“How’s it going, Tomo?” Kisai greeted me as the two heroes joined us.
“Not so great. My shoulder’s killing me. It’s been like this since my fight with Zhuyu,” I answered, still not feeling the pain subsiding.
“You fought Long?” Kisai stared at me in surprise.
“Not this Long, right?” Kyoi realized the meaning of my words.
“Oh, I gotcha. Yeah, he’s a bastard alright,” Kisai said.
“Who are you fighting?” I glanced around, still not seeing anyone else coming in.
“Tess, why don’t you tell us?” Kyoi adjusted her jade necklace.
The woman grinned at me as I stared at her neck. F***, I regret my decision. While Kisai spoke with Tess, she pulled me aside.
“Curious about my necklace, Tomo?” she brought me in for a closer look.
“Yeah. All three of you wear jade,” I observed.
“Not on purpose, it’s just coincidence,” she responded.
Hers resembled Zhuyu’s, except the figure was rotund with an exposed belly and a huge smile on its face. It clashed with Kyoi’s image, but it also really matched her too when she wasn’t so battle happy.
“Buddha?” I guessed with an unsure tone.
“Budai, a Chinese monk associated with Buddhism. So you’re kind of close,” Kyoi replied.
“Hey, they’re here!” Kisai interrupted our talk.
Lilith and her second-in-command descended from the stairs. This was an intense match-up. Tess pointed downward and all the participants gathered on the battlefield. Like in the last battle, all four heroes met in the center, speaking with each other. Tess counted down and then they started.
Lilith & Yui v. Kisai and Kyoi
Kyoi rushed at Lilith first. The number two ranked hero pivoted behind her, reaching for the woman’s neck. She pulled back at the last moment, snapping her fingers. Burst of flames appeared in the air, revealing thin wires. Loud pops followed as a series of explosions occurred. A magical defensive barrier protected her from them. Kyoi was compulsive, but her first attack was reckless. What was she thinking?
“Yui, take care of Jin!” Lilith directed, retrieving a pair of gloves from her back pockets.
Her second-in-command tapped her foot on the ground. Nothing visible appeared but I noticed an elevation in magical energy. Kisai summoned his magical sword, pulsating with a purple color. He swung the blade, sending six waves of magical energy at her. The first three zipped toward Yui, but the others swerved away from their intended target. One went to the left and the other two to the right. The first three waves cut straight through Yui and then she vanished. An illusion? Five seconds later, the sound of breaking glass occurred. I saw shards of glass on the ground where his other magical waves traveled. I remembered now! Yui specialized in using mirrors as her powers. Kisai saw through her decoy right away.
It was faint but I finally saw Lilith’s signature trip wires. They contained a sinister gleam. Kyoi weaved through the woman’s intricate set-up, not setting off any explosions. She arrived at the hero’s backside once more, materializing her sword. However, Kyoi reconsidered, dissipating it two seconds later. Lilith swung her right fist backwards, striking her opponent’s face. Wires shot out from her strike, cutting into Kyoi’s face. The woman grinned in response, drops of blood staining the ground. Bursts of flames surrounded Lilith, trapping the hero inside a flaming vortex. Kyoi extended her left hand out, destroying the wires in her vicinity with small wisps of flames. It triggered multiple explosions, cracking the ground, and blew the hero back. The burns she suffered from the detonation disappeared five seconds later. Lilith flicked a wire floating in front of her and broke free from the vertex.
“Tess, how did she break free from that?” I watched the vertex break down into fire balls.
“She found the axis Feng designated as the rotation point. Lilith disturbed it and disrupted the magic flow,” Tess answered, a slight gleam in her eye.
The leader of the other heroes constructed another maze of wires, protecting herself from another backside strike. Kyoi only smiled, never a good sign when battling her. She snapped her fingers and then sliced through all the wires with her sword. I anticipated a huge explosion but saw nothing. Instead, the magic user finally locked in a rear neck choke. Lilith struggled, grasping at the woman’s arms. Damn, another quick victory for Kyoi.
“Watch closely, Tomo. Kyoi has not won just yet,” Tess remarked, startling me with a tap on my shoulder.
