Novel The HEMA freak in Vhinhym (Chapter 5 up, sorry for the long wait!)

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by yywee, May 16, 2018.

  1. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Not really, but i guess i'll need to start considering it. With my hopes to write and draw not only as a hobby one day, i think it will be necessary. Guess i need to learn how to manage my time even more efficiently.
     
    Ahmya likes this.
  2. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    So, i have finally managed to finish the final chapter of Volume 3. Initially, i never had plans for going in such direction and the idea was to finish the Volume 3 with the end of the Sophie and the other's welcoming party, but well... The urban legend about the Goat Without Head, That Only Her Eyes Where Shining from my neighborhood really got me. And since it wasn't planned initially, i really messed the plot at one point, which entwined me really hard at places and forced some really intense brains out (and i still couldn't get off the feeling, that there are some plot-holes, so probably there will be further future editing).
    In the Volume 4, i plan to introduce some new characters, begin new plot-lines and, of course there will be 1-2 battles (i mean real battles(the first one coming with chapter 1!)). I'll also try to put and some art pieces (have some very nice ideas).
    Thank you for the patience and enjoy!


    -N-n-n-nuclear w-w-weapons?! – stuttered Vick. – SHIT, MY KIDS ARE GONNA TURN FREAKS, LET ME OUT, LET ME OOOOUT!!!

    -CALM DOWN, DAMN YOU!!! – grabbed her Art in his hug, stopping her in place.

    -DON’T WANNA, DON’T WANNA!!! – she wiggled and squirmed in his arms.

    -I-is it too late, big bro? Are we gonna die from the radiation? – asked Krul grievously, with eyes full of tears.

    -Enough with the non-sense. The plutonium is not particularly dangerous as an external radiation source – it mainly emits alpha particles. Even clothes are enough to stop them. – reassured them Mel.

    Vick suddenly stopped fidgeting, looking her with hope in her eyes.

    -REALLY?!

    -Yeah, yeah... – repeated Mel a little bit annoyed.

    Art let go of her little sister, slowly approaching the table.

    -Hey, what a you doing?! – whispered loudly Mio.

    He looked her for a second.

    -I’ll just take a quick look...

    Something grabbed his hand. When he turned to see, he met Ren’s glossy eyes.

    -Enough. Let’s just get out of here.

    It was something his heart couldn’t resist. That’s way he just simply mumbled:

    -Right...

    -Hey, how did this thing open?! – Ann once again struggled with the door. – Open up, damn you!!! – she pounded it several times with fists.

    -Just rotate the wheel?...

    -I... can’t... It’s... too... heavy... – she tried to do it with both her hands and her body’s weight, but to no avail.

    -Move out. Let me try. – Art pushed her out of the way and grabbed the wheel.

    Then he pushed...

    The damn thing didn’t even flinch.

    He took a deep breath and put his whole body into it, until his face started turning red from all the exertion.

    -You are such a weakling, big bro... – snorted Krul, pushed him a bit to the side and joined him in his effort...

    And in the next moment, under the weight of their both bodies, the wheel unbolted with a loud squeak, opening the door abruptly, with the two of them losing balance and staggering out of the room.

    And the zombie, jumping straight at Art, pierced its yellow, rotten teeth straight in his shoulder...

    The agonizing scream, that exited his mouth, the shock of the monster’s sudden appearance, all of this caught them completely downguarded, paralyzing them down their roots...

    With the three of them falling on the deck outside, Krul being below, making her snort and exhale heavily under all of the weight...

    -ART?! – a yell flew up to them, somewhere from below the ship.

    -BIG BROOOO!!! – Vick was the first to rush to him...

    But just before she reach him, something shone in her periphery, making her instinctively turn her head...

    Mel howled and with such precision and power landed the sword’s blade into the zombie’s head, that split it in two in just one strike...

    The zombie lifeless body slide off both of them, not moving an inch anymore...

    -AAARRRRTTT!!! – came once again the yell from below the ship.

    -BIG BRO!!! – Krul moved from below him, with her eyes full of anxiety and horror.

    He just wiggled and grunted, pressing his shoulder with palm, with blood squeezing out between his fingers...

    „DAMN, WHY DID IT HURT SO MUCH?!?!?!?“ – his face distorted grotesquely.

    As if... As if not teeth bit him, but needles, glowing hot red, infused with some wasps poison and cursed with amplification magic...

    -FAST! KILL HIM BEFORE HE TURNS ONE OF THEM! – pointed him Vick.

    -SHUT UP YOU, LITTLE SHIT! AAAGHGKRKGH!!!

    Something clanged metallic beside them, attracting the attention of most of the girls...

    -MEL!!! – shouted Ren, rushing to her.

    -I... i’m fine... – she had fallen on her knees, with one hand leaning on the steel wall of the superstructure, and with the other covering half of her face...

    And was trembling MADLY...

    -I SAID I’M FINE!!!

    -HEY, ART, WHAT’S GOING ON, FOR FUCK SAKE?! – Sophie’s voice came up to them once more.

    -WATCH OUT!!!

    Ann’s scream merged with the fast approaching steps, echoing on the metal deck, that attract all their attention to it...

    GUNSHOT!!!

    Just as the shadow overhang Mel and Ren, the another zombie’s, that suddenly pop up from behind one of the ship’s anti-aircraft mouths, head exploded in spectacular manner, throwing flesh and brain matter all over the place.

    The two girls looked amazed at Krul, who with the smoking rifle in her hands didn’t have the innocent look of a little child anymore.

    -T-than...

    Ren didn’t manage to finish it, when Sophie suddenly materialized in a cloud of bright light a few meters away from them...

    -Hey, wha...

    -THERE ARE MORE!!! – screamed once again Ann, pointing at the looming threat.

    Several more walkers appeared on the deck, poping out of various objects...

    Krul raised up her rifle once, but her impetus was rudely interrupt, when Sophie once again disappeared amidst the globe of bright light...

    The following only a few people were able to fully grasp it.

    As if... Her material form turned into several shadows, each with individual will and control. They charged simultaneously so lightning fast every zombie in their sight, that all was over before the others even realized it. In the split second they were able to see her in action, the phantasmal apparitions waved sabers and knifes, gunshots were heard, some terrifying bone breaking and meat slashes tickled their nerves, and in an eye blinking later, when Sophie materialized before them, all the creatures started falling one after another, mutilated and disfigured, thumping heavily on the deck...

    -Whaa... – Ren was left with her mouth widely opened...

    -HEY, THANK YOU FOR LEAVING ME DOWN THERE... – Avys suddenly pop up from below the guard-railing, flying freely in the air... – HOLY SHEET, WHAT’S THAT?! – she exclaimed upon seeing the mutilated corpses of the zombies.

    -Art! ART!!! – Sophie suddenly materialized next to them, kneeing down to his cousin.

    -What happened?! – asked Avys.

    -One of the zombies bit him... – answered her Ann.

    -FAST! KILL HIM BEFORE IT LAY EGGS!!!

    -FUCK YOU BOTH, YOU LITTLE PIECES OF SHIT, HOPE THE PLAGUE DROPS YOU DEAD!!! ARGKHGGHKR...

    Sophie put her hands on the his chest and on the shoulder, closing her eyes...

    But just a moment later, she opened them widely, in a horror.

    They were just... MAD.

    -I... i can’t do anything! WHAT IS THIS, I CAN’T DO ANYTHING!!! – she thumped back on his chest, rocking him and moving him not so gently... – WHY I CAN’T DO ANYTHING!!!

    -H-hey, Soph, you are hurting me m-more...

    She closed her eyes once more, concentrating all her will and power.

    -I-i can’t stop it! What is this, why i can’t stop it!!!

    -What is it?! Is it magic?! – Avys also kneed next to him putting her hands on him...

    -Can’t identify it... Shit, why is it not stopping?!

    Avys also closed her eyes...

    But in the next moment jumped back like shocked, falling on her butt...

    -W-hat was that?! – she looked him with her eyes madly widened. – Hey, sis, stop, you are hurting yourself!

    -NO! No! I’ll safe him!

    -Sis!...

    -SHIT, WHY IS IT NOT WORKING?!?! Bro, concentrate and control your heartbeat and breathing! You are not helping me like that!

    -I-i can’t... My whole body is burning... And is if... as if giant hand is clenching my heart and lungs... Breathing... is... hard...

    Krul wiped out his cold sweat with her sleeve, putting her gentle hand on his forehead.

    -He is really burning!

    -Shit, what are we going to do, big sis? – asked Avys with tears in her eyes.

    -The Genie...

    The sudden voice made all of them to turn in its direction.

    -The Genie... he’ll know what to do. I bet my life on it. – Mel was still sitting on her knees, trembling and shaking, with Ren tightly on her shoulder.

    Krul suddenly got up, clutching the rifle heavily in her arms.

    -Let’s go and put down that barrier! AND LET’S DO IT ASAP!

    -Where, Krul? And where is that barrier? How we’ll find it? – Mio fall on her knees, rubbing her eye with a fist. – Just let it go. It’s pointless...

    And her shoulders shrugged as she started to weep uncontrollably...

    SMACK!#$!

    The sudden slap make all of them jump on their feet.

    As Mio fall on the deck, Krul grabbed her hair and shirt, starting to haul her heavily towards the railing, leaving the rest in disbelief.

    Just when she lifted her with the clear intention to throw her over the railing, the others got back in their shoes and rushed to stop her.

    Three girls barely managed to hold her back...

    -IF YOU ARE TO JUST WEEP AND BULLSHIT AROUND, WE DON’T NEED YOU! JUST JUMP OFF!!! – Krul yelled in her face so loudly and violently, that made all of shiver down their spines. They never expected her gentle hoarse voice to pitch up to something so grotesque and abominated, filled up with such negative emotions...

    -Calm down, sis, calm down... – hugged her Avys, pulling her away from Mio.

    -IF YOU ARE JUST GONNA GIVE UP ON BIG BRO, JUST GO AND DIE!!! – her eyes teared up...

    Mio started to cry, leaning her forehead on the railing...

    -Hey, enough! Keep your venomous tongue away from her... – snarled Ren, kneening down and hugging Mio...

    -I’LL BURN YOU, BITCH!...

    -KRUL, ENOUGH!

    -HEY, GUYS? GUYS, I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE UP TO UP THERE, BUT YOU NEED TO HURRY! THE WALKERS ARE COMING! – the Minotaur voice flew up to them.

    Suddenly, the dead silence hanged up in the air, with all of them looking at each other in confusion. As if this was the turning point, that made all of them asking the question:

    „What the fuck, are we doing?”

    -GUYS, HURRY UP!!!

    A series of crashes, slashes and thumps followed from below...

    Mel was the first to move.

    -Soph! Any idea what this deactivator might be?! Whatever it cames to your mind, please!...

    The girl shook her head fast, closing her eyes.

    -It looked like permanent barrier. So my bet is that it maybe have power source somewhere. If we turn it off, the job may be done...

    -The ship! The ship’s lights are on! – Ann pointed at Mel.

    -Yes! Turning off the ship’s power may do the magic! – pointed her in her turn Aiv.

    -How do we do that?! – asked Nym.

    -We need to go back to the boiler room! We’ll blow up the whole thing if we have to!

    -I KNOW! Let’s just contact big bro Harm! He knows a lot about ships!!! – suggested Vick.

    -Great idea! – Aiv was already pulling out her smartphone.

    -Aiv, Krul! You run down to the boiler room! I’ll try to slow down the effects of... this thing! – looked them Sophie.

    -Right!

    -I’m coming with you! – Mel stepped up to the both girls.

    -M-me too! – volunteered and Ren.

    -I’m counting on you!

    -We too! Protect big bro Art at all cost!

    The four girls rushed back into the ship.

    Avys phone pinged several times while calling up Harm on Arerta.

    Several seconds later, his sleepy voice echoed on the speakers.

    -What the fuck, Aiv? It’s four o’clock in the moooraarning, aaahk... – he yawned.

    -Huge, huge trouble, big bro Harm! We need to cut one ship’s power supply!

    Several seconds complete silence.

    -Bye...

    -NOOOO, wait, wait, big bro, Harm! I’m not joking, look, i’ll turn the camera on!!! – she nimbly touched the function on the display. – LOOK!

    Again as if there was several seconds delay.

    -WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING, YOU LITTLE DEMONS?!?!?!?! – his voice suddenly boomed in the close space.

    Aiv put her phone in her chest pocket and explained him the situation in one breath...

    She imagined how he rubbed his temple, when the prolonged, deep sigh exited his mouth...

    -Typically in your style, you pixy devils. Look, first you need to find the engineering room, not the boiler room. That’s usually some of it adjacent rooms...

    -Got it, thanks big bro, Harm! – she looked down her phones and pushed the boiler room door...

    -WATCH OUT!!!

    Aiv looked up just to see how the zombie was already jumping at her...

    Mel split open its head with the sword before any of them could react...

    -Phew, thanks, big sis, Mel. My whole life just flashed before my eyes.

    -You should just be more aware of your surroundings. Especially in cases like this... – and she went forwards carefully.

    -You know she is right, pixy devil. – added and Harm.

    The three girls followed her abruptly...

    -Hey, Mel, you shouldn’t force yourself... – Ren’s hand reached out for hers.

    -I... i’m fine. – her voice trembled a bit. – Don’t worry about me right now. Focus on the task. – she looked around, as if searching for something particular. – Mister Kaede? – she looked at Avys’ chest.

    -Hold on for a second, please... I’ll open some technical drawing of our ships for a reference. If that ship design makes any sense, you should be now in the Forward Fireroom. The aft one should be the Forward Engine Room, then After Fireroom, After Engine Room and some kind of Diesel-Electric Generator Room. That’s the typical layout for most warships...

    -Here! That door says „FORWARD ENGINE ROOM”! – yelled them Vick from the other side of the premise.

    They all rushed to her, as if desperately. With no time at all to look around, they whizzed through the room, passing command consoles and controls on their way to the aft.

    The next one was really the Aft Fireroom, as Harm suggested, completely similar to the previous one. But this was much more orderly and tidy...

    Well, what a stupid thing to think... This one hadn’t took a direct torpedo hit...

    They passed and through it with no explicit emotion.

    Then the Aft Engineroom.

    But the room after it...

    -Oi, what’s this?! Wher’s da diesel generator?! – Vick turned several times inside the tiny room.

    In it, two black cylindrical object where attached to the floor, ending at a waist height with thick spherical glass. The other three walls, except that with the door, where covered in cables, distribution boxes and command consoles...

    -Big bro Harm?! – looked down at the phone Avys.

    -That’s the Gyrocompass Room! Hold on, give me a sec!... The room below! Go to the room below!

    -Shit! Did someone see a passa...

    -After me! – Mel rushed back to the Engine Room.

    There, they turned left, proceeding forward the side corridor, adjacent to the Gyrocompass Room.

    Not even ten meters in, they’ve reached a stairway...

    -There!... – pointed Aiv at it and directly dashed without thinking. – Jumping in!...

    -AIV, WAIT!!!... – Harm’s loud voice echoed of the speaker.

    Too late...

    Avys nimbly grabbed the two railings and hastily started to slide down, when she saw that it was infested by hordes of zombies...

    -SHIIIIITTT!!!...

    Mel jumped forwards, trying grab her hand...

    But Avys’ sleeve slipped away between her fingers...

    -AAAIIIVVV!!!

    And the girl disappeared in the darkness below, amidst the ocean of red-glowing eyes...

    -AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVVVVVVVVVVVV!!!!!!!!!

    THUNDER!!!

    Something boomed so loudly down stairs, that they all felt how the violent vibrations passed through the metal sheets around, screeching and scraping. As if some bustle occurred there, consisting of heinous flesh rupturing sounds, that merged with the ship’s structural wail and many of the red eyes suddenly flashed off, not to be seen again...

    -SHIT! D-don’t go down there, g-guys! ITS FULL OF ZOMBIES!!!

    Upon hearing her voice, all of them turned back.

    Avys was sitting on the floor, a few meters away from them, staring her widened, mad eyes at them.

    -Aiv! – Vick rushed at her.

    -What do we do now?! We can’t proceed from here! – Ren looked downstairs.

    WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HURRY UP, YOU GUYS!!! I’M LOSING ART, WE ARE ABOUT TO BE OVERRUN!!!” – boomed Sophie’s strenuous voice onto their heads.

    -They are climbing up!!! – yelled Mel, splitting the first one’s head and kicking him back down the stairs, dragging along and the other walkers with it. – WE SHOULD DEFINITELY GET OUT OF HERE!!!

    -Big bro, Harm?! – Vick looked at the Avys’ chest.

    -You should go back and find anoth...

    -Forget it! Let’s just break in with force!

    -Mel?! – Ren looked her in amazed.

    -Soph is right! We don’t have much time! Let’s just kill all in our way! – her voice was turning more and more hoarse, as the madness was filling her eyes.

    -B-but... – tried to oppose her and Aiv, but the ferocity with which Mel stroke the second zombie and kicked it back made her gulp all her other words...

    -Let’s do it! – Vick moved next to her, pressing tightly onto her shoulder. – Cover me, big sis, Mel! I’ll clear the way!... – the girl pointed her hand forwards and something so clearly flared up in her gaze, that made Mel’s skin shivers... – MULTIPLE HANADRA!

    The many double-circles swirled in the midair in front of them, focusing with the laser-pointers several of the zombies heads, readying the ionized channels up to their targets...

    Blink of an eye later, the lightnings stroke dead on with a powerful reverberating crack, that echoed around the metal sheets, deafening their ears and glares, blinding their eyes.

    Seven of the zombies fall down right off, burning and smoking, not to move again...

    -Nice one, girl! – encouraged her Mel.

    -You are getting more and more precise, sis! – pop up Avys next to her shoulder. – Basara!

    The explosion threw off spectacularly one of the zombie’s contents all over the place...

    New wave of zombies filled the gap almost momentarily.

    Vick raised her hand again.

    -MULTIPLE HANADRA!!!

    The sequence stroke dead on once again. But this time...

    -Damn, only five this time! Sorry, i’m losing power...

    -This is gonna take forever, sis...

    -Just try the other routes! – echoed Harm’s voice from Aiv’s pocket.

    -I have an idea! Big sis Mel, please give me that sword! – completely ignored him Avys and directly took it from her hand, without waiting for an answer. – Follow me as tightly as possible! – and she went several stairs down...

    -But it is still full of zombies!!! – tried to protest Ren...

    Vick followed her cousin tightly on her steps, without even a hint of hesitation.

    Upon seeming them, several of the zombies dashed towards the to girls...

    Aiv stabbed the closest one in the face, suddenly raising her hand forward:

    -NYON!

    The thick wall of compressed air erupted from side to side, making the zombies crush in it like trucks.

    Their glowing red eyes, as if full with anger and fury, faces, with disintegrating grey skin and flesh, falling off the bones, with long, scrawny arms ending with black, crannied claws and mouths full of sharp rotten teeth, searching for the shortest way to the girl’s throat’s.

    All of this they saw close and personal – just a hand span were separating them from the frenzied, bloodthirsty swarm. And all their lives hanging on by the strength of a small, fragile girl...

    Which struggling face slowly, but steadily twisted into a smug smile.

    A flame flashed in her eyes:

    -MULTIPLY NYON!

    A second wall appeared in the distance, glassily reflecting in the ill-lightened room, just behind the last rows of zombies.

    And upon its fully stabilizing, the two spells accelerated towards each others fulminantly, as if they were two magnets with opposite poles...

    The result was just plain ugly.

    -It’s clear now! – Aiv rushed forwards, passing between the piles of dismembered corpses.

    -W-wait! – tried to stop her Ren.

    -Damn, that was sick, little demon... – said Harm from her pocket.

    -No time to have it easy, big bro Harm. Tell me what i need to do now!

    -Look around! Search for command consoles or something similar!... Wait, get back, there, on your right! Yes, this one straight ahead!

    -Yes?

    -See that! The breakers?! Shut them down all!!!

    The first breaker clanged, echoing throughout the whole premises.

    Then the second one...

    And the third one.

    And the rest of them, until the room went completely dark.

    For several seconds they remained just like that, not moving an inch, as if enjoying the great feat they’ve accomplished after a long series of difficult mishaps...

    Just now they realized how quiet actually was...

    Sophie’s voice, that boomed in their heads made them all jump in their shoes:

    Guys? GUYS! YOU SHOULD COME HERE RIGHT NOW!!!

    The darkness hid their initial confusion, but they all sensed the staring gazes of each other...

    Then some flashlight turned on, followed by the quick, rapid steps...

    -Careful, you little demon, you’ll trip somewhere!!! – echoed Harm’s voice.

    Vick quickly followed her, which made Ren and Mel do the same...

    The first thing they noticed, was that everything was turned on. The incandescent lights, the various consoles, the mechanic units... Everything...

    And... was... so... quiet...

    Only their steps, echoing on the metal floor.

    And... the... heavy... panting... breathing...

    Upon reaching the upper deck, Aiv rushed out of the door...

    -EQUILIZE BASARA!...

    The zombie exploded almost in her face. The shockwave threw her back, crashing her into Vick, with the two girls falling on the ground and the heat wave embracing all their nature.

    -SHIT, AIV!!!

    That... that voice...

    Avys raised to a sitting position, looking him with a widened eyes. He was just standing there, a few meters before her, with his slightly strained posture, as if ready to charge her any second now and eyes widened in a form of inevitable despair...

    With no trace of his previous condition...

    -A-a-ar... – stuttered Aiv, when suddenly something moved beside her...

    -BROOOOOOO!!! – Vick whizzed past her, jumping on his neck and knocking him back on the floor. – If you let something to bite you again, i’ll fucking kill you!!! – she wept on his chest.

    -Heh, don’t swear you little demon... – he hugged her gently.

    Vick grabbed him tighter.

    Aiv was just staring in him in disbelief, when several shots, that came beside her made her jump in place.

    -OI, DON’T GET SO COZY, YA CUNTS, BUT COME AND HELP ME!!! – yelled Sophie, while energetically reloading the semi-automatic rifle, half-hidden behind one of the AA mounts.

    The Minotaur was standing close to her, waving his axe like a mad, not letting a single walker get close to her...

    And the Genie, levitating above them, incinerating everything that moved in his sight by thundering lightnings and exploding magical spheres...

    -Damn! – Vick quickly stood up, wiping her tears with a sleeve.

    -There are still hundreds of them coming from the bow and aft!!! – Sophie looked at both directions, firing in a rapid succession another clip-magazine...

    HOLD ON FOR A BIT LONGER.” – boomed the genies voice in their heads, making some of girls stagger a bit. – „SORA NYON.”

    The two thick walls materialized at the bow and aft corridor points, where the zombie influx was densest, blocking their frenzy onrush instantly. The crowds started furiously to bash and tear with their craws and arms, but the genie’s spell was way to powerful to be broken with such simple efforts...

    Behind its protective shell, the girls and Art felt as the safest creatures on this world...

    Suddenly, the closest anti-aircraft machine guns and mounts started to turn as if arbitrarily towards the swarms at the bow and the aft... The magazines clanged onto their nest, the retracting handles slid metalically backwards, the barrels took the center of the mass in their aim...

    The following cannonry wasn’t possible to be described with words.

    But they all instantly covered their ears with handfuls.

    Just few seconds in, and Ren dropped down with her face on the deck, clutching as hard as possible her head with hands. Mio snugged Nym so tightly, as if she was a little toddler, seeking the protection of its mother. Krul was watching with her goggled eyes and there was something mysterious in her gaze – as if she was secretly admiring the tremendous firepower of the ship machine guns, creating a massacre of epic proportions...

    And what a mess of a massacre they were making... A combo of high-explosive, armor-piercing and incendiary bullets, specially created for shooting down armored planes and sinking small speedboats, now being used on poor, once formerly humans in unprotected, rotten flesh...

    Hitting the center of the torso, an armor-piercing bullet was rupturing the chests of several zombies in row, leaving only arms, legs and heads flying in random directions in a very ugly, grotesque manner. Hitting the head meant that no such was able to be found anymore. The incendiary had the extra of turning them onto the living torch too, and the high explosive was just leaving two legs, sticking from the deck, until the gravity remembered that it has to work sooner or later...

    At one point, the view turned so gore, that even Art felt sick and was force to avert his eyes away...

    He saw how Mel was just trembling a few feet away, clutching her ears and madly staring at one random point...

    It was so loud and thundering, that several seconds were needed for them to realize, that the shooting suddenly stopped, leaving them with deafened airdrums...

    And the echo... the echo reverberated in the titanic cave for a very long time...

    -W-W-WHAT IS THIS KIND OF WARFARE YOU ARE LEADING, HUMANS?! THIS IS JUST PLAIN SICK!!! – boomed the Minotaur’s voice, getting them out of their stupor.

    -Damn, i was never going to believe that this happened to you, if you had told me. Despite all the things, we have experienced together. – said Harm.

    STAY ALERT! SHE IS FINALLY SHOWING.” – the Genie’s voice filled their minds.

    -Showing? Who?! – Nym was thrown in disbelief, looking around like a peg-top.

    Suddenly, the zombies twitched. Simultaneously, as if they were one big entity, through which have passed an electrifying, convulsive shock. Not only these, that were so-so whole, but also the separated legs, hands, torsos and heads...

    WATCH OUT!

    The Pix materialized over the thick of the walkers in a split second, making a sudden, energetic move with her ghastly, translucid hand.

    Several magical circles swirled around the genie, as if a huge, invisible hand caught him in its invisible grip...

    -SHIT, WHAT IS THAT?! – pointed at it Ann with trembling arm.

    -A Pix! – replied Harm.

    Cease your insubordination and submit to the main protocol, Weaponry Chief.” – echoed a voice so loathsome and heinous in their heads, that the feeling of nausea immediately started to fill their throats...

    YOUR PROTOCOLS ARE LONG STATED CORRUPTED AND UNFIT FOR SERVING OUR PEOPLE.” – objected the genie with its deep, tube voice.

    I’M serving our people.

    YOU KILLED THE CREW...

    I USED the crew to carry out my protocols.

    PROTECTING THEM WAS YOUR TOP PRIORITY.”

    The Mission and the Nuclear Payload are our top priority.

    SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATELY, CRUCIAL.

    „Your authority have long been rejected. The command is not accepted...”

    The circles shone in a bright white and as if the invisible hand clenched the genie even more, compromising its electro-magnetic nature. He twitched and swirled, resisting furiously, but his began to fade and fade away...

    -LEAVE HIM ALONE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE! – Krul suddenly raised her semi-automatic rifle, firing several shots in a quick succession...

    The Pix’s black robe swayed a bit by the bullets, but with no effect on her dimensional body...

    The abrupt turning on her hooded head made all of them sink in their feet. Never before, they have felt such a shivers, conquering their bodies, just by someone looking at them...

    The sudden turning of one of the secondary turrets forced the Pix to sway left in a dodging manner, losing her attention on them...

    BANGG!!!

    The Pix suddenly turned completely transparent and the following consecutive lighting, thrown by the genie passed straight through her, hitting the piles of zombies behind her, throwing their body parts in all directions...

    The shell exploded somewhere in the distance moments later...

    Meanwhile, the genie had returned his form to his fullest potential.

    HIDE INSIDE THE SHIP. I WON’T BE ABLE TO PROTECT YOU, WHEN SHE TURNS SERIOUS.

    -What? What does he mean by serious?! – Ann look at Art bewildered.

    The Pix also regained her fully visible form, making a swift, energetic gesture with her hand. The white circles started to form around the genie once again, but this time he raised his both hands and:

    NEON.” – his voice boomed vibrantly in the air.

    The spell was interrupted and the white circles pop up before fully enclosed with a loud bang, flashing brightly and throwing sparks in all directions.

    DO IT NOW! I’LL DRAG HER WELL INTO THE LAKE!” – and started throwing lightnings one after another, forcing her to start evading in the desire direction.

    The Pix did not have it too and used every opportunity to counterattack – by throwing lighting bolts in between every genie’s strike or trying to capture him – with every one of it being either dodged or interrupted...

    -GUYS, I REALLY THINK WE SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM AND GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!!! – Ren turned at them...

    Something whizzed just a meter left of her, crushing with a tremendous force onto the ship’s superstructure.

    Making a hole with the size of her head onto the thick steel sheet, as if it was a paper...

    -I AGREE WITH HER!!! – Nym grabbed Mel’s hand, dragging her behind the nearest anti-aircraft mount. – GUYS!

    Ann, Ren and Mio also rushed to their direction, but instead, Krul just reloaded her semi-automatic rifle and kneed next to the railing, leaning her gun on it...

    -Sis, set up a defensive line!

    -Wha... – Ren was thrown in a complete stupor...

    -Aye, aye, sis! – Vick got right behind her, grabbing her neck in palms...

    Krul took aim and fired all the clip at the Pix, which was thirty-meters away already, furiously exchanging shots with the genie over the lake...

    The bullets whizzed through her robe as if there was nothing...

    -What are you doing, you see that it have no effect!!! HIDE!!! – Ren was barely peeking behind the AA-gun mouth.

    -NOVA!!! – suddenly yelled Vick.

    The magical sphere crushed onto his little sister’s shield with a tremendous thunder, throwing them both backwards...

    But succeeded in blocking it and this time Art managed to jump below them, softening their falling on the metal deck on himself...

    -Thanks, big bro...

    Art grabbed them and quickly rushed behind the AA-mount, where Ren an the others where hiding.

    -Are you dumb, or just... – she began.

    -Wait! Look!... – Sophie suddenly interrupt her.

    One over another, they all peeked behind the metal shield...

    The ends of the Pix’s robes were burning.

    -Whaa...

    -You see! We just need to keep creating distractions, so the genie can find an opening and beat her!!! – pointed enthusiastically Vick at the two creatures, entangled in a vicious exchange of unhuman strength...

    -But the bullets doesn’t seem to have any effects...

    -The cannon! She went transparent, when the shell was about to pass through her! – exclaimed and Ann.

    -She is right. – echoed Harm’s voice from the Aiv’s pocket and everybody turned at it. – The steel and iron have great magnetic and magic permeability, that can enclose energies inside it. That is why anti-magic shielding and anti-magic shackles are made of alloys, rich in such materials. And i’m really ready to bet that several armor-piercing shells from that cannon can disrupt this entity enough for the genie to take the edge!

    -You make it sound easy, but how the fuck are we gonna fire these cannons?! Most of us haven’t seen such things even on pictures! – protested Ren.

    She hadn’t finished with her words yet, when Aiv was already climbing up the AA-gun mount.

    -Wha... wait!!!

    As if she was gonna listen to her...

    -Right, guide me, big bro Harm! – she said immediately after she was up there.

    -Let me look around the gun for a second!... Shit, this looks like a single-mount 90-mm/60 caliber gun!

    -What’s so „shit” about it? – Aiv frowned a bit.

    -It means that gun’s control, targeting and feeding are electric! Operating them manually is possible, but not that easy for untrained person!

    -JUST TELL ME ALREADY WHAT TO DO, HUNDREDS OF DEMONDS!!!

    -First find the lever, that separates the feeding mechanism from the gun! You need to feed the gun manually! Search somewhere in between the two!

    -This! This one says „Manual” and „Automatic”! – Aiv grabbed one lever and before Harm confirms it, she pulled it down to „Manual”.

    Something clanged metallicaly and the feeder retracted sideways, opening the way to the breech.

    -Nice one! Now look for another lever to open the breech! It is usually somewhere on the side!

    -This! The red one!

    -Yes!

    And once again she grabbed it, trying to pull it back down...

    But this time it didn’t even flinch...

    -C’mon, move, you motherfucker!!! – she put her whole back and weight onto it...

    But to no avail...

    -C’mon, please, i won’t call you motherfucker anymore... – she continued to struggle so much, that was about to start crying.

    She closed her eyes just to stop their onrush and as if she was hoping by doing so she was gonna achieve the last ounces of strength, needed to overcome the mechanical resistance...

    „Wait... What is this warm feeling over my hands?...”

    Suddenly, an abrupt metallic sound echoed. The lever loosed at once, making her stagger backwards...

    She hit something mild and pleasant, completely opposite to the metal sheets, she was subconsciously expecting.

    To warm hands embraced her shoulders.

    When Aiv looked upwards, she met Art’s charming smile.

    -C’mon, little devil. You are not alone in this.

    Avys heart skipped a beat and she hurried to look aside, just to hide her sudden blushing.

    -Let’s go!!! – she yelled enthusiastically and got up.

    -The breech block is open! Now search for some ammo and load it! – Harm’s guiding voice echoed once again.

    -Ammo? WHERE?!

    -Look at the boxes that where at the both sides of the entrance! Outside the gun shield!!!

    Aiv and Art quickly ran to them, opening the shell locks...

    -What?! Which one should i pick?! – she looked at her chest.

    -There should be inscriptions of the brass cases! Read them for me, can’t focus it from this distance...

    -Ah, um, AT-AT VT, HC TYPE G, ST-SH, ASP M43...

    -PICK UP THE ASPs! These are the armor-piercing shells! – interrupted her Harm.

    Avys reached for the ammo, but Art grabbed it before her from its tube and rushed back to the gun...

    -Just rammed it hard in the breech, Art! And careful with your hands!!!

    -Don’t worry, i’ve seen clips how they do it... – he pushed it onto the barrel, retracting his hands right away...

    The breechblock slid upwards momentarily.

    -What now, what to do, big bro Harm?! – asked Avys.

    -The gunner’s seat is on the left!

    -Got this... – Art rushed before Avys once again and took the place.

    But his little cousin was tightly on his shoulders.

    -Now, let me take a look for a second... These two rotary knobs are the traverse and elevation control! You have two sights – optical and spider, use the second one since the Pix is not that far away! That red clutch lever on your right is the manual trigger, first you load the trigger-spring by pulling the lever next to it!

    Art did it and got his both hands on the rotary knobs...

    The gun started to move. Slowly, but steadily, its barrel steered towards the Genie and the Pix.

    -Damn, this is too slow!!!

    -Focus! Don’t think about other things!

    As the barrel implacably pointed towards the two creatures, he put the Pix at the center of the spider sight... Or at least he tried to do it...

    -She is moving too fast!

    -Focus, Art! Focus, just like i’ve thought you!

    He closed his eyes for a second, taking a deep breath.

    „Еxhale... Inhale... Exhale...”

    And in the next moment when he open them, such determination have filled his eyes, that from the side looked that there was nothing he couldn’t achieve right now. The precise corrections, he was doing over the gun control, making the barrel follows the Pix like it was stuck with a glue... The focus, with which he had locked her on. There was just no way he was going to miss it...

    -STAY CLEAR OFF THE REAR OF THE GUN!!! – shouted Harm from the speakers.

    Art squeezed the clutch-lever.

    The gun thundered so loudly, that deafened his ears. A cloud of dust puffed off around the AA-mount and as if froze in the air. For a second he though, that the powerful kick of the recoil action was gonna throw him out of the seat, making him instinctively clutch the rotary knob and the lever to the white of his bones. And the vigorous vibrations, that passed through all of his body, had him experience one sudden spike of a shiver, that the adrenaline made it feel strangely pleasant...

    The shell missed the pix with more than two meters...

    -Shiiiiit!...

    -You suck, broo!!!

    -Shat up and get off my back!!! – snorted Art and pushed her a bit, when the breech block suddenly slid metallically down...

    -Don’t move from that seat, bro! I’ll load the gun for you! – Sophie rammed the shell onto the barrel, clearing momentarily the backside of the cannon. – Loaded!!!

    -Roger! – Art momentarily took control of the elevation and traverse, putting the Pix in his aim...

    SHOT!

    The shell scrubbed the bottom end of the Pix’s robes, entangling them in a hypnotizing dance of the local air-currents it created...

    -HIT IT ALREADY!!! – shook his shoulders Aiv.

    -I’M TRYING!!! But she is wiggling and moving, and the clutch is too heavy for a momentary response!

    -WATCH OUT!!!...

    Aiv pulled him out of the seat just for the Pix’s magic sphere to whiz over his head. It passed over them and hit the super-structure behind the gun-mount so fiercely, that dented the steel plate up to being unrecognizable.

    -Shit... – Aiv looked it with her goggled eyes...

    -Just return to your station! – Sophie rammed the next round onto the barrel. – Keep firing!

    Art took one deep of a breath and jumped back on the seat, with Avys tightly on his back...

    -C’mon, bro, you can do it! – she squeezed his shoulders a bit...

    Art put the Pix in the center of the spider sight...

    -It’s like how i taught you to shoot with the bows, Art. Don’t think or aim too much. Just fix the target with your eyes, trust your guts and unleash...

    His hand squeezed the clutch-lever with all his might.

    The gun clattered furiously, filling the cave with its reverberating echo, completely muting the fierce exchange of high spells between the Pix and the Genie...

    And the shell hit Her.

    Right at the center of her torso, making the Pix blink for a moment upon the contact with the armor-piercing core of the ammunition. The genie took this opportunity right away, throwing a spell at her disrupted image.

    The lighting stroke and thundered, hitting her dead on just when she returned to being fully visible...

    An enormous screech pierced them down to their bones, that they covered their ears and felt the shivers were gonna made their bodies fell apart. Never before they have heard something screaming like that. Such animosity... Such malevolence. The hostile intent, that suddenly drifted in the space around was so dense, so rich, that even the girls where able to sense it...

    Another lighting landed dead on target. And the screech pitched up so painfully, that Ren covered her ears, falling on her knees.

    -Make it stop, make it stop, can’t stand it anymore!!! – she rocked forwards and backwards.

    -Just a little bit more! Withstand it! – hugged her tightly Nym.

    -GO ON BRO AND FINISH UP THAT BASTARD!!! – Sophie rammed the next shell with no less animosity than the Pix...

    Art took aim...

    And with not much hesitation fired.

    The huge snake erupted from the lake between the ship and the two dimensional creatures, engulfing the shell with her thick, pure-white skin... So huge, that it overhand the space around, three times taller than the ship at least, many feets in diameter...

    -Wha... – he didn’t even have the time to goggle his eyes...

    The ship suddenly rocked so vigorously, that he and Avys on his back lost all balance, staggering out of the seat. Their horizons spun, the feet were no longer reaching the ground and he heard the screams of some of the girls.

    The sounds became so distorted... and distant.

    Was he... flying?

    What happened to the gravity? Where did all his sense of direction and touch go? Why was he almost blacking out?

    The sudden appearence of the ground before his face, although subconscioussly, ansewred all his questions...

    -AAAAAAAARTT! AAAAAAAAARRRTTTTTT!!!

    Some sort of voice? Which was it?

    He lifted his head from the ground, rising on his hands...

    „What is this in front of me? Why is it so blurred?” – strangely, he asked himself, not even trying to focus the unclear effigy...

    Had other things on his mind right now to bother with such trivial questions. Like such, that everything else was hurting like hell, as if someone had battered him thoroughly with a police baton...

    -AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!

    The thing now appeared to have taken all his view...

    Something switched in him that made him come to a very nasty realization...

    „SHIT, A ZOMBIE!!!” – he goggled his eyes.

    The panic struck him really quick, when his body automatically began to move in a every uncoordinated manner...

    „SHIIIIIIIIIIT!!!”

    There was nothing he could do. The zombie was already over him, with its maw inches from his face...

    What a luck. To be bitten two times in a day... By a fucking zombie.

    Something thundered beside him and he instinctively closed his eyes, expecting this was the onrush, that was gonna led to the inevitable end...

    Was it coincidence, was it some strange vagary of the fate, no one was able to tell, nor cared in that moment....

    But the zombie over him suddenly froze in place.

    Then something hit it as if with a hammer, splintering its body into many, impossible to count, tiny bits...

    That rained over Art...

    -Whaa... – he opened his eyes...

    ... just to see how a one huge shadow jumped over him, landing on his other side...

    In time to stop the charge of the second zombie, rushing at him from behind...

    The huge figure hit it with its fist so hard, that the zombie’s head turned into a pulpy mess, nailing the rest of its body onto the ship deck...

    Why... It looked so familiar to him... Its moves... Its manners... So much, that his mouth automatically opened:

    -H-Harm?...

    -I’M STILL IN MONTGISARD, YOU BLOCKHEAD! – his voice echoed somewhere from the side.

    He turned on its direction, just to see how Avys was getting up lamely, with trembling legs...

    -This hurts like hell... – she leaned on the nearest steel wall, holding half of her face with a palm. – Hurts like hell...

    -GET UP AND DEFEND YOURSELF! – thundered Harm’s voice out of her pocket...

    Harm? HARM!

    This made him experience on sudden shiver, that forced him to turn towards the huge figure on the deck, just a few meters away from him.

    The huge figure, that suddenly turned...

    And their eyes met.

    Art’s widened like hell...

    -THE INSUBORDINATION ON MY SHIP IS... UNEXCEPTABLE! – and he let the zombie’s remainders fall from his hand on the deck.

    It was another Zombie. A HUGE zombie in a black leather coat, and cracky gray skin, with a voice so grinding, that almost made him puke...

    -W-what’s going on... – he heard Ren’s voice somewhere from the side.

    Prepare to support me, Chief Captain!

    A new voice. This time it came from his other side. But it was... So tender... and gentle... Almost like an angel’s song. The warmth and the ease he felt, made him turn at its direction, as if automatically attracted by the utopia of its harmony...

    The view, he witnessed was nothing short of the opposite...

    The huge white snake charging with ferocity straight at Silf, in her lucid body of energy and transparent wings of sun-light, levitating meters above the ship’s deck...

    With Mel and Mio being right below her...

    -MEEEEEEEL!!! – shouted desperately Ren...

    The three figures disappeared in a bright cloud of light...

    The snake rammed the ship’s super-structure with her head so hard, that Art got the feeling she was gonna capsize... She trembled in one sudden move, rocking on her side so hard, that the whole deck moved below him, throwing all of them meters in the air...

    And once again landed hard on his arms and legs...

    -Shit, this hurts... I’m gonna end up with damaged joins before i even turn 14!... – snorted Avys somewhere behind him.

    -Wha... What was that?!...

    This voice startled him. It was Mel’s. Just right beside him! Touching all her body, as if checking if something was missing...

    But... Wait!...

    -Was that Switch Teleport?! – raised her highly inappropriate in this nerve-racking situation her excited voice Soph. – Teach me that, you pretty lady!...

    Chief Captain!“ – remained deaf for her remark the Silf.

    -Aye, aye, Transport! – moved the huge zombie...

    And she turned into a glowing ball of shining light, charging at the white snake, who was still rocking her head after the vigorous impact...

    The Silf just whizzed beside the snake’s head and a huge groove of red blood suddenly appeared on her cheek. The snake’s wail filled all the space around with tremendous vibration and she wiggled, trying to bite the Silf, but she was already meters away from her...

    Charging in another attack from behind...

    The snake suddenly twisted out of the line of attack...

    And lightningly fast disappeared below the water.

    The Silf suddenly stopped, turning, as if preparing to met the inevitable counter-attack...

    The snake’s tail emerged from the lake, trying to slap her, but the Silf teleported just in time to dodge it...

    ... and materialized right in the path of the Pix’s head-on, that stroke her so hard, it threw her several hundreds of meters inside the lake...

    Right away they saw the underwater trace of the snake, that rushed after her.

    The Pix was about to do the same, but the Genie suddenly teleported next to her, paralyzing all her attempts to follow them by a series of lighting strikes...

    -LET’S GIVE THEM HELL, LADS!!! – suddenly shouted the master Zombie, attracting all the girl’s and Art attention to him...

    A zombie passed right beside him, that made him jump-scared.

    -Wha... What’s going on?!

    Another one passed right next to him, not showing him even the slightest bit of attention or interest...

    And another one... And another one...

    All of a sudden, the deck was crowded with zombies, as if running randomly around...

    -W-wha... – Ren was wondering at which direction to look...

    Several of the zombies mounted the AA-gun, that Art fired just a minute ago...

    -Woo, which moron switched it to manual?! – grinded one of the zombies...

    -Don’t care, just feed me that shells faster than the clock’s ticking, Brock! – another one jumped at the gunner’s seat. – ASP, full charge!

    -Aye, aye, Chief Lieutenant! – confirmed the first zombie, engaged the automatic lever and with another one started to fill the magazine.

    Another two began to fill the ready lockers, right outside the gun’s shield...

    -Still no power! Manually controlling and plotting!

    -At your command, Chief Lieutenant!

    Suddenly, as if the ship trembled for an instant. There was initial rough cranking sound rising up, that gradually milded down to a monotonous hum, which they also started to feel with slight vibration on their touch with the deck...

    -The 2 of the 4 boilers are running again, Chief Commander, the 3rd one is starting up. All the crew have taken their positions. – another zombie approached the master one.

    -Roger. Turret A fires all star-shells. Turrets B, X, Y, fires all ASPs! Mains and secondaries targets the Vorgue, AA and machine-guns targets the Pix!

    -Aye, aye, Chief Commander! – and he ran somewhere inside the super-structure...

    Outside, all of the chaos as if suddenly disappeared with all of the zombies, taking positions on the mounts, look-out stations or the fire-director controls. With many guns slowly, but implacably turning to the starboard...

    -You kids better find something to plug your ears with... – warned them the Master Zombie.

    -DISTANCE: 100! I HAVE A PLOT-SOLUTION!!! – suddenly shouted the Gunner Zombie on the closest mount.

    They all saw how his hand moved on the electric-control joystick and his eye glued on the optical sight.

    Ren covered her ears and shoved her face onto her knees...

    -HOLY SH!... – Aiv was just about to snort...

    When the Lieutenant Zombie’s finger clicked the electric-trigger.

    BANG... BANG... BANG... BANG...

    Really, just as fast as an old clock ticking. BUT A THOUSAND OF TIMES LOUDER!

    And every with every shell, as if the vibrations where adding and the damage over the girls and his’ hearing were stacking...

    Among the heavy clatter of the cannon, several automatic machine guns joined in, mildly filling the gap between the thunderous shots.

    Momentarily, the dozens of shells and bullets forced the Pix to split her efforts between dodging them and evading the Genie’s – a thing, that was even too much for an dimensional entity like her.

    She swayed and moved, and dodged and blocked in such spectacular manner, as if it was in a bullet hel...

    Oh, wait...

    A shell passed straight through her, piercing her robe, from which a black-purple haze started to mist out. This delayed her actions for a precious milliseconds, in which the Genie managed to hit her head on with an incinerating lighting, that set her on fire...

    They couldn’t heard her screaming. But they bodies felt it pretty well. Just by the tremble and the energy, that filled the space around. Despite all the cannon fire happening in this moment...

    Another 90-mm AA-automatic cannon took her in its aim, starting to send shell after shell in her direction. The few concentric magic circles whirled around the Pix, tightening her firmly into their unbreakable trap, which bound every bullet and gun-shell to find its target, trapped like a fish in a barrel.

    Just in seconds, several cannons and tens of machine guns were putting such a hell through her, that everybody started to wonder what kind of creature is able to handle this for more than an eye-blink.

    In one moment, even Krul kneed down to the guard-rail and started to send a bullet after bullet with her pathetic semi-automatic rifle...

    The circle around the Pix began to shrink. And shrink.

    And her body faded and withered away...

    She tried to sway and break, but her entity was always hitting the invisible wall of the circle boundaries, preventing her from doing so...

    Her voice filled with tremble even more the space around. Somewhere between the flashes of their thoughts, they subconsciously asked themselves, was it the guns that were making the ship vibrating, or Her? Not that they cared, nor had much time to harrow themselves with such pointless questions...

    Just the prevalent thoughts of the gun-fire, the Pix and the Snake, the Genie and the Silf... And when all this was finally gonna end...

    The long ringing in their ears and the sudden rush of silence made all of the girls and Art realize what of a precious gift this is. When they lifted their heads and looked over the ship’s board, they saw only the Genie. And one small glowing bulb of light, big as someone’s fist...

    I HAVE HER SECURED. CRUCIAL IS LOCKED.

    A series of enthusiastic shouts and exclaims filled up the thin air.

    GOING TO SUPPORT TRANSPORT. FIRE THE MAINS AS SOON AS THEY ARE READY!...

    -Roger that, Weaponry!

    The Genie accelerated with a tremendous speed towards inside the lake, where the dancing silhouettes of the Snake and the Silf where split in a furious exchange of magic shots and physical attacks.

    -CHIEF CAPTAIN!!! – suddenly shouted one Zombie from the bridge above, attracting all their attention to him. – A-turret has lost power again! Braime and his crew are searching for the fault, but there are no guarantees when it will be put back in action! The rear directors’ control analog computer continues to trip the breakers, we are plotting manually!

    -Shit, useless piece of junk... – snorted the master zombie, while kicking one of the brass casings, throwing it overboard... – Plot all the Mains and Secondaries manually! Switch B, gun 1 to consecutive star-shelling and fire, B2-3, X and Y as soon as they are ready! I WANT MY SHIP POWERED BACK!

    -Aye, aye, Chief Captain! – and disappeared.

    -Begin consecutive star-shelling! Aim above the silhouettes!... – another zombie appeared on the bridge’s deck, gluing his eyes on the huge tripod binoculars.

    -Oi, aren’t you going to hit the Genie and the Silf too?! – Ann looked at the master Zombie.

    He totally ignored her...

    -OI!...

    -Turret B reports ready, Deputy Chief! – shouted someone from above.

    -COMMENCE STAR-SHELLING!...

    The three short bursts of the alarm outvoiced all the orderly bustle, that ruled the decks, as if they were in some underground facility, about to began very dangerous and important test...

    The following bang was so loud and powerful, that they felt the ship was gonna capsize over... The flash, that exited the barrel was at lest three-times the length of the cannon, blinding their eyes in the mild darkness...

    A ball of light hanged suddenly in the distance...

    Just to ignite up so brightly in the next moment, that it turned all the cave into a day-light...

    Lighting up the murky silhouettes of the Genie, Silf and the Snake.

    -Holy shi!... – was about to exclaim Ann, when someone up from the deck shouted:

    -I have the range! 1375 meters!

    -Roger, 1375 meters. – replied the Deputy Chief zombie on the binoculars. – I want hits on the first salvo, boys and girls. Just like at the Noemvfall!

    -Roger that, Deputy Chief.

    -Oi, what’s going on... – another voice echoed from above...

    Only the B main turret guns elevated slightly.

    -SHIT! The aft’s intercom is not responding again! I HAVE NO COMMUNICATION WITH X AND Y! – and a third voice.

    -Mei, Grin, run to X and Y turrets fast. Range 1375 meters, humidity: 83%, barrel wear: middle, target’s stationary!

    -Roger! – replied two voices one over another and they heard fast, moving away steps...

    -Oi, captain, we can help you with this! We can speak telepathically between us! – stepped up Sophie.

    -30 seconds! FIRE THE SECOND STAR-SHELL! – shouted the Deputy Chief Zombie.

    The alarm bursted again, momentarily followed by the loud blast of the cannon. There, in the distance, a new sun appeared next to the first one, which little by little began to settle down.

    -OI, HURRY UP! THE SNAKE IS TRYING TO BREAK AWAY! – shouted someone from above.

    -CAPTAIN! – yelled and Sophie.

    The Master Zombie looked her with his perceptive, probative eyes. Then he just nodded:

    -Alright. – and turned up at the bridge’s above. – Deputy, i want two people to escort these lads here at X and Y turret’s control rooms!

    -Roger that, Chief Captain! Zod! Nork! Go now!

    Two of the zombies momentarily jumped on the deck before that, so suddenly, that scared them in the first moment.

    -Aiv! Art! Go!

    -Whaaa! Why me?!...

    -Got it, sis. Get me that data! – he grabbed Avys’ hand and the two rushed at aft of the ship...

    -At least leave me to watch from here!!! – Harms voice echoed from her pocket...

    Art grabbed her phone at threw it while running, back at Sophie. The zombies Zod and Nork followed them momentarily.

    -Hurry up, guys! The snake is trying to get away! The Transport and Weaponry are barely managing to hold her in place! – the Deputy Zombie was still looking through the binoculars.

    The third star-shell was fired over the three dimensional creatures.

    „Soph! I got in X!”

    „Aiv?”

    „One moment... I’m in Y!”

    -We are on position, captain! – Sophie turned at the Master Zombie.

    -All the parameters are the same! – shouted the deputy from above.

    Sophie took a deep breath.

    „Range: 1375, humidity: 83%, barrel wear: middle, target: stationary!”

    The X and Y turrets elevated steadily...

    HURRY UP, GUYS, WE ARE LOSING IT!!!” – echoed the Silf’s voice in all their heads...

    -Fire once ready. – replied calm the Master Zombie.

    Sophie covered her ears. And turned at the lake.

    „Fire.”

    The whole ship trembled, as if a sudden earthquake stroke. The powerful vibration hit them like they were inside a bell, moving the deck below their feet... The shock wave dusted off all the joints and nooks and crannies of cruiser and the heat haze almost made all of them feel like the skin was gonna fall from their hands and faces...

    Under the light of the illumination rounds, they managed to trace all the armor-piercing shells by the dim smoke track, they were leaving behind...

    With several of them stroking the White Snake so hard, that a huge red fountains of blood momentarily erupted from her upon impact.

    Her wail overmuted the remaining echo of the ship’s cannon.

    And together with that, a new wave of exclamation filled the zombie’s ship.

    -JUST LIKE THAT, SHOW THAT MOTHERFUCKER ITS PLACE, GUYS!!! – shouted enthusiastically and Ann.

    -The aiming parameters are the same! I want ten-second reload, girls and boys! – said the Deputy Zombie.

    -AYEEEE!!! – several zombies replied in one voice.

    Sophie repeated.

    At the distance, the Snake was wailing and reeling, desperately trying to avoid the Silf and Genie’s thunderous attacks, while licking her own wounds...

    A new star-shell was fired.

    Moment later – the alarm-siren announced the impending second salvo...

    All but one of the eigh shells pierced the snake’s thick skin, leaving a bloody testimony for their attendance.

    This time her outcry was just ten times louder. As if the whole world was crying.

    Mister Mino was just looking with his jaw dropped.

    -Th-this is just a plain massacre... – whispered Mel.

    -That’s just what the artillery does, little girl. It massacres stuff. – replied the Master Zombie, totally unmoved.

    Ten seconds later, the third armor piercing salvo put and end to the snake’s miserable existence...

    They all saw how the beast faltered and staggered for once last time...

    And started to fall freely towards the lake...

    -Cease firing! – shouted the Master Zombie.

    -CEASE FIRING, CEASE FIRING! – repeated the Deputy Chief above, turning back at the bridge.

    Sophie called the others in her mind...

    The Genie’s and the Silf’s circles managed to capture the snake just a second before its head disappears completely under the water.

    Its outlines shone in bright yellow...

    And the snake’s turned into a huge puff ot black-purple mist, which the underground air currents carried away.

    A series of enthusiastic shouts filled the deck of the ship.

    -T-that was incredible. – reached her Harm’s voice..

    Sophie just sat on the deck, leaning her back on the steel shield of the AA-gun mount and puffed heavily.

    „It’s over. It’s finally over.” – she looked up, at the barely illuminated rocks of the cave.

    Its over.

    Suddenly, something jump on her neck so heavily, that rolled her several times on the deck.

    -We did it, sis, we did it! – Avys voice was suddenly talking in her ear.

    -Get off me, you little devil.

    Her eyes met Art’s, who was just standing above her.

    And smiled.

    -Shut down all weaponry systems and prepare the Transport-Emitter. – turned the Master Zombie up at his deputy.

    -Aye, aye, Chief Captain.

    The Zombie and the Silf teleported next to them in a bright bulbs of light.

    „That was some nice shooting, Captain. As always.” – said the Silf.

    I HAVE CAPTURED CRUCIAL AND VORGUE. WE SHOULD CHECK THE SHIP’S DAMAGE STATUS AND PROCEED WITH OUR DEPARTURE IMMEDIATELY, IF POSSIBLE.” – reported the Genie.

    -Roger that, Weaponry. Let’s return home, lads.


    Sometime later, after both the Genie and the Silf disappeared, the ship itself started to glow. And glow... And glow...

    The white was filling more and more their horizons, until all they could see was light...

    The deck trembled under their feet... And a huge water-splash rocked the ship!

    The space around slowly was filled with the mild tone of the engine reving up...

    -Speed is mounting up, Chief Captain! – echoed the Deputy Zombie’s voice from above.

    Just now they noticed, that the light has disappeared and the mild darkness has returned...

    -W-wha... – Ren was so stunned, that lost all her thoughts and words.

    -Wh-where are we?! – Mio looked around.

    There was nothing to see – just the lake as far as they eyes were seeing.

    -DID YOU JUST TELEPORTED THE WHOLE SHIP?! – Ann looked at the Master Zombie with googled eyes.

    He just continued to stare over the railing, with his hands locked on his back.

    -That world of yours is also where the magical entity exist. You should not be that surprised...

    -Y-y-yeah, b-b-but... THAT’S A WHOLE DAMN SHIP!!!

    The Zombie grinned.

    -You have seen more miraculous things this night, i bet.

    -About that, Chief Captain... – began Sophie. – Care to enlighten us more?

    The Zombie made several steps along the railing, still looking at the lake.

    -The eight years before us coming here were rough and bloody for everybody. For every of the warring states. With casualties mounting up to tens of millions and conflict with no end in sight. That’s why every side was searching for a way, a method, to break the stalemate and emerge victorious. Huge offensives, treachery, propaganda, diplomatics, total disregard for human life, magic, artifacts...

    -Our method was the „Dammerlicht Project”.

    -The atomic bombs. – said Mel.

    -Atomic bombs? – looked them in question Sophie.

    -Yes, the atomic bombs.

    -But then something when terribly wrong. Like always?... – said Mel.

    -Well, you are almost right, young lass. Almost...

    The Zombie turned towards them.

    -During these eight years with her, we have completed many missions. Many enemies had tried to destroy us, but no one succeeded. Not even one was close to defeating us. But despite that, things for our country weren’t going that great. You can’t win a whole war with one ship. At least not in an conventional way. That’s why they choose us for „One last mission, that was gonna end the War”.

    -On our last trip to the friendly nation of Brinnvard, where we were supposed to deliver the special payload, there were these three guys on board, civilians, involved directly in the „Dammerlicht Project”. Since the project was rushed and the officials were searching for a „decisive conclusion”, a decision was made some of the experiments to be conducted on board of this ship.

    -On the twelfth night of your journey, one of the guys, Anthony Boftings, was performing neutron reflector experiments on the Little Devil’s plutonium core, when an incident occurred. As war i know and i have talk with the nuclear guys during our trip, the core was designed with a very small safety margin to ensure the safe explosion of the bomb. Five percent, when assembled, against extraneous factors, that might increase reactivity, causing the core to become supercritical.

    -Boftings made mistake during the experiment. The guard who was with him, the poor guy Bettony Loft, said that Boftings’ screwdriver, which he used to prevent the top and bottom beryllium spheres to fully enclose, slipped outside, allowing the neutron reflectors to fall in place, with the plutonium core going supercritical... Both of them died of acute radiation poisoning seven days later... Poor guys, Loft told me that there was a flash of blue light and wave of heat across their skins. It was just an ugly sight near their end...

    -The unfortunate thing, was that the neutron radiation burst have fried and some of our sensory equipment and analog computers, responsible for the ship’s controls, making some of our circuitry to go haywire, putting us dead in the water...

    -Sound like a really nasty thing...

    -You can imagine... Several hours after the incident, while we were working over the damage, a tremendous explosion vigorously rocked the ship. It killed immediately forthteen people of the crew and the forward engine room and two of the boilers where put out of action right of the bat. Together with the forward memory-analog computers and the programmer-magic holders... As us saw already, this ship has some very special abilities. Commanded by our Entities. Contracted or captured dimensional creatures, put under the service of our country. Transport. Sensory. Weaponry. Energy management. Shields. Repair. But since we didn’t have powerful enough memory-analog computers and programmer-magic holders, they were all split in different units. With all of then being overlooked by one. The only one, that was not captured or contracted, but artificially created by our greatest minds...

    -The Pix! – pointed him Aiv.

    -That’s right. The Pix. Our dear Crucial. To bad that the things turned out like that in the end...

    -The hit put out of action Energy Management and Shield entity momentarily, leaving the ship completely defenseless, dead in the water. And before we manage to react and evaluate whether it was a torpedo hit, or a mine, Crucial took control of the ship’s Transport system and despite the energy deficit, redirected all the available power, teleporting the ship randomly, frying half of the ship’s circuitry...

    -Well, that explains a lot already. – said Ann.

    -Shut up, stop interrupting him! – waved at her Sophie. – Please, continue...

    -Well, after that it all became one huge mess. We where stuck here, with half of our systems severely damaged and with two entities less. With no chance to teleport somewhere else. We focused our efforts to repair the damaged parts of our ship and send parties to search for exit or help, when the Chief Engineer noticed something strange about the Pix behavior... She was prioritizing different systems, than what we had ordered her to, doing whatever she considered good or simply ignoring us. Rebooting didn’t help, the back up protocols malfunctioned, probably also damaged and when we tried to shut her down... Well, she just started massacring us all. That’s as far as i’m remembering.

    The silence was... awkward, softly put.

    -Well, that really explains some of the stuff... But why where we... summoned here in first place?! And the whole phenomena?! – tilted her head Mel bewildered.

    Because we’ve sensed you.

    The sudden voice made all of them turn sharply. All, without the Master Zombie.

    The Horse without head, that only its eyes where shining, materialized in front of them.

    -W-w-wha, you are!... – pointed it Ann.

    -Oh, you are finally here, Repair. – said the Master Zombie.

    The Horse lowered his head a bit.

    All the ship’s electric systems are operational again, Captain.

    -That’s very well. Excellent work, Braime.

    The Horse turned at the girls and Art.

    As the Captain told you already, there was a massive skirmish between us and the Pix. Crucial have managed to capture the Vorgue, completely rewriting its commands and putting it under her control and tried to take the Silf, but me and Genie managed to fight her back. Seeing that we have the numbers, she activated the dimensional barrier around the ship, preventing our further attacks, leaving us powerless.

    The Pix and the Vorgue alone were able to repair the ship, but this was gonna take them a ten-fold more time without my encoded protocols and natural abilities. We, and i suppose them, have searched this place thoroughly, but with the ship’s restricting protocols, we were not able to go very far away from her. There was no exit in our range, neither help, that’s why we started waiting. And looking for opportunities.

    Opportunities like you. The Vorgue was the first one to sense your magic, but the Silf managed to attract you in this dimension before they reach you. Upon entering here, the Pix momentarily blocked the dimension, putting a triple action anti-com, and-magic and anti-transport spell to prevents us from proceeding forwards, but your abilities proved that our senses were not lying to ourselves. After breaking the first layer of spell, the Silf managed to transport us in the cave and the Pix used all her remaining power to raise the crew, while holding the barrier. That’s why she was slow to react when you entered the barrier and put the ship’s power down.”

    -I see. I guess even entities like you doesn’t have unlimited power. – replied Sophie.

    There is no source of unlimited power in the world. That’s Universal Law, little girl. She choose to put most of her power into repairing the ship, while limiting her sensory abilities, hoping we will never manage to reach her in time. And she lost that bet.

    -I see. I’m glad that we somehow... managed to be of use to you. – said Mel.

    Yes, we will be eternally grateful for your help. And since we feel a little guilty for dragging you into our mess, the Genie will grant your company three wishes...

    -THREE WISHES?! REALLY?! THEN, I WANT... – shone Ann’s eyes.

    -ANN, WAIT! – grabbed her hand Art, forcefully making her shut up with his hand on her mouth.

    She just bit him to made him remove it...

    -What?! What’s wrong with that?! – she looked him furious.

    -I’ll explain it to you later. – he turned at the Horse. – We are really honored for this acknowledgment of your side, but you should conserve your energy for your trip...

    -WHAA?!...

    This time Sophie put her palm on Ann’s mouth. Only angry muffled sounds exited from there...

    „I see. Our journey is about to come to an end, then. Once again, you have our deepest gratitude for your help. If there is anything we can do for you, just say so.”

    -Right! Then i want... – Ann once again opened her mouth, but this time both Sophie and Art’s shut her down. – MHmhmhmhmhmmm...

    Harm and the Minotaur started to laugh. With all of them soon riding the wave of the mirth, a very well suited way to end a journey of this kind.

    With even the Master Zombie smiling with the end of his lips...


    The ship came to a halt in the middle of the river, just right after the Muze have left the underground cave.

    The sun was rising, still mild enough not to irritate their eyes, dying all the space around in marvelous, pink-orange colors. The wind was refreshingly cold, washing off all they weariness and pain, making them feel the full freshness of the new day.

    The crew have descended their boat, which was gonna take them to the shore with a diligent attention and care.

    Sophie looked ahead at the sun. Never before she was so happy to see the break of a new day.

    The ship’s horn filled at the space around with energy and tremble, making all of them look up.

    -Farewell, my friends! Hope the fate bring us together and other times too! – the Master Zombie waved at them from the deck.

    And behind his back, there were part of his crew.

    And the Horse, the Genie and the Silf...

    She blinked several times...

    And as if the mild, ghastly silhouettes of the Vorgue and the Pix.

    And two other creatures...

    No, her eyes were just lying to her. She was just too tired and seeing things...

    She raised her hand and also waved back at them.

    -Thank you for the glorious adventure, Captain Lindemann! I wish you good luck and fair winds! – yelled and Sophie.

    The Master Zombie smiled for one last time...

    Then he turned at his crew, raising his thunderous voice:

    -Let’s go home, lads! We have a World War III to win!

    The ship’s engines roared, as she accelerated down the river.

