“Tess, it’s about time you tell me what’s going on,” I demanded.
“Yes, it’s time,” Tess agreed.
“I’m confused too. It’d be nice to actually know how much you f**ked up, Jin,” Ichaival said.
“Kisai, what’s up with the council?” I asked first.
“The council was formed after the seal was created. Their job is to make sure no one learns about its whereabouts. They’re part of a larger organization that monitors magic use. Pretty easy job. The reason they hate me so much, well, I’m just better. That’s about it,” he explained.
“Seriously? What kind of bulls**t is that?” I shouted.
“Tomo, pettiness causes many wars. Jin poses a threat at full power, despite the fact he’s not a permanent resident here,” Tess reminded me.
“He’s pretty much a target then?” I commented, glancing at Kisai.
“People will do whatever it takes to stop me. There’s factions forming now, debating the use of magic,” Kisai replied.
“There must be something special about this location, right?” Kuan questioned.
“The village rests on an intersection of magical ley lines. Makes it a big ass magical reservoir. Even a mage with no aptitude can cast impressive spells. Only one of the few places capable of a link to the seal,” Kisai revealed.
“Explains the freaking traps,” Ichaival said.
“What about the seal itself?” I recalled.
“The seal actually isn’t located in one specific location. It shifts around multiple places. However, I know a portal link which can take us there,” Kisai revealed.
“You should have said that in the first place! I swear, you’re all so bad at saying the simplest things!” I exclaimed.
The mage didn’t respond, leading us to a bridge. We crossed over a stream, arriving back in a forest with massive trees. We walked for five minutes before stopping. Kisai placed his right hand on a tree and bright, yellow light particles floated upward. They all clumped together, forming the shape of a door.
“Lame, yeah, I know,” Kisai admitted.
A looming fortress in the distance came into our sights, cannons mounted on it. Kisai stared at the fortress, calling over Tess with a concerned look.
“The magic levels are too high. Something’s wrong,” Kisai informed Tess.
“I agree. How do you wish to proceed?” Tess asked.
“We’ll scout, can’t just stand around,” Kisai responded.
“As you wish,” Tess said.
I didn’t know what these high magic levels meant in terms of enemies. Most likely getting our asses kicked.
“How should I say this?” Kisai said, staring at a cannon.
“We’re out of its range, right?” I questioned.
“It’s more like a missile launcher,” Kisai replied.
“Do we need to be worried or not?” I asked once more.
“There should definitely be…,” Kisai ended his sentence abruptly.
I heard footsteps approaching. Kisai glanced at Kuan, who readied his gun.
“Darryl, get ready to teleport us when I give the signal!” Kisai ordered.
“Got it,” Ichaival nodded.
A large, muscular cat rushed at us. Ichaival appeared behind him, striking him with multiple knives. The cat swung his large arm backward, smacking Ichaival straight in the face, sending him flying into a nearby tree. He tore out all the blades, showing no signs of pain.
“F**king Darryl,” Kuan chastised, dodging as the cat hurled Ichaival’s knives towards us.
Kisai fired a small bolt of lightning at the enemy, striking his chest armor. The cat collapsed onto one knee as it spread throughout his entire body. I smelled something burning, realizing it was the fur catching on fire.
“What was that attack?” I asked, staring at the enemy.
“Just electrical conduction,” Kisai replied.
“Are you kidding me? No way, that’s such a small amount of magic!” I shook my head in disbelief.
“Not unless you compress it. Once it hits, the full force is unleashed. Especially if it hits something like his armor,” Kisai explained.
“You’re teaching me that next time!” I shouted.
“Sure!” Kisai agreed.
Despite flames engulfing his body, the cat appeared fine. He purged all the flames, brushing it off with ease. What the f**k was he made of?
“Well played,” the cat spoke for the first time, his mouth curling up.
His sharp line of fangs reminded me of Lionel. There was no relation, right? Impossible, considering Lionel was on the side of justice. Associating with creatures like this guy was unlikely.
“If that doesn’t work…,” Kisai said, firing more tiny sparks of electricity.
The beast deflected it with his paw, raising it in front of his face. Kuan provided support, shooting him. Didn’t seem to cause any major damage. Was it to set up a more devastating attack?
“Kuan, provide a visual,” Kisai requested.
“The same as always, right?” Kuan asked.
“Yeah,” Kisai said.
Pulsing lines going in all directions, similar to veins depicted in a doctor’s chart, became overlaid on his entire figure. Our enemy didn’t notice them, smirking at the mage. Kisai placed his finger in the air, drawing along the lines and the cat collapsed to the ground. He glared at us, stuck on the floor.
“My win,” Kisai boasted, staring down at the cat.
“What…. my legs and arms?” the cat stuttered.
Even with Shan’s gravitational power, the target could move. Here, the cat’s legs and arms were motionless.
“Tess, what should we do?” Kisai stood over the cat, staring over at the Gatekeeper with a grin.
“Let’s see what he knows. Tomo, your turn,” Tess directed.
“What do you mean?” I stared at the Gatekeeper in confusion.
“Perform a mind dive. I’ll weaken him with my chains,” Tess elaborated.
“Wait, wait, is it even safe? He might have backup, or there could be other enemies,” I protested.
“Rest assured we will protect you. Trust in Darryl and Kuan,” Tess assured me.
“I better not return and find myself surrounded by enemies!” I relented, staring at the beast, grimoire in hand.
“I’ll guide you. Jin, assist me,” Tess commanded.
“Tomo, relax, I’ll make sure you’re safe,” Kisai said, smiling as usual.
Time to find out what this cat knew.
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