Leonel's breathing was erratic. For a long time, he felt a shortness of breath that didn't match with the abundance of air around him, nor his extraordinary physique. He could run a mile with a sub 5 minute time, yet this single exchange left him in shambles.
Of course, he knew it wasn't because he was that exhausted, but rather because of his emotional state. Even if this was a 'game', it was too real. No matter how much he willed it, the dead bodies around him weren't disappearing.
In fact, Leonel knew the blood on his hands was actually his own. He had cut his palm on the sword he picked up from the ground the wrong way. But it still made him feel dirty.
Leonel knew he had to pull himself together. Who knew how far away the group they split from had traveled. They had gone too far for Leonel to hear their footsteps anymore, but the screams of these Spaniards had obviously been much louder than footsteps.
Steeling himself, Leonel could only push his dark thoughts to the back of his mind. Maybe he was lucky that he was dealing with such a moral dilemma in such a situation, at least he didn't have the luxury to sit and sulk.
After making up his mind, he jogged over to the torch he had kicked away during the fight and brought it over.
Rummaging through the bodies, Leonel found three flat circular shaped containers of water. Without hesitation, he drained two completely before strapping the third to his waist.
The wound on his hand and chest were pretty bad, but none of them seemed to carry bandages with them. Luckily, what they did have were flasks of alcohol. Leonel didn't hesitate to grit his teeth and pour it over his wounds.
Afterward, he left his chest alone. But, for his hand, he snatched the leather guards the Spaniards used for himself. He also slipped on a chest plate and a helm. Of course, he chose the undamaged ones.
He took both muskets from the two Spaniards who had broken their wrists. He had no idea how to reload them. But, he did know how to aim and shoot. Safeties shouldn't have been invented in this era, he didn't think.
Either way, he would get two shots out of them before discarding them.
Finally, he took the two best quality swords with him, changing his silver rod back into a bike. Blades of this era likely lost their edge and chipped really easily. Having more than one, especially for attacking armored warriors, was definitely the smartest move.
Leonel took a seat on his silver framed bike, closing his eyes and steadying himself. Soon, the sound of rushing footsteps reached him once more. However, it seemed the reason they had taken so long to get this close was because they were lost.
After making a mental note to himself to memorize every path he crossed, Leonel's mind flashed with a plan. Not waiting another moment, he got to work. Not even a minute later, he pedaled his bike hard, reaching a dead end quickly.
At that moment, the next group of three appeared. They too had brought a torch with them, noticing the darkened tunnel.
'What the hell is on the floor? Who pissed themselves?'
'Those barbarian bastards!'
It seemed the Spaniards had finally noticed the corpses of their companions.
One of the Spaniards pointed toward Leonel who was sitting on his bike in the distance. But the reason he had noticed Leonel in the dark at all was precisely because Leonel was holding the same torch he had kicked away in the previous battle.
Unfortunately, by the time they realized what was happening, it was already too late.
A line of fire raced across the stone floors, swallowing the line of alcohol Leonel had drawn and reaching the three Spaniards and the three corpses in a flash.
There was no time to react. A harsh explosion sounded, burying the screams.
Using the flames as a light, Leonel brought a musket forward to aim, his hands trembling. However, he knew he had no choice but to shoot. There was no better opportunity to test the range and accuracy of these weapons. The flames had engulfed all three of them, but it likely wouldn't kill them in a short time.
Steadying his sights as best he could, Leonel fired.
The recoil wasn't as bad as he predicted. In fact, he had overcompensated for it far too much. Still, his aim was terrible. There was little he could do about his trembling arms.
Leonel could actually see the round bullet fly through the air. It was moving at speeds far beyond the limits of humans, but he could inexplicably track it. He didn't even need for it to land to know he had missed.
But that was when the unexpected happened. In their agitated pain, one of the Spaniards fell right into the bullet's path, allowing it to travel directly through his throat.
Even as he crumpled to the ground, Leonel bit his lips so hard he drew blood.
'Come on, Leonel. You're better than this. Maybe this is why that Gene Assessment slotted you in to spend the rest of your life throwing balls. That sort of safe profession is just right for someone as pathetic as you.'
Even as Leonel was berating himself, he still raised his second musket.
This time he learned his lesson. His brain did calculations he wasn't even consciously aware of.
When aiming, you had to not only account for where your target was, but also where said target would be.
With his second shot, the bullet stayed true, flying right through the eye of a second flame covered Spaniard.
Throwing the rifles aside, Leonel gripped the handle of one of his swords. He pedaled down the path lit with flames, not worried that his tires would melt. His bike was far more resilient than that.
