Volume 8, Chapter 2-1: A Hysterical Opponent

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Kisai, Ichaival, and Kuan stood near a pulsating portal. Tess clutched a key in her left hand, staring at her tablet screen.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“Tess detected an abnormal amount of magic in the area from before,” Kisai explained.

“We’re checking it out?” I asked.

“Exactly,” Kisai responded.

“You know, you don’t exactly need our help. Let’s be honest, probably don’t even need Ichaival and Kuan,” I remarked.

“Nah, not true. It’s easier if I have bait, that’s why Darryl and Kuan are here,” Kisai disagreed.

“You called me over here so I can be bait? What the hell kind of….?” I stood still, not exactly sure what to say next.

“Hang on, Tomo. I didn’t even say your name. You’re here, because Tess wanted you to observe a battle,” Kisai clarified.

“Indeed,” Tess backed him up.

“Fine, let’s go,” I sighed, heading into the portal.

Kisai’s Dimension: Fortress Outskirts

“Do you detect the enemy near by?” Kisai asked, looking around.

“Yes, their presence is within a mile of us. Magic levels are fluctuating at a strange rate. Take caution, Jin,” Tess advised.

“I always do, ” Kisai said with a smile.

We walked along a path and I glanced back at the stone fortress. I noticed a flash near one of the cannons. What kind of operation were they running?

“Oh s**t,” Kisai said, stopping.

I glanced forward, seeing the path end. Kisai teetered on the edge, staring at a large cliff ahead. Was he considering scaling that thing?

“We climbing this thing or what?” Kuan questioned.

“Hell yeah we are,” Kisai replied.

“Are you guys crazy? There’s no way we’re going it up alive,” I refused, shaking my head.

“That was a joke, Tomo. Hm, any alternative paths?” Kisai looked over at Tess.

“You know better than I do,” Tess commented.

“Darryl, think you can use a portal?” Kisai asked, looking over at his friend.

“Yeah, but I can’t use my portals after that,” Ichaival replied.

“That’s fine. We don’t need you for battle. Kuan, back me up?” Kisai inquired.

“Sure. Who do you think I am?” Kuan displayed his confidence.

“A loli lover?” I replied, not sure if that was an appropriate response.

“D**n it, who told you?” Kuan asked, mock surprise on his face.

“Zhuyu?” I answered with uncertainty.

“I was betrayed. Anyways, Tomo seems more than capable too,” Kuan said, pointing at me.

“It would be a good experience for Tomo, but I am unsure of the enemy’s power, especially with such strange fluctuations,” Tess explained.

“Fair enough,” Kuan said.

“What are the coordinates?” Ichaival asked.

“Tess, give him an approximate location,” Kisai requested.

“Darryl, you ready? It’s….,” Tess relayed the location coordinates.

“Got it. Everyone ready?” Ichaival asked.

He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and then a huge swirling portal appeared above us. In an instance, we were teleported, tumbling down onto the ground.

“Look out!” Tess shouted, rolling away.

Bright lights flashed everywhere, blinding us. I closed my eyes, observing someone strike Ichaival. He was flung into a nearby tree, coughing up blood.

“Hey, you good?’ Kisai said, slapping his friend in the face.

“F**k. Whatever that was, it got me good. Just go and beat them already,” Ichaival coughed, clutching his stomach.

“You got this, right?” Kisai joked, turning his attention to our enemy.

A woman holding a blade in her left hand swayed around, licking her lips. Her arms were covered in bloody slashes. Nonsensical symbols were drawn on the ground, surrounding her.

“Take her down. Her magic is too unstable. If we don’t stop her, she might die,” Tess directed.

“Tomo, go…. and back up Jin. He needs your help more than I do,” Ichaival grunted.

“You look like s**t right now. I’m more worried about you than him,” I disagreed.

“That’s great, but…. that hurt,” Ichaival gasped.

I opened up my grimoire, searching for recovery or healing magic. Unfortunately, nothing popped up. Sorry Ichaival, I can’t help you. Maybe in the future. Tess observed the showdown from the tree, her eyes not once looking at Ichaival. Was she just heartless or knew Ichaival would tough it out?

“Kuan, I’m gonna need you to….,” Kisai ordered, jumping away as the ground beneath him crumbled.

“Yeah, I know,” Kuan said, unlatching a dagger from his belt.

“If I can just aim it,” Kisai muttered, leaping into the air.

He rolled away, firing small sparks. They bounced off an invisible barrier, disintegrating in the air.

“That’s not going to stop me though,” Kisai remarked.

The woman charged at Kuan, slashing at him from multiple angles within seconds. He parried all but the last strike, sustaining a small wound to his left shoulder. As she came in for another round of slashes, Kuan pulled her arm backwards with force, disarming her of the blade. He then hurled her onto the ground, grabbing her weapon. Kuan stabbed the blade into her left leg, kicking it in deeper with a swift boot. Our adversary rolled around on the ground in pain.

