Chapter 1:

New Weapon

Forbidden Words

PART 1Bookmark here

A man in an unnatural battle suit was struggling to walk in the dark place where the only sound he could hear was the drippling water falling from the dirty pipes. Using his right hand, he was holding the left side of his stomach that was covered by a lot of blood. It seems like it was his since his face looked like it was in great pain every time he tried to breathe even slowly. Still, and even without someone visible that he can talk to, he let out a loud complaint.Bookmark here

“Damn it! Is this where I’ll end up? We should have done more to get the true weapon we were worth! We should have complained more that this stupid magic thing is not ideal!” The man started to tear up while his left knee was slowly kneeling down. “Did they really expect us to play a game with our enemies!? Most powerful weapon my ass! They don’t have any idea what happens in a real battle!”Bookmark here

He breathed sluggishly then coughed some blood. With what was supposed to be a habit, he covered his mouth with his left hand and was saddened by the color of the liquid he saw. “There should have been more applications they could have done… this is unusable… This is a joke.”Bookmark here

More tears came flowing down, and his body started to sway and slowly hit the ground. The face of the man was the face of someone that is clearly frustrated and sad with the end of his life.Bookmark here

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The drippling water falling from the pipes sounded louder. Ignoring that, you can say that the whole area was at last truly quiet by then. Some more time passed until a small stone was thrown to the lying body and after waiting some seconds, several people including me appeared from the dark.Bookmark here

“Poor soldier.”Bookmark here

“It’s already dead, right?”Bookmark here

“He might still be alive. Domino, check him, if he’s still breathing, end him.”Bookmark here

A girl went near the supposed dead body. She had short red hair that nearly touched her shoulder but did not. She’s near my height so she must be at least 160 cm, her muscles anywhere you look were finely toned, you would ask when did she start building that up in contrast to her face that looks like around 18 years old. She was simply wearing a dark green short and a black vest making it easy for her to move around. But even with her free clothes, you can still see that she’s ready for any unexpected fight by looking at her left leg where a combat knife is ready to be pulled out.Bookmark here

“Just to be safe, don’t go near me as I check it.” She put her index and middle finger on the left arm’s pulse of the body and focused for a moment. “He’s done for, what do we do, Shu?”Bookmark here

“Check his body for any valuable things, that includes that thing he’s complaining about. Mahika is with Leto so they should be fine even if they are still alive on that base although I doubt it given that attack from those green people.” Domino followed what I said and searched the dead body’s clothes then took off everything that looked usable and valuable. Nothing changed on her face while doing it, just expressionless like it’s a normal thing. “But to speed things up, Plash, you come with me, we’ll meet Leto and see what they found there. Yoona, you stay here with Domino, we’ll go back here later.”Bookmark here

Yoona, a mature-looking woman, did not answer and only gave a timid nod.Bookmark here

“Okaaay-” Plash, a slim boy who’s shorter than me, answered playfully and walked to my side as I went out.Bookmark here

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We were in a dark place earlier near where we were right now, a small base for some soldiers that were attacked for a reason I don’t really care about. What’s important to me is that the place can now be another camping place where we can refill our needs; Be it food, clothes, source for new weapons or act as our temporary shelter, as long as it relieves us from our long journey for even a short time. I don’t care how it became available nor how many bodies were lying there, we can just clean it if we need to.Bookmark here

Speaking of that, we were now in the place that was just a battle area earlier so lying bodies there were quite big in numbers. Luckily for us, the attackers already left quickly and they don’t look like they did not bag many things (if they even did) so there should be at least some things we can benefit from. Those little crumbs are our everyday source for living.Bookmark here

“They really did end them for good didn’t they?”Bookmark here

“That’s better for us, fewer strugglers, less chance of any harm to us while collecting the good trash all over the place.” I continued walking without paying any heed to the skipping boy on my side.Bookmark here

Suddenly he stopped. “See? Just look at this thing, its head was shot but there’s also a sword embedded on its neck. I don’t even know what was the first damage and what was the confirming strike.”Bookmark here

