Volume 13, Chapter 19: Dragon Pieces (II)

Double Battle: Kuan and Yuki v ???

Kuan and his opponent exchanged gunfire. No time to worry about them. I needed to focus on my opponent. Their device grew brighter, whirring like an engine.

“Behind you!” Kuan fired shots at my backside.

I created an ice wall, but it shattered immediately as the enemy lunged for my throat. I activated a portal, firing blades, but my projectiles bounced off an invisible barrier. They leaped into the air. An opening for me! I increased the gravity around them but nothing occurred. Fine, time for something else.

I leaped into the air too and sprayed them with icicles. They extended their hand out, neutralizing my attack. Her gloves glowed with the same light as the device on her belt. Damn, needed to take care of that first.

One of Kuan’s bullets zipped toward the man’s glowing device but a protective barrier prevented it from hitting. What was Zhuyu doing? He observed both our battles with a serious expression and muttered underneath his breath. Wait, was he applying his zero vector powers to this fight? The hero nearly fainted last time he attempted that.

I summoned my sword and fired off a blast of compressed magic. The enemy reflected it with their gloves. Perfect!

“Sucker,” I whispered, charging my blade up with the deflected attack.

Why not just charge the blade like En did? Her repelled attacks were stronger than the original I unleashed. Kuan switched to a shotgun, firing off shells which exploded upon impact, slowing down his opponent. I continued shooting magic at my foe and absorbed the deflected attacks into my blade. Time for a risky move.

“Jen’s powers! Can you do it?” I shouted at Kuan.

Kuan noticed my glowing weapon and nodded. He reloaded and fired off a barrage of bullets around our enemies. Wisps of smoke billowed out and the glow from their devices diminished.

“Now!” I shouted.

I unleashed the energy stored within my blade, diverting it into two separate paths. Our opponents stared down at their devices, which shattered with a loud crack, and then stepped back.

“Zhuyu, got it figured out?” I asked for an update.

“Not yet. Can’t see it,” Zhuyu answered, shaking his head.

A grenade flew towards us and I transported it away with my portal. Not good, I might hit my limit for them soon. Kuan switched over to an assault rifle and stared at our opponents.

“You destroyed expensive equipment! You will pay!” she shouted.

She removed her gloves, revealing glowing hands. What kind of magic was this? When she threw a punch, I felt explosive heat. This was different than En’s fire attacks. I messed up and she struck my right shoulder. A small explosion occurred, ripping apart my skin. I distanced myself from her with a portal. Explosive fists? Just what I needed.

She grinned and punched the floor. Crack lines appeared on the ground and a string of explosions shot towards me. I protected myself with an ice wall and rolled away. I pivoted behind her and paralyzed the woman. I grabbed her fists, feeling a sting, but it dissipated. Please don’t let this backfire on me! I intentionally increased her attack power with En’s powers. I sighed and prepared an escape portal.

“How?” she protested, swinging her knee up at me.

“Shut up already!” I prepared to counter but her leg jerked back down.

I glanced over at Zhuyu who gave me a nod. The zero vector user forced my opponent down to her knees with his powers. I yanked on her arm and directed her glowing fists into her face. Time to leave! A bright flash engulfed the area when I leaped into my escape portal.

I teleported over to Zhuyu and watched a series of loud explosions go off. When it was all over, she was motionless on the ground, eyes closed. Her hands were swollen red, deep dents in her burnt skin. The damage done to her face was severe, chunks of skin missing.

“You sure Feng isn’t rubbing off on you?” Zhuyu commented, turning his attention over to Kuan’s battle.

“Don’t even joke about that! It was just the easiest way to deal with her. Does Kuan need help?” I glared at him.

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“Nope. He’s doing fine,” Zhuyu replied, not concerned about his friend.

Kuan and his opponent exchanged gunfire again, narrowly avoiding each other’s bullets. The battle area was open so they continuously moved around, firing at each other. The hero glanced over at a tree and fired a shot at it. The tree crashed down into the enemy, knocking them to the ground. Kuan switched to a shotgun and fired at point-blank range. His opponent man howled in pain before Kuan clocked them in the head.