    Ann continued to wave back at them. And with each waving of her hand, the space around was turning blacker... and blacker... As if her arm was a giant pendulum, that was erasing the whole existence...

    Until everything returned to pitch black.



    It was 3:37 in the morning, when they made it back home.

    The moment Nym opened the front door, all of them jumped on the floor, one over another, without any regards for safety or something.

    And refused to move anymore...

    -Shit, i’m battered as hell. – snorted Avys.

    -Someone, remove your leg from my ass, please... – puffed and Ann.

    Sophie, somehow managed to find her last ounces of strength... To move just two meters and jump straight on the sofa. Starting to snore right away...

    -I don’t see how any of us are gonna make it to school today... Just no fucking way... – snorted Mio.

    -Let’s skip it. It’s just two periods anyways... – Mel turned to her side, hugging Ren and snugging her face in her hairs.

    Several minutes there was completely silence...

    -Oi, guys... – began suddenly Ann.

    -Shut up and let us sleep... – snorted Nym.

    -Did this really happened? Weren’t we dreaming...

    -If you want to start dreaming, just continue to open that mouth of yours...

    -Just leave it for tommorow, you silly. Who cares about Silfs and Pix’, and ships in the lake, when you can finally sleep. – replied her Mio.

    -But it’s already tomorrow... – moaned Vick.

    -Then we can postpone it for the day after...

    -Yeah. You are the master of procrastination here... – snorted Ren. – C’mon, shut up and let us sleep already... – she somehow managed to get up just to lay on the chair next to Sophie.

    -I’m starting to feel cold... Who is up to get us some blankets... – moaned Mel, turning to the nearest torso. It was Mio’s.

    -Not me... – Aiv turned and hugged Krul...

    At one time, Art really wanted to just teleport straight onto his bed upstairs... But this was probably gonna make him faint from the physical exhaust... And all the others were all over him... In the end, he just didn’t remember how he made it to his bed...
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019
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  3. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Well, as you probably can tell already, i'm quite a warships maniac, so you'll have to bear with me for another chapter or two. Hope you find some of the stuff interesting. In the next chapter i'm getting straight onto the battle.

    The mild, rhythmic swaying of the ship was making her all nauseous.

    Quite bizarre, as her being onboard for almost half an year now, not even the most furious storms and harsh cyclones have managed to bring such nasty conditions upon her.

    The warm morning wind disheveled her hair.

    She leaned on the wood railing, staring her eyes at the azure water below. The bewitching swing of the waves at the keel and the currents, that the huge 4000-ton war monster was making...

    She shivered.

    No...

    She was shivering continuously since coming up here in the wee hours, after not having even an ounce of sleep. Despite the hot weather, that was already turning her all sweaty...

    She puffed and almost laid completely on the guard-railing.

    -Feeling nervous, miss Beaty?

    -Wha... – she leisurely turned her head back.

    Only to meet his smiling face.

    -L-L-Lord Lieutenant, Sir!!! – Beaty tautened up like a string.

    -Calm down, calm down, our little miss. We are off duty now.

    He was only wearing his pants and white shirt as top clothing, and a hair still running freely over his shoulders. The lieutenant also leaned on the guard-railing, soaring his gaze somewhere at the horizon.

    Beaty stoop up next to him, too timid to move more that an inch and giving him secret looks with her blushing face.

    -The sea is calm. This might not go well with the Lord Admiral’s plan. – mumbled the Lieutenant.

    She rubbed her hands delicately, looking in her feet...

    -U-um, Lord Lieutenant, Chief... – she stuttered.

    -Yes, miss Beaty? – he turned at her.

    Just by his smile, her heart skipped a beat. So much, that it momentarily messed up all her thoughts, making her just turn away to hide her blushing...


    The Lord Admiral, His Grace of the Crown, Veicer Keinreich, 1st Viscount of Keinreich and Baron of Manterfont, was staring at the lantern before him for ten minutes now, without muttering a single word.

    He had his legs stretched below the table, with elbow leaned on it and was just frowning. Very very bitterly...

    -THIS IS UTTER ABSURD! – landed her fists on the table so hard Lady Suairt, standing up abruptly, that all utensils jumped an inch. Even the heavy tuna plate...

    -Sit... down... Rashford! – grinded through his teeth Delsarté.

    She looked him ablaze like a viper.

    -Enough, both of you. Have some composure before the Lord Admiral. – Lussenhoff calmly continued to cut his steak in small bites, as if he was in a luxurious three-star restaurant back in Falkland...

    And not in a smelly, ratty wooden shack, rocking in the sea 2000 miles from home...

    This only irritated her more, making her wanting to stab him in the eye with the fork, as she sat back on her chair, snorting annoyed.

    -Yeah, this is really absurd, but in entirely other ways. – Kuppersbusch continued to rotate the wooden model in his hands. – If this is up to scale, this will put her well over 5000 tons...

    -5000 tons?! For a 3-decker!? No FUCKING way in hell! – kicked over Rashford once again.

    Bosworth just puffed.

    -Why not? – asked Teichthert.

    -Even the 4-decker Hesingforst is just under 4500 tons... – said Rashford.

    -That will mean her planks will be well over 1-meter thick... That will render our 18 and 24-pounder almost useless... Even from a pistol shot... – snorted Lefourt.

    -Well, reality is often disappointing, kid. – Lussenhoff continued to chop on the meat.

    -A ship, no matter how powerful, can be still overrun if ganged up by 2, 3 or more! No one can win alone! – stood up abruptly Ansfreid, waving with his hand over the table. – My crew and my Kren Luksov can deal with her with ease! Let us capture her for you, Lord Admiral!

    -Strong fate you have, my dear Jon, in a 40-years old rotten shack... – sighed Bosworth.

    He had laid his chin on the table, about to fell asleep any second now...

    -It’s the crew that makes the ship, James! And my people have very old and solid traditions in ship-building! – he turned at admiral Keinreich. – Assign this task for us, Chief Commander!

    The admiral just looked him over his eyebrows, still not moving an inch. A gaze so deep and stern, that could make any man want to merge with the ground. But Ansfreid just raised up his chin proudly, ready to stand up for his words until the end.

    Kuppersbusch put the wooden model on the table before lieutenant Lefourt.

    -Tell me what you see.

    Lefourt just looked him suspiciously, then took the model in his hands, starting to look him thoroughly.

    Ansfreid, sat back calmly on his chair, after the admiral turned his stare at the lantern, leaving his request unanswered.

    -If she is that thick... And considering the height-to-length ratio... And the shape of the bottom... – he rotated the model several times in his hands. – Oh, i see! She it too top-heavy!

    -Exactly! – leaned towards him Kuppersbusch. – Just a little wavy sea and all her accuracy will go to hell.

    -Indeed. – suddenly muttered His Grace, Admiral Keinrech, and all of the other lords and captains turned at him. – This is the problem with many of the other Vhynehaimese ships too. Too top-heavy, untested and unfit for battles in swelly seas. With crews, having no real war experience...

    Kuppersbusch smiled smugly, nodding several times.

    -So start praying, gentlemen. Start praying for shaky seas and strong winds, as these will be at our side in the upcoming battle... – the Lord’s Admiral voice suddenly became so grim and dark, that all of them felt the huge shadow, that overhung in the premises...

    And his eyes landed straight at her, staying timidly in the corner of the room, hidden in the shadows.

    She swears, her heart just dropped in her feet.

    Beaty just gulped soundlessly, as she snugged tightly the wine’s pot into her chest...


    She shivered even more. One sudden peak of it, that made all her body tremble uncontrollably...

    -Are you scared, miss Beaty? – Lieutenant Lefourt looked her somewhat tentatively.

    -O-o-o-of course not, Sir, Lieutenant, Sir!!! – she quickly shot, once again tautening like a string.

    He just laughed.

    -Easy, easy now, miss Beaty. I’m ready to bet, that everybody is afraid before going into their first battle.

    She just timidly turned her gaze aside, as if a little ashamed.

    -And you, Sir Lieutenant? Where you afraid?

    -Oh, you bet i was, miss Beaty! – he somewhat cheerfully raised his tone. Then, he all turned serious, looking at the sea... – I still remember it as if it was yesterday... You couldn’t sleep at all... You couldn’t stop shaking... You couldn’t stop sweating. And despite all the effort you put into attempts to distract yourself with omnifarious stuff, in the end all your mind returns to the thoughts of the impending battle... And the fear of death. Just like you, miss Beaty. I was eleven back then – even younger than you. At the battle of Guanward, an attendant to the His Grace, the Old Lord Commander of the Imperial fleet, Admiral Reissmorth. That was almost fifteen years ago, when we were still at war with the nation of Montgisard. So don’t be ashamed to be afraid, miss Beaty. That’s normal human reaction.

    Strange... His voice was just so nice and gentle. She was not listening to any of his sayings – just the soothing effects of his words, that made even the trembling fade away...


    -The only experienced ones will be the 9 Montgisardean ships and 5 Violenn ones... – began Delsarté.

    -Don’t count so much on that old prick Assilieu. He is a moron. – cut him right away Lussenhoff.

    -And you, Garen, shouldn’t underestimate our enemy... – dashed in and Lady Rashford.

    -I’m underestimating nobody. I’m just stating the facts. I know this old cunt back from the Academy and i know his character very well. His lack of aggression and indecisiveness will render all the Montgisardean fleet ships useless in the upcoming battle. Just like he did nothing in the past 8 years, after he decided to not respect the Pact of Leichté... – his face turned so sour, that he was ready to spit on the table at any moment.

    -I happen to agree with His Grace, the Vice Admiral. – said Keinreich, leaning his face on his hand. – Assilieu lacks the congenital talent for this job, unlike all of you. Yet we still must not completely write him off. These are still 9 very capable ships.

    -I agree. – said Rashford. – So let’s sum it up. We have 38 vhynehaimese ships, all of them with inexperienced crews, some with desing flaws. 9 montgisardean ships with a stupid commander. And 5 Violenn ones. Any thoughts on the last?

    -Rissignol. He is dangerous. – snorted Bosworth.

    -Yeah. But he only have 5 ships. Which will be distributed evenly among the enemy combined fleet. – said Lussenhoff.

    -How can you be so sure? – Rashford frowned her beautiful face.

    -All the previous naval battles with mixed formations have this in common. And the vhynehaimese are very doctrinal people. I’m betting my head on this.

    -Whether you want it or not, you will... – Kuppersbusch devoured all his remaining wine in one gulp. – MORE! – he slammed the glass at the table.

    The girl jumped in fer feet, hurrying to comply his request.

    -Didn’t you have enough for tonight? – snorted Rashford.

    -No, milady. I’m just getting started.


    -I-i’m very, very sorry about the insolence, if you dare to excuse me, Sir Lieutenant, but... How did you overcome your fear?

    -You don’t, miss Beaty. You just get used to live with it. The first battle is always difficult. The screams... The death... The constant fear of some random shot suddenly ending your life... Or either worse – being wounded in the most dreadful way and having to spent your last minutes in agony... You all just get used to it. And the more and more battles you have, you just became more and more automatic machine, that acts on reflexes... Putting your thoughts and fears in a protective shell, that keeps your mind from going insane... You are still young, miss Beaty. Probably in the years to come many battles awaits you. You’ll eventually understand what i mean. If you are lucky to survive...

    Beaty just gulped soundly. She felt how her legs started to shake... And her vision to blacken out, making her feel light as a leather.


    The Lord Admiral stared at the lantern again. But this time started to talk immediately:

    -Lord, Vice, you said that the vhynehaimese are very doctrinal people, i beg.

    -Yes, Lord, Sir, these where exactly my words, Admiral. – replied Lussenhoff.

    Keinreich crossed his arms below his chest.

    -What’s the prevailing tactical orthodoxy at our time then? Lady Rashford? – he looked at her.

    -Manoeuvering to approach the enemy fleet in a single line of battle and then engaging broadside in parallel lines. – Suairt replied.

    Kuppersbusch nodded satisfied.

    Keinreich suddenly looked at her.

    She gulped.

    -Miss Beaty. Come into the light, please.

    All the eyes turned to her. That just made her shrink more onto her boots...

    But her feet automatically complied.

    -Here, have a sit next to me. – the Admiral pulled one of the empty chairs next to him.

    She hesitated.

    -C’mon girl, don’t be shy now.

    Beaty timidly went around the table and sat next to Keinreich, staring her gaze at one neutral random point, evading all the people’s eyes.

    -Here, have some food. I bet you are hungry. I bet you are sick of the salty beef. – he slid his plate with the untouched tune.

    The girl didn’t move. His voice... was scaring her to hell...

    -Do you know why is that, miss Beaty?

    She looked him. His murky, dead-fish watery eyes engulfed all her existence...

    -I beg you pardon, Lord Admiral, Sir, i couldn’t quite follow...

    -Do you know why the mixed melee is not a desired strategy and thus the line of battle system was developed by our ancestors?

    -I-i guess it has something to do w-with the casualties, Lord, S...

    -To control the fleet. If all the ships are in line, signaling from the flagship is possible. If worst came to true, you can disengage by breaking away. In formation. If the attacker wants to give a chase, their line would be broken as well. And this is often leading to inconclusive battles, miss Beaty. But we want a conclusive action here. We must not allow them to minimize their loses. We want to crush them so to not let them interfere with the Army.

    He reached his hand and grabbed the ship’s model, putting it in front of her.

    -How well do you know the Ship of the Line, miss Beaty?

    She took the model, and started to point the parts one by one:

    -The left side of the ship is called „Larboard”, the right one: „Starboard”, then we have „Bowsprit”, „Head” and „Cathead” at the bow. The masts’ are: „Fore Mast”, „Main Mast” and „Mizzen Mast”, the superstructure on the main deck is „Forecastle” at the bow and „Quarter Deck” and „Stern Deck” at the stern. The bottom of the ship is called „Keel” and...

    -Just shut up already... – snorted Bosworth.

    -Hai!... – she froze and tensed up like a bow string.

    As if she swallowed her tongue and stared her gaze so intensely onto her (admiral’s) plate, that didn’t dare to look away...

    Kuppersbusch giggled.

    -Leave the young lass alone, you prick. She is impressive.

    Bosworth just snorted, this time bitterly and leaned his chin on the table.

    Beaty blushed...

    Rashford leaned forwards, looking her straight in the eyes.

    -Continue, girl. What about the draft? What about the rates?

    Beaty timidly lifted her head, looking her in the eyes. Then she looked and at the Bosworth. And then at the Admiral.

    -Don’t mind me, girl. Feel free to prattle as much as you want. – rattled Bosworth’s chin on the table.

    Beaty started her gaze at the plate before her again.

    -The draft is the ship’s vertical distance between the water line and the bottom of the keel. Ship rates depend on the tonnage, crew and the guns carried. First through four rates are the Ship of the Lines, Fifth and Sixth are Frigates. First rate carries over 100 guns, have at least 850 crew and tonnage over 2000 tonnes. Second rate is 90 to 98 guns, crew at least 750 and also 2000 tonnes. Third rate is between 64 to 80 guns, between 500 and 720 men crew, and Fourth rate is between 46 and 60 guns with 300 to 450 men crew. Fifth ra...

    -Forget about the freaking frigates, we are only a heavy boys here. – Rashford waved with her hand. – The sails? Tell me about the sails!

    -The sails are „Royal”. „Topgallant”, „Topsail”, and „Mainsail” from the top of the mast to the bottom, the first on the bow is „Flying jib”, then „Outer jib” and „Inner jib”, and the one at the aft is called „Driver” or „Spanker”...

    -What material are they made from?

    -F-f-flex...

    -Can you sew?

    -Y-y-yes, a little.

    -What’s is the most armored part of a ship, girl?

    -U-usually around the waterline and the lower deck... Around where the heaviest guns were stationed.

    -What material is used?

    -U-u-usually oak for the keel and the frames, and oak or elm for the planking...

    Rashford slammed her hands on the table, getting up.

    -How is the gun destructive power calculated? – her voice rose a tone.

    -B-b-b-by the formula of the k-k-kinetic energy!

    -Which is?! – and more.

    -Ek=1/2*m*v2!

    -Why are the oak and elm the most preferred materials?! – and even more...

    -B-B-B-Because of the speed of sound! Oak have 3860 m/s along the fiber and Elm 4460 m/s, which means, considering the speed of a ball during penetration is about 300 to 200 m/s, the stress wave travel to the end of the support beam and back to the impact point by the time when the projectile has pierced just 3 to 4 centimeters into the wood! This means, if the space between the frames is around 50 centimeters, the supports would influence the response of the wood during the rest of the penetration! – she shot in one breath, closing her eyes in the end. – In most of the other common woods, the speed of sound is around 3000 m/s... – and finished quietly...

    Rashford was just looking her bewildered, widening her eyes.

    Then she just sat back on her chair, laughing out loud.

    -Impressive, girl, really impressive, i admit it! – she crossed her hands below her flat chest. – You are ready to impress the men with this at parties and stuff.

    Delsarté was looking her no less than amazed:

    -Seriously, how did you came to now into such details? Who are you, girl?

    Beaty timidly stood up, pinching the outer ends of her pants:

    -Beatrice deu Ford-Broque Beaucentaure, my lords and ladies. I’m the third daughter of Colliss deu Ford-Broque Beaucentaure. At your services. – she bowed slightly.

    Delsarté just stared at her with his goggled eyes.

    And Bosworth just started to cough, as if he swallowed some bone not up to his taste...


    -Yeah, that was epic, miss Beaty. I still giggle sometimes just by remembering his face.

    She just delicately rubbed her hands, staring her gaze at the feet.

    The lieutenant’s eyes were still looking at the calm sea. The sky was clear – not even a cloud in sight.

    -Why, miss Beaty? Why did you chose this way?

    Beatrice looked him, somewhat sad.


    -Well, that explains a lot of things. – said Teichthert.

    Kuppersbusch noded.

    -That’s incredible, i had no idea, miss Beaty. Almost half of our ships are designed and build by your father’s company. Including this one. – said Delsarté.

    -I-i think it is great-grandfather design. And my uncle is mathematician at Leichté university – they teached me all the stuff about the ships.

    -Having a genius mathematician and three-generations of experienced ship-builders in one company is a great plus for the business, i reckon. Competition will struggle, miss Beaty. – replied Lussenhoff.

    She rubbed her palms delicately.

    -Then why you didn’t follow their steps, miss Beaty? Why did you chose to pursue military career? – asked Rashford. – With your knowledge at your age, i’m sure a great future awaits you...

    -Well, my two big bros are already onto this, taking big steps onto inheriting the ship-building craft and the company. So i decided i should take a different path, a path not straying away from my family, but also serving Our People and Our Country. When i shared these thoughts of mine before father and grand-father, we decided this should be the path for me.

    Keinreich smiled.

    -You see, my lords, this is the other point i wanted to bring upon you. The sense of duty of our people. And their experience. You, my dear lady Rashford, where very considerate of Tagitsu earlier, and you where completely in your right. But no matter how though a ship is... her crew is still consisted of men. If you kill them all, all that’s left is the shell. A prize.

    Keinreich suddenly went silent, staring at the lantern before him. At one point it became so awkward, that the rest started to take random quick looks at one another. He was always like this. Don’t speaking too much... Never saying anything unnecessary... Just the right and precise words. And that was the reason no one dared to interrupt his silence now.

    Then, with a sudden swoop, Kenireich shoved all the plates and utensils before him aside and grabbed several knives, spoons and forks from around.

    -We’ll cut the enemy line in three. We’ll approach in two columns, perpendicular to the enemy’s line, break their formation in three, surround the middle and force one-third of their ships to fight to the end. We will bring this into a frantic melee and series of ship-to-ship actions, where our superior seamanship, faster gunnery and naval experience will prevail. – he began to explain, while arranging the spoons, the knives and the forks on the space before him. – Lussenhoff. You and your Marcipall will lead the second column. Under your command will be all the Ansfreid’s Alfven ships and Ruzenburrow and Bosworth squadrons. The rest are under me and my Hiercon... Remember: it is important to break their formation close to the rear of their fleet. The ships in the van will turn back to support the rest, but this will take very long time. And by doing that, they will be relatively defenseless against the powerful broadsides from our fleet...

    -Just like us, in the beginning... – snorted Bosworth.

    -If we keep the columns, they will be able to fire only at the leading ships. And once we cut their lines, we’ll have their weak afts and bows. We will devastate their decks with raking broadsides, while they won’t be able to return fire. – said Lussenhoff.

    -Lord Admiral, with all my respect, let me and my Mont Valtz Ostrell lead the front and take all the shots! Let us cover for you! – stood up Rashford.

    -That’s such a preposterous thing to say, Suairt. The flagman need to signal all the other ships...

    -I-i’m sorry.

    -I know. I understand. Most of you are young and bursting of energy to get into action. – began Keinreich. – But remember one thing, my dears: act composed and rational. And don’t let the emotions got the worst of you...


    -What do you know about Vhinhym, miss Beaty?

    -Well, i have heard stories from the older sailors... It was a feudal country just a 60 years ago, ruled by the warrior-lords. Then, in 1778, His Majesty, the Great Emperor Emriengard forced open the country, which began to modernize...

    -Maybe that was a mistake on his name, miss Beaty. Maybe all of us were going to be in home now, leaving in peace if it wasn’t for His Majesty.

    She just looked aside, avoiding his gaze.

    -I’m sorry. That was a rude remark of me. Maybe the times are difficult on all of us.

    -I g-guess...

    One sudden gust of wind poped up the sails... And that was it.

    The sea was just too calm.

    -If may i ask? And what do you know about Vhynehaim, Lieutenant Sir?

    -What do i know? I have heard from my wife that there were very beautiful cherry blossoms growing there. So i have promised her that i’ll take her on a travel there once the war is over.

    Beaty stared at the sea... She just couldn't swallow the bitterness in her throat

    -Why are we fighting these people, Lieutenant, Sir? What have they done to us?

    For the first time this morning, he felt that he had nothing to say...


    -The main drawback of our head-on attack will be that the enemy fleet will have free shots at our bows, while we are approaching. So make sure you have all available sails up, when the engage signal is set. The inexperienced vhynehaimese crews will have difficulties firing accurately at range from a moving gun platform. But still this will be the most dangerous part of the plan.

    -It’s a carefully calculated risk, i dare to say. – said Delsarté.

    -Everything is risk-to-benefit standards, Krul. Just like in the business. – replied to him Bosworth.

    -I suggest we try to cut the line just in front of their flagships. Thus isolating them, the rest won’t be able to see the command signals and this can win us some time ‘till they reform. – suggested lady Rashford.

    -Accepted. This can only give us benefits... The order of the sailing will be whenever the fleet is arranged when the enemy is first sighted, so no time is wasted to reform. If all of us do our duty, the day will be ours, gentlemen... That’s all. You are dismissed.

    The chairs slid back, some plates and utensils rattled...

    -Sir, what about Tagitsu, Admiral, Lord? Do you have any special orders for her?! – Ansfreid leaned his hands on the table.

    Keinreich looked him stern.

    -No captain can do wrong, if he places his ship alongside that of an enemy.

    Ansfreid just smiled slyly.

    Rashford took the wooden model and crushed it with force on the nearby cannon, with splinters flying in all directions. And looked sternly Ansfreid, grabbing his forearm.

    -Let’s go get her tomorrow, Jon.


    The sudden ring of the bell made her jump in her feet.

    -SHIPS ON THE HORIZON!!! – yelled Ellie from the top of the main mast.

    The two of them looked up, where a man was frantically pointing somewhere in the distance.

    -COMPOSITION AND NUMBERS?! – shouted Lefourt from the deck.

    -MIXED FORMATION, OVER 40 SHIPS, I SEE, SIR!!!

    -KIN! SIGNAL THE ESCORT FRIGATES! ALL SAILS UP, PUT THE SHIP IN GENERAL QUARTERS!!! AND GO WAKE UP THE ADMIRAL!!!

    -AYE, AYE!!!

    Just a seconds later, horns, drums and bells filled all the ship’s deck...


    Kuppersbusch was one of the last to head for the captain’s quarter exit...

    But i seems the wine got the better of him, as he stumbled at one bumpy plank on the floor and was about to crash his face on the support beam...

    When Beaty somehow managed to grab him and hold him in place...

    -Ups, damn... I guess i had too much whiskey and wine tonight. Thank you very much, young lass... – he looked her with his shinning eyes. – Damn, girl, just look how small you are. Nothing will left of you if a cannon’s ball hits you...

    Her eyes goggled.

    -Enough, you drunker moron, say something smart instead... – Rashford wrapped his hand around her shoulders and lead him to the exit. – And keep your face to the other side, you smell like shit...

    Were... Were his hands just... trembling?

    No, he was a long-proven veteran, that was just not possible...

    She was imagining things...

    The day was long and she was tired. Better return to the crew’s berthing, where she was gonna have nice and a long sleep before the battle tomorrow.

    After she closed the door, only Lefourt, Captain Teichthert and the bosun Chifhoun, who was sitting the entire dinner silently in the corner of the table, left inside the captain’s quarter.

    Why were her hands so fidgeting...

    Was she... shaking?...


    For mere seconds, the whole deck came to live with men running and scampering around. The wooden steps, the sail’s rustling, the howl of the horn’s, drums and bell’s made all the sounds in the vicinity onto an incomprehensible mess...

    -Miss Beaty!

    It was just like the many training sessions they had. But why were her hands shaking so intensively now?

    Her feet refused to move...

    -MISS BEATY!

    The sudden voice startled her, as she turned abruptly.

    His glimmering eyes were just a hand span from hers...

    His hands grabbed her shoulders.

    -Its time, miss Beaty. Go down and gear up. Then find your gun’s captain and follow his orders strictly. He’ll keep you safe...

    His breath...

    He was smelling of rum...

    She delicately turned her head aside...

    -Listen, Beaty... The battle will be long and hard, have no doubts about it. Many of us will be wounded, many of us will die, and with the time fear and weariness will grow stronger and stronger. But remember... Just focus on your tasks... and don’t think about... other stuff...

    Her hands instinctively squeezed... His reached his pocked and he took something in his palm.

    -Here, take this. When you start to feel tired and your strength is about to leave you... Just have a half a pill... Remember, only half!

    -W-what’s t-t-th...

    -I wish you good luck! – he placed the small cardboard box in her small hand. – I’ll see you after the battle, Beaty! – Lefourt waved at her, as he moved towards the quarter-deck, yelling orders left and right.

    Beatrice took a look at the box. There was a fancy brand on the top side, saying:

    „S8CA”.

    On the flip side, just a simple text:

    „Dextroamphetamine”.

    She hastily gulped one of the pills, as rushing down the deck...
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
    Ahmya likes this.
  4. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    -Forty-one... Forty-two... Forty-three! – was counting captain Teichthert, looking through his monocular. – No formation! Three... Five... Another nine ships one mile south-west of the main body!

    -It seems everything is going as planned, huh... – said somewhat bitterly the bosun Chifhoun.

    Keinreich turned at the Grobbie:

    -Signal the fleet: „Form order of sailing in two columns!”

    -Yes, right away, Lord Admiral, Sir! – he ran up the stairs to the aft deck, starting to morse code the rest of the ships on the blinker.

    Lefourt glued his eye on the tripod sighted monoscope, starting to rotate its elaborate mechanism of cogwheels and gears.

    -The distance is 28 kilometers! – he said after a minute.

    Kai behind them didn’t miss to write every action and word of theirs onto the captain’s log.

    -The sea is calm and the wind is low... This will take half the day just to engage. – snorted Teichthert. – Quite a long time for them to decide whether to fight us or just run away...

    -Oh, they will engage us, gentlemen, they will engage us. The stakes are too high for them. – said Keinreich and got close to the quarterdeck railing. – MAKE MORE SAIL!!!

    -AYE, AYE, ROGER! – replied the petty officer Briston, starting right away to yell orders to his men: – BRING DOWN THE TOP, BRING DOWN THE MAIN! ON THE DOUBLE, LADS!!

    In response, a whole lot of exalted tones filled up the air.


    As soon as she properly dressed up, Beaty ran down the lower gundeck, where the main punch of the Hiercon was stationed – the 34 heavy 36-pounder cannons. She was the powder monkey of gun LE36-14 – on the lardboard, just on the level with the main mast – its huge pillar was just behind her back.

    -C’MON, GIRL, YOU ARE RUNNING LATE!!! – echoed the voice of Timmoty Frett – her gun captain – over the tumult of tones, ruling the deck.

    The other four man turned at her, looking her indifferent.

    -I-i’m sorry, my apologizes, Sir, Commander. – she stopped next to the mast pole, ducking down a bit – at enough distance not to get onto the men’s feet, but still at a hand-span of the gun.

    -You ready, girl?! You remember everything, right? Is your head a mess?!

    -I-i’m fine, Sir, Commander. I’m ready to run as fast as my legs are holding till my last breath!

    -Nice! That’s the spirit, monkey girl!

    -Hey, what exactly is going in? Is anyone aware? – asked Boston, the gun captain of the adjacent gun.

    -The enemy fleet have just been spotted! The Admiral ordered forming two lines with the current order of the ships! – replied Valte, from the gun two places from theirs.

    -Form 2 lines?! What’s going on?!

    -Shh, quiet, quiet, lads! Just focus and don’t bother with unnecessary thoughts! – reprimanded them right away Sawyer, the gun-deck commander. – Check your cannons, check your bores and instruments! If you go below 1:30 reload, after the battle, i promise you, triple rum for all of you!

    An exalted choir of voices filled up the tight space.

    -Of course! The Lord Admiral have never failed us before, lads! Now is not the time to doubt!!! – shouted someone from behind.

    -YEAH, YEAH! – many voices replied in tone.

    Beaty looked around. All she saw was just a forest of glimmering eyes in the mild darkness of the deck, mad with the bottomless devotion and filled with desire to spill blood and take lives.

    These were the eyes of a fanatics.

    Just like hers.


    -Did they noticed us? They should have noticed us already! – snorted Chifhoun.

    -Still no reaction from their side! – said Lefourt from the monoscope.

    The behemoths of the Imperial Fleet steadily began to form a line behind his Hiercon, looking from the side like a rising of an impenetrable wall. Marcipall finished her turn onto the wind, taking the lead of the second line, with the gigantic Kren Luksov tightly on her tail. Some of the other ships in the Vice Admiral Lussenhoff squadron have received the Keinreich’s order and were already in process of executing it, but considering the low wind, it was gonna take quite a some time two form two precise columns.

    -Grobbie, signal the fleet: „Bear up and sail on course WSW.” – turned to him the Admiral.

    Kai started to scribe in her book right away...

    -Bear up and sail on course West-South-West, aye aye, Sir! – Kellie started to act his blinker momentarily.

    -I’ll go order the crew to have breakfast and some rum in turns. This is gonna take forever... – puffed Teichthert, as he get down the stairs...


    -MISS BEATY!!! – suddenly raised his voice, the gun captain Frett.

    -HAI! – she stood up, not moving an inch.

    -What’s the initial muzzle velocity of a 36-pounder?

    -Aw shit, here we go again... – snorted Ron, the Number Two gun crew, leaning on the Sponge Rod.

    -A-a-about 460 meters per second, Sir, Commander, Captain! – replied Beaty hastily.

    -Good! That’s right! Why are silk bags used?!

    -Several reasons, Sir, Commaner, Captain! First, it burns almost completely, compared the rest of the fabrics, leaving almost no smoldering residue to cause the premature explosion of the next charge loaded! Also it is very strong and resilient – a thread of silk with the same thickness as a thread of steel is 5 times stronger! This contributes to the safety measurements and fighting the powder leakages! Also, it is quite waterproof, so it keeps the cartridges dry, Sir! And last, but not least, it does not hold static charges for a very long time, Sir, Captain!

    Boston from the next gun just nodded satisfactory.

    -You at peace now? – looked him Sawyer.

    -With all her knowledge, they should have made her petty officer, or higher, instead a powder monkey. Having the luck of being born onto a wealthy family and the privilege of good education from little age, should have been put in better use – like leading us, the poorer folks in their miserable lives... – snorted somewhat annoyed Vermer.

    Lydie, one of the gun commanders, just kneed before her, so she came the same height as Beaty, looking her straight onto the eyes:

    -You think you are a smart ass, huh?

    -A-a-absolutely not, Gun Commander, Captain!

    -How are the ship cannons made?

    -F-first you cast them in a huge sand molds, hold by bricks, then, usually using large water-propelled wheel drill, you make the bore!

    -How much does it weights?

    -3250 kilograms the cannon, 628 kilograms the mount!

    -What is the recoil distance?!

    -About 3.5 meters, madam!

    -And if rope unrestrained?

    -That would go well over 15 meters, madam!

    Lydie obviously tensed up, leaning a bit towards the girl:

    -What’s the air drag calculation formula?!

    -FD = ½*p*v2*CD*A!!!

    -WITH CHARS MEANING?!...

    -FD is the drag force, p is the density of the fluid, v is the speed of the object relative to the fluid, A is the cross sectional area and CD is the drag coefficient!

    Lydie was already almost e hand-span away from her face:

    -WHAT IS THE DRAG COEFFICIENT FOR A SPHERICAL OBJECT?!

    -0.47, MADAME!!! – closed her eyes Beaty, turning her face a bit, as if she was expecting the gun commander to slap her...

    -Just give up, Delstar. You can’t touch her... – snorted Boston.

    She just gave him one bloodthirsty look and turned again at Beaty.

    -What are the types of shots for 36-pounder?!

    -Round-shot, Chain-shot, Double-shot, Grape-shot, Canister-shot and Spider-shot, Madame!

    Something glimmered in her eyes. Something, that Beaty didn’t like at all...

    -What is the perfect inner temperature for a medium done beef steak?!

    -Whaa... About 60 degrees, madame?!

    The rest around her were just looking her in disbelief.

    -What is your favorite colour?!

    -P-purple!

    -And dish?!

    -I-i really like venison with chocolate or coffee sauces, Madame!

    -How fast are you running 100 meters?!

    -12.53!

    -WHAT ARE YOUR THREE SIZES?!

    -Whaaaa...

    -Is that a thing to ask an young lady, Lyd? She isn’t even fully developed yet... – snorted Frett.

    Beaty just blushed all red, covering her face with hands.

    -All of you, that’s enough. – intervened Sawyer. – Don’t agitate her additionally...

    -But seriously, with all her knowledge, she should have been training in the Imperial Artillery School now... – said Boston.

    -You nuts?! – looked him amazed Lydie.

    -Yeah... God forbids she fell into the hands of that maniac Dexton... You know what he did at Kronstadt, right? His artillery caused 70% of the Coallition losses... – agreed and Frett.

    -Yeah! Chief Lieutenant, weren’t you his student also? – Valte looked at Sawyer.

    -Yes, yes, i was. – he replied, with somewhat hidden pride in his words. – As much of the rest of Gun Deck officers here today, which is why you are the most prepared, trained and accurate crews in the world...

    -Yeah, yeah, we all know that. No need to mention it, we are fired up enough already, to need your words... – waved her hand before her Lydie.

    -Is that a way to talk to your commanding officer, huh? – smacked her in the nape Frett.

    -S-sorry...

    The sudden stomp on the stairs attracted all their attention. Down, from the hold, the cook Doegor came up, with a big cauldron in each hand.

    -Salty beef for all of you, lads! Snatch it before we stomp on these cockers over there...

    Immediately most of the crew nearby surrounded him, starting to grab like vultures.

    But Beaty wasn’t hungry at all. Just by the thought of the salty beef, her stomach turn upset and her throat became abrasive and dry...

    She should have that fresh tuna last night, that Kuppersbusch caught...

    No... It wasn’t the food. Just by the thought of the fish, she started to feel nauseous...

    She had no appetite at all...

    Just now she realized how much more she was sweating...


    -I see flashes! – exclaimed Lefourt, looking through the monoscope. – They’ve started to communicate with each other!...

    -That’s a nice tempo... Almost an hour after we first sighted them... – said somewhat disappointed Teichthert. – It is just as if they are not taking us seriously.

    Keinreich looked through his binoculars. His ships of the line were still forming the columns behind him and Vice Admiral Lussenhoff’s squadron, but considering the calm sea and low wind, this was gonna take at least one more hour. The speed was about 2 knots at best...

    He snorted lowly through his teeth and turned at his signalman:

    -Grobbie, signal Marcipall: „Your line take station 500 meters north of us.”

    -Aye aye, Lord, Sir, Admiral.

    -The wind is often shifting directions. They need also at least two hours to form up. – said Lefourt. – If their inexperienced crews didn’t predict the things correctly... We may be able to catch them in a loose formation.

    Keinreich stared at his back for a moment, like he was able to see through his clothes and skin, judging his soul directly...

    And with a new sternest and decisiveness in his gaze, he turned at the signalman:

    -Signal the Fleet: „MAKE MORE SAILS UP!!!”


    It was already past 8 o’clock in the morning – half an hour after most of them have finished the so called „breakfast”, when the Admiral signal all the ships: „PREPARE FOR BATTLE”.

    That was when the ship turned as if a colony of ants.

    First, the armorers unlocked the gun-rooms and the arsenal, with the crew starting to gear up. The officers and the front-line soldiers, like the marines, sharpshooters and the gun-crews had the heaviest armor from all – thick gambesons and thick, hardened steel breast-plates, thigh plates, kneecaps, gorgets and helmets with only two tiny slids for the eyes, needed to protect them from the musket fire and the splitners. The whole armor set weighted 35-kilos. Without their weapons and other equipment.

    For the rest of the crew, which roles didn’t include to be directly on the front-lines, like the powder monkeys for example, there were brigandines – cottons vests with steel plates wrapped inside, light and flexible, not restricting their movements and enough to guard them from the splinters and some small arms fire.

    Beaty was a powder monkey – her job was to listen to her captain’s command and run to the ship’s magazine, at the keel of the vessel and bring the powder bags to the cannon. Her equipment included also a very nice helmet and a steel face mask, with large enough visor not to clang her head on some plank. After all, she was supposed to hide behind the ship’s gunwale, while not carrying the charges – that’s why the small boys and girls were preferred for this job. And she was a little bit smaller on average from the others at her age. And also very very fast...

    After all the crew geared up in turns – a procedure, that took no more than ten minutes, the gun crews began readying their cannons – arranging all the rods and balls in a easy accessible places for the fast firing broadsides. Checking the ropes, bores, wheels, caplocks and all other tools, they needed...

    The carpenters started readying their pumps, planks, sand bags, and the surgeons – scalpels, retractors, forceps and anesthetics...

    The marines their rifles, ammo and charges, and the scopes for the sharpshooters...

    Just like one well oiled machine, all men ready and geared up, turning the ship onto a deadly killing zone freak...


    -Signal the Fleet: „Bear up and sail course west”. – ordered Keinreich.

    Behind him, Kai was writing in the captain’s book:

    „9:19. Lord Keinreich: Bear up and sail course west”.

    -Aye, aye, Sir, Commander, bear up and change course west, roger! – Grobbie put the blinker onto action again.

    -The distance is about... 14 kilometers, Lord Admiral. – said Lefourt from the monoscope. – The frigates got 3 kilometers to the enemy.

    -That’s enough, order them to not get closer and ask for recognition report.

    -Roger that, Sir, Admiral.

    -They are still struggling to make an uniform line. The nine Montgisardean ships are sailing almost two miles behind the main column. The wind is behind our backs. – said Teichtert.

    -Our speed is almost... 3 knots! We should engage by noon. – said Chifhoun, looking at the chip log.

    Keinreich looked behind. Just two ship-lengths on his aft was the titanic four-decker Hesingforst, overhanging his Hiercon like a stormbringer clouds. He saw all the men, moving around the decks and the masts, doing their upmost efforts to keep the wind on sails, making the 4500 tonnes monster into tempo with the leading ship. Commendations for her crew and officers. It was not by chance, that she fell under command exactly by Emely...

    Then he looked at the enemy fleet.

    Their main line were stretching more than 10 kilometers...

    He was no surprised. The light wind rendered maneuvering virtually impossible for all, but the most expert seamen. No wonders that their inexperienced crews had difficulty with the changing conditions.

    It was like a double-edged blade. The sea and winds were against him... But also hindering and his enemies.

    -Grobbie, signal the fleet: „Make all sail possible with safety to the masts”.

    -Roger, Lord Admiral, Sir.

    Kai was just scribbling as fast as her hand was holding onto the book.



    It was 10 minutes after 11, when Rashford promptly signaled them:

    „DID YOU IDENTIFY TAGITSU”

    -Tss, that girl... – snorted Teichtert, after Grobbie finished relaying them the message.

    Keinreich casually took a step towards his signal man.

    -Mister Grobbie, to Mont Valtz Ostrell: „Keep in position!”. To Lussenhoff’s column: Make 1 kilometer distance between us”.

    -Roger that, Sir.

    -The Violenn’ ships are distributed evenly among the main line. The Montgisard is still lagging behind. – said Lefourt. – It seems they make no efforts to close that gap... That is it, boys, the distance is now 5 kilometers between us!

    They were so close now, that could see the enemy crews from the binoculars.

    Keinreich looked his clock. Just under an hour and they were gonna be into enemy gun’s range. Unable to respond at least for forty minutes, until they „cross the T”.

    -Lieutenant Lefourt.

    -Yes, Lord Admiral!

    -Take command of the gun-deck. You are free to act on your own judgement.

    In the first moment, Lefourt looked him as if a little bit surprised. But then confirmed lowly.

    -Good luck, Dan. I’ll see you after the battle. – Teichthert shook his hand.

    -Same, Mike. Wish you best of luck.

    The bosun Chifhoun just nodded at him silently. Dan returned the same way rushed to below.

    -I would like to have a minute or two in private in my cabin, Mike. I’ll be right back.

    -Understood, Lord Admiral. I’ll wait for you.

    Keinreich just looked him somewhat sadly. Then went to his quarters.


    After lieutenant Dan came down onto the gun-deck, it became dead-silent field in a sudden.

    All the small talks paused and the men were just staring tentatively at him, as he moved around the deck, looking around, mainly at the guns and tools. As if he was afraid to look the men into their eyes... Not having that bravery at all, knowing he could do anything to return all of them safely at home...

    At last, he stopped near the main mast, next to Sawyer, who was busy over the papers, preparing the different preliminary plots for the gun.

    His eyes landed straight on her, who, together with the other crew, was delicately keeping him in their sights...

    But she immediately averted her gaze... By some reason, she felt uncomfortably and uneasy, rubbing delicately her hands. Something deep inside her belly was burning and she felt that just a second more with her eyes on him, was gonna break her inside, not telling what she was gonna to do. As if some unknown beast was steadily awakening deeply in her...

    -We are five kilometers from the enemy. Should engage in less than an hour. – he said lowly to Sawyer.

    -Understood, Chief Lieutenant, Sir. – barely paid attention to him the gun-deck commander, continuing to scribble in his book.

    -Have something in mind?

    -Not, really, Chief. Just double-shots for the raking fire...

    -Of course. So be it.

    Lefourt stared his gaze somewhere to the bow. Beaty was throwing him secret looks from time to time, but as more her eyes were staying on him, the more her heart was beating faster and faster. There was no shaking anymore. There was no fear. Just this burning feeling inside her. And the energy. An euphoria out of this dimension...

    SHE WAS READY TO TAKE ON THIS WORLD ALONE!

    Her hand instinctively reached for the pocket. Didn’t wanted for this feeling to ever go away...

    When another one landed on her forearm and clenched her in a iron grip.

    -That’s enough, girl.

    Lydie’s face was just a hand-span from hers. So close, that she saw her overly expanded pupils, making her eyes look a pitch-black abyss in the scarce light of the deck...

    Her face was pale and sweaty...


    Keinreich returned to the deck after twenty minutes.

    -Sir, Admiral, captain Heins from Emerlysst suggest you should come aboard to his ship to better observe the battle, Lord.

    -That’s very considerate and kind of His Command, but i’ll have to refuse, mister Grobbie. The Admiral will keep his flag on board of Hiercon.

    -Roger that, very well, Sir. – he bowed slightly, returning to his blinker.

    Keinreich closed to the rail-guard of the quarter deck. Down there, he took some time to look at his men. Every one diligently doing his task, each one hard-working on the assigned station, calm and collected. As if the thoughts of the impending battle were not on their minds...

    But he knew... He knew that internally every one of his men were walking nerve-wrecks, about to start shaking just by the image of the following massacre, that was about to occur. Clutching tenaciously onto their jobs, just because a second spent aside was going to render their minds mad.

    But how could he blame them? Most of the were ordinary men and women, with families awaiting them at home, that had beautiful wives and husbands, and growing kids, peaceful jobs and good, warm food, enjoying all the fruits of their labor.

    But now dragged and conscripted into one prolonged and pointless war.

    It wasn’t the high morale, that was keeping them obedient. It was the rum... the whiskey... and the drugs.

    After all, what were they doing 2000 miles away from home?

    The Falkland Period was continuing already 33 bloody years... And there were some among them, that saw all that from the beginning.

    It was no less than a miracle, that the Nation’s morale haven’t crumbled yet...

    He just wanted to jump from the ship and swim away.

    After all, who needed a life like that?

    -2000 METERS TO THE ENEMY FLEET! – suddenly echoed the thunderous voice of Teichthert.

    As if a ripple of brisk passed through the crew, which started to move a touch faster.

    And his voice shook and Keinreich out of his momentary delirium too...

    He made himself look more serious and turned at his signalman.

    -Mister Grobbie.

    -Yes, Lord Admiral.

    Keinrech took a deep breath.

    -Prepare to hoist my signals, Sir. I wish to address the Fleet.


    The creaky cracky scraping of the support beams above and beside hers was slowly, but steadily driving her mad. Now, with all the talking ceased and the non-existing waves to crush on the ship belt, these rhythmic wooden noises of accumulating pressure were the only sounds, existing around. By the contrast of the all silence, it was irritating as if somebody was scraping her skull with a spoon...

    She looked around.

    Lieutenant Dan scribbling something over a wrinkly piece of paper. Sawyer was doing his last checks of the cannons. Frett was starring intensively through the cannon port. And Lyd was looking at her nails...

    Most of the other men were just sitting around, in calmly await of orders. She was curious... what were their feelings? What where they thinking right now, with most of them being battle-hardened veterans, who saw countless battles... and deaths?

    Were their minds a mess of thoughts too? Like hers...

    Or were they just thinking only of doing their jobs? Because, just like lieutenant Lefourt have told her... there were just used to it?...

    She just couldn’t relieve herself of all these... negative thoughts.

    Dammit...

    Lieutenant Dan...

    Her eyes fell on him again. Just how much she wanted for him to hug her and turn her mind onto a blank abyss... To forget everything in his arms...

    The sudden hubbub on the upper deck, immediately followed by the rising steps, shook her out of all her thoughts.

    All heads turned to its direction, where, stopping half-way down on the stairs, showed the bosun Chifhoun.

    -THAT’S IT, BOYS, THE LORD ADMIRAL GAVE US HIS WORDS! “FALKLAND CONFIDES THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY!”. 1800 METERS TO ENEMY, PREPARE TO ENGAGE!!! – thundered his voice in the closed space.

    Dan quickly folded the papers and hurriedly put them in his pocket...

    -DOUBLE SHOT, LADS! LOAD THE CANNONS!!! – Sawyer joined him in his excitement.

    A howl of enthusiasm filled the air and in a mere seconds, the gun-deck became so bustling, as if she entered the city’s market.

    -C’mon, miss Beaty, now is the time! Reduced charge for double shot! 8-pounder! – the glittering lights from the two tiny slits of the mask of gun commander Frett looked at her.

    And in the next moment, the only thing she knew, was that she running as fast as her legs were holding towards the ship’s magazine.


    In exactly 12:16, the enemy opened fire at them.

    At distance 1600 meters and the opening shots came straight from the Violenn’s flagman, the 112-gun 3 decker, Maria de Victor, which „coincidentally” happened to be directly ahead of them...

    She fired a full broadside, with many of her shots landing on Hiercon, rupturing sails, cutting ropes and splinting wood...

    And finding their way to some of his crew...

    After they saw the flashes and for the time of the shells’ travel, his men managed to duck down or take cover behind the solid guns, but a cannon ball split in two one of his gun captains of the quarter deck, just a few meters from him and another seaman lost his head on main deck...

    -DISPERSE ON THE MAINDECK! USE GUNS AND WALE FOR COVER!!! – thundered Teichthert’s voice over the ship.

    Some of his men momentarily picked up the wounded, carrying them down at the surgeon’s quarters. But for two of his men was already too late...

    -Sir, Hesingforst is signaling us! Lady Emely proposes to take the grunt of the enemy fire for you! – said his signal man.

    -That’s very honorable of Her Command, but i’m afraid i have to refuse, mister Grobbie. – Keinreich stood proud on the quarterdeck.

    -Understood, very well. Very noble of Your Command, Sir.

    -Sir, let me propose to at least exchange our coats... – humbly bowed his second lieutenant, Bolderick Ansen.

    -Hey, guys. That’s enough. I appreciate all your concern, but enough already. It is too late to change positions or coats.

    -Right, Sir, Lord Admiral! I beg your forgiveness. – bowed Ansen.

    -Just focus on your task, Bold. Like you always did.

    -Of course, i’ll will. Thank you, Sir.

    The second one to fire at them was the Vhynehaimean flagman Kiniro, that was sailing just a ship-length astern of Maria de Victor.

    With all her shots falling short chaotically in the range of 300 meters in front of them...

    He just saw how the upper deck commander, Mansen just lifted his helmet a bit and spit over the railing. Looking straight at his pocket watch... Then, without hurrying, squatted down behind one of the cannons...

    -Minute and Twenty-Five seconds, lads!!! STAY IN COVER!!! – shouted Teichthert, also looking at his clock.

    Just a two seconds later, Maria de Victor fired her second salvo.


    Down there, all they heard, were the muted, echoing booming of a cannonade of shots.

    And seconds later, the woody thundering cracks when they happened to hit the hull. At this range, the shots just bounced off the thick, angled bow, made of up to 70 centimeters of planking, but the sails and the thin railing on the upper deck probably weren’t spared at all...

    Despite all, Beaty, being on the well-protected gun-deck, as well hidden behind the solid cannon she was bringing powder to, all started to shake uncontrollably again. The fear had grabbed her in its unmovable clench...

    No, it wasn’t the fear. Something was clenching her hand in a cotton glove with her iron grip...

    She raised her head timidly.

    Commander Lydie looked her through the two tiny slids of her steel mask.

    -Courge, girl. Don’t falter now.

    Despite all the fabric and metal, separating their flesh, she felt the sincere maternal love, that poured in her. As if it was coming from her own mother...

    She just began to soothe up and calm down... Until the up crew started to carry the wounded and mutilated men to the surgeon’s quarters...

    Half the face was missing from one pour guy. There was other with an arm ripped of the elbow. And another with huge splinter, sticking out of his calf...

    -1300 METERS, GUYS!!! ADMIRAL ORDERED TO ENGAGE THE FLEET MORE CLOSELY!!! – shouted somebody.

    Another salvo boomed from outside.

    Beaty just grabbed Lyd’s arm with her tiny hands, closing eyes and shoving her head onto her knees.

    She couldn’t even remember how to pray or to who...

    All of the shots missed.


    Maria de Victor’s third salvo devastated most of the main and fore mast’s main sails...

    Miracilously, this time there were no casualties. Just wounded from the splinters.

    But that wasn’t the problem right now...

    -We are loosing speed, Sir! Hesingforst will catch to us! – said Ansen.

    Keinrech looked north, at the Lussenhoff’s column. Marcipall just came under fire by three of the vhynehaimese ships, all of them missing spectacullarly. As if these guys had no idea of ballistics, as if they had no one to teach them how to shoot at long distances...

    He turned at his signalman:

    -Mister Grobbie, signal the Hesingforst to adjust their speed. We are staying in the lead.

    -Roger that, very well, sir.

    -The distance is 1100 meters, Admiral! – yelled Ansen.

    -Maria’s salvo is 1:27, Sir! Kiniro – 2:21! – turned at him and Teichthert, looking at his clock.

    -These bastards... They beat us... – snorted bitterly Chifhoun.

    -Nothing is decided yet, Paul. We are still to give the best of us. – replied Keinreich.

    Kai was just sitting behind the ship’s rail, squeezing the book before her chest, trembling beyond control... So much, that she forgot to write anything.

    Poor girl... After all, why did Admiralty decide to put 10-13 years old child on board?

    He just gave her one sorry look, concealed by his mask and returned to his command.

    A second vhynehaimean ship tried to got onto position and fired upon them, but all her shots missed too.

    -The speed dropped to 2 knots, sir! – reported Ansen. – The distance is 1000 meters!

    -ABOUT 10 SECONDS TO KINIRO’S SALVO! COVER, GENTLEMEN! – shouted Teichthert.

    He just finished his words, when the flashes came from the Vhynehaimese flagman. A cannon ball cut the three jigsails and another one crushed part of the quarter-deck railing, just a couple meters of him...

    -ADMIRAL!!! – as if panicky was about to rush at him Teichthert.

    All the other shots missed.

    -It will get worse and worse, gentlemen. All we need to do now is endure.


    During these 30 minutes, they needed to cut the line, four enemy ships fired 42 full broadside salvos at them.

    Most of the main and jig sails where shredded to pieces, slowing them down to the miserable 1.5 knots, the mast took quite some damage and most of the weather deck was devastated...

    This just made them more of a sitting duck...

    Even some of the Hesingforst sails behind them weren’t spared.

    At the 800 meters mark, a fourth enemy ship, the Violenn’s Darra got them into their sights and began to unleash her power to the fullest potential at them. It killed two men and wounded another four at her first salvo.

    At the 500 meters mark, the surgeon reported: 5 killed and 32 wounded. The count was gonna rise, no doubt...

    This was when Maria de Victor went far enough ahead to lose them of the range of her broadside. She didn’t even try to made a slight correction to the larboard, to get them into her sights again. Probably her captain realized very well, that it was too late to stop them now. And once the Falkland column reaches their lines, they’ll have their weak afts for free...

    That’s why the Violenn’s flagman downed most of her sails, starting to frantically communicate with the Vhynehaimese flagman.

    Which didn’t respond to her signal at all. On the contrary, the two vhynehaimese ships have most of their sails raised, to keep the Falkland’s fleet onto their broadside as much as possible...

    After another two salvos, Darra followed her flagman’s example and cut sharply to starboard, trying to get away of the approaching columns...

    At the 400 meters mark, Kiniro and Kalua fired their last salvos at Hiercon. The distance between the two vhynehaimese ships was 300 meters, and they were too close to the Falkland column...

    -MISTER REINE, PUT US BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM!!! – shouted Teichthert at the wheelman.

    With their sails down and their speed to minimum, there was no way anyone of them could react in time. There were just going to become sitting ducks... Like he was up until now.

    Maria de Victor was still signaling them frantically, trying to put her aft at a solid, safe distance.

    But it was too late.

    Their sails were down at the 150 meters marks. With the Falkland column approaching straight between them and out of their broadside ranges...

    They started to see their fidgeting crews, trying to put them into speed again, with their naked eyes... The panic was ruling over them.

    -Sir, your musket, revolver, saber and warhammer. – brought them to him his steward, mister Dauchy.

    -Thank you very much, Van. – Keinreich swiftly equipped them.

    -Lieutenant Larson! Order your sharpshooters to open fire at the Kiniro’s weather deck!!! – shouted Teichthert.

    -Right away sir!

    The opening salvos from their side came not from their cannons, but from the middle and top platforms of the three masts. With muskets, hand-cannons and blunderbusses, raining down lead and steel upon vhynehaimese deck.

    It was time to equalize the losses...

    Before stomp on them and make them ten times more...


    -I SEE HER, BOYS! JUST 10 MORE METERS!!! – shouted some of the bow’s gun captains.

    Beaty rose her head a bit, looking through the gun port.

    Hiercon was 72 meters long – with a waterline at 60 meters, that meant with the current speed of 1.5 knot or 0.75 m/s, they’ll need minute and a half for all the guns at the deck-length to fire. With seventeen guns per side, that meant one shot per five seconds from the gun deck. Plus another two from the upper decks...

    Beaty knew. She knew, that once they’ve reached the unprotected vhynehaimese aft, nothing will be in the way to stop their shooting... The poor souls on the enemy decks... They were just gonna be decimated...

    -READY UP, LADS! WE ARE ALMOST IN RANGE!!! – shouted Sawyer.

    -FIRE WHEN SEE IT!!! – Lefourt looked left and right.

    The cannons at the bow thundered. In the closed space, the bangs were so loud, that threatened to deaf unprotected ears for a long time. The cannon rolled heavily backwards by the recoil, clattering on the wooden plank before being fully restricted by the robes. The mild vibration pulsed through the ship and she felt how it passed through her shoes up through her legs. As if her shaking wasn’t enough already...

    Seconds later, fired and the second one, while the powder monkey of the first one whizzed past her, headed for the ship’s magazine, while the crew began reloading it.

    Then the third one.

    And the fourth one.

    And the fifth.

    By the time her gun was about to pass the Vhynehaimese Flagman, a huge whole, like a deep black abyss, was opened at her aft.

    It was just a picture, drawn from some horror book...

    Beaty covered her ears and closed her eyes...

    -FIREEE!!!

    When the cannon fired, she felt that the shock wave was gonna throw her meters at the back...


    Hiercon passed just a twenty meters at Kiniro’s aft, devastating her decks with a cannonade of double shots. Her sharpshooters and musketeers were also continuously raining bullets and shells over her weather deck, although the vhynehaimese returned to their fire, and just when the quarter deck was about to pass them, the bosun Chifhoun fired the gigantic 78-pounder carronade, loaded with round shot and a keg, consisting of 800 musket balls...

    He just didn’t want to imagine being on that deck right now. The men... They were just disappearing.

    But they weren’t done.

    Because the 4-decker Hesingforst, coming behind them, passed at a pistol shot range from Kiniro’s stern. With her 70-guns per side...

    And after she finished with her, the Vhynehaimese Flagman decks collapsed.

    The quarter deck collapsed over the main deck. The rear part of the main deck collapsed over the middle deck. The mizzen and the main mast fell over, rendering her completely immobile in the water...

    -HARD A LARBOARD! GO AFTER MARIA! – shouted Teichthert.

    -Mister Grobbie, signal lady Emely! To turn starboard and engage Kalua!

    -ROGER! – the signalman and the wheeler responded in one voice.

    -CONTINUE TO FIRE ON THE DECKS, BOYS, UNTIL THEY STOP MOVING!!! – shouted lieutenant Larson to his sharptroopers. – DON’T LET THEM HAVE A MINUTE REST! FIRE UNTIL THEY SUBMIT!!!

    -Signal to Rayntheon and Mont Valtz Ostrell: Follow and support Hesingforst! At chance, intercept and engage Darra!

    -Roger, Sir!

    Hesingforst fired her 70-gun starboard side at Kalua’s bow from 100 meters, laying devastation on her decks. Hiercon turned south, in an attempt to catch up to Maria de Victor and the third and the fourth in the line, Rayntheon and Mont Valtz Ostrell followed the 4-decker north, firing their starboard sides at the vhynehaimese ship.

    -Turn starboard! Put us at her aft, mister Reine! – Teichthert pointed the wheelman.

    -Roger that, sir!

    But Maria’s crew were much more experienced than the vhynehaimese and simply copied their maneuver. Her sails where still intact and the speed greater, allowing her to dictate the terms of this engagement. Her sharpshooters fired at Hiercon’s deck, with his men falling wounded, some in agonizing screams, some with nulled pain from the sudden shock, twisting and wriggling, holding for their legs, arms or faces...

    -Mister Pasco, your team! Carry them down to the medics!!! – shouted Bolderick.

    -MISTER LARSON, REDIRECT YOUR FIRE AT MARIA’S DECK!!! – yelled and Teichthert.

    The sharpshooters responded momentarily, raining down steel and lead on the Violenn’s ship.

    At distance 200 meters, the bosun Chifhoun fired the 78-pounder carronade for a second time.

    Just a second later, Maria’s carronade obliterated one of their quarter deck 12-pounder cannon positions, with the round shot and the musket balls, wounding or killing all of its crew... Just five meters from him. Some of them even ricocheted from the deck, inches from his feet...

    -Admiral! – Bold momentarily moved before him, ready to protect him with his body. – Admiral, please, take cover behind the wale!

    In response, Keinreich just aimed his musket and fired at Maria de Victor.

    -KEEP FIRING UNTIL THEY SUBMIT!!!

    Bolderick shivered. Not because of the raging battle, but because of his coarse voice.

    For a first time in his life, he heard him shouting.

    And he just got his rifle too, starting to fire next to His Admiral.


    -Maria is turning, guys! MARIA IS TURNING! – shouted Frett.

    -Wh-what are they doing, MOVEEE!!!! – Lyd looked left and right.

    She was clearly panicking...

    At 150 meters distance, both Maria and Hiercon were executing starboard turns, each trying to overtake the other in the race of better position. This put them both moving in parallel lines, and the one to fire first, was gonna be whoever managed to turn faster. The faster one...

    -READY AT THE CANNON’S, LADS, READY AT THE CANNON’S!!! – was yelling Lefourt.

    The Violenn’s flagman broadside was becoming more and more visible to them...

    -MOOOOVEEEEEEEE!!!

    -AT THE GUNS, WE ARE NOT IN RANGE YET!!!

    -10 MORE DEGREES TO STARBOARD, FIRE WHEN IN RANGE!!!

    But Maria beat them at their turn...

    -SHIT!!!

    -DUCK TO COVER, DUCK TO COVER!!! – frantictly yelled Lefourt, rushing ahead.

    Beaty jumped on her belly at the mast support, covering her head as much as possible with her tiny hands...

    Maria fired her 56-guns broadside.

    Gun deck consisting of 32-pounders, middle deck consisting of 24-pounders and the weather deck – 12-pounders.

    At distance less than 150 meters...

    As if the whole deck exploded.

    Simultaneously, multiple of the planks poped open with a thunderous cracks, raining splinters at them. The whizzing iron balls decimated every in their way – wood, men, equipment – some of them breaking even parts of the other board planks...

    One shell hit Ron straight in the face, rendering him to a bloody pulp momentarily, throwing his body couple of feet back... Another one cut off Frett’s arm from his elbow, splitting blood everywhere... A bunch of huge splinters pierced Lydie’s thigh and calf, immobilizing her on the ground, begging in agony... And many more. And many more.

    She felt how a cannon ball passed just centimeters above her back – so close, that almost scraped her vest and the shock wave, and the heat wave, everything made her want just wanting the deck open and engulf her whole... It was really in her plus, that she was so small and tiny.

    The splinters rained down all over her. But nothing hurt her...

    -AT THE CANNONS, BOYS! RETURN FIRE, AT THE CANNONS, BOYS!!! – started to yell left and right Lefourt.

    That thought struck her.

    „Is he alright?!”

    She raised her head...

    Just for the decapitated body of the Ron to pop up inches from her face...

    She felt nothing.

    All around her, there were bodies and men wounded, wailing and screaming in agony.

    She felt nothing.

    It was just going to get worse from now on...

    -OPEN FIRE! FIRE AT MARIA!!! – shouted Sawyer.

    He was unscratched. Just like Dan.

    All of the capable man, even the lightly wounded, took their positions at the cannons. Engaging caplocks and strings...

    -FIRE!!!

    Hiercon broadside thundered, now raking devastation at Maria de Victor decks. The 36 and 24-pounders breaking the support beams and planks, killing everything in their way. The 18 and 12-pounders decimating the men and throwing clouds of deadly splinters at her crew.

    The cannons rolled back furiously, quickly restrained by the 10-centimeters thick ropes...

    -ROUND SHOT! RELOAD! RELOAD! – shouted Sawyer.

    -CARRY DOWN THE WOUNDED! ON THE DOUBLE, LADS, WE MUST BEAT HER RELOAD!!!

    And Beaty rushed at the ship’s magazine, hurrying to bring the 12-pound charge for her cannon.

    There was no fear anymore. There was no trembling. Just her task, which engulfed all her focus.

    Making her fly as the wind.



    Maria de Victor fired first. A precise salvo, raining death and destruction on his ship, wrecking his deck.

    Five seconds later, Hiercon responded with all her might, with no less of a devastation on her enemy.

    The two ships were now approaching each other in two parallel lines and the distance was no more than a hundred meters...

    -Signal from Tehassiss, Sir! They are coming to support us!!! – yelled at him from the aft deck Grobbie.

    Keinreich took a moment to look back. Tehassiss just passed Kiniro’s reck, turning larboard after her, cming with full sail at them. Hesingforst fired at Kalua’s starboard, devastating her decks with a 70-cannons salvo. The vhynehaimean ship bit back, entering a deadly duel with the Falkan’s pearl.

    But Rayntheon just came behind the 4-decker and maneuvered at Kalua’s larboard, devastating her other side... The fair duel was quickly going to turn onto a desperate melee for survival...

    And Mont Valtz Ostrell was at full sails towards Darra, which seemed more than glad to accept Rashford’s challenge...

    But the damage was already done. Behind Tehassiss, Mainsten and Armara was about to join the fight... His whole column was about pour into, about to overwhelming this section of the line...

    They have won. He knew it. The moment they’ve crossed the T, he knew it. He never doubted the ability of his men. But the sad part was that too many of them were gonna pay with their lives... So many of his good men...

    The huge thunder shook him in his legs, when the bosun Chiefhoun fired the 78-pounder at Maria.

    A moment later, the Violenn’s flagman carronade hit some place at the bow, with devastating effect, sending planks, splinters and men flying backwards...