When I looked at him, he was crouching beside the body. That scene reminded me of how his clothes did not really fit on where we were in. He was wearing a fitted bright violet polo that seemed to be glowing in the dark hallway we’re walking in, his ripped jeans stood out to me too now that he’s crouching and showing the pair of his knees. He looks like some commoner lost in a former battlefront.Bookmark here

“That sword doesn’t have any proper hold anymore, and it should be already dull, struck on that guy for some time by now, leave that alone, that’s useless.” I didn’t have an answer to his wonders so I just ignored it and continued walking, I also heard his steps following mine right after.Bookmark here

We were about to turn in a corner when I heard another footstep outside of ours. I signaled using my hands to stop, but that was the same time the sound of that someone’s step stopped.Bookmark here

Could there actually be a survivor?Bookmark here

The battle earlier was so fast and when the attackers left, there was no sign of any life on the building, except for the person that actually got out, but unfortunately for him, his wounds were really grave already. So I assumed that the attackers really did clean up the place well so I just sent two of our people while we were checking the survivor outside in case the guy actually ran away with the most important thing.Bookmark here

I crouched down and held my left wrist, I was waiting for any movement. But that waiting did not last long, suddenly a man with a uniform like the lying bodies showed up. I quickly twisted my left arm, something other than my left hand twisted, then a knife appeared in front of my wrist. I stabbed the guy on his chest but the feeling felt weird.Bookmark here

“Shu!” Plash called out.Bookmark here

It was the same time I noticed it. The man I’m stabbing was falling in my direction, but he wasn’t falling because I killed him, he is already dead, and that is even before I stabbed him. But before I could even react, the body itself flew to me while my knife still dug on it.Bookmark here

With the dead body, I flew backward for about three meters and fell to my back. Plash was quick to dodge and waited for what was the reason for that happening. I removed the dead body lying to me fast so I was able to see what was the reason for it, and we saw someone’s leg.Bookmark here

The person wearing weird dark green clothes and long black hair showed up while waving his right hand. He had a tall, muscly, dark-skinned body and had the face of a scary man. I said weird clothes because it looks just like a collection of long leaf-shaped fabric around his neck and hips, and nothing more, not even a pair of slippers. But after a quick look at the person, we calmed down and I returned the knife on my wrist.Bookmark here

“Calm down, it’s me, Mahika. Did I take you guys by surprise? Hahahahaha!” Mahika laughed out loud while both of his hands were on his hips. “Anyway, are you guys done? Where are the others?”Bookmark here

“It looks like the guy earlier did not really run off with any important jewelry or anything, he does have a magic weapon though but it sounded like it’s a common weapon here so I guess we’ll see more of it here.” I stood up and continued talking. “I left Domino and Yoona there to check out the guy’s belongings further, I said we’ll be back after our business here. What about you? What did you find out here? But before that, was there really no one left alive here?”Bookmark here

“None. Just like those guys lying on the floor, all of them had a confirming shot or strike like that’s the main purpose of the attack, just to shut them all off and nothing more. But because of that, Leto agreed with me to split up to check the building faster. If he happens to encounter someone alive and still has the energy to attack, he can always shout, the building is peaceful as a cemetery so I should be able to hear him anywhere inside the building. But I’m already done checking the second floor so I was about to check this first floor where he should be around.”Bookmark here

Hearing that, I continued walking on the opposite side looking for another place we haven’t reached yet. I heard Plash and Mahika’s footsteps following me from behind.Bookmark here

“You really will ignore Mahika’s earlier surprise attack? That kick that sent a dead body and you away?” Complained Plash while pointing on the muscular leg. “This monster is so ridiculous that even as someone who’s a part of his group, I’m still scared that in a sudden moment he hit me by accident!” The earlier slim boy who did not seem to be bothered by any of the dead bodies is now showing a face who’s freaking out from a chance of a little accident.
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“Oi oi, we’re on someone’s turf. Just like you, I was just cautious that someone would attack me.” He retorted calmly.Bookmark here

“Like would that happen at all. Anyone would run off just by looking at you, quicker if they notice that moronic clothes you are wearing. They would quickly think that some primitive human came back to life and is about to eat them alive.” His banter looked more childish as he displayed a mocking face befitted of a child bully.Bookmark here