“Took too long. You figure out where the next piece is?” Kuan tied the man up and tossed him next to his partner.

“Yeah,” Zhuyu answered, pointing forward.

“I can’t let you do that,” a voice interrupted us.

Of course it wasn’t that easy! Fei’s sister or relative? She held Kyoi and En. Both were unconscious and the woman tossed them into the sand. S***, she was that strong?

“Tomo Yuki and Denshin Kuan. Are you the only two here?” she stepped towards us.

“What if we are?” I glanced over at Kuan.

“Once I knock you two out then it’ll be an easy task to subdue Zhuyu Long. The blade cannot be in your hands. There is too much power and it was sealed for a reason. My sister is delusional, assisting you. She was always the black sheep of the family,” the woman announced, raising her hand in the air.

If she was anything like Fei, I dreaded fighting her, even with Kuan here. Zhuyu was beat up and his powers were useless against a strong magic user.

“I don’t have time to play with you. Nowhere near my level. Fei won’t come in and save the day. I’ve taken precautions to make sure of that,” the woman revealed.

I readied my weapon and then everything plunged into darkness. Her powers were similar to Fei’s. Should I just swing and hope to hit? No, the chances of hitting Kuan were high.

“I should have made sure you were down,” the woman hissed as my sight slowly returned.

The sunlight beamed down as before but the circumstances were way different. She held Zhuyu hostage, holding a dagger to his neck. Kyoi stood a few feet away with an unconcerned grin.

“You predicted this would happen!” the woman moved her blade deeper into the man’s neck.

“Fen, just because you have him means nothing. I’ll still attack!” Kyoi stepped closer to the two.

“You dare? I doubt you would do anything, especially since he’s so dear to you!” Fen didn’t believe her, clutching Zhuyu tighter.

“You give me too much credit, Fen. Long knows that better than anyone!” Kyoi dashed right at Fen, no hesitation in her movement.

Was she serious? If Fen slit his throat, could he survive? Kyoi, even you must have standards! I didn’t want to face another death, not after going through so much with this group. Fen plunged her dagger into Zhuyu’s neck and threw him at Kyoi. The woman chucked in response and caught him before driving her sword into Fen’s stomach. Fei’s sister stared at her in shock. Kyoi plopped Zhuyu to the ground and motioned for us to take care of him. Kuan and I quickly dragged him away from the fight.

“Kuan, tell me he’ll be okay!” I shouted at the man in panic.

“Gonna be tough, Tomo, but I know Feng’s plan. Don’t underestimate Zhuyu!” Kuan encouraged me despite his somber expression.

Kyoi slashed upward at Fen, who stumbled, but still dodged the attack. A large gash was present on Fen’s stomach now despite Kyoi’s blade not touching her. Fen shot off a curved beam of light at the sword user’s back. Kyoi raised her left hand in the air, flames engulfing it, and disintegrated Fen’s magic.

Fen arrived at Kyoi’s backside but the hero reacted immediately. She showed off her athleticism, doing a back flip and locked her legs around Fen’s head. She twirled and flung Fen into a tree. Fen spat out blood and clutched her wounded stomach. This fight was… very lopsided. The fight between Fei and Kyoi was more competitive than this.

“Ugh, damn it, how can you still have so much energy?” Fen coughed, standing up and then falling back down.

“Just a small trick. I decreased my magic output and slowed down everything to convince you your sneak attack was successful,” Kyoi explained, slashing Fen’s arms and chest.

“I should have known! This battle isn’t over. I still have a trump card!” Fen coughed up more blood, clutching her stomach.

Kyoi leaped back, arriving at our position. Uh Kyoi, what are you doing? This was out of character for her. She didn’t finish off the opponent? The woman removed Fen’s dagger from Zhuyu’s neck and pressed her right hand on his wound. Orange tinged flames flickered around the injury, causing it to vanish. I heaved a sigh of relief, glad Zhuyu was stable.

Meanwhile, Fen pulled out a glowing device. No, not just one, but three of them. Could she handle the strain from three boosters? Fen strapped one to her waist and two around her wrists.

“You only win because you’re so overpowered! I’m so tired of you and my sister! I don’t care if I can never use magic again! The blade will never fall into your hands,” Fen berated us.

