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He stood up and a loud whirring sound filled the space. I couldn’t pinpoint the origin, as it seemingly came from all directions. Ichaival reached for his phone, but Champ rushed over. Yuka’s boyfriend delivered a swift kick, launching Ichaival’s phone toward the front of the room. Felicity and Yuka rested their heads down on the table. What the….? Oh crap, would I start feeling the effects too? No, this was all done just to isolate Ichaival and me.
“Tomo, I do apologize for such underhanded methods, but this time you will be much more cooperative. I even left you with an ally, so please be thankful,” Champ said.
“This again, Champ? I’m not joining,” I stressed.
“This time will be different,” Champ declared.
“What the hell, man? I wasn’t done eating yet,” Ichaival shouted, a blade already in hand.
“Tsk, tsk, Ichaival. That’s unsightly,” Champ chided.
I materialized my sword, awaiting his next move. Something brushed against my face, blood dripping out. Stacia was here. Ichaival opened up a portal near Champ, but was suddenly dragged into the ground by a pair of hands.
“What the….?” Ichaival muttered, as someone materialized behind him.
A young woman with long hair pointed a katana blade at Ichaival’s back. Her hair ends were dyed in a black and blue ombre style. She wore a dark green cardigan and black jeans. Things weren’t looking good. We were surrounded. I clutched my sword, but did nothing. This woman was dangerous. I didn’t think I could even keep up with her.
A portal opened up behind the woman, but she showed no signs of panic. She tapped her thumb against the blade of her sword and blood dripped out. It glowed with an odd shine and then her sword disappeared. A wispy mist exited her body, something similar to a spirit, wielding a scythe. Her weapon was held against Ichaival’s neck and the man’s portal faded right away. I heard a noise behind me, thrusting my sword in that general direction.
“Very close. You’ve been honing your craft. Very commendable. Such dedication is what we are looking for,” Champ commented, standing next to me.
“What is this? You’re forcing me to join, aren’t you? You said you’ll play by the rules,” I demanded, my sword slicing at him.
“It’s futile. I know Ichaival has a limit on his portals. He won’t use them all up, failing to attack me. Tomo, just one simple word. Yes,” Champ dodged my attack again.
Damn it. Ichaival glanced at me and then the floor. A small portal formed near his feet. Four of them versus the two of us. Ichaival teleported away, as the scythe descended downward. He appeared near Champ, but I heard the snapping of fingers. Multiple gusts of wind knocked him off balance. Stacia made her appearance, standing over the portal user. Ruiqi’s sister snapped her fingers once more and a large gash appeared on Ichaival’s arm.
“That was a warning. The next time you move, your entire arm is coming off. Call Zhuyu Long over here. I haven’t settled the score with him yet,” Stacia shouted, stomping on Ichaival’s injured arm.
Ichaival grimaced in pain, but said nothing. The weird ghostly spirit faded and the woman held her katana again. I couldn’t make a move at all. She was on my left, Stacia to my immediate front, and Champ could be anywhere. Just great.
“Stacia, please refrain from such violence. Knocking him down was enough. There’s no need to inflict any further pain,” Champ warned.
“You shut up. You’re not the leader and you’ll never be one. I do what I want. Hey, you, where’s Zhuyu right now?” Stacia asked, stepping on Ichaival’s arm again.
“I don’t know. He’s probably at home doing his homework. Your freaking friend knocked my phone away, so I can’t even contact him, even if I wanted to,” Ichaival coughed as Stacia removed her right foot from his arm.
“You’re pathetic and useless. Fine, I’ll let you go for now,” Stacia decided, stepping away.
“You’re left with no choice but to submit. I’ll drag you away,” Champ declared, standing in front of me.
Whoever assisted him relied on the floor to travel. Raising my hands as if to surrender, I froze the entire floor with ice. Stacia slipped on the ice, falling. The long haired woman remained in the same place, switching her katana for a spear. Champ glanced down at the floor with a smile, but said nothing.
The woman hurled her spear at me and I created a wall of ice. The spear smashed through my defensive wall immediately, striking me in the leg. I collapsed to the floor but transported away, realizing the area was too small. Still, it bought me time.
“So insistent on not joining, huh? That’s fine. I can respect your tenacity. Unfortunately, your ice did not help,” Champ said.
Someone appeared from the ceiling, leaping down at me. A beam of light flashed in my face and I blinked. What the…. a flashlight? The person flipped their flashlight around, smacking me in the face with its barrel. That hurt a lot. Mother-… I did not expect such pain. After striking me, the assailant vanished and Champ appeared within a few seconds.
“It’s time to drag you away now. No need to talk anymore. I should have done this in the first place. After the first time, I should have simply captured you,” Champ announced, extending his hand out toward me.
This was bad. Ichaival was down. Tess, now would be a great time to show up. Champ paused and then pulled out his phone. He glanced at the screen, motioning with his hand. Did the break I needed finally arrive?
“Tomo, let’s get you signed up for the right side,” Champ hoisted me off from the ground.
I created a portal, sucking him into it. Tess would find out about my situation eventually. Until she arrived, I would pull off anything I could think of. In my current state, I couldn’t do anything combat related. Damn, the spear did a lot of damage.
“If he’s gone, I guess I can break him now, right?” Stacia muttered, looking down at Ichaival.
“No, we’ve done enough. Besides, Lilith didn’t approve this. If we go any further, there will be repercussions I rather not face,” the long haired woman spoke for the first time.
“You’re such a rule follower. Fine, I won’t break his arm, but I can still do this!” Stacia yelled, snapping her fingers.
Ichaival’s portal opened right after she finished snapping. However, the damage was done. Both of Ichaival’s arms were now damaged. Could his portals remove wounds? No, it transported objects as is.
“Son of a-…,” Ichaival grunted, sweat flowing down from his forehead.
Was that enough yet? Of course not. Champ stumbled back into the room, a frustrated look now on his face. Where had I sent him?
“Well, Tomo, you really made it difficult. Guess when you become our ally, it’ll be great to have,” Champ made his way over to me again.
Was this guy delusional? I didn’t know the exact cost of using a portal, but transporting a person must require a large amount of energy. If the usage was capped, then it only meant I might only have one or two more chances.
“Tomo, don’t do it. I’m sure those bastards will come rushing in any moment now,” Ichaival said with difficulty.
“I expected some back up, but even I did not account for them being so late. That’s in my favor. Even if they do come right now, you’re outnumbered. What difference does it make if two or three more come?” Champ boasted.
What else did I have in my repertoire? Ichaival’s portals, Shui’s ice, Zhang’s electricity and flames, and a sword. I could shock Champ, but I doubt that actually keep him down long enough. Maybe flames? It would deter him from reaching me, but I worried about the woman with usage of multiple weapons. If Ichaival was still up I had a chance, but as things were, my overall chances were grim. The katana woman held her sword at my neck and Champ lifted me off from the ground. I couldn’t risk a portal, not after seeing what she could do.
“Tomo, don’t worry, we’ll take good care of you. Once this artificial dimension is down, we’ll tend to any wounds you might have. Yuka and Felicity will be fine after waking up. Everything will work out,” Champ informed me, carrying me toward the exit.
“Put me down, you weirdo,” I protested.
“Please appreciate it, Tomo. I’m carrying you with as much care and delicacy as I can. Just remain calm and everything will be okay,” Champ warned.
Synopsis: The online game <