Silk Shot Road- Head of Commerce’s Office
The three of us were now in an office. A woman, an eye patch covering her left eye, stood near the window. She spun around, noticing us. She wore a gray business suit and matching slacks.
“The Former Princess never ceases to amuse me and sends an esteemed person. Kyoi Feng, a pleasure to meet you. You can simply call me No. 2,” the woman greeted us, walking towards us.
No hostilities yet. She glanced at me before focusing her attention on Kyoi. En took a step back and I did the same.
“Ms. 2, I’m sure you know the reason why I’m here,” Kyoi said, giving her a smile.
“I do and even have a little deal for you. You help me and I’ll allow you to destroy this supply path,” No. 2 offered.
“Oh, I never expected it to be so civil,” Kyoi said.
“I wish to minimize the damage. Besides, I rather not lose capable workers. It’s quite a hassle to find new ones,” she explained.
“I find it strange. The warlord’s your boss,” Kyoi remarked.
“I seek growth. There’s new business and the Former Princess is involved. I want in,” No.2 said.
“I suppose that can be arranged. I’ll provide a counter to your deal. Give Ms. Tomo here a good fight and I’ll negotiate,” Kyoi said, pointing at me.
You can’t just do that! The woman stared at me and nodded. Really?
“I agree. This girl must be strong if you’re asking me to fight her. We’ll fight in a barrier. I do not wish to cause a large mess,” the woman agreed, snapping her fingers.
The thin outline of a transparent dome encapsulated me and No.2. She adjusted her eye patch and small orbs of light shot up from the ground. I attacked first, hurling flames at her. My projectiles disintegrated into puffs of smoke as the orbs of light whirled around her. The orbs followed her as the woman dashed at me. I slipped into a portal. That was way too close. I dodged several times, but she finally caught me. The woman clutched my left shoulder, sapping my strength. I attempted a portal but it fizzled out. Fine, time for a physical strike. I summoned my sword and slashed her hand.
“Oh,” the woman remarked, staring at the gash on her hand.
My portal remained unstable. I summoned two blades, imitating Ichaival’s style, utilizing them as decoys. Her orb of lights protected the woman as I hurled my blades. My aim was atrocious but they served their purpose. I materialized one of Jen’s arrows, tossing it at No.2’s legs. It exploded, smoke pouring out. I expected her orb of lights to disappear since Jen’s arrows neutralized Ichaival’s portals. Instead, they grew brighter than before and shattered. She became bathed in a golden light and charged at me. Crap, her movements were too fast.
The woman slammed me to the ground. I tried standing but my body wouldn’t obey. No.2, still glowing, flipped me around, and trapped me in an arm bar. Kyoi finally intervened and signaled for No.2 to release her hold. I remained face down, still incapable of movement. En hauled me up, surprising strength coming from someone of his stature. Kyoi glared at No. 2 before grinning.
“Your title fits you, No.2. Okay, what do you want?” Kyoi questioned.
“I wish to serve as one of the Former Princess’ commanders in battle. She has a knack for consolidating areas, something the current warlord lacks,” No.2 revealed.
“You could defect anytime and no one would challenge you. What are you really after?” Kyoi asked.
“You killed the Former Princess’ father. Is trust really an issue you should bring up?” No.2 countered.
“You have a point. I’ll provide a letter of introduction. That fulfills my end of the bargain. How do we destroy the supply route?” Kyoi questioned.
“There is someone above me. No. 1 has the key. You’ll need it to open a gate that is of utmost importance to the supply route,” No.2 revealed, pointing at a map on her table.
“Where is this No.1 you speak of?” Kyoi questioned.
“She resides in the floor above me. I’ll divert the guards patrolling around her office. Once you deal with her, I’ll accompany you to the gate and we’ll finish matters there,” No.2 answered.
“I will not hesitate to cut you down if this is a trap,” Kyoi warned, giving No.2 a terrifying look.
“It does not benefit me to cause trouble for you,” No.2 said, shaking her head.
We waited for the woman’s signal. Her phone in the office would ring three times once it was clear.
“Who’s fighting No.1?” I looked at Kyoi and then En.
“You are,” Kyoi replied.
“Wait, that’s ridiculous. No.2 just beat me! There’s no way you can expect me to win against someone ranked above her,” I protested.
“I don’t think that’s true. Trust me, Tomo,” Kyoi said.