Kuan pulled out his gun but was knocked down by a bright shot of light. A net, constructed out of sparking light magic, draped over the man. It pinned him down and restricted his movement. My pendant shook wildly in response. Kyoi raised her blade, flames engulfing it. Fen cackled as the brightness of her devices intensified.

“No, no, no! Not this time!” Fen pointed at the woman.

The flames around Kyoi’s blade vanished. The hero’s expression shifted, concern appearing on her face. Did Fen just negate Kyoi’s magic? Very similar to Jen’s arrow which suppressed magic for a limited amount of time.

“How’s it feel, Kyoi Feng? That powerlessness which I’ve been subjected to for so long. The tables have turned!” Fen tossed Kyoi into a tree and fired multiple shots of light magic at her.

Kyoi was bounded to the tree, leaving only Zhuyu and me. Crap, what could I do? If she negated magic, natural world powers were the only viable choice. However, Fen raised her magic level so high that might not be an effective strategy.

“Yuki, I need you to stall! I trust you enough for this, okay?” Zhuyu used my first name, catching me off guard.

S***, that put a lot of pressure on me. I directed Fen’s attention away from Zhuyu by teleporting myself near her. She ignored me and stared at the zero vector user. Fine, won’t take me seriously? I rained down a barrage of icicles on her. When they neared Fen, my projectiles were reduced to the size of a thumb tack, and she swatted them away. Fen finally looked at me.

“Girl, sit like the dog you are. Your comrades won’t help you!” she shouted and raised her hand in the air.

A binding attempt! I adjusted my gravity, floating into the air, and uprooted ten trees. They circled around me and Fen’s magic struck them instead of me. I continued utilizing various items and objects around me as shields. However, I couldn’t continue this forever. Fen became frustrated, but didn’t use her full powers on me, which was strange.

I floated back down, and enveloped the entire area in a thick fog, before decreasing the temperature to freezing. My fog immediately vanished and Fen charged at me. The temperature returned to normal too. Well, worth a shot. Zhuyu stood next to Kyoi now. He muttered something and her sword appeared in his right hand. Okay, making progress.

“Fool! You’re surrounded by overachievers! I see it with your powers. Plain just like me. And you still choose to fight against those stronger than you? I’ll show you the difference between me and a peasant like you!” Fen ranted.

My pendant shook so much that it dug into my neck. Fen wouldn’t pin me down like she did with Kyoi and Kuan. She aimed for complete destruction. Zhuyu removed the placeholder blade from his sheath and inserted Kyoi’s blade into it.

“Zhuyu, hurry the f*** up!” I murmured.

The math major pulled out Kyoi’s blade. The sky darkened, along with the rumbling of thunder, and bright bursts of lightning. Fen turned around, shock on her face. A bright light engulfed Zhuyu, forcing me to close my eyes. When I opened them, Fen stood rooted to her spot. I blinked, heaving a sigh of relief.

“NO!” Fen shouted as her devices exploded, smoke rising from them.

Zhuyu pulled up his left sleeve, revealing the faint outline of a glowing dragon head on his upper wrist. Rain poured down, accompanied by the crackling of thunder. Lightning shot down, traveling towards Fen. However, a protective barrier appeared around her. She glared at Zhuyu with vitriol.

“Even if you’re powered up, you still can’t beat me!” Fen pointed at him with her finger.

Zhuyu swung his right hand downward and destroyed the magic trapping Kyoi and Kuan. En finally regained consciousness, confused by the entire situation. Flames surrounded Fen but it didn’t burn her. A sweltering heat swept across the area and orange tinged flames engulfed Zhuyu’s blade. The hero stabbed his weapon into the wet sand. Fen’s protective barrier shattered and her magic level plummeted to near zero. Kyoi appeared behind her, locking Fen into a neck hold. All of Zhuyu’s wounds and external injuries vanished. Was it the rain or rapid auto-healing?

Kyoi grinned, flames surrounding her body, before transferring over to Fen. Fei’s sister crumpled to the ground. Lightning shot down once again, striking her this time. The thunder ceased and bright sunlight returned. The dragon head on his arm faded and Zhuyu fell face first into the sand.