“Slowly there, my right fist might slip by accident and kill someone who looks totally fragile.” He replied with a smug face but he didn't seem to be winning the argument and was about to resort to violence with his fist already lifted up and was just waiting for the target to relax a bit.Bookmark here

They continued pissing off each other until I called them to an open room. “Guys, here he is!” They rushed off, while I rushed off inside the room.Bookmark here

Just like any other room we passed on, things are in such a mess, it looked like someone searched through it all. And just like a few other rooms, there were bodies lying around, one soldier looking guy and the one who made the room distinct to us: A man who wore the same jacket and cargo pants I’m wearing but compared to me, he’s a little thinner and smaller in height by a few. Someone we know.Bookmark here

“Leto, wake up! Wake up!” I tapped his cheeks rapidly. “Plash, stand guard. Mahika, the attacker might still be here, go look for the person!”Bookmark here

Mahika was about to dash off when Leto woke up at last and spoke.Bookmark here

“W-wait, I’m fine, there’s no attacker.” Leto slowly sat up and put his hands above his head like checking if there was anything wrong. “It’s just me. I was thinking about something and my eyes just happened to rest its focus on this dead guy then my thoughts continued to wander on what would I feel if I was in his position instead.” He gave a wry smile while looking at us.Bookmark here

“Sigh if you’ll continue like this, sooner or later, you really will join that body rotting.” Commented Plash cold-heartedly.Bookmark here

“That’s why you should train your body too! So even in imagination, you’ll know you’ll be able to get away from that pitiful scenario!” Loudly said by Mahika while puffing his muscly chest.Bookmark here

“Anyway, have you found out anything? Have you seen anything useful?”Bookmark here

“Ah now that you remind me, here.” He reached on the floor for a thing that is circle in shape, color black and is smaller than his palm. “This is the magical weapon they were using.”Bookmark here

Plash did not comment on anything, he only took the item and took a better look at it.Bookmark here

“Magical weapon? Are you sure you did not hit your head earlier? You know what’s a magical weapon, right? It comes in different forms but those are all weapons that can still hurt someone incase the charge of its gemstone depleted. That’s too thin, I bet I can make a hole in it just by pinching it.”Bookmark here

“Heck, I bet your kick can even destroy a magic gun, that’s all you are after all.”Bookmark here

“That’s also the reason why it’s called a magical weapon, it’s just a mixture of magic and weapon – and stop whispering there you pale monkey!”Bookmark here

The two start throwing their mocking faces at each other again.Bookmark here

“That’s where you are wrong, Mahika. Magical weapons are weapons that were originally intended to use its magic to fight with. It was then later changed and reformed to weapons that can still be used even when its charge was to be depleted after a bad experience with it. After all, it was made to replace the old and classic guns that use much more resources than the magical weapons.” I corrected Mahika.Bookmark here

“Hahaha you really believed that simplistic idea of yours? As expected of our ancient gorilla here, your knowledge exceeded my expectation of how low it can be.” The pale monkey laughed out loud to his heart content.Bookmark here

“What did you just say?!”Bookmark here

Then the two continued their own squabble.Bookmark here

I chose to ignore them and asked Leto to start our own world of discussion. “Say Leto, did you find out how to use it? The soldier earlier said it was supposedly the strongest weapon made.” Bookmark here

“It is unclear but probably possible. It is because the weapon is based on the user, it uses a curse-type of magic to activate exchange-type magic. Putting a toll on the user so it can generate power by putting a curse to the user itself, and unlike the generic gemstone-type, it has unlimited options that can manipulate and affect reality.”Bookmark here

I was speechless. I already knew the other type of magic other than the gemstone-type. Types of magic that were too complicated to understand so many did focus on what’s easier and safer. Compared to gemstone-magic that needs a gemstone for a magic circle to be drawn on to manipulate temperature, generate non-solid elements and fortify solid things, other type of magic only needs incantation to activate it and the accompanying magic circle to produce its miracle that as he said, has limitless option. It was too dangerous to study and too complicated to understand that it is really unbelievable that someone even mixed the two types of magic.Bookmark here

