t. But here? With people like him? What had Pirhum said… that magic was encouraged. If using magic was wanted, then draining magic out of things that weren’t alive should be fine.
Someone cursed loudly. Probably Dima, judging by the pitch. “He’s a vampire!” Pallas laughed and brought his blade down.
Hymir felt his smile grow, now large enough that it was hurting his face. Black was growing around his eyes, blocking his vision. It was dismissed as his pupils shrinking in the growing lights. They did that sometimes. He wiped the blood from his mouth with the fleshy part of his thumb, trying to catch parts that had smeared onto his face. Couldn’t waste anything. “You want me to grow strong, don’t you?” he joked. It was all too easy to feel his blood rushing through him, purple flecks circling through his body. And the red blood of Pallas and Dima, running too quickly, veins not used to having to battle at this pace for this long. And the mock-blood of the enemies, a deep color that bordered on black, full of power that was begging to get consumed.
So why would Hymir deny it?
It was a rush that made his eyes bulge comically out of their sockets. Bitter at first, reminding him of the first time he ate cyanide with Hakon and proceeded to be violently ill for three days. Good times. This stuff felt better than any drug in any plant Hakon knew about from Norway. It was… pure. Untouched. Literal creation that shouldn’t be contained in such a perishable body.
But here it was, and spirits abiding did it taste good. It dripped from his chin. He tried to cup it in his hands to stop wasting it. It was holy, wasn’t that the term? Drinking it felt blasphemous. It lingered in his hands. He tried to cram his palms down his throat, just to make sure he could consume everything. It wasn’t enough. It would never be enough. Not now, not when he knew that something like this was an option.
“Get your head in the game!” Pallas said. Right. This wasn’t about Hymir. It was about Pallas, and the treaty, and making sure the two humans’s hearts didn’t give out. The battle should end soon for their sakes. Hymir never wanted to leave this moment.