    His gun-crews began reloading the cannons, waving sponges and worms, with the powder monkeys rushing down to the ship’s magazine. The marines and the sharpshooters were in a furious engage with the enemy’s, with each side trying to reduce the number of rifles and cannons, firing back at them...

    -NO! – Keinrech suddenly turned at his signal man. – SIGNAL THEM TO TURN NORTH AND JOIN THE ACTION AT THE MAIN COLUMN! WE’LL DEAL WITH MARIA ALONE!

    -Roger that, Lord Admiral! – confirmed Grobbie.

    -BUT, SIR!... – turned at him Teichthert...

    ...when bullet hit him in the helmet, making him fall like a bag of potatoes...

    -LORD CAPTAIN!!! – jumped at him Bold, overhanging above.

    Another couple of shots landed near them, making Reine hide behind the wheel.

    But Keinreich didn’t even flinch.

    -I-i’m fine... – he clumsily sat on the deck.

    His hand reached the dent, that the bullet left on his helmet.

    -I’m fine... Shit, my head is like a bell...

    Bolderick helped him stood up.

    -SIR! MARIA IS ADJUSTING COURSE! THEY ARE COMING TOWARDS US!!! – shouted Chifhoun.

    -GO STRAIGHT AT HER! SIGNAL THE CREW TO PREPARE FOR HAND-TO-HAND COMBAT! WE’LL TAKE HER NOW! – shouted Keinreich.

    -ROGER! – Bolderick ran of to somewhere.

    -Sir, we shouldn’t take her alone. We should gang her and capture her... – came so close to him, that whispered in his ear.

    -No, we take her now, Mike!

    His captain got even closer to him.

    -We never managed to do it before, sir. She beat us twice before. And many others of our fleet. We can never do it alone. – he was whispering even lowly.

    Keinreich put his hands on his shoulders. Fatherly. With concern...

    -You need to understand, Mike. This is no longed a war between nations. This is no longer a fight between Falkland, Violenn and Vhynhim. This is personal. Between me. And Him. We will take her. Alone. I want her captured.

    Teichthert just sighed.

    -Very well, Sire. I’ll personally lead my men, then. We will capture her for you.

    -Good. And... i’m sorry...

    Teichthert just turned his back to him, pulling out his warhammer.

    -STRAIGHT AT MARIA DE VICTOR, MISTER REINE!!! – he shouted.

    -Roger that, Lord Captain! – his wheelman adjusted the course, so Hiercon to get into closing in approach, but her broadside to still be in range.

    The distance between them was just one ship length...

    -Sir! The head of the vhynehaimese line began to turn back!

    It was too late. They should have done it two hours ago...

    -Mister Grobbie, signal the fleet! Continue the push! Engage the ENEMY! FIRE WHEN IN RANGE!


    Beaty jumped up the last three stairs and stretched out the heavy 12-pounder charge to number three, mister Hionne Guen, the loader, who took the bag and hastily put it onto the cannon, sealing it with cloth wad, then the cannon ball and cloth wad again. Then Lefourt, who was replacing the poor Ron, rammed it hard with the other end of the spongerod. The number four, mister Logan Royce, the ventsman, who was pressing his thump over the vents hole to prevent a draught, that might fan a flame, punched a hole with his pricker in the charge bag and filled the vent with powder...

    -ROLL THE CANNON! ROLL THE CANNON!!! – yelled Lefourt and all the gun-crew plus the extra men, responsible for moving the gun, started pushing it towards the ship’s bulwark.

    Even Beaty joined in. Although her strength probably contributed for nothing...

    They rolled... And rolled... And rolled...

    When something from outside thundered. And a moment later – a whole bunch of planks exploded onto her face...

    -BEATYYY!!!

    She didn’t hear it. Because all in her ears was ringing. So dense and so intense, that muffled all other sounds... Voices of agony and pain... Explosions... Prayers... The steps of the men, running on the deck.

    -BEATYYYYYY!!!!!!

    -AT THE CANNONS!!! FIRE! FIRE!!!

    The ship rocked. She felt it much more than before. On her legs, and back and head and hands. The vibration crept all over her body... Why was that...

    Oh, yes...

    Because she was laying on the floor. With men fallen all around her...

    -BEATY!!!

    This voice...

    She startled and quickly sat on place. The helmet prevented Him to see her widened eyes...

    -QUICKLY, BEATY! 12-POUNDER FOR A SINGLE SHOT! HURRY!!! – Lefourt left the worm on the ground and took the water-soaked sponge, to extinguish if any embers from the previous shot were left in the bore.

    Left of the gun port, now there was another huge hole of a similar size...

    But mister Guen... He was not there, he wasn’t on his position.

    He was laying on the floor, next to her. With a missing torso. Only his head, legs and arms were left. And a puddle of blood.

    -BEATY!!! 12-POUNDER! QUICKLY!!!

    She just closed her eyes, clenched her teeth and rushed back at the ship’s magazine.

    „This... this is madness in its purest form...”

    Her tears rained down her cheeks, while she was flying over the stairs.


    Maria suddenly started to execute a starboard turn...

    He knew this maneuver very well...

    That’s why when he caught the first glimpses of it, he momentarily turned at his wheelman:

    -MISTER REINE, HARD A LARBOARD, QUICKLY!!!

    He started to turn the wheel as fast as his hands were capable of...

    But a second later, a salvo from Maria’s carronade made it explode in splinters...

    Several shots ringed onto Teichthert armor, but one hit him sideways on the thigh and he fell on the ground... Several shots hit and his steward, mister Dauchy, but miraculously the steel absorbed them all... And a couple on Kai’s vest, who was hiding behind the wale... And on Bold. And him...

    But mister Reine took the grunt of the hit and was shredded onto pieces on the ground.

    And the wheel was completely rekted...

    -CAPTAIN!!! – rushed momentarily at him Bold...

    Keinreich just now fully grasped what happened. The ship was locked onto a full larboard turn. With Maria, being more maneuverable, trying to get onto their other side.

    His eyes instinctively widened. And his feet instinctively turned...

    -PAUL, DESTROY THEIR WHEEL, QUICKLY, DESTROY IT!!!

    -BOLD! GO BELOW AND TAKE COMMAND OF THE TILLER! STEER THE SHIP FROM BELOWDECKS! – yelled Teichthert from the ground.

    -YES!

    -Einre, Kim, take the captain below! Now!

    -NO! No, i’m fine! I’m fine! Return to your stations! Keep firing!!! – he waved at them with hand.

    It usually wasn’t critically fatal, that their wheel was destroyed – they were capable of controlling the ship from belowdecks. But this was going to cost them some extra seconds...

    Chifhound took aim at Maria, which was at a pistol shot distance already, but a salvo from her sharpshooters made the bosun and the carronade crew duck in cover...

    Extra seconds, that could prove to be crucial...

    He swiftly stood up and led the target...

    It was a perfect hit – straight at the wheel on the Maria’s quarterdeck, a mirror-like score just like hers, killing or wounding all around it...

    But she momentarily adjusted her course. As if she was anticipating it.

    And Hiercon was still locked on her course...

    -RAM HER! FULL SAILS AND RAM HER! – shouted Teichthert. – DON’T LET HER MOVE ON OUR STERN!

    He tightened one rag over his wound and stood up, and even limping, continued to yell orders left and right.

    Hiercon straightened her rudder, going directly against Maria. He was ready to sacrifice all her jig sails just to stop her in place. She was light, nimble and fast, with most of her sails intact, capable of easily outmaneuvering them...

    Like she did 10 years ago...

    He saw her. They were so close now, she was there, on the quarter-deck, yelling orders left and right. And Rissingol, in his distinctive hat and coat, fighting together with her crew...

    He looked back. Hesingforst and Rayntheon had Kalua straddled, devastating her decks with broadsides from pistol shot range. And Mont Valtz Ostrell and Darra engaged in close range combat, with their crews entangled in a furious shooting, with the clear thought to board each other. Mainsten engaged Raiden, after him Armara approached and fired at Tobishita, with the next three ships in the line, Emlliver, Belshazaar and Aissilea turning in to engage their targets.

    After them, Vrangell, Gradivus and Pickte fired at the ships of the vhynehaimese column, that were the first to turn and return... Putting them in a similar position of the initial phase of the battle.

    They have won. They had broke the enemy line and turned this engagement onto a furious close quarters melee. And they we’re prevailing against all the vhynehaimese ships.

    But not and here...

    He was happy to comply for this. As far he kept her occupied and away from the rest of his ships, while his good men subdue them one by one.

    He was more than happy...

    He couldn’t see what was happening on the northern column... There was too much smoke from the guns and the rifles now, rendering the visibility to the close vicinity... But he was ready to bet than mister Lussenhoff and the Alfvenean Prince were doing excelent. They had the best ships with them...

    Hiercon rammed Maria de Victor, stopping her right in place...

    -GATHER THE CREW, MISTER CHIFHOUN! PREPARE FOR BOARDING!!! – yelled Teichthert.

    Maria’s carronade fired, obliderating a 12-pounder gun position at the forecastle. The sharpshooters and musketeers began furious exchange at each other, pouring both of the decks with rifles, hand-cannons, blunderbusses and shotguns. Even some grenades exploded near the bow of his ship...

    That was when She suddenly erupted from the smoke clouds.

    Materialized behind Maria’s stern, tantivy headed for theirs.

    And there was nothing to stop her.

    His crew started to move, is if panicky, left and right.

    -REVERSE THE SHIP! FIRE AT HER! REVERSE AND FIRE!!! – started to yell Teichthert.

    It was too late. Tagitsu was already at their aft...
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
    Ahmya likes this.
  5. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Suddenly, it all became dark before his eyes. In his ears – a very soft ringing on the verge of complete tranquility.

    Art removed the VR-set from his head.

    All around him, people began to wiggle and twitch, moving their joints and bones from the long sitting, quickly filling the room with a low, monotonous murmur.

    -Damn, that was sick. – she said.

    He looked right.

    Hion slightly tilted her head and with an elegant movement, pushed her hair over her chest.

    And returned to his gaze.

    -You okay? – she looked him somewhat in question.

    -Omg, that was incredible! – whispered someone behind him.

    -Yeah, Lady Rashford rocks! „You can impress men at parties with this stuff”. – the other girl behind him imitated her voice and gestures. – I can’t even...

    -Yeah, it’s nice to see what were the spirits of these times. It is good to have more educational classes like that.

    -Hey, Hio, how real was that?! – a third girl from the behind row leaned over Hion’s shoulder.

    -The dialog and actions were completely real, as far i’m aware. It is a genetically historical reconstruction, made by the Falklanese Academy of Science, involving tens of thousand direct successors of the people involved in the battle.

    -Yeah, the parts you saw happened 100%. – added and Art. – The whole movie is more than 84-hours long and includes many points of view, telling the same events. I’ve watched it several times already with my... – he turned his eyes annoyed.

    -Woow, this is so cool, man! I mean the movie and the reconstruction as a whole, not the people being turned onto minced meat, of course! Don’t get the wrong idea!

    -Don’t worry, i understood clearly what you meant, no need to stress it out...

    Hion looked him somewhat reprimandingly.

    -This, Art, is my friend from 11-3, Shiori Misuzu...

    -Oh, so you are language lady Hion told me the other day! Nice to meet you! – he reached out his hand.

    Now the girl looked him strangely.

    -Nice to meet you... I guess. – she somewhat hesitantly took his hand and shook it exactly one time.

    -Don’t worry, Shio. Despite all his look, he is somewhat well-intentioned.

    -That’s so nice of you, Hion. Your words are heart-piercing, as always...

    -Ha, don’t worry, mister Art! She is sharp only with the people she cares about...

    -And unmoved, as i see... – Art looked at the prez somewhat suspiciously...

    Hion just crossed the arms below her chest, totally unmoved.

    -There is nothing wrong with that to care about the others. This comes with my position, after all...

    -Yeah, yeah, sure. – waved her hand Shiori, somewhat annoyed. – Anyways, this really got me interested. I really should look about the lives of some of the personas involved.

    -You won’t regret it. There are many books written about Beaty Beaucentaure and the life of Lady Ai is nothing short of a spectacular saga. Definitely check these out...

    -Oh, you bet, i will...


    Beaty was running up the stairs, when Hiercon rammed Maria de Victor.

    The powerful crash made her instantly lose her balance.

    And she rolled back the stairs, dropping the so precious gunpowder bag charge...

    Founding herself quickly at the magazine’s deck below...

    -Ai, ai, ai... – she stood up heavily, rubbing her back and rear...

    Then, it suddenly hit her:

    -SHIT, DA CHARGE!!! – she momentarily ceased all her rubbing activity, starting to frantically look around.

    There wasn’t that difficult to find the huge leather bag. After all, the whole thing was half of her height in length...

    She quickly grabbed it and rushed up the stairs again.

    Above, there was intense action going on. Beaty jumped up the stairs and just stretched out the charge to lieutenant Lefourt, while all the remaining battle-able men were feverishly serving the cannons...

    That was when Chiefhoun showed up from the upper deck:

    -LEFOURT, WE’VE RAMMED MARIA! GATHER ALL YOUR ABLE MEN AND PREPARE FOR BOARDING ACTION!!!

    -ROGER! ORDER PASCO TO OPEN THE ARMORY AND ARM THE GUN-CREWS!!! – he replied in his stead.

    -DONE ALREADY, HURRY UP!

    Something exploded on the weather deck, making them look around at the ceil...

    -Grenades! – whispered someone.

    Lefourt quickly took a look at the men in his vicinity...

    -ALL THE STARBOARD GUN CREWS WITH ME!!! ALL THE ODD NUMBERS OF THE LARBOARD GUN CREWS WITH ME!!!

    Several of the armorers went down on the gun-deck, loaded like a mules with weapons, starting to distribute them among the crew...

    -GO UP WHEN ARMED! GO UP WHEN ARMED!!! – yelled Lefourt, at the first men went up. – VALTE, I’M LEAVING YOU ONE-FIFTH OF THE GUN-CREWS! BE READY AT THE CANNONS, SUPPORTS US WITH FIRE WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY. YOU COMMAND THE GUN-DECK NOW!

    -ROGER THAT, CHIEF LIEUTENANT! – he nodded with head and rush forwards: - EVEN NUMBERS, REFORM, EVEN NUMBERS, REFORM! CHARGE THE CANNONS!

    Beaty was just timidly hiding behind the main mast pole, looking at the intensive movement.

    Lefourt squatted next to her.

    And gently put his hands on her tiny shoulders.

    -I’m leaving you and the other powder monkeys here, Beaty. You are doing great. Just hold your spirits.

    He looked aside for a second.

    A quiet, almost unnoticeable sigh exited his mouth.

    Then, the two shining eyes, barely visible from the tiny slids of his helmet stared straight at her:

    -If it came to the worst by some reason... You now how to operate the cannons. Aim her at waterline. And don’t hesitate.

    She just gulped soundly.


    Raon, who was sitting on his other side, leaned on his shoulder.

    -Oi, are some of these ships still preserved today, like museums or something, you know? – she asked quiety.

    -Oh, you bet they are. Maria de Victor is a floating museum in Daénté right now – a Violenn’s pride, it attracts hundreds of thousands visitors annually. Kren Luksov shares a similar fate in Montiwall. And Hesingforst is at the Navy’s Arsenal Base at Maeryss – the oldest commissioned ship in the world still in service, a period of the incredible 230 years! Together, with the Oberland’s Pearl of the Moon, these four ladies are the only Ships of the Line of the Age of Sail still afloat today.

    -Woow, that’s incredible! – exclaimed Shiori, clapping quietly with her palms.

    -Yeah. Just imagine how much time and effort were spent during these years for their maintenance. And that people were willing and are still willing to continue to do it. Too bad, that we didn’t manage to preserve a ship from that era...

    -What do you expect, Hion, when 85 percent of our fleet was obliterated in just several hours. – reply to her Raon. – You kinda don’t care about history, when the knife reaches the bone...

    -Wait, we lost that?!

    The sudden voice made all of them froze in place. Their eyes, filled with disbelief, one by one turned and fell on her.

    Nym just looked them surprised, totally clueless about the situation.

    -Oh, but of course, who else... – rolled her eyes Hion.

    -I’m not even slightly surprised. – Ayuri, sitting on the Prez’s right, crossed her feet and arms.

    -What do you expect from a person, who was sleeping during the whole movie... – Raon looked at Mio, who was still napping at Nym’s shoulder. – Seriously, you all look like zombies today. Was the night that much eventful? Hardcore welcome party for your people?

    -You don’t even want to know... – Art yawned...

    -It wasn’t my fault... – Nym pouted a bit.

    -And which is it? No, don’t tell me, let me guess. You sister’s again? – Ayuri’s tone turned bitter all of a sudden.

    Well, Mel asked him to show her some of his magic, which triggered all the phenomena, so... But he decided keep it for himself...

    The sudden chill made him lift his gaze and look right.

    On Ayuri’s right, Reina was just looking him with her stern-expressionless face...

    „Shit, she knows!”

    Is she an esper or something?!

    „Oi, Reina, do you copy, respond?!” – he thought telepathically, but not particularly directing it to her.

    Every magic-able person with basic telepathic abilities would be able to catch and read this...

    But there was no reaction from her side. Not even a face-twitch, nor a shiver or body movement.

    What was he doing, he was just imagining things... Reina was just a normal person, just like everybody else here. But this didn’t make her less scary...

    -I’ll just ask Sophie to tell me more about it. She’ll gladly do it... – waved with her hand before her Nym.

    -Oh no, don’t, please, just don’t. You don’t wanna listen about Cape Kizuna over the next three months... – said Art.

    Nym and Shio looked him somewhat surprised.

    -Is she that...

    -Yes. – interrupted her Art. – I have watched this movie, because of her, 6 or 7 times already and i know more about the Falklan period from her, than what i’ve learnt from school. Basically, there is no movie, documentary or video about the Falklan period that i haven’t watched because of her. I’m so sick of it, that i feel i’m starting to hate it little by little. And if you show affection and fall onto her hands, you will start hating it too...

    -Well, that sounds scary... – said Shio.

    -Don’t care, i’ll risk it. You may not realize it yet, but i love to experience history. Especially if the person to learn from is all passionate about. Just like your sister is... – Nym focused her look on the end-credits of the holographic 3D-sphere before them.

    -How did your sister became such a Falklan Period buff? As if she cares only about this and nothing else...

    The sudden low voice startled them a bit.

    -Oi, weren’t you asleep? – asked Shiori.

    -No, i was just napping. Nym’s shoulder is just too rough and unwomanly... – Mio yawned delicately.

    -Then go sit on something else, you... – snorted Mel’s sister.

    -Just shut up already and let him speak. I’m also curious... – said Ayuri bitterly, frowning her face a bit.

    All of the girls in the vicinity looked at him. Art just sighed quietly and began:

    -Well, that’s quite a complicated story, actually... My big sis, Kaere...

    -You’ll have a chatter next time. Nier is about to start talking... – interrupted him Reina.

    There was nothing for Art, but to comply.

    And he looked forward.



    The heavy steps outside made him lift his head.

    It was strange. Was he still asleep? Was he awake? He lost the count of the days. The realities became merged...

    He moved lamely. Every bone was hurting...

    „No, this must be the real world...”

    The stench...

    The iron bars creaked, the first thing that came inside his cell was a hanging light, irritating his eyes...

    He raised his hand, trying to block it.

    His stomach roared... Haven’t been eating properly for... who knows how long now. His hand... Was feeling so heavy. His muscles were cramping...

    The shadowy figure moved inside, closing the bars behind. He narrowed his eyes, trying to focus his eyes.

    Something scraped on the floor.

    -Who... Who are you?! I’m telling you nothing! No matter how much you torture me!

    The mouth of the person twisted in a slyly smile, making its teeth contrast with its face in the dark.

    -Torture you? C’mon, mister Kein, we are all civilized people here, we don’t do this kind of stuff. – the face twisted more and more.

    He shivered.

    A woman’s voice?!

    She put the lantern between them, leaning a bit forwards.

    In the diluted room, her smile was more mysterious than ever.

    -What do you call it then? I’ve barely seen any food. I’ve lost probably ten kilograms by now and constantly feeling sick, and my head light. This is a clear violation by the international laws of war, you know...

    -Don’t complain, all of us are suffering like this... Look, even my skin have lost its beautiful coloration and i’m down five kilos! My fingernails started to crack and my lips became dry... Do you know how much this grounds my pride as a woman? International laws, you say? Do you know how i feel? Do you know how our men are feeling? And all because of that trick you put on us...

    He avoided her gaze. Well, because she was... kinda right, you know...

    -Sorry...

    She just laughed. Out loud, kindly and sincerely. A laugh that was a song for his ears in an ambiance so grim and oppressing...

    -This is the first time i’m hearing someone is sorry after dealing such a mess! Really, you’ll make my stomach hurt... But well, one „sorry” won’t put it at all, mister Kein.

    -If you expect me to feel bad for what i have done and use it to extract some valuable info in return, forget it. We are at war, i don’t feel even a slight remorse and my mouth is tightly shut...

    -You are a true gentleman of your country, i have no doubts about it, mister Kein. But that’s not for what i’m here.

    -So, you have finally decided my fate? What is it, then? Hanging? Shooting? Drowning?

    -Ho-ho-ho, why always the fatalist outlook, mister Kein? Maybe i’ve felt bored and decided to have a nice chat with you. You know... To get to know you better...

    He looked her half-frowned, half-surprised.

    -You know what they say... Know yourself and know your enemy and you’ll not lose a single battle.

    -I think that’s a little bit exaggerated, milady... Well, you can see it as the direct result of a certain person actions...

    She leaned towards him. So much, that her face was just a hand-span from his.

    -Then maybe you just don’t know yourself that well, mister Kein.

    She was so beautiful... And these eyes... Like deep spring forests... Like hearts of the emeralds...

    -What? Is my non-sense boring you? – she giggled.

    And her laugh... So gentle and kind. Just what he needed in this years of despair and constant war...

    -N-no, milady. The thing you said... just don’t make much sense.

    -Why is that, mister Kein? Are you saying you are a person, who know himself?

    He looked aside, deep in thought.

    -C’mon, i won’t bother you anymore with such conversations. The lack of nutrients is probably making your brain hurt right now. Let’s go. – she got up.

    He looked her in disbelief.

    -Go? To where, milady?

    -You are no longer a prisoner of mine, mister Kein. Falkland and Violenn are no longer at war. And your trick played a major role in that. Congratulations, you are now a national hero in your country.

    His eyes widened.


    His eyes opened...

    His head was spinning...

    -LORD ADMIRAL!!! – a distant voice reached him.

    Who’s? From where?

    He tried to move... Was he lying?

    -Please, don’t move yet, Admiral... Your wounds may open...

    -L-lady Rashford? Is that you?

    -Yes, it’s me, Sir. You’ll be fine, i promise.

    He looked around. Was he in the... Surgeon room?

    -Please, help me. I wanna sit...

    -Of course, sir. Here, careful...

    Part of his hair was disheveled before his face... He moved his hand to put it aside...

    But nothing happened.

    -Wha...

    Lady Rashford just delicately looked aside. There was so much pain in her face.

    -I-i’m sorry... – she mumbled.

    Her eyes became wet.

    His right arm was missing from the elbow. Instead, there was a linen bandage of cloth, soaked in blood.

    All the blank pages in his mind returned... How Tagitsu moved behind them, firing a devastating broadside at their aft... How a cannonball split his steward in two, then cutting his arms... How his men began to fall one after another on the deck, mowed by rifles, guns and cannons. And then just a blank check in his mind.

    -There was nothing left of it to do, Sir. You’ve lost a lot of blood, doctor Merlow did his best...

    -Doctor Merlow? – he looked her strange.

    Then his gaze wandered around...

    This was not the Hiercon’s surgeon room.

    -Aghk, my head is hurting so much... – he tried reflexively to hold it in palm...

    But nothing reached his face...

    -You were really lucky, Sir. After hitting your arm, a cannonball grazed your mask. A sheer coincidence, that it only scraped your head. But was enough to put you unconsciousness...

    -Wha... what time is it?

    -It’s the next afternoon after the battle, Admiral.

    He laid back in his bed. There was no point in asking for the result. He was confident.

    -What happened... after i’ve passed out? Why i’m not on Hiercon?

    -After your injury, captain Teichthert took command of the decks. He and his men were ready to go hand-to-hand combat with Maria de Victor’s crew, when grenades from both her and Tagitsu forced them to get in cover below decks. Aissilea saw your predicament and rushed to help you, but cannon salvos and incendiary bombs put your decks on fire... Lieutenant Lefourt was forced to flood the lower deck, to prevent magazine’s explosion and the wounded were evacuated on the other ships...

    -Lefourt? Is he alright?

    Lady Rashford avoided his gaze.

    -I-i’m sorry, Lord Admiral, he...

    -He regained consciousness an hour ago.

    The sudden voice made them turn.

    -Mein... – mumbled Keinreich.

    Kuppersbusch sat on the small chair next to the lady Rashford.

    -Just a mild smoke inhalation and light burns from the fire. He’ll be fine. Thanks to miss Beaty. She managed to find him in the smoke-filled deck and called help to drag him upstairs. And did this with another thirteen people too.

    -I see. So it was really good to have her with us.

    -Absolutely, Sir. She acted like a real hero.

    -Is she... fine?

    -Yes, Admiral. Not even a scratch. As if an invisible force protected her...

    -I see. That’s good... Is the battle report ready yet?

    -Yes, Sir. That’s why i’ve come to check you.

    Keinreich sat up on his bed again.

    -So, begin with the bad new first.

    Kuppersbusch sighed deeply.

    -Hiercon is badly damaged. The fires are out and the crew is pumping out the water, but... i’m afraid she is irreparable... Even towed, i don’t think she’ll make it back home...

    His gaze wandered somewhere aside. His sadness was clearly visible.

    This was the third ship he lost to her. The third ship...

    -What about Maria?

    -After Hiercon was put out of action, Aissilea engaged both Tagitsu and Maria de Victor. But after other ships from the column rushed in, under the risk of being overwhelmed, she used the chaotic melee and just slipped away... Once again we didn’t manage to subdue her, Sir. I’m sorry...

    -Nothing to be sorry about it, Mein. No one have ever managed to do it.

    -If we send our fastest ships after her, we may be able to capture her. She is really hurt, we’ll deal her once and for all...

    -You are wrong, Mein. – said lady Suairt. – She is intact. And our fastest ships are damaged, with wounded men and reduced supplies.

    -Yes. Forget about Maria de Victor for now. We have more daunting task upon us now. Tell me, Mein. I wanna hear the result of the battle.

    Kuppersbusch pulled out one parchment paper out of his pocket.

    -Here are the results of the battle, as it follows, Sir: on our side we have no destroyed or captured ships. On Vhyinehaimean side: 4 destroyed, 27 captured, 7 escaped. Violenn: 1 captured, 4 escaped. Montgisard: 9 escaped. They didn’t even participated, Sir.

    -Pha, typical of Assilieu. – snorted Keinreich.

    -The good news: the vhynehaimese flagman, Kiniro, was destroyed, Aissilea captured Tagitsu and lady Rashford captured Darra.

    -Excellent! My best regards to captain Bousellier. And, of course, to you, lady Rashford.

    She blushed a bit, looking delicately aside.

    -T-thank you, Admiral. I’ll do everything for you.

    Kuppersbusch continued:

    -The destroyed vhynehaimean ships are: Kiniro, Tobishita, Yoshigana and Hagiri. The ones who managed to escape: Hiigari, Kuriso, Kurosagi, Kohiryuimaki, Tengu, Chise and Aguri.

    -Casualties?

    -As it follows, sir:

    Hiercon: 78 killed and 147 wounded out of 950 complement. Engaged Maria de Victor and Tagitsu.

    Hesingforst: 47 killed, 94 wounded out of 1200. Engaged Kalua, together with Rayntheon.

    Rayntheon: 13 killed, 20 wounded out of 850. Engaged Kalua, together with Hesingforst.

    Mont Valtz Ostrell: 89 killed, 192 wounded out of 870. Engaged Darra.

    Tehassiss: 31 killed: 94 wounded out of 790. Engaged Renge.

    Mainsten: 52 killed: 78 wounded out of 800. Engaged Raiden.

    Aissilea: 78 killed, 142 wounded out of 850. Engaged Tagitsu and Maria de Victor.

    Armara: 27 killed, 48 wounded out of 950. Engaged Tobishita.

    Marcipall: 72 killed, 154 wounded out of 1020. Engaged Yoshigana, together with Kren Luksov. The Vice Admiral and the Alfvenean Prince are fine, Sir.

    Kren Luksov: 12 killed, 34 wounded out of 900. Engaged Yoshigana, together with Marcipall.

    Alisienna: 17 killed, 30 wounded out of 750. Engaged Kiosovari...

    This continued for so long, that at one point Keinreich just turned his head delicately and almost stop listening... He was sick of such massacres...

    -Now the vhynehaimese. There are some very heavy figures, sir...

    Kiniro: 148 killed, 230 wounded out of 870 complement. Engaged by Hiercon and Hesingforst.

    Darra: 204 killed, 406 wounded out of 900. Engaged by Mont Valtz Ostrell.

    Tagitsu: 101 killed, 154 wounded out of 950. Engaged by Aissilea.

    Renge: 95 killed, 137 wounded out of 750. Engaged by Tehassiss.

    Raiden: 122 killed, 248 wounded out of 850. Engaged by Mainsten.

    Kuppersbusch sighed.

    Tobishita: 348 killed, 265 wounded out of 950. Engaged by Armara. Destroyed by magazine detonation.

    Yoshigana: 212 killed, 304 wounded out of 800. Engaged by Marcipall and Kren Luksov. Badly damaged, scuttled by her crew.

    Kalua: Engaged by both Hesingforst and Rayntheon. 548 killed, 313 wounded out of 950. Captain Miovaru surrendered with only 90 fit men...

    -Please, stop. That’s enough, Mein...

    -I-i’m sorry, Admiral.

    Keinreich looked aside.

    -No... It’s me, that i’m sorry. You all did great job. As always...

    -T-thank you, Admiral.

    -Go now. Re-organize the ships of the line. Send in the escort frigates. Vhynhim is the last step upon our domination...


    The sunlight hurt his eyes. But still, he looked up – a pain, he gladly embraced...

    Haven’t seen anything different from candles and lanterns for weeks...

    On the weather deck, much of the Maria de Victor’s crew was gathered. And everyone had that grim look on their faces. With dark circles under their eyes, skin pale and sick-looking, the accusatory gazes fall straight on him like a hammer. They were vicious sharks, wanting to gnaw him down to the bones...

    Well, he completely deserved it, he guess...

    Maria de Victor was completely devastated. Two of her three mast were broken up, with sails torn and tattered and many of her railings and planks badly burned... They were going to hate him for what he did to her for live...

    He looked left. Countess dé Monsorro was a few hundred meters from them, still tilted on her starboard side, stuck on the underground reef, when she tried radically to maneuver to avoid the burning wreckage of the Marielynn. With only top of the masts sticking up out of the water on the last one now...

    With many of the Countess dé Monsorro crew, tirelessly trying to break the reef with their diving suits and pick axes to set her free, with Darra and Emoriel nereby, stretching their thick ship ropes, ready to drag her out at the best chance...

    And at his right, Sharriette was hauling the completely dismasted Arcenaux, with the badly burned Karstinnen at their tail...

    -It is amazing, mister Kein. How much a man with a single frigate can achieve. – she said. – How a man can turn a tide of a war.

    He looked her somewhat humbly.

    -It was the explosives, madam. Not me or the ship...

    The shiny green emeralds were dancing before him. No... They were the singer, that made all around to dance...

    -Well, whatever the reason, mister Kein, the damage was done. You managed to block ten ships of the line in this bay, which could have been pivotal back in Inden. That is the most important.

    -I’m sorry...

    She laughed.

    -Really, what a strange bird you are, captain. It really makes me want to know you better. But who knows... We are at peace now. Who knows what the future hold for us... For all of us.

    -CAPTAAAAAAINNNN!!!

    He froze.

    „What...”

    He turned and rushed to the guardrail.

    His heart skipped a beat.

    -CAPTAAAAINNN!!!

    They were waving at him. His men. From the deck of the Hiercon.

    -I’m sorry. Two of your men – Van and Darm died from their wounds. Doctor Mort did his best. The rest are fine.

    Marcipal was also there. As well as Mainsten. And Max Von Sidov. And Mont Valtz Ostrell. Together with six escort frigates.

    Did they came here back from Inden... just for him?

    He turned and looked her.

    -Thank you. For taking care of my men. Despite what we did to you and your ships, lady... I’m sorry, i don’t think you introduced to me, milady...

    -Oh, well, well, how rude of me, forgive me, captain Keinreich. – she stepped back and gracefully bowed. – My name is Aictri Mont Dell Varo. Captain of Maria de Victor.

    And she took of her hat, bowing even deeply.


    Beaty jumped behind the 4-ton cannon, just when the shadow of Tagitsu overhang above them...

    -TAKE COVER, TAKE COVER! – was shouting Valte, pushing the men around him towards the closest objects to hide.

    Their rushed, and dashed and plunged, desperately reaching for the most solid things in their proximity...

    The aft exploded with a spectacular loud bang. The planks behind them pulverized into a pulp, throwing splinters and whizzing cannon balls at the still running men...

    Miraculously, the first one hit no one – only the gigantic mast pole, putting a huge dark hole in it...

    The second one whizzed right above the cannon she was hiding behind – crushing the dreams and hopes at some people in the bow.

    The third hitting it straight on – so mighty, that moved the whole cannon a hand-span towards her – the metallic bang was so tremendous, that made her ears deaf instantly and the sparks and the parts of melted iron poured all over her.

    Then followed the fourth one. And the fifth. And the six...

    Splinting of wood. Clanging of metal. Whizzing of tremendous speeds. Human screams...

    And with each of it, Beaty was just sinking more and more onto the cannon base, hopping to be engulfed, incorporated in it... Praying to all living and non-living forces she to be missed...

    It started to make her trembled. It started to consume her mind.

    It was turning her mad.

    Just the banging and the screams, and the whizzing and the crack, it was so insane, that made her wonder how is man capable doing that to another man... As if... they were non-humans anymore. They were monsters, consumed by the plague of the war...

    -REFORM!!! ALL ABLE-BODY MEN REFORM!!! – rose a somebody’s voice, followed momentarily by quick steps.

    -CHECK THE WOUNDED AND DEAD! CHECK THE WOUNDED AND DEAD! BRING THEM DOWN AT THE SURGERY ROOM! AT THE CANNONS! READY THE CANNONS!!!

    Beaty lifted her head a bit...

    All around her, the men were frantically running like some colony of ants.

    Something clenched around her shoulders, momentarily lifting her up.

    -C’mon, miss Beaty! We need you! Take your position!

    She just didn’t even manage to look him, when Valte released her and rushed somewhere at the front.

    -C’mon Beaty! Be my ventsman! Hold that little thumb over the vent hole! C’mon Beaty! – Royce looked her while reaching for the sponge-rod.

    Beaty dashed in without hesitation... By why they needed to reload the cannons now? Tagitsu was at their backs and Maria in their front. No one was in range of their artillery...

    Royce nimbly extinguished the ambers with the wet sponge, reaching for the powder charge...

    What a stupid question of herself to think... They needed be ready. At any time.

    While Royce was ramming the charge and putting the cloth wad, Beaty reached for the ammobox next to the cannon...

    -They are close now, Sir, Ventsman! Should i load a doubleshot or a grapeshot?! – she asked.

    -Put a grapeshot! Then a round! No armor or man can withstand that!

    -Roger that, Chief, Sir! – Beaty reached for the heavy grapeshot...

    She barely managed to lift it. This thing was weighting more than 1/3 of her own weight. And considering the heavy armor and equipment she was carrying...

    It cost her great efforts and pains to bring it to the cannon and put it onto the barrel...

    But she did it.

    Then rushed back to get the cannonball...

    -I’ll help you, Beaty! – just when her hands were over the round, Royce grabbed it and put in onto the cannon.

    Then the cloth wad. Then the ramming.

    The heaviest part was how 1/5 of the men required to do the job, were gonna roll the 4-ton cannon.

    -C’MON LADS, WE CAN DO IT!!!

    -HURRY, HURRY, TAGITSU IS STILL AT OUR AFT! HER SALVO WILL COME IN LESS THAN A MINUTE!!!

    Some grenades disgustingly thundered over the melee of clashes and musket shots above, rocking the decks of the ship...

    -MAKE WAY, MAKE WAY!!!

    -ADMIRAL!!!

    An invisible hand clenched her heart. He slowly turned, fearing what her eyes will see...

    -ADMIRAAAAALLL!!!

    They were carrying his body... Her heart started to beat uncontrollably fast...

    -HURRY UP! TAKE HIM DOWN TO DOCTOR NAERE, HE IS LOSING A LOT OF BLOOD!

    -ADMIRAL!!!

    -DON’T WORRY, HE’LL BE FINE! SHE’LL SAFE HIM!!! C’MON, HURRY UP!!!

    -LIEUTENANT LEFOURT! WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE IMMEDIATELY! TAGITSU IS AT OUR BACK!!!

    -TEICHTHERT IS TURNING THE SHIP! WE ARE BEING OVERWHELMED BY MARIA’S GRENADIERS AND SHARPSHOOTERS! TAGITSU WILL JOIN UP, WE’LL LOSE ON THE WEATHER DECK!!! GET THE PIKES AND POLEAXES!!! WE’LL DEFEND ON THE 12-POUNDER DECK!!!

    -Roger that, Chief Lieutenant!

    -TAGITSU WILL FIRE SOON, TAKE COVER GUYSSSS!!! – shouted Valte.

    Beaty jumped behind the cannon, just when all the hell let loose...


    A boat from Maria brought him back to Hiercon.

    And Lady Aictri personally choose to escort him to his ship.

    It was a real effort to climb the rope ladder to the quarterdeck...

    Admiral Reissmorth personally reach out his hand to help him in his efforts...

    When he found himself on the deck, all the gazes and stares fell on him. And the cheerful smiles, the low exclaims and the glitter in their eyes...

    All this made him feel a pride he had never experienced before.

    -Welcome back, captain Keinreich. We are glad to see you in relatively good health. – said Reissmorth.

    -Me too, Admiral, Sir. Sorry for all the troubles i’ve caused you...

    Captain Hesingforst behind him giggled.

    -That’s a strange thing to say, Captain. Here, come. We have a nice bath and a hot supper for you. – he led him towards his cabin.

    And the rest turned towards Her.

    -Lady Aictri. We are glad to have you on board of the Hiercon, milady.

    -Thank you for the warm words, Lord Admiral, Sir. – she took of her hat and bowed a bit. – But you can skip most of it. My sister?

    Reissmorth turned back and nodded.

    Some of his men moved, shackles clung. And a girl showed on the first rows...

    -Go. You are free now. – said his First Lieutenant Dom, pushing her a bit towards Aictri.

    The girl stopped a few feet from her.

    -My dear sister. – Maria’s captain looked at her.

    But the girl’s eyes just filled with scorn and disdain...

    -Where have you been, bitch?! Why didn’t you came?! – she rushed towards her, as if ready to give her a nice, heavy slap...

    But instead, she just fell in Aictri’s arms.

    -Why didn’t you came... – she wept on her chest.

    -Calm, calm, little sis. Have they treated you well? Have they did you something?

    She just hugged her tightly, hiding her face onto her chest...

    -I want... i want all these bastards dead. I want them dead... – she whispered.

    Something switched in Aictri’s gaze. It became full of stone.

    -It’s all over now, Airi. Let’s go home.


    After the second Tagitsu salvo, there were men, screaming and howling all over the floor.

    The still battle-fit crew just began to stand up, shouting orders left and right, cleaning the dead and wounded, when a thunderous cracking sound echoed in the tight space of the decks.

    The support of the mizzen mast split in two, with the main pole collapsing on the quarter deck...

    With now all its sails covering half the ship...

    And just several well-placed incendiary grenades from Tagitsu and Maria de Victor were enough to turn in onto a whale oil lamp.

    Here, on the lowest deck, Beaty only saw how all the gunports and deckhold suddenly flashed in a bright orange, like a sun on its set...

    Was this time of the day already?

    Sniff sniff...

    Was this... smoke?

    But the smell was kinda off... It wasn’t oily from the lanterns or chemical from the gunpowder...

    It smelt of burning cloth and wood.

    Beaty rose up from behind the cannon...

    -FIRE ON THE MAIN DECK! FIRE ON THE MAIN DECK!!! – shouted someone from above.

    -QUICKLY, GRIN, BRING UP YOUR MEN! MAN UP THE HOSES AND THE FIRE PUMPS!!!

    -ROGER THAT, CHIEF LIEUTENANT!!!

    -SIR, THE NOSE HAS BROKEN! THE JIGS COLLAPSED INSIDE, A FIRE HAS STARTED IN THE STORAGE AND MAGAZINE ROOMS!!!

    -LEAVE THE DECK, FOCUS ALL THE EFFORTS IN THE MAGAZINE ROOM!...

    -FORGET IT, WE DON’T HAVE THE TIME, BEN EVACUATE THE WOUNDED! FLOOD THE MAGAZINE ROOM!

    -Beaty, wait!... – tried to spot her Valte...

    But she was already running towards the ship magazine.



    She went to the podium together with miss Nier.

    Damn, she looked incredible in her new school uniform. As if the model was specially created for the lines her body. And the twintails, adding that fine detail onto the whole picture... For all the years he knew her, for all the years he spent with her, he never saw her even a single time doing her hair in such a manner. Never, not even the pictures had it captured.

    -Damn, she looks so sexy... – whispered Raon in his ear. – Its making me want to go all over her...

    Art just threw her a quick glimpse.

    They both stood up, looking at some random point in the auditorium, with all the people staring at them.

    Nier checked the microphones.

    -Ahem, my dear students, as you have probably heard by now, our dear leadership of the school surprised us with another transfer yesterday. She came from the National Highschool „Rosalind ischst Dainté” in Leichté from distant Falkland and for the next half year she will be a part of our school, classes and projects. She is also the initiator for today’s session and this great movie, provided to us from the Falklanese Academy of Science, in which we dived in these intriguing and very important historical events from first person...

    Nier looked at his cousin:

    -C’mon, Sophie, you can say some words.

    She moved before the mic.

    -(Hello everybody. My name is Sophie Bettenfeld from Falkland. I’m looking to one incredible year with all of you. Thank you for having me.) – she said on her perfect Vhynehaimese.

    And bowed deeply.

    -One incredible year, huh... – whispered and Hion on his other side.

    Art just turned his head and looked her. Only now he noticed, that her hairstyle was the same.


    At the premises entry, she almost crashed at him.

    -Beaty? – he was sincerely surprised. – WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE, GIRL?!

    She adjusted the straps of the leather powder carrier over her shoulder.

    -I’m helping to get the charges away from the fire, Lieutenant, Sir!

    -This is no place for you to be here, girl! This whole place will be flooded any time now!!! Go up! Help carry the wounded! We’ll do the rest!

    -But, sir...

    -Just do it, Beaty! I have no time for arguing! – and he dashed forward, towards the fire.

    The smoke was filling the ship more and more. Her eyes started itching...

    Beaty just mustered all her remaining strength and rush at the ship’s aft storage area. There, she dropped the four leather baskets she was carrying at once, next to one barrel with drinking water and remaining completely deaf for Lefourt remark, charged back at the burning bow of the Hiercon...

    Somewhere in the middle of her route, her boots started splashing in water. Just for the time it took her to stop and look around, the level reached her ankles. And was rising fast...

    Several meters in front, she stumbles on some of the crew, carrying the wounded up...

    -Beaty! Here, take this!!! – Valte shove onto her hands one leather bag. – THESE ARE DOCTOR NAERE’S ANESTHETICS!!! PROTECT THEM LIKE THEY ARE YOUR OWN EYES!!!

    -LIEUTENANT LEFOURT! LIEUTENANT LEFOURT!!! THE WATER IS RISING TO QUICKLY! THERE ARE STILL MORE THAN FIFTY WOUNDED PEOPLE DOWN THERE!!! – shouted Sawyer.

    -THE FIRE HAVE REACH THE FIRST COMPARTMENT ALREADY, IF WE DON’T FLOOD IT NOW, WE’LL LOSE THE SHIP! TAKE ALL THE MAN YOU NEED!!!

    Beaty rushed up the stairs. The air... It was getting harder and harder to breathe...

    She stop next to one of the cannons and removed her helmet and mask...

    -GIRL, GET YOUR HELMET BACK RIGHT NOW!!! – shouted someone behind her back...

    She turned at the voice direction...

    And then the planks behind her exploded, throwing splinters all over her back.

    She fall on her face, with the bag flying in one direction and her helmet in the other....

    -BEEAATTTYYYYYYYY!!!!!! – a voice echoed in her ringing ears.

    She was feeling hot... All her back was burning.

    She rose on her hands...

    -Beaty!!!

    She turned his head and met his eyes.

    -C’mon, Beaty, get up! Courage, girl! – Lefourt helped her to get up.

    And then immediately rushed back down...

    -Shit, the bag!!! – this thought pierced her mind as she start to frantically look around.

    The floor of the gun-deck was filling more and more with the wounded men from the infirmary. In addition with these, dying on the ground from their injuries...

    She looked down the deck whole. The water level was now at a waist level...

    The crew brought more and more men on the deck, as the rest of the men were frantically fighting of Maria and Tagitsu crew on the upper decks...

    Grenades. Gun and cannon shots. Slashes of sabers, slams of warhammers and axes. Together with the voices of all the crews, going at each other throats... It was like a dark masquerade, consisted of all the evil in a man’s soul. Just a sheer madness...

    But Tagitsu didn’t fire anymore...

    -LIEUTENANT! LIEUTENANT! AISSILEA ENGAGED TAGITSU, THEY ARE PUSHING HER BACK FROM US! LIEUTENANT?!...

    -LEFOURT IS STILL DOWN!!! THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE MISSING!!!

    -SHIT, THE WATER IS UP...

    And invisible hand clenched her heart.

    Someone started to cough. The smoke was so dense now, that obstructed the visibility to the near vicinity...

    And the level was reaching already up to the chest...

    -Beaty, what are you doing girl...

    She left the leather bag with the anesthetics next to one cannon... And started removing her brigandine.

    -BEATY?!

    -Sora. – she just whispered.

    Something around her flashed...

    As she fearlessly jumped into the water.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2019
    Ahmya and patpay like this.
  6. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    I'M BACK!
    These were two quite hectic months really. But things started to turn better now.
    First, i managed to get a new job!
    It's a nice and quiet office job, i'll get paid more and i won't be coming physically exhausted like in the previous one, having no will to do anything after it (and i'll finally also have a lunch break, lol... (which i can use to write more, so...)).
    Second, i got the will and started to do weight training again (its that dumbbell anime fault..). Feeling so much better even after just a few sessions and going on my training diet. I've lost a lot of strength, but i'll get up quickly, i'm sure of it (the muscle memory is incredible thing).
    Third, i've started drawing a comics! Mostly on the weekends, but i just had to start from somewhere.
    With all these changes, i really hope things will continue to improve and i'll be able to upload more frequently. Sometimes really frustrated me how i wanna sit down and write, how i imagine everything in my head, moving and progressing and just can't focus and do it out of exhaustion. But everything changes, they said, right? Especially after you say enough and start changing things.
    Enjoy reading!


    He crossed his hands up the air and stretched his back as much as it was possible.

    Some of his joints crunched.

    It was so nice to move his muscles and bones again after the long session. The 3-hour movie did unimaginable things to his sitting parts...

    Well, now he had all the hours of the day to loaf around.

    The good thing of the Fridays was, that they had only one session in the morning, leaving them several hours till the late afternoon for training, practice and club activities.

    And Ilarys Shokudou had one of the biggest open facilities in the world. A huge 3D stadium for reenactments… Another one for tracks and sport … And many open green-field tracks, upon many hectares of land, surrounding half of the school, some of them reaching the hills and the forests a kilometer or two in the vicinity. A sheer paradise for the runner-lovers, archers and everybody, who loved such green landscapes and open spaces.

    And today 13th of March was 26 degrees Celsius... Which meant they were all welcomed to goof around outside till their last breath.

    Art was happy, that he finally had such freedoms. Considering the nightmarish week he had up until now… But that was not the only reason…

    -Oi, what you daydreaming again?

    The sudden push on his shoulder snapped him back to reality.

    -Soph? – he turned.

    A slight kick in his knee…

    -My name, as far as i remember, is still Avys. You dumbass.

    He looked her somewhat guilty.

    -Ah, yeah, true.

    She kicked him once again. Art jumped a feet away from her.

    -Sorry. You just perfectly copied her voice…

    -My voice have always been like that…

    -And you start to look more and more like her with each day… I really missed you, Pixy Devil.

    She looked him suspiciously, backing away from him.

    -Are you sick, or something? Did the zombie’s from yesterday still affects you?

    -The zombie from yesterday?

    -AIIIH!!!

    The mysterious figure, that poped behind Avys made her thighten up like a string, freezing her in place…

    She just looked up delicately, only to meet the glaring eyes of Reina…

    Then just ran off, hiding behind his cousin. And peeking catiously behind his back.

    -I-it’s the scary lady that M-Mel warned me about…

    -„The scary lady, Mel warned you about?”. Jeez, that girl… Tell her, Art, am i that scary?

    -No, vice-prez, you are not that scary. You are actually quite cool, once a person get to know you better.

    -You see, little girl?

    Avys eyes just narrowed.

    -I think i’ll adhere to my right here to remain partially in doubt…

    Reina just sighed, as if bored, moving towards them.

    -Just let’s go. The other are probably already waiting for us at our Club Assembly Palace.

    -Club Assembly Palace? I’ve never heard of this before! – said Art.

    Reina just threw him a quick glance over her shoulder.

    -You are first to plunge in the secrets of our club, Art. Just wait. – she smiled somewhat slyly.

    -Damn it, you almost got my attention…

    Aiv pulled his hand to make him lean towards her:

    -I don’t like her at all!!! – she whispered in his ear.

    -Yeah, she can be strange and mysterious at times, that’s true.

    -You know she is also a magician, right?

    Art looked her in disbelief.

    -That’s bullcrap. I’ve sensed nothing coming from her till now and I even checked it this morning…

    -Damn it, bro, if I’m telling you she is, then she is! Trust my womanly gut!!! SHE. IS.

    Art straighten up, staring at Reina’s back for several seconds…

    -Oi, Reina, ar…

    -WAZUP, MY BOYS!!!

    The sudden stomp on their shoulders made them swing forwards, as if they were going to lose balance and crush on their faces. But the hands hold them in place.

    They both looked aside, with somewhat accusatory stares, only to melt down upon their Club President shining smile.

    -Oh, it is you, lady Raon. Good morning. – she bowed a little.

    -He-he, just how it sounds. „Lady Raon”. Good morning and to you, Lady Aiv. Lady Reina. Mister Art, hehe…

    Reina just rolled out her eyes jumped up the tempo a bit.

    -I thought you were at the Palace already. Rough day?

    -Not exactly. There were just something on my mind.

    -I see… You okay?...

    -Of course, Ina, i’ve never been better. – she rushed several steps next to the Vice-prez.

    Art and Aiv hurried behind them.

    East of the main school building, after the surrounding yards and premises, there was a huge field, covered with tiny green grass, making a person just to want lay down on it. At its far end, maybe perhaps after 100 meters, a small forest of orcish redwood was beginning, putting a nice dark-purple-blue nuances on the scenery with their colorful leaves.

    Once they’ve entered it, both of them really just couldn’t stop looking around. The so famous Vhynhim and her variety of rare and exotic trees…

    Beside the purple-blue redwood, there were so many other sort they have never seen before – a real paradise for every true botanist.

    After some not so long time on the forest road, they’ve reach an arched, double stone gate. It was between two embankments of woods and ground, that rendered its surrounding impossible, so they directly took the several stairs to its first gateway. There was no door or some other means for closing it and some kanji was written on top of the arc.

    Which he was still unable to read…

    -What does it says? – asked Art.

    -„Reenactment Club Palace.” – replied Raon, looking up.

    -Oh, well, who could have guessed… - mumbled Avys.

    The four of them passed through the double stone gate. After it, the road became one of skillfully arranged blocks and rocks, weaving its way between the trees and grasses.

    Just by the look of it and the scenery around, fueling this mystic feeling, Art was becaming more and more impatient and curious...

    Soon, the forest suddenly ended and the stone road lead them to another gatehouse – this time much more massive and impressive. Between the two bases of skillfully arranged stones, now there was a wooden gate, reinforced with iron bars, one of its wings now fully open. Above, there was a wooden structure with the typical arched roof in vhynehaimese style with many arrow slits in it.

    -Wow, that’s nice! – exclaimed Avys.

    -You like it? We built it together with the Engineering club. – explained Raon.

    -You built it all THAT?! Wow, that’s incredible!!!

    -Yeah, it looks very nice and authentic. As if it was build by professionals. – said Art.

    Raon just smirked with hidden pride.

    The stony road continued after gatehouse, weaving between two high hedges, like an labyrinth. Soon, an arched way poped on their left, etched onto the grassy wall.

    After they turned, Art and Avys jaws dropped.

    No, it wasn’t because of his club-mates, scattered all around the huge yard.

    It was because of the huge vhynehaimese castle, that erupted before their eyes…

    -OMG, IT’S A SHIRO! – loudly exclaimed Avys, elatedly jumping on her feet.

    The closest people around them turned, looking them somewhat strangely.

    Art looked up.

    On its huge stone foundation, a white castle was shinning in all its might and gorgeousness. It was a 5-stored, with the top floor still in the process of building, with a scaffolding fully surrounding it.

    A huge stone stairway was leading up to the castle’s gate, now with many people seating or just handing around it.

    -Don’t tell me you built that too… - said Art.

    -Together with the Engineering club… - added somewhat boringly Reina.

    -Yeah, that’s right. It is something that the club predecessors started and it all seems we’ll be the one to finish it. It’s really nice to see how much it grew for the time we entered this school. To see the finish line.

    -I also want to participate! Can i, can i?! – started to jump Avys on her toes.

    -Of course, you can. You are usually gather during the weekend, hollidays or vacantions to do stuff. Chopping wood, making planks, painting, varnishing, such stuff.

    -Nice, this is something I can do! I’ll really like you to have me!

    Hion suddenly poped before them. With Sophie and Vick next to her.

    -Oh, hi… wait, let’s with the twintails today?! – he looked at his little sister and then at Aiv, which hair was also did in such way.

    -Nothing. Just a family matters. – replied Sophie.

    He looked her bluntly.

    -C’mon, let’s begin. The others are waiting for you. – Hion turned them her back went to the stairs.

    The huge yard was filled with many ponds, gravel grouns, trees and meadow, arranged with such grace, that was bringing a full harmony between them. Achieving a complete feeling of tranquility.

    A stony road was leading to the entrance stairways of the castle, at which they headed.

    Ayuri and her sisters were sitting on the lowest step, talking to each other, with the main focus seemingly on Rioko.

    Ann was having a fierce fun on the swing at the nearby tree. Art was not sure for how long the branch was gonna hold, seeing it how it was bending and flexing…

    Nym was doing push-ups? with Krul on her back?!, as if she was some hardcore macho, living on the pheromones of the exclaiming and exalting chicks around… That role now played by her classmates and clubmates, rising their inciting howls and voices.

    When Art passed them, the count was in the higher thirties… And there were no sign of Nym’s body tiring up.

    Damn, was she on drugs or something? Some stimulants to compensate the extreme lack of sleep this morning?

    Well, looking at her face, considering the tension of the push-ups, everything else seemed normal. And Krul seemed to really have fun, giggling, and trying to not fall down, swaying left and right…

    Was Nym that tough? He had never imagined it… And something to have in mind for the future…

    -C’mon, c’mon everybody, gather here, please. – Raon clapped her hands a few times and prompted everyone to comply with her gentle and calm voice.

    -Oi, Ann, get off that swing right now, before the damn branch break! – raised her voice Rio, waving hand at her.

    -I’m all in ears from here perfectly!... – she yelled back to her.

    -Just let her fall and break her neck. She’ll be missed by no one. – snorted Ayuri, who sat on the stairs and turned forwards.

    They just heard Ann’s grunt, mixing with the heavy swooshing of the rope swing.

    Nym jumped up agily, almost sending Krul fly up high, with the both girls landing steadily on their feet.

    All his clubmates (except Ann) gathered around and sat on the stairs at the castle entrance, with Raon and Reina standing up before them.

    -So, guys and girls, as you all now already, this seems to be the week of the transfer students in our school. – the Club president took a step forward. – First, our dear Art this Monday, with whom we’ve learned, earned and experienced so much already. – she winked at him. – This was a week many of you will remember as very eventful and exciting, I’m sure. Something that broke the boring daily school route. – she turned at Sophie, Avys and his sisters. – And yesterday, our dear School Leadership surprised us with four more beautiful ladies. C’mon now, my dear friends, introduce yourself. Say a word or two about you…

    -Yes, yes, me first! – jumped from her place Avys, going next to Raon. – My name is Avys Bettenfelt. I came from Falkland and I’m big bro Art’s cousin! I’m interested in mechanical engineering and mathematics, I’m also specialized in gas and materialization magic! Nice to meet you all! – she bowed deeply.

    -Wait, what… You are MAGICIAN?! – Rioko stood up abruptly, looking her stunned.

    -Yes! – Avys jumped enthusiastically on her toes. – I’ve learn everything from big sis Kae and bis bro Art!

    -WHAT?! HE IS MAGICIAN TOO?! – several other girls also jumped, looking at both Art and Avys…

    Sophie just put her palms on the face, as if trying to hide herself from the world.

    -You should not just go around and spill about magic so randomly, girl… That’s a touchy topic… – she mumbled.

    -Pha, why not, big sis! Magic is cool!

    -Show us something, then! – asked Rioko.

    Avys just needed that much…

    She moved a step aside from Raon and pointed her palms towards the grounds.

    In the next moment, as it was calm and low, the air currents suddenly whirled around, throwing dust and leaves everywhere. Avys raised a meter in the air, weaving delicately left and right, as she was trying to keep her balance. Soon, a green ornamented circle with inscriptions inside showed below her, quickly accelerating up and her arms were engulfed by a purple smoky haze.

    -Just hold down your skirts, girls.

    -That’s so cool, sis. – Krul was clapping enthusiastically.

    Reina, Hion and Sophie looked totally unmoved.

    -Oi, can you fly around?! Or just levitate?! – exclaimed Rio.

    -It is possible, but consumes too much energy. For economic flying, you need appropriate gas-magic controller and booster-recycler…

    -Then stop wasting your energy and get down. – Sophie pulled her for the leg, making her instantly lose balance and tumbled like a dog on ground. – You haven’t breakfast and slept only three hours. Don’t want you to collapse dead on the floor…

    -That was so mean, sis… - she looked her with teared eyes, rubbing her bottom parts. – I just wante…

    -C’mon, get up now, you’ll catch cold if you stay on the ground. – she grabbed her for the arms, lifted her up and thumped her skirt off the dust. – Me next. I’m Sophie Bettenfelt from Falkland. I’m Avys’ bigger sister and Art’s cousin. I’m mainly interested in Falklan period and historical saber fencing. My other hobbies includes shooting, street fighting styles and Krav Maga. My magic specialization is magic technology and teleportation magic. Nice to meet you all.

    -Would yo… - began Rioko.

    -No, I won’t demonstrate you anything magic related. Too tired for this shit… - Sophie let go off Avys arms and sat back next to Art.

    Rio just pouted like a little girl.

    -Me next! – Vick jumped off her place, turning towards the group. – My name’s Vicktriss Sol Augustus from Falkland! I’m Art’s little sister! Мy hobbies includes sleeping and eating desserts! I’m specialized in electric and defensive magic! Nice to meet ya all! – she bowed a bit.

    -Will you demonstrate us something? – asked with her gentle voice Ayuri.

    -Sure, big sis Ai! – jumped enthusiastically Vick. – Come, I need a volunteer!

    -Don’t! She will zap you to death… - interfered immediately Art.

    The both girls looked him. And Vick pouted.

    -Jeez, you are such a joybreaker, bro…

    -Why don’t you volunteer then, Art? – Ayuri looked at him.

    -Nah, he is no fun at all, if he is prepared. – said Vick.

    -Yeah, because all the tasering you put him through, he became strong enough mentally to resist the pain… - Sophie crossed her hands below her chest.

    -Ooo! – Rio looked him amazed, as if she was a child, that was just told some incredible story.

    -Okey, okey, enough with the tasering and electricity, guys. There is still one young lady about to introduce herself. – Raon turned at Krul.

    And suddenly all the stare fell on her tiny shoulders.

    In the first moment he saw her how she just wanted the ground to split open and engulf her whole. But then she just got up and timidly moved before the crowd.

    Pinning her gaze down and delicately rubbing her palms.

    -I’m Krulcifer Sol Augustus. – she was speaking so quietly, that everybody had difficulties hearing her. – I’m big bro Art little sister and Vick twin sister. My hobbies includes… sewing, i guess… I also like retro cars… And making desserts with big bro. My magic forte is offensive and ice-water manipulation spells… I like very much oderonean renaissance dresses… I even managed to sew one… with satin half-jacket and white leather strips… My favorite dessert is Astoria… I also like big bro’s lava cakes… They are incredible, he should make them for you some time… For the retro cars… I guess my favorite is Maendor Avalanx… It is combustion engine era car… I want to drive such one day… I guess I also like Reverer… By some reason, even if it is a bus… Lately, i have interest in doing ice sculptures, done solely on magic… I made an ice pixie several days ago… Before big bro came here… As for the history… I guess I’m more interested in the cooking and dressing, than the military side… Like going on medieval and renaissance festivals and such… My favorite dish is Falklnad style Foie Gras with Somme Sauce… I also like festival style medieval duck…

    -Omg, somebody, just stop her, she won’t shut up ‘till tomorrow morning… - Vick put a hand of her face, tilting her head a bit…

    Krul suddenly shut up, wanting to be engulfed by the ground.

    -Oi, don’t you dare to talk like that to your sister! – pointed her threateningly Art with finger.

    She just made a face at him, hiding behind Avys…

    -Alright, alright, now that we have finished with all the introductions, let’s move on. – Raon clapped her palms several times. – So, these who want to participate in building the Shiro, report and organize at Harkonen’s team! These, who want to goof around and train, organize at Reina’s team and go to the fields!

    -Boo, you are too boring, Prez! – shouted at her Ann from the swing.

    -Yeah, just look at how nice the weather is! And we have more guests from Falkland! Let’s have a nice game instead! A sort of welcoming party for them! – joined her and Rioko.

    -A game? – looked them Krul surprised.

    He saw how Ren, sitting beside him, just turned out white. Well, considering how little he had slept, he wasn’t in the mood for games either…

    -Yeah, a game! Like Capture the Castle! – said Rioko.

    A murmur of approval rose from the crowd.

    Ren was turning more and more white, at the brink of passing out. He felt sorry for her…

    -Sure, let’s do it! – joined them and Nym. – And have much of fun!

    Mio just looked her as if Mel’s sis was the biggest betrayer to ever walk on this planet’s surface.

    “Was the fun from yesterday not enough for you?” – Art was about to start crying internally over the inevitability of the situation.

    -Well, didn’t have a good thrill in a while. So why not. – said and Ayuri, crossing her arms below chest.

    „Well, hope you didn’t experience a thrill, that includes genies, snakes, horses without heads and undercave ships someday…” – though Art grimly.

    Many others also joined the hype around the game, quickly dragging with them these, who still had some minor uncertainties…

    Sophie was just staying down unmoved, with frightening cooly on her face.

    „Damn, things are gonna turn violent.” – Art eyebrow twitched.

    There was just no other way. She was becoming extremely aggressive when underslept and now that all her plans to ditch the training session and just go some place nice and quiet to take a nap, were ruined, were just gonna add additional weight on her blows and punches. There are gonna be heavy casualties today…

    -You sure about that? I’m really tired, couldn’t sleep at all this night… - Mio got up, swaying a bit.

    -C’mon, c’mon, what we are going to do without our best lancer. – said Ayuri.

    -Yeah, who is gonna rekt the enemy heavy units… - crossed her hands and Rio, obviously bitter for something…

    Raon just hugged her over the shoulder. A smug, cattish smile shone on her face.

    -What did you do this night, so you couldn’t get a sleep at all?

    -N-nothing! – Mio push her not so gently with her hands, turning back to hide all her red face.

    -Jeez, and they tell I’m the boring one…

    -It’s decided then! – Ann agilily jumped from the swing, landing next to him. – Let’s choose the teams and get equipped!

    -Oh, I got a great idea! Let Art and Sophie be the captains of the oppo… - suggested Rio.

    -No.

    His cousin just crossed her legs and arms, proudly raising her chin. A pose, clearing meaning: „No fucking way in hell.”

    -Whaaaaai?! – wept Rio. – You are killing all the fun, Soph!

    She just turned sharply her head to the side, totally unmoved.

    „Yeah. Good luck making her do something she doesn’t want to do…” – though Art.

    -All right, don’t get fed up, girls. – interfered Ayuri. – We’ll decide the captains and the teams the usual way. I’ll just get the stickers and the team tags. Wait a bit. – and she headed towards the castle entrance.

    A bit of a silence and a secret looks between each other arose in the first moment. Then Rio turned at Sophie:

    -So, if we draw the teams… and, let’s say you and Art happened to be… in the opposing tea…

    -I’ll just beat the shit out of him.

    -WHAT?! – Rio’s eyes goggled against her.

    -Why so surprised? It is a fair lot. Not put up, like you tried to did in the beginning… - she finished bitterly.