“I’ve already learned how it works, it’s surprisingly simple.” Leto held a bunch of papers. “It is really simple, but the activation is like playing a word game with your enemy that it’s too ridiculous to think that you’ll be able to pull it off.”Bookmark here

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PART 2Bookmark here

Instead of going back to where Domino and Yoona were earlier, I just ordered Mahika to go and get them to the building we were in, the base that was attacked in the early morning, and decided to do the meeting here instead.Bookmark here

While waiting, we’ve collected some of those magic weapons we were discussing earlier. We chose those that were the least dirty and least damaged. And while doing that, we also tried to check the unchecked rooms on the first floor but it looked like there were not as many in there.Bookmark here

After hearing that they were already here, we met them in a large room that looks like the room to contact the main headquarter of their group. Mysteriously, there are no bodies inside, only in the hallway that leads to it, so it was the cleanest room we found and decided to settle there, it can also be said that it was for Leto’s sake.Bookmark here

We somehow formed a circle facing each other. Leto and I were standing near a monitor with the controls under it and beside us was a bag containing the things we’ve collected. To my right, Yoona was sitting uncomfortably to an available chair, which might be because of the bodies she saw on the way, while in the opposite, near her was Plash who was sitting comfortably at the top of an available table, like a child swinging both his feet.Bookmark here

Near the left of Leto, Domino was sitting on another available chair, with no reaction, just waiting for the meeting to start. And just behind her, Mahika was leaning on the open door leading to the hallway.Bookmark here

“First, as you can see, this communication room is empty, we’ve already checked it, but there’s no sign that someone from here contacted their main headquarter so we can say that it is safe for now to stay here. We don't need to close it off since the green soldiers already did it.” The two females have a different reaction, Domino wearing an expressionless face only nod, while Yoona, still looked scared, but I can see some hints that it got reduced. “Now as for the things that can directly benefit us, Mahika saw a small food storage on the second floor, I estimated that it will last 14 days if we won’t change the amount we consume every day.”Bookmark here

The mood of the people around me became cheerful.Bookmark here

“Oh my, that’s really good news! We are really lucky to learn about this base!” That mellow and excited voice came from someone who was very nervous earlier, Yoona. She’s older than any of us, even as a woman, she’s not embarrassed to say her age, 24 years old. I’ve said how Plash doesn’t look like one of us who were living roughly, but compared to her, I would say he is more suitable. That was because of what she looked like, she’s wearing a red fluffy sweater and a camel-colored skirt, and given her chest-length tied down hair and a mature body, she looked like someone who was just touring her little brother and little sister that was excited for an adventure.Bookmark here

“You were just cowering the whole time, and when Shu talked about the food supply, you suddenly becomes energetic. Your appetite really overpowers your brain, isn’t it, sis?” Plash jokingly teasing the happy woman that in response, just returned a simple smile.Bookmark here

“But as for weapons, unfortunately, there are not many. There are two simple combat knives and a depleted magic gun.”Bookmark here

“Soldiers without a proper weapon in the frontline of a war, what a joke,” Mahika commented.Bookmark here

“Or at least that’s what we know, but it looks like they were soldiers that were deployed as a test for a newly developed weapon.” With my pause, the mood became serious again.” It looks like we also discovered something new here. A new kind of weapon that was already being made unbeknown to us. Like this thing.”Bookmark here

On my left hand, I raised the new magic weapon we discovered. Mahika raised his right eyebrow, Leto just smiled while others had a curious reaction on their face.Bookmark here

“On papers, it doesn’t have any proper name yet so it looks like they still haven’t made it public, and given the failure of the soldiers here, they might not pursue it any longer and discontinue its production. But if we happen to succeed in using this, this will be a great advantage for us, and it will be a surprise to our future enemies.”Bookmark here

“But as I said earlier, that doesn’t look like it can hurt anyone, so did you guys find out how to use that?” Mahika asked, this time, not trying to ridicule what I was saying.Bookmark here

“Luckily, the papers about the way to use it and its danger were kept safe. But I have to say, some explanations on it were pretty unclear so I really want to test and see how it actually works” Leto was the one who continued the explanation. “But before I start explaining how to use it, I want to ask all of you. Do you know that there are different types of magic?”Bookmark here

