Howl of Time

9. Ragdoll

If you had ever seen Planet Of The Apes, then you might think what stood before us was some kind of offspring of one of those apes and a demon.

The ape pointed its spear at us and howled, before disappearing for a split second only to reappear before me. My eyes went wide as I saw my life flash before me.

Donovan activated [Dash] and stopped the spear in the nick of time. But the force of the impact of the spear hitting the shield sent him flying into me. Kong laughed at us mockingly as we both tripped over eachother to stand back up, doing a ”Come get me gesture ” with his hand.

I couldnt stop my eyebrows from twitching at this bastard. He was stronger than all of us individually but as a team…

A rat tail grew my back and I tossed my sword up allowing the tail to grab it, as I drew my other. He looked it with curiosity as my tail appeared.

A flaming arrow zipped past Kongs head as he tilted it nimbly to avoid it. Donovan used [Dash] and rushed into him, swinging his short sword as he approached. Kong sidestepped with movements as fluid as water and tripped Donovan with the back of his spear, sending him to the ground.

Kong raised his spear to finish off Donovan but I was already on the offensive. I struck a downward blow with the sword in my hand and Kong reacted and backstopped out of it. However my tail arched forward like a scorpion stinger and made contact with Kongs shoulder, enough to leave a cut.

Kongs eyes turned serious as a flurry of my attacks came after him. It became a back and forth of parrying each others attacks. My slashes came in fast leaving Kong to focus only on me.

Everyone joined in the attack and Kong began to accumulate damage. He dodged Ethans net and then sprinted up a tree and began swinging branch to branch above us. Then he stopped on a branch sticking out of a 3rd story window. He just observed us for a moment, not making a move.

The tension grew as we awaited what Kong would do and finally it seemed he made up his mind. But what he did left us shocked… He grabbed a vine and began to swing from vine to vine away from us.

(Huh?! Is he really leaving?) I wondered.

”Maybe we scared him off…? ” Ethan said. But a few moments later, just after he did, a loud thumping sound could be heard and the ground began to shake.

”Um, whats going on? ” Cynthia trembled as she asked. I squinted my eyes trying to look through the jungle infested streets to see what was approaching. But what I could see getting closer left me petrified.

Six large elephant beasts stampeding towards us, and on the the elephants back that was leading the charge was Kong.

”R-run! We gotta get the ** out of here! ” We didnt have time for me to explain to them what I saw, so I yelled. Everyone understood from the sounds and vibrations that death was drawing closer, so we all bolted.

We ran as fast as our legs could carry us. We could hear the sound of abandoned cars being smashed and building crumbling as the stampede chased us.

Kong riding on top of the elephant was directing the beasts as we ran through the dilapidated city streets. A wicked smile adorned his face as he pictured the puny humans being smashed under foot.

”We are almost to the canal! Maybe we can lose them there! ” As everyone was sprinting, Myra gave us an idea.

We turned a corner and could see the metal bridge used to cross the canal. The beasts were not far behind. We came up to the bridge and began to cross it. ”Hurry up, would you! I dont want to die by being stepped on! ” Cynthia screamed as Ethan was using his [Metal Manipulation] on the bridges supports.

The thundering sounds grew louder as the pack of elephant beasts got closer. Ethan was touching the bridge and using his power to remove the nuts and bolts from the bridge supports. ”Just a little more… ” he said in a strained voice.

The pack was close now. Finally stepping onto the bridge and getting even closer. ”Fuck, **, **! Hurry up! ” Cynthia shouted, but we were all very visibly nervous as well, sweat pouring down like rain.

”There, done! ” Ethan said satisfied as we all stepped off the bridge to the other side. A creaking sound was heard as the pack stomped across the bridge, not slowing down.

(Come on. Come on! Whats taking so long?) Every passing second felt like an eternity. Finally the bridge began to sway as the supports started coming apart.

The elephant beasts didn slow down even as the bridge was about to collapse. Kong realized something was amiss when a section of the bridge fell. The elephant he was riding slid to a stop as the entirety of the bridge finally began to sink into the canal. Kong dropped his spear as he grabbed the elephants back to steady himself.