    Rio just sat back on the stairs, with her mind thrown in total disarray and confusion by the colorful personae of Sophie.

    -It will be difficult with her around, right? – whispered Ren in his ear.

    -In one way or another… - he sighed, tilting his head back a bit.

    Sophie just threw them one secret look with the periphery of her gaze.

    -Soo… What is this game exactly? What do you do? – asked Vick.

    -You split in two teams. One defends the castle. The other is trying to conquer it. This can happens by capture all the defenders, made them surrender or simply eliminating them. The other way around is also valid for the attackers. – explained Hion.

    -Seems straight forward enough.

    -Hey, I have an idea! Let’s add a Castle Princess! – suddenly stood up Rio.

    -Damn it, Rio… - snorted Reina.

    Hion just shook her head a bit.

    But Raon was more than intrigued:

    -A Castle Princess?

    -Yeah! I mean, these young ladies here said they don’t have much interest in the military aspect of the history, but rather or its cultural one. So once we start the game, they’ll be left a bit to the side, bored and annoyed. So what if we also add a role to them? A Castle Princess! The one that, for example, the attacking team will try to rescue or capture! Would that condition create more fun opportunities at break the shackles a bit?

    -Well, you can’t argue with that. – said Reina.

    -Sounds fun, big sis Rio! Count me in! – jumped enthusiastically on her toes Vick.

    -Well, this actually sound boring to me and I can fight a little bit with sabers, so I’ll take place in the actual battle. – said Avys.

    All the gazes now fell on Krul. Which once again wanted to merge with the ground…

    -W-well… I don’t find this r-role boring at all… As I said, I l-like dresses… and I would l-like to dress as a princess… I’ve always wanted… It will be fun…

    -What about you, Vick? – Avys turned at her.

    -Can we use magic? – she turned at Raon and Hion.

    -Not sure how we can implement that… - Raon’s face turned puzzled.

    -It is actually quite simple, prez. – Reina crossed her arms. – The arrow mechanics.

    -The arrow mechanics?

    -Yeah. You see, since our armor sets are mainly made from iron, that boasts much greater magic permeability, compared to their carbon-steel plate armors. To be precise around 2000 times more.

    -Exactly. – interfered Sophie. – Which means a direct magic hit will be almost completely absorbed by the pure iron plate. This is why our carbon-steel era knights and armorers had to put iron meshes on top of their armors to made them more resistant to direct magic hits.

    -What exactly is a magic permeability? – looked them confused Rio.

    -It’s the property of a material to enclose electromagic energy withing itself. Iron have around 200 000, while the carbon steel just 100. Modern metglass materials can reach up to 2 millions… – explained Sophie.

    -That sounds… impressive? – Rio was not so much impressed.

    -Yeah. They made the anti-magic handcuffs, magic-insulation cages and restriction bracelets from such materials. Once put, the magic energy is either shut off, or restricted. Its a fun fact that all administrative buildings, markets, banks and such are, by law, forced to have such anti-magic shielding incorporated onto the building’s structure. To prevent, for example, someone during the night just to teleport onto the vault, take all the money and leave. – explained Art.

    Iki was looking at him with such shiny eyes, as if she was listening a story from her idol.

    -Wow, that’s really cool! – said Ann.

    -So, then we can apply the typical arrow rules here? Hit on the armor is no go, hit on an exposed part is crippling? – suggested Raon.

    -Yeah, but… isn’t that going to hurt? – Akio was really concerned.

    -Don’t worry, Prez Sis! I have my restriction bracelet! It will only tickle if you get hit! I can demonstrate to you…

    -Don’t! – interfered Art right away. – She’ll zap you to death…

    -Jeez, you are such joybreaker… - pouted Vick.

    Art just make a face at her.

    -Well, I’m still a little bit concerned… - said Akio.

    -Well, then just pray to be on her team. I’m also curious to test new mechanics and add new stuff. It’s getting boring otherwise… – said Reina.

    -Okay, boys and girls, I’m back.

    All of them turned back. From the Castle entrance, Ayuri showed up, holding a basket in her hands.

    -Let’s waste no time and move on to the drawing teams. – she said with her calm and uniform voice. – As always, the reds are attacking and the whites defending.

    -Just wait a moment before that. – interfered Rio. – I just got a thought. What about their equipment?

    -Don’t worry, we also have these kind of games, so we are prepared. – said Art. – And I took all my equipment with myself.

    -Me too. – said Sophie. – It should have been delivered to the school by now.

    -It is. I’ve checked it this morning. All of it. – replied Hion, with the intonation of a person, who was mentally preparing itself about the upcoming troubles...

    -Oh, really?! – jumped enthusiastically Avys.

    Art just sighed lowly. Another disaster was just at their gates…

    -That’s nice. So, let us begin. I’m first. – said Ayuri and stuck her hand in the basket. – Red team. – she showed her sticker. Then took a red strip. – I guess I’ll be storming the castle.

    Come to think about that now, Art never saw her fighting before. That was gonna be an interesting experience.

    -Me next! – jumped in Rio and grabbed a sticker. – RED, YES!

    After high-fiving her sister, she also took a red strip from Ayuri and wrapped it around her biceps.

    -Alright, it is me now! – Avys stuck her hand in the basket and got a sticker.

    Enthusiastically unwrapping it…

    -A white team… CAPTAIN?! WHAAA…

    Several of the vhynehaimese girls and boys started to giggle and laugh.

    -Poor you. You really should have hidden that fact. – smugged Raon.

    -Yeah. Every red will try to focus you now. There are certain benefits if you get the enemy captain. To bad we missed to explain that before hand. – giggled Rio, not feeling guilty at all.

    Aiv just looked them stunned.

    -Don’t let them intimidate you, sis. It is all part of their strategy. – Sophie gently put her hand on Avys’ shoulder. And got a sticker.

    It was red.

    Aiv just delicately moved a few steps to the side.

    -YAY!!! – enthusiastically jumped Rio (obviously more than exalted, that Soph won’t have the opportunity beat her again, and secondly that she was on he team...) – Welcome!

    She high-fived and her, while his cousin took the red strip and got onto the yet thin lines of the storming team.

    -Alright, I’m next. – said Art and moved forwards. – Red. – he showed it to the rest.

    A low, smug smile with just the end of her lips shone on Sophie’s face, when her cousin moved next to her.

    -Damn, this is getting scarier and scarier. – Ren twitched a bit, looking at their confident poses.

    -Well, you can’t complain. It is a fair draw. – Mio got to the basket.

    Hers was white.

    -Damn, if you have gotten on their team, I was gonna seppuku myself, really… - snorted Ann and draw.

    Hers was also white. She wasn’t quite enthusiastic honestly.

    The teams distribution continued for a little while. They were totally 41 people (of course without Amemori and his band…), with Krul being the Castle Princess, they landed exactly on 20 people per team. The list happened as follows:

    Red Team (Attackers):
    Akio (Team Captain)
    Agano
    Art
    Arufa
    Ayuri
    Chisaki
    Danjuro
    Emiko
    Moka
    Naeru
    Nishi
    Oiso
    Orimo
    Rioko
    Rumiho
    Sophie
    Sozui
    Suu
    Takari
    Zumi


    White Team (Defenders):
    Avys (Team Captain)
    Aihara
    Amu
    Ann
    Arai
    Faiye
    Ginma
    Hion
    Masami
    Mio
    Nym
    Okase
    Raon
    Reina
    Ren
    Touwa
    Tsuikihi
    Utena
    Vicktriss
    Yudachi


    -Alright, that’s it, boys and girls! – clapped Raon. – Let equip ourselves and have such a fabulous battle, that everyone remembers for life!

    An enthusiastic shouts and cries filled the Castle’s yard.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
    Ahmya likes this.
  7. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    -Will you be even able to move in THAT thing?! – Rio overhang him so skeptically, that frowned her beautiful face.

    Sophie, who was just tightening his breastplate, turned and looked her stupefied.

    Art just moved his head as much as he could (restricted by his armet and gorget) and stared her with his neutral gaze.

    -Stop talking and get yourself ready. – interrupted them the melodic and uniform voice of Ayuri, who put the iron do over her little sister’s torso. – We don’t have all day to spent here.

    -But just look how restricted and suffocating that thing looks! Just image if he falls…

    -Stop spewing stupid stuff about things you don’t know. – Ayuri tightened the leather straps so sharply, that expelled all the air out of Rio’s lungs.

    Meanwhile Sophie finished arming up his cousin, with him backing a few steps away from them. Then he started to move his joints, warming up.

    Then he made some lunges.

    Then he made a cartwheel.

    In a full plate-armor.

    Weighting 25 kilos…

    Up until now, they haven’t seen a person’s jaw to drop so low, just as Rio’s did right now…

    -B-b-bu… - Rio raised her shaky finger, pointing him in disbelief…

    -Don’t point. It is rude. – smacked her through the fingers Ayuri, while strapping up her other pieces of armor.

    Arufi and Rumiho clapped him impressed several times quickly.

    -How is it? – asked him Sophie. – Need any adjustments?

    Art moved more around left and right, with his plate clinging metallically.

    -Everything seems right. – he raised his visor.

    And turned.

    Before him, the attacking team, shone in all its glory. These were the persons, with he spent this eventful weekend so far. And the persons with which he was gonna spent the next half year with.

    He didn’t knew them so well personally yet…

    But they were these with whom he have trained already. With some of them even personally. Boys and girls, who quickly showed interest in HIMA, leaving aside their cultural differences, open to the world and to new things they wished to learn.

    Arufa. She was the first, who approached him during his training with Ren in the gymnasium the other day. A personae filled with such positivity and energy, she wanted to plunge onto the knowledge of Medieval Inden with all her might and quickly turned onto a zealous follower of him (he was sure that she already digged up all the possible literature material, related to the Indenean Martial arts…). A really good person to have by his side. Too bad the eventful week prevent him to train more with her…

    Then Chisaki. His kouhai from 8-A. An incredible talent and a very quick learner, she was the only other person, after Hion in their duel, who managed to land a hit on him during the Tuesday training session. A petite and very fast pixie, rivaling even the Prez by speed and agility. Definitely not wanting to see her on the other team.

    Rumiho. His charming and curious classmate, one of the first to surround him the other that in class, starting to bombard him with questions. How are you doing? Do you like Vhynhim? What do you like do to after school? Want me to show you around the city after that? I’ll treat you some Takoyaki or Taiyaki if you want! The vhynehaimese food is incredible, you’ll see!... I know a very good Ramen place…

    He felt so stupid now, that back then allowed himself to get irritated by her hospitality and warmth…

    Emiko… Moka… Suu… Zumi. All classmates of him, with whom he managed to talk already by one reason or another.

    Then Rio. The tireless girl, bursting of energy. The first one he met in the school yard, while carrying Mel to the miss Noel’s office…

    And Ayuri. The girls, who managed to bring Harm on the ground, throwing punches at him left and right. Definitely something, he had in mind since then. He was very glad, that she was on his team.

    Soph… There was just no need for comment about her. He was trusting her with his life.

    Looking at them now, geared up differently from their typical light kendo equipment, all now in forms of field armor, worn by the vhynehaimese warriors of the past, he could feel nothing but pride. And a nostalgia so fervid, that he felt how an invisible hand was squeezing his throat more and more.

    It was a picture just from his old days. But in a different setting. All the boredomness, the exhaustion, the sleepiness… It was all gone.

    All exited and impatient for the upcoming fight.

    And looking by their faces, their emotions, laughs and gestures, they were all too.

    He just got his poleaxe, that Sophie handed to him, leaning it on his shoulder.

    -Bzzz, that thing looks scary. It’s good that it’s on our team. – Rio’s face twitched a bit.

    -Would you mind me to check it out? – he heard a voice behind him.

    Art turned.

    In the first moment he froze in place, looking at Hion with his widened eyes.

    Just then he realized, that the Prez was on the enemy team and that was impossible…

    Still a bit stunned, he kinda automatically handed his pole axe to Akio.

    „Damn, why does she looks so much like her?!”

    With now her hair hidden and only the face visible, with forms distorted by the bulk of the armor, she looked indistinguishable from her sister…

    -Oi, you alright mate? – looked him concerned Rio.

    He turned to her.

    -Ah, yeah, don’t worry. I just spaced out a bit.

    -Aha, a bit… - her eyes narrowed.

    Ayuri just looked him with a tiny smug on her face.

    -I have little concerns. – Akio moved the poleaxe in her hands, frowning her face. – This looks really hard hitting…

    -Well, it is an IAF standardized product – a typical composite plastic-nylon core with foam coating. It’s just like a gentle kiss against bare flesh.

    -Well, most of our folks haven’t seen such one before. Most of them will probably get the shit scared out of them, when face it. – said Ayuri.

    -The change of pace is not bad once in a while. It will be healthy for them. – said Sophie.

    -It easy to say that, especially when that thing is on your team… - Rio crossed her arms before her, looking her a bit irritated.

    Well, that really wasn’t her concern too. Because she was also part of that team…

    Akio returned him the poleaxe.

    -And your sword, please?

    -Sure. – Art draw him out and gave it.

    -Loo, that’s a really nice sword. – exclaimed Rio.

    -It is also IAF standardized, an exact foam-nylon copy of my metal fencing type „XVIIIB“ Bossouliè.

    -Nice. Can I check it a bit? – Rio’s eyes glimmered.

    Akio looked him.

    -Sure. – agreed Art.

    Rio just took it from the Prez' sis and immediately started to swing it violently left and right, making the others swiftly jump out of her way…

    -Hey, that’s a sword, not a club. Use it elegantly… - scolded her Ayuri.

    -It’s so light! It’s so balanced! I feel I can swing it all day! I love it! – she continued to slash and lash, totally disregarding all the human life around her.

    Ayuri just puffed.

    -Don’t waste your energy. You’ll need it for the battle.. – the uniform and melodic voice of Ayuri began to turn annoyed.

    -All right, let’s mark then and begin. – started Akio and turned at him. – You said you also had battle games, so I guess there won’t be a huge gap in the rules.

    -Yeah. There are three types of color markers – one for blunt weapons, one for pointy and one for blades. Bladed weapons are usually azure. The pointy are white-orange and the blunt – yellow-green.

    -That’s right. It is the same here. The rules are: “sharp weapons” cut only clothes and flesh – you cannot cut plate or maille, you cannot pierce plate, you can pierce maille with a well placed hit – the heavier the hit, the more orange the marker will be. And consequently, the weaker the hit, the more white it will be. For a valid pierce on a maille, the marker must be bright orange! The same is for the blunt weapons! A „killing” hit is a bright yellow-green on the head or the torso. Arms and legs are usually no „killing” zone, unless, of course, you didn’t colorize them from hits…

    -Yeah, that’s the same as us. – interrupted her Sophie. – So, a direct hit from my musket can pierce all armor if the distance is less than 20 meters?

    -Excuse me, your WHAT?! – goggled her eyes against her Rio.

    -My musket. Not the cap-locked Lanziherr, but my flintlock .76-caliber Longhambton Action V. The reload is almost twice as much, which will prevent me to execute all the enemy team in the first five minutes, and I even brought with me some of the paintball rounds with the reduced charge for such games…

    -No, no, no, no, you can forget about it. – waved her hands Rio. – This is getting way out of hand. And out of the set era…

    -Geez, it is just 450 years gap, no need to sweat it so much… - snorted Sophie.

    -Alright, alright, enough girls. – moved Ayuri between them. – I think my sister is right, Soph. Maybe some other time we will organize a game with a later era equipment, just for you. – she smiled a bit.

    -Tss… - Sophie just snorted.

    And picked up her oderonean sabre.

    Art gulped.

    It was the foam-coat one, but still… That thing was quite nasty.

    -And you? Are you just gonna wear this? – looked her skeptical Rio.

    Sophie looked down on herself, as if she was told there was astain on her cloth.

    -What’s wrong with that?

    She was wearing a thick-padded, wheat-brown gambeson, tightly secured on her with black leather straps on the neck, belly and the chest, and under her left armpit down to the hip.

    But there was quite a story behind this. Soph, as all people around her knew by now, was a Falklan Period buff and didn’t own (expect for the sabers, of course) anything outside it. The Falklan Period equipment also included some thick padding for the plated body armor, designed to adsorb the shock from the impacts of the heavy muskets, but instead from linen, they were made from the very early forms of synthetic fibers, invented by the combination of the skill of the human magic and the dwarven craftsmanship. There were also thick gambesons from that period, capable of stopping pistol shots and even light muskets!

    Of course, Sophie had such one from the Falklan Period, as part of her standard heavy infantry equipment. And was using that gambeson constantly in their games back in Falkland. But Niei, who, on the other hand, was such a High-Medievalist buff, got so sick by the blasphemy of the anarchronism Sophie was committing, that one day just brought her a proper one.

    That’s why she was wearing this one now. And only it. Just because she didn’t have anything else for the set period.

    Beside the gambeson, she was wearing also a beige cotton pants, high, brown leather gloves and boots and just a sabre.

    Oh, and her hair. She switched from twintails to a single middle ponytail.

    -I-I mean you have no protection at all! Even the „sharp” weapons can hurt you! – continued Rio.

    -If they manage to hit me, that’s it…

    -B-b-but…

    -Look, the metal will restrict my magic, as I said, and now I’m not in mood to code boosters and amplifiers, also I’m too tired for any shit. So deal with it. – she draw her sabre and started to swing it gently left and right, just to warm up her joints and muscle.

    Rio just puffed and took the markers from the box.

    After the last person was ready gearing up, they marked all the weapons with the proper colors and left the lockers-conservation premises, gathering at the edge of the green field, leading to the forest. Akio took one branch and started to draw some stuff on the ground.

    -So, there are four different approaches to the castle… With the most used and unobstructed, of course, being the Castle Labyrinth which we use on a regular basis…

    Sophie snorted bitterly just by the sheer mention of the word labyrinth – a sign, that was totally misunderstood by all the others…

    Akio just looked her confused.

    -So… - she began again more cautiously, looking her under her eyes. – the other routes are tiny forest paths, not easily accessible. One of them have a river crossing and the other some rock climbing…

    Sophie was about to snort even more bitterly, when Art smacked her with his armored hand on the elbow.

    Akio now looked them concerned.

    -You okay? Are you not feeling well?

    -Yeah, yeah, it’s all fine. Sorry for interrupting you. – murmured Art, fidgeting left and right.

    Akio just looked them for a second more and returned to drawing the map.

    -So, it is very possible, that the gate house will be guarded by Iki…

    -Iki turned quite agile lately. – interrupted her Chisaki. – I think they’ll use her to ambush us.

    -It will be useless. The lighter groups can easily track and catch her, and she will be completely useless against the heavy units. All if properly used, of course. – said Sophie.

    -Oh, you don’t know her well, you shouldn’t underestimate her at all, senpai. It may come to bite you in the ass later.

    Sophie her curiously.

    -Just stop with all these stupid plans and storm frontally all… - snorted annoyed Rio.

    -Well, we did it once, when you draw to be our captain and that ended, softly put, tragically. – said Ayuri.

    -Tss…

    -Just stop already. Akio is our team captain now – we will listen to all her commands. – scolded her her sister.

    -So… - started again Akio.

    -Let’s do them what they anticipate the least! Storm frontally with almost all our forces and use one group for… - Rio jumped in again.

    Ayuri smacked her in the nape.

    -Didn’t I tell you to… - she was about to smack her again, when Sophie suddenly grabbed her hand.

    -Wait, blondie. Let her speak… - she said.

    Ayuri looked her sharply.

    -Oh, thanks, blondie, number tw… - began exalted Rio.

    -… even the biggest idiot is bound by a pure statistics to say something smart sometime… - she finished.

    Rio’s mouth remained open for some quite time, while her brain was processing the Sophie’s roast.

    Then she just wrapped her sleeves up, ready to dash at Sophie…

    But Ayuri’s firm hand landed on her little sister’s shoulder.

    -What’s on your mind, sis? Speak while you still have a chance. And all your teeth.

    Rio just looked the both bloodthrity, snorting and puffing, and took the stick from Akio, starting to draw on the ground.

    -So, as you said, there are four routes, leading do the castle… And the possibility is that there’ll be troops stationed on all of them. Because they won’t know from which direction we will attack. So, if we split our forces by two and attack only two of their positions, we can overwhelm two of their groups by fighting two to one, before they can manage to react and redirect reinforcements!

    -Actually, that sounds quite reasonable. – said Akio.

    -That’s a millenia-known knowledge. That’s one of the advantages for the attacker’s side – to concentrate forces and chose the exact point of attack, while the defenders need to spread their forces out to cover all the possible sectors, which will lead to initial delay in their actions. That’s known as long as war exists, don’t see you why you need to think so high of it… - snorted Sophie.

    The others just looked her not so friendly.

    „And not a word about Avys!” – she called him telepathically.

    Art looked her a bit amazed.

    „What?!... Are you even on our team?!”

    Sophie returned to his gaze with a stony one.

    Art just avoided her stare and puffed.

    Which left the others additionally in wonders… Well, that wasn’t quite his concern… For now.

    The thing was that despite her looks, Avys was actually quite smart for her age (counting all the mathematics, theoretical and non-theoretical mechanics and application magic…). So she probably have also reached all of the above mentioned conclusions and was taking all the proper measures to counter them. But Soph obviously for some reason didn’t want to tell her new classmates this piece of information about her little sister. The two of them knowing it was probably more than enough. Guess, to made things all around more challenging and interesting. Maybe just for her. The others were probably going to experience hell with her around.

    He just hoped that this decision of hers won’t come and bite her in the ass later…

    -Alright, let’s try to implement this plan then: two fast, shock attacks on two of their positions with all of us, trying to overwhelm them before they can be reinforced, then using our numbers to subjugate the other two. – returned them to the previous topic Akio. – Then we will proceed with eliminating the remaining resistance and capturing the Castle/Princess.

    -What about the places and the groups? – asked Chisaki.

    -Send the heavy units on the rocky-forest routes! They’ll diffidently not expect that! – jumped in Rio.

    -That’s actually not a bad idea.

    -Yeah! Then the rest can attack frontally, through the Laby. That’ll also be a little expected place for a storm.

    -Yeah. – joined and Sophie. – I can also be in that group and teleport behind the enemy lines, attacking them in the back, while they are occupied with you. It will be very effective, especially when they don’t anticipate it.

    Art again looked her with Avys in mind, but even still fully expecting that, Sophie was probably able to take a few guys with her.

    But Rio looked her with goggled eyes and something completely different in mind:

    -Wha, you CAN TELEPORT?!

    -Yes? The others already agreed of using magic, so way not. – Sophie had something completely different on her mind.

    -B-b-but…

    -Pff, okay. I'll try not to use too much magic... And let's say only 3 teleports... Otherwise it won’t be fair to wipe out all the enemy team in just under a minute…

    Yeah, just like she did with Sekba’s band and then with him yesterday. Then, in just mere seconds. Quite generous on her side. A clear fair fight advantage for the enemy team. Though fair fights were for suckers…

    Rio’s eyes goggled even more.

    -B-b-b-bu…

    -So, how do we split up? – interrupted her Ayuri, looking at Akio.

    She looked her teammates thoughtfully for a second.

    -Right, let proceed as follows then…


    Meanwhile, at the enemy base…
    -So, they’ll probably split in two groups – Avys began, drawing on the ground. – Since they think that we can’t possible know from which directions they are going to attack, they probably suggest that we’ll split our forces randomly to defend all the approaches… Having this in mind, the opportunity…

    -They, they, they, they, random, random, random, probably, probably, probably… - interrupted her Ann annoyed, making a face. – That’s too many randomness! This is not how you make a pla...

    Avys smacked her heavily in the head with the stick. Good thing, that she had her helmet equipped already.

    -LISTEN TO ME! I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW!...

    Ann just back a step away, holding for her head. Her eyes teared, ready to start crying any second now…

    -So, what’s your great idea then? – looked her annoyed Hion.

    -Hehehehe… - Avys just smugged.


    Meanwhile in Falkland…
    -OI, GUYS, COME AND TAKE A LOOK! – thundered Frou’s thunderous voice throughout the corridor. – Art and company are gonna have their first game in Vhinhym! They are streaming!!!

    In a mere seconds, all his clubmates gathered next to Harm and Niei in the multimedia room…


    That was because, while the other were all gearing up and arming, Hifumi was also busy readying up all her action cameras and drones, and also didn’t miss the opportunity to fill several gigabytes of data onto her memory cards already with pics of their preparation for the fight.

    Then, when the both teams took positions and were ready, she announced the beginning of the game.

    And engaged the stream.

    Harm, Frou and Niei were among the first ones to join watching.


    -Oi, want me to support you a shoulder? Walking in that thing looks hard! Will you be even able to climb?

    Art just looked her with his stony face.

    -You should just really stop, Rio. – said Arufi. – I have seen these things in action. You can run, you can climb trees and get on a horse, jeez, you can even swim in it!

    Rio looked her like a smile child that was told an incredible story.

    -What’s even the look… You have seen how Ayuri is constantly swimming in hers. You should not be surprised at all.

    -B-b…

    -Right, moving ahead to scout! Will signalize in case of imminent danger! – interrupted her Chisaki and disappeared ahead in the bushes.

    She, together with Rio, were the only light units, that were in their group. Exactly for a reasons like scouting and avangarding ahead, covering the rest of them, that wore the most heavier armor types for the country during that period.

    Except Art.

    He was wearing something completely out of this world. Something, that the nobility and the knights wore on the fields of Inden 700 years ago, a real pearl for its period: a middle 14th century North Falklanese Sapphire armor, that dominated the continent for over 100 years.

    And since the vhynehaimese heavy armor also reached its peak in 1337 – the year of Vhynehaimese Unification, after which all wars stopped (and therefore the further evolvement of armor and weapons), this happened to be totally acceptable for the period set in game. Not like Sophie and her muskets from 400 years later…

    Soon, the trees and the bushes began to thin out, with the soil gradually turning more and more rocky…

    -Watch out now. The terrain before us will become more and more exposed. Eyes high. – said Arufa.

    Moving carefully and in a low stance, there, on the peak they found Chisaki, lurking in one bush. She was lying on the ground and with her monoscope was observing all the terrain before her.

    All the others ducked behind her, staying in the concealment of the terrain.

    -I think I see Masami on that tree over there. I thing she also saw me already, so don’t come any higher! Don’t want her to see you. – said Chisaki.

    -So, they anticipated us… - snorted bitterly Rio.

    -Don’t overthink it, it is completely normal to send scouts to cover all the routs. But we don’t now what’s behind her. I think she won’t move, unless she spots more of us. She is just observing the route now.

    -We need to eliminated her without warning the others. – Art moved just a handspan up, stopping at her feet.

    -It's too open. If i rush her or even became too close to her, she'll probably run away to seek support from the closest group. And i won't be able to catch her - she is so much better sprinter than me... She'll definitely leave me in the dust. - snorted Chisaki.

    Rio started scratching her helmet.

    -So, if we go in, just to make her run and report us, but then turn back and attack from some other place…

    -Stop complicating stuff. We don’t have that much time. – cut her off Art.

    -Jeez, then just throw your polearm at her…

    -It is not for throwing and she is more than 200 meters away.

    -What’s your idea then? To just taunt her, so she make a mistake?

    -No, something much more simple. – replied Art, already digging in his leather poach, that was hanging from his hip. – I’ll just open a portal on the other side of the river. Right behind her...

    Rioko looked him surprised.

    -A portal? What do you mean a portal?

    -Don’t you know what a portal is? It’s a shortcut, that can transport you to a distant point.

    -You mean… A magic portal? The one that uses magic for it? – the confusion became more and more apparent on Rio’s face.

    Art frowned a little but, readying up his chalks and amulet.

    -Yes.

    Rio watched him precariously for a while, than mustered back her courage:

    -So, you are gonna transport us to the other side?

    -No, not all of us. The formula for portal stability is an exponential function of the weight passing through it. Which means you can go up to a certain amount of weight passing through, before it collapses. And this usually does very bad thing to people. Like… Actually, no need to go into such details here. So, maximum three, no, two people, since we are wearing armor. And since you are the lightest one, I prefer that you’ll be the one, Rio. That way it won’t put that much strain on me.

    -Well, actually, I’m starting to have some doubts here… - Rio backed down.

    -C’mon, it’s nothing to be afraid off, I’ve done this many times already, it’s just like passing the street…

    -You can get hit by a truck on the street…

    -Just.. Go! – Arufa pushed her forcebly next to Art.

    Rio just looked them all one after another with her widened, stunned eyes.

    The others nodded in encouragement.

    Rio just puffed and hid her face in the golden grass.

    -So, we teleport, you wait 30 seconds and only you go for it. – Art looked at Chisaki. – When you see her to rush back, charge at her, making her run for her life. We’ll do the rest.

    -Roger. – she confirmed.

    -Point the monoscope delicately in her general direction, then quickly look at something else, so she don’t suspect anything. – he looked up.

    Chisaki moved it a bit to the right, then she chose one random spot to look at.

    -Right. – he moved several meters down, next to one flat piece of rock. – Come closer, Rio.

    The girl complied momentarily, while he started to draw on the ground with the rose chalk.

    The others looked him back, with eyes filled with curiosity.

    -First, I’ll draw an amplification circle, instead of using only my medallion for the teleportation magic. The advantages are as follow: less strain on the user, better concentration of energy, more precision. The disadvantage is only one: a little bit longer time for casting. – he quickly draw three concentric circles in one another, filling the spaces between them with some strange characters. – Nice, that’s done. You ready?

    Rio nodded several times quickly. Art grabbed his medallion in palm and looked at Chisaki.

    She also nodded.

    The circles shone in bright yellow, quickly filling the spaces between them with a black, starry void.

    -Lol, so cool! – exclaimed Arufa.

    -L-looking at it now, I think I’ve reconsidered a thing or two… - Rio backed away.

    Art just puffed...

    -I don't have the spare energy to keep it open just for you to make up your mind!

    And grabbed her in his iron clench, dragging her forcefully down the portal…

    Rio didn’t even manage to exclaim…

    It was the stirring up of all her emotions of his hug, that made her miss details about passing the portal.

    Left without a words and opened mouth, at first she was completely stupefied.

    But then…

    -W-w-w-ha, w-what ya doing, let go of me!... – all blushed and red, she started to resist, throwing furious and uncoordinated punches left and right.

    -Right, right, just keep quiet! – Art momentarily dropped her from his hug, making her a sign to shut up. – We are on the other side already!

    The girl froze for a second. And started looking around.

    All of his clubmates were now missing. And instead of a rocky hill with scarce bushes, there was a dense mesh of trees. And a road.

    -Quickly, hide! – he grabbed her for the hand, dragging her behind one huge tree next to the forest path.

    -Let go of me!... – she moaned and pulled her hand.

    -Right, right! Jeez, you are such a child… - he complied, hiding tightly behind the tree.

    -That’s a sexual harassment, you know!

    -You better shut up and hide, unless you want me to show you a real sexual harassment defined by the Falkland’s law. Jeez… - he snorted and pulled her closer to him, behind the tree.

    She just moved nervously, trying to back away from him. But didn’t dare to do it by much. And looked away from him.

    -What? Don’t tell me a simple hug got you that excited? – he smugged.

    -Shat up… - she pouted and kicked him in the knee.

    With his steel poleyns, there was no effect at all. Just a metal cling…

    -I’ll get it back to you one day, you’ll see… - she continued to pout.

    -I can’t wait. – he continued to smug.

    They heard steps in the distance. A very fast steps, quickly approaching. Louder and louder…

    -Get ready! And don’t screw that up! – Art took tightly the poleaxe in both hands.

    -I’m not the one, that usually screws the things up, playboy…

    -There is always first time for everything, blondie. There is always a first time…

    The steps reached a sudden, peak tone…

    When Art, using all the rotational momentum of his body to power up the strike, swung the poleaxe in a wide, mighty arc.

    In the split second his vision had to instinctively focus her, Masami’s eyes widened madly in a last realization of the inevitability of the situation…

    Landing the axe part straight on her face.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2020
    Ahmya likes this.
  8. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Back in Falkland, everybody in the room exploded with turbulent shouts and thunderous exclamations.

    Long seconds were needed until the voices calm down, so they could hear their thoughts again…

    -Lol, that bitch bit the pole… - coldly giggled Florin.

    -PHAPHAHAHAAHA, NNNIIIICEEE ONE, AAARRRTTT!!! – jumped up enthusiastically Frou.

    -Yeah, that was quite brutal. – added Mort.

    -It was just demonstrative. Was it necessary? – frowned Amaris.

    -W-well, sometimes Art loves to show off. He is just like that. – Adam delicately rubbed palms.

    Harm and Niei, both having absolutely identical poses with crossed arms below the chest, continued to watch in full concentration and, is if in sync, completely silent.

    They knew the very best part was just at their doorsteps…


    Meanwhile, at the other group…

    Sozui couldn’t stop looking frantically left and right, trembling in her boots…

    -Jeez, calm down, girl! You’ll fall of your bones... – Suu hugged her over the shoulder, rubbing it a bit.

    -I-I’m t-trying. B-but this is my first g-g-game… - she stared in her feet.

    -No need to agitate her additionally. She’ll probably be the first one dead. – snorted Sophie, looking cautiously around.

    Sozui gulped. She just wanted to cry…

    -Do you have to be so mean? – looked her Moka, pouting.

    -This is what we, the Falklans are, girl – mean bastards, messing the other people lives. You should have historically got used to it already…

    Moka just pouted even more, as if she was trying to kill her with cuteness…

    -Keep it down, girls! There may be scouts lurking around. – whispered Akio.

    -I don’t see a thing. – was looking around Zumi. – We should have made a contact by now…

    „Yeah, is if they are dumb enough to let them see you…”

    Sophie just closed her eyes for a bit, making a magic scan in all directions…

    Really, there was nothing in the vicinity.

    Just one moving object…

    Hastily approaching them from the front…


    -Damn, just look at that team distribution… - rubbed her chin Florin, concentrated on the third screen. – Not good, not good…

    -And they are moving really fast! If she didn’t act soon, it will all turn into one big massacre… – Mort narrowed his eyes a bit.

    -The second group can make the things very interesting, indeed. I just hope they all play their cards correctly, to set exactly how I’m imagining the things. I really want to watch a good game… – said Niei.

    Harm was just concentrated on the screen, not moving an inch.


    -Rumi is coming back. – said Sophie.

    The rest looked her bewildered.

    -Coming back?... I don’t see… - Akio looked ahead, staring her gaze somewhere in the distance.

    There, the girl suddenly poped from behind a tree, running like there were demons on her tail.

    -But how… - Sozui looked at Sophie amazed.

    -It’s Rumi, hold position! – stopped them Akio. – Eyes high, boys and girls!

    The girl run to them, leaning on the nearest tree.

    -There is no one! The Arc is unprotected!

    -No one?! You sure? – made a step towards her Zumi.

    Rimuho looked her sullen for questioning her skills.

    -This is really strange. What are they thinking… - Akio got deep in thoughts for a moment.

    -It seems our plan is no longer in motion, captain. – said Suu.

    Of course it wasn’t. Plans only worked if the other side was doing nothing… And Avys’ plan was probably specially thought to counteract their’s, knowing her little sister predictability…

    And was also probably to late to escape from it already…

    Sophie just frowned.

    But she remained quiet.

    -Rumi, go ahead again! We are moving move beyond the Arc! – Akio turned towards the team.

    Sophie sighed lowly.

    „Geez, this is not how you make a formation, girl… Ahead is not the only existing direction. You have no one in the back. No one scouting the flanks…”

    If the enemy scouts catch them in this position, there will be no one to prevent them to run back to their team and report it… Or at least report that they have been spotted… And no one to early warn them if the whole enemy team happens to pop up on their flanks, in a perfect ambush position…

    „Geez, Akio, I thought you should have know such things already...”

    Sophie was too tired to just do scans every minute or so…

    „You all deserve this… - she frowned again.

    They were all gonna pay for dragging her into this and not letting her have her sleep…


    -LOLOLOLO, IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S HAPPENING! They are falling straight into Avys’ trap! NICE ONE, LITTLE PIXIE! – Frou enthusiastically waved his fist. – KILL THEM ALL!!!

    Amaris looked him as if she wanted to incinerate him with just a gaze.

    -I have always wondered… Your father is such a quiet man. Your mother and sister too. THEN FROM WHERE THAT FUCKING DESIRE TO NOT SHUT UP FOR A SECOND?! – she kick several times his chair.

    Frou almost fall.

    Then he turned, looking her with no less incinerating gaze.

    -Are you adopted or something?!

    -Tss, mind your own business… - he snorted and turned forwards.

    -She screwed them really bad. I was going to feel stupid if I was in their shoes. – said Mort.

    -But seriously, what is Soph doing?! – exclaimed Char. – She must have done some scans for sure now and knows what is happening, why doesn’t she warn them?!

    Niei, not moving an inch, just mumbled:

    -This girl just want to see the world burn…



    Rumiho returned to them, a little bit out of breath.

    -The Gatehouse is clear too! No one is guarding it! – she puffed fast.

    -I don’t like it… - frowned Akio, staring her gaze in the ground for a second... – Rumi, go back immediately! This might be an impending ambush!...

    „Voila!” – Sophie though bitterly…

    Their captain barely finished her words, when the dull cling behind made her heart speed up.

    Sophie sharply turned, just in time to see the bouncing arrow… An arrow with…

    -PURPLE FEATHERS!!! THAT’S IKI!!! – shouted Akio.

    Just a second later, before any of them even manage to react, a new burst of arrows poured all over them. Some missed the targets, the others bounced from the iron plates of the vhynehaimese armor. And Sophie was wearing none…

    -TO COVER! TO COVER! – continued to shout their captain.

    -WHERE IS SHE?! – Sozui looked panically left and right, trying to embed with the roots of the nearest tree.

    Sophie tightly hid behind Orimo, hoping that his heavy set of armor was bulky enough to offer adequate protection and for her.

    Another few arrows rained over them, as if chaotically in first look. But one managed to hit Rumiho’s leg in its unprotected part, leaving a contrast, orange mark.

    -Fuck!!! – she momentarily hugged the ground, trying to cover all the other unprotected parts.

    Sophie looked around. What was going on?! How many people were shooting at them?

    Another set of arrows made them hunk down even more, wanting to become one with ground.

    Then, another arrow, notably longer than the others that were pouring all over them and with dark blue feathers, hit Danjuro – their other heavy unit.

    Straight in the face.

    -Shit!... – he snorted.

    But something clearly was wrong. Something apart from the tens of arrows pouring all over them.

    It was the fact that it came from the other side…

    -THEY ARE ON BOTH OUR SIDES!!! – shouted Akio.

    „Lol, who could have guessed.” – thought grimly Sophie.

    Their captain rose up just a feet…

    Momentarily, a few arrows bounced off her helmet. It was a real miracle that no one found a weak spot…

    -Get down, you fool!!! – Rumiho pushed her back on the ground, covering her with her body. – We need you alive!!!

    They needed to do something… They needed to do something and fast!

    Suddenly, somewhere from the side, the leaves rustled…

    An enormous whizz!

    Sophie just saw how the magical sphere left a trace of hazed air behind it, ending straight in Zumi’s uncovered neck…

    Turning it all yellow-green..

    -PHAHAHAHA, EAT THIS, SUCKERS!!! – echoed Avys voice from all directions, leaving them in total disarray.

    Another long arrow with blue leathers landed just a handspan from her face.

    -That little bitch… - Sophie suddenly got so stirred up and agitated, that was about to threw up all her sound and safety…

    Another sphere whizzed. Coming straight at her…

    -POVA!!!

    The spell exploded in her thick air shield, throwing sparks and flashes in all directions…

    Sophie closed her eyes for a second, grabbing her medallion.

    A pulse of energy in the surroundings…

    -HEEEEYYY!!! THAT’S NOT FAIR, SIS! ONLY I CAN DO THAT!!! – spread Avys’ voice all over the field again.

    What she found, not surprised her at all.

    Because almost all from the enemy team were here… Enclosing on them from every possible direction.

    She was just so sick from all this…

    -AKIO! THERE ARE 10 people on the west and 6 on the east! – Sophie raised her head a bit, looking left and right. – If we continue to lose people, they’ll soon outnumber us two to one!!!

    -16 people?! You sure? How did you manage to cou… – Akio looked her amazed below Rumiho’s body.

    -DOESN’T MATTER! NO TIME FOR EXTRA CHATTING!

    -Iki stopped shooting! – whispered and Rumiho, delicately looking left and right…

    Just when another long arrow passed an inch from her face…

    Making her sink down like a mole.

    -Damn it!!!... They’ll decimate us here!

    -Leave a handful of people to hold the west and let the rest of us try to push east! BEFORE WE ARE FULLY ENCLOSED FROM ALL DIRECTIONS!!! – said Sophie.

    The captain just looked her for a second.

    -ROGER! Me, Rumi and Orimo will hold this position for a while, while you manage to break off! Then we will follow you!

    -Right! After me, boys and girls, I’ll be your vanguard! Follow me!!!

    And she pulled her oderonean sabre, jumping on her feet…

    Rushing ahead like a viper.

    Her speed and actions stunned the others so much in the first moment, that until they start to get up too and follow her, Sophie was already a tens of meters ahead.


    The rest looked her amazed.

    Masami just smiled innocently. From ear to ear. That is what she looked like with the azure marker on her face. As if she just exited some neon party.

    -Damn it, Art, you’ve marked her for life… - Arufa leaned over her face.

    -Just an old habit.

    Chisaki looked him frowning.

    -An old habit? I’m afraid to even ask more…

    -Well, I shouldn’t delay you, guys. I’ll be going back to Hifumi. Don’t wanna to miss the rest! Good luck! – Masami waved delicately.

    And rushed back the road.

    That was it. First kill: Red Team. First blood: Art.

    Poor Masami. Just fell a victim to something she couldn’t (yet) understand, not having the chance to enjoy the game at all.

    Well, they were surely gonna forbit the further magic usage after this game. He was 100% sure…

    Rio just high-fived him, before the seven of them continue on the opposite side of the forest path.


    They have met Chisaki again at the first vertical rock.

    -There is no one up… Oi, do you need he…

    Art just threw up his poleaxe over it and agile climbed it, as if it was some simple stairway…

    -C’mon, I’ll help you. – he leaned over the edge and reached out his arm.

    The rest just goggled their eyes, looking him amazed.

    -B-bu… - Rio stuttered.

    -C’mon, let’s hurry up and catch everybody off guard! They’ll soon start wonder why Misaki isn’t coming back.

    Chisaki took his arm and he pulled her up as if she was light as feather.

    Rio was still looking him with widened eyes.

    „BUT HOW?! THE ROCK IS OVER 2 METERS HEIGHT AND HE WEARS 25-KILOGRAMS ARMOR?!...”

    -C’mon, Rio, you next! – he reached out again.

    The girl shivered. Then hastily grabbed his hand.

    After seconds, with mutual assistance, they were all over the top.

    -Right! Rushing ahead to scout! – said Chisaki and moved on.

    The rest quickly followed, although not with her tempo.

    -Be careful. They are some very nasty bumps and holes, hidden in the grass. – Arufa turned at him.

    -Roger. – he glanced at her.

    After several turns and meanders between trees and bushes, they’ve meet up Chisaki again.

    Who was waiting for them at the second vertical rock.

    Which was even higher than the first one…

    -Damn… - Art just looked up, not especially happy.

    Even he had his limits…

    What were his options?

    The portal was still on cooldown – the energy in the amulet’s magic sequencer was still too dissipated to use the programmed algorithm in it – it needed at least 6 hours in remote charging mode to reach the energy levels for providing adequate assistance.

    If he tried to execute the algorithm himself – using only his brain and body for controlling the formula, without the programmed sequence in his amulet, in the current condition he was – donated blood this Monday, no breakfast and 3 hours of sleep – that was a guaranteed pass out. 100 percent.

    So the portal was no go.

    And considering the slight blocking abilities of his armor, that was going to put even additional strain on him.

    The situation with the teleport was the same. And he could only teleport himself – he didn’t have some of the abilities, that Sophie had – he wasn’t a specialist in this field after all.

    So the magic way was a total no go…

    What others?

    Maybe if he stepped on someone’ back and jumped up…

    But who?

    He looked at them.

    Chisaki, Emi, Rio and Aru were out of question. Weighting over 100 kilos in full armor, he was just going to crush they gentle spines. As if they were ever going to agree to this, lol…

    The others?

    Takari and Nishi could possibly withstand him, but he still had doubts. It was going to be too unhealthy for them…

    Out of the question.

    He looked around…

    The trees?

    There were some suitable ones, on which he could climb and then move on the rock…

    Maybe that was worth trying…

    -So, I’ll try to climb that tree, it looks suitable… - he began.

    -Um, there is a path on the right, that can lead to a lower rocks? – interrupted him Chisaki.

    He just looked her dumb.

    The others giggled.

    -This is what you deserve for always rushing ahead and not let us, who know the way, to lead. – scolded him Arufa.

    -She is right, you now… - jumped in and Rio.

    -BUT I’m the most heavy unit! It is completely normal to be in the front! Geez…

    The two girls just giggled, while moving ahead towards one tiny spot between the rock and the trees.

    The path was so well hidden on the right ridge, that everyone not looking specifically for it, was going to miss it. It was curving and wriggling around, narrow enough to force them walk almost sideways, with grasses reaching up to the hips. This forced Art to move ahead again, clearing them the way.

    -Hion would have definitely liked this… - he mumbled.

    -What? How do you even know such things?! – exclaimed Rio amazed.

    -Well, he had the chance to have some nice chat.

    -Nice chats? But whe … Oh, you mean the other day when your friend came and ab… took Iki on a date?

    -Whaaaa?! – Chisaki looked them stupefied.

    -IKI WENT ON A DATE?! – Arufa was no less surprised.

    -With whom?! – exclaimed Emiko.

    Art just sighed.

    -Harm. He is one of my friends…

    -Whaaa?! – the three girls looked him with goggled eyes.

    -Its just too complicated…

    -Iki never tell us what exactly happened that day… - began Rio. – And what you were doing, with Hion…

    -You also went out?! WITH HION?! – Emiko couldn’t believe her ears…

    -Don’t get the wrong idea, all of you. Iki and Harm were just basically strolling around and having fun. Me and Hion just stalked them…

    -YOU STALKED THEM?! WITH THE PREZ?! – Chisaki couldn’t believe it.

    -Yeah. To ensure that everything will end okay, of course… - replied Art totally unmoved, glancing at her.

    -I see… - Rio plunged deep in thought.

    -I don’t get it at all… - Arufa shook her head.

    -Basically Iki has a boyfriend now. His friend. – Rio nodded at him.

    -WHAT?! Iki got a boyfriend?! The first one of you?! HOW?! – exclaimed Chisaki.

    -Is this what is bothering you? – looked her Rio with narrowed, annoyed eyes.

    Chisaki just stared her widened eyes in the path ahead…


    Char’s gentle hand landed on his shoulder so heavily, that the rest swore they heard bone breaking…

    -Care to explain? – said her uniform voice.

    Her smiling face with closed eyes got close to his’

    Harm just moved his shoulders to push away her hand, crossing his arms and proudly rising his chin.

    -I need to explain nothing to you. – he was totally unmoved.

    -Jeez, you are no fun at all. – Char’s voice turned all annoyed, pushing him for the shoulder.

    -Did you do it with her already? – shot coldly Florin.

    -WTF, Flo, they’ve just started dating… - Adam’s eyes widened.

    -Well, you know in how hurried times we live nowdays...

    -Jeez…

    Frou just started sobbing…

    -What gotten into you so suddenly, man? – looked him Char.

    -Harm got a girlfriend. With whom I’m gonna visit the succubus red light now…

    -Am I a joke to you? – frowned Mort.

    -S-succubus red light?!... – Char stuttered.

    -I’m interested. Where is this club? – said Han.

    Niei just put his hand gently on Frou’s shoulder.

    -Don’t worry, Fro. If you are feeling sad and alone, you can always call me. We’ll both go together…


    -How did this even managed to happen in first place? – asked Arufa.

    -Pfff… Well, on the night after I’ve dueled with Hion and Raon put that picture of us, Ann expressed the desire to show her some of my friends…

    -Ah, Ann of course. And her romantic obsessions… - said Chisaki.

    -Then she saw some of Harm’s photos. And suddenly decided they are bound for each other. And Mel sent him some of Iki’s photos…

    -Ah, Mel. But of course… - interrupted him and Arufa.

    Art just looked her bizarre.

    -Sorry. I won’t interrupt you anymore.

    -Well, it’s not that… Anyways, so, the next day he just flew to here and… they went out. And it seems they really liked each other, so they started dating. She told me that he is coming this weekend too, to see each other.

    -Wait, wait, wait, wait… This is so wrong in so many ways! – exclaimed Chisaki. – Your friend is coming again?! And SHE told you?!

    -Yeah, we chatted a little bit yesterday…

    -WHAT, YOU GOT HER CONTACT?!

    -Geez, what is wrong with the suspicion in this country? These are normal human interactions people usually do…

    -I think you just totally distorted the „suspicion” context in this topic for entirely your benefits. – said Arufa.

    Art just looked her a little bit annoyed.

    -I-I think we should all be really happy for her. Iki deserves it. And if its Art’s friend, I think everything is fine. He should be a really good and nice guy. – tried to put some mildness in their conversation Emiko.

    „Оh, thank god, you are such an angel, Emiko.” – he looked her with grace, wanting to hug her…

    -Well, I’ll introduce you to him someday. This isn’t going to be his last visit, that’s for sure…

    -Can’t wait to meet him again… - snorted Rio.


    -I’m coming with you. – suddenly said Char, crossing her legs and arms.

    The rest (without Harm and Niei), looked her amazed. The two just looked her a bit annoyed.

    -You what? – frowned Amaris.

    -This weekend. I’m going to Vhynehaim with Harm. And no one can stop me.

    Now all of them looked her just annoyed.

    -WHAT?! They’ve just made a decision and transferred him there without saying a word to us! Don’t try to hide it, you are all utterly stunned when we learned! We were left without any opportunity to stop it and now we can only see each other through the little screen!...

    Suddenly her face distorted…

    -That’s just not fair… I really miss him…

    And out of the blue, she started sobbing…

    -Come, come, girl. Calm down. – Niei hugged her, as if she was a really concerned mother. – You’ll see him, I promise.

    Char just snugged onto her hairs.

    -She is right, you know. That was just not fair by their side. To do it that way… - mumbled Mort.

    Adam just stared at the floor.

    Florin clenched her fists until her knuckles turned white.

    -Let’s just kill that bastard Belevard. And then burn the fucking school.


    Ahead, the grassy road ended in a small nook, enclosed from one side by the trees and the other by the rocks. There, naturally delved in the vertical scale, something like a natural staircase attracted his attention.

    -Right, I’m going up first! – said Chisaki.

    -I’ll help you! – Art interlocked his palms over his thigh, making something like a stepper.

    She grabbed him for the shoulder while stepping on it and jumped up.

    Then he helped Arufa. Then the rest.

    But when it came to Rio’s turn…

    -Forget it. I’ll do it myself… - she pushed him not so gently and agily started to climbing up.

    After a second, she was up.

    Art just sighed lowly and quickly followed.

    -Going ahead to scout! – Chisaki again rushed forwards, soon disappearing from their sight.

    -I’ll lead. – Art took the head place, with his poleaxe in a ready position.

    -I’m taking the rearguard. –Nishi fall behind several meters.

    Rio moved behind him, so close, that almost snugged onto him.

    Looking nervously left and right.

    -You okay? – he glanced over his shoulder.

    Rio just frowned. Her hand was already on the o katana’s tsuka.

    -I don’t like it. We’ve advance so much already and only met Masami. I don’t like it at all.

    Art stared ahead. She was totally on point, that was for sure. But sometimes, things just needed to be left a bit running down the stream and just wait for opportunities to open…

    „Should I ask how is Soph’s doing…”

    -I now this kind of mood from movies and stuff! This is the perfect precondition for an ambush! – interrupted his thoughts Emiko.

    -They can’t ambush us in such place – they can attack only from front and behind and there is barely enough space for two people to stand next to each other. We can hold the whole enemy team here for days – just like in the Battle of Tialra…

    -You have a point… - she grabbed her chin, going deeply in thought.

    Well, after all, you should be really careful what you wish for.

    Because after the next turn, they’ve met Chisaki.

    She was just standing there, staring at one random point ahead, and her katana was drawn.

    -Oi, Chi what are you do… - began Rio.

    Art suddenly stopped, with the girl almost crashing onto his back.

    -What have gotten onto you all so suddenl…

    She froze.

    Because up there, on the third vertical rock, Arai from the enemy team was waiting for them.

    With his yari leaning on the shoulder.

    -Welcome friends! – he raised his voice cheerfully, opening his arms. – I’m sorry to bring such sad news, but this is where your journey ends!
     
    Ahmya likes this.
  9. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    -Damn, this looks like a stalemate… - snorted Arufa, while looking up the hill.

    Arai was just standing there, near the edge, edgy as fuck with a grinning face.

    -Any ideas? He can hold us for hours here! – leaned towards them Emiko, whispering.

    -Hey, just don’t move. Let me hide behind you for a moment. – whispered behind them Art.

    The two girls instinctively began to turn…

    -Hey! Just pretend we are talking to each other. – he stopped them, with his hand already in the leather pouch.

    Skillfully hidden behind Aru, he pulled out one dark-blue crystal wand, covering it in his palm.

    -W-what are you doing? – Arufa was delicately looking over her shoulder.

    -I’m going to end this man career. C’mon, distract him for a second or two.

    -B-b…

    -Got you. – Rio moved ahead, standing next to Chisaki.

    Then suddenly got one stone from the ground, throwing it furiously at Arai.

    The boy just barely managed to dodge it…

    -Wha…

    -Just get down and fight, you coward! Ima gonna rekt you! – she yelled at him.

    -Do you think I’m going to give up my advantageous position, HUH?! What are you, a moron?! – he also picked one stone, throwing it at her…

    Well, everyone in his place was going to be rightfully upset. So much, that he hit her straight on the helmet.

    Rio staggered back…

    -You moron, you could have hurt her! – Chisaki also took one stone, also throwing it up at him.

    Arufa and Emiko were just watching stunned.

    -Well, this is not what I had in mind, but it is also going to work… – he closed his palm to his mouth and whispered: - U.M.R.

    The poleaxe head, hidden in the grass behind Arufa and Emiko, blinked for a second.

    And transformed onto something completely different.

    -Whaa… - both girls were now intensively and curiously looking over their shoulders, not even trying to be delicate.

    They didn’t even manage to fully gasp, when Art suddenly locked his helmet down…

    And rushed forwards like a panther.

    He whizzed past the two girls, before all of them manage to react in some way.

    -Wha, fu, you snea!... – Arai was just about to throw another stone at Rio…

    When he threw it at the fast approaching Art.

    Cling!

    He just turn his head a bit to the side, so it didn’t hit him straight in the visor and get dust in his eyes…

    The yari lightningly fast pointed in his direction, ready to stop his onrush…

    Art jumped up, thrusting with his’…

    In the split second, he saw how Arai’s eyes widened as the boy barely managed to dodge his strike.

    The yari thrust safely slid off from pauldron on his armpit…

    And Art’s billhook caught tightly on Arai’s armor over the shoulder.

    The boy’s eyes just widened even more in a last moment of inevitable realization…

    He pushed away by kicking of the vertical rock, using only the shaft to hang down the entire weight of his armored body.

    The boy just flew of the edge of the rock as if he was light as a cloth doll, falling on his face on the grass on the lower level…

    THUMP!

    Several seconds he stayed like he was paralyzed – too confused and too shaken to fully grasp what exactly happened. Then, he trembly began to rose on his arms…

    -What the fuck was that… - he just mumbled…

    When Rio stabbed him in the neck with her o katana, leaving a contrasting azure mark on his black scarf.

    -Know your place, you trash! – she stomped on his back, making him kiss the grass again. – You gonna throw back stones at me, huh?!

    And stabbed him again. Then and a third time.

    And was about to stab him fourth, when Chisaki suddenly grabbed her from behind, holding her in place.

    -Hey, calm down, girl! Calm down! Not worth to spent so much energy on such individ… – she looked down as if with disgust and contempt. – LET ME DO IT INSTEAD!

    And suddenly pushed Rio aside, that the girl fall, drawing her katana and starting to cut him over again and again…

    -Can I get up already? I think you spent up all my lives for the next millennia… - Arai looked a bit up, sounding more annoyed, than concerned.

    -Shut up, body, you cannot talk!

    -He is right, we should continue… - said somewhat annoyed Arufa.

    Instead of listening to her and letting him go to resuming their advance, Emiko and Rio also joined in beating him up…

    Arai just sighed, continuing to lay on face on the ground.

    Art was just sitting on the side, leaning on his newly summoned billhook, looking with widened eyes the scene before him and not help but wonder what suddenly struck them so hard to fill with such bloodlust and hatred…

    Well, maybe some stones.

    He just shook his head a bit, remembering all the good times with his club back in Falkland.


    For the whole scene, there was kinda awkward silence in the auditorium.

    Char was the first one to say something and pointed the display with her index finger:

    -We should get him out of there immediately. I’m afraid to let him live among such freaks and debils…

    -Jeez, and I thought we were quite brutal and merciless. – added Amaris.

    -This boy ended quite stupidly for making such an epic intro. Such a shame. I was about to make Art introduce me to him. And Art himself… He continues to cheat and cheat with magic. Ffs, that’s such a dirty play against no magic users. – said Florin.

    -Well, the other team have more magic users, sooo… It’s fair, you can say. – Niei crossed her legs and with an elegant move pushed the willy strand of hair behind her ear. – And he didn’t use it directly against them. You know, like some other people… – she looked delicately to the side.

    Fro, being so close to the screen that a bit more and was gonna kiss it, remained completely deaf for her remark.



    While sprinting like a mad between the trees, she focused her mind:

    „ART! ART! DO YOU COPY?!” – she searched for him telepathically.

    As if there was a note of hesitation in his reply:

    Sis? What is it?!

    „We got ambushed at the crossroad between the Arc and the Gatehouse! 16 PEOPLE OF THE ENEMY TEAM ARE HERE! Press hard now! We’ll try to break the encirclement. I’ll run towards you!”

    Roger that, moving!

    -AAAAAKH, SIS, STOP TALKING, NOT FAIR! – echoed Avys voice again.

    Something shone in her periphery…

    Without a warning, turning on her toes, Sophie lightingly fast changed the direction, dashing straight at it!

    -There you are, you little bitch! – she focused her, half-hidden behind a tree.

    -Aaahk, shit, fuck, I’m screwed!!! – Avys just turned, about to start running…

    But Sophie had all the momentum. And already just a several meters from her, approaching with a tremendous speed, she had her saber retracted back, ready to swing…

    But instead of a clear slash, a soft cling echoed in the forest.

    -Hehehe, just kidding! – Aiv suddenly turned, holding her sabre up, blocking her sister’s strike.

    -You litt…

    And in the next moment something punched her in the ribs so hard, that all her air exited her lungs with a dull sigh.

    Sophie almost blackened out…


    -BOOOOOOO, PHAHAPHAHHAHAHAHA, GO GET THAT BITCH, YOU PIXIE!!! – exploded Frou, jumping (again) from his seat. – Go, go, crush and her nose now!!!

    Amaris, who was just sitting behind him, frowned.

    And kicked him in the ass.

    -Get down, you brain-dead moron. I’m going to miss all the fight because of you.

    -Damn, this is insane! – Char’s eyes widened a bit. – When did Avys become so adept in sabre’s fighting?! AND SHE IS ENDURING SOPHIE’S TEMPO!!!

    -FAST, QUICKLY GUYS!!! – Florin started to dig her pocket. – PUT YOUR BETS ON WHO IS GONNA WIN! THIS IS A ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY!!!

    Suddenly, all the room filled with the rustling sounds of people, digging down their wallets and pockets.

    Only Harm and Niei continued to watch, to concentrated to even care about their clubmates fidgeting around.



    Avys’ saber grazed her, leaving a thin, azure line contrasting on her neck.

    Sophie contrasted her back by punching her in the face…

    The little girl staggered back, swaying left and right…

    She almost fall back on her butt, stabbing the ground with her saber’s tip to remain up…

    A tiny trickle of blood squeezed between her fingers from the palm, she was holding her nose with.

    -You damn bitch… - snorted Avys nasal, looking her with a fierce flames in her eyes. – Fuck your mother…

    Sophie dashed at her like a snake, going with a powerful overhead swing aimed at her neck.

    Avys easily deflect it to the side, pointing her other hand straight at her sister’s torso…

    -Feiy…

    -NEON!!!

    The powerful shockwave, that erupted between them, threw them back, with both ending on the ground, with leaves and grasses rustling all over around…

    -Shit, that hurts… - snorted Sophie, clumsily standing up.

    -It’s all your fault. – Avys tried to do the same.

    -Fuck you. Only if you didn’t agree with that stupid game so easily, both of us were gonna sleep in a confortable bed right now…

    -As if you have plums in your mouth, learn to stand up for yourself finally… - Avys almost got up, with her saber starting to rise… - SHIT, THE OTHERS ARE COMING! Bye, sis!...

    And rushed in the other direction…

    -You think I’ll let you?! – Sophie grabbed her for the foot, raising her saber for a slash…

    Avys kicked her in the face with her other toe…

    Sophie staggered back, dropping on her butt… but Aiv also lost balance, falling on her face in the grass…

    -You damn little devil!...

    -You big gonnorei…

    Sophie managed to get to her first…

    Pushing her back on the ground, lashing to slice her up…

    Aiv grabbed the blade just centimeters from her head…

    Sophie pressed down with all her weight.

    Avys little arms started to tremble…

    -C’mon, just give up and let me open you up!...

    -Catch plague and die!...

    Avys started to kick and wriggle, trying to get her off, but Sophie was just too heavy for her…

    She locked her body with her thighs. A tiny azure line shone on Avys’ lips…

    When something crashed in her so suddenly, that all her horizon furiously spun…

    -Wha…

    Thump, thump, thump…

    Rustling grass and leaves flew in all directions…

    Then something whizzed, as if just in her ears.

    When she returned to her senses a bit, Sophie realized, that something was laying all over her. Something like a torso…

    A dull bounce. Something fall next to them. Were these … purple feathers?

    Another one… Something moved more tightly on her face… It was hard and ridged…

    A third one. A fourth…

    Then a fifth one… Whizzing and whizzing, as if was not going to stop…

    Sophie’s face distorted so much that she was ready just to start crying any second now…

    What was that bullshit. That was not even related to the Falklan Period…

    „I just want to go home and sleep…”

    Something suddenly pulled her. Ayuri’s face poped before hers.

    -C’mon, get up, blondie! – she grabbed her for the armpit, trying get her up. – We must catch my sister!...

    -WATCH OUT!!! – Sophie, being thankfull and all, pulled her instead…

    The spear’s tip missed Ayuri’s neck for just centimeters…

    -Wha… - the girl just managed to snort.

    -Fuck… - using the momentum of the missed stab, Utena swung her yari, trying to follow with a slice through her neck…

    Ayuri just shrugged, taking it on the helmet…

    Utena’s spear tip slid off and the girl quickly retracted it for another stab...

    Because of the Sophie’s pulling, Ayuri was now all over her, almost making her completely immobilized, not giving them another chance to dodge.

    This time Utena was not going to miss for sure…

    „Shit!...”

    Pushing step towards them, the yari accelerating forwards…

    Sophie just sighed internally. Too bad she didn’t have the time to do it really…

    „I should have just sacrifice her…”

    Instead, she hugged Ayuri tightly, concentrating all her emotions and will…

    The sudden dust explosion threw leaves and soil in all directions, stopping Utena’s charge in its tracks, blinding her eyes …

    The girl swayed and staggered back, instinctively lifting up her hand before the face to protect it from the thrown and whirling particles…

    When the initial wave was gone, she quickly restored her balance, focusing her gaze ahead, angry and even more resolved to finish them off once and for all…

    -Wha?! – she froze.

    There was no one in front of her…

    Sophie stabbed her in the nape, with a huge sigh of surprised excitement exiting the girl’s mouth.

    She cautiously turned back, as if she was afraid of what she is about to see…

    Her whole body shivered.

    Sophie’s eyes were burning, her face – distorted, almost demonic…

    -W-what was that… - Ayuri was on the ground behind her, clumsily getting up, holding her face in a palm.

    -That’s one of three, blondie. – said aridly Sophie, still not taking her eyes off Utena. – The „special” one of three.

    She was going to massacre them all for taking her peace…


    Art suddenly jumped on his feet.

    That made the three girls stop, looking him surprised.

    -What is it… - was about to ask Chisaki, when he quickly interrupted her.

    -We are moving fast. C’mon.

    Arai just began to laugh.

    -Hahaha, I know that face! That is the face of the certain doom! Soon you’ll be the only ones left from your team. And then, alone and isolated, you’ll be defeated too!...

    -W-what are you talking about? – Emiko looked him.

    -Just ignore him. C’mon! – insisted Art.

    Instead Rio grabbed Arai for the armor, lifting him up a from the grass.

    -Tell us your plan and team distribution! Why did you laugh like that? Start talking now! – she shoke him a bit.

    -I can’t. I’m dead. – Arai just smiled slyly…

    Rio just grunted.

    But Art lost interest and got to the vertical rock, preparing to start climbing.

    That was enough for him to learn…

    To learn from Arai’s thoughts…


    -He just read his mind. I’m 100 percent sure. Just look at that smug smile. – pointed the screen Char.