I kept quiet since we’ve already talked about this but without me, everyone looked at each other so I was about to explain the mystery from them until someone raised a hand timidly.Bookmark here

“I-I know, after all, I’m a researcher myself before I joined you.”Bookmark here

“You are? You don’t look like it, sis. I would have believed you more if you said that you were just a simple daughter of some simple family waiting for someone to take your hand and be their bride until these guys kidnapped you.” Bookmark here

“Silly Plash, no I wasn’t. I just happen to be in the same building they attacked and thank goodness, they let me alive and even allowed me to join them.” Yoona told the short story version of how we met her while her cheeks were blushing a little.Bookmark here

“Eeeh, that’s some backstory you got there, sis. Let’s talk about that later or someday but forgive my interruption, can we get back to the last topic? For now, I’m more curious about those types of magic. Could you continue on that for now?” Plash did not expect a sudden backstory to be shared after some simple teasing, but since the main topic was nearly changed, he had a sorry face while using his hand to signal a continuation of the talk about the other types of magic.Bookmark here

“Hehe, of course, I’ll continue on that.” She gave a kind smile then after a quick pause, she stood up and came back to being timid but trying to manage to speak. “S-so to continue, I'm guessing what you mostly know are something we call a gemstone-type. This type of magic relies heavily on gemstones to produce a miracle. Just by drawing a magic circle on it, it will already be activated. Different gemstone gives off different result, but the magic circle is all the same. T-that’s the reason you can see three different gemstones in one magic gun, that’s because the three different gemstones produce different miracles, the body of the gun only function as the holder of the three gemstones and to direct the result of the miracles.”Bookmark here

Everyone was quiet. It must be because it was the first time they learned that the magic gun they were using for some time by now, actually works like that.Bookmark here

“N-now using that knowledge to compare it to other types of magic, I need to say that gemstone-magic is the most basic, easiest to understand, and the safest to test when researching about it. Other types of magic have varying magic circles, and as soon as the incantation is cast, it will immediately activate, but the lack of knowledge about its target proves itself to be a dangerous study so almost no one tried to study it further.” She had a grim look at those last sentences but breathing for a few seconds, her expression changed back to being shy again, and soon after she, added more knowledge to share. “F-for now there are two main classes of types, and those are the catalyst-type and the exchange-type. While as for the subclasses, to list a few, there are control-type, produce-type, curse-type and reinforce-type.”Bookmark here

“So what about it, Leto? Or are you saying that the dangerous study was already done?” Domino at last spoke out a few things from her mind.Bookmark here

“As expected of Domino. You’re right with your guess. This weapon uses an exchange-type of magic.” I heard Yoona gasping in amazement but I did not let her comment on her reaction by adding more things to be amazed of. “But that doesn’t end at that, it also uses a curse-type of magic as a price to pay for a great exchange magic.”Bookmark here

“I-it can’t be!”
“Huh?”Bookmark here

There were different reactions. One being truly amazed, one being surprised but with a suppressed face and just widened eyes, one being amazed but with a lack of energy, and the last one not being able to understand a thing. Bookmark here

“B-but wait, a curse as a price for an exchange magic, what do you mean? Wait, how does that weapon actually work? If it is a curse, then isn’t that really dangerous?” Yoona no longer looked timid, but rather an obvious curious with both of her hands clasped and pressing her blessed chest tightly.Bookmark here

“Hey hey, wait there, I can’t follow. I just learned that there are more types of magic and immediately you’re already talking about a weapon that uses two types of magic I still don’t know specifically! Can’t you guys give me a rundown on what’s up with those types of magic? What is amazing, what is dangerous or whatever is with those types. Let me catch up on the topic!” Mahika looked really puzzled looking at me waiting for an explanation.Bookmark here

“If I’m correct, it is already on the name. Like curse-type magic putting a curse on its target and exchange magic requiring an exchange to give an output, am I right?” Plash looking at me with an innocent face asking for confirmation.Bookmark here

“You’re completely right.”Bookmark here

Plash looked at Mahika with a smug face and when Mahika saw it, he uttered “you pale monkey” in a loud whisper and on a threatening tone. He was about to go to where Plash was sitting when another question was asked again by Yoona.Bookmark here

