Tucked behind a large boulder, Kratos is one knee breathing heavily. The damage he has taken is more severe than he thought. Foolish he was in his action. Instead of knocking Asura away, he should’ve plunged the Blades of Exile into Asura so they can deeply drink the false god’s strength and replenish his own. Kratos makes a mental note to not squander a chance like that again. He forces himself to stand. There is no time for fatigue. A Spartan is able to fight as long as he is able to wield a weapon. He has two. He will not lose this battle. He will defeat this false god and then he will kill Zeus. Kratos sneaks a look around the boulder at Asura who is looking for him. Immediately, his tactics switch to predator. His opponent is not very tactical. The false god had rushed at him headlong with little to no strategy. Kratos can use that knowledge to his advantage. What tactic would work against someone with no tactic, he wondered. A sneak attack would be the best idea. For a moment, Kratos wishes he still had Typhon’s Bane or Zeus’ Thunder Bolt to use to distract Asura. His lips twist in disgust. He had no need for such things. He is Spartan. He is a warrior and anything is a weapon in a warrior’s hands. Kratos scans the ground and spots a good sized rock. Placing one blade on his back, he bends down and picks up the rock. He peeks at Asura again, keeping himself hidden. Asura is now at the boulder where he crashed into. The false god appears to be searching more keenly. The ground, Kratos guessed. Asura is looking for his footprints. So the false god is tactical in some way after all. Kratos had better throw him of his trail before he gets wise. He hurls the rock at a boulder near Asura and quickly drops back behind the boulder. The sound draws Asura’s attention and he goes to investigate.
Kratos stealthily moves to another boulder and watches Asura. Fighting the false god, he has figured out that his opponent is quick tempered and will likely think irrationally. It doesn’t take much to get him going and once he does that when Asura will get clumsy. Kratos scans the ground to find a large stone resembling a spear. He picks is up and hefts it in his hand. It has good weight and balance. It is a rare find. He slides out from behind the just enough the quickly duck back before he is spotted. Kratos judges his distance. When it comes to the javelin, his skills were unmatched in Sparta. They still are. He hurls the rock spear at Asura and quickly slides back into hiding behind the boulder.
The rock spear pierces the boulder next to Asura who quickly turned to it just as it strikes and breaks in half. He throws a fierce gaze in the direction it came from and quickly rushes over. He looks left then right and left again. There is no one. Asura’s ire grew. He doesn’t like being toyed with. He grinds his teeth and clenches his fist for emphasis. Suddenly he hears another sound and whirls around just in time to see the rest of the stone spear fall to the ground. He is growing more irritated. Never has an opponent avoided him and gone into hiding. Perhaps he was wrong about the man with ash colored skin. He is a coward, just like Yasha. Asura continued to search for him, growing more irate with each step unaware in his search that Kratos is stalking him. The Spartan moves with the quiet swiftness of a panther staying out of sight behind the residual boulders. Stealthily he hunts Asura, pausing behind boulders only to take a peek at his prey before soundlessly moving on to the next hiding spot. Kratos has used this hunting tactic plenty of times before when ambushing enemies. Just like then, he will strike when the time is right.
Asura continues to look behind every boulder he passes. Each time he saw nothing he grew angrier. How dare his opponent be a coward. He thought he had a worthy challenge. Finding nothing behind another boulder further proves that statement to be untrue. Asura looks behind another and another and another. Soon his rising anger wins out and his smashes the next boulder when finds nothing but empty space again. “Coward! Where are you?! Stop hiding!” Asura raged.
This is the moment. Kratos silently ran up behind Asura and pounced. By the time Asura noticed him, the Blades of Exile were already plunged deep into his shoulders. Asura shook and bucked violently in an attempt to dislodge the blades but Kratos held firm. Already, he can feel himself being renewed as the Blades of Exile nourished him with Asura’s energy. The pain in his chest vanished and the bruises and cuts he received healed. Restored and feeling back in peak condition, Kratos began viciously hacking at the extra limbs on Asura’s back. They have to go. Without, his opponent will no longer have an advantage over him. His mind flickers back to his battle with Poseidon. In his god form, the God of the Seas and Oceans encased his core self within a hard coral shell. Kratos hacked away at it to get to the god and remove him to kill him afterward. He aims for the joints of the arms on Asura’s back. The false god continued to buck wildly and strike him repeatedly with his elbows, but as long as one Blade of Exile is in Asura, power will continuously be syphoned from him and renew Kratos’ strength. Kratos raises the blades high and rams them right in the joints. He leaps from Asura over his head and yanks the chains. The Blades of Exile rip free of Asura, taking two appendages with them.
Asura charges at Kratos in a mad rage. Kratos quickly rolls to avoid the first punch. He stands and sways his body to dodge the second and third punches. He uses the Golden Fleece to block the next punch, flips one blade down and shove into the forearm of Asura’s extra right limb. With a flourish of the other blade, Kratos severs the arm. Asura whirls and bashes the Spartan with his main left arm. Kratos takes the punch. It wasn’t as strong as before. The blades have done their job in draining Asura’s strength. Kratos rolls with the punch, grabs Asura by the shoulder, and bends him forward. He raises the blade in his right hand high and rams it in the joint to the extra left arm. Asura bats him away but Kratos lets loose a length of chain, catches his footing and yanks hard, sending the arm flying. The metallic arm shatters on the ground. Its pieces scatter and mingle with the remnants of Asura’s other limbs. Asura throws a ferocious glare at Kratos.
