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|A Dragon's Fangs Hurt as Much as its Flames|
Never underestimate the fangs of a dragon without flames
Dirt kicked up around August as he approached the great beast. The two faced each other down while Sumi and the others remained motionless. That first move, which could dictate the entire battle. August already had two weapons drawn, but they knew the dragon was more than prepared as well. One step forward, two steps forward. The air was heavy with anticipation. A blink of the eye and everything could be over. Neither had the fullest confidence in their side, but both successfully feigned the missing assurance. His fist clenched tighter around his sword hilt and gun handle as he could feel the hot dragon's breath on his skin.
In a split moment, the dragon rushed forward. Its nose slammed into August, and the bounty hunter grunted in surprise. He barely had enough time to somewhat absorb the blow with the flat side of his katana. But even after blocking, the dragon managed to sweep August off his feet and launch him away from the others. In mid-air, he struggled to move into the position which would bring the least amount of pain and gritted his teeth for impact. Hundreds of feet away from his original location, August hit the ground with his back and skidded several more feet. Despite the pain, he managed to stand as the dragon closed in on him.
The dragon landed and shook the ground beneath August's feet. Its stubby legs took one step forward as August took a step back. Once it felt it had August cornered, it took a deep breath and released a torrent of flames. Quickly, August swerved out of the way, twisting to the left so that he avoided the burst of flames barely unscathed. But the dragon would not give up this easily. While still releasing flames, it simply turned its head and followed August as he narrowly avoided its attacks. He dodged to the right of another discharge of flame. The dragon predicted his movements. August took the full-on explosion of flames, and all he could do to protect himself was raise his hands to shield his face.
"Urk," August grunted and staggered backwards. The flames stopped, and he quickly shook his arms and coat out to put out the flames. His mildly flame-retardant coat had helped more than he could have predicted: even after taking the flames out a dragon, he escaped with only minor burns. But that did not mean he was unharmed; the pain of the burns all over his body stung and began to throb with pain, but at least he could still see and fight.
After this attack, the dragon ascended into the air. Dust swirled off of where it had previously stood, and August took the opportunity to attack the beast. It swirled in figure-eight patterns through the air, and August aimed his gun quickly. Several bullets tore through the air, but the dust kept any of them from hitting their mark. He could hardly see, until another roar shook the very earth beneath his feet. The dirt cleared in time for August to see the beast swoop into another attack, like a hawk descending upon its prey. This time, August knew better than to take the attack and once more launch through the air. He sidestepped the beast as it came down, and watched its serpent-like body scrape the ground. Its momentum carried it well past him, and August could turn back to attack.
The dragon's thin body had already begun to wind itself around. Once more it came down to attack August. As it swooped past August, the bounty hunter swung his sword to try and slash the beast. The metal clanged against the dragon's scales. Not a scratch. "You've got to be kidding me," August muttered as the dragon turned around to repeat the pattern. For a while, they danced in this manner: the dragon attacked as August landed a futile blow against the beast's hard skin. It dove at August once more. His arm swung sideways in another sweeping blow. A lucky sweeping blow. The blade scraped through the dragon's mouth, and slashed completely through that side of its face.
It let out a howl of pain as it tumbled to the ground. August seized this opportunity to rush in for a continued assault. For all he knew, this could be his only chance. And if it was, he had just lost it. The dragon's tail slammed against the ground and it used that momentum to turn itself back onto its feet. As August rushed towards it, it released another blast of flames. While August dodged, the dragon ascended into the air and out of August's reach again. His only ranged weapon was his machine gun, which the dragon could avoid through its fluid winding movements. It seemed like he was powerless.
Until August began to see a pattern in its winding movements. In and out, over and under, up and down, it all began to seem less foreign. Just before the dragon moved to one location in the pattern, August released a volley of bullets. Several of them slammed into the beast. It roared as the small objects pierced through its soft belly. This success gave August a sudden burst of confidence. The beast was not totally invincible, and if he could continue to take advantage of its weaknesses as he was, the beast would be as good as dead.
At this point in the game, August should have realized that nothing is this simple. He realized, as the dragon began to shift its pattern to a senseless circling, that his attacks had only angered the beast. Though he had never come face to face with a dragon, one could predict that an angry dragon would not be an easy opponent to face. From out of range now, the dragon blasted flame down on August. It was near impossible to avoid, as it could attack from above in any direction he moved. He pushed off of the ground to sharpen his movements, but each attack still managed to at least graze his boots.