“T-then what’s the curse it will put?! Is it something dangerous?”Bookmark here

The information flowed too quickly that made Mahika pitiful, someone who was trying to chase after the running topic, so I tried to slow them down. “Ok, let’s calm down. Let me and Leto explain first. Let’s jump on how to use it, it’s pretty simple, we only need to stick it to our body, then start the game of forbidden word.”Bookmark here

I can almost see a question mark above their heads. “That’s how it almost works after all. It is said on the papers that after sticking it to any part of your body, the weapon itself will identify you and will engrave a word to you. And that very same word is the word that your enemy shouldn’t speak of because that’s the requirement to activate this weapon.”Bookmark here

“You look serious but what you’re saying looks like a joke to me, that is so vague.”Bookmark here

“This time, you’re basically right, Mahika. It is really unbelievable for something like that to be the requirement of a weapon to activate. You see, I’m no expert with this too.” I did not intend to humiliate the simplistic Mahika more, but a smile probably escaped my lips. “So to make this clear, can I ask first? Yoona, do you think it is possible?”Bookmark here

Yoona was surprised to hear her name suddenly but she quickly gave a short answer. “Yes, I think it is.”Bookmark here

She was a former researcher who had a decent idea of how some types of magic works. Coming from her, even if it was a short answer, that confirmation was enough for Mahika to try and accept what we were telling.Bookmark here

“Continuing, this weapon relies on its magic to detect the people who will utter the words that were engraved on the user, and it was said that the range is about 20 meters in a spherical shape, but only those that can be seen by the user are the ones it can be activated on. Now talking about the curse…” It was visible that everyone paid more attention to this detail so Leto continued. “W-well, the user also won’t be able to say the same word easily for the rest of his life.”Bookmark here

For a second, it became quiet then came to an explosion of comments.Bookmark here

“That’s it!?”
“Eeeeh, it’s not that punishing.”
“T-thank goodness.”Bookmark here

“I-it’s not all of that, after all, every time the user utters the word without it being already activated, the punishment varies to each of the users.”Bookmark here

“Oh, the vague explanation is not done yet.” Plash lightly said to himself.Bookmark here

Leto doesn’t know how to continue after that comment so I came back to explaining again. “Actually, before we plan on how to use it, we should see who can use it first, cause not everyone is able to use this.”Bookmark here

“What, there’s a requirement too?”Bookmark here

“That’s right Mahika. The requirement is that the only ones who can use it are those people who have a strong personality. Those people who live their way that can be explain with just one sentence.”Bookmark here

“Another weird thing about it huh? So, is there anyone like that here?”Bookmark here

I only looked at Mahika and so did Leto too. Plash got the gist of it and started running his mouth again. “Of course, there’s you! Someone who only shouts “I’m strong!”, “I need to be stronger!” or “Who’s the strongest here?!” Really, is that the only thing that matters to you? You don’t have any idea how things actually work or even how simple humans should dress at this age.” Plash said raising both of his hands to a shoulder-length, showing his lack of understanding of how the big guy’s brain actually works.Bookmark here

“Huh? Are you mocking me you weak insect? That’s how a man should live his life you know. To survive is to be strong, and to be strong is to survive!” Mahika proudly shouted his way of life.Bookmark here

“That’s what I want to see from you Mahika. You really do lead a life befitting of a true man. So, is it fine to you if you’re the first to try it?” I was smiling when I asked after some words he would love to hear.Bookmark here

“Hahahaha! You really know me well, Shu! But… Hmmm…” I thought he’ll be easily manipulated to be the first one to test the weapon that was mostly unknown to all of us, but it looks like he really knows how to think. “We still don’t its power, right? It actually looks lame. And if what you were saying is true, then I believe I can’t say I’m strong anymore.”Bookmark here

“You’re saying that when in fact you’re just scared, don’t you? What a clown, hah!”Bookmark here

“Quit talking there you pale monkey. I never said that! I’m only saying that it’s not my style. And if we’re limited to the number of that item, then I give up my spot to use it.”Bookmark here