Wires wrapped around Kyoi’s leg, flipping her upside down. The leader slipped out of the woman’s grasp, rubbing her neck. Kyoi’s hands became bound behind her back as she dangled from the ceiling. Lilith’s wires mimicked a spider’s web, snaring an opponent and entrapping them. Still, her explosions were locked at the moment. How would she strike back? Lilith tapped her wire and they dug into the second-ranked hero’s skin. Soon, the wires wrapped around Kyoi, forming a cocoon around her. It’s worth a try, Lilith, but she’ll break out! My prediction came true as the magical energy level surged. The wire cocoon burst into flames and Kyoi stepped out.
“It won’t be that easy!” Kyoi hoisted Lilith up by the legs, swinging the hero around.
On the last spin, Kyoi tossed the woman in Yui’s direction. Kisai fired a bolt of electricity, hoping to paralyze her. Instead, his magical projectile fizzled. Yui redirected his magic and Kisai collapsed to the ground. She caught Lilith and then a maze of mirrors rose from the ground. I lost sight of the two woman. There were so many reflections everywhere!
“What’s their plan for getting out of this?” I watched reflections of Kyoi and Kisai appear in different mirrors.
“They’ll pinpoint Lilith and Yui by their magical signatures. It’ll require time, but Feng is more than capable,” the Gatekeeper answered, tapping her tablet screen.
Multiple mirrors shattered, but it was still just their reflections, no sign of the actual people themselves. The glass shards left behind burst into a variety of different colored flames, sending smoke into the air. Soon, the entire area was covered in a thick smoke, forcing us to cover our mouths. My eyes watered a few seconds later. Tess handed me a towel, pointing at my mouth. I nodded, wrapping it around my face, and wiped away the tears. Real fun times for the audience of two here!
Two minutes later, over half of the mirrors were broken. Kyoi finally emerged from one, dusting off glass shards from her shoulder. Both her hands were cut up, a consistent stream of blood dripping down them. She inspected the area around her with a glare. The woman summoned her sword, plunging it into the ground. Numerous red fissures appeared, scorching flames bursting out from them. They engulfed the remaining mirrors, shattering all of them with a loud boom. Kisai emerged from a thick pile of glass with a thick gash across the right side of his face. Kyoi assisted him up and they exchanged words with each other.
“Kyoi is scary as always,” I remarked, removing my towel.
“She’s resourceful although prone to using brute force methods. But, Feng escaped so I won’t deduct it from her overall score,” Tess responded, glancing at her tablet.
“Hold on, is that what you’ve been doing this entire time?” I thought she was just recording observations for future training regiments.
“Correct. This is my syllabus,” Tess confirmed, scrolling up the tablet screen with her pen.
I really should have expected this from her. Definitely not looking forward to my grades when she finally handed them out. Kyoi and Kisai ended their conversation, heading in opposite directions. Kisai swung his sword, shooting a wave of magic at a pile of glass shards. It sent them flying into the cracks still remaining. Kyoi did the same on her side as well. After two minutes, Kyoi whistled, pointing at pile of glass in the far corner of the battlefield. Kisai hurled his blade, which transformed into a javelin midway, at it. The ground rumbled and then a shrill screech rang out. Yui appeared, shielding Lilith. The leader’s face was pale and she couldn’t stand.
“Poison?” I couldn’t recall when Kisai or Kyoi inflicted the status.
“Jin inserted it into Lilith’s system through her own wires when she was focused on battling Feng. He also weakened Yui’s magic as well. They would have remained hidden for a longer period of time if not for that,” Tess explained, twirling her pen around.
Kyoi shook her head at Kisai. He snapped his fingers and his javelin dissipated into a burst of magical energy. The number two ranked hero ignited the particles, generating a miniature explosion. Yui and Lilith vanished immediately. I suspected it was a decoy, but couldn’t say for one hundred percent certainty.
The real Yui and Lilith blindsided the two heroes. Lilith entangled Kisai in wires and pinned him to a nearby wall. A mirror appeared in front of Kyoi but didn’t show her reflection. Yui pushed the woman into it before jumping in herself. What the hell? That was my first time witnessing her using mirrors for that purpose. They both vanished, not reappearing.