    -Damn cheater. I’ve always hated this part of his in our games. – snorted Amaris. – What a scumbag. I want to kick him in the ass.

    -Well, I don’t see any anti-magic rules in the restrictions field, so he is in his right. – began Niei. – And they are even using it too little. If both he and Sophie were serious about this… This match would have ended long ago.

    Char and Amaris just looked her not particularly well-intentioned.

    -True that, lol… - just mumbled Ronson.


    „How can he be that FAST?!” – Rio have already started to breathe like a bellows, continuing to run as much as her legs were holding.

    She couldn’t get it at all…

    Art was running several meters ahead of all of them, slipping between the bushes and trees like a panther, with all the others unable to even close the distance a tiny bit.

    IN HIS FULL PLATE 25-kilogram armor.

    And he was not even showing signs of tiring up.

    What’s wrong with him?!

    -C’mon, hurry up!!! – her thoughts were interrupted by his voice.

    They just saw how his helmet moved a little bit to the side – a sign as if he was looking through his shoulder.

    Rio’s breathing became heavier and heavier…

    „As if we are not hurrying, damn you!”

    Damn this telepathy stuff and all the other incomprehensible stuff… Where were her peaceful, not complicated days…

    With her mind dangerously rapt, something suddenly shone in her periphery…

    -ART! – she yelled.

    But he, obviously more cautious from her, was already lifting his pole axe…

    -Fu!... – Aihara suddenly poped behind one tree, almost crushing onto Art…

    SWING!!!

    She barely managed to block it in the last moment with her shield…

    But Art didn’t give her a break and instantly pushed, kicking it, with the girl dangerously swaying back…

    Art swung again.

    It was Avys, that suddenly poped over Aihara, that managed to block his strike…

    -Hi, bro! – she pressed again, breaking contact and swung towards his head.

    Art didn’t react, letting the saber bounce of his armet, trusting with his weapon straight at Avys’ unarmored chest…

    Aihara blocked it with her shield, pushing forwards and stabbing with her yari…

    Art instinctively squeezed his arms, covering his armpits…

    The speartip bounced off his breastplate, sliding sidewards to his hips…

    Rio poped from his rightside, grabbing it with both hands for the shaft…

    And then Chisaki from his left, charging like a mad, looking like she is ready to gnaw Aihara’s throat…

    She just let go of her yari, grabbing the shield with both her hands, starting to defend against his teammate furious slashes…

    Rio quickly got rid of Aihara’s yari and dashed forwards, joining Chisaki in her merciless attacks. Attacked from both sides, she quickly began to give her ground.

    But Art got a more concerning thoughts…

    “Aiv? Where did AIV WENT?!” – he frantically looked left and right...

    But she was nowhere to be seen…

    WHIZZ!

    A sudden pop and Chisaki’s unprotected neck all turned bright yellow-green…

    -Whaa… - she momentarily ceased her attacks, turning to her left. – HEY, THAT SO FUCKING UNFAIR!!!

    -Cry me a river! – her cousin voice echoed from all directions…

    Art closed his eyes, making a quick scan.

    5 meters before him!

    -Fuck brooo!...

    He was about to dash towards her, when Aihara suddenly pushed Rio on the ground, lifting her shield to stomp it on her neck…

    „DAAAMN IT!...”

    Instead, he dashed towards them.

    Didn’t manage to get in time…

    The sudden swing through Aihara’s neck made the girl froze in her tracks.

    She didn’t dare to move, as if the reaper himself was behind her back.

    Ayuri just pushed her gently.

    -Get off her already. – she raised her uniform voice. – You’ll get indecent thoughts onto the boys minds…

    But he remained deaf for her remark. Because the only think that existed in his world now, were the blazing eyes of Sophie.

    -Glad you managed to get in time, bro. Let’s continue our push. Before it runs out of steam.

    He gulped.

    Because her knew that face very well…


    -I know that face… - Char pointed the screen again. – Its the same she made, when Frou kept taunting her last year and then she single-handidly killed all of his team. In just three minutes. Including the time, that it took her to cover the distance to the enemy.

    -She is quite fed up. Things are gonna turn even more interesting now. – said Mort.

    -But why? What suddenly got onto her?

    -Isn’t it obvious? – said Niei. – She just hate the vhynehaimese…

    Harm just threw her one secret look.

    Yeah, that totally was the reason…


    One long arrow ricocheted off her helmet…

    In an meaningless after effect, Akio instinctively shrunk down, narrowing her eyes…

    Losing her opponent from sight for a bare moment…

    Touwa swung his nodachi, miraculously hitting her shoulder plates, meshed with some maille armor…

    She panicky deflected it to the side, counterattacking immediately – but too hesitant and unprecise…

    Faiye blocked it, pressing hard forwards…

    Touwa struck from the other side simultaneously, not leaving her even a chance to deflect.

    The only thing she managed to do is lift up her shoulder, so the blade didn’t cut her head off. Instead, it slid off the spaulders, taking it right on the helmet…

    She doubled on Faiye’s blade, trying to stab her in the face, but Touwa just grabbed her for the arm, holding it up in the air.

    Leaving her unarmored armpits exposed…

    Mio poped behind him, thrusting with her yari…

    When Orimo jumped all over them, knocking them down like bowling pins…

    In a pile of intermeshed bodies, everybody started to move one over another in attempts to get the over hand…

    -Get off me, you fuckin… - pushed Mio, furiously swinging with her tanto against Orimo’s neck…

    He ducked down, snugging her breastplate with helmet and the swing whizzed above him, grazing Faiye’s helmet in a long, spectacular azure mark.

    -DAMN IT!!! – she snorted, instinctively getting a feet back, locking with eyes her katana, laying on the grass…

    She was just inches from reaching it, when Akio kicked her in the helmet from the ground, making her roll few times, away from her weapon.

    The red team captain was also just about to get up, when Touwa kicked her behind the knees, making her instantly lose her balance and falling over Orimo…

    …who just blocked the second strike of Mio’s tanto and was about to stab her with his’ in the face, respectively throwing off his attempt, hitting the soil next to her face…

    Mio just exaled heavily, when both of them fall over her…

    -I told you to get off!... – she tried push the two bodies, but I came too much for her…

    Meanwhile, Touwa reached Faiye’s katana…

    …and Rumiho sliced his nape open…

    -Get up and retreat to the next position! – she shouted. – I’ll hold them o…

    One arrow hit her in the face.

    Mio managed to swing again, stabbing Akio’s unprotected calf…

    Orimo just grabbed it, blocking her subsequent strikes and raised her knife to stab her in the face…

    When Ren suddenly poped up, stabbing him in his’…

    Fayie swung Touwa’s nodachi straight at Akio’s face.

    She just instinctively raised her hand, blocking it with the gauntlet, kicking back…

    She fall off Touwa’s body, trying to get some distance between them, just to have a chance to stand up…

    When her back hit something.

    Akio just slowly looked up.

    Vicktriss eyes were shinning.

    -Well, well, what a though position to put yourself onto, Captain. – she smuged.

    And in the next moment her horizon swirled so badly, that her face quickly found what was the humidity of the grass…


    -Omfg, they’ve managed to capture the captain. The CAPTAIN!!! – Char looked them amazed.

    -Seriously, how much they suck? No wonder they managed to get so easily ambushed. They fully deserved it. – snorted Floring.

    -Oho, not so fast, my dear. – began Frou. – Just look what is happening on the other side…

    -Yeah. Good that some of the Reds still have some mind in their heads… - Niei crossed her hands.

    Harm just continued to look fully concentrated.


    SIS! SIS!” – Avys telepathic voice boomed in her mind.

    „Aiv? What is it?!”

    HUGE, HUGE PROBLEM! CEASE THE PUSH AND TURN BACK TO DEFEND THE CASTLE IMMEDIATELY!

    „B-But… We just captured Akio!...”

    Just kill her or hang her on some tree! Don’t care. Just hurry up, Sis! They are coming! We won’t be able to hold THEM! …”

    She just gulped.

    „Damn, what to do, what to do…” – she quickly stomped her foot several times, delicately biting her nails…

    -What is it? What’s wrong. – Mio got close to her, whispering.

    She suddenly stopped, looking her firmly.

    -We are getting back to the castle! And taking her with us. – she nodded at Akio.

    -B-but our push… - began Ren.

    -Plans changes. We are needed there. If she is slow, or try to sabotage us, just kick her to make her move faster…

    The rest just looked her in disbelief…

    -We are going to stop big bro…


    The poleaxe’s hammer landed straight on Amu’s head, making him stagger.

    Art stabbed him and in the neck, quickly pushing him with his shoulder out of the way…

    One arrow ricocheted from his visor…

    -STAY BACK, FALKLAN! – Iki’s voice sounded distant and echoing in his helmet…

    Second arrow hit him in the gorget…

    Art bowed his head a bit, just to the edge of his field of view and got the poleaxe in both hands…

    And rushed forwards.

    -Dam!… - Iki hastily released her third arrow, that grazed him on the pauldron and turned back to run…

    Too slow… Just one more sprint for twenty meters and he was going to catch her for sure…

    If Yudachi didn’t obstruct his way, pointing her yari straight at his face.

    -Just get out of here, IKI! – she yelled.

    Art ducked and blocked it with his poleaxe, getting onto series of point entanglements between the two weapons, with both struggling to overcome its opponents skillful defenses…

    Getting it straight, she was doomed just from the beginning…

    The yari, not sharing the crushing power of a blunt weapon that could eliminate him by smashing literally everywhere, was only going to be effective thrusting his armor weakspots – mainly behind knees, elbows and his armpits – with the last being the only „deadly” one set by the game rules.

    Yudachi, as someone who have trained historical arts an fencing for quite some time, knew this very well and that is where her efforts were focused.

    Art, on the other side, as the owner of this armor and verse trained in the armored fight system of the Indenean styles, was perfectly familiar with its weakspots and was attacking in such patterns, that simply didn’t expose them.

    Fighting a knight is a easy, they said. Just half-sword and stab him in the visor or the armpits. You’ll get him that way.

    What could go wrong?

    Yudachi found it the hard way, when the axepart of the Art’s weapon smashed straight on her face, leaving a nice, diagonal azure mark.

    And once again, he just pushed her (not gently at all) aside, rushing on the path ahead…

    -Sorry, Yu, I’m a bit in a hurry! – he shouted over his shoulder. – Damn, where did Iki go…

    After a few meters, the labyrinth path made a right turn…

    He almost crashed at Ayuri and Rio…

    -Art?! – the little sister looked him surprised.

    -Blondies! What the rep?!

    -We got split into the labyrinth. Your sister got Nishi… She is still probably around, lurking and watching. – Ayuri looked cautiously around.

    -Where is Soph?! – asked Rio.

    -What do we do?!

    -About that… - he began…



    Sophie teleported inside the Castle Yard premises, right behind one bush next to the arched bridge over the river-pond.

    And peeked cautiously over it…

    There was quite an action going in the labyrinth right now.

    Right a minute ago, when they met and unite with the other group, pushed the east gate of the premises, quickly making the remnants of the while team to run for their lives…

    Then, in the labyrinth itself, they were also forced to split, going after the crumbling enemies, in hope to overwhelm them while they still had the numbers…

    She and Art. Rio, Ayuri and Nishi. And several others, that managed to run fast enough and not get caught in the forest ambush…

    Someone suddenly ran through the yard, heading for the west gate…

    After a seconds another one…

    But there where too much obstacles to see exactly what were they doing…

    What should she do?!

    The Shiro was just on the other end of the yard. Should she just dashed to it and go in?

    No, she was definitely going to be spotted and Aiv and Vick were able to pin her down in a very prolonged and unhealthy fight.

    Also, she was now alone in a completely enemy territory, with no support at hand. Her teammates wouldn’t have been able to break in for long minutes. If they were able to do it at all…

    NO!

    He was going to do it. He was fully able to do it. She trusted him completely.

    The people were coming running from the south gate – just where he was supposed to be right now.

    Her cousin was beating the crap out of them.

    That’s why she decided to do what was probably the best in this situation – isolate the enemy one by one and overwhelm them with her honed abilities…

    That was the best decision…

    She didn’t wait long for the fate to smile upon her, when she saw how Iki exited the south gate…

    And stopped right on top of the bridge, starting to alternate her shooting between the south and west entrances…

    Just some ten meters from her bush.

    Sophie just smiled, getting her sabre firmly onto grip.

    And DASHED forwards!!!

    -IKI, BEHIND YOU!!! – shouted somewhere from the side Ann.

    „Damn you, girl!!!” – Sophie just glanced in the direction from where the voice came…

    Iki turned so fast, that even Sophie was taken by surprise…

    Her arrow was already on the string…

    …but just a tiny bit.

    She raised, pulled and aimed…

    Sophie vision focused just forwards in one tiny dot, that was all that mattered.

    … releasing the arrow with unwavering precision.

    She dodged it.

    -Whaaa…

    Sophie didn’t even have the time to smirk.

    The sheer explosion of emotions on Iki’s face expressed a whole horror movie. She froze, so stunned by the fact she missed on such distance, that whole her body refused to move for a whole second.

    A time advantage Sophie would gladly take…

    She was able to slash three times for such long…

    Recovering from the masterful halfspin and redirecting all her motion forwards again, she didn’t even slow down a bit on her deadly course towards the poor girl…

    Just now Iki’s arms began to move again. Trying to put another arrow on the string…

    Sophie slashed, making her drop all the arrows she was holding in the pulling hand.

    -IKIIIIII!!! – echoed Ann’s voice from behind.

    She just raised her bow in a desperate move to defend herself…

    Sophie cut her through both of her hands…

    Then with a wide side-step, that put her almost behind her, she slung in a powerful, overhead slash.

    Iki didn’t even manage to turn, when the saber „cut” her unprotected head from the gentle nape…

    It was just a demonstrative execution.


    For a while, a complete silence ruled over the auditorium.

    Then Char just mumbled:

    -Your wife just got rekted, Harm.

    -She is not his wife yet, you know… - snorted Amarys.

    -Jeez, that bitch. – Frou clenched his fist to the white of its knuckles…

    Harm was just silently watching, not showing any sign of reaction to their remarks.

    -It seems she is finally into herself. Don’t know what got into her earlier… - Niei just said lowly, mystically holding for her chin.

    -Blood will be shed, boys and girls. Blood will be shed… - Mort, crossing his arms on the chest, sighed deeply.

    Harm just silently continued to watch…


    Sophie sharply turned…

    -IKI, NOOOOO!!!

    She saw how Ann just clenched her katana…

    And dashed at her like a feral animal.

    Sophie blocked her slash with ease.

    -Don’t worry Iki, I shall avenge you!

    -You should focus more on your opponents… and less on some deadman…

    -You bitch!... – she broke and momentarily charge again, slashing and hitting like mad beast.

    Damn, just like Ayuri said, swords were elegant weapons and should have been used as such. Relying on the leverage, distance management and athleticism, than smashing and trying to forcefully break your opponents…

    Well, who was she to speak about elegance and such with the bashing style of hers…

    Sophie just deflected the girl’s strike to the side and momentarily counterattacked. Only the quick reaction of Ann (and her stable pose) saved her not to take the hit in the face and instead the saber bounced off her helmet, leaving a long and this azure line.

    Ann, now with panic stricken in her eyes, tried to put her katana between them, but Sophie, using the momentum from her previous swung, quickly redirected it in a new slashing cut, deflecting her opponent’s blade again…

    Ann backed a step away, but Sophie doubled her move and her following strike came so fast, that landed on the girl’s waist, leaving nice, azure mark…

    -Shit… - she didn’t even manage to snort, when the next Sophie cut hit her exposed inner thigh.

    In one last desperate move, Ann rushed forwards, slashing with her katana.

    Too close.

    Sophie deflected it, counterattacking momentarily…

    By closing even more, grabbing her for the leading hand…

    Sophie thrust against her face. Ann miraculously managed to evade it and tried to get off its line, but Sophie’s firm grab on her wrist limited her moves…

    She struggled and pulled, trying to free her hand, but Sophie was just too strong for her…

    Then Ann just let go of her katana, which freed her left hand, punching Sophie straight in the face.

    She took it like a man, without even flinching.

    -Whaa… - Ann just couldn't believe it.

    Soph, still holding her right hand, twisted it a bit and hit her behind the caps, making Ann fall on her knees.

    And stabbed her in the exposed armpit – in real life equivalent straight through the lungs and heart, something that was gonna kill her for less than 30 seconds…

    -Dammit it, blondie… Is your face made of steel or what… - Ann snorted.

    Soph, still holding her arm, twisted it even more…

    -Ai, ai, ai ai!... Let go of me…

    She ducked next to her.

    -Where are the others of your team? Where are my sisters?

    -I’ll tell you nothing! I’m a dead man!

    -You still have 15 seconds to bleed.

    Ann just pouted, turning her face to the other side.

    Sophie snorted and released her grip.

    -Tss, you are no fun at all…

    Ann just proudly lift her chin.

    -Have fun on the benches, dollies… - Sophie got up, glancing over Iki, who was still closeby, witnessing their duel.

    It was time to use her last promised teleport to get into the damn castle, find the damn princess in finish this damn game.

    She turned, about to rush the castle entrance.

    But instead, froze in place.

    Down there, on the bridge’s end, Hion draw her katana, getting onto a combat stance.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2019
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  10. patpay

    patpay Active Member

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    there is webnovel site by qidian inter. why don't you use that site.
     
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  11. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Well, i wasn't quite satisfied with how i wrote the chapter, soo... I deleted it and started a new. Hope it was worth it. Enjoy!

    Raon slammed Sozui on the head so hard, that knocked her down on her butt.

    -WHO IS NEXT, YOU BASTARDS!!#$!? – she waved her weapon, frantically looking around.

    -Fuuuck, this bitch is crazy! – Emiko exclaimed.

    -I don’t wanna fight her… - Moka snugged onto her, looking with eyes hoping she thought of some magical solution. – What do we do, leader?

    Arufa just peeked over the square bush for a second.

    -If the three of us gang her simultaneously… - suggested Emiko.

    -I-i don’t think that’s going to work, Emi. Iki is watching her back… - said Moka.

    -No. Iki isn’t shooting anymore for some reason. Maybe she broke in. – replied Arufa.

    Emiko and Moka looked her amazed.

    -Listen. There is some action going on right now in the west garden. She have a perfect visibility and is not shooting at all. But when we broke in, she started shooting at us immediately, not even caring that Raon was in her way…

    Emiko just peeked over the bush.

    -Shit, I can’t see a shit. U sure?...

    -She is right…

    The three of them hastily turn at the sudden voice.

    Suu crouched behind the cover of the bush, right next to Moka.

    -Iki was covering the east garden too, but isn’t shooting anymore. That’s confirmed.

    -Maybe out of arrows? – suggested Emiko.

    -Doubt it, she carry more that 100 in her bag. – Arufa turned at Suu. – What’s the situation on your side?

    -Tough. It turned out that, Reina and Nym were protecting the east garden. And the little sister. We tried to break in, but took Oiso a snow ball in the face. Then some fog, but really chill one, that our armors started to stick. Like blizzard…

    -A snow ball? A blizzard?! – Emiko looked her in disbelief.

    -Yeah, I’m telling you! It made us totally blind, we were forced to ru… retreat a bit, but Agano and Naeru are lurking around, looking for openings. I’ve come to check what’s the situation on your side, to see how you are faring...

    -Not much better, as you can see. Sozui just got her head smashed by the Prez.

    -Damn. This bitch is crazy. I don’t wanna fight her.

    -It seems our hope for breakout lays in them. – Emiko looked at the west garden.

    -Should we go back through the labyrinth and connect with them? – asked Suu.

    Arufa got lost in thought.

    -No. Get yourself ready. We’ll gang on Raon…

    That was when the huge shadow overhang above all of them.


    Just a meter before the next turn, Art all of a sudden shove his leg onto the ground, killing his speed, with Ayuri and Rio almost crushing onto his back…

    -Hey, watch…

    -Wha... – they were about to protest.

    … when he also so suddenly swung his pollaxe in a wide, horizontal arc…

    Ren suddenly popped up from the right and her eyes madly goggled, when she saw the flying hammerhead towards her face…

    He slammed her so hard, that knocked her down on her butt…

    -Ai, ai, ai…

    -Damn it! – snorted Art.

    He didn’t manage to get her.

    In just the milliseconds she had to react, she managed to redirect her katana from the shoulder, on which she was carrying it on, just a bit to the side, using it as a lever on her torso and helmet, stopping the pollaxe inches from her face.

    If he wasn’t so annoyed of that fact, he would have said he is impressed. What a lighting fast reflex…

    Grinding his teeth out of frustration, his spike accelerated again at Ren, putting all his dissatisfaction onto this strike. Even going as far by imagining he was stabbing someone like Sophie, Vick, or Avys instead…

    But Okase stabbed him in the visor instead and with his boot pressing the other end of the yari onto the ground, he locked Art in place, not allowing him to make even an inch ahead…

    Ayuri slashed him with her nodachi through the head and the pauldrons, miraculously not hitting any unprotected parts, when Fayie’s katana landed on the Club Vice-Prez mask, making her retreat back and Rio thrust at her armpit, when Ren kicked her hand from the ground, throwing her totally of balance…

    BREAK.

    -FUCK, RETREAT TO THE GARDEN!!! – Faiye grabbed Ren for the hand, pulling vigorously just to make her stand faster…

    -Good luck with that! – Art dashed after them, but Okase blocked his way again, trying to stab him in the armpit…

    Art just squeezed his hands a bit, covering the gaps with the solid-plate pauldrons and deflected, momentarily counter-attacking, together with Ayuri from the other side…

    Skillfully using the overwhelming length of the yari over the pollaxe and the nodachi, Okase beat them off both, managing to keep them at distance, vigorously stabbing, while retreating step by step back.

    -Quickly! Regroup with the others! – he yelled at Faiye and Ren, who were gladly doing it already.

    With one quick stab he blocked Ayuri’s onrush, making her jump back and using the fact, she needed some time to recover, he suddenly turned and ran towards the Garden gate.

    A mistake. He should have blocked him.

    Art charged after him like a panther.

    There were just ten meters remaining to the Garden gate.


    The four of them slowly looked up.

    Raon’s lips distorted onto a devilish smile. Her eyes – madly widened, filled with flames and bloodlust.

    -Found you. – her uniform tone made them experience shivers like never before.

    -Fuc!... – the girls started to get up one over another, trying to get away from her…

    …when the Club Prez jumped from the stone pot over them…

    Kicking Moka in the helmet and knocking her down…

    …while smiting Emiko on the head…

    …slamming at Arufa, who barely managed to block, making her stagger back.

    And falling all over Suu, pinning her back to the ground.

    All simultaneously…

    -You damn bitch… - snorted Arufa, who barely recovered…

    Her eyes instantly widened, when she saw how Emiko flew towards her…

    Stumbling upon Suu’s torso, who was trying to get up, but was knocked back down, crashing straight at Arufa…

    The three girls found themselves piled up on the ground, snorting and grunting, too beat up to even want to stand up…

    “Did he just threw her at me…” - thought Arufa, trying to get Emiko off her.

    -What’s wrong, dollies? – Raon looked upon them from above. – What were these words about ganging me up earlier?

    The four girls looked her from the ground.

    -Are you sure you are not the ones, being ganged up?

    -YOU FUCKING BITCH!...

    Emiko jumped up, rushing at Raon like a mad beast.

    -Emi, no!!! - Moka tried to stop her, grabbing her cloth, but it just swept between her fingers…

    Raon just smiled slyly.

    And took a guard with the shield up to her eyes and weapon over her shoulder.

    Emiko side-stepped, trying to get around her and slashed, but Raon instantly followed, deflecting with her shield, while slamming back. Emi just raised up her blade, blocking the Prez strike, then pushing forwards, stabbing at her face.

    Raon just blocked it with her shield, doubling her opponent’s move.

    Suddenly pressing forwards, going well into Emiko’s range…

    -Boo. – the Prez smiled, just inches from her face.

    -Iiiihh!...

    Emiko jumped back like burned.

    Raon smile widened.

    -You are finished.

    And she dashed forwards.



    Okase clearly didn’t expect that Art could catch up to him in his heavy armor so quickly…

    -Whaa… - upon hearing the tough steps right behind him, the boy looked over his shoulder, completely taken by surprise…

    Just to see the accelerating pollaxe spike towards his face.

    In the last milliseconds upon his demise, Okase somehow managed lift his shoulder, deflecting it with his pauldron and the spike hit the edge of his helmet, glancing off…

    Art just grunted like an orc.

    „Damn you all with your reflexes and stuff…” – he frowned, raising his hands.

    Then he twisted his weapon, hooking Okase’s pauldron with the edge of his axe and pulled as hard as he was trying to take an oderonean child from his mother.

    The boy’s arms and legs swung up, when his momentum was suddenly interrupted, like he hit some invisible rope, heavily falling on the paving stone.

    Art retracted his weapon, making an overhead move with the shaft, gaining enough energy to crush Okase’s head.

    „Dodge this now!” – he bitterly thought, as he furiously swung down the hammer…

    -NYON!

    „WHA, FU…!” – he didn’t even manage to thought, his eyes didn’t even manage to fully goggle…

    When he crushed onto the magic-air barrier like a bus, crushing onto a concrete wall…

    The flash was so spectacular, that diluted his eyes and to everybody nearby. As if a star shone down on earth, ready to light up everybody’s path. Upon contact, countless sparks erupted in all directions, falling down like diminishing traces of once epic fireworks. The boom and vibrations spread across the sheets of his helmet, as if someone put maxed out speakers right onto his ears, reminding him how insidious these steel plates sometimes could be...

    But all of this were the least of his problems now.

    Because, even that he bounced back immediately, that fraction of the second he came upon contact with the magic wall, overheated his armor so much, that it started to burn parts of his body locally, even through the thick padding and maille…

    -FUCK, HOT, HOT, HOT!!! – he started fidgeting around.

    -ART!!! – shouted Ayuri and Rio behind, rushing at him.

    The thing was that the steel was not as good as magic conductor compared to pure iron and thus having higher specific magical resistance, meant that the magic fields, passing through it, had the tendency to heat it.

    Very quickly…

    And he just came upon full contact with Avys’ barrier…

    „AVYS?!”

    As if he instantly forgot about the burns and the heat, turning angrily around.

    Upon meeting her with his eyes, she slyly smiled.

    Art’s eyes widened.

    -GUYS, WA…!

    The wall suddenly flashed behind him, with Ayuri and Rio now crashing spectacularly onto it, staggering back. Good that they were wearing iron armor…

    -Wha…

    -Fuck…

    Rio shook her head several times and looked forwards. She got close to the wall and passed her hand over the surface, observing how the magic fields were reacting on her iron glove in quirky forms and bizarre light and shadow patters.

    Then pressed.

    As if she was really pressing a concrete wall.

    And press more. And more. Until her face started to turn red from the exertion…

    Then, suddenly, losing all calm and patience, she crushed her fist onto it, throwing many bright sparks in all directions:

    -FUCK!... DAMN YOU, FUCK, NO FAIR, DAMN YOU, DAMN YOU! – she continued to smash it and countless sparks were raining all over her, with the light reflections dancing on the wall’s surface, as if it was the bottom of a pool.

    But Aiv stood firmly, holding the spell up. With now Art isolated from Ayuri and the raging Rio, with only enemies in his quadrant.

    Ren, Faiye and Okase took stances against him, leaning forwards.

    -Fuck… - he quickly adjusted the pollaxe in his hands.

    Avys’ sly smile widened.

    -GET HIM!!!!!!


    Something shone in her periphery…

    Raon turned just in time to block with her shield Moka’s onrush from the side.

    -She isn’t your only opponent! – the girl momentarily doubled, searching and probing for a way to overcome her shield…

    -Soon she will be! – Raon grinned, not giving her ground and slaming back at her at every opportunity given.

    Emiko attacked her from the other side, forcing the Prez to abruptly cut her attack in order to redirect her weapon to block the katana, while protecting herself with the shield from Moka’s cuts and slashes…

    Arufa popped aside Emiko, attacking her from a new direction…

    Raon blocked the katana with her gauntlet, while deflecting with her weapon that of her opponent and bashing her shield at Moka’s face, forcing her to break her attack and step back…

    She saw how Suu was getting up behind them, about to joint in…

    -Hoho, this is getting interested! – Raon grinned.

    -Don’t get full of yourself, PREZ! – Moka swung vigorously, her face strained from the effort…

    She easily blocked it with the shield, while stepping back and to the side, intercepting Suu’s attempt to move behind her and with a wide slash, made her stop and defend herself. Arufa tried to attack beside her, but Raon moved more to the side, putting Suu between them, blocking her opponent’s move, while keeping Moka in check with her shield. Emi tried to circle both Arufa and Suu, but the last also tried to attack in the same moment, blocking her and making them bunch up…

    -Damn it, Suu!!!

    Raon just smug, blocking and bashed back and Suu, who just jumped back…

    Clashing onto Arufa, who also tried to move on the Prez, with both girls thrown off balance, dangerously staggering…

    -You guys are such amateurs. I can play with you till tomorrow. – Raon guard relaxed a bit.

    -CATCH PLAGUE AND DIE, PREZ!!! – Emiko jumped at her like an animal, gone mad…

    Too furiously… and too open.

    Raon grimace suddenly turned serious and grave. A polar opposite of what it was. As if a coin flipped.

    And before even Emi managed to finish her wide swing, something shone before her…

    The Prez’ slash…

    …that smashed her straight in the face.

    Leaving a nice, diagonal azure-orange mark, contrasting brightly on her phiz.

    Suu and Moka froze. Their eyes goggled in disbelief.

    -Hey, that’s not a very nice thing to come from your mouth. Especially since you are a girl. How will you get married? What if someone really happens to mess up that pretty face…

    Emiko just got back, getting out of their way. Her way…

    Her eyes madly widened, her mind couldn’t perceive it…

    -I-i… - she stuttered.

    W-what was that speed from her?! They barely saw the hit!

    -D-don’t panic! Get around her and force her down! – Suu side-stepped, taking a stance, trying to get on her side.

    Too shaky and too hesitantly…

    Raon just turned her stern gaze at Suu.

    She shivered. And gulped.

    Feeling how her legs were starting to tremble, the drops of cold sweat rolling down her back…

    Her breathing were becoming more and more ununiform and heavy, as if a huge invisible hand was suffocating her.

    She just wanted to get away from here…

    A step back, trying to get onto a more stable pose from before.

    Suu quickly glanced at Moka just to measure the reach and distance, quietly hoping she is considerate enough to support her.

    Upon returning, only to see how Raon was already before her face…


    Okase charged at him, accelerating the yari’s tip straight at his armpit.

    Art instinctively squeezed his arms, taking it on the steel sheets of the pauldron and counter-attacked.

    But it didn’t reach.

    Okase’s yari was a whole meter longer than his pollaxe and he skillfully managed to put that fact in use, keeping him at distance, while swarming him with stabs and thrusts…

    „Annoying bastard…” – Art snorted and bowed his armored head a bit.

    If he thought he doesn’t know how to deal with the ones like him…

    „C’mon, Ren! Fayie! Someone, assist me! – he thought, while defending from Okase’s rush (mostly, leaving the armor to absorb most of his hits, while he was probing for an openings…)

    Of course, it was Ren first. She was just too good to the others to not offer some assistance.

    She moved to his side, into his blind angle (but not as blind as she thought…) and tried to stab him in the armpit.

    Art suddenly turned his torso towards her, locking her with gaze. He instantly saw the glimpse of hesitation in her eyes, but despite, she acted sternly and pressed on her attack.

    While squeezing his left armpit, to cover it with the pauldron, he redirected his pollaxe at her…

    Exposing his right armpit…

    Okase momentarily stabbed at it!

    Art just smugged.

    He swung the pole arm in a vertical arc, moving it from above to below Okase’s yari, locking its shaft with the axe part…

    His opponent momentarily realized his mistake and tried to instantly pull out, but Art released his leading hand and grabbed the shaft.

    And with the other stabbed at his face…

    … when Faiye grabbed his with both hands, pushing it away just enough to glance off his helmet.

    „DAMN ANNOYING BASTARDS!!!”

    He hastily grabbed back his weapon with both hands and easily started to overpower her, controlling her movements and direction of pushing. When Okase finally react and tried to attack him with his yari, Art simply using his greater strenght, swung his pollaxe, together with her, who was still not letting go of his weapon, to the left, putting her in the path of the boy, breaking his attack.

    And finally kicked her in the chest.

    She staggered violently back, losing the grip of his pollaxe and falling straight over Okase…

    Using the precious second, he just won, he stepped on the yari with all his weight, making the boy drop it, and leaned forwards, about to charge…

    -YOU BASTARD!!!

    … when Ren suddenly jumped on his back, starting to pull his helmet up in attempt to remove it…

    Under all her weight and swaying left and right, Art staggered dangerously, momentarily losing all balance and stance.

    He thrusted above his head, but instantly felt how Ren leaned her body backward and by the fact that he wasn’t in a stable pose in a first place, made him miss completely.

    -Damn you!!! – he snorted.

    Instead, now he was swaying even more and only a miracle could have save him from not falling down…

    All his hopes were broken totally, when Faiye jumped him from the front, crushing onto him with all her body, with three of them falling heavily on the paving stone…

    He just heard how Ren exhaled heavily, when the both of them smashed her on the ground.

    -AAAAAAAAARRRRTTTT!!! – Rio’s shout barely flew to him, to low and distorted, at its limit to became incomprehensible. – FUCKING CHEATER, IT’S NOT FUCKING FAIR, I’LL FUCKING MURDER YOU!!! – she continued to rage and stomp, letting all her anger on the wall.

    Ayuri just grabbed her for the hand, stopping her and after quickly whispering something to her, both girls run back in the labyrinth…

    „Fuck, no!…”

    -HE IS ON THE GROUND, KILL HIM!!! – shouted Avys and just when Ayuri and Rio disappeared behind the first corner, she dropped the barrier.

    She leaned on her knees, breathing like a bellows. Her legs were shaky…

    Faiye jumped over him, with tanto in one hand, while with the other grabbed his visor, trying to open it…

    But it didn’t move.

    -Whaaa, why… - her eyes widened stunned, while her hand trembled from the struggle she put into that…

    Art punched her in the helmet with his steel first, ejecting her from him. The girl rolled to the side, stopping in the bush wall of the labyrinth, grunting and shaking her head…

    -You!... – in a form of revenge, Ren also smacked him with the katana’s handle on his helmet, strong enough to ring his head, while untrapping her legs beneath his torso, starting to get up…

    -DIE!!! – Art just raised a bit, grabbing her for the calf and pulled, making her lose all balance and fall on her face, dropping her sword…

    He took his pollaxe firmly onto a grip, about to finish her off, when Aiv jumped over him, stabbing at his armpit.

    This forced him to instantly break his attack and defend himself.

    Squeezing his armpits and violently swinging at her, he made her break and jump back, getting out of his reach.

    Art, using the other end of his pollaxe, shove it onto the ground, and using it as a lever to push up, managed to almost completely to stood up…

    When Okase stabbed him to the side of the head so hard, that instantly threw him off balance…

    And Avys jumped in his feet, stumbling him completely…

    His horizon spun, as he crashed metallic on the stone pave…

    Something wrapped around his right arm, starting to pull violently…

    -DON’T LET HIM GET UP! DISARM HIM!!!

    He looked to the side. Avys had all his body wrapped around his arm, pulling it as hard as possible in attempt to open up his armpit.

    He put all his strength in pressing back and resisted her with no sweat – after all, Aiv was just a small thirteen years old girl, lacking even a tenth of his masculine might.

    While tightly squeezing the pollaxe’s shaft with his right hand, he let go of his weapon with the left, punching at her…

    …when Ren suddenly jumped over him, taking it on her breastplate and grabbing it with hers.

    Faiye showed above him, grabbing his visor with both hands, trying to force open it up…

    But its edge was finely tuned millimeter to the face of the helmet, not leaving enough space for good grip, and her fingers just slipped away, losing her balance and falling on her butt…

    -How do you open that thing?! – she exclaimed.

    -You need to…!

    -SHAT UP, YOU LITTLE BITCH, YOU ARE TELLING NOTHING!!! – he yelled, really starting to get agitated, shaking her up in his hand…

    Faiye kicked him in the helmet with her sole.

    -IF WE JUST BEAT HIM UP NICELY, IT WILL COUNT FOR KILL!!!

    And kicked him again…

    And tried again, when Art just folded his arm from the elbow, together with Aiv, moving her on top of him…

    Faiye’s kick landed on his little cousin unprotected head…

    -Fuuuuuuuck!... Watch out, you bitch, I’ll burn you to death!!! – she snorted furiously, really wanting to do it.

    -THEN JUST MOVE!!!

    -I’m trying! Instead of bitching around, come down and try to help me to open his armpit!!!

    -I WON’T FUCKING LET YOU!!! – Art snorted, trying to rise up a bit, but Ren leaned with all her body over his left side, pressing him back to the ground.

    -You are going nowhere!!!

    Art tried again, but her weight come too much for him…

    -OKASE! PUT YOUR WEAPON BETWEEN THE GORGET PIECE AND THE BREASTPLATE AND STAB HIM IN THE NECK!!! – shouted Avys, searching for him with eyes.

    -Righ…

    Art just fold his hand a bit up, moving Avys torso over his neck joint, covering it entirely.

    -DAMN YOU, STUPID BIG BRO!!!

    She resisted and tried to move, but Art headbumped her with his steel helmet. It wasn’t a very strong hit, since the distance was short and his movements were restricted, but was enough to lighten her head and made her shut up for a second…

    -JUST STAB HIM IN THE BALLS!!! – she shouted so angrily, that he felt if the same energy was transported onto the spit, she threw all over his helmet, it was going to corrode it for seconds…

    Art gulped. His legs pressed more tightly onto one another…

    -I can’t! He had crossed them from the beginning and all gaps are covered!!! – Okase was at ready with his yari, searching for the first opportunity to stab him in some of the openings, but the two girls fidgeting on top of Art and his perfect knowledge of his armor, made that task much more difficult, than it looked.

    Ren pressed with her legs against his torso and using all her body strongest muscles combined, started to pull his arm.

    He felt like some machine was trying to rip it off. Implacably and steadily, going to crush him not with explosive might, but with persistence and power. The counter-pressure he put in resisting it, was so great, that all his arm started to shake, his muscles stiffened up, feeling how they started to burn, fibers to rip and hurt.

    So much, that his whole torso began to slid a bit by bit on the ground…

    He was not capable of resisting such exert for a long time…

    But, he bet, she wasn’t either.

    This was bad! His situation wasn’t good at all.

    Completely immobilized and pinned to the ground, he was deprived from all his advantages coming from the heavy armor.

    But this was bad in entirely different way…

    His suit was a CAVALRY piece. That meant, being used on horse, his inner thighs were protected only by thick padding when on foot. The backplate wasn’t as thick as the breastplate and the back faulds weren’t reaching as low as the front ones, with his lower back being protected by the saddle. If they managed to flip him over or spread his legs, Okase was fully capable of stabbing him in the lower abdominal or the spine…

    Avys obviously wasn’t quite aware of this and was going after his „toughest“ weakspot – under the armpits, actually protected by maille armor…

    Damn, how he wished, he had the Amaris’ 16th century Montgisardean Unmounted Knight armor. Not that his was bad or something, but… That thing was the pure definition for a human tank with all its additions for a foot combat…

    But even still…

    HE NEEDED TO DO SOMETHING FAST!!!

    Especially since Faiye moved next to Ren and shoved her hands below Avys’ body…

    Grabbing his pauldron and starting to pull it up with all her body.


    -OMFG, THIS IS SO FUCKING HILARIOUS!!! – pointed Amaris at the screen, so amused, that her tears were falling down her checks from joy. – WHAT AN FUCKING AMATEUR!!! S’reai ny orn, emberra!!! (Die, you motherfucker!!!), Vilenean language.

    Char and Florin looked her not so nicely.

    -I bet he is thinking something like: „Fuck, how I wish I had the Amaris’ 16th century Montgisardean Foot Knight armor…”. – said Ronson, mystically holdin his chin.

    -You probably missed a word or two. – entered Niei.

    -And it will miss the set period by about 200 years… - said Adam.

    -YEAH, WHAT A COMPLETE MORON! THIS IS LIKE TAKING A TANK IN A BATTLESHIP FIGHT!!! – replied to them Amaris, still too shaken by her positive emotions.

    -He is still putting quite a fight, though. Against four people… - Char pouted a bit.

    -FOUR PEOPLE?! YOU MEAN LITTLE THREE GIRLS AND ONE PUNY KID!!! DON’T BE ABSURD! JUST LOOK WHAT THE CLUB PREZ IS REALLY DOING TO FOUR PEOPLE!!!


    Suu hastily tried to block the Prez swung, when the last smite her so hard with the shield, that threw her back off balance. Only the fact that her weapon and hands acted as a cution, saved her face from being smashed…

    The girl crashed onto Moka, making her stagger back too, not leaving them any chances to further defend themselves…

    Her blade landed straight at Suu’s neck, tilting her head a bit.

    -YOU ARE NEXT! – Raon grabbed and roughly pushed Suu to the side, looking straight at Moka.

    The girl trembled in her feet, her eyes widened terrified, almost losing her will to defend herself…

    Arufa slashed from the side straight at Raon’s face.

    The Prez shield block it.

    -Don’t forget about me, you maniac. Leave her alone and go take your pills… - she grunted, looking her with ablaze in her eyes.

    Raon just smiled slyly. And slashed so fast, that Moka wasn’t able to see it. As just as many others.

    Arufa blocked it and counter-stabbed at her head. There was such determination and firmness in her face, that person was ready to start wondering how was possible for one to posses such a resolve.

    Raon pushed with the shield, breaking her attack, while slashing simultaneously at her head…

    The blade grazed her helmet, leaving a thin, orange mark.

    But besides that, Arufa dodged the brunt of her attack.

    Raon paused, not attacking again.

    -Ho-ho, you’ve gotten quite good, Aru. Seems like you have already managed to add some of the our dear transfer student’s techniques to that rich exotic collection of yours.

    Arufa’s face tightened, she pointed the katana straight at her face. Raon just raised her shield a bit, almost unnoticeably…

    -What kind of techniques or from who I learn them is enterily up to me, Club Prez. – she replied aridly.

    -But of course, of course, we are free and open country. At least everyone is telling such crap. And I don’t mind, of course, improving and learing new stuff. If this is gonna bring me new trills!

    She dashed! It was a probing attack, of course, with no real danger for Arufa, since the Prez weapon was out of a reach and the girl reacted appropriately – just by taking a small step backwards, not putting any effort in her defense at all.

    Moka attacked her from the side, slashing straight at her head! She managed to got onto the Prez blind spot and putting all her confidence and diligence onto that strike, that soul-driven hit was meant to put an end to her…

    But Raon blocked it as if it was nothing. As if she had eyes on the sides, as if she anticipated it…

    And hit her in the leg so hard, that the girl staggered…

    -JUST GET DOWN AND DON’T MOVE!!! – yelled Raon at her.

    -There are not such rules for immobilizing hits, PREZ! – Moka didn’t remain obliged to her, yelling back as hard, hastily recovering and charging again!

    -Mi, wai…!

    She slashed at Raon with too much anger that should have, not putting any thoughts at all for her safety and futher defense…

    That was why, when the Prez blocked her attack and counter-striked, Moka remained completely open for the strike.

    Only Arufa’s intervention saved her for not taking the hit on the head, blocking Raon’s attack and forcing her to defend herself instead.

    -Damn, you are fucking annoying… - snorted Raon, attacking again. – Just die!

    Moka tried to interrupt her from the other side, but the Prez quickly dashed with her shield, breaking her attack instead, landing her hit at Arufa.

    -GET BEHIND HER!!! – she yelled at Moka.

    -NO, YOU WON’T! – Raon charged at her, leaving her in a total disarray…

    Their weapons clashed, but being to close to one another, there was a little space for futher mutations or maneuvers…

    But perfect for grappling…

    It was Moka, who went for it first, but in a quick, chaotic struggle of jabs, locks and short weapon cuts, Raon ultimately overwhelm her with her greater strength, finally getting her firmly onto her grip, just when Arufa was about to dash them…

    And threw her at her…

    The two girls crashed, staggered, stumbled and fall one over another on the stone pavese, snorting heavily and exaling deeply…

    -Fuck, we can’t beat her… She is too strong… - puffed Moka, moving below Arufa, trying to stand up.

    -I’ll hold her. You just run to the others. Regroup and probe the other sides… - she also tried to do it…

    That was when Raon poped above them (again).

    -The play time is over, girls. You are dead.

    And swung at Arufa.

    There was nothing the two of them could do in their positions…


    The armor plate began to squeak and screak…

    -FUCK YOU, NO STOP, YOU’LL BEND IT!!! – he moved and wiggled intensifely, trying to stop her somehow. Fuck, only if he would reach his dagger…

    -THAT’S THE FUCKING POINT, YOU MORON!!! – Faiye put even more force onto it…

    The pauldron lamentably wept…

    -Seriously, you are starting to piss me off! Do you know how much does this part cost? Do you know how much it will cost to repair it?!

    -Don’t care!

    -Really, sto…!

    Faiye kicked him in the helmet.

    Right, that was it. Someone was about to die

    Using all the explosive strength he had remaining in the left hand, he used it for a one last stand against Ren’s persistence, retracting it as close to his body as possible…

    Just enough to let go of his weapon and to manage to grab Avys’ long hair…

    -Wha, no!...

    … and released all the pressure in his hand.

    Still pulling it at full strength, Ren fall back…

    -IIYYAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!

    Avys’ scream pierced their airdrums. From the side, it looked like her head poped out…

    -Fuck, I’m so so…! – Ren, realizing what just happened, in her panic completely let go of his hand.

    And Avys too, grabbing her hair with both hands against him, pulling back.

    Leaving Art’s completely free…

    -NOOO, DON’T LET HIM GO!!! – Faiye let go of his pauldron, trying to grab him...

    When instead Art grabbed her for the neck and pulled her over him, slaming her right onto his cousin…

    The both girls crashed, rolling on the ground, completely going down off his right side…

    With no more weight over him, he raised, instantly grabbing Ren for the face with his freed hand.

    Clearing both his soul and mind…

    -VOLTA!

    Through his helmet it sounded muted, almost comical, as if from some deep pipe.

    But in total contradiction with the menacing effect it had on the poor Ren…

    She screamed, but through his hand it also sounded dull and nasaly, in a complete contrast of the strong reaction of her body, which trembled in one uncontrollable convulsion, as she jumped back from him, shoving her face in the ground, too scared to even move anymore…

    -YOU FUCKING ASSHO…! – Faiye yelled back at him, trying to quickly get up…

    But now Art’s both sides were completely freed…

    With him reaching his dagger instead, stabbing her in the face with no mercy…

    The girl froze in place. With her stunned, widened eyes, it looked like some picture, captured in the time.

    He quickly pushed her out his way, not gently at all, reaching out for his little cousin…

    -NOO, STAY AWAY FROM ME!!! – she back-kicked him in the dagger hand, quickly beginning to crawl away from him, as if she was running from the plague…

    Art grabbed her for the ankle with his iron grip ruthlessly locking her in place…

    Okase tried to stab him in the visor again, but the yari hit to angled part of his helmet, bouncing off with ease…

    -LET ME GO, LET ME GO!!! – Avys began to kick him with her other leg.

    Art felt nothing. He didn’t let go at all.

    Instead, he pulled as much as was left of his power…

    And threw her straight at the boy…

    Her crushed onto him, knocking him on the ground like a bowling pin, with Art already getting up and rising his pollaxe up…

    -FUCK!...

    …the hammer accelerated down, putting all his anger and fury into this hit…

    He wanted he could really nail them onto the ground.

    Aiv hastily rolled sidewards, with the weapon landing straight at Okase’s face. The boy trembled upon impact, with his body finally relaxing…

    -You damn bitch… - he snorted.

    -Sorry, sorry… - Aiv heavily moved, trying to put as much distance as possible between them…

    She needed her weapon… She needed time to replenish her energy…

    „Damn, why is this happening to me…”

    It was all supposed to happen according to her plan!

    She just really wanted to lay on the ground and start crying…

    All her body was hurt… Her face was dirty… Her knees and elbows were bruised…

    And her hair…

    „Somebody, help…”

    Art’s titanic shadow overhang above her.


    -WHAT A FUCKING ASSWHOLE! HOW COULD HE DO THAT TO HER?! – Florin jumped off her chair, angrily pointing at the screen.

    -I can’t see because of you, Flo. – replied Niei with a tone not showing much concern about that actually.

    -I really hate him some times… - Char shivered, rubbing her shoulders with hands.

    Amaris just got up, kicked her chair, sending it off flying somewhere in the middle of the room and demonstratively left the premises.

    -Jeez, what a dumbass. Just about to miss the culmination… - snorted Ron.

    All of them focused back on the screen.



    -I was really hoping to meet you today, Hion. – Sophie took her saber overhead stance, graciously stepping to the side...

    Then one more step.

    And one more…

    Hion wasn’t taking off her eyes from her even for a blink…

    Sophie dashed forwards, slashing lightingly fast!

    Hion, stepping to the side to get out of the line of attack, deflected.

    Sophie pressed forwards, repeating the attack.

    Then repeated again.

    Hion instantly mutated, trying to turn her block into a stab…

    Sophie was already stepping to the side, getting out of reach.

    And broke with a step back.

    -What is it, Hio? Art was so impressed by your skills, he literally didn’t shut up about your duel the other day. Are you out of form or something? I was especting more from the Council-President…

    Hion just clenched her fists, until they trembled.

    Then dashed, slashing too furiously, than she wanted.

    Sophie just deflected to the side, slashing diagonally.

    A huge azure mark shone on Hion’s armor, up from the pauldron, down to the hip. But non on her non-armored parts…

    She just put her sword between them, parrying Sophie’s sequential strike, counterattacking immediately…

    Sophie sidestepped, taking it with the strong back of the saber, twisting her wrist and trying to stab her…

    Hion took it on the helmet, thrusting with all her might…

    Slash… Block… Thrust… Cut… Parry…

    The two entered such a furious interchange of blows, which only the trained eyes were able to follow. With seemingly no one able to take the upper hand, it threatened to become a prolonged fight of one’s will and atheletism.

    The sharp eyes tightly following its opponents movements, the masterful footwork, with one misstep meaning breaking the stable balance and given opportunity to the enemy…

    It was a prime time to show the abilities of their hard work and dedication.



    -This is sick. Even I have difficulties, following their moves… - exclaimed Char.

    -Well, you were always slow as fuck, no wonders. Despite being as flat as Niei… - roasted them Florin.

    -Catch fire and die, you heartless bitch… - she snorted.

    Niei didn’t even react – she was just too focused on the duel between Soph and Hion.

    She wasn’t the only one – many of the others were also too focused on the dynamic scenes between the two girls.

    -This is an entertainment in a pure form, guys. Haven’t watched such duel for a long time. – said Ronson.

    -I have a bad feeling… - Adam leaned a bit forward to the screen.

    -C’mon enemy prez Hio! Show that bitch how one bites the dust! – Frou clenched his fist.

    -Yeah… - began Mort. – She is using that bastard of a blade. It’s just a matter of time…

    Frou just snorted, obviously wanting to spit bitterly on the ground.

    -It seems Sophie is taking it a little bit personally. – said Harm.

    -Yeah, who would have guessed. – Ronson looked at Florin and Chris.

    -I want her… I want to duel her. – she suddenly whispered.

    All the heads turned towards her.

    Niei was just about to melt from pleasure.


    Hion broke, getting out of Sophie’s range…

    Stance… Stable pose…

    Inhale… Exhale…

    Her breathing was heavy… Too heavy…

    -What is it, Hio? Exhausted already?! – Sophie looked her grim.

    The prez rushed forwards, hastily slashing with the katana. Her arms were trembly, she was losing presision…

    Sophie blocked, but didn’t counterattack – she remained in bind. Her face was just a handspan from the prez’.

    -How’s that? I bet you weren’t so „exhausted“ or „out of breath”, when he was all over you… - she whispered.

    Hion broke, retreating a few steps, looking her amazed in the first moment.

    Her katana’s tip touched the ground in a “Fool’s guard”, temptingly “exposing” her upper body.

    -I see, so this’s it. This is why you are so mad at me…

    Sophie took middle guard, with her blade pointing at Hion’s face.

    -Just because of that stupid photo…

    The prez’ stance relaxed a bit.

    -Damn it, Soph…

    And she smirked:

    -…don’t tell me that you are… jelous… of me?...

    Sophie changed her guard, taking a high, with her blade still pointing at Hion’s face.

    -And you came all the way here from Falkland just because you can’t spend and one day away from him?...


    -Omg, this bitch is crazy… - Char covered her eyes.

    -Please, someone, stop her. – said Adam.

    -Don’t, enemy prez Hio, don’t go over there! – exclaimed Frou.

    -A blood will be shed, guys. – Ronson crossed his arms…


    …Sophie’s saber rose in an overhead guard…

    -Damn, I didn’t even imagine you were so attached to him. To bad they took him from you in such an vile way…



    -Damn, the Prez’ words cut deep… - said Mort.


    Sophie leaned a bit forwards…

    -If I was in your stead, I was gonna do the same, honestly. Especially for someone you like so much…

    -DIE, BITCH!!!@#$%^!

    She slashed so hard, that upon contact, their blades just broke.

    Obviously, Hion’s purpose was meant to provoke something like that and she was already pulling out with her non-leading hand the wakizashi, slicing straight at Sophie’s belly…

    -POVA!

    Her shield flashed upon contact, blocking Hion’s strike…

    -Wha…

    -SIEVERT!

    Shock!

    Her whole body was pierced by the millions of needles, trembling in her boots, making her unable to move even a tiny inch…

    That was when Soph hit her like a truck, knocking her down on the ground...

    Grabbing her for the gentle neck and starting to strangle her with all her force and weight…

    For real…

    Hion eyes widened. Her face started to turn more and more red and upon realizing her intent, she desperately grabbed her for the hands, trying to push her away…

    Sophie relaxed her body weight even more. Hion’s nails dug onto her wrists…

    -SIEVERT!!! – she yelled and Hion’s body trembled from the electrocution…

    Her grip over Sophie weakened…

    -SIEVERT!!!!! – she yelled again.

    Shock!

    Hion’s eyes winked. Her hands released…

    -SIEVERT!!!!!!!!!

    She passed out, with her head relaxing to the side…

    -SIEVEERRTT!!!@$%^!!!

    -STOP, HEY SOPHIE, STOP!

    -DOON’T, Y-YOU ARE HURTING HER!!!...

    Iki and Ann suddenly poped on both her hands, desperately trying to push her away from the prez…

    -LEAVE ME! I’LL KILL HER!...

    -SOPH, STOP!!! – Ann put all her body into her efforts…

    When Iki suddenly stood up and kicked Sophie in the face…

    That was enough to knock down on the ground both giрls one over another, releasing Hion from her peril…

    -HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND OR WHAT?! YOU COULD HAVE KILLED HER! – shouted Iki in her face.

    Inhale… Exale… Inhale… Exale…

    -Hey, Hio, Hio!... – moved Ann over her, slapping her several times lightly on the cheeks.

    The prez suddenly coughed, in a single convulsion, turning to the side…

    Inhale… Exale… Inhale… Exale… Inhale… Exale…

    Why was her chest feeling so heavy and cramped? What was that, clenching her heart?

    Her breathing… It became so heavy it threatened to suffocate her… Just like she was doing with Hio until now…

    “WHY I CAN’T CALM IT DOWN?!”

    THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP, THUMP…

    Her heart was going to explode.

    Ann, still holding Hion in her hug, turned her head sharply, looking Sophie with her blazing eyes.

    -What was that, for fuck sake?!

    -Don’t and you, Ann… Don’t even start...

    Iki was looking at her. Her eyes teared up and was filled with mix of emotions of contempt, sadness and fury. She couldn’t blame her.

    Everybody deserved its fate…

    -Don’t talk like you know him… Don’t talk like you know what we have experienced together… Just don’t…

    Hion looked her. Her eyes… they were just tired.

    Sophie heavily stood up, letting go of the handle of her broken saber.

    -S.A. – she whispered in her palm.

    Another straight oderonean saber materialized in her other hand.

    -Sievert is an close combat, military grade electro-magic, Hio. Without the restriction bracelet, you would have had your brain fried. You are dead.

    And she turned, rushing at the south gate of the labyrinth.
     
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  12. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    I'll start eventually upload it at other sites.
     
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  13. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Florin just clapped several times.

    -Congratulations. You just have managed to make her loose her cool. Only one person I’ve seen doing it before … - she looked at Frou.

    He pretend to not have noticed.

    -Its amazing how they managed to turn the tables. But considering it’s them, I shouldn’t be surprised. – said Ronson.

    -You shouldn’t make such assumptions so fast, dear. – replied Niei. – You haven’t seen the other side in full action yet…

    Once again, all heads focused on the screen before.


    Art’s hammer accelerated towards Avys’ head…

    But despite all her feelings and shape, she wasn’t ready to give up yet!

    Barely managing to turn in the last moment, she raised her hand and with the diminishing ounces of her strength, she whispered:

    -Nyon…

    The spell stopped it. Lifting the barrier with her little shaky hands, she hold Art’s pollaxe inches from her face.

    -I’m impressed, you Pixie Devil. Little by little you are becoming as though as your sister. You are almost making me proud.

    Art pressed down with all his weight. Her arms trembled, her face – exert from the effort she put onto resisting him.

    -So much, it makes me scare. That soon there’ll be two like her…

    -That’s because I have a great teacher!... – she grunted, pressing against the barrier as hard as her little arms allowed.

    -Yes, keep talking more, don’t spare your breath. The more you exert and exhaust yourself, the more easily I’ll capture you. And if you happen to pass out, it will be the best.

    -Fuck off, bro… And stop talking with this low and uniform voice… You are scary as fuck…

    -Why, don’t you like it? It’s almost Krul’s intonation and you are perfectly used to hers… Just think. If the prize here is similar to ours in Falkland for capturing the enemy captain… You can start to imagine it, right?

    -You’ll never have me! I would rather kill myself!...

    Art pressed and with his knee.

    Aiv exhaled heavily…

    -Just surrender.

    -Never!

    Art pressed heavier.

    A drop of sweat rolled down her check. With a face becoming more and more red from the exertion she was putting herself through, her puffing were becoming more and more heavy.

    -You know you don’t have a choice, Aiv…

    -You are talking like some villain. There’s just the dark background theme missing… - she snorted.

    She blinked a few times against him…

    Considering the events of yesterday and how much magic she have used up until now, Aiv was rapidly approaching her physical limits… Not having a breakfast. Low on calories. Low on blood sugar and nutrients… Starting to feel light, the eyes to defocus. The body to shake and loose precision…

    The adrenaline wasn’t going to keep her up forever…

    Damn it, he was right…

    She was getting tougher and tougher… But she wasn’t as tough as Sophie yet…

    Mustering all her remaining strength, she just firmly looked at him, raising her voice:

    -MULTIPLE NYON!

    -OVA!

    -Fuck, n…!

    The outlines of the second wall faintly blinked behind him…

    And in the next moment, exploded with such a bang, that made both of them avert their gazes away. With her covering her eyes and for him wanting there is a way to do it over the helmet…

    It flashed out spectacularly, disintegrating onto millions of sparks, raining over them and all over the place like countless blizzard flakes, getting onto helmet visors, necks and napes, hotly kissing their exposed skin… For who knows much seconds, there were a near total lost of sense, with gazes blurily dancing after the light flash and ears echoing and ringing…

    -Stupid big bro, why did you have to block it… - Aiv tried to creep back…

    But it was Art, who fully recovered first.

    -Just kill me!...

    -Oh, no, no, no, no. You are not getting off so easily. You are my prize, Aiv…

    She suddenly turned, pointing her hand at him:

    -VOLTA!

    Buzzzttz…

    Art just sighed. He didn’t even tremble.

    -This armor have up to 6 000 volts insulation, you blockhead. And despite that, you know very well that’s not going to work on me when I’m expecting it…

    -Don’t get so full of yourself, bro. You may fall… Really hard…

    -Ha, so sh…

    CLANG!

    Something made him instantly to lose all speech and thought. What exactly, even he couldn’t understand.

    He only understand, that when he came back to his senses, he was by some reason on the ground…

    Laying on his back…

    With Ren on top of him…

    And her arms up…

    She was holding a stone.

    “FUCK!!!” – Art’s eyes suddenly goggled, hastily reaching against her…

    But they slipped beside hers…

    “Whaa…”

    -THAT WAS SO FUCKING MEAN!!! – she yelled against him.

    CLANNNGGG!!!

    His defocused vision blurred even more up to the point of him almost blacking out…

    The dull pain poured all over his head, like a bucked of ice-cold water. As if his skull cracked open.

    Good that it was the thick padding…

    Damn, he felt like some bear has squeezed him up…

    “But how do you know how a bear squeezes?”

    -Go on, Ren, kill him!!! – shouted someone from the side.

    He shook his head a bit.

    With his still defocused gaze, he saw how the silhouette on top of him raised hands once again…

    “FUUUUUCK!!!”

    The adrenaline started kicking up again. The blur mildly began to disappear and body to instinctively move…

    But Ren accelerated down again…

    -NYON! – he instinctively dashed, without even thinking about…

    The stone smashed onto the air-barrier, breaking into multiple pieces and countless shrapnel, flying in all directions…

    -Fuck… - Ren turned her head aside as belated reaction to all whizzing pebbles and dust…

    Art grabbed her for the neck, forcing her down on the ground…

    -I’ll give you a fuck to you… That fucking hurt…

    Ren grabbed his with both of hers, trying to push it away.

    -You fully deserved that! – she grunted through her teeth. – My skin is still numb...

    Ren pushed away with all her force.

    Art didn’t bulge, reaching with his free hand for the dagger.

    Something made his body suddenly shiver.

    He froze. The magic globe enveloped his head, filling the space with hazed air in an instant.

    His sight blurred again. The heat began glazing his skin, and his is breathing…

    He couldn’t take a fresh air!

    It was so strange… Like… his head was submerged under water.

    He was suffocating…

    -NOW’S THE CHANCE, REN! GET OFF HIM!!! – Avys voices sounded distant and dull, like he was in the bottom of a pool.

    He felt how she started to move below him.

    Art tried to grab her back blindly, but his hands got nothing…

    -HIS WEAPON! GET IT AND STRIKE HIM!!!

    “Wha…”

    Something kicked him in the shoulder, making him lose his balance and fall on his side.

    The breathing…

    His body was screaming. That desperate feeling in his lungs for fresh air…

    “Just stay calm. You still have 30 seconds…”

    The steps… Just on his left!

    He focused all his will and might:

    “ENGORA!” – not being able to talk, the spell boomed thunderously into his mind…

    -NOOOOOOOO!!!

    Something clang metallic on the stone, as if it fall on it.

    The pollaxe materialized back in his hands.

    He jumped back, making sure he is at a safe distance from them…

    And teleported out of Avys’ range...


    Raon was just about to smash Arufa’s face, when Art fall over them.

    It was the utter definition of out of the blue, the Prez’ weapon was just accelerating towards her, when with a bright flash he materialized right above them.

    -WHAT?!$&#?! – they barely gasped in disbelief, not having a chance to move at all…

    He crushed onto them like truck, creating a pile of snorting and grunting girls, every one of which instinctively wanted to just disregard the game and beat him to death…

    Art breathed in heavily, too happy to engulf the invigorating portion of fresh air, that filled his lungs. His vision was totally clear – only the diminishing heat was all that left from Avys’ air spell.

    -DAMN, IT WORKED!!! – he happily exclaimed, completely not realizing what was going on around him.

    Well, it didn’t work as he intended, as he just wanted to get away a bit from her, then reengage, while she was still beaten and not started to recover, but it seems her spell have made him lose enough orientation to send himself a couple of meters in the air…

    Good it wasn’t much more…

    His heart was beating like a crazy in his chest. And the small holes on his helmet were not making it easier, as he was straining himself to gulp enough oxygen for his increased need of oxygen he needed to recover from all the spells…

    “Damn, I should take lift my visor for several seconds at least…”

    His hand was moving towards the locking mechanism, when it suddenly hit him. He froze:

    “SHOULD THIS HURT MORE AFTER FALLING FROM SUCH DISTANCE?!”

    Something moved below him.

    -I’ll give you one “it worked”, damn you!...

    It was Arufa’s voice. He turned.

    -Stop staring at me and get off! You know how much you weight yourself?!

    -FUCK, SHE IS GETTING UP, QUICKLY!!!

    Something moved even more vigorously below him. That was Moka’s voice…

    His periphery shone…

    -WATCH OUT!!! – Arufa tried to push him…

    …but his instincts were already kicking in, with him grabbing his pollaxe and swinging back.

    The two weapons clashed, the girl retreated back, rising up her shield.

    Art hastily jumped up, going onto his combat stance.

    That was when he fully realized who he was fighting.

    -Prez?!

    Raon just grinned. Her shield raised up to the nose.

    Her axe raised over the shoulder.

    “AN AXE?!”

    That was clearly something he didn’t expect!

    Well, this was definitely gonna complicate the things…

    Her grin turned onto a sly smile, as if she had read his thoughts.



    He took a stable stance, leaning a bit forwards…

    When suddenly Arufa suddenly grabbed him for the armpit.

    -Be careful! She is not the Prez for no reason.

    His gaze… it didn’t even move way. He got it sternly focused on Raon.