“Luckily, we were able to take 8 of it including the one we got from the person outside. All clean and usable.” Leto smiled.Bookmark here

“You don’t have any excuses anymore gorilla. Just try it and die from it!” Plash teasing like he actually meant it.Bookmark here

“Hah, that small toy won’t be able to kill me. Ok, I changed my mind, Shu, let me have that toy. And I’m so excited to test it first against that insect.”Bookmark here

In response, Leto and I only smiled. And throughout that talk about Mahika being a tester, Domino did not show any reaction, while as for someone who knows what can curse do, Yoona tried to stop it but wasn’t able to because of the continuous bantering of the two.Bookmark here

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PART 3Bookmark here

It was already 9 PM so we turned on all of the lights for us to see in the dark night. Outside of the base, was a large space wide enough to fit 4 jeeps that were parked if you lined it up. Unfortunately for us though, those jeeps were destroyed too so we can’t use them, maybe that was to prevent the earlier attacked soldiers to escape or report what happened.Bookmark here

Either way, we were there to test the magical weapon we luckily collected. It was said that the range of its effect span to around 20 meters, so in case the power Mahika gets is a destructive one that would be able to destroy everything within 20 meters, then we can just run for our life further. But for starters, everyone except him was standing and watching from 10 meters away from him.Bookmark here

“All you need to do is to lay the whole weapon’s flat surface to your body, and if the weapon considered you as a possible user, it will stick itself to you. That’s the first step, then please immediately report everything you felt at those processes. After that, I’ll tell you if it’s time to go to the next step, which is triggering the activation of the power. Did you understand?!” Leto was holding to the papers that explain the magic weapon further, using it to write on for his own study, while explaining the mandatory steps we were about to do, but given the distance, he needed to shout it slowly but clearly.Bookmark here

The lone man raised his left thumb and the item in his right hand while smiling. “Of course! Just give me the signal!” He looked like someone who’s not tensed up at all, but was more like excited to see what would be the result.Bookmark here

Another man who feels more excitement than any tension was Plash. “Any result is a win on my book. Be it a success and it becomes another reliable weapon, or Mahika just come going down by the time he sticks it to his body.”Bookmark here

As for me, this was a hope to me, the success of it should tremendously help me realize my reason for living, so this first test is important to me. I was just quietly waiting for it to start, with my left hand on my stomach, supporting my right arm that was holding my chin.Bookmark here

“Everyone’s ready now! Start whenever you want!”Bookmark here

“Okay, here I go!!” Like stabbing his own lungs, he stuck the magic weapon between his chest and stomach so loud we were able to hear the sound.Bookmark here

I actually expected some light shining from Mahika, or him shouting his agony from a power surging in him, but none of those over-the-top scenes happened. Instead, there was just a weak groan from him. “Urrrk.” He held both of the sides of his head and fell to his knees, with his eyes closed like something was hurting, he slowly curled down. A very few of us were visibly worried but none of us moved and tried to help him.Bookmark here

That continued for at least 7 seconds until both of his hands fell to the earth but it’s more like he intentionally did it to support his full body from falling. At last, he opened his eyes. We were far, but we can still see the large sweats dripping down from his head.Bookmark here

“A-are you fine Mahika?” Leto asked about his status despite his kneeling appearance.Bookmark here

Slowly, Mahika stood up, but I can’t read what was the look on his face.Bookmark here

“Oh, so he’s still alive. Well, I enjoyed his twisted face.” He was the only one who was smiling widely the whole time, but after we confirm that Mahika can still stand, he came back to having a face of someone who doesn’t really care.Bookmark here

We watched him quietly after, looking at his body he took care of to be intimidating just by a look. Then all of a sudden, he shouted. “GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” It was loud enough that we all step back by one step. “HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!”Bookmark here

“Oi, I think he just lose his mind. Just order it, and I’ll gladly help kill that ancient man.” Hanging from the back of his hips, he drew a knife with a long blade. It was a magic weapon. On the middle of the blade, there was a line that’s not made of metal. On the handle lies one gemstone and to activate it, was a small button at the tip of it.Bookmark here

