Dimas had his hands full with the Blackburns on the third floor, but Asad seemed to be having the hardest time, forced to deal with Ismael, Nere, and Horatio all at once--probably the three strongest opponents after Melchor.
Hector broke into a full sprint as he cooked up the next strategy. Asad’s corner of the foyer blustered with flames and strings of targeted explosions, and Asad had to endure many of them in favor of dodging spatial distortions from Nere. It was clear enough that Asad needed some room to breathe. Perhaps another iron platform--
‘Shield above your head!’ Garovel yelled.
Hector brought the shield to bear in time for a swarm of mercurial spikes to break upon it, impacting with enough force to drop him on his ass. A spike skewered his left greave along with the leg therein. When the spikes subsided, he yanked the mercury out and clambered onto his right leg in order to limp onward while the other healed.
Before Hector could assist Asad, however, green light filled the chamber, and a veil of smoke washed past Horatio Blackburn, replacing the man’s body with a melting husk. Huge, snaking wisps of steam hissed off of Horatio’s vanishing clothes and boiling flesh. Even the man’s pan-forma-level regeneration was not enough to abate the Seadevil’s acid. Already, his limbs had been eaten through to the bone, dangling off of his torso like some kind of grotesque ornament and bringing him to his knees.
And Hector was abruptly glad that Lord Xuan was on their side.
The battle was clearly shifting in their favor now. With one less opponent to worry about, Asad was already getting in more shots of his own, pelting both Ismael and Nere with bursts of molten quartz and forcing them to give ground. His tattoos glowed an almost constant gold as he weathered Ismael’s violet flames in order to keep pressing his assault. Salvador, in the meantime, had already cleaned up the three opponents on his end and went crashing up to the third floor to assist Dimas.
‘Hold on,’ said Garovel. ‘Don’t jump back into the fight just yet.’
Hector stopped, uncertain. ‘Why not?’ From his position by the second floor’s staircases, he had a mostly clear view of everyone.
‘Let’s wait and see how things unfold. This battle might already be over. Be ready to jump in if and when you’re needed, but not before.’