CHAPTER 29: EMBRACING THE COLD

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The water was still. Azief is paddling slowly, looking left and left and below, looking at the large shadow and he take a big gulp and steel his resolve.

Sofia is preparing her arrows, looking left and right and looking below she gulped and she look at Azief, both of them feeling and doing the same thing.

She could see the shadow of the beast which she and Azief have decided to call Supercroc.

Slowly, slowly they paddle and then one of the small crocodile began showing its face. The water ripples outward as more and more crocodiles emerged.

They looked like normal crocodiles only that their nostrils were positioned on the tops of their heads rather than the tips of their snouts.

They circle behind their raft but they did not attack, just circling around behind and did not even bother to try to encircle the raft which is strange.

‘Sofia, vigilance’ Azief said, as he keep paddling.

For some reason, he felt that to reach the shore of the city is somehow an arduous expedition when it is not that far.

The current push them sideways, but Azief arm strength prevent them from getting washed away by the currents.

And the current is not that hard or fast that Azief could not handle it. What he is most afraid of is the supercroc if it would suddenly attack them.

They are now in the middle of the river and the supercroc did not do anything to them, no movement from it, almost like it didn’t care about the raft.

But Azief still could not dispel the bad feeling in his heart.

Azief once has the opportunity to learn kayaking. He had a Diploma in Tourism Management and one of the courses is marine related fields.

He learns scuba diving, swimming, kayaking, safe and rescue and many others.

While he could not claim he is the best in the kayaking, he at least has some good basic on how to steer a raft.

Though he used kayak in his studies, the principles is not that different and considering the strength he possess now, the speed in which Azief used to cross the river could only be described as he is riding a motorboat.

‘Azief, there is movement!’ Sofia said, almost yelling.

Sofia was surveying the surrounding when Azief was paddling when she realize the crocodiles in the river suddenly dives down and the shadow beneath them suddenly getting bigger and is emerging.

Azief who is paddling could also see that the shadow is approaching them from below.

‘Shit, shit, shit!’ He looked at Sofia. Then he looked at the fast approaching supercroc and he made his choice.

‘Try to survive’ he said to Sofia.

‘I’ll see you on the other side’

‘That’s a promise’ Sofia said and they both almost like they have agreed beforehand jumps upwards like they were flying.

Then from beneath the river a blast occurred like a bomb being thrown into the river and a gigantic crocodile appears from the water blast trying to eat Azief and Sofia, its gigantic jaws is trying to gobble up the two humans.

Sofia jump to the right to avoid herself being eaten and then she dived down inside the river with a plop.

The moment she dived down she swims underwater…her destination?

Across the shore.

She did not look back and she is not worried about Azief. Azief is stronger than her and surely he would arrive at the shore faster than her so she using her hand keep swimming forward not looking back.

Some of the small crocodiles chasing her from behind. She could not uses her arrows underwater. And she could not stop either.

In her mind and her eyes is only the shore.

Azief on the other hand, has decided to do something…..stupid.

Sofia thought that Azief would also do what she did which is to avoid the crocodile but Azief knows that someone had to stall the crocodile and between the two of them, he is the only one who could do that.

He is not a self-sacrificing hero…..but he knows he is the only one who could do this.

At least, he is the only one who could do this between the two of them.

He will stall the crocodile and when he jumped instead of diving down to the river, he landed behind the supercroc large body.

Azief was shocked and awe by the supercroc physical characteristic.

It has long bodies, splayed limbs, and narrow, flat, tooth-studded snouts with powerful jaws and it also has an enormous size.

It measured about 40 feet long from head to tail and weighed in the neighborhood of 10 tons.

The only way to describe it is as terrible and monstrous.

Landing on the back of the crocodile, Azief tries to remain calm. His balance is flawless. As he increase in level he did find that all of his sense, abilities are all heightened.

While the very notion of remaining calm during fighting a 40 feet long and ten ton crocodiles may seem preposterous, ridiculous even, doing so may be the only thing that saves his life.

‘He is just EXP. Boss-like creature. It must have a weakness’ Azief muttered as he gripped his hand, sheathed his bald and run around on the back of the crocodiles.

If anyone could see him right now, it is like an ant running around on a human arm. Like Kratos fighting Gaia.

The crocodile then splashed into the river water and another huge splash shakes the rivers, ripples resonating everywhere.

The other crocodiles disperse from the area leaving Azief and Sofia…..and the Supercroc.

Azief then remember something about his last fight about the beast.

Even though the beast he fights with has greater power than him, they are also equipped with a weakness.

Azief is aiming for this weakness. The crocodile look left and right still not realizing that the humans its chasing is behind his back.

Azief could see that Sofia has begun emerging to the surface of water to take some breath as she is swimming vigorously to the shore, not looking back, a dozen of crocodile following her from behind.

The crocodiles did not come towards the Supercroc probably because the Supercroc also eats crocodile.

When Azief jump upwards before, Azief could see that the Supercroc eat the small crocodiles.

