“I’ll be the practice dummy for this one,” Kyoi revealed, joining us.
“That’s surprising,” I said, glancing over at her in surprise.
“I’m the only one who will be able to handle the next part of your lessons without suffering any negative effects. Simple as that,” Kyoi explained with a smile.
“This is kind of scary,” I remarked, watching the two converse.
“You’re worried over nothing, Tomo,” she assured me.
Kisai, without a word, stabbed his blade into Kyoi’s shoulder. I noticed a surge in magical activity near the weapon tip. The man then yanked his weapon out. I stared at her wound, expecting it to close up immediately. However, nothing occurred and the woman suddenly collapsed to her knees.
“What did you do?” I observed her wound still not close up.
“Just inserted an anti-clotting agent into her magic flow so Feng can’t heal,” Kisai stated as if I knew the answer already.
“What the hell?” I exclaimed, finally noticing her wound vanish.
“Oh yeah, probably should explain how to actually do it,” he realized, pointing at his weapon.
“I get the idea of it, but you just said earlier that understanding someone’s magic flow wasn’t important,” I reminded the hero.
“You don’t have to do it the way I do it. It all goes back to what you practiced earlier. Find that release point and strike there. You’ve seen Jen’s status arrows. Just channel that into your weapon and insert it into their body somehow. There’s another way too,” Kisai explained.
Kyoi snapped her finger and a stream of flames shot toward Kisai. He extended his left palm outward, reflecting her attack. She absorbed the damage, not bothering to dodge. The number two ranked hero collapsed to the ground, coughing out blood. Lines of red appeared across her arm as her skin cracked.
“Magic binding. Can be bad for your enemies but a boost for your allies,” Kisai said.
Kyoi recovered two minutes later, wiping off the blood on her arm. Really weird to see her be on the receiving end of damage instead of dishing it out. It reaffirmed why he was ranked one spot below the woman.
“Tess went through the basic biology lessons with you, right?” Kisai checked the time on his watch.
“Pretty much. That was hell to go through during winter break,” I replied, shuddering at the hours of lessons I endured.
“Think of binding like receptors. Might not be the most accurate but it gives you an idea of what’s happening. Your negative effect magic binds to theirs, infecting them. Sorta like a virus in a sense. Find a way to send it back at them, as long as it hits them. I’ll teach you how to trigger it so it’ll get absorbed back into their magic flow,” Kisai said.
“Makes sense. That means it’s possible to stop their magic by plugging those receptors, right?” I recalled Tess’ lessons.
“Yep, that’s a bit more complicated since you’ll have to know exactly the structure of an opponent’s magic. Shouldn’t be a problem with that grimoire of yours,” Kisai confirmed.
“As for the positive effects, you could stimulate someone’s healing factor with a clotting agent as a counterexample. Think of it like combining different magic effects. You’ve done it at the basic level before, Tomo,” Kyoi added.
The two expert magic users elaborated on what else was possible. With the correct configuration, I could plant a delayed virus inside an opponent, triggering it when needed. This could prevent them from charging up magical energy or halt their magic flow temporarily. There was also the possibility of changing their magic to match mine, allowing me to siphon magic from them with ease. They continued providing scenarios for the next ten minutes. I couldn’t keep up, grateful that all of it would be included in the end of day report.
“That’s a lot to take in. Give me a moment,” I said after both of them concluded.
“Understandable. I’ll make notes while you rest,” Kyoi responded, walking over to the sidelines and grabbing a clipboard.
“Don’t think too much about it, Tomo. It’s cool to know how it works, but sometimes you just gotta do it. I prefer to know why things work, but that’s not always an option in the heat of battle,” Kisai said, refilling his water bottle.
I nodded and consumed more of the restoration drink. I knew the heroes’ powers weren’t just as basic as reading a instruction manual. These training camp sessions showed how complex it could get. Kisai made it look easy, but I knew from archived videos he underwent a lot of training to reach his current status.
“Final lesson for the day. Stealing, the greatest way to replenish your magic,” Kisai declared, glancing at Kyoi’s clipboard.
“The easiest thing you’ll be doing the entire day,” Kyoi said.
“Says the most powerful magic user here,” I retorted, readying myself for the final part of my training sessions with Kisai.
“Let’s do an eye training exercise before I go over siphoning and intentional spiking,” Kisai directed, creating fine particles of magic into the air.
He adjusted the speed and travel path of his magic particles, asking me to focus on certain patches. Kisai also changed the depth, moving them closer and farther away from me every twenty seconds. This felt too much like an eye exam. However, I understood the man’s intentions, or rather probably Tess’ orders. He wasn’t the type of person to have me undergo such tests.
“Higher magic level users such as Feng mask their magic and even alter how it comes out. Tess wants you to grasp how the magic travels at the basic level. From there, your visualization will improve and allow you to eventually grasp even small changes. Let’s keep doing this for another five minutes,” Kisai explained.