“Consider that a warning, false god,” Kratos says with disgust, pointing a wicked curved blade. “No one accuses a Spartan warrior of being a coward.”
“And I’m warning you,” said Asura. His anger grows again. Hearing that word reminds him of Yasha and the other former Guardian Generals now call themselves the Seven Deities—seven gods. They are not gods. He is not them. This man with ash colored skin keeps referring him to be a god. He is not a god. He is not a coward. Digging his feet, Asura throws himself at Kratos. “I am not a god!” he yells as he reels back and drives his fist forward.
Kratos places the Blades of Exile on his back and blocks with the Nemean Cestus. He rams the lion-headed gauntlet into Asura’s gut and bashes his face. Shaking of the blow, Asura counters right back with a blow that spins Kratos. The Spartan is quick to get his bearings in time to sway from Asura’s charging fist and deliver a blow to his back. Asura catches himself as he stumbles forward. He then throws himself back and whips around with a back fist. A bell like toll rings out as Kratos intercepts the attack. Another hollow toll resonates when he bashes Asura in his face. Asura takes the blow in stride and comes back at Kratos. The two engage each other fiercely. They bash each other with bone shattering blows. Neither of them is relenting.
Ducking under a fast sweeping back fist, Kratos delivers a crushing uppercut and quickly follows with a right hook. The lion head detaches upon impact and casts out on a length of chain, slamming Asura into a large boulder. Once the head on his right hand returns, Kratos fires the head on his left hand like a ballista. The second strike sends Asura through the boulder. Kratos breaks into a sprint while the lion head retracts and attaches back on the left gauntlet with a couple metallic clicks. He does not want to give Asura a chance to recover. However, he was not aware of how quickly Asura can recover. The false god comes barreling toward him; his eyes burning with rage. Kratos grinds to a halt and holds up the Golden Fleece. Asura smashes his fist into the mystical armor. Kratos struggles to hold him back as this attack is seemingly more powerful than before. The fleece absorbs Asura’s rage and feeds it to Kratos. He feels the mounting anger of the false god within him. He reels back and gets ready to unleash it upon him. Asura anticipates this and counters with a solid kick to Kratos’ chest. The blow staggers the Spartan and Asura seizes the chance to deliver a crushing blow that sends his opponent crashing through two stone pillars before slamming into a boulder, cratering it. Kratos slowly stands to his feet. The impact shocked his body but he quickly recovers. Asura’s stolen strength helped him weather that attack. He gives his head a couple shakes and then looks at Asura with a snarl. Kratos shrugs his shoulder and rolls his neck to loosen them up before dropping into an attack stance.
Asura takes off like rocket. He fires a few energy blasts as he rapidly closed the gap between him and Kratos. With a powerful lunge, he throws a fierce punch that is intercepted and then deflected by a lion headed gauntlet. Asura is bashed hard in his face and driven back by an uppercut. A second uppercut sends him into the air. Kratos leaps up after him. Asura sends the Spartan back down with a well-placed headbutt. Kratos slams into the ground with a tremendous impact and Asura dives down. Twisting his body, he pulls his arm back, balls his fist and shoots forward with a punch. Kratos dives out of the way and rolls to a stance, narrowly escaping being crushed by Asura. The impact generates a shockwave that pushes Kratos back. Suddenly, Asura bursts from the plume of dirt and rock dust. Kratos is nearly caught off guard and quickly defends with the Nemean Cestus. Asura anticipated this and grabs Kratos’ extended arm, twists and whips him into a large boulder nearby. Kratos slams through it and the next boulder some distance away before his body becomes embedded in a massive boulder that could easily be mistaken for a mountain. He slowly lifts his head in time to be smashed further into the boulder by Asura. His screams silently from the intense pain that ripped through his body as Asura attempted to break his spine with a knee strike to his gut. Asura removes knee and lifts Kratos up by his neck.
Kratos stares back weakly. The power he syphoned from the false god using the Golden Fleece is gone as is his natural strength. He cannot even lift his arms that are weighed down by the Nemean Cestus gauntlets on his hands. Still, Kratos will not yield. He didn’t yield when Zeus ran the Blade of Olympus through him. He will not yield, especially before a false god. Kratos spits the blood that pooled in his mouth in Asura’s face out of disgust and defiance. Asura quickly releases him, grabs the back of his head with his other hand and slams him face first into the ground. A moment later, Asura stomps Kratos head when the Spartan tried to lift his arm with the Golden Fleece, rendering him unconscious. Asura waits to see if his opponent is truly defeated. When he is sure Kratos will be getting back up, he walks away.
“Spartan warrior,” he says and then scoffs with contempt. His opponent fought well against him but he had no time to praise him. Mithra is crying. He must find her.
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