“Nice distraction,” Kisai shouted, dispelling her scribbles.

The slashes across her arms glowed an eerie red. A crimson aura then surrounded her as she rose from the ground. Yanking out the blade from her leg, she cackled and dashed at Kuan. Kuan switched over to his handgun, firing off three shots. She evaded two of them and deflected the last one with her weapon. Kisai remained near where she stood originally, staring at the ground as a faint yellow aura developed around him.

“Hey Tess, Kuan needs our help. We should….,” I suggested.

“He is more than capable, Tomo. Observe,” Tess expressed her confidence in him.

She attacked with no discernible pattern, her movements wild and unrefined. Kuan went on the defensive, sidestepping and blocking with his dagger. The woman broke through several times, leaving slash marks on his upper chest and face. When she lunged forward, ready to plunge her blade into his stomach, Kuan turned things around. He swung his knee upward, sending her blade into the air. Both leaped up, but he gained possession. Kuan then drove the blade into her stomach and dashed back, letting Kisai finish it off.

The talented man, his yellow aura now bright, placed his left palm on her back. The woman’s self-inflicted wounds closed up and she collapsed to the ground. He pulled out the blade from her stomach, tossing it over to Kuan.

“S**t,” she cursed, glaring at him.

“Her magic levels are stabilizing. Tess, what do you think?” Kisai said, staring at the woman.

“Your assessment is correct,” Tess confirmed.

“Alright, who are you?” Kisai questioned the woman.

“Like hell I’m going to tell you!” the woman snarled.

Kisai snapped his fingers and she turned silent. Her face contorted into anger as Tess walked over, binding her in chains.

“You stopped her from talking?” I questioned, looking over at Kisai.

“Yeah. She was going to use a chant spell,” Kisai responded.

“See, this is what I mean. You don’t even need us for this,” I commented.

“Kuan would disagree. Besides, her magic resistance was pretty low. I normally wouldn’t have been able to do that so easily. The upper tier mages don’t f**k around,” Kisai replied, shrugging.

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Tess tightened her chains, until the woman’s face changed color. Kuan helped Ichaival up, lending him his shoulder.

“Who sent you?” Tess interrogated.

“What’s it to you, b***h?” she snapped.

“I can guess based on that paper in your pockets,” Tess said, releasing her from the chains, and snatching the paper from her.

“I know when I’m done. Other people are more than happy to pay this f**ker back,” the woman threatened, glaring at him.

“Should I get my wallet out?” Kisai smiled, not fazed at all.

The woman said nothing, limping away, disappearing from our sights.

“We done here?” I asked.

“She’s was searching for something. Not sure what exactly it was though,” Kisai noted, inspecting the ground.

“Then we’re not done yet,” Tess decided.

“Ichaival’s injured. Shouldn’t we head back?” I realized.

“He’ll be fine. See?” Kisai slapped him on the back.

“D**n, that hurts a lot. I’m fine, just go,” Ichaival coughed.

“You don’t even have your portals anymore. Tess, we can’t bring him along,” I argued.

“Tomo, you look after him. We’ll do the heavy lifting,” Tess assigned.

“Make sure he doesn’t get f**ked up even more,” Kuan supported her decision.

“We leave him to you,” Kisai said, shoving Ichaival over to me.

Ichaival stumbled, but Kuan caught him. This was my own fault for spouting out such heroic lines. Hopefully, we wouldn’t venture too far out.

“Don’t worry, Tomo, I’ll keep carrying him. Right, Darryl?” Kuan nodded with a smile.

“F**k you,” Darryl responded with a sigh.

“Easy,” Kisai answered, a red glow emanating from his right hand.

The symbols from before appeared. Kisai asked for a notebook, tapping a lead pencil against a page. What was he doing?

“What’s Kisai thinking?” I asked Ichaival.

“Probably figuring it out in his head. He never writes s**t down,” Ichaival replied, shaking his head.

“So, if we do that then…. yep, that’s it,” Kisai said, jotting down coordinates.

“How did you….?” I began but changed my mind.

“You just, you know,” Kisai answered, laughing.

“That’s great and all, but Ichaival can’t take us there,” I pointed out.

“That’s where you come in,” Kisai said in response.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You have Darryl’s powers. Pretty sure your grimoire can take us right there, no problems,” Kisai revealed.

“Let Tomo do it. She’s ready,” Ichaival encouraged.

“The grimoire will automate the process. I foresee no issues,” Tess ordered.

“If something bad happens, don’t blame me,” I warned.

I held my grimoire in hand, staring at Kisai’s handwritten coordinates. The grimoire glowed and a swirling portal appeared above us. I closed my eyes, and after opening them, we no longer stood in the same location.

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