\'The moment Orion gets the Marquis to safety I\'m going to get rid of this dead weight.\' Jirni thought while bleeding from several wounds.
The Scorpicore\'s acid from the Doppelganger\'s claws had melted her armor in multiple points, allowing the snake-headed tendrils that came out of the creature\'s wrists to bite her and inject their venom.
Jirni had no light fusion to remove the toxin nor darkness fusion to cut off her pain receptors.
All she could do was grit her teeth and hope that her acquired resistance to the most deadly venoms was enough.
Without magic and against an enemy with no vitals or nerve clusters that she could attack, Jirni could only stall for time by relying on the basics.
As for Orion, now he was faring much better.
The Mage Knight spells didn\'t affect the Marquis while they kept the Doppelganger at bay, nullifying their attacks before they could even come close to their target.
It had taken Orion a bit of trial and error, but now that he understood the nature of his enemy, victory was just a matter of time.
Stay close to me if you don\'t want to die! He said while weaving his Tier Five personal spell, Death Rod.
Orion was no true mage, but a Mage Knight\'s spells were quick to cast due to their limited area of effect and could be executed with only one hand.
The temperature in an area of ten meters (33 feet) around Orion plummeted, turning the humidity in the air into snow and covering the ground with ice.
Only the eye of the spell, where he and Beilin stood was safe.
Then, his body released pulses of black energy that aimed at the Doppelganger without fail.
Darkness was slow, but the ice crystals covering the creature acted like a magnet, drawing the black bullets to them.
The Doppelganger was faster than the black bolts and managed to dodge them despite their numbers, yet the bolts never stopped chasing the creature.
As the cold kept slowing the Doppelganger down and Death Rod releasing more darkness, the creature had the impression of moving to the deep end of a river while chased by a school of piranhas.
The Marquis knew that the Doppelganger was about to die, yet he had no reason to rejoice.
\'No matter which one wins, I die either way.
If I manage to reach the secret passage in my private quarters, I can still escape capture.
I only need to make sure that these two morons are too busy killing each other to chase me.\' Beilin waited for the Doppelganger to fall onto their knee to make his move.
Then, he took a dagger out of his belt and stabbed Orion in the gap under the armpit of his armor.
The enchantment of the blade was enough to pierce through the thin layer of Adamant and the poison the dagger was coated with did the rest.
Full Guard had alerted Orion of the movement, but he was too focused on the Doppelganger to care and the Marquis was too close to miss.
The shock from the betrayal dispelled Death Rod while the poison coursing through Orion\'s veins drained what was left of his strength.
I\'m just evening the field.
Your opponent is tired and can\'t use magic.
Now, neither can you. Beilin said with laughter while kicking Orion in the back and sending him onto his knees as well.
Beilin turned around, running toward a tent that hid one of the servant\'s passages that would lead him to the kitchen, and from there he could easily reach his private quarters.
Much to his surprise, the Doppelganger didn\'t waste time finishing Orion and gave priority to their mission instead.
What turned surprise into shock was the fact that the Commander of the Knight\'s Guard didn\'t even try stopping the beast.
\'If you want to die, be my guest, you bastard.\' Orion thought.
\'My priority now is to get rid of the poison and help Jirni.
As long as the Countess is alive, nothing is lost.\'
Orion activated the detoxify spell stored inside one of his magic holding rings while he took care of healing his wounds enough to make the pain bearable but not so much that the lack of stamina would hinder his focus.
Marquis Beilin screamed like a little boy as the Doppelganger swallowed him whole.
Neither the beast nor the Commander felt any pity for the traitor that now invoked the help of his protector.
Jirni turned around just enough to notice that everything was lost.
With Orion down and alone against two of those creatures, she had no chance.
The situation was hopeless but something could still be saved.
Oh, well. She said while taking out a dagger of her own and stabbing the Countess in the neck.
The noblewoman looked at Jirni with a gaze even more shocked than Orion\'s while she fell limp on the ground and her eyes turned dull.
You said it earlier that if I gave you that woman you would spare my life. Jirni dropped her polearm to the ground, looking at the Doppelganger straight in the eyes.
Since I did the job for you, I have a request.
Please, spare my husband as well.
Why did you do that What about the mission Orion asked.
There will always be another mission, but there\'s only one you. She said with a sad smile that reminded the creatures of their mother.
That offer is no longer standing. The snake-like Doppelganger said.
You wounded me too much and I\'ve got no hope to escape from the army in this condition.
I need someone to feed upon to regain my strength.
Then eat me and the Countess\' corpse, but leave him alone. Jirni replied.
Your deal is acceptable. The creature lifted the lifeless noble, bringing the body to their mouth.
Alas, the blood was still dripping from the wound and the moment it fell on the tongue, the Doppelganger could feel it burn down along their throat.
You poisoned her in order to poison me! The creature roared in outrage, lunging their head with the mouth open to swallow the Constable whole.
It\'s not my fault if you make it all too easy for me. Jirni jumped to the side and threw several flasks inside the maw.
The gnashing of teeth was followed by the sound of broken glass.
Some of the vials contained nerve paralyzers, others contained exotic venoms, and a couple contained top-grade healing potions.
By enhancing the Doppelganger\'s metabolism, the potions also made the absorption speed of the toxins so quick that the creature died before they could use their breathing technique.
The last remaining Doppelganger screamed in fury at the human\'s trickery and charged at Jirni.
The centaur-like upper humanoid body that emerged from the silver wolf\'s neck disappeared, replaced by a spherical head with countless horns branching into every direction
Eyes popped on the shoulders and sides of the wolf-like lower body, allowing the Doppelganger to look in every direction while keeping the horns pointed at Jirni.
She recalled her spear back into her hands with but a thought, never averting her gaze from the charging creature.
\'Running would just expose my back.
That thing is just too fast..\' Jirni had the spear grow to its maximum length while lunging at the Doppelganger\'s head.
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