As soon as the elephant Kong was riding came to a halt, Kong used the momentum, jumped off its back and launched towards the other side of the bridge. The elephants on the bridge tumbled into the canal along with the bridge scraps. The howls of the elephants could be heard as they struggled to stay afloat as they were washed downstream. But the elephants were the least of our worries now.

Kong landed on our side of the bridge with a thud, then his eyes met ours for a moment. Nobody said a word and just got into a defensive stance. He glared and his breathing became short angry puffs before howling to the sky as he beat his chest.

In this situation, in an area that was no longer advantageous to Kong, one might think we would use this opportunity to attack. However, the pressure from Kong as he roared left us unable to move.

Steam came off Kongs body and his skin began to turn red, like a boiled lobster. His eyes which before had a glint of intelligence turned red and he began to look like a real demon, driven only by rage.

All of us gulped nervously and we took a step back. Kong was enraged, and his anger was directed right at us.

Kong slammed his fists down and shattered the pavement, leaving a large indent before he rushed forward. Donovan activated his [Hercules] spell and his own muscles bulged and he became stronger. He used [Dash] to meet Kong head on.

A loud bang sound echoed as they collided. But Kongs strength far surpassed his, as Donovan was thrown back and hit the side of the building behind us.

I activated my [Cat Form] along with [Beastman], partially transforming into a cat beast. Cat ears grew in place of my human ears and my pupils slit vertically like a cat. A wriggling tail grew from my back and I could feel how much more relaxed my body became allowing for quick reflexive movements.

I lunged at Kong as he recoiled from his clash with Donovan. As I did, Marie cast [Mirage] and shrouded Kong and I in a haze of darkness. Illusions of me appeared around Kong and he thrashed wildly at them.

Since in my cat form I have night vision I was able to see pretty well within her spell. I nimbly stepped around Kong and cut him here and there, leaving gashes on his body.

Maries spell ended soon after and the haze cleared after several moments had passed. Kong was able to see me now and thrust a punch at me which connected to my side.

Luckily, due to the nature of my cat form, my body absorbed some of the impact but it still sent me flying back and there was a good amount of internal pain. Kong rushed at me to finish but arrows coated with flame began pelting him.

Cynthia was shooting arrows to buy me time but Kong was fast to change targets and was upon her before she could react. A loud cracking sound could be heard as Kong was whipped at the side of his face. Myra had managed to hit him and throw him off target.

A spear lunged at Kong from Ethan but he grabbed the haft of the spear before it could stick into him. Kong punched Ethan and sent him flying as well and then he reached out to grab Myra next instead.

Donovan had recovered from the shock of the attack he took and had rejoined the fight. Using [Dash] and [Hercules] he darted at Kong and bashed him with his shield. I had also got back up and as Kong was thrown back, My sword was waiting for him.

The sound of my blade stabbing into flesh was heard and the tip protruded through his back and out his front, skewering his heart.

Kong was looked down and saw the blade penetrating his body. He weakly tried to reach back at me but I held on tightly and after a fruitless struggle, his eyes became dull and listless and then he fell to the ground with a thud.

”…Is he finally dead? ” Cynthia asked nervously.

”Yeah… Hes dead. ” I said as I removed my sword and cleaned the blade with a cloth. Myra was healing Ethans wounds and Donovan was laying flat on his back and breathing heavily.

After sheathing my sword I took a step toward the body to remove the beast crystal from Kong, but my steps were unsteady and I nearly collapsed. Marie caught me and helped me to stand up by letting me lean on her shoulder. ”Be careful, Jason! You
e hurt! ” She said as she did so.

”Thanks, Marie. ” She helped me to to sit down, as the battle had taken a toll on my body. We were all exhausted, both physically and mentally.

We had managed to take down Kong with teamwork as well as alot of luck. One misstep could have been the end for us and everyone knew it.

Myra drained the last of her mana to heal us and while we wanted to leave the area, we had no choice but to make our camp nearby.

We were all sitting around a fire within one of the buildings and discussing the battle as well as our plans for the next day. We were going to try and reach the settlement we had heard about.

But, we didnt know, that for some of us, the journey would end in tragedy…

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