Chapter 38: Grand entry
Lou had continued to run down the strip of buildings while shooting at the mutant tiger behind her. So far she had been successful in dodging any attacks the tiger would do by taking cover behind roof entrances and things like AC units.
The mutant had used its hyper-speed a few times, but Lou was much more prepared for it and was able to avoid it completely.
One thing she had also noticed was that explosions were happening in the distance which she knew weren't Kim's.
'Who the hell would be setting off explosions now?' Lou thought it was crazy as you would only attract a horde to you or even more mutants.
'No matter, if I can get this tiger to be distracted I might be able to finish it off for good.' Lou considered using some human bait as it would allow for her to aim for the core which she was pretty confident in hitting.
'It is still rather big, but the core would have to be right at its chest.' Lou had shot through most of the tiger's body, but the part she hit the least was its chest.
Getting close to a building that was much taller than the rest she needed to find a way to get around it or kill the tiger before then.
'I don't see me being able to kill it and it is going to be able to use its hyper-speed soon.' Lou did not like the timing so her best option was to find a way to redirect the tiger's attention or be able to avoid the attack.
'There isn't much on the roof, so this is going to hurt.' Lou couldn't see anything she could use to block the tiger's attack and the wall was getting closer.
'I can try to dodge, but without something between me and the tiger, I am going to get hit either way.' Lou didn't know if she could take another attack and if she was bitten by the tiger it would be the end of her.
'All or nothing.' Lou decided to push her essence to her limits fueling her berettas with searing hot bullets. The handles became hot, burning her hands in the process.
Lou's hand shook from the pain as she tried to keep a tight grip on her berettas. Running onto the last building Lou spun on her feet to face the tiger.
The tiger stopped running and slowly walked towards her with its mouth oozing with slime.
"I won't go down that easily." Lou aimed her berettas and the bandages on her hand had turned black due to the pistols burning them.
The tiger was just about to use its hyperspeed, but Lou wanted to make sure she hit it before it approached. Firing a few bullets due to their distance the tiger was unable to dodge them.
Lou's bullets burst into flames and a small fire trail was left behind them in the air. Hitting the shoulders of the tiger, the bullets went straight through its body leaving a hole where you can see out the other end. Flames quickly erupted around the body as the heat alone was enough to cause fires.
The tiger quickly shrunk to snuff out any of the flames that were burning its insides. The tiger was now at least 3 metres tall which was a lot smaller compared to when it was 6 to 8 metres.
The tiger, not having much time as flames were on its back, used its hyperspeed which had extinguished the flames due to moving so fast. Appearing in front of Lou the tiger wanted her to be unable to move so it used both its paws to smash Lou into the wall.
Lou was pushed back at a great speed alongside the tiger and the wall behind them caved in. Entering a hardware store Lou was able to push away from the tiger and landed in the middle of the store.
However, Lou almost collapsed as the blow from hitting the wall almost knocked her unconscious. Blood flowed from her head, over her face and her hands were almost too damaged to hold her berettas.
Quickly unloading them and putting in normal fire bullets Lou was able to hold them, but because her hands had turned numb it was awkward to hold.
The tiger had landed in front of her ready to attack again until she heard a voice come from behind it.
Lou was shocked for a moment as it sounded exactly like Reia and thought she was hallucinating.
"Do I hear who I think it is?" Lou had to be sure so she responded to confirm she wasn't hearing things.
"Yes! Lou, it's me Reia."
"Haha, what a way to bump into each other, now time to take down this big motherfucker." Lou now knowing she found Reia needed to finish this fight as it would be rather embarrassing if she was unable to kill it.
"Wait! Dodge! There are rebels behind you!" Reia called out to warn Lou as she had accidentally arrived when Reia was fighting off some rebels.
Dodging out of the way Lou rolled onto the floor into a wall. Not moving from where she ended up, Lou sat up against it to get a small breather.
The rain of bullets then hit the tiger who was about to attack Lou again but got interrupted by the rebels.
The tiger got enraged by the soldiers and shifted its attention to them as they did quite a lot of damage.
Jumping forward it smashed through the front of the store and the soldiers realised they fucked up, so they began to run away for their lives.
"Louuuu are you okay!?" Kim appeared from the hole calling out Lou's name.
"Reia!" Kim who was looking for Lou was even more shocked to see Reia as it was not something she expected.
"Have you seen Lou?" Kim jumped down from the hole and hugged Reia.
"Always Lou in that head of yours, yes she is right over there." Reia pointed to the front of the store where Lou sat up against the wall.
"Phew, she has been fighting that tiger for almost an hour now and she refuses to let me help." Kim let go of Reia and quickly ran to Lou while explaining what was happening.
"How typical." Akira spoke up, spooking Kim who did not realise he was there.
"Akira?" Kim quickly turned and saw Akira laying on the floor watching the fight outside.
"Yes it's me, long time no see Kim." Akira stayed focused on the tiger that had come barging in and was going to use his corruption if the tiger approached the store.
