Eastern Yharnam, Hunter's clinic
Victor took a deep breath in his final moment of physical and mental preparation for what he was about to do, eyes shifting even faster than usual as he struggled to find the perfect emotional state between frenzy and focus, working himself up in enough of a rage to stop himself from holding back, but staying enough in control of himself to remember that he had an objective, even in the midst of combat. This was not a simple skirmish in which the only goal was to take down everyone else; attacking the huntsmen could very well be a waste of energy as long as the Pthumerian was ringing his bell, so stopping that was going to be the highest priority. That guy had to die.
Exhaling his breath, Victor had to resist the impulse to quickstep forward, covering the few steps in a normal run to conserve his strength for attacks, and approached the right flank of the line of Yharnamites, the one furthest from the wall that was most likely to allow him to simply bypass as many enemies without fighting them as possible. His heartbeat quickened and he started sweating profusely as he felt his muscles swell, his veins feeling as though they were filled with ice and fire, alternatingly, rather than blood. He leveraged the giant blade of his transformed weapon on his shoulder by pulling down with both hands, swinging the sword with all of his strength at his target – the pitchfork-wielding huntsman that still bore the cut and bloodstain in his clothes from when Victor had last slashed him – diagonally from right to left and downward.
The huntsman, sneering fearlessly as he glared at the Hunter with his unnatural red eyes, moved to counterattack, but the way he gripped his pitchfork – as a farmer would, halfway up the handle – meant that Victor's holy blade had longer range. Before the Yharnamite's improvised weapon could find Victor's flesh, Ludwig's Holy Blade came down full-force onto his left clavicle with a sickening wet, crunching noise, causing him to forget all about taking offensive action. Victor pressed on, forcing the blade almost halfway into the unfortunate fellow's rib cage, actually cutting through the ribs on the way as well as rending the vital organs within. Just before it would have cut all the way to the sternum the blade seemed to get stuck on something, likely having lost too much momentum from cleaving through bones and muscle... but then Victor took another step forward, flicking the sword – still embedded in the man's chest – to the left, effectively flinging the Yharnamite off the blade and sending him stumbling into his fellows.
Victor actually had to take another second to compose himself at this, struggling to resist the wet spray of blood from the wound he had inflicted and stop himself from assaulting the injured opponent. With a barely audible whimper the Hunter turned away from the huntsmen, fixing his gaze – no longer shifting, but keenly focused – on the bell-ringing bastard in the corner.Die,
he thought, his heartbeat getting to be painfully hard and fast, his restraint falling away as he felt the bloodthirsty rage consume him now that the way to his prey was unobstructed. Die, die, die, die, die, DIE, DIE!
He rushed forward with the holy blade at his left hip, his body still bulging obscenely from his supernaturally rippling muscles-ding-
which, as the ringing of the bell grew closer and seemingly much louder than it logically should have been, felt... pretty strange? It felt as though every fiber in his body was vibrating softly, charged with an energy he did not understand. He ran a step ahead-ding-
and the vibration seemed to get stronger, faster, as the bell got almost deafeningly loud to Victor's ears, even as its actual volume remained unchanged. A hatchet was swung by one of the Yharnamites at Victor's back, but missed and went unnoticed by the Hunter. He itched all over, and as his foot came down in another stride-ding-
he suddenly got the distinct impression that something was moving under his skin. His mind turned inward, even as his eyes remained trained on the Pthumerian, and with a strange mix of fear and fascination he thought of all the horrid beasts he had encountered, of the invisible thing that had taken Raine, of the one that had crippled him... and felt this knowledge spread through his body like an electric current, both painful and pleasurable, a sense of strength and vulnerability. He kicked off against the ground with his front foot-DING-
when a toll of the bell hit him, causing his eyes to go wide as he felt everything inside of him clench
– muscles, tendons, bones, even his teeth – and then, all at once, shift to a hundred different forms than the one they were meant to have, changing so quickly that it would probably not even be perceivable to the naked eye. With a feeling that was a mix of torment and euphoria, his body seemingly spontaneously self-destructed, his skin cracking and splitting in countless wounds in a cascade in what seemed like an entirely excessive amount of blood.
His vision fading and his thoughts growing foggier by the second, Victor knew with grim certainly that this damage, whatever had caused it, was more than his regeneration could handle. Yet he did not even consider using his final blood vial; even now, as he was essentially flying through an explosion of his own blood, he felt his blazing fury carry him forward, a feral growl rising to his throat as the blurry visage of the Pthumerian swiftly came closer.
He had neither the ability nor the inclination to exercise finesse in this situation. As he landed right in front of the Pthumerian – trying desperately to back away, but being unable to do so from having cornered himself – Victor swung the holy blade, putting every last shred of stamina left in his body into that singular strike.
The sword cut through the bell-ringer's midsection with surprising ease, practically ripping off the entire top half of his body and sending it sprawling across the floor toward the center of the room, both the bell and the cane falling from his hands and clattering to the floor, as the Pthumerian's legs remained standing for another couple of seconds before they went limp, collapsing in the corner.
Looking over his shoulder, Victor watched indifferently as four of the huntsmen approached him, preparing to strike, while a fifth took aim with his rifle – the sixth being the one that had been in the Hunter's way, and who was still dealing with the damage he had suffered – and knew that there was nothing he could do to defend himself. His muscles would not move. His wounds were not healing. He had literally spent the last bit of strength he had left in him.
But then, as Victor kept staring vacantly, a red mist seemed to abruptly burst from all six Yharnamites at once and they all fell to their knees, clutching at their chests and faces while crying out in pain. His gaze shifting, Victor noticed that their eyes were no longer red. He smiled.
Then his vision faded to black, the sword fell from his hands, and Victor fell sideways to the ground.
The bestial huntsman struggled against the surprisingly forceful pressure clutching its throat, blocking its air pipe and forcing it to clench the muscles of his neck to prevent the nuisance on its back from forcing it backward, potentially breaking its neck. As it moved toward the wall, however, its red, dimly glowing eyes, of which the wounded right one had already regenerated, found Marcus, clearly moving to attack while the echo was distracted with a random sleeping – and now dead – body.
The creature grinned, confident despite its circumstances, as it held out its left hand in Marcus' direction, pointing the tip of its sword toward him as it kept backing up toward the wall, seemingly content to simply let the Hunter impale himself as he tried to attack it.
Its right hand discarded its meat cleaver and went to its throat, digging its claws deep into the arms that were choking it.
And then the bell stopped.
The cane in Marcus' hands abruptly vaporized, leaving him unarmed, as the Mad One behind him suddenly unraveled, collapsing onto itself, turning to dust until nothing remained.
Another second later, and a red mist suddenly burst forth from the beast's body... and suddenly its head snapped back with an audible crack, its neck breaking and its spine being severed by the sheer amount of force applied by the unknown Hunter. With a final spasm of its limbs it dropped its weapon before falling backward, landing with a loud crash on top of the man who had been strangling it.