Volume 12, Chapter 17-3: Spring Training Camp Day 2, Jacque (Future) v. Yuki

Future Mock Battle #2: Yuki v Jacque

I didn’t know how to approach this fight. In my world, he was a support. If I was completely honest, the artist was just a stepping stone. No offense, of course, Jacque! He was vulnerable to all attacks if no one defended him. Pretty much just me when I first started without knowing anything. I began with a charged sword strike. He hurled a bottle of paint onto the floor and then clicked the top of his pen. The ground beneath me increased in thickness, throwing me off balance. I leaped to my left but was forced back to my original spot. Damn, I could only move forward or backward.

“Here we go!” Jacque declared, scribbling in his sketchbook.

Spikes shot up, piercing me in the legs. Come on! I didn’t know if it was on purpose but the artist’s spikes targeted my injuries from before. I fell, unable to maintain my balance after standing up again. Jacque tossed a rock at me. What the…? A loud ringing occurred. Of course, a bomb. He was more resourceful in the future.

I teleported away from the artist as more rocks rocketed towards me. Jacque was in control of the entire area. Very impressive. I approached him, swinging my blade downward at him. My weapon cut through the man, reducing him to… paper? Strips of white printer paper fluttered to the ground after my consecutie slashes. I spun around, catching sight of him in the distance. I unleashed a stream of flames beneath him. Once again, it wasn’t Jacque, but a substitute. Smoke poured out from a smoldering piece of notebook paper.

“I’m right here,” Jacque greeted, holding a card in his left hand.

I created a portal but it fizzled out. He flipped his glowing card over, revealing a hand drawn lock on the other side. It vanished into the air as magical particles three seconds later. S***, Jacque locked people’s powers now? It wasn’t permanent, but still annoying. I gathered up the magic released from his card, funneling it into my sword. Before I struck, the field tilted and I slid downward. Jacque, angling his writing utensil, remained stationary despite the inclined area. My back struck the wall and then everything returned to normal.

“Ah, perspective drawings provides viewers with an angled space despite the original area remaining normal. An intriguing range of possibilities,” Yukie commented, waving at me.

Jacque evolved huh? I wasn’t shocked though. They lost two of their top heroes after all. I glanced up at the ceiling, running through potential ideas.

“Jacque, what about this?” I shouted.

I sent waves of water flying towards the artist. He pulled out another card from his pocket, holding it in the air. This time, a mirror was depicted on it. My attack was reflected. Not so fast, Jacque! I transformed all of the water into hot steam, heating up the entire area. The artist’s breathing turned heavy and he struggled with his movements. When condensation occured on his sketchbook, I capitalized. His entire sketchbook became drenched. Time to see if my idea would work.

“You got me there, Yuki,” Jacque admitted, waving his wet sketchbook around.

Good, now to immobilize him. I dashed at Jacque, ice shards accompanying me. Once I was inches away from him, I ran into something solid. I hopped back, staring at Jacque in surprise. I swung my blade, destroying his thin barrier, and noticed paint splotches near his feet.

“Waterproof paint, Yuki. It was a good idea to bring these,” he revealed, moving his foot away.

It was faint but there were traces of a wall drawn on the ground. I should have known it wasn’t easy to take down a hero in the future. Still, I didn’t expect it to be this difficult, especially against Jacque.

“So you don’t need a sketchbook for your powers,” I noted, dodging more of his rocks.

“As long as I can draw, I’m good!” Jacque responded, avoiding my fireballs by appearing on the ceiling.

The lock on my portal should be over. Without his sketchbook, Jacque was at an disadvantage. I pivoted behind him, ready to lock in a neck choke. He pulled out yet another card, flicking it into the ground. My arms wrapped around a scarecrow’s straw head. Jacque stood five feet away from me, heaving a sigh of relief.

“Maybe I should try a sword too,” Jacque said, drawing in the air with his pen.

A candy cane appeared in his right hand. At least some things remained the same in the future. Our swords clashed. Although he was inexperienced, the man kept up with my attacks. He probably received lessons from Zhuyu during my absence. All of a sudden, I noticed my sword blurring. I teleported away, rubbing my eyes. Now my sword was pixelated. Jacque grinned at me, slamming his weapon into mine with force. What the hell? My weapon shattered into multiple pixelated parts. I couldn’t even reform it!

Fine, time for a magic showcase! I fired off magic from my palm but saw a black censor bar over it. You sly bastard! The artist tripped me with his candy cane and then bashed me in the back. His weapon broke apart, scattering into pieces around me. I conjured a poisoned arrow, plunging it into his knee. The artist stumbled, grabbing his leg in pain. The candy cane parts glowed around me in an eerie color.