Like a horsemen holding a lance from his steed, he sped toward the final Spaniard with a speed nearing 25 mph.
However, even as he did so, he knew he wasn't ready to experience that feeling again. He couldn't stand the disgust he felt as a life dissipated under his own hand.
So, in an act of madness, he threw his sword forward with all his strength.
It perfectly arched in the air, spinning several times before its sharp edge entered the mouth of the screaming soldier. Like that, the hall fell into silence once more. Except this time, Leonel didn't have the luxury of darkness. He could only dully skid his bike to a stop, looking toward the pile of six corpses blankly.
Leonel couldn't help but replay everything that had happened in his mind. The moment he remembered the fact guns of this era needed to be loaded with gun powder during every reload, the rest was simple. Everything from the alcohol flask to his use of the torch was perfectly calculated.
But once again, his actions had taken away more lives. It was fine to plan something like this out in your mind, but actually seeing the results painted a picture of something other than success for Leonel.
His throw in the end was something that really surprised him. He had subconsciously felt that he could count the number of turns his sword would take in the air and exactly where it would land before it even left his hand.
A part of this probably had to do with his years of playing quarterback, but the much larger reason was definitely as a result of his new awakened abilities. He now knew he had great talent for throwing weapons.
If he recalled correctly, the Mayans were well known for their throwing spears. If he could find their weaponry, it would be of great help to him.
Leonel knew he had to slowly adapt to reaping the lives of others. If he didn't get over his apprehension and fear, he was doomed to die one day. The world outside was no longer the world he had come to know, and the Ascension Empire wouldn't protect him.
After yet another deep breath, Leonel took his musket straps off, tossing them to the side. They were no longer useful since he had no idea how to reload them. He would rather not have gun powder blow his arm off.
Withstanding the scorching heat, he pulled his sword from the Spaniard's throat. Then, he pushed his bike backward to gain some distance before building up momentum to leap over the six bodies.
Only taking a single glance backward, Leonel didn't look again, pedaling down a new corridor to blow out a new line of flaming torches.
The cycle continued. Leonel never attacked a group of more than three, always waiting for them to split down different corridors before he made his move.
Eventually, he found a group of Spaniards who carried small hand axes with them which inevitably replaced his throwing swords. Though he could be accurate with either, the hand axes were more convenient. They were lighter and were better weighted, easing the pressure on Leonel's throwing arm.
Aside from this, there also came a point where Leonel carried no less than five or six rifles on his back. His look would have been quite comical had it not been for his pale face. He had hoped that the longer he spent in this Sub-Dimensional Zone, the more accustomed he would become. But the reality was that his guilt only grew.
Finally, on the third day, carrying bloodshot eyes, Leonel descended a flight of stairs far too narrow for his broad shoulders and found the weaponry he was looking for. Unfortunately, it was flooded with Spaniards. Leonel counted at least 12. To make matters worse, there was no way he could use his normal darkness tactic here.
However, there was good news. The narrow stairway he was on was purposely made this way to act as a hidden path. It seemed the Spaniards had yet to notice that the meter tall stone that covered its exit was a false wall.
From here, Leonel was able to peek through the gaps to get a read on the numbers he was facing.
After a moment, he gingerly turned, careful not to make any noise as he made his way back up. Though his sneakers were still silent, he had too many things on him now. It was lucky that the Spaniards were laughing it up and having a great time, likely comparing how many 'barbarians' they had killed, or someone would have already noticed the odd scraping sounds.
Leonel reached the top of the stairs, re-entering the floor he believed he had cleared. There was nothing but darkness and the stench of blood in this place.
Taking out a water jug, he emptied it before tossing it aside. Then, he carefully placed the stone that hid the top of the stairs back into place. He wanted to rest after not sleeping for an entire three days, but doing so in that narrow corridor was foolish. If anyone found it, he was finished.
So, Leonel back away, rounding a few corners to sit in the dark corner of a dead end. His nerves were still tight, but at some point, he grew too tired to avoid sleep any longer. Luckily, he managed to enter the meditative sleep state his father taught him before his consciousness slipped away.
The way he looked now, even if a Spaniard somehow managed to stumble upon him, they'd likely believe he was another of their fallen comrades.
Blood coated Leonel's face and armor, numerous burn marks, bruises and cuts running along what small part of his skin were exposed. His sweat pants were in tatters, suffering several cuts through to his thighs and calves due to his lack of experience and recklessness…
Leonel had no idea that this Sub-Dimensional Zone wasn't meant to be cleared alone. There was a reason four portals had appeared...
He could only cling onto his last bit of sanity as he slept in the darkness.