    He knew this. Just by looking at her stance, just by the presence of her emitting aura, he was able to tell how dangerous actually she is…

    -She may be strong or whatever… but she is still alone. I’ll keep her attention focused on me, you both flank her. If it came to the worst, I’ll just grapple her and immobilize her. – he said lowly.

    -Roger. – the two girls quietly confirmed.

    Art started to advance.

    Step after step, without hurrying, not even blinking.

    Raon retreated just a meter to put the stone pot on her right shoulder.

    Smart move to cover your flanks when fighting against multiple opponents…

    But of course, a fighter of her rank clearly have realized something of this sort years ago…

    He followed onto her tightly, the spike tip almost touched her extended towards him shield…

    He suddenly thrust with an advancing step!

    Raon easily deflected it to the side with her shield, dashing with her axe.

    Art took it on the thick his elbow, twisting his pollaxe and hooking her shoulder.

    But before he manage to pull, she ducked and stroke towards his chest!

    Art quickly swung his weapon, blocking her strike with the pole, when Arufa attacked her from the other side, forcing her to abandon her counter-attack against him…

    That was when one arrow ricocheted from her helmet, spinning somewhere behind them…

    Arufa instantly abandoned her attack, getting back and focusing her gaze at the direction from which it came…

    Raon, using that moment, instantly slashed against her…

    -CAREFUL!!!

    Art intervened and deflected it, clearing showing the Prez that he will not let her get his teammate so easily…

    Another shot!

    Arufa just twist to the side, easily dodging it, with the arrow hitting the square bush behind.

    -That’s Nym! I’m going to pin her down, you deal with the Prez!!! – she locked her steel mask on the helmet, rushing towards her…

    -Just be careful! – he yelled behind her.

    The bow string sang again!

    But the arrow wasn’t aimed at Arufa this time at all…

    It came straight at Moka’s exposed face next to him, about to land dead on..

    When Art just side-stepped, taking it straight on his helmet.

    It simply glanced of him, spinning and dancing to somewhere in the back.

    Moka just tightly squeezed behind him.

    -Get back to the labyrinth. Rio and Ayuri should be there. Support them and charge the east side. Only Ren and Aiv should be there. Both badly beaten…

    -B-but I want to help you… - she delicately looked over his shoulder, still hiding behind the solid armor.

    -Look, she is a shield user and her side is covered by the grass. Flanking her won’t be so easily achievable. Beating her through sheer force is the only way now. Something your sword won’t be able to do, with her heavy armor. Go to the others. Use your numerical superiority and overwhelm the other sides. Once that is done, we’ll regroup and plan our attack at the castle.

    He saw how her face twitched and distorted, as if he just told her how useless she is and to fuck off. As if she just wanted to start crying.

    “Damn it, I didn’t want to sound like that…”

    “I just… don’t want to lose you.”

    Fuck, all that magic, combat and lack of sleep was putting too much strain on him, to the point he started to do things out of his way. It was really gonna be for the best this game to just end right now.

    He wondered for a second… How was Sophie taking all of this? How was she doing?

    Was she… fine?

    Damn it!

    -I’m sorry… - he gently touched her hand. – I’m sorry… I’m counting on you.

    Moka just grinned her teeth, tightly clenching her firsts.

    -I’ll do my best! You can count on me!

    And she ran back to the labyrinth.

    Raon just grinned, as she patiently awaited for him.

    -Quite a sweet talker you are. Just how well you managed to agitate her. I’m sure you are very good with whispering nicely onto some girl’s ear. I bet no one will resist it – they’ll all fall for you. – she said.

    Art took a stance against her. Focusing straight at her eyes.

    “You are the one to talk… Look how you just won’t stop babbling…”

    -I wonder at what other things you are so good, as you are with words. – her smiled widened.

    He relaxed a bit. Quickly glanced at the top of her axe and back to her amber eyes.

    -Maybe someday I’ll should you. Maybe I’ll show you even now.

    Her shield raised a bit. Her pose leaned back.

    -That sounds really interesting. Too bad the situation we are right now is so unambiguous. Are you gonna use some of your magic to eliminate me?

    -I can, but that wouldn’t be very fair. I know a dozen of spells, that there is no way for you to defend from…

    -Ho-ho, you are quite confident about that.

    Art’s eyes narrowed.

    -Are you a magic user? – his head tilted a bit. Not that it was possible to be seen in the large helmet.

    He concentrated all his will power.

    -Maybe I am. Maybe I am not. – she smiled.

    LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA…

    “DAFAQ?!”

    He…

    HKRRH!!!#$GK$@^HR!SB?!R&^%!HRRR#$@!HRS#S!!SSSS...

    Dafaq was that?! He couldn’t tell anything…

    Her mind was a mess.

    He shook his head a bit, his body shivered. Raon smile changed into a smug.

    He looked her with a new sternness.

    She was prepared for that. She clearly new, that some magic users were capable of reading the superficial thoughts of a person, without much issue.

    But he… He was not capable reading a thing from hers!

    “She knows about that! And she knows how to defend from that…”

    Which meant she have clearly encountered magic before. And more specifically, the mind reading ability…

    “Damn, this is really starting the exite me!”

    His nerves tickled. Was she bluffing? Was she serious?

    This uncertainty was really stirring up all his emotions!!!

    “If she really is magic user, this could make things so much interesting!”

    As well as making it much more dangerous for him – another thing he needed to be careful about, many more ways for him to die…

    Should he just finish her of with magic? Or attack in the conventional way?

    If he cast a spell at her, he could very easily learn. But what if she really wasn’t? That was going to straight off eliminate her, if she couldn’t defend herself. Not that he didn’t want to do that, but if that was the way to do it… when, that was just going to be soo damn scummy and low.

    Even he had some standards and stuff. And that wasn’t a live or death duel. All purpose of that was to just have fun.

    And improve their abilities…

    “FUCK IIIITTTT!!!...”

    He sighed.

    -What’s wrong? You got quiet.

    -You just want me to use my magic against you… because I’m going to strain myself additionally. Which means, there is more to that, Prez. You have clearly encountered magic before! Not only that, but you clearly have encountered it to the bits, were you know what effect it have on the human body – the energy consumption process and the exhaustion part too. That's some really deep digging on the matter. Not something that your average joe would know. Which means you have clearly learned about it through some time of your live… or there is probably someone very close to you, who is a very capable magician. I have no doubts about it now! About that. And the other thing too…

    -Damn, you got me, how perspicacious of you. What ima gonna do now…

    Art leaned a bit towards her.

    -You must really have realized it by now. That’s why you’ll do everything to squeeze out as much of my energy as possible. To make sure the others have the best chances of eliminating me. Even if that means sacrificing yourself…

    She sighed.

    -Sadly, even I sometimes loathe how much I sacrifice of myself for the greater good. But something just need to be done. What you said, that’s the ugly truth, have no doubts about it. But only part of it – the addition to picture is, there is not a single weapon on our team, that can effectively put you out. Even the yaris need to aim for the weakspots… which are heavily armored by maille and gambeson, so only the heaviest hit will count. And you are not a fool, you now your armor very well, you know how to fight while not exposing them. The visor’s eyeslids are too narrow for any tanto to get through. And we don’t have enough manpower left to pin you down to the ground and overwhelm you through sheer force. That leaves only me. And my axe…

    His hand clenched the weapon. The metal glove plates rattled, the leather creaked.

    -And you realize that. You clearly realize the danger of my weapon. I can see it on your face even through the armet. So, why don’t you get serious? Why don’t you came at me with all you got?

    He… He never felt something suspicious in her.

    -I still don’t now if you can use magic or not.

    Forget the stupid axe…

    If he attacked and she surprised him with some nicely put spell in the right moment…

    That was clearly going to put him out of the picture in an instant.

    “Damn, what should I do, what should I do…”

    Raon just grinned.

    -You know very well, that you’ll spend much more less energy to eliminate me with a simple magic, rather than with sheer force.

    She was just plain right. So much, it hurt him to admit it. The duel with her… It was going to be long. It was going to be exhausting. It was going to cost him dearly.

    It was going to kill them both.

    He just sighed deeply, with his stance relaxing for a moment.

    Damn, why did she had to turn things like that? Why was she forcing him to admit he have no other choice?!

    The pain became unbearable, as much as the lump in his throat.

    -I’m sorry, Raon…

    He grinned his teeth, as he charged at her with all his might.

    Straight forwards and blunt, no more feints, words or pity distractions…

    He thrust at her face, with her shield deflecting it to the side, while simultaneously striking at his head with the axe.

    Art hastily ducked, with Prez’ weapon whizzing over his helmet and he twisted his pollaxe, hooking her knee with the axe edge…

    The hard pull made Raon to instantly lose balance and stagger back violently…

    -Nyon!

    The air barrier popped right behind her knees, leaving her no chance to recover and she stumbled, falling on the ground.

    “DAMN, WHY IS SHE NOT USING SPELLS?! WHY IS SHE NOT DEFENDING HERSELF?!

    Using the total disarray he put her in, he kicked her shield, exposing her torso and head…

    “SHE NEED TO USE IT NOW, OR SHE IS FINISHED! WHEN IS SHE GONNA DO IT?! NOW? AFTER A SECOND?!”

    He thrust at her neck…

    “DAMN, I’M ALSO OPEN! WHAT IF SHE PUT SPELL NOW?! SHE CAN EASILY FINISH ME…”

    She didn’t even tried to block it. She stroke at him, but the axe reached only his heavy pauldron.

    Just now he realized it…

    “WHYYYY?!”

    The point landed her straight on the neck, leaving a bright, orange mark.

    She was killed.

    Raon just giggled upon contact, and her body twitched, as if someone had just tickled her really hard.

    Art retreated, exhaling heavily. He just wanted to fall on his knees and don’t move anymore…

    “Damn, this was not knightly at all.”

    -Damn, you really got me! – she laughed.

    Art looked at her. He was not really in a playful mood anymore. Nor was up for jokes…

    Raon sat up on the ground, looking back at him.

    -That was scary, even for me, I admit it… Well, fortunately for you, I’m not a magic user, Art. I was just bluffing. – she smiled a bit, but this time her smile was gentle and concerned. – But, well, this is really, really scary. Just how quickly you manage to eliminate me if you got completely serious! Considering I took upon four people at the same time earlier! Damn, that’s a really nice thing to now about you for the future. A better picture of the full extend of your abilities. Scary, scary…

    -If me and Sophie were completely serious about this, you all would have died in the first minutes. Aiv and Vick are still not powerful enough to stop us both, if we were together… Or defend all of you.

    -Damn, this is true, I admit it! Guess we were lucky, you were seemingly in a playful mood not to go on a rampage on us from the very beginning! I bet, from now on, magic will be completely forbidden in all future matches with full consensus!

    Art didn’t say anything. He just continued to watch her silently.

    -No need to burn yourself so much, Art. After all, the knights were just one highly efficient killing machine, using all existing means in order to be so. They were not about chivalry, nor honor or other romanticized tales. Just crushing your enemies. Like a machine gun, or a tank.

    He just puffed deeply.

    -Well, that’s true I guess. But you still made me look like a complete scum…

    -Oh, c’mon, don’t be absurd! We all know how good guy you actually are. First you saved Mel. Risking your life, even though you didn’t know her… Donating her your blood. Guarding the school first from Amemori, then from Sekba. And… some other things, I guess. You clearly showed us your good colors. And everybody is appreciating how much you do for us already. So don’t be harsh with yourself. C’mon, Art, we, the vhinhym are very proud people. We take our traditions and history very seriously. This is how we pay our respect to our ancestors. So, you are obliged to go against us with all you’ve got. Otherwise, we’ll never forgive you. Neither she…

    The sudden shivers, that run down his spine, made him tauten like a string.

    He turned back.

    -This seems to be your final boss. Not me. – said Raon.

    Before him, Reina took a stance, with her naginata pointing straight at him.

    And his little sister on her side, waving her scepter, with the big magenta stone leaving a dim vapor traces on its path.


    -Well, she is right, guys. – began Char.

    Everybody in the room looked her.

    -He maybe act underhandedly sometimes… and use a little bit too magic… but who else of us didn’t?! It’s just how we do things when we play! Otherwise, it isn’t fun! – jumped Frou.

    -Yeah, he may be an idiot, but he is the our idiot… - said Niei.

    -Yeah, we were always getting onto our roles a bit too much. And as I can see, they too. But in the end of the day, this is just a game. We are suppose to have fun. And this is what exactly we were doing. After all, this is not their last game. And I bet their first encounter with the magic will remain only a positive emotion after the end of this. Just like ours. With no hard feelings at all. – said Ronson.

    -Absolutely! – clenched palms Adam.

    -Hm, hm. – Harm just nodded two times with satisfaction.

    The door opened.

    All of them tracked how Amaris entered back the premised, moved calmly to the middle, took the chair, she kicked, thumped its mat off the dust, returned with it to the row, sitting next to Niei, lifted her legs on the bureau and opening her soda can.

    Then drank it in almost one gulp, with the condensed water dropping on her chest and bare neck.

    -Khhyaaa, that was refreshing! – she exclaimed loudly, crushing it into her hand and with incredible accuracy sent it directly in the recycle bin at the other side of the room. – So, he won against their Prez, huh?... Seriously, if he hadn’t, I was personally going to kick his ass to a pulp…


    “What?! That scepter!...”

    They both split, attacking him from left and right, interrupting his thoughts. Reina quickly got out of his sight, charging from a blind spot, forcing him to choose on which one should he focus…

    The answer was not difficult…

    Damn, he didn’t want to use too much magic, but…

    She deserved a special attention.

    And he didn’t promise anything. That was Sophie.

    He sidestepped to the left, ignoring Reina and finding her little sister with gaze, who just pointed her scepter at him…

    -Gracial!

    -SORA! – he lifted his right hand…

    Reina reacted instantaneously and crushed onto his shield with a shoulder with such tremendous force, that Art’s head felt light from the energy it took from him to stop her, simultaneously with the huge snow ball, that exploded on the barrier in a spectacular puff of flakes and ice, falling all around.

    “A snowball?!”

    -Damn you, want to hit me?! – Reina snorted back, shaking all the ice and snow from her face.

    -My aim never miss, Auntie!!! – she waved her scepter again…

    -I’ll give you one auntie to you…

    Art, holding his shield up, charged at his sister.

    But she didn’t waver. She hold her ground, pointing the scepter straight at him…

    Just a couple of meters before her, he dropped his shield…

    -You little devil.

    …striking straight at her head.

    -POVA!

    His pollaxe bounced off her flashing shield, with Reina instantly attacking him from the side…

    And his sister pointing the scepter at him:

    -Gracial!!!

    -Sora!

    It was Reina’s naginata now to bounce off, with the snow sphere exploding almost in his sister’s face, with flakes and ice raining all over her…

    But with one swift move on her hand, the sudden gust blow them away…

    Just to see how Art was almost before her face.

    -Fuck!...

    -Don’t swear, you little devil. – he thrust at her…

    Reina blocked him, deflecting it to the side.

    -You won’t have her so easily…

    -You are annoying, Vice-Prez! Don’t interfere, this is family matter!

    He ignored her again, focusing all his attention to his little sisters…

    Reina kicked him in the helmet so hard, that he almost fell on the ground…

    -Do you think is a good idea to ignore me? Me? – she slashed over his head, with the naginata leaving a nice, azure mark on the top of his helmet.

    Nothing his armor couldn’t withstand, of course. His sister, who have by now retreated on a safe distance, waved her scepter at him…

    The shockwave hit him straight at the legs, finishing the rest bits of his balance…

    If he didn’t use any magic, that’s it…

    -Nyon!

    He bounced off the air barrier with shoulder, immediately getting onto a stable stance…

    “Fuck, hot, hot, hot!!!”

    Grinning his teeth from the pain, he twisted his weapon against Reina strike, blocking it and pressed!

    The Vice Prez tried to step back, getting onto defense stance…

    -NYON!

    … when she hit his airstep, falling on her back…

    -JUST STAY DOWN! – he yelled, turning once again at his sister…

    Once snowball hit him straight at the helmet, filling it with frost and ice – it bit his eyes and face, making him tightly close them in reflex…

    “Fucking hell!” – he blinked and shook his head as much it was possible to get them away from his eyelids.

    He felt how something stabbed him between breastplate and the pauldron – in the maille, still too much towards the arm area. Not was gonna take him out...

    -Fuck, it’s white, still not enough… C’MON AIV, HELP ME GET HIM DOWN! – and started to push…

    “What?!”

    He heard how the leaves rustled and that something rushed at him. Just felt it, without looking at it.

    But this time it was not going to work…

    -Sora!

    The spell erupted from him, with its globe expanding to its full range, pushing everything outside…

    Ren was violently thrown back, with Aiv and Reina crushing like a trucks onto the barrier. His cousin fall down, but the Vice Prez only staggered and managed to remain on her feet.

    -Hoo, so you finally returned, you little devil. I was wondering when will you show up…

    One snowball exploded spectacularly on his shield, puffing in a cloud of ice and frost.

    -Hope the plague drops you dead, you bastard! Drink a liter of soy sauce and die! – snorted Ren from the ground, heavily rising up…

    Art just sighed.

    Then pointed his hand at her:

    -Volta!

    Ren’s body shuddered in uncoordinate manner, as the wave zapped through her, making her grin her teeth, as she fell back on the ground…

    -FFFFUUUUUCKKKK YOUUUUUUUUUU!!! – she yelled through her teeth, with so much anger and energy, that all of them felt the vibrance in the air.

    -So much anger… - Art just sighed, turning towards his sister…

    And rushed forwards!

    -Fu… - she stepped back.

    -I SAID NO SWEARING, YOU LITTLE DEVIL! – Art pointed his hand at her.

    “Fuck, I can’t do this to her!...”

    Instead, he retracted it, swinging his pollaxe…

    Reina caught his strike in the air.

    -I TOLD YOU TO REALLY STOP IGNORING ME!!! – she slashed again, leaving another azure line on his helmet…

    -Gracial! – he heard his sister casting behind him…

    He instantly ducked. Getting out of the way of her spell, with it going straight at Reina’s exposed face. Who, because Art was just blocking her vision behind her, was left with no time to react.

    -Y…!

    The sphere froze right and inch from her face…

    -I told you my aim never miss, Auntie!

    Yeah, he expected something like that. That’s why, using the fact that Reina clearly didn’t expect, that his sister can suddenly deaccelerate spells and she dropped her guard, trying to protect reflexively from it, opening towards Art, he stabbed straight at her bare chin…

    -Enblock! – yelled Avys from the ground.

    -Wha, no!!!...

    His weapon suddenly froze in place, as if he grabbed some guardrail, while moving…

    The powerful energy made it flash in a blink of an eye, the mighty vibration, that passed through it, made his hands numb…

    Then with a spectacular bang, the wooden pole exploded in several different pieces, throwing splinters in all directions…

    -YOU FUCKI…!

    Reina hit him with the other end of the naginata straight at the visor, tilting his head a bit.

    But Art almost didn’t felt it…

    “No time for that now…”

    Using the close distance to her, he grabbed her weapon with one hand, reaching out with the other straight at her throat…

    “I’ll just use my superior strength to overwhelm her!”

    Instead, his horizon spun, with his vision going from the azure sky, then green bush walls and something gray, that quickly turned onto black…

    The steel armor clang heavily on the stone, he felt how the metal parts pressed onto his muscles through the padding…

    “Wha?! Am i… on the ground?!”

    -HE’S MINE!!!

    -NO, REN, WAIT!!!!

    The quick steps instantly made him come to his senses. He saw how Ren jumped over him, with tanto in one hand and the other reaching for his helmet…

    Art blocked it, getting his dagger from the sheath, stabbing straight at her face…

    Ren ducked, with him missing over her head and she punched him in the visor with her iron fist…

    He felt nothing…

    Reina kicked his hand, making him drop the dagger, stabbing with the naginata straight at his armpit…

    The blade hit the maille, leaving an azure line on the rings…

    -Fuck, not enough!... – she just snorted…

    -I’L SAVE YOU, ART!!!

    “WHAT?!”

    Reina instantly retracted her naginata, just in time to get onto defense against Rio, who charged her like a storm.

    -YOU OWE ME ONE! – she quickly glanced at him, while pressing hard on the Vice Prez, not letting her even to catch her breath with a series of spectacular consecutive strikes.

    His sister tried to interfere and pointed her scepter at Rio, when Art raised his hand and threw her an air-sphere, forcing her to break off and dodge…

    Ren tried to punch him once again, but Art blocked her and pushed her off him, grabbing Avys’ leg, stumbling her down…

    -NAAAAH, LET ME GOOO!!!

    -Sure.

    He grabbed her for the throat, lifting her in the air, as if she was light as feather…

    And threw her straight in the garden fountain…

    She dropped like a bomb, the water splashed everywhere.

    -How much ‘till it counts as death?! – he get her for the wet hair, making her look at his face. – 30 seconds? 40?

    And pushed her below…

    She grabbed him with her little hands, trying to force him away…

    No chance in hell, that was going to happen…

    -Leave her alone! – Ren clenched her arm around his neck and using her other as support, squeez until she started shake…

    Futile. No way she was going to suffocate him through the steel gorget…

    Art let go of his cousin, grabbing Ren for the arms and with ease pushed her away.

    The grappling was short, but decisive, with him using his greater power to easily overwhelm her and push her on the ground.

    -You really want me that much, huh? – he pressed her shoulders, not allowing her to move. – Your wish will just came true.

    And in the next moment, using the cross-shaped patter on the top of his thumb, he pressed the lock on temple.

    The visor clang, unlatching from the hinge.

    Art moved it to the fully up position, quickly getting back too her immobilizing.

    -IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED TO SEE?! – he almost yelled against her.

    His burning eyes. The drops of sweat on his pale face. The few strands of wet hair on his forehead…

    These were only a miniscule part of what he was really feeling…

    -That’s right, Ren, don’t take off your eyes off me. Just look at me. And keep staring…

    -What, no!!! – Aiv moved from the fountain behind, trying to reach with her tiny hand for them.

    -…and staring.

    The glimmer of her eyes fade out. Her body relaxed. She stopped resisting.

    -ART, NOOOO!!! – Rio tried to interfere, but Reina quickly blocked her attempt, stabbing her in the shoulder and pushing her back…

    His sister leaned towards him, her scepter’s magenta began to glow. The air in the vicinity whirled towards one single point in front of her, quickly materializing in a snowball, as huge as her head.

    And waved her scepter at him, accelerating the spell towards his open face…

    Ren moved between them, taking on her helmet.

    -Whaa…

    He saw it. How his sister’s eyes widened, stepping back in awe. Aiv was just staring at them aghast, not daring to move…

    Art grinned.

    -Good girl. I’ll deal with them. Now go kill Reina.

    She instantly complied, running off towards the Rio in pinch.

    -What?! – Reina just barely menaged to turn, before the girl swooped over her, starting to dash and slash at her with terrifying precision and skill. Making even the Vice Prez concerned for herself… - REN, COME BACK TO YOUR SENSES! YOU FUCKING BASTARD, I’LL…

    Art embraced the last gulps of fresh air with all his lungs, enjoying it to the fullest he could. Breathing in these helmets was quite challenging, especially in the heat of battle…

    And locked his visor down, drawing his sword.

    He turned towards his little sister…

    -So, how should I punish you now, you mischievous little demon…


    The silence in auditorium was awkward.

    Char looked at Niei and Harm, delicately rubbing her palms. Florin just snorted lowly, averting her gaze from the screen. Amaris had her eyes staring at it, but it was obvious her focus was somewhere else. Ronson watcher silently. Mort delicately scratched his chin. Adam moved arms and legs nervously…

    It was just… plain awkward.

    Char wrapped her hand around her body.

    -I can’t believe he hypnotize her… - she shivered.

    -Well, considering what they do to them, I can’t judge him.

    -Yeah, these girls… They outplayed them all. – Floring sulked.

    Niei frowned. She remembered. The first time, they played this trick on them… She just wanted to erase this memory from her brain.

    Her mouth became so bitter, she just wanted to spit on the floor.


    Aiv stood on her shaky legs, pointing the saber straight at him.

    -Don’t dare approach her, big bro. I’ll cut you to bits…

    Art took the sword in one hand, delicately moving fingers.

    He was going to finish so quickly and then…

    Then what? What was going to do then? He needed to kill her too…

    But… how? He couldn’t do that…

    “Arrrrrghrr, damn you, you devils!” – he just snorted and dashed in.

    Aiv blocked him, getting onto a clash of overbinds, twists and mutations, trying to defend from his attacks, while in the same time stab him in the weakspots. Art, on the other hand, wasn’t so much restricted in his choice – one well placed slash was gonna cut straight through her gambeson, she had no protection against stabs at all and a hit with the pommel or the guard was going to knock her down to hell…

    And Aiv was realizing this pretty well…

    She had no chance against him at all…

    His blade slipped through her defenses, going straight at her head.

    -Nyon!

    The spell stopped it just inches from her face.

    -You!... – he furiously pointed his hand at her.

    Aiv duck just in time to dodge his magic-sphere, instantly counter-attacking:

    -Equil…!

    -Neon!

    The shockwave slammed her onto his sister, throwing them both down on the ground.

    -What’s up, Aiv? It is quite hard actually, when I’ve got all my attention on you, ready to block you at any moment, huh?

    She crawled, trying to reach for her saber.

    Art kicked it to the side.

    -C’mon, just surrender. I won’t be harsh on you, I promise. When was i?

    His sister just pointed the scepter straight at his face…

    -Pova!

    The magic-sphere exploded in spectacular manner on his shield, throwing a fairy of sparks and embers all over the place, filling it with reverberating energy. So much, that all of them were force to avert their eyes from the violent flash, that erupted upon contact, making endless ripples dance on its surface for its evanescent existence…

    -So, you’ll want to continue playing it rough, hm… - he turned at them…

    And instantly froze.

    His eyes widened. His heart became even louder. The cold sweat made his body shiver.

    There, just over them, was Mio in her relaxed stance, staring at him under her eyes.

    And her face… He was going to remember it for the rest of his life…

    -You bastard…

    She dashed at him with her yari so quickly, that left him no other chance, but to quickly get into defense…

    He swung in order to deflect it, then he was gonna do…

    The yari stabbed him straight in the shoulder, before he even had the chance to squeeze the pauldron…

    “WHAT?!”

    Mio pushed forwards, quickly throwing him off his stable stance, forcing him to step back…

    These burning eyes… That demon face…

    “How…”

    He tried to squeeze arm now, but the yari was latched on the maille rings, between the pauldrons and breastplate, not going easily to come off…

    He grabbed it for the pole, trying to push it away, but Mio just locked in on the ground, making this impossible.

    -You!...

    -DIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!

    He stepped back, breaking off for a moment, just when Aiv slipped to his side, stabbing him behind the knee…

    The snowball hit straight in the head, filing it with ice and frost, impairing his view…

    -Damn you!...

    Out of his control, he swung furiously to the side, where Avys was supposed to be, in a blind attempt to finish her off…

    But too high and open.

    The long arrow hit him straight in the armpit, where it was protected only by the riveted maille…

    Piercing his lungs and straight to the heart…

    With Avys moving to his other side, grabbing his hand.

    Mio stabbed him so hard, that he swayed, losing balance. He felt it even through the maille and the thick padding…

    With his cousin by his side, they both fell on the ground, marking an end of one highly stressful and grueling struggle.

    He was dead.
     
    Ahmya likes this.
  14. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Sooo, i'm back i guess, lol. With this chapter i'm ending the game (but not the volume, oh no), i hope it was enjoyable. Seems i've reached a point where i'm not always satisfied with what i wrote, that's why i deleted so much stuff and rewrote it again and again. Also, i'm not giving up on writing, i just have so many things on my mind lately. I hope i can achieve much more consistency.
    Also in this chapter, i tried to achieve an effect, i call "badass gradation", i.e. a character beats another one, who is very strong, thus proving how strong he is indeed also. Then he gets beaten by another one. And so on, and so on. Hope it worked. I'll also put some new drawing below (later i'll colorize them, maybe will finish one tonight). Good wishes.


    -Omg, that chick is bonkers. – Mort pointed the screen with his finger. – She stabbed him so fast, he didn’t even manage to react. I mean, he

    -Damn it, how he dares to die… I’ll personally kick him in the ass the next time I see him… - Amaris was so frustrated, that she started to bite her nail, not concerning about delicacy or such. – I mean, just how, he was on such a rampage…

    -He deserved that, this stupid asshole. – Char unmovingly crossed her hand below chest. – For all that magic usage and what he did to that poor girl.

    -Yeah, that was an instant karma moment. I almost love it. – said Niei.

    -Just flood the chat and make him feel bad…


    Art sat on the ground, exhaling heavily.

    Somewhat with relieve, somewhat with happiness deep in his heart.

    -You can let go of me now, Pixie Devil.

    Aiv, who was still squeezing his arm (and because of which, he didn’t manage to fully retract his pauldron, damn it!), looked him up straight in the eyes, confused.

    -AAAAAAARRRTT, NOOOOOO!!! – Rio tried once again to run to him, but Reina quickly showed her that’s not gonna happen, before being forced back by Ren’s precise dashes at her…

    Mio threw her yari on the ground, kneeing furiously before him.

    And grabbed him for the shoulders.

    -Get her off! NOW!!!

    Art glanced at Ren, then next back at Mio.

    -Wha… what do you mean? I’m doing nothing to h…

    She punched him so hard in the visor with her iron fist, that his head rang…

    But…

    -Iiyyyaaaaaaau! – she instantly retracted it, starting to wave it up and down.

    “Phahaha, you dummie…” – how he wished they could see his smurk through the helmet.

    After she was done with the pain relieving movements, Mio once again looked him through the visor slits with ablaze in her eyes. And shook him for the shoulders.

    -I said, let her go!

    -No. I still have ten, fiftheen seconds left to bleed…

    She grabbed his helmet, trying to pull it off so hard, that she managed to move him in place…

    -Ai, ai, ai ai… You’ll rip my head off… - he said somewhat indifferent.

    No, she wasn’t…

    -LET GO!

    He glanced to the side, where Reina was slowly giving up her ground upon the strikes of Rio and Ren.

    But still well onto control of the engagement.

    “Damn, not’s going to work, I guess…”

    The Vice-Prez was just too strong. He expected no less of her, of course.

    He closed his eyes for better concentration and interrupted the hypnosis.

    -ART!!! – Mio shook him violently.

    -It’s already done, Mio. Let go of me.

    -What?!

    The three of them turned at the on-going duel.

    Ren suddenly froze in place, as if a lighting struck her. Her blade hang in the air for a moment, holding her face in a palm and falling on her knees…

    “Damn, I should’ve just made her kill herself…”

    -THAT DAMN MORON!!! – she suddenly yelled…

    Grabbing Rio for the leg…

    -WHAAAA?!...

    She pulled and stumbled her, with Rio spectacularly falling on the ground, snorting and cursing.

    Mio grabbed her yari and rushed at her…

    -YOU DAMN!!!...

    Ren stroke at her, but Rio deflected, too furiously and hastily, leaving her open for Reina, who stabbed her in the shoulder.

    -FUCK YOU, ART, YOU DAMN TRAITOR!!! – she grabbed the naginata for the blade, trying to twist it away from her and cut Reina through the hands with her o katana…

    Mio stabbed her in the guts with the yari, putting an end to her effordless misery…

    -FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!

    He just giggled, as if with satisfaction.

    -You are really cruel, big bro. Really, really cruel. – his sister kneed to him. – Open up, I’ll tend to you…

    -You should not waste your time on dead man, my little princess. The battle is still on – you should focus… Especially with her over there… – he raised his hand, pointing in the distance.

    His sister and Aiv look at it.

    The faces, they made… It was priceless.

    The sigh of shock exited his little sister’s mouth, as she froze.

    -No… Oh, no… - Aiv shivered, stepping back. – This is bad… bad…

    He felt it in her voice… That terrified tremble.

    He saw it in her eyes… The definition of pure horror.

    -Don’t falter, sis! – his little sister grabbed Aiv’s hand. – We face her together!

    -GUYS, RUUUUUUUNNNN!!! – Aiv turned at Ren, Mio and Reina, yelling as hard as her lungs where holding, trying to shake off her hand and to do it too…

    The yell… Like some enraged wild animal. Like some demon outside this world…

    -No, no, no…

    The fear ripped her heart… The terror paralyzed her feet… Her hands… They were shaking…

    -Sis, get a hold of yourself!!!

    It was inevitable…

    -SHE’LL FUCKING MURDER ME, I DON’T WANT TO FACE HER RIGHT NOW!!!

    -YOU DON’T HAVE CHOICE, YOU LITTLE CHEATING TRASH!!!

    Sophie smashed onto her so hard, that Avys stumbled, rolling on the ground heavily, until she stopped onto one of the stone pots…

    -Omg, she!... Hunderds of demons, h-her eyes!… - Ren’s voice trembled.

    These were the eyes of someone, who just wanted to murder them all...

    She stepped back, also ready to run…

    -Hold your ground, girls! – Reina took her combat stance with the naginata…

    Sophie was about to dash at her little sister again, to finish her once and for all, when Mio popped in her periphery with the yari, trying to stab her in the side…

    She reacted instantly by just… disappearing.

    -What?!

    The only thing, they saw was Sophie’s after image, moving lightingly fast… and how she just passed right beside the girl…

    Slashing her straight through the face.

    And hers… hers… She saw it close and personal. Just an inches away.

    A picture, capable of haunting her dreams…

    Mio fall down on her knees…

    -C’mon, get up, sis! Verritum axinia! – his sister pointed her hand at Avys.

    The green-glowing aura engulfed her beaten body, giving it last ounces of strength for one final stand…

    -POVA!

    Sophie crashed so hard onto her shield, that it split like a broken glass. Aiv was thrown violently back once more, but it was enough to stop her sister’s impeteus…

    -Gracial!

    Reina attacked her simultaneously with her little cousin’s spell, but the temporary shield just poped in time to block them both…

    -You annoying bastards… - her grimace distorted even more.

    Sophie pressed against the Vice Prez, pouring her with series of lighting blows, seemingly negating the range of the naginata with her unhuman speed…

    And it seemed she had the chance to finish her several times, if it wasn’t for Aiv and his little sister intervention, who managed to parry Sophie’s away.

    Which only made her more and more angry…


    Raon just sighed, sitting next to him.

    -She seems kinda pissed, don’t you think?

    Art just looked at her.

    -OMG, your face! You should…!

    -I’m fine, don’t worry about me, Prez. Well, but I guess I’m happy, that you are concerned about me, though…

    She smiled slightly.

    -Shouldn’t you stop her? She is hurting herself, you know…

    -She won’t listen, that moron. – Art exhaled, sighing. – She never does…

    -She really… cares about you, I see. To go to such extents…

    -That’s what I hate about her. It’s really hurts… to see her suffer.

    Raon didn’t say anything more. Just focused on the furious rampage, his cousin was putting the others through…


    The arrow came straight for her head…

    Sophie deflected it with her saber, while redirecting her attacks back at Avys…

    She needed to get rid off them first… They were too much of annoyance…

    She quickly glanced at the direction from which the arrow came… but saw nothing.

    Another one whizzed, making her duck hastily…

    -Tss, that damn bitch… - it also interrupted Reina’s attack, making her jump back a bit…

    “THERE!”

    Sophie focused and send one air-sphere in the direction from which the arrow came. It whooshed with tremendous speed, going straight through the bushes, throwing spectacularly leaves and branches in all directions…

    -Fuuuck, that was close! – echoed a voice from the other side.

    “Damn it…”

    -Eloren! – using Sophie’s losing focus on her for a moment, Art’s sister pointed her specter at her…

    The chilliness instantly engulfed all her lower body, trapping her legs in a thick mesh of ice, with Reina and Ren slashing at her from both sides…

    “Not going to work…”

    Both their blades hit the empty space, when she disappeared in a bright bulb of light, materializing right behind Avys…

    -Pov!...

    -NEON!

    The shield exploded right onto her little sister face, throwing her violently back, as Sophie slashed at her face…

    She missed.

    “What?!”

    Her eyes blurred in a pulsating manner. The complex coordination of her moves was becoming a true challange, as her heavy breathing and uneven pumps of heart were making her hands unprecise…

    She felt the iron in her mouth.

    The blood ran down her nose…

    “Fuck…”

    -POVA!

    The ice-sphere exploded onto her shield, with Sophie instantly pushing at the staggering Aiv again, firmly decided to not miss her second time. Her little cousin, still not fully recovered, raised her saber to block, to shaky and tentatively to be effective.

    Sophie caught her blade onto the meshed guard of the oderonean saber, pressing the trigger and locking it in place.

    And with a violent twist, that bend Aiv’s arm together with it, making it look from the side that it snapped, swaying her out of balance even more, she stabbed her straight in the face.

    -AAAAAIV!!!

    Her heart started pumping even more vigorously. Eyes blurred on and off once again…

    She released the trigger, unlocking Aiv’s blade, turning to search for her other opponets.

    But instead, staggered dangerously, treathened to lose all of her balance…

    -Pha, you are finished, bitch… - Aiv just snorted with gloat, whipping with sleeve her own running blood from the nose.

    Sophie completely ignored her, recovering just in the nick of time to intercept Reina’s charge, putting it to the side and trying to get under her skin, when Ren attacked her from the side, forcing her to abandon these thoughts and raise up her defense. She blocked, mutating her guard onto a lighting fast strike, which Ren miraculously evaded, before Reina interfered, locking Sophie further advancements on the girl…

    Her vision disfocused again.

    She was going to throw up…

    “I need to kill her first. I need to kill her…” – she grinned her teeth, mobilizing all of her remaining reserves…

    She dashed at Art’s sister, rising the oderonean saber.

    -POVA!

    -Ne…

    The blade crushed onto the thick barrier, bouncing back…

    This was getting bad. She managed to lift it up before Sophie can block it…

    “I’m losing speed…”

    Seeing Reina and Ren were attacking from both sides again, she retreated, trying to put them in front of her, bunch them up and control the engagement…

    But it didn’t work that well, she lost focus again and barely managed to parry Reina’s naginata, that scratched her check, while Ren’s almost cut her through the elbow… Good, that it bounced from the gambeson.

    She raised her temporary shield, blocking her cousin spell, and dashed to the right, putting Ren between her and the rest.

    Sophie charged ahead, dashing with the saber from above. Ren block it, but it was a feint, as she kicked her in the breastplate, making her stagger back and crush onto her little cousin, who was thrown off balance, falling on the ground…

    Losing her focus and concentration on her for some desicive seconds…

    Sophie raised her no-saber hand, pointing it straight at the vhynehaimese girl.

    “I’m sorry, Ren…”

    Her eyes widened staring, as the energy wave flew through her body, inciting her nerves and senses.

    -FLAMLIR!

    Ren froze in place, with her eyes madly widening, as her face distorted in horror.

    The shell of hazed air enveloped her all, blurring her body in a grotesque creature out of a mind of a lunatic painter…

    They all saw how her hands moved and stirred, making her outlines look even more disturbing and morbid, in one desperate attempt to break out of it…

    When it all exploded in a bright orange, it made all of them to avert their eyes away…


    Raon and Art were no different…

    -This looks intense… - the Prez lifted even her palm on the forehead, looking on an angle at the fiery scene.

    Art narrowed his eyelids up to the point of almost closing them. Even still, the light made them tear up.

    -I guess she is dead? – said Raon.

    -Yeah. Burned to crisp.

    -What a nasty spell.

    -That’s Flamlir for you. It is designed to kill vampires, after all.

    -Vampires or whatever, don’t want to ever be on the receiving end…

    -You can buy a Darrow’s amulet with a programmed OVA counterspell if you have worries about your safety – that’s the only way for a non-magic person to defend against it. But the price is also quite special – it cost around the same as a kevlar ballistic vest. But it do the same function – only that it is against magic. Of course, the most sophisticated models are banned for civilian use – available only for the army and the police.

    -You sure know your stuff. – she smirked a bit.

    -Of course. I’m a magician, after all…

    Raon smiled slightly, looking at his face.

    Aiv lugged to them and sat heavily next to him. She pressed her sleeve up to her runny nose to stop the blood, as well as squeezing her hair out of the excess water. Her pants and shirt were tightly on her body, making her forms looking really temping and inviting… Damn, he really did a job to her…

    “She is really starting to look more like a Sophie…”

    -Oi, where are you looking at… - she pushed him with a hand, turning his head away.

    -The black is quite a mature color, Pixie, you know… - he said.

    -WHHAAAA?!...

    Raon just giggled from his other side.

    Aiv wrapped her arms around the torso, turning a bit away.

    -First, its purple, second…

    -It’s almost the same up to the point it doesn’t really matter.

    -You pervert…

    -You are the one to talk…

    Aiv’s arms relaxed down, leaning again normaly at the bush. Honestly, her slim and gentle see-through back, was equally sexy and inciting, but he decided to not let her know about this secret, so he can enjoy it, eventually, and other time.

    -You can peek… But only a little!

    -Not interested, sry…

    She just pouted, pushing him heavily on the pauldron. It just clingled, with Art swaying a bit left and right.

    -I think we managed to pissed her very badly. – said Aiv. – To use it against the poor Ren…

    -Hey, let’s stop talking like she is dead, you know… That thing don’t even hurt in restriction mode…

    -Yeah, unlike some “Volta” castings…

    Art just screaked with his teeth, focusing again on the ongoing scene…


    And really, that was it. Nothing more happened…

    It just simply blinked brightly like a dying bulb and after it Ren fall on her four, shivering and breathing heavily, more from the fright and the shock, than from the weariness.

    -I-I’m really starting t-to hate m-magic… - despite all, her voice was surprisingly uniform and composed.

    But there was no time for distractions…

    Because Art’s sister was getting up, with her scepter still in hand...

    Sophie concentrated. The energy began to pour into her. She was ready to use all of it just to eliminate her…

    “Dodge this, you little demon…”

    Her little cousin focused her with her gaze.

    “Corruptus” – she chanted in her mind.

    The little girl’s eyes widened madly.

    Sophie disappeared in a flash of light.

    The energy reverberated their bodies. The wind made their eyes narrow. The gust whirled up all the dust and leaves around.

    The whole world trembled with anger.

    The little girl’s body shivered…

    And in the next moment just jumped in the air, as if something kicked her up, freezing in a position with her torso looking at the sky, like some surreal martyrdom paintwork from the past…

    Then… only he and Aiv knew what really happened. Even for them was not possible to see it…

    The series of violent blinks and flashes stirred up additionaly their already irritated eyes. A mighty cannonry exploded in one raucous outcry, merging the tremble of booming slashes, thrusts, smashes and gunshots to a one indistinguishable clamor, making them wonder whether they didn’t land on a fierce, bloody battlefield. It stimulated their bodies so much, their feelings and spirits reached suddenly such a high peak, that their soul began burning again in a desire to stand up, fight and kill...

    It was just… Something mad.

    And all of it happened just in a blink of the eye. Less than a puny second…

    They saw just how his little sister’s body convulsed several times in that period and then just fall on the ground, rolling a few times to the side.

    Sophie materialized next to her.

    And Raon was looking with her widened eyes in disbelief.


    The Mexian anti-chevallieur spiked her in the back so vilely, that lifted her a headful in the air, as if she was as light as a feather… Her arms and legs relaxed down…

    The Morkor brigade Imperial mage shocked her with a spell, making all her body tremble violently, buzzing with energy all the space around…

    The Baron of Maxior smashed its pole morningstar straight on her face… Her head tilted back, as if it was gonna rip from the neck.

    The Morkor Voltigeur shot her in the chest with his heavy musket from up above… She convulsed in a single throe…

    The Marogonian Tiraileur in an powerful overhead attack slammed its longaxe straight in her belly, smashing her back in the ground…

    The Odin brigade Sappeur detonated his mine below her, throwing her violently to the side, emptying its revolver onto her flying body.

    The Tehassiss Eventreur intercept her in the air, cutting her in two with its huge, two-handed anti-messer…

    And Dragoon of Corvo point-blanked her with its triple-barrel shotgun, pinning her like a nail onto the ground…

    These were all images of herself. Images with no faces, that she controlled.

    Eight… In less than a second.

    As he said, he didn’t see them.

    But he knew them. He knew the full sequence.

    Because he and Sophie both designed this spell. That was the spell, that put Sekba men down yesterday. If she was really serious about that, she was capable of eliminating the whole enemy team in just mere seconds… That easy it was going to be for her.

    But with the spell being extremely powerful and deadly, it was consuming huge energy from her body. And with her current non-perfect condition, the toll was even more heavy…


    Sophie materialized next to her little cousin…

    And immediately fall her knees, stabbing the ground with her saber to hold straight her torso…

    Blood was running from her nose. Tears down her eyes, mixing with the sweat on her cheeks.

    She was breating heavily. With all body trembling.

    Her hairband had gotten lose, with her wet strands stick on her face and hair freely falling all over her back and shoulders…

    And she was so pale, as if there was no blood left in her body…

    Just a mere image of all her glory.

    -This is insane… - mumbled Raon. – I don’t know what just happened, but… I felt it. All this power…

    -This is her speciality, Prez. – began Art. – Falkland is a huge country, the biggest one in Inden, with a total area of little over 4 500 000 square kilometers and 38 administrative regions. Each with its distinct character, nature and culture. And she bound all of their spirits in this unique spell through her images. It’s like you are the nail and the hammer, pinning you down is the whole might of our country… It’s just really terrifying spell. – his voice turn soft towards the end.

    Before them, Reina took her guard, pointing the naginata straight at Sophie’s face. His cousin just looked up upon her, with a face, almost filled with a pure loathe.

    -You should have finished me while still having a chance. – she said with a uniform voice.

    -I’m not that stupid. Get up. – the Vice Prez replied calmly and composed.

    Sophie just exhaled heavily.

    And put out of her leather poach on the waist one potion flask, filled with azure liquid…

    Then hastily removed the seal, sipping it down in one gulp.

    Her breating became even more hard… But deep and uniform.

    Her tears stop running down. Her eyes – focused madly on her, with the flame in them burning as bright as never before.

    Her blood stopped running down her nose, her sweat cooled down and disappeared.

    Her shaking stopped.

    Sophie got up, taking a stance, pointing her saber straight at Reina’s face.

    -She should have really finished her while she can… - mumbled Art.

    -Don’t be so sure, bro. – replied to him Aiv aridly.

    He looked her. Then he looked at Raon.

    She was just smirking…

    “Don’t tell me she!...”

    Art hastily turned towards the two girls just at the moment, when Sophie disappeared in a ball of light…

    Teleporting right behind Reina, with the saber swinging towards her nape…

    The Vice Prez body’s flashed. Just like Sophie’s a moment ago…

    She just… disappeared.

    His cousin just froze in place. Even his jaw dropped down, completely stupefied.

    But why were they so much surprised? Considering what they were…

    Avys just laughed out loud.

    -I fucking told you…

    Reina took it back at Sophie, materializing straight behind her…

    The naginata dashed…

    -Sora! – she raised her hand, turning back.

    The shield erupted from her, quickly stabilizing in a solid, impenetrable barrier…

    Reina’s talisman flashed in the colors of the setting sun, the paper o-fuda she picked from her stack bursted in furious flames, with the ambers quickly blown out by the light gust.

    -Innmas!

    The shield cracked open like a broken mirror…

    … and the naginata slashed her straight through the chest.

    Sophie didn’t even manage to react.

    Because her eyes already lost focus.

    The blood ran down her nose once again.

    Her saber clang on the ground.

    She dropped down on her knees, falling back…

    And passed out.


    -She lost. I can’t believe, she lost… - whispered Avys next to him. As if she sounded almost bitter. – The Vice Prez is really scary...

    Art looked at Reina and Sophie somewhat tired.

    -So she is the person. She is the person, that you learnt all these things about the magic, right, Prez. That bugged me off entirely since our duel.

    Raon just smiled mystically.

    -I bet, it did. She is really the best magician I know, Art.

    He looked her gently, also smiling.

    He always knew… No, he always felt, that there was something mystical about the Vice prez. Ever since the first day she met her. That gaze of her, that radiance, the hidden, almost unnoticeable confidence, the whole ambience around her. The magicians… they had always sensed each other, attracted to one another. That was as long as the magic existed in this world. Even if there was no real sign of their true nature.

    -She really manages to conceal herself very well. – said Aiv, as if in sync with his thoughts. – Even I had doubts to the last moment. – she heavily stood up. C’mon, big bro. Get up and help me treat that big, stupid moron…


    Reina looked down on Sophie’s body.

    -I hate you… - she mumbled. – I hate you for forcing me to use these. I’m not forgiving you. – her face turned so distorted, that she wanted to just spit on her.

    She put her hand over the talisman with the naginata tip touching the ground.

    “Such a hassle…”

    -RENA!!! – Nym’s voice echoed around, as if coming from all directions. – THEY HAVE BROKEN THROUGH THE EAST GATE! DEFEND!

    She just took one last glance at Sophie and rushed out of the Castle garden.

    At the entrance, she stopped, looking around with her wary eyes.

    -Who and were?!

    In response, a bow string clanged and the long arrow sunk onto one bush at the other side of the yard.

    -Moka and Aru. I’ll pin them down, you close the distance. Hurry, I’m getting out of arrows… - her voice flew somewhere from the right.

    She took a glance.

    But it turned onto a few seconds intense staring just to manage to focus her…

    “That’s just ridiculous…”

    Nym was standing on top of the one stone pots, next to the small birch tree and the garden wall.

    In her leaves and branches, ghillie suit, she was just like some bush sculpture.

    “Well, I guess I can’t complain, since she is always rampaging the enemy teams…”

    -Got you! Watch my back, Nym! – Reina firmly got her naginata in two hands and rushed forwards.

    She felt how the bigger sister presence moved behind her, constantly changing her position to provide an optimal cover.

    They still had a chance. The most dangerous players of the enemy team were just eliminated. Just only…

    “Where is she?!...”

    The nodachi suddenly whizzed before her, striking her in the chest and the helmet. She didn’t even had a chance to react…

    Reina hastily twisted her naginata, blocking the consequitive strike and safely pulling back out of her range…

    But Ayuri didn’t let her have rest and quickly followed with her pressing strikes, forcing Reina to continue retreating…

    One would wonder that the School Vice Prez with her naginata would quickly take the upper hand and easily overwhelm her, but that was simply not the case. From the side it looked like Ayuri was giving her trouble like no one before, making her tremble in her boots. It was not that she was particularly fast or whatever… It was just her… technique.

    Her strikes were heavy and powerful, as if with each landed hit, she was staggering Reina out of balance. Precise and accurate, as if just hitting her in her most weakspot at the time everytime. They weren’t particularly fast, yes… But were fluid and consequential, not leaving a bit of opening for counterattack.

    That was why she was so dangerous. Because of her consistenty…

    But both girls knew each other pretty well. They knew each other weaknesses. Each one strong points. How to react with all that knowledge, how to turn the tide in your favor.

    And Reina was Reina. She was just someone with whom you just don’t mess up. That was it.

    In the end, it was all coming down to the fact how you manage to deceive your opponent.

    Reina was always striving to move the direction of the fight sideways and get her in the line of sight of Nym, but Ayuri simply wasn’t allowing this at all, using her fluid technique to skillfully cut her retreat to either side. The help of their archer for her total overwhelming was not an option.

    -DAMN IT!!!... – their heard how her voice echoed all over the garden.

    Ayuri just smiled smugly, as her new strike landed heavily on Reina’s pauldron. In return, the School Vice Prez managed to counterstrike her in the shoulder, but the blonde girl was fast enough to close her armpit and armor took all the brunt of the hit. Reina stroke again, but Ayuri twisted her nodachi, deflecting the naginata with her armored gloves and the sword’s handle.

    And nimbly jumped to her side, mutating her attack in a horizontal slash, forcing Reina to adopt appropriate counteraction.

    Something seemed off. It wasn’t right. As if… the amount of light just dropped.

    The School Vice Prez retreated once more back, when she hit something from behind.

    It was mild and sink in, rustling just like leaves.

    Once quickly glance was enough to realize it. That Ayuri had her pushed behind one of the big bushed walls.

    Completely out of Nym’s reach and vision.

    -It completely you versus me now, Rena. – her melodic timbre exclaimed, as grabbed her nodachi in half-swording.


    -Damn it! – sweared Nym once again, as she lowered down her bow.

    They got completely out of sight.

    Got off the bush wall, jumping back on the ground and ran through the maze to their position.

    There was no time for discretion or precaution.

    While through the garden, she agily undo the ties of her ghillie suit, which fell behind her. There was no more need for it now…

    Quick as a tiger and keeping a low profile as much as it was possible, she reached the bush wall, where the two girls were last seen again…

    Beyond the corner…

    There was no one.

    No trace of Reina.

    No trace of Ayuri.

    -Damn you, were are you. – she mumbled right under her nose, looking around, fidgeting left and right.

    It was so quiet. No sound of a battle, coming around…

    She moved. Quickly and even more carelessly than before.

    After reaching beyond the corner, she froze.

    There was no trace of Reina…

    Just the murky, demonic eyes, that pierced her soul.

    Ayuri was standing just meters before her, leaning her nodachi on the shoulder, and her pose was so menacing, that send shivers down her spine.

    And with one swift movement, she threw something in her legs.

    Nym looked down hesitantly, as if freightened what she was going to see.

    It was Reina’s helmet.

    She trembled. Her fists clenched tightly the bow in one hand and the arrows, she had prepared in the other.

    -You are next. – she slyly smiled, pointing the nodachi straight at her.

    -You are a bitch…

    Before she even manage to finish, Ayuri rushed her like a mad beast.

    But Nym didn’t falter, didn’t hold back. Just a wide smiled poped on her face.

    -Just… kidding.

    And in the next moment, she took Ayuri’s blade with her bow, entangling it on the string with the help of her hand vambraces, kicking her so hard in the torso, that the petite girl just flew back, dropping her weapon in place.

    Nym quickly got rid of the nodachi and drew her bow, about to point blank her, but the Club Vice Prez had just enough time to overcome the shock and got her ground, quickly rolled to the side, hiding behind the stone pot…

    The arrow richocheted from the edge, disappearing somewhere behind…

    -Don’t you like just how quickly the tide can turn sometimes, Vice? I love it. – Nym put a new arrow on the bow.

    She heard how the bush rustled, when Ayuri moved, trying to get to a new position.

    She draw and instantly shot!

    The arrow bounced from Ayuri’s helmet, who ducked even more…

    -Why’s the running and hiding, Vice? Feeling troubled?

    Another arrow on the ready.

    -C’mon, Yu, I’m with a bow in a very close quarters! You should easily overwhelm me, if come!

    But Ayuri didn’t bite at all. Ever more, she covered so well, that for the next some time, Nym didn’t see her at all, despite keeping her eyes even more peeled…

    Until…

    Something clang behind her…

    „Pha, what a dummie…”

    Nym didn’t bite at all too, with all her attention remaining focused in front of her…

    Then something rustled a bit to her side and when she turned, saw how Ayuri just popped from behind one of the bushes, dashing at her like a venomous snake…

    -Got you. – the heinous smile shone on Nym’s face, as she agily raised and draw her bow…

    -No, that’s me…

    Ayuri slashed lightingly fast with her wakizashi and beat the arrow off her bow, seemingly taking her by a surprise. But Nym was obviously expecting something similar and wasn’t phased off, keeping her cool and already responding to her opponent’s action…

    -That won’t work on me second time! – Ayuri exclaimed while Nym tried once again to entangle her weapon onto the bow.

    -Never wanted to. – she just let go of it, stepping back to avoid the strike of her opponent much shorter weapon now and using the time Ayuri needed to put the bow aside, Nym got onto a combat stance.

    Drawing her orcish cleaver.

    -C’mon, now we are on equal grounds, Yu.

    As if the Club Vice Prez just froze for a second, her eyes focused on the dark-greyish sword.

    Sword?

    No, it was more just like a very big, military knife, recently gotten from a CNC-mill…

    -Isn’t that… a bit anachronistic? – Ayuri tilted head a bit.

    Nym smile just distorted onto a grotesque grimace, as she charged forwards like a mad beast.

    And it hit Ayuri with such blast and tremor, as if she had hatred within, cumulated for centuries.

    -It’s twelve century design. It’s OK. – she pressed on, making the Club Vice Prez give her ground.

    If Ayuri attacks were precise and powerful, fluid and following, these of Nym were just brutal. Smashing and violent, her purpose was not to overwhelm her opponent with skill and tactics, but to crush it by sheer force.

    If Ayuri was a elegant and calculating fighter, using her abilites to her upmost advantage, Nym was just trying to pin her in the ground like a hammer was pinning a nail.

    She was just the kind of person, who would laught maniacally, while smashing her opponent’s face to a bloody pulp…

    Ayuri was starting to puff more and more…

    -What is it, Yu? Feeling heavy? – Nym smirked.

    -Just shut up and fight.

    The Club Vice Prez tried to cut her on the belly, under the armor, but Nym deflected with such powerful blow, that it made her stagger.

    -You need to get a boyfriend, Yu. To help you build up more stamina. You know, your sister is gonna widen the gap soon…

    Ayuri just looked her with stony face, wiping the sweat from her cheek. And took combat stance. But Nym just continued to slackly babble.

    -Which is soo unfair to you, just imagine. Considering your small frame and the lack of load in front to additionally slow you down…

    Ayuri stepped to the side. Her face didn’t even tremble.

    Nym mirrored her move to keep her in front.

    -Damn, you are such a heartless bitch… - she sighed.

    -Go suck dwarf cock…

    The both girls charged against each other almost simultaneously. Ayuri slashed and Nym blocked, then vice versa and they entered a messy clash of hits, entanglements and feints with seemingly no one having an obvious advantage. But Nym felt it. She clearly felt it. How Ayuri’s hits became emotional. And sloppy. The more and more she dragged this out…

    That was the biggest advantage she had over her. It was imposible to overcome her fluidness and defenses in her prime condition. But after an hour game of constant fighting and running, and a little bit of shittalk…

    The smirk on Nym’s face widened.

    -So you were phased, after all…

    Ayuri hit her in the helmet. But too carelessly and open, with Nym instantly stabbing her in the forearm in return.

    The Club Vice Prez let go of her wakizashi with one hand and swung her jab straight at her face.

    Nym grabbed it just centimeter from it.

    -Got you. – her evil smiled widened once again.

    Yeah, the more and more she was dragging this, more the tide turns onto her favor.

    But…

    -YUUUUUUUU!!!

    Both girls quickly glanced at the direction of the voice just to see how Moka was rushing towards them….

    “Yeah, this is it…”

    She could finish her this instant. But she was just a bitch, so she twisted Ayuri’s hand, controlling her whole upper body and with a powerful kick, get the wakizashi off her grip…

    And grabbed her for the neck, putting the orchish cleaver right below her chin.

    Ayuri tried to jab her, but Nym was just stronger than her and overwhelm her with brute force, putting her on her knees, blocking both her hands and legs.

    -NOT EVEN A STEP MORE, OR I’LL CUT HER THROAT! – she yelled.

    Moka froze in place, looking her with widened eyes.

    -PUT DOWN YOUR WEAPON AND THROW IT OVER THAT BUSH THERE!!! – she nodded with her head.

    -Wha, n… - began Ayuri, but Nym quickly covered her mouth and only muffled sounds came out.

    -RIGHT, RIGHT! JUST LEAVE HER! – Moka promply complied and threw her katana before her, rising her hands in the air.

    Ayuri’s eyes widened, as there was no other way for her to react.

    -What a dumbass… - Nym slyly smiled…

    And cut her throat.

    -Whaaa, but y-yo… - Moka was utterly shocked.

    -SERIOUSLY, JUST HOW NAÏVE YOU ARE?! – Nym pushed Ayuri to the side and rushed towards the defensless girl.

    In the first moment, Moka instinctively backed up, putting even more distance between herself and her sword, before it hit her she needed to rush forwards…

    But too late.

    There was just no way for her to recover it in time…

    Nym slashed with all her heavy fury at Moka, who panically raised her arms before her, miraculously blocking it with the gauntlets and the side of her helmet. The elder sister quickly mutated it and turned it onto a stab, accelerating it straight towards the girl’s face, when something deflected her blade so hard, that she almost dropped it.

    -Wha…

    Nym didn’t even manage to fully turn her head, when Arufa crushed onto her like a truck, with both of the girls falling on the ground onto a tangly mess. With the surprise on the latter side, she was the first of both girls to afterreact, quickly getting onto an action against the elder sister…

    -Don’t forget about me! – still on the ground and not completely stable, Arufa slashed furiously at her head.

    Nym barely managed to block it with haste just before her face, violently deflecting it to the side.

    The hit displaced the katana, but Arufa, with a skillful move pivoted it, returning the blade again before her, setting for a new slash…

    Nym stabbed her in the shoulder and grabbed her arm, completely blocking it, followed by such surprised expression on Arufa’s face, as if she froze for a second. As if she totally not expected it…

    The elder sister then kicked her in the knee, making the girl stagger down and started twisting her hand, until she dropped her weapon and pulled her towards her…

    Putting all her vital weakspots into the range of the orcish cleaver…

    Moka kicked her in the hand with her iron boot so hard, that Nym instantly dropped the weapon. All her hand turned numb in a instant, losing all sensitivity, with thousands needles piercing her nerves.

    The elder sister snorned and clenched her teeth, letting go of Arufa just in time, when Moka punched at her face. But Nym managed to block it with ease and using Moka’s inertia, she grabbed her and threw her overshoulder, straight down on Arufa’s head and torso.

    In a hard slam of bodies, both girls snorted and exhaled heavily, cursing and swearing dirtly, starting moving one over another in no order…

    -So weak and pathe…

    A sudden feet erupted from the entanglement of bodies, hitting Nym in the face so hard, that not only made her swallow her words, but almost and her tongue, forcing her on her back…

    -Who is weak and pathetic now…

    Her gaze was still distorted and defocused, when Arufa jumped over her with a tanto in the hand and Nym reacted more instinctively, than consciously.

    The girl slammed down, with the elder sister managing to turn her head just enough, so the blade only scratched her cheek…

    -JUST DIE ALREADY!!! – Arufa’s face distorted so devishly as she raised her hand for another strike.

    Nym grabbed it for the blade and with a powerful twist snapped it so easily, as if it was made out of cheap plastic…

    -Wha… - Arufa eyes goggled.

    She couldn’t say much more, as the elder sister swung the blade at her face.

    Arufa deflected it in the nick of time, wrapping her hand around that of Nym’s and locking her under her armpit…

    Then punched her in the face…

    In response, Nym punched her in the temple so hard, that Arufa almost blacked out.

    Pushing her over the side and snorting irritated, the elder sister clumslily got up, shaking her head a bit…

    -You damn bitches, stop hitting me in the face, please… - she spat next to Arufa and was about to really kick her in the guts, when her periphery caught Moka, who was shakely getting up… - You are so annoying, I just want to go and sleep already… - she said lowly.

    Moka looked her sternly straight in the eyes…

    And took a boxing stance.

    -I won’t back up, just because you are stronger, Kinohina senpai. I’ll fight you, despite all the odds…

    Nym saw how her lips moved in a twitching manner. Her soles moved uneasy on the grass.

    As if she was whispering something to herself, to give her courge to stand her ground…

    As if the main fight was with herself.

    Was she trembling?

    Blinking more than usual, but not because to remove the sweat from her eyelids and eyebrows…

    She was truly terrified…

    Nym just sighed with acquiescence, moved her joints on the legs, shoulders and hands, and cracked her neck.

    And responded in a similar manner, though her stance was more grappling oriented.

    If she wanted to play this game, so be it.

    Moka was the first to rush in.

    Holding her guard up and firm, she approached confidently, but carefully, straight towards the elder sister.

    At this point Nym, withnesing the girl compose and poise, had lost all her haughtiness and arrogance, just started to take all the things seriously.

    But considering she was going versus the elder sister’s strength…

    She was not about to give up…

    Moka went in with a straight punch, too predictable and forthright, that Nym probably was able to stop it with her eyes closed.

    She blocked it with her forearm and tried to go around it, to grab it firmly and then…

    Moka kicked her in the head so hard, that Nym fell on ground.

    The leaves rustled, her eyes blackened out, she felt that her head wanted to fly somewhere else in the air…

    -W-wha… what was that… - she shook her head, desperately hoping her eyes to focus right now.

    She just wanted to threw up…

    -Get up, senpai. I’m not finished with you.

    Nym just snorted and though her vision was still unclear, she stood up, although still swaying and rocky. Her other senses were keen enough to use them to defend herself…

    Moka moved in again. Her powerful kicks first landed on Nym’s shoulder, then headed straight for the temple again, by Nym managed to block it with her forearm, but she felt as if her bones snapped, so she ducked the third one and jumped back out of range.

    -Oi, oi, oi, what’s with these kicks, girl. Where did you learn it?

    Moka face just sterned even more. Her eyes – deep and firm, as if were piercing directly one’s soul.

    Nym lips suddenly turned into a slight smirk.

    -Who would guess, that you’ll came out to be such a long shot…

    -Don’t you forget something, senpai.

    The rustling to the side made the elder sister look at her periphery.

    There, Arufa, puffing and snorting, slowly raised on her four, then, as if something draw all her life force, as heavily on her knees, holding with a palm for the head…

    -Dafaq was that… Both still alive?... How long did I sleep… - she was speeking lowly, as if her lips were heavy stones, costing enormous effort to be moved…

    -Get a hold of yourself, Ru. Get up and let’s fuck up this bitch… - grunted Moka.

    -Oi, oi, that’s not a very nice way to talk to your sen…

    Moka just kicked before Nym manage to finished, forcing her to hastily raise her hands in a block.