"Heh, even in an apocalypse you still can't be separated from your future husband, Reia~." Lou got up from the ground with the help of Kim.
"Oh for fuck sake." 𝙛𝒓𝓮𝓮𝒘𝓮𝙗𝒏𝙤𝓿𝓮𝒍.𝓬𝙤𝙢
"Tsk, no wonder you weren't at gate 2, too busy playing." Lou had a smirk as despite the situation they were in she had to take a few jabs at Reia.
"Go back and fight that tiger, you psycho." Reia's face was filled with regret and Lou could not help but chuckle a little.
Akira on the other hand was trying his best to ignore what Lou was saying, but he couldn't help but blush.
"Oh, I will, make sure you don't interrupt me." Lou stretched out her body and prepared herself for another round with the tiger.
"Wait Lou, but you need to rest." Kim was extremely worried as she had been non-stop fighting with the tiger and her physical state wasn't the best.
"I don't need rest, as long as I have essence I can move, plus I know where the core is so it won't take me too long." Lou brushed off Kim and went up to the now collapsed storefront.
*sigh* "Don't die you bitch." Reia was not surprised by Lou and only hoped she would come out alive.
"Of course not, who do you think I am." Although Lou was in a rather rough condition she wasn't going to drag the fight on any longer.
Hearing them all sign in resignation Lou took that as the signal to go.
The tiger had rushed into the carpark destroying many of the cars as well as killing the soldiers it was after. The rebels it had killed were now turning into mutants, but as Lou ran up to the tiger she shot them dead before they could even rise.
"Just you and me."
Lou jumped on one of the cars and shot a barrage of bullets at the tiger's head trying to disable its vision completely. The tiger went to swipe at the car Lou was on, but she jumped off it and used the opening the tiger created for itself to fire more bullets into its body. Landing on the side of the tiger, she slid underneath the tiger, forcing it to shrink in size even more.
'I need to finish this, my essence is getting dangerously low.' Lou was feeling her essence was running dry and would need to kill the tiger now.
The tiger swung its body around trying to get rid of the flames that were slowly enveloping its body.
Managing to get rid of the flames on its body it tried dragging its face on the ground to remove the fire from its eyes. However, the damage was already done and the tiger was now completely blind.
The tiger wanted to use its hyper-speed, but since it was unable to see it had made it impossible for it to know where it would end up.
"Stand still!" The tiger's size was now only 2 metres tall making it much easier to deal with as it was now a slightly oversized cat.
Using her feet, she kicked the tiger in the face forcing it to the ground. The tiger swung its arms and legs around, but Lou shot them off, disabling it. It was able to shrink its size even more, but now it was reaching a point where it would be a normal-sized mutant.
Lou approached the tiger and stomped on its head and fired her heel berettas until its head was completely gone. Desperately trying to get its limbs back, the tiger got smaller and smaller.
Lou at this point was bullying the tiger and kicked it across the ground while putting more holes in it purposefully avoiding the core.
"Now squirm for your life~." Lou was enjoying seeing the desperate attempt of the tiger trying to live and kill Lou.
Now almost being reduced to the size of a large dog, Lou decided to finally finish the fight.
"Hope you had fun~." Stomping down one last time Lou crushed the core with her boot and had ended the fight. To her surprise, the core was extremely small, about the size of a tennis ball.
'Do they have their own energy reserves?' Lou thought back to the nest and wondered if that was a place for the mutants to recharge.
'That could explain why my essence reacted to it since these cores might be made out of crystallized essence.' It was a shot in the dark, but the ice essence panther she fought also supported this theory as the core might be the conduit for it to use essence.
'I should head back, if there were rebels here that might mean we are right by their base.' Lou looked around and noticed the mall.
'Yep, that must be it.' She knew it was the base as she remembered the women from the office building talking about a mall.
Quickly running back to the hardware store, Kim had instantly run-up to her in a hug.
"Oh thank hell you are okay!" Kim did trust Lou, but couldn't help being stressed out by the whole situation especially since Lou was in terrible condition.
"Haha." *cough, cough* The adrenaline Lou was running on was disappearing and she could not help falling into Kim.
"Tsk I knew you would be injured." Kim expected this to happen as Lou had been thrown through a wall and was surprised she didn't break any bones.
"I'm fine, but I'm definitely going to need to lay down." Lou used Kim as support while she walked over to the counter where Reia and Akira were.
"Please tell me you have a place where I can lay down?" Lou hoped Reia had established a base of some sort.
"That's the first thing you have to say?" Reia, still annoyed by her comments about Akira, wanted to tease Lou back.
"Yep now take me there." Lou despite her condition would not let Reia get the advantage over her.
*Sigh* "Unfortunately we do, so let's get moving before the rebels get here." Reia wanted to leave as soon as possible before they were killed.
"Don't forget the horde." Akira had gotten up from the ground and the sound of the approaching horde was getting louder.
"We will go up the hole, now let's get out of here." Reia knew Lou was in no condition to fight so the quicker they left the better and so they began to look for things to build a makeshift ladder to the hole.