Yeah, I rather not. Kyoi, you’re pretty crazy. However, she called the shots here and had seniority over me. Why not En? He was better suited for this. In fact, I was the least qualified!
“If we fail, it’s your fault!” I made sure Kyoi understood the consequences of her decision.
“It’s time for you to mature, Tomo. You have enough experience. Fighting a strong enemy is a rite of passage,” Kyoi framed it in a different perspective.
“Yeah, whatever you say,” I said.
The phone finally rang three times and we headed up. The hallway was strewn with unconscious men and women. There was a large door, adorned with a golden nameplate, at the end of the hallway. I took a deep breath and opened the door, anticipating a mighty enemy. Kyoi’s words carried some truth to them. I couldn’t stay in the background forever.
A rush of wind struck my face and chunks of the floor cut my face. I leaped across to the other side and grasped the edge of a wooden floorboard, feeling my fingers slip.
“Damn that traitorous woman. I knew she was up to no good!” a woman, wielding a large hammer, bellowed.
I transported myself behind her. The tip of her hammer almost struck my stomach. I hopped back, aiming an ice attack at her hands. The woman pounded her hammer handle onto the floor, pieces of the floor flying into the air, countering my ice attack. She then charged at me, feinting a pound, before catching me off guard. I constructed an ice wall but her spinning offense shattered it into pieces, which struck my face. I felt blood trickle down from my cheek.
“Tomo, perhaps you need a little assistance,” Kyoi shouted, a whip in her right hand.
She snapped her weapon back and flames engulfed the floor beneath No.1. Our enemy, caught off guard, shifted her focus away from me. I transported myself and a plethora of blades straight into her back. I thrust my right palm over the pile of metal stuck into her backside, releasing a small dose of compressed magic. The woman collapsed, dropping her weapon. I created a small portal, transporting it away.
“Who do you think you are?” she stood up, dispelling my blades with a wave of her hand.
I wasted no time, rushing at her. She glanced over at her weapon but Kyoi knocked it away with her whip. The hammer slid downward, falling into the floor beneath us. Our opponent leaped down. Are you serious? I sighed, arriving before her with the assistance of a portal. I applied Shigetzu’s gravitational power onto the weapon. She yanked with both her hands and struggled. I then adjusted the gravity and it flew up, smashing her face.
“Nice job, Tomo!” Kyoi shouted from above.
En arrived, wrapping her in wire. Small electric pulsations ran through it. Kyoi descended and the man transferred possession of his wire over to her. Kyoi then instructed me to retrieve the key from her. The hero stood back, a blade in his right hand, in case she broke free. I stared at the woman and saw a pendant around her neck.
“This is what we’re looking for, right?” I opened the pendant, revealing a key inside.
“You’ll never crack the code binding it to my body!” No.1 cackled.
“It’s simple, really,” Kyoi stated.
She placed one finger on the pendant and tugged, transferring the key over to me. That was a little too easy. Something was definitely off about this situation.
“Hey, Kyoi…,” I started.
Kyoi kicked the bounded woman’s head before dragging her across the floor two times.
“Yes, Tomo?” Kyoi asked, tilting her head to the side.
“Wasn’t this a little too easy? Almost like a setup,” I remarked.
“I see what you mean. But if No.2 keeps her end of the bargain, I see no reason to question this. Sometimes, things just play out like this,” Kyoi agreed.
No.2 appeared out of nowhere, glancing at the key in my hand. She motioned for us to follow her.
“I will take you to the gate as promised,” No.2 said.
She led us to a large circular device. No.2 inserted the key into a slot and placed her right finger over a scanner. The gate made a loud whirring noise. The woman stepped through it and vanished. Kyoi placed her left palm near the scanner. A red glow surrounded the hero’s hands and then a loud spluttering noise occurred. No.2 appeared returned, nodding with satisfaction.
“I see. Okay, I’ll take you to see Fei. Tomo and Zhang, head back first,” Kyoi commanded.
“There’s no doors around here, Kyoi,” I pointed out.
“We must make our way back to the Commerce Building,” Kyoi said.
I summoned my grimoire, taking us back to the woman’s office. Kyoi pulled En aside, discussing an issue with him. I stood to the side, waiting for them. He nodded and then rejoined me. I pulled out my key and inserted it in. Time to go home.