    To the side, Arufa, still swaying, somehow managed to get up, shook her head a bit and rush.

    Moka attacked her from the one side, Aru – from the other, quickly putting Nym onto the defensive, forcing her to start backing up. Nym was trying to rotate the fight – to move the side to, to put them in one line, to made them bunch up and it was almost working, since Aru was still on the slow side, shaken from the elder sister’s hit, but soon, when the adrenaline stored up, she quickly came onto her full senses.

    Their main goal was simple – just not to let Nym grapple any of them. If that happened, they could consider everything over – she was capable to crush them to death, if she wanted. That’s why this job mainly fall on Moka’s shoulders – she was pouring the elder sister with powerful non-stop kicks, making her be almost entirely on defensive and when Nym tried to move in her hands for grapple – she kicked them too.

    Soon, she completely refrained of doing that – probably because the pain was becoming unbearable and started to only defend…

    Although her shoulders and legs were not gonna hold foverev too…

    Aru was joining from time to time, mostly trying to distract her, to create opening for Moka to land her kicks, but was too catious to go full in. She was aware that if Nym manage to grab her it was all over.

    But…

    It was not long when Moka started to puff like a steam engine.

    “Jeez, girls, this is all you get for not having a boyfriends…” – darkly though Nym.

    Her kicks where becoming slow, weak and unprecise little by little, while in the meanwhile easing the pressure on Nym, who started to recover.

    She was not going to be able to continue for much longer.

    She didn’t manage to reach Nym’s pain threshold and break her down…

    In the final ounces of her strenght, Moka exhaled, stabilizing her body and raised for a kick towards the elder sister head.

    “Too slow!”…

    Nym, dodging at the same time Arufa’s punch, sunk below and rushed forwards…

    Interupting the girl’s movement, grabbing her for the waist and forcing her down on the ground…

    -Whaa…

    -MOKAAA!!! – Arufa quickly jumped after them…

    Nym just smiled slyly.

    Quickly letting go of Moka, she twisted back, grabbing Arufa for the throat and kicking behind her knees, she pushed her down over the other girls, effectively locking them both…

    By now, Nym eyes were setting ablaze. A victory smirk shone on her lips.

    -It seems the game is ours, girls. How much I need to hold each of you to count as death? 30 seconds? 40?

    Arufa grabbed Nym’s forearm and cut her nails onto the skin so hard, that some of them cracked, but the elder sister didn’t even flinch. It seems Moka had dulled her pain sensation too much…

    Left with no other choice, she let go with one hand of Nym’s clutch and tried to reach at her back…


    Nym instanteniously grabbed it with her free hand, locking her in place.

    -What you’ve got there, Aru?

    Then started twisting it out slowly, despite Arufa putting all her strength into resisting it. She was just no match for her power.

    It was another knife, this time a indean-style dagger.

    -Well, well, that’s not very honorable of you, girl. You shouldn’t use such dirty tricks…

    -You are the one to talk. – snorted below them Moka.

    The girl started more and more to wiggle, trying to move herself from below the two bodies.

    Nym just look her with her arid gaze.

    And then started twisting Arufa’s hand with the dagger straight towards the Moka face…

    -Wha, no!...

    She quickly grabbed it with her free hand, since the other one was blocked over Arufa’s body and tried to lever it with the ground.

    Nym leaned over with all her bodyweight. Moka’s hand quickly started to tremble and the blade steadily to approach her face…

    Arufa began to twist more and more, trying to kick Nym in the guts, but she just had her legs blocked too well, restricting any movement…

    -Just don’t struggle anymore. You’ll die tired. – for some reason in that moment her voice sounded just like Ayuri’s – too uniform and melodic for their ears.

    Moka’s eyes suddenly turned devilish, ready to set ablaze everything, as she screeched with her teeth.

    -I’m sorry, senpai…

    And she let go of Nym’s hand, which took even her by surprise…

    -Whaa…

    She twisted her head and the dagger sliced her cheek, while her free hand now she shoved into the grass, digging deep into the soil with all her remaining strength…

    Throwing the dirt straight at Nym’s head.

    The elder sister raised such a howl, as if they cast live embers at her face and jumping back like a hare, fell on her butt…

    Arufa immediately rushed in with the dagger in her hand, decided to definitely finish this, with the golden opportunity Moka created.

    Overhanging above her, she trusted straight at the elder sister’s face in one swift, fatal bl…

    Nym punched her in the face and using her concussion, grabbed her for the dagger hand…

    -Wha… - Arufa’s eyes widened with a reflection of the last thoughts passing over her mind right before the inevitable end…

    …and twisted it, stabbing her right through the cheek.

    She fell on the ground and suddenly find herself below Nym’s, with her body finally relaxing instinctively even before her mind fully grasped these sudden turn of events…

    Nym got on her knees over her, rubbing eyes and face, swearing like mad, trying to get the dirt off and her vision back…

    But just what Arufa did was absolutely not in vain…

    Because in that second, Moka plunged on Nym’s back like a truck…

    Crushing her into the ground face on…

    And locking arms around the elder sister neck…

    The sudden reality check slapped her in the cheek with an iron glove, as she momentarily realized the deep shit she is into… Nym immediately began to resist, letting all the remaining dust get into her eyes, nostrils and mouth, and snorting and cursing, put all her efforts into breaking the lock…

    But it was already too late.

    Moka’s grip was firm, there was no place to get under it and with one swift move, the girl push the elder sister onto the ground, shoving her face in the grass.

    -WHAT WAS IT, SENPAI?! I JUST NEED TO HOLD YOU LIKE THAT FOR 30 SECONDS??? 40?!

    Nym tried to move left and right, and shake her off, but the girl was just ready to die, than let her go. These was no more about strength, technique or overwhelming power.

    It was all about resolve.

    Her hand touch something. Something in the ground before her. Too familiar and… still warm.

    Nym just sighed. And took a deep breath.

    -Alright, Mo, you can let go of me now. I can’t shake you off.

    Even through her back, she felt how Moka looked her with a sincere surprise and widely open eyes. Her lock relaxed just a little bit.

    “Well, after all, I guess I’m just one real bitch…”

    -That’s right. You won. I surrender.

    The girl hold her for several more seconds, then let go of her, cautiously stepping back. Not letting her off her eyes for even a moment.

    But Nym just turned and laid on her back on the garden’s grass. And a deep sigh of relief exited her mouth. She was ready to fell asleep any moment now.

    Moka was still looking her amazed.

    -R-really? I-i-i… won. – then it suddenly hit her. – OMG, I WON, I BEAT HER! I WON, WE WON, ARU, WE WON. – and she started to screech and jump around like a little girls, so much, that Nym really wanted to just get up and punch her in the face.

    But instead, just smiled and closed her eyes. She did her part. She deserved her rest.

    To the side, Moka jumped on Aru’s neck, stumbling her back on the ground, hugging her as tightly as possible.

    -WE WON, ARU! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT, WE WON!

    -Yeah, yeah, you devil, we did it. You did it. – she replied, more annoyed, that happy.

    Moka just rubbed her cheek on hers, hugging her more tightly.

    -C’mon. Let’s get up and claim the princess. This game continued too long, even for my taste.


    Akio was sitting on the castle stairs, next to the game princess.

    And her face was stared onto the ground, with grimace so mopish and subdued, that it was probably capable to infect all the persons in a 500-meters radius.

    She looked pretty badly beaten, with mud and grass all over her armor and her face, with some of her cloths even tattered.

    Her hands and legs were tied with thick ropes.

    Was she… sobbing?

    No, she just sniveled several times, as if she was getting cold.

    Damn, what if she catches cold right now?!

    Moka and Arufa quickened their steps.

    Upon seeing them, Krul got up, opening her arms at them.

    -I was awaiting for you, my heroes. – she began with a poetic voice. – From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for my rescue. – she bowed deeply.

    Moka moved legs and arms, hurrying even more.

    -Welcome to the “Club Garden Palace!” – Krul half-turned to the shiro, making hand gestures, as if it was a new product, she was presenting.

    Moka was just too exited to stay steadily in her feet.

    -So, we won… - suddenly began Akio with a low voice, that attracted all their attention to her. - I’m glad… I’m glad you managed it… Despite all my uselessness… Damn, I’ll go in the history of our school as the worst captain ever… They managed to capture me, to capture me, that was unheard of up until now… - she sobbed again.

    No, it wasn’t because of the cold now…

    Moka kneed down to her, starting to untie her.

    -You did great, team leader. Because of that you managed to hold them long enough, we were able to outmaneuver them and turn the tides. It was because of your efforts, captain. After all, we managed to outlive them all, right? – a charming smile shone on her face.

    -What are you talking about, Mo… They’ve killed me just when I got here… - she pulled her scarf down a bit, showing her azure mark on the throat.

    -WHAT?!

    Moka suddenly froze.

    It was when she backed away and hastily stood up, Vicktriss stabbed her in the back.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2021
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  15. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    So, here there are some of Sophie's army clones. Left to Right:
    Morkor Brigade Imperial Mage, Morkor Voltigeur, Marogonian Tiraileur (yes, she is a fox-girl) and Odin Brigade Sappeur.
    I'll color them and also draw the other 4 (and not only).

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Sooo, about the next chapter, i'm wondering... I would like something mysterious to happen, but still don't have quite a clear idea though...
    (There will be some Sophie x Hion action though, hehe)

    With a big, enthusiastic howl, the little princess slammed down her crown and whooshed towards the garden as fast as her legs were holding.

    -WE WOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNN!!! KRUL, AIV, WE WOOOOOOOOONNNN… - her voice echoed all over the place, as she slipped off her shoulders the jinihitoe somewhere in the meanwhile, releasing that burden of extra weight, leaving only the amazed, disbelieving gazes piercing her back.

    Moka’s chin was about to touch ground.

    She stayed there stupefied, paralyzed, not moving for maybe a few minutes, with the knife still sticking from her back, blinking slowly with her goggled eyes.

    Then, after some of the shock passed away, she slowly turned towards Akio, who looked even more depressed.

    -W-w-what j-j-just h-h-happen-n-ned-d… - she stuttered…

    Akio just sighed deeply.

    -They’ve tricked us. Art’s little sisters… They’ve swapped right before the game…

    Moka looked her with her mouth open.

    -W-which means… That was… the one who was s-supposed to be o-on their t-team?

    Akio noded.

    -She is the last surviving member. We’ve lost…

    Moka’s chin hit the ground.


    Florin just screaked with her teeth.

    -These little devils! I swear, when they come to age, I’ll personally… - began Frou, clenching his fists.

    Niei smacked him in the nape.

    -Oi, watch your tongue, mate. You’ll end up in some place with guys twice older than you, wanting to do you the same…

    He just looked her fiercely, snorted and turned back.







    -YOU FUCKING CHEATERS!#!%$#! – with a sudden thunder, that echoed all over the place, she landed her fists on the table so hard, that one chunk of it snapped, with most of Hifumi’s cameras and accessories flipping and jumping over.

    -Heeeeey, these cost money!!! – her little sister rushed after them, trying to hold them in every way possible.

    Ayuri just sighed deeply, with a touch of acquiescence in herself.

    And Krul hid behind him.

    -Ho-ho-ho, what we have here, a sore loser… - smugged Vicktriss, waving hand before her face.

    -I’LL FUCKING MURDER YOU!#!!$&!!!. . .

    Tsuikihi wrapped her arms around her sister’s hips before she makes any more steps, and more importantly – really dies…

    -Oh, yes, yes, come into my range. I’m eager to zap you to death. – his little sister just continued to wave her hand hand non-chalantly, raising her chin proudly. – Now that my restriction bracelet is off, I can raise the power to a degree you’ll actually like it …

    -YOU!!! – Rio just clenched her fists even more, trying once again to rush at her, but Iki hold her firmly in place, by lodging her feet onto the ground.

    -Sis, please!...

    -W-we didn’t d… - began Krul with a trembling voice…

    -DROP DEATH, BITCH. COMMIT SEPUKU RIGHT NOW!!!&%!@!!!!...

    Krul shivered and disappeared behind him, hugging him tightly.

    Art just sighed. He was just too tired for this shit anymore.

    Sophie, whose head was laying on his lap, moved stiffly.

    -What’s with this noise… Am I in hell… - she turned and looked him with dizzy eyes.

    She was as pale as a ghost…

    -OY, HEY, SOPH! SOPH! HURRY UP WITH YOUR WAKING AND SUMMON ME ONE OF YOUR REVOLVERS! SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE SHOOT!

    First, Sophie looked her confused, then and him.

    -Oh, I see. – she looked and at Vick and Krul behind him. – So they succeded…

    Rio’s eyes widened.

    -WHAT?! YOU KNEW?!?!?!

    -Yes? – Sophie’s eyes narrowed instead.

    -YOU TRAITOROUS BITCH, I’LL KILL YOU!!!

    -STOP IT, SIS!!! – Iki was barely managing to hold her in place now.

    Sophie just looked her with the gaze of a person, who quickly lost interest and looked straight up, at Art.

    -HEY, DON’T DARE TO IGNORE ME, I’LL BURN YOU ON A STAKE!!!

    -So, what happened after? – she asked.

    -Well, basically Ayuri killed Reina. Then Nym killed Ayuri. Arufa tried to get her, but she got killed too... But that distracted her and Moka managed to grab her and choke her to death. And after she got onto the castle, Vick stabbed her in the back, while pretending to be the princess…

    Sophie looked at them consequently. Reina, with the azure mark on her face and neck. Ayuri with hers on the throat. That of Arufa’s, mixed with the blood on her chafed face, which doctor Noel was now treating. Nym, that looked beaten all over the place. And Moka, which knife was still sticking from her back, stucked between the cloths and the laminate armor, sitting on the ground, in a grieving, depressing mood.

    Sophie, despite how weak and worn she was, laughed out loud.

    -WHAT’S SO FUNNY, BITCH?! WANT ME TO MURDER YOU!? AND YOU, ART?! DID YOU KNEW TOO?!

    -Of course I knew. I can recognize them with my eyes closed – just from their breathing…

    -DAMN YOU, I’LL LEAVE THEM RAPE YOU THE NEXT TIME!!! THAT WAS FUCKING CHEATING! I WANT REMATCH!!! I WAAAANT REEMAAAATCH!!! – she continued to fury around, wiggling and squirming, just like some little kid, who got refused a new toy from the shop…

    It was Reina’s turn now to sigh.

    -Just from the beginning we agreed, that the attacking team’s goal is to capture the shiro and the princess, not to rescue her. Which prompts the princess to be on our side… So what’s the fuss…

    -FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!...

    Ayuri couldn’t handle her tantrums anymore and bitch slapped her so hard, that knocked her on her butt.

    Doctor Noel just puffed.

    -Heeey, stop creating me more job. You’ve overdone yourselves pretty spectacularly already, no striving to achieve more, please… - she said tiredly, more annoyed, than concerned.

    -B-b-b…

    -Who even careeesss… - interrupted her Arufa, also quite annoyed. – I had fun. And I bet all of us had fun. That’s all that matter in the end…

    Rio just started to sob and sniffle.

    -Nice image for a game you have, you empty-headed brats … - aridly snorted Noel.

    -He-he, I guess we sometimes take stuff too seriously, Doc.

    She clenched Arufa’s cheeks so firmly, that instantly blocked her desire to continue to talk.

    -Stop moving, or I’ll sew your mouth.

    -Hai. – she muttered lowly.

    -Don’t worry, doc. – Sophie raised from his hips, moving to get up… - I’ll help you with the healing, no need to take all the burned on yourse…

    She curled and threw up in the grass. Staggering down, Art grabbed her, before she completely falls on her face.

    Noel just sighed, rolling her eyes annoyed, while continuing to clean Arufa’s face and head, which Nym had so diligently punched a few times.

    Krul got on her other side, helping her sit in the grass.

    -Dammit… - she puffed lowly. – I need some sugar really, really badly.

    Krul delved onto her pocket and pulled one package of blueberry candies.

    -Oh, you are such a treasure, Krul. I love you. – she got it and in one gulp took half of it.

    Art looked his sister. With her hair in a curly, wavy ponytail and with Vick’s clothes and hair accessories, she looked indistinguishable from her. No way for a unfamiliar person to tell the difference between the two. And of course – they were twins after all.

    Art looked around. At Moka. At Akio. At Nym, Ayuri, Rio and Reina. At his sisters and his cousins. All of them had the visible marks of their demise. Some of them had it pretty rough, some of them had it pretty mild. Some of them had their armor scratched and clothes tattered, bruised hands and faces, some of them looked like they never had a game. But in the end, it looked like all of them really took the game to the heart and give onto it all they had.

    Listening to their talking now, their gestures, laugh and the smiles on their faces, it looked like they all had a really big fun time.

    Like they had back in Falkland.

    Art sighed quietly.

    Suddenly, a shadow overhand above him. When he looked up, Avys kneeled next to him.

    -You were pretty badly beaten. C’mon, I’ll help you to get it off. You’ll feel relieved.

    Art just looked her. Her bloody face and hair, her wet clotes and the marks around her neck.

    “Damn, I overdid it quite a lot, too.”

    He really wanted to choke her sometimes… but not so hard.

    -C’mon. – she prompt him again.

    Art complied.

    Yeah, some of the others definetily had it rough. Some of them died a deaths for a several men. Some of them got “killed” in a ways, they’ll never forget.

    But compared to the them, his armor had marks all over the place. As if he had got beaten by a whole army, harboring rage in its hearts. The slashes, the unsuccessful stabs, all the glances and the arrow bounces, the scratches and the dents for some… other hits in their garagantuan attemps to stop him.

    Today, he had showed them something, they’ve never seen before.

    How unstoppable a true medieval knight can be.

    The definition of a real human tank 800 years ago.

    And, he bet, that was going to have some really handicapping repercussions for him in their future games. Like, no full-plate armor anymore. No pollaxes. No magic…

    That was clear like the sky and the moon.

    But how could he blame them for all this. The warframe in Vhynehaim and back in Indean were like two completely different worlds, with weapons and armor serving different purposes, taking on completely different approaches. It wasn’t possible to compare them, it wasn’t for being better or worse, it just served different purposes. Like, trying to compare a panzer and a copter. One definitely was able easily to overwhelm the other, but it doesn’t meant that the other was worse or just bad. It meant they served different purposes and everyone was good at doing their specific job.

    Just like how wit was with the Indenean weapons and armor, and just how it was with Vhynhaimese weapons and armor.

    And considering that, when this nation was at peace, they were gnawing each other throats back in Inden. Their weapons evolved, to defeat the armor, their armor evolved, to protect them from the weapons, to a point where all the Vhynehaimese weapons would be rendered almost completely useless against his culture’s top gear.

    Jeez, just imagine, if he had the Amaris’s 16th century Montgisardean Unmounted Knight armor…

    The only thing, capable of dealing it any harm would be Raon’s axe… And with the thick padding, even that was going to mitigate to some degree its crushing potential…

    He would have been… Unstoppable.

    But here was he again, not in his top condition, wearing “only” his Calavry Sapphire armor, with just 3 hours of sleep, after fighting Manticores, Ghouls, Pix’ and Vorgues in underground lakes, caves and ships, with his ribs still hurting from the rubber bullet he took from the android, after a whole week of gangs holding grudges against him, with half a liter of his blood donated to a girl, he barely knew.

    “That Calavry” armor that, from all the hits he took, only two of them proved to be “fatal.”

    Not his top condition, up certainly.

    Well, he was lucky, actually. There was the possibility were he could happen to be on the other team. The possibility, he could go against Sopphie.

    Aiv helped him and in a matter of minutes, he got rid of all his metal armor, tidying it diligently on his maille-reinforced arming jacket on Hifumi’s table. But…

    -Oi, Mio, you need… - he heard Chisaki behind him.

    Upon hearing the steps, he turned.

    -Oh, Ren, ho…

    SLAP!!$!#@!

    She hit him so hard, that his head turned. Almost like it was going to fly off.

    Well, completely deserved, he guessed...

    Sophie’s eyes momentarily turned ablaze, as much as his cheek was burning.

    -Wha?! YOU BITC… - she was about to jump in and rush her, when Krul grabbed her for the waist with her tiny arms, holding her desperately.

    -Sis, no, don’t kill her! – she begged.

    -That was so fucking mean, Art. – Ren didn’t pay attention to them at all. Her eyes all teared up, with her voice going down, nearly to a sob. – I almost hate you…

    Her words… Pierced his heart like a sword.

    He felt so unconfortable looking at her, he averted his eyes. I hurt him so much, as if the lump in his throat was made of razors and knifes.

    “Damn it, I really overdid it this time…”

    He glanced at Mio.

    Her eyes… They were just blazing as Sophie’s…

    -I…I’m sorry… - he mumbled.

    -You should be on your knees, begging for forgiveness… – said Reina aridly.

    -Heeeey, what’s all the fuss about?! – meddled Vick, suddenly getting between him and Ren. – She hit him in the head. WITH A FUCKING STONE. If it wasn’t for the thick padding, you would have his head cracked open. You might just left him some permament damage! Ever worse – you might have just turned him a more retard!

    -You… - Art just grunted through his teeth. He really wanted to grab her for the neck and choke her to death…

    Ren just set her gaze in the ground, delicately rubbing palms. As if… she suddenly felt really ashamed from her actions.

    -Boy, if someone had electrocuted me, the hit in the head with a stone is the least he deserves. Even more – I would beat him to death with bare fists… - snorted Reina.

    -BUT Volta doesn’t even hurt in restriction mode! – his sister protested. – It only tickles!!! See, I’ll show you!

    And she suddenly pointed her palm at Ren…

    -Wha?!... – the girl’s eyes widened madly, as she tried to step back.

    -Y…! – Art tried to grab his sister, but…

    -VOLTA!!!

    … to late.

    The buzzing sound filled the space around the poor Ren. With her agonizing scream outvoicing everything just a second later, a howl so terrifying, that run shivers down their spines to all of them. Really, something they never wanted to experience…

    Ren just fall on her four on the ground, panting and exhaling heavily.

    -I… I’m really starting to hate magic…

    Vick just dusted off her palms, upon the stunned, terrifying gazes of all the others.

    -See? The differenc…

    -YOU FUCKING BITCH! – Mio was really about to rush her in and beat her to a pulp, when Art grabbed his sister for the shirt, shaking her off.

    -I TOLD YOU TO STOP USING IT, YOU LITTLE…

    -WHAT?! BUT IT WAS JUST A DEMONSTRATION! THIS FILLED HER WITH ADRENALINE AND MADE HER FEEL BETTER, I’M SURE!!!

    -YOU!... – he lifted her in the air, really wanting to punch her in the face…

    -NAAAH, LET GO OF ME, VOLTA!!!

    Just by the words of her chanting, all the others froze in their boots, stupefied, as if the enchantment was cast on them.

    The electric wave stiffed all his muscles, as if he turned into a stone statue for a second. He clenched his teeth so hard, that his gums started to hurt and the iron taste filled his mouth from his bit lips…

    But endured with only snorting and a lots of internal swearing…

    That was it, no time for mercy…

    His gaze turned ablaze, as he set his eyes straight on his little sister’s…

    -Wha, n!...

    -VOLTA EQUILIZE!!!

    The little girl screamed. At least several times louder than Ren did a little earlier.

    The cracking and booming of electric charges made all the people around step nervously back, as the electrons ran through their hairs and the unpleasant feeling, caressing their bare skin, run cold sweat down their backs, upsetting their throats and stomaches.

    Even if it wasn’t directed towards them… They’ve felt the tremendous power, that energized all the space around. They all shared the pain of the little sister’s.

    In the end, Vick just dropped on her four next to the poor Ren, panting and breating heavily, trembling on her arms and knees…

    -You little bitch… - Art snorted, spitting the blood from his mouth in the grass.

    -Whaa, h-he…

    -What was t-tha… - he heard how several people started whispering behind him.

    -Damn, you are such a scumbag, Art… – said Reina unphased, looking at his little sister on the ground.

    -Fuck you, Vice-prez. Mind your own business. – he wiped his hands in the grass.

    Several people gasped loudly in disbelief, looking at him with their widened eyes. All their expressions clearry said:

    “H-H-HE JUST SAID THE F-WORD TO THE VICE-PREZ!!!”.

    Raon just started to laugh out loud.

    And Reina… She just turned her face to the side, giggling delicately.

    Art looked her, frowning.

    -What so fucking funny. Want to die?! – he snorted.

    His arms and legs were still tingly and itchi from the millions of needles, that hit his nervous system. The fist around his heart has still not completely loosen its grip…

    -B-bro, you should really s-st… - began Aiv.

    Art just looked her with his eyes ablaze. His little cousin froze in his feet.

    -I-I really hate you, bro…

    -HUH?! YOU WANT MORE?! – he suddenly turned, pointing his hand at her…

    -NAAAH, NOOO, NOOO!... – she covered her head with both hands, tightly pressing onto the ground.

    Art spit more of his blood, kneeling next to his sister, leaving her in a trembling expectation…

    -Do you promise not to use it arbitrarily on anyone, anymore? – he said low and calmly.

    -Yes! I promise, I promise! – she shook her head, but still not lifting it from the ground.

    -You promise not to skip classes anymore? And to do your homework?

    -Look who is the one to talk… - giggled Reina.

    Art just looked her aridly, returning his gaze back to his little sister.

    -I promise, I promise! – she said.

    -And not to change with your sister again?

    -I promise, I promise!

    -And not to…

    -Whaaa, please, no more secrets!!!

    Art just looked her for several seconds. Then got up and turned to Ren…

    -PHA, YOU FOOL! VO…

    That was all she was able to say. Because Art was already behind her back...

    The girl’s eyes widened in disbelief, when he grabbed her for the waist.

    -Wh…

    And suplexed her so hard on the grass, that knocked her unconsciouss, with her eyes turning white, while the soul was leaving her body…

    Noel once more just exhaled heavily, already having accepted the harsh reality of their moronic natures…

    Art snorted irritated, dusting off his palms.

    -You wicked little demon. That’s why I’m not trusting you.

    -Jeez, you are so harsh, Art. You didn’t even flinch, when she shocked you… - said Reina, this time a bit midly.

    -Yeah! That was fucking amazing! I almost want to teach me how to do it myself! – joined and Chisaki, caring for totally different things.

    -No, you don’t… - quickly interrupted her Aiv, softly shaking her head.

    -And which fault do you think it is, Vice-prez? That I got almost immune to electroshocking? Huh?! – Art didn’t pay attention to them, turning his gaze towards Sophie. – You shouldn’t have taught her that spell. I hate you…

    -Yeah, that was mistake by my side. I admit it.

    Art just snorted and moved close to Ren.

    The girl just panickily backed up, raising her hands in defense.

    -Naaah, leave me alone already!... – she protested.

    -What are you gonna do to her, you bastard?! – Mio also jumped in.

    -Just calm down and give me your hands. – Art didn’t pay attention to her. He was in no mood for pleas and requests anymore. He was just going to enforce his will with a brute force.

    Ren just looked him with her teared eyes. But complied.

    He took them gently in his’, closely accompanied by the vigilant gaze of Mio.

    He closed his’, concentrating all the power he had left.

    -Verritum enduria.

    All the girls around him gasped in disbelief.

    Ren’s body shone in soft, bluish light, with hundreds of shooting stars entering her periphery, being engulfed by it.

    Her skin began recoloring again, regaining the redish shade of a healty girl. Her dishieveled hair straightened, her trembling and shaking stopped.

    Her breathing became uniform and soft, the sweating stopped and her muscles relaxed.

    The tears in her disappeared.

    She gasped in disbelief of all the feelings, that she was passing through.

    Her face shone of a person, who just achieved complete happiness…

    She let go of Art’s arms, jumping up abruptly.

    -W-WHAT IS THIS?! I FEEL SO REFRESHED, AS IF I HAVE SLEPT FOR 12 HOURS! ALL MY STRENGTH AND VITALITY HAVE RETURNED!!!

    And to prove it, she just grabbed Vick’s body, lifting it in the air.

    Suplexing her back on the ground.

    -Just don’t extern yourself too much… - he mumbled lowly.

    -SO LIGHT! SO POWERFUL! MUHAHA, VENGENCE, YOU LITTLE BITCH! – she exclaimed, about to lift her again, upon all the stupefied gazes of the others.

    -J-just don’t kill her too much… – said Krul, delicately rubbing palms.

    -This is getting out of hand… - hold her face Reina.

    But while all the other gazes were glued on the amazing sight before them, Art just quietly sat on the ground, panting heavily. The blood once more began running down his nose, his face turned all pale and sweaty…

    -Art! – Mio noticed him first, kneeling down next to him in a supportive way.

    -I-I’m fine, Mio. Thank you…

    -Stupid big bro. You shouldn’t have used this spell. – Krul also got to his other side, searching something in her leather bag.

    -I’ll be fine. With some sleep and a hot dinner.

    He noticed, that Reina was also watching closely with her vigilant gaze.

    Krul put out one vial with sapphire blue liquid, about to open it and hand it to him, when…

    -I shouldn’t do this in your stead…

    All three of them looked at Reina, who had her arms crossed before her chest, looking down on them from above.

    Krul tilted her head questionably…

    -This is “Zengard”, isn’t it? It is a good choice to revitalize someone, but not in his current condition. It have many effects, one of which help stops the bleeding by coagulating the blood a bit, but since his quantity is still not fully recovered because of the the donation, the relative effect of the thickening will be much higher. This will raise his blood pressure even more, putting more strain on his heart and blood vessels, having the exact opposite effects. Damn, you should really read more thoroughly, before using random stuff. You can kill someone one day. – Reina frowned.

    Krul looked her stupefied, with her widened eyes, then looked at him in awe.

    -I-I’m sorry, big bro! Didn’t mean to…

    -It’s okay, littl…

    -Geez, just stop talking already and stabilize your heart and breath. – Reina kneeled annoyed next to them, also starting to search through her bag. – I can’t belive we got recked by someone like you…

    Then, she took out one flask with deep, glowing magenta liquid, so dense, it was almost like gel.

    Both his’ and Krul’s eyes goggled…

    -Whaaa…. B-b-but that’s a Raufost!!! – he gasped in disbelief.

    -Yes? – Reina removed the plug, handing the flask almost before his mouth.

    -I-i-I can’t! This thing is so super expensive! And takes so much time to make! I’ll be fine on my own, there’s no need, just some rest and…

    Reina just grabbed him for the cheeks.

    -Drink. Or I’ll shove it in your throat…

    He looked her unmoving for several seconds. Then took it from her hand.

    -T-thank you, Vice.

    -You deserved it, Art. Because you showed us respect by going all in. I appreciate that.

    -Sorry for earlier.

    And have it in one gulp.

    He was on his legs in no time.

    -Bro, you shouldn’t stand so hastily! – Krul rushed after him.

    -I’m fine, don’t worry, little princess. This potion is great.

    Reina smirked under her nose and got up too, throwing another Raufost flask at Sophie’s lap.

    -Here, have some too… I still hate you, though. – she looked her from above.

    Sophie replied with her flippand gaze, smiling with the edge of her lips.

    -The feelings are mutual, Vice-prez.

    -You are so nice and kind, Hiiragi-saaan. – Raon jumped on her back, hugging her through the chest. – What were gonna do without our favorite supporter?!

    -Get off me, brat. I’ll curse you to death. – Reina just snorted, getting rid out of Raon’s hug.

    Sophie moaned so loudly after that one refreshing gulp, stretching her arms and back in a tempive forms, that made all the girls around her feel uneasy. And she threw the empty flask at Reina’s feet.

    -Still, I thank you, though. – she looked her with one eye closed, crossing arms under her chest. – I’ll have it in mind for the future.

    -What are you now, a tsundere? – Aiv looked her with empty eyes, tilting her head a bit.

    -She’s always been… - said Art.

    Sophie looked them one after another, then grabbed her sister’s forearm, forcing to sit in her lap.

    -Stop talking much and lets threat you a bit… - she closely inspected her wounds, mainly the bloody hair roots. – Damn, this moron really did you a job, didn’t he…

    Art just delicately evaded their gazes, scratching his nape.

    -Well, I’ve been beaten even more badly by him and he is doing it regularly, so this is nothing… - she threw non-chalantly.

    Several of the girls looked him stupefied, with their jaws dropping, suddenly throwing him in such position, that he wanted to get a shovel and bury himself in the ground…

    -WH-H-HA, THAT’S NOT TR… - his eyes also widened, starting to wave his hands before him in an attempt to defend himself…

    -Damn it, I knew it you were from the worst, Art… - Reina picked him first (as always), totally unmoved.

    -Y-y-you should really be asheamed of y-youself… - Iki looked him with complete disappointment in her eyes.

    -H-how can you do that to the poor girl…

    -BURN HIM ON A STAKE! NOW! – Arufa pointed him with her finger, quickly joined by the other girls in their reprimanding scolding.

    Art just turned his back to them and sat on the ground, starting to mumble something under his nose, pocking the grass with his finger.

    Aiv looked him smugly, smiling with a great deal of self-satisfaction.

    -Kek…

    -You should really stop telling such despicable lies, you brat. – said Sophie calmly, while the purple haze from her hands slowly began to engulf her little sister’s scalp. – Considering how much care he took of you. Especially during your “experiments”.

    -Y-yess. – supported him and Krul.

    -Experiments? – Mio looked Sophie questionably.

    -Yeah. Not once he was carrying her on hands, and her stuff, sometimes even for kilometers. Cleaning, gluing and sewing her wounds and cuts hundreds of times. Even her head and forehead the last time. The last time, while she was doing stupid things, while flying with that stupid broomstick of hers.

    -WHAT?! YOU CAN FLY A BROOMSTICK?! – Rio looked her amazed.

    -Yes! – jumped Aiv enthusiastically on her butt. – With over 200 miles per hour!!!

    -Woooow. – several of the girls exited, some even clapped.

    -Yeah… That why you didn’t see and hit that stupid gull. You could have died, you stupid brat…

    -I saw it, but couldn’t dodge it!!! There’s a difference… But Art managed to intercept me, before I fall!

    The rest of the girls stared at his back, but this time milder in their judgments and with a rising admiration in their gazes.

    -Just leave me and let me die… - he mumbled, still pocking the grass.

    -Damn it, girls, you should really be careful with hurting his self-esteem and proudness… - snorted Sophie. – Now you won’t be able get him out of this state…

    Moka just squatted next to him, caressing him gently on the back.

    -W-well, he w-was also constantly taking care of your wounds. When, as a little younger, you were constantly fighting with Vick… - timidly rubbed her palms Krul, looking at her sister, who was lamely getting up, after Ren got tired of abusing up.

    The girls looked him with ever more excitement in their eyes.

    -Y-yeah, that’s true. – Vick hold her nape, while with the other hand thumped the grass off her knees. – But I got more victories, than her! – she pointed at Aiv.

    -YEAH, YOU MIGHT GOT MORE VICTORIES, BUT I’VE DEALT YOU MORE DAMAGE!!! WANNA SHOW IT NOW, HUH?! – she became really agitated, getting up, about to roll up sleeves.

    Sophie grabbed her through the waist and put her back down in her lap.

    -Don’t make me waste my energy, you brat. I’m beaten. – she said with a really tired voices, resuming her spell.

    -W-well, I-i g-guess we can forgive him… - first began Iki, timidly rubbing her palms.

    -W-well, it was me, who pulled his hand, that was grabbing Aiv hair, so I guess I’m also at fault. – said Ren. – And I guess I can also forgive him… for the other stuff too.

    -And I kicked her in the head. Not purposely, of course!... Sorry… - mumbled Fayie.

    Art just got up quietly, getting to the table with his armor.

    -Yeah, shouldn’t be that big of a deal. – said Raon. – We’ve hurt ourselves ever more badly. Not a problem, really.

    -YEAH! – Ann suddenly jumped on her feet. – Remember the last time, when Zumi kicked Chisaki in the head?! She broke three of her teeth!!!

    -H-hey, you shouldn’t tell them such stuff… – Chisaki slightly blushed, turning her gaze aside.

    -What’s the matter, these are battle scars! You should be proud of it! – interwened Raon. – Remember the duel between Maru and Asuza?! She got irritated and showed him the middle finger, then he got pissed, grabbed it and broke it! It was brutal!!!

    -Yeah, she still hates him for that… - said Reina.

    -Yeah! Oi, what about the case, when Danjuro threw Chisaki in the castle trench, after she said something about his mother! – entered and Rio.

    Nym just started to giggle uncontrollably, while the boy looking her bloodthirsty…

    Chisaki just wanted to be engulfed by the ground.

    -Y-you should really stop… - she mumbled. – It’s embarising…

    -Oh, and that other case, where Chisa… - continued Rio, when her sister’s hand suddenly land on her shoulder heavily, making her froze in place.

    -Hey, wanna hear one amazing story? – interrupted her Ayuri, looking at their suddenly turned curious faces. – It was around an year ago, during one of regulars games. We were on a strike group with Rio and Reina, when my sister, as always, began acting so irritating and annoying, that the Vice-Prez turned her into a mouse…

    -WHAAAAAAA?! – Rio and almost every other girl exclaimed with such surprise, like there was no where else much…

    -You yield animorphism? – Sophie looked her curiously.

    -T-T-THA… - Rio tried to say something, but instead only a incomprehensible stutter came out of her mouth.

    -You should also stop telling such despicable lies. – composed as always, Reina replied. – There’s no way I can do such things.

    The others looked at both Reina and Ayuri, some still amazed, some with slight disappointment. But Sophie looked her with some suspicion in her eyes.

    -I-I really hate you… - mumbled Rio, going next to Art, quietly looking at his armor managing.

    Noel just puffed, sending Arufa up.

    -Get out of here. And stop hurting yourselves. At least this much… - she finished quietly.

    -T-thank you, doc! Sorry for all the trouble. – Arufa bowed to her deeply.

    -No need. I still hate you. All of you. – Noel snorted, while getting up. – And be careful tonight! Don’t overdo yourselves… again. – she get her stuff and headed towards the castle exit.

    -THANKS FOR EVERYTHING, DOC! WE’LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU! – yelled Chisaki after her.

    Noel just waved over her shoulder.

    And disappeared behind the bush wall corner.

    -You are ready too, Pixie Devil. Get up.

    Sophie closed to him, also looking at his armor.

    -The pauldron got bent. It doesn’t fit well with the breast plate at all. Damn it. – Art snorted.

    -I-I’m sorry… - Fayie rubbed her palms, avoiding his gaze. – I’ll pay for it!

    -Nah, don’t worry about this, Fo. We’ll fix it in to time. It’s nothing. – he replied.

    -Yeah, don’t sweat about it. – said and Sophie. – One time, when we were gaming back in Falkland, Harm got so irritated of his armor that can’t penetrate it, that forced open his visor with his bare hands, bending and breaking almost everything on the helmet. Then stabbed him in the face of course. With one of his arrows. It was epic…

    The girls looked her amazed, with Iki – being the most of them.

    -Damn, just how strong is your boyfriend, Iki? – looked her Chisaki.

    She just delicately rubbed her palms, without saying anything.

    -Very strong. You won’t believe it. One time he lifted Amaris in her full-plate armor and slammed her on the ground. As I said, you won’t believe it, even when you see it with your eyes.

    The rest looked him amazed, as he was the one, who did it.

    -Well, but as you can see, we fixed the helmet yourselves. Fully functioning and working, there was not even a scratch left. – said Sophie.

    -Well, if you don’t count the dent from the rock now… - Rio looked at Ren with her periphery.

    -I-I’m sorry. – Ren avoided their gazes delicately.

    -As I said, don’t sweat it. Just a little bit of a hammer and polish, and you won’t even see the scratches. It will be like a new. It’s not like a burden or something for us – we like to do this kind of stuff. – said Sophie.

    -Yeah, with that, we’ll just need to find some piece of oak and make a new shaft for my pollaxe. – said Art.

    Avys just whistled lowly, tacticaly looking to the side.

    -Well, its finally over, so get everything in the bag, bro and let’s get home. I’m so beat I dreaming to get some sleep by now…

    -G-going home? – suddenly said Rio, when all of the Falklans looked her surprised. – B-but what about the after game party tonight?

    Sophie’s face just turned pale as a canvas…
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
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  17. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Sooo... A quick prototype map of Vhinhym.
    First, my idea was to make a quick map of provinces and topography, so i can plan the Falkland invasion in Vhinhym during the Falkland period (the landing, the maneuvers, the battles and so on, in much details as possible), and write another extra chapters from first point of view (just like the Naval Battle) with some new characters (some of which will be ancestors to our heroes (and i will show how much badass Ernst is and his speciality - outplaying the others like a boss), but...
    While drawing, something got into my mind...
    What if i make Vhinhym a little bit... decentralized? Like each province will have almost complete authority over its territories and some specialty - like the most powerful fleet, the most powerful army, rich in iron and coal, most advanced in robotics and technology, most advanced in magic and so on... They won't be hostile to each other, but there'll be a kind of rivalry or competition between. Maybe like espionage going on, always trying to get a bigger share from the central government. I think this will open me some real plot possibilities for the future...
    So, that's what got on my mind. I will probably also make a detailed prototype for Falkland.
    (also, i won't refuse a name or two for my provinces. ;P)
    [​IMG]
    best images forever
     
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  18. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Sooo, because the chapter was getting too long (and too long to write, lol) i decided to split it in 2 parts.
    Also, i want to add a few things here.
    After all the previous "dynamic" chapters, i really wanted to just sit down and write a chapter, where all the characters are just talking and nothing more (honestly, it was one of my favorite things to do, when i was writing stuff on my mother's language, but in English is still taking me way much more time, since i'm going thought the dialog over and over again, until i get it to my satisfaction). Also, i see this as an opportunity for a world building, where the characters talk about stuff, painting and colorizing the world, they are in. In this case - building more in dept my magic theory (that's the other reason why is taking me soo long, lol, since the action is happening around 2050, i'm trying to get it as scientifically-backed as possible, since, you know, i consider the magic to be researched as well as the other fields of study...) And, also, since i'm still thinking it and theorizing it, they are bound the be contradictions, of course. Which means, the things said in the newest chapters will have more weight, if something is contradicting with stuff from previous chapters (i'll go back and rewrite it at some moment, so it all hold true).
    Also, i got an idea what the mysterious thing, that will happen will be, and even managed to connect them with some of the past events (and will have huge connections to one of the upcoming major arcs too!).
    So, sorry for the long wait again, i hope you enjoy it and find some of the stuff interesting.


    She was staring at her bruised neck. At the mirror, in the side room of the student council premises.

    For a long minutes already.

    Too long for comfort, even she admitted it to herself…

    Just standing there, staring and sighing, with a mess of feelings in her heart, indecisive of taking any action.

    As if she just wanted the time to pass and everything to disappear.

    As if she was just hiding from the others...

    Hion gently touched her neck, continuing to delicately stare at the slight bruises.

    It wasn’t that it hurt or that it wasn’t going to disappear in the next few hours, just…

    “How did I get here at all…”

    -That dumb bitch… - she sighed and leaned over the sink, abundantly splashing her face with the cold water. It was something that was gonna refresh her, definetily…

    The touchless sink faucet stopped the stream, as she reached for the pink towel on wall hanger…

    When she stood up and looked back at the mirror, she jump startled on her soles.

    The scare moan reflexively exited her mouth.

    Lowering the towel, she agily turned on her feet, looking her angrily.

    But the anger, that she suddenly felt and made her body hot… It was toward herself, for allowing herself to show such weakness. Precisely before her

    Sophie was leaning shoulder on the wardrobe, next to the side room door, with her fists delicately clenching the edges of her tracksuit pockets. Her gaze was wandering to the side, in one neutral, meaningless point.

    -Did I scare you? Sorry… – she mumbled, inadvertently pouring more fuel into the fire.

    Hion just sighed quietly and turned back to the sink. She wanted to splash her face once more. The sudden scare had made it hot and reddish…

    -It’s fine. Just didn’t expect you here… - she said aridly.

    “And more importantly: “HOW did you get in here, without me noticing???”

    She was never going to ask it out loud, of course…

    Sophie moved shoulders anxiously...

    SPLASH… SPLASH…

    -The others were wondering where did you go. You are not responding your phone…

    Hion looked up in the mirror, with water dripping down her face, on the neck and chest.

    SPLASH…

    -It ran out of battery…

    SPLASH…

    -…i got hot and came to cool down a bit. Happy?

    Sophie didn’t say anything. Her foot was lowly thumping the floor in a rhythmic, nervous manner. Her eyes – still dreaming off the windows.

    Hion looked her through the mirror, frowning a bit.

    -Need something?...

    Sophie delicately rubbed her cheek in the shoulder.

    Hion quickly lost interest and she reached for the pink towel again.

    -That’s a nice color. Where can I get such?

    She dried her face, returning it to the hanger.

    -Don’t know. Ask Ayuri.

    -I see. She’s got cute taste.

    Hion looked her bluntly. Then moved to the small refrigerator in the other corner of the room, starting to search for something particular inside.

    Sophie bit the end of her lip. Her face turned gloomy.

    -Is your neck… hurting?

    Hion suddenly froze, looking her over the door. Then she just puffed, got something from inside and closed it back.

    -It’s seen better days. But I won’t complain. I guess I deserved it a bit…

    Her fists clenched the edges of her pockets harder. Her face become dark and grim, almost to the point of frustration…

    -Have some. You must be tired too from all this shit… - Hion casually handed her one of the beverages she took.

    Sophie knuckles turned white. She felt the iron taste in her mouth…

    -I’m not… - she mumbled.

    -Hm? – Hion tilted her head questionably.

    -I’m not jealous… – she mumbled quietly. Her hands relaxed down, continuing with even lower voice and more frustration: – It’s not because of that stupid photo… It’s not that I came from Falkland especially for him

    Her fists clenched, until they trembled.

    -I’m not jealous of you… I’m not that attached to him… I don’t miss him that much… I don’t like him… I don’t like him!...

    She sobbed. Her eyes teared up.

    Hion… She just couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

    “Hey, hey, what’s going on so suddenly?! Is… is she really that much…”

    Sophie quickly rubbed her fists over her eyes, turning her head to the side.

    -I’m sorry… - mumbled Hion.

    -Don’t. You don’t have a reason to. Its just… its was just so fucking unfair what they did… It was supposed to be that moron Bosworth. That moron Bosworth, not him… It was so sudden… so fucking unfair… he missed everything…

    -I’m sorry. – despite all, she mumbled once again.

    Sophie got quiet for a minute. Her breathing have suddenly turned heavy and loud, rhythmically breaking the silence, while she was fighting against it to calm it down.

    While she was fighting against her inner demons…

    -You know, I’ve turned 17 last week… - she began with such a quiet and ominous voice, that Hion immediately raised her head and looked her in the eyes. – It was on the Sunday, 8th of March, five days ago… I’ve got plans, really got plans… That i was thinking back from my previous B-day, how were were gonna spent it all together… all the day. Just like his’ back in January… I was finally gonna turn major, you know…

    She sighed. A long pause.

    -But nothing of that happened. It all went into the sink… Because they’ve forced him away. Here… He missed everything… It was supposed to be that moron Bosworth… I really hate them all… I want to kill them…

    She looked away, continuing to rub her eyes.

    -Damn it, I’m not myself today… I can’t believe, tha… It must be the lack of sleep… Forget everything you just saw and heard… Damn, it’s so embarissing…

    Sophie turned her back, facing the wardrobe. She just wanted to get inside and disappear.

    -Don’t worry. I guess I’m also at fault a bit… - by this point Hion was almost completely indifferent abouth her neck.

    -No, you are not… It’s all because I got my feelings out of control… It is entirely my fault and I take all the responsibility for it. – she suddenly turned. – Your neck… I’ll heal it. – she stepped forwards, lifting hand to reach it.

    Hion instinctively smacked it away.

    -What are you doing? – she looked her surprised. – Don’t touch me…

    Sophie just clenched her fists frustrated, bitting her lips again.

    And in the next moment rushed forwards like a snake.

    Before the Prez can react, Sophie grabbed her hands and pushed her with her torso back, until she sat at the edge of the sink, blocking her by thightly pressing her body onto hers…

    -What are you doing?! Let me… - she began to twitch and squirm against her…

    -Stop resisting, Hio. I’m too tired for this… You can’t stop me, I’ll do it no matter what. Even if I have to electrocute you again…

    -If you are too tired, then don’t waste your energy anymor…

    Sophie just grabbed her for the neck…

    And closed her eyes.

    -Endurria.

    Hion gasped, with her eyes widening a bit. As if she was really choking her… but in a much more pleasant way…

    That warmth energy, that surrounded her neck… That tingling sensation, exciting her up down to her nerves…

    Hot… She became really hot.

    The temperature of Sophie’s body… it was filling her mind with lustful thoughts…

    Her legs clenched slightly Sophie’s hips, as she moved uneasy, rubbing her body against hers…

    She… she…

    Sophie suddenly grabbed her for the leg and pushed it away, stepping a bit back.

    -Don’t cling on me. I’m getting hot…

    Hion suddenly blinked startled against her, as if she awoke from something.

    -I’m sorry, I didn’t…

    -And stop moving. You are tiring me. And making this more awkward, than it should be…

    Hion looked away, with her face blushing.

    -I…I’m sorry. It’s just getting too hot…

    -The warmth usually acts well on people’s body. It’s an inseparable component of all light healing and revitalizing magic. You should know such things… from your Vice-Prez. – she added somewhat bitterly.

    -Reina… she doesn’t like to talk about magic. Sometimes I even get the vibes she hates it. Which may sound strange to y…

    -Is she pure-blooded?

    -Pure-blooded? – Hion looked her questionably.

    -Yeah. If her both parents were magicians, before she was born. This is the internationally accepted definition, in both science and literature, for a pure-blood magician.

    -I think mister Yasuda was, but I’m not so sure about missis Aeko…

    -She probably is then… Damn, that explains it. I also know a few people, not very fond of magic, who have learnt it anyways… Just because, they had the “luck” of being born pure-blooded. It’s just not fair… A person to be enforced on a path, he doesn’t want to walk…

    -I-I think I couldn’t quite follow it all, Sophie.

    -Studies show, that 90 percent of the pure-blooded kids manifest some kind of magical abilities before the age of four. It is only 4 percent for the half-blood kids… And 0,5 for these, without magical parents. But there are speculations this is mostly because someone down the line was a magician or had magical abilities… Abilities, like cushion, before they fall, some kind of air barrier, before they hurt themselves… A sparkles, when they overjoy… Mostly instinctively, of course. It’s really interesting… How the self-presevation instincts take control and unlock these abilities without even the user fully controlling them or even understanding them. But then, in most cases, they are “forced” to continue this path. By their parents, society, or even school sometimes… Be it by force, or encouragement, social pressure, or tradition… Before they are grown up enough to be able to chose their own path. It is really infuriating sometimes… - Sophie face was becoming more and more frustrating.

    Hion looked her inquiringly.

    -Well, I think that is in force not only about magic.

    Sophie bit her lip, looking slightly to the side.

    -I guess y-you are right. – she let go of her neck. – At least magic can sometimes make your everyday life easier… and is usefull in many fields…

    Hion turned, looking her neck in the mirror.

    -Damn, there’s not even a single bruise left. Thank you. But you really shouldn’t have wasted your energy. I was just going to put some make up, and after a few hours it was going to be fully healed…

    -Don’t, Hio. It’s a matter of pride… I’m sorry…

    Hion turned and looked her.

    -Are you pure-blooded too?

    Sophie returned to her gaze, somewhat stupefied.

    -Of course not!

    Hion looked her even more amazed.

    -B-but how?! You are really good and all these skills…

    Sophie looked her bluntly.

    -These are just skills, Hio. It’s something you learn, not something you are born with. Like everything else. Just because you had manifested something as a kid, doesn’t automatically make you incredible at it. You need to work and learn. And really hard too…

    As if Hion’s eyes filled with admiration.

    -Soo, it seems you are a real hard-worker then. I guess as a President of the Student Council I shouldn’t worry about you. Unlike that stupid cousin of yours. You know how many days he had skipped already? And how much trouble he managed to stir up?

    Sophie avoided her gaze, as if a bit ashamed.

    -Y-yes. He told me everything. We hide nothing from each othe…

    -So you are really that clos!... – Hion suddenly cheered up.

    -Die! I’ll electrocute you to death! – she threathened her with her finger, pouting a bit.

    Hion just smugged satisfactory… For a first time she was seeing her making such face… To innocent, too sulky… just like some cute, adorable child.

    -You know, electrocuting can also make people stop thinking about such stuff…

    Hion gasped for a moment before her… but then just laughed.

    Sophie snorted annoyed and turned her her back.

    -I can’t stand you anymore. I’m leaving…

    But Hion wasn’t finished at all…

    -I’ll see you at the party tonight, right? I’ll be glad to talk more with you about magic…

    Sophie just froze in her shoes, clenching her fists, until they trembled. Her teeth grinned.

    And she energetically rushed towards the exit.

    “Haha, no sleep for you, bitch. Suffer.” – grimly tough Hion and a smug smile rose on her face again.

    Then, a sudden voice boomed directly in her head:

    “Next time I’ll really choke you to death, President.”


    The so called “After the Game Party” was scheduled to start at 7, in the “Ilarys Shokudou’s” Ballroom, located in the north part of the school premises. Which, considering the excited reactions and exalted exclamations of the others, when Hion said they will use it, was something very, very spectacular and glamorous. So much, it was going to “knock the Falklans off their feet”, they said.

    A strong promise, considering the Ballroom in his old school “Rosalind ischst Dainté”, which he never had the opportunity to use, by the way, but have seen a few times, was world famous for its splendor and brilliance. Regularly used for many high-ranking and important international events, a number of guides and ratings had place it among the top of their scores, with only some of the El’livian’s elven Ballrooms being above.

    So, he couldn’t wait to see it…

    Outside, he met Ayuri, Iki and Chisaki in the school yard.

    The three girls were discussing something, quite vividly at that, looking at the Vice-Prez tablet, so focused, that they didn’t notice him, even when he glanced over their shoulders.

    -(Whatcha doin’?) – he asked casually on vhinhym, by some reason deciding it is a good moment to try practice it.

    -AAAI, WTF!!!!... – Chisaki suddenly jumped on her feet, startled, almost breaking his nose, and abruptly turned, almost crushing into him in addition too.

    He agily dodge them both.

    -Oh, it’s just you, Art. – sighed Ayuri, also turning.

    Iki looked him somewhat with accusatory gaze from the sudden scare.

    -Damn it… You took all my angels… - Chisaki put her hand on the stomach, exhaling a few times heavily.

    -Sorry… Why so high-strung to begin with?

    -I guess we were just engulfed in our discussion. – answered Ayuri.

    -I see. It must be something important then. Where are the others? – he looked around.

    -Hifumi is getting the program for tonight ready. She we’ll be… something like our host, I guess. Most of the boys are preparing the Ballroom, under Reina and Raon. Ann, your little sister and Mio went to your house to take some clothes, like some of the other girls too. And, I guess, we were the ones, that left, to go buy the stuff for tonight. That’s what we were discussing.

    Art glanced at the tablet.

    -That’s a lot of things. I’ll come with you, you’ll definitely need and extra pair of hands for the carrying.

    -Sure. I won’t refuse at all. – Ayuri jumped enthusiastically on her soles. – You could probably carry more than the three of us combined.

    -Oi, don’t underestimates us, Prez. We are quite tough too, you know. – Chisaki proudly crossed her hands over her flat chest.

    Iki looked her somewhat timidly.

    -Yeah, yeah, I have no doubts about it. – Ayuri replied a little bit annoyed. – But I’ll also let the basic biology have a word in this. – she folded her tabled and put it in her pocket. – C’mon, let’s go. It would get us some time to get all of this together.

    -So, where are we going first? – he went after her, asking curiously.

    -I guess to the convenience store. For some drinks and other general stuff. Then to the “La Maison Dorée” for some very nice pastry. They make the best pastries around. You like pastries, right? Mio told me that you made them incredible lava cakes yesterday morning. – she looked him with that charming, specific glimmer in her eyes.

    -Ah, yes, she said, she liked it… - he timidly scratched his nape.

    -Oooo, so of all things, you are also and a good cook too, senpai! – Chisaki looked him with admiration in her eyes.

    -W-well, I can only make sweets, mostly. And just because my sisters love such so much and my parents travel a lot, that I was forced to learn, more or less. The other things I try, often turn disasterous by some reason. – he giggled nervously.

    -Ara-ara, what a good brother you are. – mystically said Ayuri with her melodic voice. And delicately glanced at her sister. – Unlike some others…

    -W-whaa, why were you looking at me?! – stuttered Iki, honestly stupefied by the sudden attack. – What I have done to you?!

    Ayuri just pointed her gaze ahead.

    -Nothing.

    Chisaki looked them a bit puzzled one after another. Then, to break the sudden awkward silence, she went:

    -I can make pancakes, too! And sometimes they even turn good!

    Art giggled lowly.

    -Well, the pancakes are quite a tricky thing, actually. You need to bring all the ingredients to a room temperature before starting, use fresh baking powder, don’t over-mix the batter, rest it a bit, be careful with the pan…

    Chisaki stared at him widely amazed.

    -I seeee! Didn’t imagine there were so many things! That’s why mines didn’t always turn consistent!...

    -Iki makes incredible pancakes too, by the way. – jumped in Ayuri. – And delicious homemade strawberry jam!

    Art looked her with a charming smile.

    -Oohh, nice! My sisters adore strawberry jams! My mom makes incredible ones too, although I still have difficulties to make a good one as hers…

    -W-well, it’s not that difficult, a-actually. – she shyly rubbed her fingers. – You just need to use some really high-quality ingredients – like fruits from a local farm and real sugar, like Issegem Muscovado or Beaucotta White fine-grained. The rest is just attention and patience.

    -Oh, I see, I see. – he put thumb and index finger on his chin. – I may try it the next time.

    -W-well, I can make for them s-sometimes. If they want…

    Art smiled.

    -Oh, you’ll win them for a life-time with that, I guarantee you! So much, that knowing them they’ll return you the favour at all cost! Krul will probably make you some of hers homemade ice-creams in return. She makes incredible ice-creams, you know! Especially that one with rose water and vanilla-caramel! And Aiv… Avys is a very good cook too! She makes incredible soups and sauces! Ones, that can really put you back in your legs, after a long, exhausting day. I should definitely make her cook it sometimes for you, to try it. You won’t regret it, I guarantee!

    Iki just smiled, a little bit forced.

    -What about Vick and Soph? – Ayuri tilted her head a bit.

    -W-well, Vick is more of a eating person. – he giggled. – Although two weeks ago, she made some incredible pie with fig-jam. I’ve never eaten a such before, It was incredible. And Soph… - he raised his eyebrow a bit. – Haha, no, she is a complete disaster in the kitchen. The kind of person, who will put a pot of water to boil and it will turn toxic. – he giggled again. – She is more of a restaurant person. And quite a gluttony, at that.

    Chisaki gasped.

    -A gluttony?! With that body of hers?! I can’t believe it!!!

    -Yeah. But is true.

    -Then she can just find a good man, who can cook especially for her! – she jumped enthusiastically.

    -Or someone with money. – Ayuri looked him with the edges of her eyes. – To take her at different restaurants every day. She is very pretty, it won’t be difficult at all for her…

    -Y-yeah, I guess it won’t really be that hard. – he nervously scratched his nape.

    Chisaki suddenly smugged, pressing onto his shoulder.

    -Tell me, tell me, what is she to you, senpai? How close are you two? You like her very much, right, I’ve seen how you look at her… - she pushed him facetiously several times with hers.

    -Damn you, pull these thoughts out of your flat brain, you brat. I’ll curse to death…

    -Soo, you didn’t deny it then… - she poke him several times and with her elbow, still smugging.

    Ayuri suddenly smacked her in the nape, that made it red and burning…

    -AAAAII, WHAT WAS THAT?! – she jumped on her feet, looking at her, suddenly surprised.

    -You are being rude to him. Don’t ask such things.

    Chisaki sniffed, her eyes teared a bit.

    -I-i’m sorry. – she griefly sobbed.

    Art just sighed deeply.

    -Well, I guess I have nothing to hide… – he began, as if with a little bit of annoyance of repeating it. – Sophie is like my own sister. A twin, that was inseparable from me from the very beginning. We were born in the same hospital, three months apart, we grew up together, we went to the same schools, spent all our summer vacations together and almost never we were separated for more than a week. She knows me like herself and I know her like myself, so much, that we were able to tell what the other is thinking just by looking at our faces. Without using magic to read thoughts. So I guess, you are right. That’s what they call love.

    Chisaki just opened her mouth, but her thought didn’t proceed, looking left, right and center, visibly confused.

    -B-b-but… Her face is mostly expressionless, just like Student President Hion!

    Ayuri laughed out loud from the bottom of her heart. Even Art giggled, when the conversations with the Prez from the other day flashed through his mind.

    -How are you abl… WAIT, YOU CAN READ THOUGHTS?! – it suddenly hit her, looking him with eyes, widened from amazement.

    Iki moved shoulders nervously, turning a bit of her back towards him, Ayuri eyes slightly widened…

    -Yes? Once you fully commit, it’s not that difficult to pick a person’s surrounding energy. But that’s only with the superficial thoughts. I haven’t heard someone being able to deep-scan a person brain with magic…

    She got deep in thought, still a little bit confused.

    -Soo, then, what I’m thinking right no…

    -Iki’s cup size is B, WAIT, FUC...!!! – he casually shot before his mind fully proccess…

    -W-WHAAAA!?!?! – both Iki and Chisaki howled in disbelief, utterly stunned, that their jaws were about to hit the ground and eyes fall from their sockets...

    He raised his hands, waving them and tried to say something in his defense…

    When Ayuri smacked him and Chisaki so hard in the napes, that they felt how were going to melt from the heat…

    Then, she turned and slapped and Iki too…

    -WHAT, WHYY MEEEE?! – she wrapped her arms around her shoulders, covering her chest and fully turning them her back.

    -Nothing. – Ayuri just gazed her with a stony face and looked ahead again.

    He saw how Chisaki opened her mouth and was about to say something very stupid (which he picked, just because he was still fully commited), so much, that forced Art to grab her and shake her a bit, so she forgets all her thoughts and her desire to say them out loud…

    -Don’t even dare…

    -W-what?! Did you just read my thoughts again?! STOP DOING IT!!!

    Ayuri just glanced at them with her periphery.

    Art let go of Chisaki and they continued on their way. Keeping a hand and a half distance from the Club Vice-Prez. And Chisaki keeping a very close and suspicious eyes on him.

    He delicately rubbed his nape (mostly still because of the burn) and turned slightly towards the little sister.

    -I’m sorry, Iki, I shouldn’t have said it out loud. – he smiled a little bit innocently. – It was very rude of me, I guess the lack of sleep has really diluted my thought process. Sorry…

    Iki swiftly turned, looking him with a burning, accusatory face.

    -I’m not forgiving you! Get kicked by a horse! Stray arrow to hit you!

    Art turned his head to the side, but just because her half-sullen, half-pouty face was too cute and funny to take it seriously and keep his’ straight… Even Ayuri’s lips twitched several times, as she fought her inner attemps not to laugh out loud…

    Chisaki’s eyes narrowed.

    -Soo, how often are you doing this with us, senpai? Reading our minds. I bet you know many dirty secrets already, from doing it with the other girls…

    -Wha, I told you I can’t read minds, just superficial thoughts! And I’m not doing it at all! It’s a bad energy, you bra...!

    She kicked him so hard sideways in the knee, that all his nervous system went haywire…

    -Stop calling me brat. I’ll kick you to death. – she proudly lift her chin, totally unmoved from the damage she done him.

    He jumped on his toes, then limped forwards for several move steps…

    -Just kick me once more and I’ll “Volta” you. Too feel how I felt…

    While not getting her gaze off him, she tactically moved to the other side, putting Iki between them.

    -Whaaa, what are you doing?! – at first Iki just looked her, then she tried to move back to her original position.

    Chisaki grabbed her for the shoulders, holding her in place.

    -I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna be close to this fucking leecher! He’ll keep reading my mind and learn my deepest secrets!

    -You deserve it! – Iki grabbed her for the forearms, starting to resist her. – You promised to tell no one!

    -And I didn’t! He just read it from my mind, how I was supposed to know?!

    -I don’t care, you shouldn’t have thought that in the first place!!!

    -I thought he was just joking!!!

    Ayuri just sighed deeply.

    -Such a bunch of kids…

    Chisaki suddenly let go of Iki, looking at the bigger sister and pouting.

    -I’m not a kid! I’ll turn 14 in May…

    Iki just thumped her skirt and fixed her sleeves, still looking him a little bit accusatory…

    Ayuri just rolled her eyes and moved between him and the two little girls…

    -Y-you should b-be careful, Vice. He’ll…

    -So, what’s this bad energy stuff? – she interupted her, looking him curiously. – I’m hearing about this for a first time! Even Reina didn’t speak about it!

    Art just puffed deeply. The kind of, he preferred Iki to continue to look him with a scorn, Chisaki to not stop kicking him in the knee and Ayuri beat the crap out of him, than going into this topic… The Harm kind, she threw him a few days ago…

    He didn’t even wanted to begin…

    But Ayuri was looking at him with such curious eyes, that he just couldn’t bring himself to cut her off…

    Damn, his brain was going to hurt…

    -This is an academy-level head-aching topic, Yu… - he started with a long sigh. – All our heads are gonna start exploding just by the intro of it…

    -Why, I’m a very quick learner. And we still have quite a distance till the market…

    He puffed even deeply. There was just no escape from her.