When Azief said small, it doesn’t mean that the crocodile was small, but it is small compared to the Supercroc.

Sofia who is swimming right now, of course did not think Azief is right now on the back of the croc and even risking his life for hers.

The Supercroc is not going back into the river. If he did Azief could then jump and also join Sofia in swimming away.

He might not know swimming but he could still manage.

But even if he follows from behind, Azief knows, how could they outmatch the crocodile in the water.

Someone needs to stay. Someone needs to stall. And he is the leader of the group. There is a reason why leaders have the privilege of ordering the people beneath them.

Why? Because when shits hit the fan, it is the leader job to clean it. The leader bears the hard work, the daunting work and as such has the privilege of ordering the subordinate to work.

At least, that is how it is for Azief.

The Supercroc locates its target and using its large feet it dashed forward. And its target is Sofia. Right now it still doesn’t realize Azief is on his back.

Not good Azief said inwardly.

The croc is chasing Sofia now and with its speed, it could reach her in matter of second.

Azief run as fast as the wind, with water splashing around his black robe and the sound of wind rushing in his ears as he decide to attack the croc.

He remembered on things about fighting a crocodile. As he remembers one of the weaknesses of a crocodile, he activated Fear Aura and he jumped up the air.

The moment he activated Fear Aura, the crocodile quickly realizes someone is behind it.

But the croc did not turn and Azief who was in the air; stab downward like a thunder striking the earth, attacking perfect and accurately at the crocodile eyes.

He turns in midair, performing one of the moves he once saw in TV.

When he strikes he activated Slashing wind, making it a double damage. One from the wind slice and another from his brute strength.

While the croc scale was hard, there are someplace where the croc is relay vulnerable and it is at this place, Azief believe lies it weakness.

DOUBLE DAMAGE ACHIEVED

The eyes were bleeding as Azief landed on the tip of the crocodile mouth. The croc releases something resembling shrieks from its mouth, expressing its pain.

Azief did not delay in his next attack. He doesn’t have time to stop. He needs to use the opportunity he had to defeat the croc.

As the croc is now bleeding from its right eyes, Azief now is charging from the tip of the mouth to the left eyes, running through its nose and when he arrived in front of its left eye, Azief stabs the crocodile repeatedly.

One strikes, two strikes, three strikes, quickly it reaches a dozen strikes.

With his arm speed and the frequency of his tabbing, the croc left eyes was turn into a squishy matter as the crocodile roared in pain.

Azief was forced to jump backwards, as the crocodile roll around the water.

When the croc rolled again to his original position Azief then landed again on the back of the crocodile.

It is possible to do because he jump really high and it takes about 20 seconds for him to fall while the crocodile only rolls for 5 seconds and reached its original position in another 5 seconds which gave him an estimate of how high he needs to jump and how far he can jump to reach the best possible distance and time to land exactly at the back of the Supercroc.

Now the croc is no longer interested in chasing Sofia instead it began to focus on killing this human running behind its back.

People say that the eye of the tornado is the safest place.

Now, Azief knows, that’s true.

He is standing on the crocodile back but the crocodile could not do anything to him other than rolling along a few times in the water.

Every time Azief felt that the croc would roll, Azief would jump upwards before landing back.

If he only had Levitation skills, he could use this kind of tactic to mess around with the croc.

It is also lucky that the croc is stupid. If only it turns around a little longer or dives straight inside the river, how could Azief land on his back?

He would surely drown. But what Azief doesn’t know was that the ebast is not some normal beast, it was gigantic beast.

Even if there is 10 men with Azief level, they could not defeat the croc.

This is a suicide mission. Even if Azief blinds the croc eyes, how could Azief defeat such monsters?

This is why the Supercroc did not roll around for too long or dives straight into the river because it look down on Azief.

Then suddenly the crocodile roll again with force and the impact of his giant body rolling around the river, create a spiral in the water and splashing of water rose for ten meters around the area, while at the same time dispersing many of the other crocodile in the river and this time it caught Azief in surprise.

Azief was drenched from the water and his vision was hindered by the splashing

Blood is still bleeding from it eyes and it only uses its sense of smell and touch to try shaking off Azief from it back.

Azief was shaken off and in midair he was struck by the crocodile tails and it was like he was being hit by a truck as he coughed up blood and his skin shredded around his stomach area.

Azief was thrown far away when the crocodile turn his direction, looking at him and charged forward, opening its mouth and was about to swallow him whole.

But at this juncture he maneuvered himself and using his feet kick one of the teeth of the Supercroc and he shot farther away but not yet far away enough from the range of attack of the croc.

Azief hand was in the range of the crocodile mouth and the croc did not let this opportunity go.

With one bite, Azief who was in midair yelled in pain, his scream drowned by the splashing water.

Sofia on the other hand could not see what is happening behind her because she is frantically trying to run from the crocs.

All she could hear was the mighty splashing of water and the feeling that there is a struggle going behind her.

