Chapter Twenty-Five – Like Soldiers
There they stood within Deena’s abode, five in total: Kevin the ginger warrior, Daveon the handsome druid, Deena the little witch, Renatta the fire ninja, and Eldrian the aspiring wizard. They were in circle looking towards one another, as Eldrian just finished explaining everything he knew to those who were out of the loop—about Asta, the thugs, and the upcoming battle.
“So we’re expecting to run into a guy with mind control powers, and a guy who has indestructible skin, on top of a spellbreaker, which is apparently the thing that counters all of your powers?” Kevin asked.
“Yes,” Eldrian replied.
“You know I’ll help you, but how do we deal with this? It sounds even more dangerous than the giant Dylan thing.”
“Planning, and a lot of improvising, like usual.”
Deena crossed her arms and gathered their attention. “Eldrian and I have been discussing what to do. They all have unique abilities that need to be dealt with. If only those three are there as threats, we need to figure out who is best made to handle each one. There’s five of us, which means two of them can be dealt two of us instead of one, and I imagine Asta is on the top of that list.”
“You’ll come with me, Kev,” stated Eldrian. “You’re the only one Asta can’t counter, because you have nothing to counter.”
“Thanks,” muttered Kevin.
“So Kevin and Eldrian will find Asta,” Deena repeated. “Ron has skin as hard as metal, so most attacks won’t do much. But he can be bound and trapped, and I can still inflict curses on him. I’ll deal with him.”
Daveon slipped off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair. Quietly, he let out a sigh, but a moment after, he gathered himself. It was a lot to take in. But when he looked between his allies, a smile came to his face—one of determination.
“That leaves me and Renatta,” he said. “I only just met you, but if Eldrian trusts you, so do I.”
The redhead beamed with delight. “Thank you! I feel the same. Yes, this man Xeno is dangerous. He can control others, so there should be two of us, in case innocents are involved and need to be subdued. Eldrian told me you are a druid, yes? That is most useful for this situation. And you are very handsome, so it will be nice to fight along side you.”
“Uh. Thanks,” Daveon replied with a nod.
It was Eldrian who spoke once again. “So we all have a general idea of what we need to do, but the fact of the matter is that there’s no way we can predict anything. Who knows what’ll happen? We haven’t even seen Asta fight. But she gave us this opportunity to confront her directly. At least she isn’t a coward. It makes me feel kind of bad for doing this. I’ve never known a demon to be so fair.”
“But she’s been trying to kill us,” said Deena.
“True, but she just seems odd. There’s too much determination behind her intentions considering we didn’t do anything to her. Something must have happened. You’re right, though. We need to stop her. People could have died with Rend on the loose. Pachama did die indirectly from all of this. Kev’s dad was shot, and Kev was kidnapped. Ren was forced to be an assassin for Xeno.”
Renatta giggled. “I like that nickname,” she whispered.
Eldrian cleared his throat—a little distracted. “And she’s been dispensing this powerful artifact about like it’s nothing. People could still get hurt. People might have died that we don’t know about. If there’s any of the Elixir of Strength left, we need to get it back to Huanca and Urco. As for the rest, I’m not really sure. It seems like Asta doesn’t work with the government, but we can’t just throw her to them for a multitude of reasons. However, we need to fight together nonetheless. We can’t think about that right now, nor can we be distracted. I don’t want anybody to come if they feel unsure of themselves, because know that this battle will be dangerous. So just to make sure, I’m going to ask one more time. Who’s willing to come with me to confront Asta and her band of misfits?”
“Me, of course,” Kevin answered immediately.
“You already know I will,” whispered Deena.
“I’ve come this far from home already. I’ll do everything I can to help,” Daveon said.
“Oh. Is it my turn?” Renatta asked. “Of course I am coming!”
“Good to hear.” Eldrian smiled.
He rose up his arms, and rings fell over him to replace his attire with his wizard’s cloak. He was now garbed in dark blue, fantastical attire, as he normally would before a fight, and he turned from his allies to begin stepping from the room.
“We have until tomorrow. Until then, we make use of Deena’s training cave,” he added. “I can’t afford to be so easily halted by Asta like before. Not when our lives are at stake.”
So with that, they proceeded into the dimly lit cavern expanse. It seemed much smaller than Eldrian remembered it was when he practised here alone, but it would do for the time. He looked around, and it made him eager to see his allies start preparing so quickly.
Kevin summoned forth his magic blade, and it was obvious he had been training in his free time, because moves looked to come more naturally to him. He was light on his toes, and the blade’s sharp edge cut through the air as if it was nothing. And beside him, even though Daveon’s power was more potent where wildlife grew, he began summoning vines and transforming into various animals.
Deena was sitting on a boulder and reading a large tome. He assumed she was studying up on spells, which seemed to be more of her way, unlike himself. Though he preferred to learn more hands-on, he was comfortable somebody had the book knowledge situations might call for. Renatta was nosey at first, trying to read the book over her shoulder, but she eventually lost interest and went on her way to practicing her combat maneuvers. Smart, he thought, since magic might be stopped by Asta.
Eldrian, however, always focused mostly on his wizardry. He had a creative mind. He didn’t know martial arts, nor was his body overly strong, but he was clever, and his attachment to magic knew no limits. That kind of wizard was to fear the most, for a wizard’s potential reaches a peak relative to their determination, aspiration, and imagination. If one has no limitations for these, especially the latter, not even they would know their own possibilities. He tried out new spells. Dark Lightning was tricky to control, as it was mixing two different chaotic elements together, but it was powerful. Eldrian practised that, but also a few new tricks. He knew he needed them. It was only three opponents—hopefully—but two were affected by an ancient artifact and one was a spellbreaker.
