Volume 4, Interlude D: Test Battle

Shane changed the environment into a hot desert, nothing but sand as far as the eye could see. His opponent sunk into the sand once they took one step forward. The researcher dashed through the sand, wielding a knife in his left hand. Once he was within distance, Shane swung his blade downward, aiming for the neck. However, his adversary utilized a portal, freeing themselves from their predicament.

“Figures she would use that,” Shane muttered.

“What do you expect? She knows Darryl’s portal powers,” his wife responded, communicating with him through his earpiece.

“Tess was correct. She has a lot of potential. Question is, can she put everything together and make it work?” Shane remarked, rolling away from a barrage of blades.

His sparring partner was none other than Tomo Yuki. To be precise, a simulation of the actual person compiled through data obtained from the Gatekeeper. Tomo created a thin layer of ice in an attempt to avoid the sand. The high desert temperature melted the ice immediately, forcing Tomo to formulate another plan.

“Lau’s ice, huh? Not a bad idea. Unfortunate that she hasn’t learned how to reinforce that ice with magic though,” Shane noted.

Tomo reacted right away, making use of Shan’s gravity manipulation. She floated in the air and increased the gravity around Shane’s blade. The researcher felt a sudden force yank his arm downward. He released his hold in time, breathing a sigh of relief. Tomo rushed at him, flames engulfing her left hand and electricity pulsating from her right. Shane snapped his fingers, replacing the desert with a scrapyard and heavy rainfall.

With her flames extinguished, Tomo fired off a bolt of electricity at Shane. He dove into a nearby pile of broken appliances, avoiding the attack. Tomo grinned, despite her miss. Shane noticed her attack strike a nearby rod, wires protruding out from it which led directly to his landing spot. He rolled out of the pile as it exploded. Sharp pieces of metal scattered everywhere and multiple ones struck him in the leg. The researcher winced, standing back up with difficulty.

“Ready to surrender yet, dear?” Emily questioned.

“Never. I still haven’t seen what she can really do yet,” Shane replied.

“You do know that Tess rigged it so she’s better than the actual Tomo Yuki, right?” Emily asked for confirmation.

“Of course. That’s what makes this challenging,” Shane revealed.

“I do know how stubborn you can get. You take any more severe damage and I’m ending this,” his wife warned.

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Tomo pulled Shane towards her with En’s power. He stomped on the ground, producing a magic field, nullifying her effect. The new hero grinned and then with her electric powers, lifted up two cars. They smashed into each other with a loud bang. Shane slid underneath at the last possible moment, avoiding major damage.

Emily’s husband crashed into an ice wall after escaping the threat. He clenched his teeth and cursed underneath his breath as icicles rained down on him. Five pinned him down, preventing him from moving. He attempted another climate shift but it was too late. A scorching lava geyser shot out underneath him, burning Shane.

“You’re done,” Emily proclaimed, ending the practice battle.

Shane laid on the ground, staring up at the glass ceiling. Someone appeared, extending their hand towards him. He accepted it, standing back up again.

“Tess, you’re as sly as always,” he commented.

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“So you say. Quite an accurate depiction of Tomo if she reaches her true potential. She’ll only become better as she learns everyone’s powers and nuances,” the Gatekeeper remarked.

“I believe it. Pretty tough, but I’m not the measuring bar, am I?” Shane questioned.

“Sharp as always, Shane. Every battle provides new data so don’t be too hard on yourself,” Tess confirmed and vanished through a magical door.

Shane took a test step forward, feeling a slight pain in his leg. He shook his head and limped upstairs, looking forward to reviewing the battle. Tomo Yuki, the researcher looked forward to her future progress.

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