Azief look at his left hand. His left hand was bitten and stuck in the gap of the crocodile teeth but the teeth pierce his pinky fingers and his pinky finger was crushed already, only meat in tatters.

The crocodile is now trying to drag Azief down.

And considering its weight, to drag Azief down is easy. Even though Azief hand is as strong as steel it was easily bitten by the crocodile.

Azief knows if the croc drag him down, it’s over for him.

So, he quickly made a decision.

‘FUCK!’ He cursed as he steel his body for what is coming. Gritting his teeth he swings his blade to his left hand and cutting his own hand off.

And blood spurted from his amputated hand. It gushes out. The blood didn’t gush in a constant flow, but in time with the beating of his heart.

And the pain? Oh, the pain! He wanted to pass out but he couldn’t. He tries to shut it off but he cant.

So, he gritted his teeth, enduring the pain, trying to remain conscious. The crocodile is blind on both eyes.

Luck and circumstances saves him again. If Azief was thrown just a little bit deeper inside range of attack of the croc, instead of losing his arm he would be swallowed down inside the croc stomach.

If he did not kick the croc teeth and uses it as propulsion, he would end up as a meal for the croc.

When the croc come rushing at him before, he could see the croc large bowels and in it, was full of zombies in squishy goo, some is being disintegrated in its stomach.

Maybe that is why Azief could not see any zombies since he came to the bridge. Maybe all of them were eaten by this supercroc.

Azief then fall down to the river but the moment his feet reached the water, he propels himself up using all, of his strength on his feet and a water blast erupted as he once again jump onto the croc back.

He stands there, bloodied and weary.

The blood drips on the back of the croc.  The blood is leaving his body, his left hand arm becomes pale, and the pulses in his heart began to beat slower, weaker.

His stomach is full of ripped flesh and the water makes him winces in pain, but he forces himself to remain upright and conscious.

Strength also leaves his body since there are some rings enhancing strength in his left hand.

Now his left hand is in the deep river.

At least his storage rings are in his right hand so he quickly conjures up health potion and with one hand gulped it down.

The bleeding slowly stopped around his stomach areas but the missing hand did not reform.

Using his right hand he held the stump and from the bandage he got from the storage rings he quickly tightened it almost like a professional.

Occasionally the croc would roll around but it did not dive inside.

Then Azief could sense a large horde of monster is coming here. He wanted to curse. What now? he mused.

but then opening his eyes he could see. The retreating small crocodile before is coming again but it did not chase Sofia who is nearing the shores but is coming towards the large croc.

More and more join this horde of crocodiles, swimming to charge the Supercroc.

Could it be?

Azief could see a ray of hope. But even though he sees it, it did not change his current situation. He is feeling unimaginable pain.

He just realizes that one of the Supecrocr teeth manage to injure him and blood is also gushing out from his left arm.

No matter how much pressure he applied, the blood had still gushed between his fingers and oozed.

The blood had spread to his dark robe making it seems even more darker and black aura envelope Azief, making his feet feel lighter.

He could feel life, draining away from him, his body becoming cold.

‘Heh’ he smiles. He doesn’t know why he smiles or why, but he smiles, his mind is blank, but he smiles.

Isd it because it is hopeless? Or is it because there is nothing else to do? His mind is blank right now.

If not this croc, the large horde would get him. Realizing this, he feel fatigued, feel tired. But he decided on last thing.

He needs to leave some gift for this croc that cost him his limbs.

Then as he decided, this time he run forward, each steps harder than the last but he could not stop now.

He then jump and this time stab on the croc head and blood gushed like a fountain.

It’s head is like a fountain of blood attracting more and more smalls crocodiles and then as he resigned himself to death, Azief jump from the top of the crocodile head.

As he was about to fall into the river he look at that large wide open mouth of the Supercroc, he smiles, and laughed as he throws something since the Supercroc mouth and he fall to the river.

With a large sound he fall to the river. The area around his fall quickly turns red with blood keep gushing out from his ripped out hands and slash marks.

In the water, his head is pounding like a drum, every cell in his body screaming for oxygen.

He keep fighting until he could feel that his head is about to explode, his vein could burst right now, he has to take a breath but he doesn’t have the energy.

Opening his mouth, trying to breath, he could feel the water assault his throats and he begins to fall.

He fall further and further into the darkness until it threaten to swallow him whole. Closing his eyes, he let the river take him away.

He smiles again.

His last view, is looking at the Supercroc fighting with a hundred crocodiles, its blood madly gushing about, and the supercroc struggles in vain.

‘Take that!’ he mused in satisfaction.

And as he let the darkness envelopes him, he thinks of his lofty ambition and the people that he left behind, the friends he had, and wondering, would they cry for him, if they knew he dies?

He wanted them to at least feel sorrows for him. Would Sofia mourn him? Would the Princess mourn him?

As he finally gives up to the cold and the darkness, he closes his eyes, eases up his body, opening his arm wide, he embraces his death and the deeper he falls.

And then, he at the last breath he takes…..he smiles in contentment.

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