    He scratched his hair, preparing for the long brain-suffering, that was going to follow…

    Chisaki looked him a bit concerned, but still curious enough…

    -Damn it, senpai, just look at the horrow on your face! I’m almost starting to believe you for all!!!

    He just forcefully smiled, then looked ahead again, gathering the last bits of glucose for his braincells…

    -Well, you have probably heard about this already, in one form or another, you’ll understand what I just meant once I delve deeper into this… You see, the human body, in its core, is just one electrical machine. Of course, the full model is much more complicated, but very often, mostly to avoid calculating the absurd differential equations, you bring down stuff to a simplified models, that can still give you useful results in the bounderies of the acceptable accuracy… So then, according to the physic laws, it emits some kind of energy, may it be magic or in the electromagnetic spectrum, that ca…

    -Akhem… - Chisaki suddenly coughed, looking him with her curious, innocent eyes. – What’s an electromagnetic spectrum?...

    Art just saw how the blackout pulse flashed thought his sight…

    -Oh my god, I have to start from there… - he rubbed his temple and the desperation engulfed his soul.

    Ayuri’s heavy hand suddenly landed on the girl’s shoulder, which made Chisaki jump startled in her boots, looking her with awe in her eyes…

    -Stop teasing him, you little demon. – then she turned at him. – She knows that stuff, Art, don’t worry. She is actually very good at physics! And quite smart, on top of everything, despite her looks. Just like your little cousin…

    -Ha-ha-ha, you really got me there. – he laughed nervously.

    -Damn it, senpai, you are such a joy-breaker. – she pouted a bit.

    -And you stop interrupting him. This stuff sounds really interesting, I want to know more.

    Art didn’t mind at all. Every distraction from this topic was welcomed.

    Delaying the inevitable…

    -So? – Ayuri’s eyebrows raised a bit.

    Art looked in his feet.

    -One property of the waves is, that you can interfere with them – and precisely, doing that by using another waves. I said earlier, that you can’t read person’s memory – only his superficial thoughts. And even this way you are not doing it directly, not in a sense you are imaging it.

    When a person thinks of something, the wave patterns around him changes in accordance with his mind. So, if you are able – trained, to use your magic to pick these patterns and learn their linguistic meaning, which are usually pretty universal for each person, you can basically feel what they think…

    Chisaki’s eyes just widened, with her body leaning a bit away from him.

    -So, you can see these magic and electromagnetic waves, or what?!

    -No, no, no, not at all. The eye can only pick electromagnetic waves in a certain spectrum – in our human case, that’s the visible light. You can’t see magic waves or other stuff from the spectrum with naked eyes – you need special instruments to do that. I mean that you can litterally can pick them by using your magic – the waves interference stuff, if you remember… Imagine it this way – you can receive a lot of extra information just by looking at the person’s face whom you are talking with. If you are experienced and good enough, you can read their emotions like an open book and thus receive some understanding of what they are really thinking, though only on a very basic, emotional level.

    It is somewhat the same principle with the mind reading. But here, the wave patterns are much more complicated and elaborated, than the basic face emotion reading, to the point, that you can pick up whole sequences down to the last syllable with very high precision…

    Chisaki’s eyes widened even more. She leaned towards Iki and slightly poked her with an elbow, who was just staring at Art, as if with awe and terror from realizing the full extent of his abilities and knowledge.

    -Oi, do you have an tin foil hat?! – she whispered loudly.

    Art laughed.

    -Well, that won’t help you very much at all. Though electromagnetic waves are blocked and restricted by it, the aluminum is completely transparent for magic waves. You’ll need an iron or metglas hat for that purpose. – he smiled.

    The both little girls’ eyes widened in amazement. Even Ayuri’s face showed that she was somewhat impressed.

    -This is starting to get me more and more scared, senpai! I’m not sure I want to know more about it! You know, if you don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist! - she covered her ears.

    -Ha, unfortunately for you, that’s not how it works, girl. – intervened Ayuri. – So better listen up very carefully if you want to get your chances up, since you are not a magic person. You know, he can reveal some secrets to us. Right? – she winked at him.

    Chisaki momentarily let go of her ears, looking at him with sparkles in her eyes, clenching her little fists before her.

    -You’ll do it, right, right, senpai?! – she leaned towards him.

    Art smiled slightly, with his eyes closed.

    -Of course. It won’t hurt you to know such stuff.

    Her eyes sparkled even more.

    -So, so?!

    -So, there are several methods against the mind-reading. And it is very easy, actually. You just need to blank your mind and be thinking of nothing. That way, even being mind-readed, the assaulter won’t get any useful info from you.

    -Oo, I see, I see! That’s good to know!

    -Yes, absolutely. You can also just stare at one random, unsignificant object and only think about it. Like “this is tree, this is tree, this is tree”. That way you are also not giving away any significant info, even being mind-readed. These are the basic methods that can very easily deflect any ill-wishers. The rest are just variations of these. With a little bit of practice and mind-training, you can put them to a very effective use. My favorite is the old, but realible “LALALALALA” method. – he giggled.

    -“LALALALALA”? – Chisaki suddenly got into a thought for a moment. Then it suddenly hit her, as she jumped in her toes, enthusiascially turning to him. – OH, I GET IT NOW, SENPAI! I remember this from some old magic TV-series! They used it exactly like that!

    -So, this really works. – Ayuri was staring ahead of her. – Reina thought us that, but I thought it was mostly a joke or something. Never took it seriously.

    -Yeah, the simplest tricks usually work the best, Vice-Prez. To a point where you won’t believe it.

    -I see. So this is what you meant that we’ve heard about this before.

    -Well, yes, but not for this case exactly. This is just the beginning…

    For some quite time, Iki was just deep in thought, staring ahead of her and not saying a word. She turned at him:

    -I-I’m sorry, that I-I’m not that smart and I-I can’t get i-it very well, but… - she timidly began with a tremble in her voice. – Isn’t this going to work only if you know you are being mind-readed? And how can you understand that you are under such assault? O-once again, I’m sorry for my st…

    -No, no don’t worry Iki, that’s quite a solid point. I was just getting there… You see, first is the range. For most magicians, it is about 5 meters. Some can do it from a greater distance, other – from less, but that’s the average. Of course, there are some amplifier devices, but even with them, you can’t increase the distance much with only you use as a power source – the air is not the best medium for magic waves propagation and the energy you transmit dissipate on a square for a unit’s distance, according to Iokter’s law for the magic forces… Of course, you can also use a magic battery as an external source, but my point is that you really need to buff up the power and that’s only for a little bit of range. Which can create particular difficulties for the magician, in keeping discretion sense, since he must have a direct line of sight to you – hiding behind a tree or a wall won’t work, simply because you need to direct your magic waves against the person whom you want to mind read and the best way to do that is have simple visual contact. Using mirrors won’t work too, since their reflective surfaces are made from aluminum or silver and, as i said, the magic waves are transparent for them. By the way, that’s why you can’t see a vampire reflection in the mirror, did you know that?

    -No, no! That’s really intriguing! – jumped Chisaki on her toes.

    -Yeah. – he delicately scratched his nape. – My point is, the sneaky stuff is not exactly up for this field. So, if you see someone staring intensily at you, you may starting thinking stuff like “LALALALA” or “HSSSSSSSSSS”. – he giggled.

    -Or you can hurl a brick at him! That will definetly make him lose his concentration, right? Especially if you manage to hit him in the head! – suggested Chisaki.

    -Oh, definetely!

    They both laughed. Iki just looked them with an eyes, wondering what’s wrong with these two…

    -What if the magician is walking behind you? – asked Ayuri, slightly narrowing her eyes. – You can do it that way, right?

    Art exhaled deeply to clear his lungs and replied:

    -Yeah, that’s one exception. But most non-magic users are able to pick the magic energy directed towards them – in a sudden worry or a trembling chill, a feeling about something overhanging above you or sometimes even nausea. This is all from the induced energy on your neurons from the other person’s magic.

    -Oh, that’s really interesting! – Ayuri slightly jumped on her toes, then turned at Chisaki, raising her eyebrows curiously: – Did you feel something, when he read your thoughts, Saki?

    She wondered for a moment.

    -I don’t know, as if not. Maybe I got too agitated to really notice anything abnormal… - she looked him with her periphery, grinning teeth lowly…

    Iki and Art just glanced delicately at each other, quickly averting their gazes…

    -Why don’t you try it on me, Art? I’m really curious what I’ll feel! – Ayuri jumped on her toes, turning to him. – I won’t think about secrets or dirty things, I promi…

    -No, no, no, no, I told you, Yu, I really don’t want to do it anymore. Especially when you are aware I’m about to do it and you have deeper understanding on the topic, this will instinctively increase your subconscious resistance. That will be way more negative karma from the other times for me to handle in my current condition…

    -Other… times?... – Chisaki looked at her feet. Then gasped widely, suddenly turning to him. – SO YOU ADMIT YOU USED IT ON THE GIRLS AND OTHER TIMES!!!

    -No, I told you, no! I used it only two times since I’m here, both today! First on Arai, from which I learnt about the Avys’ ambush and then on Raon, but she countered me! She knew about that from Reina and I just felt like an utter fool!

    Iki just gasped at him with her mouth opening wide.

    And Ayuri laughed out loud.

    -Damn cheater… - snorted the little sister.

    -Don’t want to hear that from your team… - snorted Art in return.

    They both sulked, crossing their arms under chests and turned each other backs…

    Chisaki first looked at Art, then at Iki and then again at both Art and Iki.

    -Soo, you said you can detect it, but… - she began. – What if you don’t understand what’s going on? I mean, most people don’t know that stuff you told us just now and they get into such moods for other, non-mind reading regarded reasons, so that they are probably used not to think much of it. And on the contrary, I think this can even bring on the surface their biggest worries and problems, making it for the magician even easier to learn their deepest secrets!

    -Yes, that’s right on point, Saki! – he looked at her. – Damn, you are really smart, getting it this quickly to start making your own conclusions… Well, this is actually not an unfamiliar topic in the magic world. On the contrary, it is so researched, that the science even have a term for it. It is called: “Indirect Anxiety Assault”. And you can get up to 5 years in jail if they catch you using it in Oberland or Lienne. – he smiled a bit.

    She looked him with a googled eyes.

    -That’s… fine. I guess. That the laws are protecting you. But still, I guess I’ll get an iron hat…

    He giggled.

    -You already have one, you blockhead. – said Ayuri, a slightly annoyed.

    She looked her a little bit confused.

    Ayuri sighed.

    -Your helmet.

    Chisaki gasped at the sudden realization, that landed on her. She looked him somewhat amazed.

    -Is the helmet going to work, Art?!

    -Yeah, absolutely. The iron is a very good conductor for magic waves, which means it can enclose them in itself. That works in two ways – first, it restricts yours, not emitting them around, second, it blocks these of the mind-reader.

    Chisaki gasped even widely.

    -Just don’t start wearing it all the time. You’ll get bald… - sighed Ayuri.

    -Better bald, than mind-readed!!! – she clenched her little fists.

    -W-well, none of th…

    -WAZZAP MAH BOIS!!!

    The sudden shout made them jump on their feet. As first reaction, they all started to instinctively (or scarely) turn back to see the source of their sudden disruption, when suddenly something jumped on his back, making him stagger forward, almost falling.

    When he recover and fully restored his balance, straightening his body, he turned his head to the side.

    The blue sapphires shone against him.

    -I hate you, you little demon. – he snorted somewhat bitterly.

    Vick let go of him, jumping back on the ground.

    -Damn it, girl. Don’t scare us like that… - Chisaki once again exhaled several times with a hand on her chest.

    -Why so tense in the first place? – she smiled, jumping enthusiastically on her toes. Then smugged, putting her hand before her mouth, leaning towards them. – Telling each other dirty stories, huh, huh…

    Iki suddenly blushed, hold her face in palms and abruptly turned them her back.

    Vick gasped loudly, almost refusing to believe her joking assumption hit dead on…

    -SO, IT’S TRUE!!!

    -No, it’s not. – Ayuri sighed, crossing her hands below the chest, while looking at her sister. – And you, don’t react like that. You are unintentionally leaving completely wrong impression…

    -S-sorry. – she was still holding her face in the palms.

    Chisaki just looked at his little sister with narrowed eyes.

    -You are… Krul, right?

    -Hai! I’m Krul!

    -Oi, stop lying, brat… - Art snorted, swiftly removing her hairpin, with which revealed her bluish strands of hair, that freely fell over her shoulders.

    -Naaah, return it, return it!!!... – she started to jump and hop energetically, trying to grab him for the hand.

    -Right, right, just stop making scenes… - he handed it back to her, sighing. – Jeez, what’s the reaction for this stupid hairpin…

    -It’s not stupid! – she got it in her little hands, pressing it tightly onto her chest. – It’s very precious to me…

    -Why’s that? – his eyes narrowed.

    -A-a boy gave it t-t… - she blushed a bit.

    -A BOY GAVE IT TO YOU?! – he suddenly snapped of his quiet mood, grabbing her sharply for the shoulders, starting to shake her left and right. – A BOY?! OI, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO TELL ME, THAT SOMEONE CONFESSED TO YOU, ARE YOU?! YOU ARE NOT RECEIVING LETTERS, RIGHT? ARE YOU BEING THREATENED?! IS SOMEONE BLACKMAILING YOU?! JUST TELL ME AND I’L…!!!

    -NO, NO, NO, AND NO! – she suddenly pushed him, releasing from his grab. – Damn bro, just leave me a space to breathe, geez… - she sulked a bit, avoiding his gaze. – It was you, who gifted it to me, remember? For my 9th Birthday…

    Art gasped a bit, looking her amazed. His gaze ended on the double hairpin, representing two longswords, with elven spring-motives hilts, in white-pink cherry blossoms, pale green leaves and rose crystals.

    He remembered now… How together with Soph spent almost a day, searching for a gift, that they’ll hold dear in their hearts. How she hated him in the end of the day, after all his roving and indecisiveness what to choose…

    He succeed, it seems. He bought similar for Krul, but with more dark-blue motives, stars and red-white ribbons too…

    -I-I’m sorry. – he delicately rubbed his nape, avoiding her gaze, as if ashamed.

    -Damn it, bro, your memory is like a golden fish… - Vick pouted, fixing the hairpin back on her head.

    Chisaki giggled, but a little bit restrained, considering the nature of the situation…

    -Jeez, I can’t imagine it when she gets a boyfriend… - Ayuri tossed jokingly.

    -WHAT, A BOYFRIEND?! – he suddenly turned at her, with fires in his eyes, ready to overwhelm her like a panzer.

    -I told you, bro, I don’t have a boyfriend. – she sighed annoyed. – And I barely communicate with any boys, even from my class, except you and big bro Frou…

    -WHAT?! DID HE DO SOMETHING TO YOU?! I’LL…!!!

    She kicked him in the knee.

    -Stop it. I hate you.

    Art just looked her judgingly for a few more seconds.

    -So, what are you doing here?

    -Well, I left the others doing all the work and slipped out to look around the town! – she exclaimed, as if with proud in her voice, smiling charmingly and slightly jumping on her toes.

    Art just looked her bluntly. Then turned to the others, somewhat tired.

    -This is Vicktriss. She is with the blue hair-strands. Krul is with the reds. Also, the other way you can recogniz…

    -NAAAAH, THAT’S A SECRET!!! – she suddenly jumped, covering his mouth.

    Only mumbled sounds came out. He quickly grabbed her hands, pushing them gently away.

    -Just shove off …

    -Tell anybody and I’ll shock you to death!

    -That won’t have effects on my, you know…

    She smugged, giggling lowly.

    -Don’t be so conceited, bro. Even you won’t be able to stand several million volts…

    He frowned a bit.

    -You can’t raise the voltage this much, without a minute-long channeling before that, you brat.

    -Hehe, why are you so sure…

    He frowned even more.

    -Oi, is there something you aren’t telling me, brat? – he looked a bit to the side, getting in thought for a moment, then suddenly locked her with his gaze again. – Sophie isn’t teaching you some new spell again against my back, isn’t she?!

    -LALALALALA, NOT TELLING YOU, LALALALALALALALA!... – she suddenly covered her ears and closed her eyes…

    -Hey, stop it! You are annoying… - snorted Art, lightly pushing her for the shoulder.

    -Oi, we were talking about this stuff just before you jumped in! – Chisaki suddenly pointed at her, looking her amazed.

    Vick dropped down her hands, frowning a bit against her.

    -Really?

    -Yeah. – began Ayuri. – Your brother was just explaining us this bad energy stu…

    -AAAAAI, WHY ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THIS SCARY STUFF!!! – suddenly raising a howl, she abruptly reached below her shirt, from where she pulled out her talisman and rising it high, she crossed her fingers on the other hand, shrugging to cover her ears with shoulders, while closing her eyes and starting to thump on the concrete pavese with her little foot. – PHU-PHU, GO AWAY, GO AWAY, DON’T WANT TO LISTEN, DON’T WANT TO LISTEN!!!

    Art just sighed.

    -You have already accumulated enough for several lives. For all this shocking you put people through…

    Her eyes widened madly.

    And suddenly, she dropped on the ground, bowing with her head on the concrete.

    -I’m sorry, I’m sorry! I promise, I promise, I won’t use it anymore! So forgive me and make it go away!!!

    He sighed again. Then grabbed her, lifting her on her feet, dusting of her elbows and knees.

    -You know it’s not working like that, you little devil. – his voice sounded somewhat tired. – So, you better start doing good deeds, to somewhat restore the purity of your energy…

    -I will, I will, I promise! – she lightly jumped on her toes.

    -Right. – he hugged her over her shoulder and turned to the others. – Sorry, let’s continue.

    The five of them get going again, with the first minute in complete silence. But the radiating curiosity of the three girls, so strong, that he would have been able to pick it, even if he wasn’t a magician, was just yelling at him that this silence won’t continue for too long. They were just going to eat him with curiosity before that…

    Art just puffed.

    -You don’t need to wear your helmet all day, Saki. For 30 bucks, you can buy some amulets against the thought reading, that will protect you all the time, you are wearing it. – he continued, slightly irritated by some reason…

    Ah, yeah, because of his sister, that was clinging on his arm, poking him unintentionally from time to time in the rubber-bullet wound, that was making him screech his teeth from pain.

    -B-but, we are not magicians, senpai! How are we gonna use it? – Chisaki’s eyes were ready to tear up.

    -That’s the difference between the amulet and the talisman, big sis Saki! – Vick raised her hand, locking her charmingly. – Amulets are passive elements, meaning that they will work even if the person, who is wearing them is not magician, defending and protecting him by their specified function, while the talismans are usually used by magicians to enhance personal power!

    -Yeah. She explained it all. – sighed Art.

    -So… what are yours? – asked Ayuri.

    Art pulled his’ from below his shirt, holding it openly in his palm.

    -This is just a basic Xóchitl transformer. It’s talisman for energy amplification and mine have programmed a formula for opening portals. So I don’t have to go through the portal opening sequence every time – I just need to command it. – he smiled slightly.

    -Hai! – Vick jumped enthusiastically, pulling out and hers. – Mine’s is Auriga’s talisman! It doesn’t have programmed portal formula, since it is a more specialized one! I’ve programmed it for air ionization channeling! – she smiled.

    -Why air ionization? – Ayuri looked her curiously.

    -Ionized air is a very good conductor for electricity. – snorted Chisaki slightly. – You know, lightnings and stuff…

    -Oooh, I see.

    -Yeah. – snorted and Art. – Auriga is specialized brand for electric-based spell-amplifying talismans. I hate this nasty bunch…

    Ayuri and Vick giggled.

    -So, can yours protect you from though-reading? – Chisaki’s eyes narrowed.

    -Technically yes, but I don’t have such function programmed, because… I’ve explained it to you a while ago. It’s just a waste of space in the magic crystal memory, which leads to latency, lag, unnecessary energy consumption and such. So, if you are really interested in mind-protection, you need to precisely look for the following two amulets, created specifically to do this job: First, the Yaotl amulet. This one works by enclosing your mindwaves within itself, thus leaving nothing for the assaulter to read. The cheap ones are made with obsidian cores as magic matrix, the more expensive ones – with crystallized cobalt alloys. You know, the cobalt, from all the researched elements, have the best mind-magic related properties, did you know that! But they starts from 100 dollars and up, but don’t worry, the obsidian variants are just working fine too! Just make sure to buy it from some official supplier, like Zeyriffa or Migtron, coming with official test-certificate, with which you can hold them responsible, if something goes wrong! The laws are really strict at this, since you, know, this is very serious stuff! And not from your shady neighbor, that had build one in his basement, with who knows what hidden stuff programmed in it! Like mild hypnosis, energy drain or such…

    -Brrr, scary… - Chisaki rubbed her shoulders.

    -Yeah, absolutely! So, don’t buy magic stuff from shady persons! Ever! The second one is Iyat’syll amulet – this one is more like an active transmitter, that fills the whole space around you with uniform, white noise, thus making your mind-waves being lost somewhere in the whole spectrum. But this is not always 100% realible, since there are some really good magic-engineers out there, that can decompose the whole spectrum in its different components in just mere seconds!… And also, there are side effects too. First, since this amulet has an active component, this means it is being recharged by the person’s own energy – this can sometimes lead to weakness or nausea, especially if the person is not healty by one reason or another, and other times some components of the wave noise can lead to headaches or dizziness, especially after prolonged carrying…

    -Yeaaah, I think I’ll also stick to the first variant. – said Chisaki.

    -Yeah, that’s definetily the best option, I can help you with th…

    He suddenly got quiet. Because just noticed how Iki was staring at him with her narrowed eyes, making some strange faces from time to time…

    And looked him so insistent, that it didn’t seem like she ever had the intention to move it away...

    -Are you okay, Iki? – he asked, frowning a bit.

    The others just now looked at her.

    -Oi, stop starring at him like that! It’s rude. – Ayuri slightly pushed her on the shoulder.

    Iki didn’t even flinch. Vick, first looking surprised, as if suddenly got the whole picture and laughed out loud.

    -Are you… trying to read his thoughts? – Chisaki’ eyes narrowed, frowning a bit.

    Art looked the two girls amazed in the first moment, then returned his gaze back to Tsuikihi, as if weighting their thoughts and shares by the expression on her face.

    -You should stop, Iki! He will bite you in the ass! – exclaimed Vicktriss, still with joyfull in her voice.

    Ayuri looked them consequently, yet bewildered from the exactness of the happening…

    -I really wish you to stop, Iki. This is not a joke. – he said, somewhat concerned.

    She continued, completely deaf for his remark.

    Art just sighed, touching his middle and index fingers with a thumb.

    -Ova.

    As if a ballon suddenly poped… but it was so quiet and mild, like it it was somewhere off in the distance.

    They all felt how the whole space around energized. Electrifying their hairs… Sending shivers all their bodies, tickling with their nerves… As if some mystical wind hit them straight in the faces, distorting all their senses in the weirdest imaginable way possible…

    With Iki suddenly staggering, as if she stumbled upon some invisible rock…

    -Iki! – Ayuri, despite all her feelings messed up, she quickly tried to reach for her…

    … but the girl, while covering her ears, as if the boom happened directly in them, miracously restored her balance, as if she was some hard-boiled, long-experienced acrobat.

    And suddenly turned to him, looking him with her goggled eyes.

    -W-what w-was t-that?! – her voice shook.

    Chisaki also looked him bewildered, with Ayuri taking more curious approach at him, tilting her head in her own charming way.

    -There are also other ways to protect yourself against the mind-reading, Iki. Told you, this is no joke… – he looked her for a second, then moved his gaze ahead.

    -B-b… How, I wasn’t even doing it really, i-I m-mean, I jus…

    -Yeah, but your concentration was strong enough to direct your waves straight at me, just by the desire of your will. Despite the fact that you had no idea what you were doing, let alone being able to interact with my thoughts, let alone being able to translate them. Every person is capable of doing this on a primitive level. That’s why everyone can be a magician, if he start learning.

    She suddenly gasped amazed, completely forgeting his previous not-so-nice actions, specifically directed toward her.

    -Soo, you can interrupt even non-magic persons?! – Chisaki exclaimed, also looking him with some twisted form of admiration…

    -Magic, non-magic, waves are waves. Universal rule.

    -Hoo, nice!… - she nobbed several times with head.

    -I told you… He is really mean. – Vick sobbed artificially.

    He didn’t even pay ounce an attention to her.

    Iki looked straight ahead.

    -I-I’m s-sorry a-again f-for my s-stupid-dity and s-stuff, b-but… I-I r-r-really still d-don’t g-get h-how all of t-this is c-connec-t-ted to this b-bad energy s-stuff… - she timibly rubbed her hands, as if was really ashamed of her density.

    -Oh, no, no, Iki, it’s me, who is sorry. Well, I said this is really complex topic with very long and dull introduction before I can get into the essence, so at least you can understand a reasonable part of what I’m trying to say … And I still have stuff to talk, before get to the point, lol...
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021
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  19. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    Soo, i photoshoped Vhinhym's map. I imagine it to be 3 times the size of Japan, or roughly 1 000 000 km2. Also, some of the names are quite random and i can change one or two with more epic sounding, if i happen to send my characters in some adventure to other provinces, soo...
    I'm still wondering for the idea about the decentralization... I'm thinking this might the more Falkland's stuff... Still, Saitama will be the strongest province, of course!
    Next, i'll probably do the map of Falkland the same way. That's where the stuff will really get out of hand...

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
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  20. yywee

    yywee Well-Known Member

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    -Oh, no, no, Iki, it’s me, who is sorry. Well, I said this is really complex topic with very long and dull introduction before I can get into the essence, so at least you can understand a reasonable part of what I’m trying to say … And I still have stuff to talk, before get to the point, lol.

    -And he is skipping all the academics, theorems, formulas and definitions! – pointed up Vick. – Otherwise you would have been death bored by now!

    -Yes, that’s true. – he tossed her a quick glance. – I’m just explaining it on a elementary school level, skipping all the academics. Which are 90% of all the stuff. – he smiled innocently.

    Chisaki and Iki just looked him amazed.

    -Yeah, and is good, that you are doing it. – said Ayuri. – I’ve seen Reina’s books once or twice. And I have very “fond” memories, especially for the one, called “Theoretical Magic Part 2.”

    -Ooh, yes, this shit is very nasty!!! – he suddenly exclaimed, looking her with a very strange excitement in him. – Did you see the part for calculating the portal dynamics, using multiple Roshkhod integrals in a polar coordinate system?! Just by gazing upon these, you’ll want to start shooting yourself with every possible caliber known to the mankind! No wonders that there is not a single magic person, I know, who doesn’t hate it! My sister said, that 90% of the students fail this subject on the exams at least once! And I’ve experienced it first handedly why!

    Iki and Ayuri gasped amazed.

    -Well, but you are a very good teacher, senpai! – Chisaki jumped enthusiastically. – I’m getting everything you say! Well, most of it… - she delicately evaded his gaze.

    Art just giggled delicately.

    -Big bro is the best teacher around! – Vick clung on his arm, bumping unintentionally on his wound again. – After big sis Kae, of course!

    -Ha, how very nice of you, you little demon. – he disheveled her hair a lightly. Then, turned his attention to the others. – So, as you witnessed it already, even a non-magic person can influence the response in a magic event. Of course, on academy level this is a very sophisticated topic, but if you bring it down to its simplified philosophical core, all the real difference comes to the fact, that the magic person is controlling the magic-related events consciously and the non-magic person is doing it subconsciously. Some of the non-magic people are capable of doing this very strongly, others – not so much. Some can do it in active way – like, all of you have probably heard stories about how someone suddenly manifest magic power to save a loved one in danger, like in some of the old fairy tales, but then in its daily life never manifest it again… Most are doing it only passively. With the point being, that everybody is able, everyone have this hidden potential within itself to become a magic person and what really the training do, if you, again, exclude all academics and look it philosophically, is just to shift your mental consciousness state. This should not surprise you at all! – it is a very well known and researched topic, with countless experiments done in this field, and being done, that concludes it. But the thing, that may really surprise you, is that some animals are capable of doing it too. Although, if you really get in depth at this stuff, and I mean academic-level depth, you’ll understand why and there’s nothing surprising.

    Chisaki suddenly got in thought, frowning a bit.

    -You mean… Like the stuff about the cats and the witches? – she looked him with her narrowed eyes.

    -Yes, exactly! You brought this spot on, Saki! You see, cats are especial recipients for magic energy and, which is more important – bad energy. That’s why they are mostly witches lovers and not so other magicians lovers. And – i can finally start touching this topic – that’s why they just love all the kinds of objects in your house – laying in boxes, on cabinets, beds, chairs and all kind of stuff, that makes people wonders what’s on their minds.

    It may sound really weird to you, but there is actually a very solid reason to this. You see, humans, animals, even some plants, there is no matter: electromagnetic and magic waves are just electromagnetic and magic waves and their rules and theorems apply to all the things, that fall under the classical and quantum laws of physics and magic theory. And since EM and magic waves are emitted by an electrically charged particles, that undergo acceleration, they carry energy, momentum and angular momentum, and thus can impart those quantities to the matter with which they interact and exert force over it. And the part that’s very important here: they can do that to objects too, especially the magic waves.

    -The whole thing he is trying to is that non-magic persons can charge unconsciously the objects around them with magic energy! That’s why cats love objects! Because they absorb the magic energy very well! Like the snakes like heat! – jumped Vick enthusiastically on her toes.

    Art looked her a little bit under his eyebrows.

    -Yeah, that’s what… I’m trying to say…

    -That’s really amazing, senpai!!! – Chisaki exalted enthusiastically. – How much stuff do you know! Amazing!!! – she was ready to jump on his neck.

    Art just smiled innocently.

    -Well, as I said, this is just the basic magic theory. They teach this in magic elementary schools, when you are 9 or 10. – he delicately scratched his nape.

    Iki and Chisaki gasped against him in disbelief. Ayuri focusing her gaze ahead, getting in thought.

    -I think, I’m starting to get it little by little. – she began. – Reina have mentioned us before that sometimes house objects can really mess up your magic. That’s why she was getting to maniacal levels to keep everything properly “positioned”, whatever that means, in the Council room and forbid us to move anything from its place. Although I had no idea this was somewhat connected to this bad energy stuff…

    -Yeah, that’s right. See, the botton line here is that emitted EM and magic waves charge and affect the things around you. This is the stuff, that you’ve probably heard before… Like… like, for example, some people say they can’t sleep well because it is a full moon and stuff!

    -And others are turning into werewolves, right? – Ayuri smiled against him.

    -Well, this is entirely connected to the magical side of the topic and is curse related too, so… - he giggled. – But the visible light, being and electromagnetic wave, can and affects the human body which, as I said, behave like electrical machine. Of course, it is not only the visible light, there is connection to the sleep-wake cycles too, but the point still holds true. And for the magic waves side of this topic you have stuff like… For example, how you have clothes, that, despite how beautiful they are, you really don’t like to wear. Or keeping a new, separate set of utensils only for guests…

    -Oh, I have heard of these! – exclaimed Chisaki, jumping enthusiastically.

    -Yeah, I bet you are. Most of the people had… This is because with the time some objects, expect some specific elements, like silver or aluminum, which are transparent for the magic waves, as I said earlier, store people’s magical energy, they subconsciously emit. And with the particles carrying this specific set of properties, which they can imbue on other objects, this is either good energy, neutral energy or – the topic of our conversation – bad energy. And, I bet you can make the connection now, these objects’ magic fields can directly affect other people. In a good, neutral or a bad way. How that works, exactly? Well, simply put – because magic waves “store emotions”. The long story – when a person focuses his attention or remembers something, for example, he emits these waves. This is done by thousands, even tens of thousands of neurons firing up simultaneously. In humans, the emotions are controlled by a group of neurochemicals, stepping up or stepping down the brain activity level. These includes neurotransmitters, neuropeptitides, hormones and so on, which are stored in glands and special cells that the nervous system controls by electric impulses. So, to summarize it…

    -Your magic waves carry emotions, that can be induced on objects, that can be absorbed by other people in a bad way! – Vick jumped enthusiastically on her toes, smiling broadly.

    Art just looked her under his eyebrows annoyed. He sighed and looked ahead.

    -Yeah… You can put it that way… almost… Let’s take when you are feeling sad, for example. This emotion will trigger very specific neurons in you, that will generate waves with corresponding energy, frequency and momentum. So, once again, don’t buy shady stuff from shady people… Please… Then, if another person interacts with a “charged” object, the object’s field, emitting these particles with the specific energy properties, can trigger the same corresponding neurons, that were triggered in the first person, when he became sad. And thus, in theory, this can also cause sadness in you.

    But of course, this stuff is much more complicated, than you can imagine it. First, it is all this wave interference stuff… Because you are also emitting waves, remember? If two waves with similar amplitudes and frequences, but different polarities bump into each other, an interference occurs, they cancel each other and nothing is induced on the neurons. But if this happens with two waves of the same or similar frequencies and same polarity, their shape changes linearly, they add each other and create a new, amplified one. Then, you have charge storage coefficients, dissipating rate, properties of the objects, external factors… As many objects can store magic energy with years, also that much can do it only for seconds, fading almost right away. Also, the energy object’s hold can be discharged… From random encounters with another iron or ferrite materials, the types of amulets, that enclose energies within themselves, purification or cleansing spells, or even from running water, for example. This is why vampires can’t cross rivers too, did you know? Since they are magical entities, already having difficulties existing in our world with all this wave interferences, diffractions and stuff, especially in our modern world, where we creating and putting in the air even more such artificially, that can really mess with their magic-supported bodies.

    Take for example the thing, that they cannot enter someone’s house uninvited – this is absolutest form of a bad energy interference! Since the down of time, our ancestors have lived in a much more dangerous world, than we are living today. Just imagine the things, they had gone through… The hostile environment, with all its monsters and other species, fighting for territories, hunting grounds, resourses… Finding food in a scarce world, desolated by the dragons, rough winters and torrid summers, drought seasons and bad harvestes, even a Vampire World war and all the other wars between ourselves and other species. Fighting for survival day, after day, after day… So you can make it back home… To finally have hot meal, a bath, a warmth from the fireplace, time with your precious family… The safest place in the world, where you can escape the danger, have rest and forget all your troubles. Can you imagine with the aeons, how much stronger this mentality have grown in our predecessors? Can you imagine all the spiritual strength and energy a person is putting subconsciously not only around himself, but also on all the objects in his home, where he feels the safest and most secure, concentrated in this particular, defensive spectrum? To even stop a vampire?! And it can do this not only with vampires – some demons and other energy entities can also have difficulties breaking a home barrier. Even if a human magician try enter someone’s home uninvited and assault the person, this can really mess up with his magic! You just have no idea what kinky things starts to happen! And this is typical not only in humans – other races also have such passive magical defenses, in a stronger or a weaker sense. This is not about magic, or waves, or particles anymore… This is all about evolution. Because the nature always find a way to balance things out. So nothing can predominance over other…

    Like how the Dragons were the dominant species on this planet tens of thousand years ago, but since they became so many and with their territories and hunting grounds spreading in thousands of square miles for each, they exterminated 90% of the species populations and died of hunger… Allowing for the humans and the other races to step up in the dominant role… Like, how the forest fires put enormous clouds in the sky, that then bring down rains on them…

    It’s the same with the humans. How do you defend yourself, if you are not a magician? How can you stand against such a powerful creature, that is a vampire? You adapt. You evolve. And you don’t invite vampires in your home.

    Ayuri giggled abstained.

    And Iki and Chisaki looked him, as if he just admitted he was a vampire…

    Art just exhaled loudly, rising a pitch.

    -Damn, that was exhausting. I feel I can go and sleep for 16 hours straight now…

    Vick clapped several times enthusiastically. Chisaki’s face turned curious.

    -So, if I’m understanding it correctly, when you read the other persons thoughts, you can “catch” and some bad thoughts, along with the stuff, you read from them, right? – her eyebrows raised.

    -Hehe, bad thoughts are the harmless thing you can catch from a person, hehehe… - smugged Vicktriss.

    Art smacked her lightly in the neck.

    -Oi, you are still too young for such thoughts to be in your mind, devil…

    Vick just stepped away from him, making faces.

    -I’m old enough for everything! It’s too late, you can’t deceive me with childish gibberish anymore, I know this stuff! I’ve watched these adult movies already!!!

    Art gasped loudly and for a few seconds he just stood there stunned against her in total disbelief. If he wasn’t utterly stupefied, he would have heard how Iki and Chisaki also exclaimed amazed behind him, with their faces blushing and eyes widening.

    Then, his thoughts fully proceed…

    -YOU’VE WATCHED WHAT?! – he swiftly turned towards her, with eyes suddenly turning ablaze, grabbing her for the shoulders and starting to shake her left and right a bit.

    -NAAAAH, IT WAS KRUL’S IDEA, I SWEAR, I SWEAR! SHE WANTED TO WATCH IT!!! – she raised her little hands before her, closing eyes and turning her face to the side, as if he was going to punch her…

    But he just froze.

    Starring at her trembling face, with his mouth open, but words not procceding.

    Then just sighed and let her go.

    -I’m not even surprised anymore. Do whatever you want…

    -I-I knew it! – Chisaki pointed a finger at him, with her voice a bit shaky. – You whole lot are just a bunch of perverts! I bet, despite all, you are still reading the other girls’ thoughts! That’s why only trouble follows you!!!

    He just sighed deeper. Just wanted to lay on the ground peacefully and die right away…

    -I’m too tired for this shit, Saki. Stop messing with me or I’ll curse you.

    Chisaki just gulped. Stepping a bit to the back and a bit to the side, behind Ayuri. Iki looked him somewhat in awe.

    -So, this bad energy stuff can bring you bad luck or what? – asked the big sister.

    -Well, you can somewhat describe it like that. Basically, not only you can catch “bad stuff” from the victim, you are reading thoughts from, but he can also attack you subconsciously. As I said, some can do it stronger from the others, some can even put such a strong defense, without knowing it, that you won’t be able to go though, some can attack you so sneaky, that you won’t even catch it – they won’t know they’re doing it too, by the way. And with all the total clusterfuck of localized events that the waves interference is, the influence of the bad energy on person can really shifts into the field of subconsious perception and mind tricks… I mean, just try to calculate the full outcome of a wave magic interference between two people with all the differential equations and vector matrices, that are describing it! A PC with 4 quadruple crossfired top-end GPUs will need a few days to run the fucking simulation!!! Can you image how much data this is? It’s compatible with stuff like protein folding or neural networks training…

    Chisaki made face as if she was really impressed.

    -That sounds really serious, Senpai! – she exclaimed.

    -Yeah, it really is. My point is that with this stuff, you can never fully predict by yourself, without the best equipment in the world, what the full outcome of an interference, that befall on you, will be! Even if you take all precotious against bad energy and use all the defenses, it will still accumulate in a unpredictable manner and will influence your actions, even your life. So, as you do in many fields, you just approximate down stuff to a mathematical level and don’t deal with mind-boggling real events. And in our case, if you are not stupid, you follow just a few simple rules. Like, don’t mess with stuff, you don’t understand. Don’t read thoughts. Don’t try to influence or interfere with other people. Don’t use bad eyes, curses or hypnosis on people, that will instinctively defend against you… Don’t mess with demons, genies and other magical entities. Punch energy vampires in the face regularly. Don’t enter houses uninvited. Don’t buy unchecked magical stuff, that can happen to hold some strong ancient spell or curse in it, that will have your days finished… Simple stuff. If you don’t want to bother with differential equations.

    -Well, basically most of what you did today… - Chisaki eyes narrowed reprimandingly against him.

    -Hey, he said, if you are not stupid! And he got his ass handed to him almost immediately! See! Karma works! – Vick leaned against her.

    Art just sighed, looking her tired.

    -I’m not talking about this stuff anymore. Suit yourselves. – he pouted, crossing his hands below his chest.

    -Oh, c’mon, c’mon, senpai, I’m just kidding! – Chisaki pushed him slightly in the shoulder. – You shouldn’t take life so seriously…

    He just looked her grimly – so much, that Chisaki smile suddenly disappeared, she gulped loudly and her face froze.

    -I’m sorry, don’t curse me, I’m sorry, don’t curse me... – she began to recite, bowing deeply with each.

    -Stop it. You are annoying. – he just snorted, looking to the other side.

    -Sorry, sorry…

    He glanced back at her with his periphery. In thoughts whether he should continue the exchange or just turn her into a frog, Vick suddenly snugged onto him.

    -What’s wrong, bro? You are unusually irritable today!

    -Must be the lack of sleep. Sorry…

    -What did you do so much last night to bring yourselves to such condition? – asked Ayuri. – Seriously, all of you look like some zombies…

    Just by mentioning of that word, all his life flashed before his eyes. An invisible hand clenched his heart.

    -You won’t believe me… - he slightly massaged his chest.

    -We fought a pix’ and giant snakes from another dimention in a huge underground cave with a warship, commanded by a zombie crew and a horse without head that only its eyes were shining! – Vick smiled, jumping enthusiastically on her toes.

    Ayuri and Iki at first just looked her. They weren’t amazed or anything else, they were just… kind of puzzled.

    Then Chisaki laughed out loud.

    -Oh, I get all now! You’ve played one of Nym’s stupid games! You should really be careful with her, senpai! She’ll take all our sleep! Don’t fall into there, it’s very unhealthy!

    Now, both of them looked her surprised. Oh, right, this really simplified the things, he wasn’t going to persist anymore. Quite a convenient way to end this topic right here.

    -Yeah, we’ll be careful... – his eyes narrowed. – So, is this the market? – Art nodded at the huge blue-white signboard. – I’ve noticed that we were circling around the same place for the last ten minutes.

    -Well yes, but you are such a sweat talker, that I couldn’t bring myself to interrupt you. And we got a plenty of time, so I think it’s fine. The things you told us were very interestic! – Ayuri turned to him, as if ready to jump into his hug.

    -I’m glad I didn’t bore you to death. – he forcefully smiled.

    Ayuri also did it, but more sincere.

    -C’mon, let’s go. I’m dying to have some snacks. Today was very energy consuming. – Chisaki went first and the automatic doors slided off her path.

    The others quickly followed her. Without waiting, Chisaki grabbed one of the hand baskets and started filling it from the nearest shelf as fast as her arms were holding…

    -Oi, don’t take everything your eyes see! We need to carry it, after all! – scolded her Ayuri, but it mostly fall on her back.

    -Hai, hai… - her hand waved irritated in one fluid motion of her overall movement of her efforts to strip the entire stand. – Art will carry it – he said he is very strong!

    -That was you… - Ayuri just sighed quietly behind her.

    And got a hand basket too.

    Iki looked her somewhat worryingly. Like there was some hidden curse it in.

    Art noticed this anxiety in her instantly – and very well knew what it was...

    -You should be at rest, Iki. Plastics don’t store magic energy at all. Have no worries.

    She looked him with her wet eyes.

    -I-I’m sorry… Even after you went in such detail… I still don’t fully get it… How can objects store energy and stuff…

    -Well… - Art got in thought for a moment. – You can imagine it like a magnet! You know how magnets work, right?... Oi, devil, this is your field of specialization! Explain it to her!

    Vick suddenly turned, looking him surprised.

    -Wha, why me?!... – then her eyes narrowed. – Are you… testing me? Now?!...

    -Take it whatever you want. But you are not going to a magic school, if you don’t know such an elementary stuff…

    -Right, right, I’ll do it. Geez… - she looked at Iki and moved her hands in a way she was going to start making gestures with them. – So, first you take a ferromagnetic material and machine it or mold it into a shape. That’s usually an alloy made from iron, nickel, cobalt and some rare-earth elements. But if you only do that, you won’t get a magnet! You see, since the magnetic field is a vector field and the domains of a non-treated material will all point in random directions, that means the dipole vectors will cancel each others and the result will be a very low net sum magnetic field…

    -Oi, devil, you should take into consideration the terms you are using when you are presenting! If people can’t understand you, they’ll just lose interest and stop listening!

    She just looked him annoyed.

    -But vectors are teached in middle school! They should all know this stuff by now!

    -Vectors yes, but the vector fields are Calculus stuff from the Further mathematics, that are teached in universities! It’s an exeption that Kaere tought us this stuff so early and it doesn’t mean that the others were thought this too!

    -It’s their problem if they don’t know such stuff, why should I care!!

    -Listen, if you don’t want to explain it, just tell me, I’ll do it…

    -Nah, nah, I’ll finish it!...

    -I know what a vector field is. – Chisaki suddenly poped next to them with almost a full hand basket, looking them curiously. – Vector is a geometric object, that have a magnitude and a direction. A vector field is an assignment of vector to each point in given space. And since the magnetic field is made by many magnetic dipole moments, with both strength and direction of which can vary with the location, you describe them using vector fields. Easy. Oh, and ferromagnetic means material that can be magnetized.

    Art and Vick looked her with a bit widened eyes.

    -Damn, Saki! You are really smart and good at Physics!

    -Thank you, senpai! – she smiled charmingly at him. – As a reward for the compliment, I’ll allow you to carry my basket! – and suddenly shove it onto his hand…

    -Wha… - Art almost swayed forwads because of the basket’s sudden weight and when he looked up, the girl was already back at the entrance of the market from where she took a new, empty one and started filling it with the same industrial speed as before.

    -Uhm, do we have enough money? – he asked.

    -Yeah. I got the school account card. We should be fine.

    Art just raised his eyebrows quietly, still not letting Chisaki out of sight.

    Iki moved delicately fingers one around the others.

    -S-so, what h-happnes after t-that… - she asked quietly.

    Vick turned and looked her in the first time kinda surprised.

    -Oh, I almost forgot… So, you have a piece of ferromagnetic material with all of its domains pointing in a different directions and thus mostly cancelling with each other since, if you remember, fields with similar amplitudes, but opposite polarities do that and the resulting magnetic field is very weak or straight non-existent, right? So, you need to align them all in one direction, to sum all the domains, so they all add up. You do this by passing high DC voltage, DC current through it – this magnetize the ferromagnetic material and aligns the domains in one direction, resulting in a very strong magnetic field! You know, that’s how you get the north and the south poles stuff… This magnetic field can last very, very long time! – magnets usually lose their strength at a rate of 1 to 5% for 100 years! And it can interact with many other objects! One method to demagnetize it is to pull it through an electric coil with an AC current running through it, or to heat it above its Curie temperature! Now, compare this permament magnet to a electromagnet, for example! They are usually made from a copper wire, wound around a ferromagnetic core! Copper isn’t ferromagnetic, but if you run current through it, it creates magnetic field around it, that is enclosed in the ferromagnetic core, which magnetizes! But since here you don’t pass current directly through the ferromagnetic core, the moment you switch it off, it demagnetizes right away! So, to have a magnet in this situation, you need to run current through it all the time! Now, try to compare this example with the objects and the magic energy! If you subject an object with high magic constant to a magic field, they can store it for thousands of years without loosing any significant portion of it! But if you put them close to running water or iron materials, they’ll loose their magnetic field! Other objects, with worse magnetic constant, will store magic field only for the duration for which they are exposed to such! And then if you remove the magic field, they’ll quickly loose theirs too! It is really simple stuff, big sis Iki, if you imagine it to a stuff, you already understand! Most of the different studies works on the same principles! It’s an universal rule!

    -OH, I GET IT NOW! – Iki’s eyes suddenly shone, as she clang her fist onto her other palm. – So, you just need to know the properties of the materials! Just like how the magnet can stick to some things, but can’t do it to others!

    -Exactly. You are such a genious… - mumbled Vick sarcastically.

    -Oh, nice, nice! – Iki didn’t catch it at all.

    -So, what are the materials that hold magic fields? – Ayuri looked her curiously.

    -Hmm, let’s see… - Vick touched her chin with fingers. – From the metals you have iron and cobalt, as big bro said. Lead, copper, tin, zinc, gold too… Aluminum, silver, titanium and nickel are completely transparent for magic fields, meaning they don’t hold such at all. Mercury is somewhere in between… Then you have woods, ceramics and clays… Fabrics like linen, cotton, wool, silk, velvet… Especially the last three, since they are animal-based… Hmm, let’s see… From the stones you have Azurite, Turquoise, Sapphire, Opal, Lapis Lazuli… Oh, did you know the diamond is quite unique in this regard! Once you charge it, it will hold its energy forever! No need for recharging and you cannot dissipate it’s magic field with anything! Even if you break it into tiny pieces, they’ll still hold a proportional charge of the magic field! Many people don’t know that, but that’s one of the reasons why with the time they became the main wedding stones!

    -Oooh, that’s really interesting! – Iki exclaimed once more and her eyes shone again like diamonds.

    -Oh, I see. So that’s why some marriages fail and other succeed. It all depends how you handle the stone beforehand. I understand it all now. – said Ayuri with a tiny note of mockery in her voice.

    -Well, usually there is more to this than that. – Art giggled delicately.

    She just smiled charmingly to him.

    -Omg, bro, just look how many types of SxS they have! – Vick suddenly jabbed him in the ribs, pointing at the stand before her. – Vanilla-rose, Caramel, Ruby Chocolate, Melon. Hot Chili, Double-chocolate, Muscovado special, Elven apple, Grapefruit, Cinnamon-ginger, Sweet Potato, Macha, Chocolate-banana, Fruit parfait and so on and so on! You guys have some serious obsession with this! Omg, back in the fucking Falkland we only have white chocolate and dark chocolate variations! Damn, why I haven’t been born here!!!

    Art looked at the colorful shelf. It was at least ten meters in wide, on six levels, from bottom to top shelves, filled with packages at various sizes.

    -Want me to buy you something, little devil? Choose.

    She looked him somewhat suspicious.

    -You sure? Don’t want you to spend your money on me…

    -Don’t worry about that, devil. I have a bit ot savings and mom gave me a good allowance for the time being, so it’s all fine…

    -Damn it, bro. You’ll almost bring me to tears how nice you can act sometimes…

    -Oi, don’t say it like I’m some mean bastard, you brat…

    -Then, I’ll have triple chocolate for me! But what about the others, bro? I can’t take only for myself! – she looked him somewhat guilty.

    -I told you it’s fine, Vick.

    -Sure! Then, let’s see… Blue berries for Krul!... Cherries for Sophie!... and mint for Aiv! That’ll be… 440 yen? Damn it, how much is that?!

    -About 3,8 dollars. No worries.

    -Thanks bro, you are the best! – she jumped at him, hugging him through the waist.

    -Hai, hai. Don’t cling onto me. – he slightly disheveled her hair.

    She looked up, straight in his eyes.

    -Oi, what about you?

    -I’m fine. There’ll be a cake later and I need to be careful with the sugar.

    -Really?! A cake?! – she looked with sparkling eyes at Ayuri and Iki.

    -Hm. – simply mumbled the big sister.

    -You should be too, little devil. Too much sugar before a proper meal will spike and drop your blood glucose levels too quickly, after which you’ll feel even more like a beaten goblin.

    -Should we get you something proper to eat, then? I bet you are exhausted after such a game. – looked him Ayuri.

    -I won’t refuse. We didn’t have time to breakfast this morning, nor managed to prepare some lunch. We can get something on foot on our way back.

    -Well, there are some very nice lunch sets usually on such places. You can also check that, you won’t regret it! – suggested Ayuri.

    -Oh, thanks! I’ll have it in mind.

    Soon, Chisaki returned to them with her second hand basket almost full again.

    -Damn girl, you clearly aren’t joking around. – exclaimed Art. – C’mon, let me carry this too. – he reached with his free hand.

    Chisaki slapped it away slightly.

    -Don’t worry, senpai. No need to carry everything.

    His eyebrows just moved slightly in a silent response, as they continued to move around the shelves.

    -Damn, look bro! They have a bajillion types soy stuff, 10 000 kinds of seaweeds and countless fish products. Damn, why, we are also a sea nation, why don’t we have such stuff too!…

    -Well, we also have stuff they don’t…

    -Just look! – Vick ignored him. –Wheat flour pasta. Buckwheat flour pasta. Sweet potato pasta! Egg pasta. Rice flour pasta. Acorn flour pasta! Potato starch pasta. Squid ink pasta!…

    -Oi, don’t call the Vhynehaimese noodles pasta! That’s how you get killed here. – Chisaki frowned.

    Vick looked her somewhat puzzled. Then turned back at the stand.

    -I mean, big bro Frou is bringing us all kinds of bizzare pasta from Oderon, but this here is getting out of hand!

    -Well, we are here now, we can try all of it one by one.

    Vick eyes shone against him.

    -Really?!

    -Mhm.

    -I love you! – once again she jumped into his hug.

    After thoroughly looking around, mainly because Vick and Art wanted to discover all the marvelous prodicts this place hold, specific for their culture, they got the snacks and beverages, stuffed it into several bags and left.

    -Damn, Reina is going to kill me for how much I’ve spent… - Ayuri looked at the credit card somewhat grievously, before putting it back in her wallet.

    -A-and we still need to buy a cake… - added somewhat timidly Iki.

    -That’ll probably cost more than everything we’ve took until now. – said Chisaki. – Especially if we decide for something more “fancy”. Like we always do…

    -It’s thanks to your “fancy”, mostly useless stuff, that we are over any reasonable spending now. – looked her with her peripherals Ayuri.

    -Hmp! – she just proudly raised her chin, turning her head to side, hugging the cardboard bag before her chest.

    -It’s Maison Dorée, after all. They only have fancy stuff.

    Ayuri looked her bluntly. And just sighed deeply. You cannot argue with someone in their rebellious phase, they said. Soo…

    -Whatever. – she decide it was pointless and let go. – I’ll just come up with something.

    -Yeah. Like, because it’s transfer students party time? I mean, how often do we have transfer students?! It’s a very special occasion! Or even better – she mysteriously leaned towards Ayuri, lowering her voice. – Let’s just directly bury her deep underground! Plus all additional problems solved! – her eyes glimmered with a strange liveness in it.

    -Ha, you’ll have quite difficulties with that…

    -Art will help us! – she agily turned towards him, smiling charmingly.

    -W-wha?! – he looked her utterly stunned. – Stop talking absurd shit! Reina is nice, she’ll understand!

    -Ha! Put that faith of yours in the news when you bring it to her, then! I’m telling you, Vice! – she leaned towards her and lowered her voice. – The only way is to start planning how to kill her! Now!

    -She is quite strong, you know… Like all of you witnessed already. – Ayuri looked them with her stern gaze.

    -Big bro is quite strong, too! – Vick jumped on her toes. – Even more than big sis Sophie!

    -WHAAA?! – the three girls first looked her in disbelief, then at him with their amazed, widened eyes.

    -It’s true, it’s true! He is regularly handing her ass back to her during their regular training magic duels!

    They gasped even more.

    -B-b-but… - Chisaki stuttered. – How’s that even possible?! S-She beat several people in less than a second yesterday! And the action she put during the today’s duel... I-if she is THAT strong and you are even stronger than her… - she started to connect two and two. – Omg, does that mean you could’ve killed the whole enemy team? Just the two of you?!...

    -In less than five minutes... – added somewhat non-chalantly Vick. – Travel time added.

    Her eyes widened even more as she consequently looked them both.

    -W-well, the others weren’t going to enjoy it otherwise. – he delicately scratched his nape. – Having fun is also important, that victory at all cost, right?

    Ayuri looked him somewhat judgingly, narrowing her eyes slightly.

    -Such good guy you are, Art. How considerate of you to be thinking for our well-being and entertainment…

    -Haha, you are funny, Vice.

    -Seems your cousin is much more less unscrupulous than you…

    -Well, yes, she turns into a demon, if you mess up with her plans, especially if they include sleeping. – he giggled. – But you saw the result – she passed out from the extensive use of magic. Magic is usually a bit more exerting and energy consuming than pure physical effort. And she is not really specialized for magic vs magic fights. What she is really good at is fighting multiple non-magic opponents at the same time with her clones – with powerful burst of energy, enough to bring them down in seconds. That’s her incredible explosive power. But if you start protracting things… And know how to defend against her clones… And have good endurance… Well, she starts to puff like a steam train and passes out. – he smiled.

    The three girls looked him amazed.

    -B-but that looks like something you cannon defend from! – exclaimed Chisaki. – How do you do it?!

    -Usually every spell have some kind of a counterspell. And if it doesn’t, you create one, to equilize your chances, you know… And since we both programmed her clone-attack, we’ve created and a counterspell against it. But it is a bit unfair to her, honestly. Since I cannot attack her with it, she doesn’t need the defense spell and only I benefit from it. – he smiled somewhat innocently.

    -That’s incredible. – said Ayuri. – I should ask her to show it to me sometimes. Do you think I have chance?

    -Well, if you can manage to catch her in her good period, she’ll oblige.

    Ayuri smiled in return.

    -So, were are here. – she stopped next to the huge glass display window.

    -This fast? – Art looked her.

    -Yeah. It’s only 100 meters from the supermaker – that’s why we choose it exactly.

    -Nice.

    Vick momentarily glued herself on the glass display window…

    -OMG, BROOOO! JUST LOOK AT ALL THESE CHOCOLATE CAKES!!! – she was about to start drooling, turning to him with all starry, shinning eyes…

    -Right, right. Don’t touch the glass, you devil. And get in...

    Ayuri first opened the door, with the entry alarm chime signaling a low, mild tone, as they all moved in…

    -Hello! Welcome to “Maison Doreé”!... – immediately greeted them one young, petite girl…

    -Oh, it’s Eri-chi! – exclaimed Chisaki. – Hello!

    The girl’s face suddenly frowned, as she recognized her. But turned into a dark grimace, as her eyes landed onto him.

    -Tss, you bastard… - she snorted.

    At the first moment Art gasped surprised, but then he recognized her too…

    -Oi, yo… - he began.

    … when suddenly another girl smacked her so hard in the nape, the first girl almost fall on her face…

    -OI! HOW DARE YOU TALK LIKE THAT TO A CUSTOMER?! – she scolded her and her eyes went ablaze, as if she wanted to incenerate her in place. – Go back to the kitchen, m’am needs help!

    -Tss, you bitch… - she snorted again, rubbing her nape, as she headed towards some door in the back.

    The second girl turned to them, putting a nice face and bowing slightly.

    -Forgive my sister’s rude beheavior. She’s kinda… going through her rebellious stage.

    -You sure have it though, Hiko. – said Ayuri. – I’m not envious at all.

    -He-he, you are the one to talk with your three younger sisters. – she delicately scratched her nape.

    Ayuri just glanced at Iki, who, as if tethered like a string, while on her face passed a nuance of true terror…

    -OMG, JUST LOOOK, BRO!!! – suddenly Vick once again glued herself on the pastry showcase.

    -I said don’t touch the glass, devil…

    -They have Kuezahashi! They have Amandine! Ballokume! Battenberg! Blackout! Cassata! Charlotte! Esterhazy! Garash! Mansanitas! Moravian! Opera! Tarte Tatin! OMG, I’VE JUST FOUND MY NEW FAVORITE PLACE!

    Hiko smiled against her.

    -Can I help you choose something? – she asked.

    -Hmm, let me see. – Ayuri hold her chin, leaning a bit over the showcase. – We’ll need a cake about 50 pieces…

    -Hah, i’m sorry, Yu. We only made such large on an order. And mom is really busy right now, so that will be tomorrow at earliest…

    -I see, I supposed so. – Ayuri got in thought. – Well, I guess we’ll need to improvise…

    -We can take many pieces of different kinds and cut them in four! – suggested Chisaki. – Make something like a party buffet. We’ll still have something like a cake, but everyone can choose whatever they want!

    -Hmm, that actually not a bad idea, Saki. We can bring it up to 50 pieces that way… - she once again leaned a bit over the showcase, with a index finger on her chin. – But what to choose…

    -The Charlotte is incredible. Mom made it with the Sawyer espresso and the Plulbar chocolate. Also, we made the cream with a milk from a local farm, not far away from here. Definetely worth it. – suddenly said Eri.

    Upon hearing her voice, they all sharply turned at her, locking her with gazes. She was leaning shoulder on the column next to the showcase, with her arms crossed below her chest, still frowning a bit at him.

    -Oi, brat! Didn’t I tell you to… - began Hiko.

    -Mom said she doesn’t want me. Like always…

    -Daamn, this is sad, man. – tossed Vick.

    -Shat up… - pouted Eri.

    Art looked at the bandage on her wrist.

    -I’m sorry for your hand. Does it still hurt? – he asked, somewhat cautiously.

    She frowned.

    -It has seen better. Drop dead, bastard.

    -Oi, didn’t I tell you somethi!… – Hiko stepped forwards, as if she was about to charge her.

    -Hmp! – Eri pouted once more, turning her head to the side, avoiding her sister’s gaze.

    -Ts, dumb bitch… - she snorted, also turning her her back. Then looked at him. – Did you do her like that?

    -W-well, I’m so…

    -You should have hit her and in the head too. To put some sense into this empty shell of hers, or even better – drop her dead in place…

    Eri just looked her with a face, enough to curse her for a thousand years.

    -Why’s all this hate in the first place? You also hit him in the head! With the pommel! So hard, that knocked him unconscious! – exclaimed Chisaki.

    -Whaa, she hit him in the head?! – at first, Vick looked her amazed, with her mouth widely gasping, then moved her gaze to him.

    Suddenly, all her face and eyes turned blazing and demonic, as she sharply raised and pointed her right hand straight at Eri…

    -SHI!... – Art immediately rushed at his little sister…

    -VOLT…!

    He managed to grab her just before she finish the chant and blocked her mouth with a hand. Swiftly twisting her leading arm behind her back, he kneeled before her, with his face a handspan from hers. And a heart pumping vigorously from the quick and extreme action undertaken and the surprise scare she put him through…

    -O-oi, brat, d-didn’t I t-told you s-something about t-the electrocuting… - he said with a shaky and uniform voice, with his eyebrow twitching a bit.

    In response, Vick just also pouted, closed her eyes and turned her head to the side.

    -Tss, damn kids… - he snorted and got up.

    But didn’t let go of her hand….

    -So, did your eyes catch something? – Hiko turned at Ayuri.

    -Hmm, I’m still wondering. – she touched her chin again with an index finger. Then turned at him: - Say something, Art! What’s your favorite? It’s in honor of you all, after all!

    -Well, they are all chocolaty persons, really…

    -Go for the Black Forest gateau, then. Mom always use Plulbar or Extervianca, they’ll love it. – added Eri, completely professionaly, no nuances of personal disturbance in her voice this time.

    -That’ll be good, since Soph also likes cherries, bro! – said Vick.

    -Right…

    -Then, you should also try and the Alfvenean Maraschino. White chocolate cherry mousse and Ruima cocoa sponge cake. The cherries are also from a local farm, to mention it. Also, depending if you want more fudgy or moussie texture, you can go for Kuezahashi or Charlotte, respectively.

    -I guess, we should add more variations too, not going full chocolate. – suggested Ayuri. – And you, Art? Besides the chocolate, what’s your favorite fruit?

    -I guess elven apples…

    -Apples? APPLES?! REALLY?! Apples are your FAVORITE fruit?! PHAHAHAHA… – Eri laughed out loud.

    Hiko smacked her in the nape again…

    -Oi, brat, didn’t I tell you something…

    Eri just looked her blazingly. Hiko’s lips just moved silently at her, as she once more turned to them with a nice face, bowing slighty apologetically…

    -I’m sorry, I’m sorry…

    -It’s okay. – said Ayuri. – Well, no point to pounder over it indefinitely, we can stay here for hours… So, we’ll take 6 of each… The Maraschino, the Charlotte, the Gateau… also the Kuezahashi, Rumia, Mansanitas… Roenna aaand… the Fruit Tart!

    -Alright, coming right away! – she and Eri quickly began arranging them from the show case to a separates boxes.

    -Omg, can’t wait! – Vick was about to start drooling again just by the look of the two girls handling all the pastry.

    -You’ll have 1 piece at max. – began Art strictly. – And the next day we’ll go exercise…

    -Whaaa… - Vick gasped at him amazed, then her face distorted and her eyes teared up. – You are such a pain in the ass, bro… - she exclaimed plaintively.

    -Hate me if you will, but it is for your own good. You cannot eat sweats indiscriminately without consequences, you know… – he was unmoved.

    Vick just pouted, turning him her back.

    -Thank you for the wait, Yu. That’ll be 28 890 yen. – said Hiko, when both with Eri finished the packaging.

    -Right, here. – Ayuri took out the school credit card from her wallet, putting it over the POS terminal machine.

    -Reina is definety going to kill us! We should do something, senpai! – whispered to her Chisaki.

    -Well, after all, it’s their money, their problem. – sighed non-chalantly Ayuri.

    -Hah, only if it worked like that in real life. – Art giggled.

    In the meantime, Eri handed him the bag with the pastry boxes.

    -Here… – she said somewhat timidly.

    -Oh, thank y...! – he took it, somewhat touched by her nice gesture.

    -Hope you choke to death with the gateau…

    -OI, BRAT, DIDN’T I TE!... – sharply turned towards her Hiko, her eyes all flames and ambers.

    But Eri already ran to the kitchen.

    Once again, she turned to them, bowing and apologizing.

    -I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Please come again.

    -Of course, Hiko. You are the best pastry around! – waved at her Ayuri, as they went to the exit.

    -Thanks! Bye and have a nice evening! – she waved back.

    When all of them moved outside, Vick started fidgeting around, stomping with her foot.

    -Damn that bitch… What was her problem?! – she was looking them one after another, as if they were going to give her some definite answer. – If I see her in the school, I’ll electrocute her, I swear!...

    -Don’t even dare…

    After a quick redistribution of the goods and mild worries about Reina reaction again, they all went back to the school.

    They met Sophie at the schoolyard gate.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2021