Chapter Thirty-Four – Learn to Adapt
Few can explain the intense feeling during a moment of indecisiveness in a simple and short description, especially when the light of attention is shining directly towards you. Your body feels hot, and your stomach uneasy. There feels as if a real weight is pushing down on your shoulders—one made of the impatience of others, whether it truly exists or is a figment of your own imagination.
“I-I just don’t know,” stuttered Arlandria. “I need more time.”
Eldrian patted her on the back. “Don’t worry. I’m here to help you.”
The two of them, along with Kevin, stared up at the menu board above the cash registers. Burgers, wraps, drinks, meals, sides, and more, filled the list of selections, and besides a few others sitting at tables, the place was basically empty.
“What’s a hamburger?” she asked.
“You don’t have hamburgers?” Kevin replied.
“No. It looks good, I guess, but why are there so many different kinds? Sorry… I’m making things difficult.”
Chapter Thirty-One – Trials and Tribulations
Kevin and Eldrian sunk lethargically into the living room sofa with eyes on the television screen. In Eldrian’s hands was a controller, and on the screen, a sword-wielding man in tights. They had recently finished eating dinner—pizza, the most healthy meal—and were relaxing with a game for the time being.
“So, about this game,” Eldrian started. “Is he an elf? I always thought he looked like an elf.”
“They’re their own species. I guess they’re basically humans, but with pointy ears. Or maybe they’re elves, but not typical elves. You know what’s weird? That I look at the screen now, and realize I have my own magic sword and shield, just like him.”
Eldrian snorted. “I don’t have a magic sword yet. You don’t get one until that Temple.”
“Does that mean I’m even stronger than him?” Kevin asked, looking to the wizard with a face filled with much more excited than perhaps it should have been.
Chapter Twenty-Nine – A Whole New World
“Come, little one. Proceed farther. Do not be afraid, for I am only here to help you.”
The voice was of a woman’s, and it was calm, like words spoken from one’s own mother. It emitted a sense of warmth and safety despite it being so alien. However, it was unclear where it came from other than deeper into the woods. It was as if the gaps between the trees whispered—luring.
“Who are you?” asked the little girl. “I’m cold. It’s dark, and I’m scared.”
“Continue forwards and meet with me, and I will keep you warm and safe. I will return you to your home.”
The child stepped cautiously between the density of the forest, rubbing her hands up and down her goosebump-covered arms. A chilling breeze caused a shiver to travel down her spine. She was lost, and this stranger’s voice did sound trustworthy to her. There were few other options in her mind.
It wasn’t long before she broke into a clearing. Up ahead, the speaker stood still. It was a beautiful woman with long black hair and crystal blue eyes. Her skin was fair. It reminded the child of her mother, and she made her way over with arms ready for an embrace.
Chapter Twenty-Eight – Party Like It’s 1499
The view itself, even though they had seen it before, was something not of this world. Or perhaps it was exactly the opposite, and that’s what made it seem so pure and uplifting. When gazing off a mountain to take in the hundreds of kilometres of even taller mountains and an ocean of trees, there’s something that awakens in everybody. It’s the thought of what the Earth might look like if there was hardly a touch from humanity’s hands. But where they stood at that moment, there were ruined walls of stone atop the plateau. They had allowed a day of rest, and then they returned to Machu Picchu.
Rend, Ron, Dylan, and Xeno were all contained in the Demon World, and they had become Lucy’s problem instead. Asta fell upon her own blade as well, which finally ceased the influx of threats falling upon the group. There wasn’t even a drop left of the Elixir of Strength.
There was still a bitter feeling mixed within the sweet. None of them had wanted to kill the woman behind it all, and something about her tale bothered Eldrian even more. But he knew he couldn’t allow it to bring him down, especially during a time meant for celebration. Now all five stood at the entrance of the hidden Inca civilization they had met before most of what occurred.
“This place is beautiful,” whispered Renatta. “There is really a secret city here?”
Chapter Twenty-Seven – The Last Victim
Kevin lunged once again at the spellbreaker, crashing the blue blade of Drodias against her magic shield. The collision sent out a burning flash of sparks down the line of impact, and her forward push sent him back like before. And when Eldrian tried another spell, she was quick enough to break it to pieces.
The two knew they needed a plan. A simple swing would always be blocked, and spells would be countered as long as she was focused—and she seemed to be quite adept at such.
“Your magic is useless,” Asta declared.
“So I cast sword!” shouted Kevin as he began another assault of slashes.
His strikes were blocked by her shield, but also parried by a few swings of her mace. He had been practicing, but she was older than him, and had clearly been doing this much longer than him. But he tried nonetheless. Kevin didn’t want to fail his friends despite his lack of actual magic ability.
“You’re quick with that blade, and it’s clearly special, but it won’t be enough,” said Asta rather calmly even in the midst of combat.
Chapter Twenty-Six – Like Ants
“Remember what I said. I’m not going to say it again. Actually, there’s no need for any words. I’m being trusted with a job, and I intend to impress,” Deena said.
Ron shook his head. “Ya nothin’ but talk. Come here, girl. Let me teach ya a lesson.”
He kicked a chunk of soil from beneath his heavy foot, and like a bald panther, he lunged forward to swing forward his fingers to hopefully grapple the witch within his powerful arms. However, he was met with naught but air. A word that should not be repeated escaped his lips, and immediately, his blank white eyes began scanning to locate Deena just a few meters forwards.
“Ya can’t run forever,” he muttered. “Oh. Ya really aren’t talkin’ now, huh? Whatever. Now come back here!”
A putrid grin stretched across his face as he knelt down to lift two large rocks up in each hand. He fired each off as if he was a catapult.
She raised up both of her hands to create a shimmering ward of magic, which barely absorbed the crushing weight of the stones. She clenched her teeth, and let out a grunting exhale, but she soon dropped her spell and moved to the offensive.
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.”