I woke up, bound to a chair. A circle, drawn around me, was beneath my feet. Kuan, handcuffed to a chair, was tied to a chair too. Ichaival hung from the ceiling, metal cuffs around his wrists. A faint light surrounded him, pulsating every few seconds. The hell was this bulls**t?
“Man, where are we?” Ichaival grumbled, finally awake.
“Damn, we’re dumb,” Kuan remarked, rattling around in his chair.
“Indeed, we anticipated more resistance, but alas you are all quite disappointing. Ishi, as always, is too accommodating. He and his son are enjoying a pleasant nap at this moment. You, girl, over there. Something is off about you. I can’t quite analyze it, so I restrained you in the highest possible magic constraint. Just in case you try anything,” a man said, appearing out of nowhere.
So he didn’t know my powers, but that hardly mattered. I glanced over at Kuan, who offered me a thin smile. What exactly you want me to do?
“And this man hanging from the ceiling, he can teleport. An easy fix to prevent him from doing anything,” he explained.
“Please, do you ever shut up? No one cares. Just go away already! There’s no need for such long exposition,” I retorted.
“Silly girl, of course there is. How else do I get you to see my power and intellect?” the man chuckled at my response.
Kuan broke free of his handcuffs, pulling out a knife from his belt, and sliced off the rope bounding his feet. Our abductor shot a magic projectile in response. It veered off course, striking the magical barrier around Ichaival.
“What is this madness? You possess black magic!” the man continued shooting projectiles.
All the projectiles missed, striking his barrier instead, and eventually the faint light vanished. A portal appeared behind Ichaival and the false archer appeared behind our enemy, clubbing him in the head. Kuan fired two shots from his handgun, both bullets striking the man’s chest. Ichaival, with Kuan’s assistance, hung him from the same restraints he was just in.
“You guys going to fill me in?” I asked, still stuck in the magic circle.
“Ichaival, I got this. Guard me if anyone comes in!” Kuan directed.
“Got it,” Ichaival responded.
“Anytime now!” I said.
“S**t, I don’t know enough to crack this,” Kuan said, staring at the circle.
“Let’s just ask this guy,” Ichaival suggested.
“He won’t be waking up for awhile. Thanks to your girlfriend’s abilities,” Kuan revealed.
“I thought Jen’s powers only worked with her arrows,” Ichaival countered, staring at his friend in disbelief.
“I copied it, duh. Not as good as Tomo, but it works,” Kuan replied.
“You can do that?” I asked, taken aback.
Ichaival searched the room for an exit while Kuan continued inspecting the circle with a thoughtful expression on his face. Why wasn’t he a main tier hero? His versatility and skills were superior to everyone else in the lower tier.
“Let’s try this,” Kuan said, tapping the rim of his glasses.
The magic circle lit up, pulsating every few seconds, and then nothing. That was a start, but not good enough.
“Jin’s the only who can break this. I don’t know enough,” Kuan remarked, sitting down.
“What, do we wait until Kisai gets here?” I questioned, feeling let down.
“Of course! I’m the f**king greatest, right?” Kisai appeared with Tess behind him.
Great timing. I had suspicions Kisai already knew of our predicament, but chose not to intervene. Seemed like something the heroes would do, especially Shan.
“You’re free now, Tomo,” Kisai announced, snapping his fingers, making the magic circle disappear.
I stood up from my chair and Kuan sliced off my restraints. Tess called Kisai over, pointing at our captor.
“I should have known. Tess, what do you want to do?” Kisai inquired.
“Leave him,” Tess replied, opening up a portal.
It was tinted gold, in the shape of a keyhole. We all entered, returning back to the village again. Pretty anti-climatic, I expected more resistance from whoever captured us.
“What the hell is going on?” I grabbed Kisai by the shoulder.
“The council tried to convince us not to break the seal. I said… no. Just no. We won after they fought us. Anyways, I noticed one of them was missing, and then we found you,” Kisai explained.
“Why are they after you? I thought you were suppose to the good guy!” I exclaimed.
“Did I ever say that? I’m not that good,” Kisai denied, shaking his head.
“Tomo, please refrain from any further questions,” Tess ordered.
I sighed, but obeyed her. We returned to Ishi’s house and Kisai headed downstairs. Tess inspected our tea cups, sniffing it.
“Tess, that’s what knocked us out!” I pointed out.
“Hmm,” Tess muttered.
Kisai returned with Ishi and Grant following behind him. I tightened my fists, giving them a glare. Kisai shook his head, noticing my look, and sat down on the couch.
“Oh, I still have a headache. What a nasty surprise attack. I really have lost it,” Ishi muttered.
“Grant, you good” Kisai asked the child.
“No, I’m fine. I woke up from a really long nap,” Grant shook his head, stifling a yawn.
“Ishi, you have anything to tell us?” I asked.
“I understand your suspicions, but trust me, I didn’t know about the tea. I received it as a gift from the council. Never expected it to be spiked. I apologize, you got captured because of me,” Ishi answered.
“It wasn’t the tea. One of the council members cast a delayed sleeping spell. I didn’t realize until we were confronted by them,” Tess revealed.
“Figures that they pull a dirty trick like that. Damn, I’m really getting old, if I can’t even recognize something like that,” Ishi lamented.
“How did they slip it past you, Tess?” I inquired.
“Ah, I may have an answer. Six months ago, a particular woman visited the council. They seemed quite pleased by the information she provided,” Ishi revealed.
“Ace. She knows our tendencies,” Tess guessed, her eyes turning cold.
“So, now what? We just go break the seal?” I asked, glancing at Kisai.
“Ishi, we’re heading out. I’ll make it up to you later,” Kisai decided, smiling.
“Indeed, we must make progress,” Tess agreed.
“Jin, I must warn you. There are mages, who are more than willing to destroy you. But, knowing you, you don’t see them as threats at all,” Ishi advised.
“I wouldn’t say that. Thanks for telling me though,” Kisai said.
We headed outside, holding a quick meeting on the situation. It was about time I started getting answers.
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