Chapter Six: Part Two

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It was all Phenex could do to stay on his feet, dodging one blow after another. The large, russet-skinned Akuma, while occasionally grazing him with his gauntlet-clad fists, more often than not hit nothing but open air and the sand-covered arena floor. The latter always stirred up a massive cloud of dust, rendering Phenex immobile for a few seconds as he was seized with a coughing fit. With the number of times this had happened, he was beginning to think it was intentional.

It was during one of these times that his suspicions were proven to be true. Kizah landed a solid hit, planting his fist directly in Phenex's gut and knocking the wind right out of him. He hit the ground hard, jagged rocks digging into his side where he landed. A sharp pain lanced through his back when he exhaled, revealing that two of his ribs had broken. An intense burning sensation followed, starting above his navel as his regenerative abilities kicked in, healing the breakage within a matter of seconds.

Rolling onto his back, he did a kip-up and dodged to the right, Kizah's bronze-plated knuckles just missing him by a hair and throwing him off-balance like before.

Phenex took advantage of this and swung his left fist in a wide hook, slamming it into Kizah's jaw, singeing the flesh on impact with a last-minute ember burst across his knuckles.

Kizah staggered back a few steps with a grunt, one hand coming up to touch the blistering skin on the right side of his jaw. Phenex wasn't about to wait around for him to recover, not now that he had the upper hand. He lashed out with his right leg, fire trailing along his heel as he snapped his foot forward, connecting with Kizah's midsection.

The Akuma stumbled back several paces, eyes of grey and violet narrowing in anger. He continued moving backward in an obvious attempt to put some distance between Phenex and himself, but Phenex was having none of it. Teeth bared, he rushed him, leaping high into the air with his arm drawn back, crimson flames licking across his knuckles. Kizah's eyes widened in alarm, too late, as Phenex brought his fist down with a growl. The punch connected just beneath the left eye, knocking the Akuma off his feet.

Kizah immediately brought both hands up to his face, a guttural wail echoing off of the Colosseum walls as he writhed on the ground, blood trickling down his cheek from where the burn had already begun to blister. Shaking the hand he'd struck him with, Phenex ignored the unearthly noise floating up from the Akuma's mouth, and decided now was as good a time as any to take stock of his surroundings.

He cringed as his gaze drifted from the lower levels of the stands behind him, to the broken columns scattered on either side. Everywhere he and Kizah had been showed signs of their battle; from blackened scorch marks crisscrossing along the ground, to large impact craters that put the surface of the moon to shame. On top of everything else, most of the columns and stone archways—having already been in a state of ruin—had now been reduced to a fine powder.

The unit's not gonna be happy about this—and guess who they'll blame? he thought bitterly.

"You bastard." Kizah lumbered to his feet, Phenex instantly taking notice of the angry, swollen red patch of skin beneath his left eye. "I'll tear you limb from limb!"

So, he can get mad, after all.

Phenex dove to the side, rolling out of reach of Kizah's fists as they hammered the ground. The tremor caused several of the columns still standing to come crashing down, the sound of stone shifting and cracking as large pieces broke away resounding across the entire pit. He barely made it to his feet before Kizah was looming over him once again, the gauntlets coming down faster, one after the other, barely an inch away from him each time. He could feel the air move with every strike, his bangs fluttering against his forehead as he deked from side to side.

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