I avoided major damage, stumbling out of my portal. Jacque’s breathing grew ragged and he collapsed to the floor. The artist vomited, clutching his stomach. The constant use of multiple powers really took a toll on me. I collapsed onto one knee, a severe headache suddenly striking me. I fell face-first onto the floor. The pain from my headache eventually subsided. Yukie rushed to my side in worry.

“Yuki! Long, is she okay?” my cousin grabbed the math professor by his shirt collar.

“Calm down, she’ll be fine. Yuki just overexerted herself. Jacque, come on, let’s get you up,” Zhuyu answered, helping the artist back up to his feet.

After resting, I felt better. Zhuyu performed a shoddy check-up up on my condition, but everything was okay. Jacque leaned back in his seat, chugging a bottle of water. I flipped through his sketchbook, discovering detailed drawings of the field. So that’s how he manipulated the field.

“What were those cards you used?” I returned his sketchbook back to him.

“Oh, just skill cards. I guess they’re like cheap copies of your powers. I can only use them once but pretty useful for someone who can’t fight that well. Won’t it mess up your timeline or something if I tell you more about it?” he turned to Yukie for confirmation.

“It’s a possibility. I agree with your assessment, Jacque. I would refrain from discussing powers in-depth,” Yukie answered.

“Guess that’s how it is, Yuki. Sorry I can’t tell you more,” Jacque said.

“It makes sense. The Jacque I know would kill to have what you know,” I pointed out.

“Sounds like me,” Jacque agreed with a smile.

This was enough training for today. The only question remaining was exiting this place. Was it possible to leave now or would I have to wait like last time? Yukie inspected my grimoire, handing it back to me.

“I’ve modified it so you can exit anytime you want,” Yukie remarked.

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“That was fast! You just got your powers too!” I stared at her in shock.

“It was a simple task with the Tess’ notes. Her detailed instructions allowed me to tweak settings within the magical tome. But, there are still many mysteries about the grimoire. It’s up to you to discover them,” Yukie responded.

“One more thing. Is there any danger of me coming here again?” I saw a new bookmark in the grimoire.

“It’ll just be mainly physical fatigue If your power malfunction or you feel weird, don’t visit too often!” Yukie suggested.

“Thanks for the help again. I’ll definitely be back. Try not to do something dumb!” I pointed at Zhuyu.

“What? Me? Not Jacque? Come on!” he laughed, shaking his head.

Shane and Emily’s Laboratory

“An intriguing experience,” Tess commented when my pod cover opened.

Emily assisted me out and handed Tess her clipboard. I stumbled out, regaining my footing. My ribs and shoulder still hurt from Zhuyu’s assault. S***, this type of intense pain never transferred over from my previous visits to other dimensions. The Gatekeeper noticed my discomfort and returned with a medical kit one minute later.

“I witnessed your battles against Long and Jacque. An interesting future. How much of it will become reality?” Tess flashed a pen light into my eyes.

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She administered several tests, checking on my reflexes and overall health. Tess informed me she found no major external injuries other than minor bruising. However, she was concerned about potential internal injuries and would escort me for scans later on.

“Tess, I’ll make sure to keep you updated. I want to ask, is Zhuyu always like that without his glasses?” I recalled his lack of concern and brutality.

“No, I’ve witnessed him undergo such a drastic transformation only on a few occasions. Feng always reigned him in immediately. There are only two or three times where she couldn’t. I can only assume he entered into such a frightening state because of his limited use of powers over such a long period of time. You don’t have to worry about Long turning like that here,” Tess replied, adjusting the tightness of my bandages.

“I hope so. Kyoi’s still around so she would never let that happen. It’s great to see you again, Tess, really,” I said, giving her a grateful smile.

“I must thank you for showing me such entertaining scenes. Any available video is backed up?” Tess chekced in with the research couple.

“In the process of doing that right now,” Shane replied, typing on his keyboard.

“Please send me a copy once it is complete,” Tess requested.

The Gatekeeper spoke with the researchers while I recuperated in a lounge chair. Every breath felt painful, definitely not normal. After two minutes, it passed, but my entire body still ached. I was in no shape to do anything else for today. I couldn’t help but suspect Tess of having something planned out for me though. She returned, holding a tablet.

“Tomo, you’re in no condition for any further training sessions. So, I’ve set up exhibition battles for you to watch. The first participants are none other than Shane and Emily,” Tess revealed, pointing at them.

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