The clock ticked onwards. Soon, it was time, and they were as ready as they could be.
There was only a run-down house next to a barn among the remnants of what was once acres of crops, presumably. Eldrian didn’t know why they were to meet her at an abandoned farm, but it did make sense if none of them wanted to be seen. Plus, things could get destroyed. It still made him uneasy, even if the sun was still out. It looked like something out of a ghost movie from where he stood.
Eldrian, Deena, and even Renatta did look relatively clothed for the occasion considering them being wizards, though Kevin and Daveon still wore what they normally did. They marched, but it didn’t take long to see Asta leaning on the front porch, Ron standing nearby, and Xeno arching over a cracked barrel. Both sides of the war were waiting for this moment.
The grey-skinned brute Ron slid the cigar out from between his teeth, and pressed the lit edge against the palm of his hand, sizzling out the flame without even a flinch. He flicked it aside, cracked his neck, and sprinted full-force towards the group without a word from the others.
Daveon, quick to think, tripped him with a vine at the same moment Eldrian released a wave of energy. Ron flew through the air, and crashed with a violent thud several feet away and near the waiting witch.
“I’m glad you came,” shouted Asta as she stepped down from the porch.
She rose up her mace, and she was dressed now in what looked to be a bullet-proof vest, like a soldier. However, something else was new as well. She had a silver ring on her other hand he hadn’t taken notice to previously. It shone bright, and he saw that as she spoke, it transformed into a steel, disk-like shield strapped around her arm. It was decorated with a blue gemstone in the center, as well as four smaller ones around the outside.
“Aegis of Light!” she shouted, as a command phrase, to cause this transformation to occur, similar to Kevin’s Drodias. “You and your friends, Eldrian, will be the first major step in removing all wizards from the world. Then nobody will have to be hurt anymore.”
He looked to his left. Deena had already begun dealing with the rampaging Ron. Making their way around the back of the house in a chase were Renatta, Daveon, and Xeno. This left only him and Kevin facing Asta in front of the building.
“Summon sword, Drodias!” yelled Kevin in response.
Asta raised a brow. “You have a magic weapon as well?”
“It was a gift from a friend,” he replied.
Eldrian looked to his friend. He nodded, and so did Kevin. They both the looked to Asta in unison and took deep breaths.
“Are you ready, Kev?”
Meanwhile, Deena was out in the fields facing the smooth-headed thug. His vacant white eyes started the witch down. He remembered what happened last time. However, it didn’t seem to phase him. He grinned wide as they stood twenty feet apart in an uneasy stand-off.
“So you have magic eyes because of the Elixir,” he stated.
Ron shrugged. “Guess so. Don’t know that much about all this magic stuff, besides what the lady told us. She said she’d pay us big if we took ya guys out of the picture, so that’s what we’re gonna do. And don’t think I forgot how much pain a put me through. Witch? More like bitch.”
She glared. “You’re always smoking. You know, that’s unhealthy.”
“What the hell do I care?”
“Because I’m going to show you why smoke billowing from our mouth all the time is really bad for you.”
“Ya want to try something? Go ahead.”
A sweeping wave of dark flames came from Deena’s fingernails as she clawed the air in front of her person, but as expecting, the heat brushed across Ron’s face without even a flinch to his reaction. The burning didn’t even affect his eyes. With a wave of his own hands, he cleared away the cinders and smoke and began running towards Deena to direct a hard fist to her face.
“I don’t wanna beat a little girl, but—huh?” he gasped.
His fist hit nothing, as Deena was now behind him.
She rose up her arms to reach for the air above her. A presence swooped up her form that looked like nothing more than a casting shadow, but it twirled about her as if something was there, but the only evidence was the darkness it left behind. Directly where Ron stood, a similar thing occurred. A circle of shadow came up from his feet.
“Get dragged down to hell!” shouted Deena.
The claw of a creature made entirely of black burst up from beneath him and wrapped entirely around his body. It yanked him downwards, slamming his body’s weight into a crater in the soil. It proceeded to hold him there. It wasn’t unlike Daveon’s entangle now, but at least ten times more spooky. Phantom Grasp!
His skin was unbreakable, but he still coughed as his spine made a powerful impact. He grumbled and struggled, but at least for the time being, he was unable to escape. Deena needed to channel this, however, so she maintained a pose of her arms and fingers.
“This is ridiculous,” he growled. “She said I was impenetrable!”
He swung out both of his arms, and tore through the demon claw enveloping his body. Deena stepped back. Ron lifted himself up and twitched an eye with an obvious show of rage, and now he was free.
“I told ya. Nothing can get through me, or stop me, and ya don’t have someone to distract me from your fancy-schmancy voodoo like last time,” he added.
“That wasn’t technically voodoo…”
“You’re dead. What even are ya? This is a big man’s world.”
Deena stood there. It was only the two of them around. She didn’t know where the others were beyond them being somewhere around the farm, and she wasn’t at the liberty to check. She couldn’t worry either. The fight she faced was important, and she had to trust the others could manage. It was a strange feeling. Deena thought that a couple weeks ago, such a worry wouldn’t have even crossed her mind in the first place.
“What am I?” she replied. “I’m a witch. And you’re just another ant I need to step on.”
Stay tuned for Chapter Twenty-Six – Like Ants!