“Feng, how is he?” Kuan inspected his friend.

“Long will be fine. Enjoy the sneak peek into his true powers,” Kyoi answered.

“Kyoi, what about you?” I asked.

“No need to worry about me, Tomo,” Kyoi replied.

Fen was unconscious on the ground. Kuan and En dragged Zhuyu over to a shady area. A few minutes later, Fei arrived and surveyed the area.

“What is this mess? Long is still at not at full power either. He’s coming with me next time,” Fei said.

“Oh?” Kyoi questioned with an inquisitive look.

“The next piece isn’t here anymore. It’s in my territory. Tomo Yuki will join us too or else Tess would kill me,” Fei revealed.

Several helicopters descended and people in combat gear exited. I collapsed to my knees, exhausted from today’s activities.

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“Tomo, you should go home and rest. Feng, can we leave?” En noticed my condition, calling the woman over.

“Go ahead. I’ll ask Shane and Emily to run tests on these interesting devices. Take good care of Long for me, Kuan,” Kyoi directed before speaking with Fei’s people.

She arranged a ride for us on one of the helicopters. When we returned to our original starting point, I felt a slight headache developing. Once back home, I dropped straight into my bed. This was getting to be a routine. Seemed like I forgot something. Oh well, probably didn’t matter.

Monday Spring Quarter 2016 Week 9

“Yuki, what happened yesterday? You didn’t call me back!” Felicity stared at my face.

Her words didn’t fully register with me. I yawned, both my legs sore, along with a minor headache. Oh yeah, I promised to study with her yesterday!

“Sorry, something came. Did you study by yourself?” I apologized.

“I went through a bunch of practice tests and reviewed our old homework,” Felicity answered.

“Good,” I provided a stock answer.

“I’ll let you get some rest, Yuki. You have one more class, right? If you want to study, text me!” Felicity reminded me and dashed off.

I entered the student lounge and collapsed into a chair. Why did I feel so bad this time?

“You look terrible, Tomo,” Shan greeted.

“Yeah, used my powers a bunch yesterday,” I explained.

The high today was suppose to be around 80. Despite that, Zhuyu wore an unzipped gray jacket and a long sleeve black buttoned collar shirt. I noticed white tape around his neck and a bandage on his left cheek.

“Yuki, how are you feeling?” he questioned, placing his book down.

Yuki? I glanced over at Shan. The gravity manipulator just shrugged in response. Oh, he did use my first name yesterday, but I didn’t expect him to address me like that from now on.

“I can go back to calling you Tomo. Thought it was about time for first names. We’ve known each other for awhile now. Been through a lot of battles too. Up to you,” Zhuyu explained.

“I don’t really care. Just caught me off guard. I’m not used to hearing you say it. Go ahead and call me Yuki. You too, Shan,” I decided.

“Really, are you gonna do the same for us? Pretty sure Long is dying to hear you call him by his first name. I don’t really mind either way. Darryl, now, he’s excited for that,” Shan said.

“Kind of used to your family names. It’ll take awhile,” I responded.

“Take your time,” Shan said, typing on his laptop.

“You took a beating, Zhuyu. Pretty sure I should be the one asking about how you’re feeling?” I pointed at his bandage.

“My neck stings and have a few bruises. Not too bad, better than whe Mirei jumped us,” Zhuyu answered, wincing as he moved his head around.

Jacque finally arrived and I filled him in about yesterday. He noticed Zhuyu’s injuries, despair appearing on his face. Calm down, pretty sure you won’t be in any intense combat situations.

“Bro, how are you standing?” Jacque shook his head in amazement.

“Honestly, I would have lost if the panda kept going. I could barely keep up. I’ll have to fight him again,” Zhuyu revealed.

“Again?” I dropped my pencil.

“We’re not done yet. Still have two more pieces to go,” Zhuyu reminded me.

“Long is really saying he’s a damn masochist who loves getting beat up,” Shan added.

“Whoa, that’s not true,” Zhuyu denied.

And the usual conversation started between the three. My phone vibrated and a message from Tess arrived. Another trip into Zhongjie, this time involving Fei. En and Kyoi weren’t joining us this time but Kuan would. What surprises would I see this time?

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