She was able to match Zeon blow for blow, blood for blood; what seemed like days worth of fighting had only been hours, although who could really tell now that they were in the pit. Ziccarra was gassed, she felt her energy depleting long before she forced Zeon into this hellish structure, it wasn't until her niece reminded her that she was human again that she realized she needed her glucose shot.
In the middle of the rickety stone slab, surrounded by a bed of magma, with Zeon at her front, and hell-hounds at her back; Ziccarra was reduced to one knee. Her body glistened from the sweat that the sheer heat forced from her body, deep breaths, she held her sternum gasping for fresh air in a vacuum that provided none. This was in addition to the damage she'd already taken.
For a moment she opened her mouth to concede defeat, she wanted to. But the warrior inside wouldn't allow it. As a mother, she hoped the rageless Matriarch could be reason with, maybe work out a deal that would spare her children if Ziccarra willingly offered her life. She hadn't given them much in terms of love and affection, she was no different and yet totally different from her own mother at the same time.
Maybe in her absence, they could settle down live the life they wanted, but like her doubt, those thoughts too subsided. Catalina, Selene, Maya, Leonel, and Alexa were teenagers; they pretty much grew up in this life. They'd always be somewhat affected by it. She had to remain alive for Tassi so that her youngest did not suffer the same fate as her first.
Unselfishly, Ziccarra rose returning Zeon's snicker with her telltale grin, a grin that was then broken by the distinct series of snarls and growls around them.
¿Y qué de Chance? Si mueres aquí no tiene a nadie. Si mueres aquí, entonces perdió a su familia por nada. Es por eso que no me vas a vencer Zeon. Has perdido tu empatía" (And what of Chance? If you die here she has no one. If you die here, then she lost her family for nothing. That is why you will not beat me Zeon. You have lost your empathy)
Though Zeon's saber was admittedly intimidating, all things considered, it was the least of Ziccarra's worries. With her energy depleting the Mazoi Princess had to turn the tide of this battle, both of them were on borrowed time; and to her knowledge, Zeon still had above 50 steps before her previous attack took effect.
They both knew each other as the enemy, but the more pressing enemy was the one that didn't take sides--the hellhounds. Though as her heightened senses activated, the series of snarls and growls between the hounds hit her on a different level. 'They're communicating' she thought with her attention momentarily on them. As her eyes panned back toward her niece, Zeon split into two, alerting Ziccarra to the presence of the dense poisonous gasses emanating off the lava bed. 'Great. Just great.' She thought, activating another one of her Cardinal skills, the 'Mind Set' technique which would grant her astute concentration and focus.
Sliding her foot across the slab just a bit, she gauged the hound's anticipation. The moment she did they snarled towards it just a bit before retreating back to the perimeter. 'They are ready'. Her eyes then dart to Zeon, surely she knew the goal was to rid themselves of the Hellhounds, which was good.
The distinct difference between the Red and White Cardinals came down to their respective sensei. Though Zeon commanded call Cardinals now, Ziccarra originally championed the Red Cardinals.
The White Cardinals were battled hardened warriors out of Puglia, and followed Zeon's teachings to the T. The Red Cardinals were disciplined warriors from Malaga but mostly Tibet and at one time were essentially an extension of Ziccarra herself. The difference between them was that The Red Cardinals were trained in survival, The White Cardinals... battle.
Given this same situation, the White Cardinal could win the battle, but lose the pit. The Red Cardinal would win the battle AND the Pit. Everything from here on out had to be done deliberately--done for survival.
The rock slab hit a magma pocket causing the already unstable slab to shift back and forth. That's all it took for these hellhounds to take the bait. Executing a round-off and two whips, Ziccarra transitioned into a flic before double tucking over the two charging hounds. Landing on the far side of the slab mere inches from the edge.
"Zeon, se están comunicando. Estar vigilant" (Zeon they are communicating be vigilant).
More snarls and growls, this saw the two hellhounds take different vantage points in their proposed approach. 'The Numbers Games' She thought to keep her pacific blue eyes trained on the approaching beast.
Another snarl, this one faint as if the beast sought to conceal its motives. Like a snake it moved outward, appearing as if it's true target was Ziccarra; but in actuality.
"Zeon cuidado!" She screamed alerting her niece that the beast was, in fact, looking to take advantage of her blindside. The other beast charged Z head on, instead of fully leaping over the beast, she jumped in a rolling manner to glide just slightly over the beast spine; acting quickly enough she kicked back sending the hound howling into the molten lava.
At the present moment, Ziccarra didn't HAVE to do anything. She could very well sit back and watch as Zeon used her steps to fight off the two beasts. After all, the longer this fight carried on the more tired she got.
"Hnn..." Wincing in pain, she dropped to a knee, the slide down the hill punctured her side, she hadn't felt it with all the adrenaline running through her system but now her ailment was taking effect. Removing her Goddess bangles from her forearm she held them both above the magma bed allowing the heat to conduct into the metal bangles.
Releasing a feral roar Ziccarra leaped into the air bringing the burning bangles down with all her might into the spine of the unsuspecting beast. Its screams were 10x louder than hers. Small ember flares sparked on it's back before erupting into full-blown flames.
Unable to stop panicking the beast leap off the slab back onto the slope of the pit. Rolling in an effort to put the fire out. It did, but it would not survive its wounds.
Again she fell to one knee her vision fleeting in and out. Once Zeon finished her fight with the hound it'd be them to again. But now...she knew what to do.