The blade pierced deep into the spherical head, releasing all the enchantments that it had left.
Her hands bled and cracked from the violence of the impact, but Jirni never let go of the staff, using it to stay away from the mass of deadly spikes.
The Doppelganger sneered at her attempt rammed against a wall.
The impact made the spear penetrate deeper into the flesh, but it also sent Jirni slamming against the solid stone.
The violent blow gave her a concussion and shattered her spine.
As her consciousness faded, her hands lost their grip.
Orion stood up, chasing the creature as soon as his legs allowed him to, but when he reached the Doppelganger, it was too late.
The moment Jirni had let go of the spear, all that took the creature to impale her on their horns was to raise their head.
Seeing her blood dripping on the floor made Orion forget about how tired he was and how angry he still was at her.
Fury fought the still lingering effects of the poison while hate injected new strength in his limbs.
Now that he didn\'t have anyone to protect and that Jirni was away from him, Orion could activate the powers of his new sword, Grimlock.
A thick dark mist surrounded him, sucking the life of everyone nearby and injecting it into him.
At the same time, the edge of the blade heated up quickly, turning it red and then into a glowing white.
If not for the sealing arrays surrounding the city, Grimlock would have also released powerful jolts of electricity to stun the enemy whenever the blade was blocked or reached its mark.
Earth was sealed as well, keeping the blade from conjuring elemental shields to protect its master.
Yet Orion didn\'t care about defense.
All he could think about was the pool of blood below Jirni\'s body growing larger and getting rid of the creature that stood in his path.
A single horizontal slash severed both the wolf\'s hind legs, making both extremities sizzle.
By cauterizing the wounds, the heat of Grimlock\'s Searing Bite ability preserved the vitality of the enemy so that the black mist could better consume it.
The Doppelganger immediately shapeshifted so that the head moved onto their back and the legs rearranged themselves to face Orion. The horns grew longer than Grimlock, moving like snakes and attacking the human from every side.
At the same time, the silver fur of the wolf condensed into ten centimeters (4 inches) long quills coated with venom that darted at Orion to stop his charge.
Yet he didn\'t stop.
The wings of his Featherwalker armor flapped furiously, blocking most of the quills and deflecting the rest with the sheer force of the wind that their movement produced.
I bet that now you regret having killed that moron! With Beilin behind my back, I could have never done this! Orion said while the blue aura of his spell enveloped his body.
Full Guard allowed Orion to perceive the slight difference in growth speed between the countless horns and to cut them down with circular motions of his blade.
Not one of them reached his armor and the Doppelganger\'s head was now full of cuts from which the black mist seeped inside.
While the beast focused on retrieving the lost quills and growing new limbs to attack, Orion never stopped advancing.
Thanks to Searing Bite, his strength grew with every attack while that of his enemy dwindled.
After eating Beilin and using Invigoration, the Doppelganger had gone back to their peak condition, yet they had already lost half of that strength.
Orion performed a vertical slash that cut the wolf-like creature open and then plunged the sword deep into the wound, making the black mist eat at the Doppelganger from the inside and allowing it to spread throughout their body.
The creature felt their power fading.
Between the searing heat of the blade and the darkness ravaging them, the Doppelganger slowly reverted in its original, flaccid form.
The Doppelganger split their body asunder to escape Grimlock\'s cruel edge, but Orion impaled both halves to the walls with his wings and then nailed one of the halves with his sword as well, focusing Searing Bite\'s full power on it.
Without the quills and the fur protecting the tender flesh, Grimlock sucked its prey dry in a matter of seconds.
Orion took it out of the wall and lunged at the remaining half that tried to squirm through the metal feathers of his wing.
Please, help me.
I don\'t want to die. His blade froze when what remained of the Doppelganger shapeshifted into Jirni.
Her voice, her face, even the position of the wounds caused by the horns were a perfect replica of the original.
Even in their fury, the Doppelganger had the presence of spirit to collect a sample of the Archon\'s blood.
Her appearance had countless uses, like a disguise to escape or psychological warfare.
Orion\'s fury disappeared and he turned around to check on the real Jirni.
The pool of blood was still getting larger yet she lay limp.
The Doppelganger exploited that brief moment of respite to turn their fingers into claws and to boost them with as much elemental fusion as they could muster while aiming for the eye slits, the only opening in the Featherwalker armor.
Grimlock rose and fell, cutting all the elongated fingers at once with a single fluid movement.
Then, the blade moved in a spiral, cutting at the imposter\'s wrists first, then the forearms, and lastly at the elbows.
The Doppelganger screamed in pain as the black mist devoured the severed chunks of flesh and seeped inside the stumps.
You\'ve made a mistake, creature. Orion\'s voice brimmed with fury.
You may sound and look like my wife but you\'re not her.
Jirni would never beg nor is she afraid of death.
Yet if you keep wasting your time with me, she\'ll die nonetheless. The Doppelganger tried to crawl away but Orion severed their legs as well, turning them around to look the fake Jirni in the eyes.
If I let you go, sooner or later you\'ll be back to finish the job.
Also, you have no idea how long I\'ve dreamed of this! Orion sliced the impostor, unleashing Searing Bite\'s full power until nothing but a smear on the ground remained.
Orion felt guilty for being so cruel toward someone that looked identical to his wife, yet at the same time, it had allowed him to vent the pent-up anger and frustration that he had felt ever since Quylla\'s death.
Now fear and worry were the only feelings he had toward Jirni.
Orion used the healing spells he had left from his magic holding rings to stop the bleeding while he used a diagnostic spell to check the severity of her condition.
Jirni had lost a lot of blood, her life force was dwindling, and many of her organs had been punctured.
Her mouth gurgled with blood with every breath she took.
Please, don\'t die.
If anyone has the right to kill you, that\'s me. Orion\'s eyes veiled with tears as he consumed the vitality that he had stolen from the Doppelganger just to keep her alive.
Didn\'t you just do it Jirni attempted to chuckle, but it turned into a cough and then into a spasm.
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