Kyoi mixed in her magic, increasing the difficulty. Although I couldn’t grasp her pattern, it provided a contrast between their magic. By the end, I grasped my head in pain. How did these two master it so fast? They weren’t normal, that’s for sure.
“That’s enough for now. Let’s talk about spiking first. You ever hear about it before?” Kisai snapped his fingers and cleared all the magic in the air.
“Intentionally elevating magic levels?” I guessed based on his phrasing.
“Pretty much overloading someone’s magic so they lose control. Exactly like what we did earlier by increasing a user’s magic. Except this time you’re doing it with your own magic instead of theirs. Gives you a lot of options,” Kisai replied.
He allowed me to practice, causing his magical blade to disintegrate. Kyoi conjured her flame vortex for me, not trapping me inside this time. I tried it on her magic, causing her vortex to collapse, shooting flames in random directions.
“A follow-up you can do is to hijack your opponent’s magic, and since you already strengthened it, use that chance to f**k them up,” Kisai advised.
“Why did we never go over these things earlier?” I took a short break.
“Tess said you weren’t ready yet. I mean, I thought you were fine, but the Gatekeeper has a good sense for those things,” he replied, shaking his head.
“Actually, it makes sense. I don’t think I would have been ready to handle any of this a few months earlier. She was right,” I agreed with her decision.
“If you think so,” Kisai said, moving onto the topic of siphoning.
He explained three different methods. The first was to utilize a weapon, creating a transfer point from that to me. Kisai reminded me the most efficient drain required my hand on the weapon itself. En’s wire or Kyoi’s whip would be suitable choices if I couldn’t get in close enough.
“Is it possible to use a blade and then one of Ichaival’s portals to transfer magic?” I thought of a good combination.
“Sure, that works, as long as the portal isn’t closed or modified in any way,” Kisai answered.
The second method was to either bind a draining agent to my opponent’s magic. As long as they weren’t aware of it, I could leech off of them, and then detonate the agent to cause further damage. The last one was to make direct contact with an opponent, grabbing any residual magic generated if they were performing magical strikes.
“You get to choose. Me or Feng?” Kisai asked me for my choice of a sparring partner.
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“Um..,” I started but Kyoi cut me off.
“Jin, why would you even giver her a choice to begin with? From the start, it’s been decided that she’ll face off against both of us,” Kyoi revealed with a huge grin.
“Well, that’s… yeah, you know Tomo. Guess Feng wants to kick my ass again,” Kisai said.
An hour later, I was on the floor, staring up at a warped ceiling. The entire was collapsing around me. I rolled to my left and saw Kisai propped up against the wall. His pained breathing was loud. Kyoi knelt, clutching her upper stomach. Never again.
“Well done,” Tess complimented, touching my shoulder.
My vision improved right away. Oh no, it was worse than I thought. The entire ground was cracked, some pieces embedded into the wall and others gathered into large piles. Flames engulfed the bench. Kisai was pinned to the wall by Kyoi’s sword. Her blade pierced his upper left shoulder and remnants of a magical circle was visible beneath him. Three magical daggers were stabbed through the woman’s stomach. Barbed wire was wrapped around both her knees, blood dripping down. She held Kisai’s magical sword in her left hand, clasping the handle, utilizing it as a support.
“Did I pass out or something?” I hobbled over to Kyoi with Tess’ help.
“For a small amount of time. It happened when Jin’s and my own magic collided, triggering a chain reaction. It resonated with your magic too so that was bad. You were conscious the rest of the time,” she answered, thanking Tess for her help.
“F**k, I’m good Tess,” Kisai said as she walked over to him.
“The blood on the ground says otherwise, Jin,” she disagreed, flicking his forehead.
Chains wrapped around him. Kyoi’s sword flew out, clattering on the floor near him. The remnants of the magic circle floated up into the air and absorbed into the Gatekeeper’s chains. He stood up, patting his body.
“At least you took it seriously this time,” Kyoi remarked, extinguishing the flaming bench and restoring it.
“I have no idea what you mean, Feng. I’m always focused. You can even ask Tomo,” Kisai denied.
“You two are quite lively. It warrants a serious match with my involvement. We’ll meet later to discuss improvements and my grades for your performance,” Tess decided, tapping the clipboard.
“Seems fun. It’s been awhile since I could really go all out. Although, I’m wary of your invitation, Tess. I’ve never won under those conditions,” Kyoi said, signing her name.
“Tess, huh? I’m cool with that,” Kisai agreed, signing as well.
“Tomo, onto your next session. You can come in,” Tess announced, calling in Kisai’s next training partner.
Champ and Xiu entered. I wondered what they would learn from Kisai. Tess handed me the paper signed by Kyoi and Kisai. Almost halfway there. Only Jen, Kuan, and Shui remained. Actually, would I even face Tess today? Damn, that would not be a fun way to end the day.
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