After one attack, the dragon decided to go into close quarters once more. It dove with a speed August had not seen throughout their entire battle. In the blink of an eye, it was right next to him. Like in the beginning, the dragon slammed head-on into the bounty hunter. This time, the dragon's great jaws clamped around August's right arm. He winced in pain as the cracking of all his bones resounded throughout his head. But he was stuck, and the dragon could easily lift him off of the ground and carry him into the air.
Any attacks were now wild and unfocused. He had dropped his blade when his arm was grabbed. The angle which the dragon held him made it a mere dream to attack with his other arm. Completely stuck, left at the mercy of this beast that wanted only to eat him alive. Ironic how so many think of the dragons as friends, August thought grimly as the dragon continued to soar through the air while carefully crushing its opponent's limb. I don't want a friend who'd try to kill me like I'm his next meal, he thought with a smirk.
The dragon twitched its head, throwing August to the ground once more. Between the pain of his arm and the pain of hitting the ground, the bounty hunter could not quickly stand to face his opponent. And the dragon saw this. All he could see was the great face of the beast coming down upon him. At the last minuted he rolled out of the way, but the dragon quickly retracted to attack again. And again, the dragon's face slammed into the ground as August barely avoided. Once more, but this time August felt something against his back.
His path had brought him back to his sword. August threw his gun aside and picked up his sword, a new energy bringing him to his feet. Though wielding with his off-hand, August readied himself to attack the dragon when it next came around. They faced each other, and the dragon took another deep breath. Flames shot towards August, but this time he did not avoid. He brought up his sword and slashed through the center of the flames. They seemed to divide around him, nullifying the attack. August's sword burned red hot, radiating pure heat from being warmed by the dragon's fire.
They closed in on each other. The dragon rushed forward in preparation to once more sweep August off his feet. But this time, August brought his arm backwards and stabbed into the dragon. His sword lodged itself in the beast's eyes. It roared in agony, shaking August off of its head. In an instantaneous counter-attack, the dragon shot forth flames. Without time to avoid, August took the fire straight on. His cloak burned, and he quickly removed it so as to avoid further injuries. Every part of his body stung with the burns, but he could still see. He could tell that his eyes were swollen, but not completely swelled shut. His arm could still move. He could still attack.
Blade still hot, August swung wildly at the dragon as their distance closed. He barely scraped the beast; but between his burning sword and previously inflicted injuries, each attack dealt a fair amount of damage. The battle was becoming less of a battle, and more of a brawl. Neither could defend themselves anymore. The winner would be determined by who dealt more blows, and nothing more. As August's blade sung past the dragon, the dragon's teeth snapped at August's arm. A pathetic battle: the battle of two reverted to a primitive state of being, with a goal of little more than to destroy the other.
It was pure luck that August would see the opening as the dragon opened its jaws wide. The burning metal shot forward and met the soft inside of the dragon's mouth. With the dragon's jaws still coming down, the sword completely impaled the dragon's head. Somehow, it still lived and desperately caught August's arm. But not completely, From within his coat, August was able to produce another gun even with his arm lightly grabbed. Several shots, fired straight into the dragon's mouth. The light faded from its remaining eye and it fell to the ground defeated.
But August was not unscathed either. He dropped to his knees and his firearm slipped from his hand. The wounds in both his arms were bleeding openly, and he was losing more and more blood by the second. Until his entire body crumbled alongside the dragon. Slowly and silently.
"Now come, little toy soldiers," Sumi's finger curled backwards as he spoke: a gesture intended to egg on his two opponents. A smiled crept across his lips, barely a curve, but enough to send a chill down Tuzo and Meelo's spines. "March to meet your friends at the gates of the Spirit World."
The two glanced over at the nearest fight, August having finished the struggle with his great foe. Team Avatar was fighting elsewhere, and here it was up to these two adults to stop this man. Tuzo's fists clenched. Meelo's right foot moved back ever so slightly into a bending stance. Save for their breathing and the sounds of the nearby battle, silence had fallen. No one spoke in the tense preparation. Then, with a small muscle twitch, all three moved at once and their battle began.
- This fight is based on Thor's fight with Jormungandr during Ragnarok (Norse mythology), where Thor defeated the great serpent only to die of its poison immediately after.
- The title and intro thingy are meant to subtly hype my upcoming fanon , which will begin production after the completion of Emblem of the Outlaw.
For the collective works of the author, go here.