“Hang on, wait a little more.”Bookmark here

The truth is, this is a big gamble from the start. Mahika is one of our fighters in the group, and actually the strongest at it. If the magic weapon ended up as a failure and killed him in the process of this testing, then it’s a big loss to our fighting force. But in the first place, his shouting is nothing really weird though, or more like he was already and always weird from the start that shouting is not a sign that he had lost his mind.Bookmark here

“Shu!! I take back my words, this is great! This is a really powerful weapon!” The sudden call of my name surprised me so starting from there, not everything he said did not register to me quickly. “But I really want to test it first.” Mahika faced his body to us and inhaled deeply.Bookmark here

Coming deep from his lungs, he shouted just one name. “PLAAAAAAASH!!” He ran toward us with all his might.Bookmark here

Everyone started slowly then little by little, became faster at running away from Plash, who only stood there holding tightly his own magic weapon, ready to take Mahika’s dash to him. At that moment, I was just dragged by Leto.Bookmark here

“Come here you beast. I’ll finally teach you your place!” The knife he was holding was so sharp and well taken care of that it was returning some of the night light.Bookmark here

Within just 2 seconds, Mahika was already in front of Plash, he stopped his acceleration but immediately followed it with a right punch. Coming from the strongest of all us, all the smaller guy can do was evade it, but he did not waste that opportunity and quickly tried to slash him. But as expected of Mahika, he was also fast enough to evade the long blade.Bookmark here

A moment ago, Plash was just all smiles and even tend to laugh if the big guy he loathes really died, but at this time, he had a serious face. Faced with Mahika, he was totally cautious, he’s quietly looking at every part of his opponent’s body that moves and waiting to act accordingly. Even with a weapon, he was on the defensive.Bookmark here

Mahika was just wearing a big smile. He did not look scared that the blade might pierce his perfected body. With every faints he did, he’s more like in the offensive bare-handedly.Bookmark here

“What are you doing? Stop it at once!” Domino shouted in hope that they’ll stop just by that.Bookmark here

But no one intended to stop, Mahika in particular, even tried to trigger Plash. “Hahahahaha! This is totally fun. Come on, swing that knife to me, let’s see if that would be able to pierce me!” He mocked Plash. Given their big height difference, he was looking down on him literally.Bookmark here

“Don’t worry, just put your head out, and I’ll make sure to cut it finely from your body!” Bookmark here

Plash said it but he did not really expect him to follow it but opposite to his expectation, “here,” Mahika put out his head, open and no defense whatsoever.Bookmark here

It was one second delayed, but he immediately struck down his long knife.Bookmark here

“Nooo!” Yoona screamed.
“Don’t do it!” Leto called out.Bookmark here

Blood splashed, however, that did not come from Mahika’s neck, it came from his arm. He used his right arm to block the blade. It went 4 cm deep but he only smiled.Bookmark here

Not long after, a body blow hit Plash in his stomach. “Ugh!” It was so strong that his feet left the ground, but the strong guy did not stop there, while he was midair, he was struck with the injured right hand. More blood splashed from Mahika’s arm, in exchange, Plash came flying to his back.Bookmark here

“You were supposed to kill me, right? This toy did not even reach my bone, so what were you were talking about? You’re too weak to do that. Hahahahaha!” Mahika removed the embedded knife on his right arm and threw it back to Plash. “There, use that again. I’ll just you prove more the difference in our ability.”Bookmark here

Mahika said it was just for testing, but to provoke Plash until blood was shed was too weird even from him. He’s rowdy as a person, but he still knows what’s the limit. I mean, we’ve been together for some time now, and he hasn’t hurt any of us directly unless needed or I ordered him to.Bookmark here

At last, I regained myself and everything he’s doing so far came to me. “Mahika! What are you doing? If you just want to test it, I’m ready to trigger it. Let’s do the next step just like we plan.”Bookmark here

I took one step forward and I was planning to move more but a voice stopped me. “Wait there, I’m fine, no need to step up here.” With a smile, he slowly stood up and picked up the magic weapon. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it now. You know him, right? He’s just being excited with the magic weapon. Isn’t it Mahika?” In the last sentence, he looked in Mahika’s direction.Bookmark here

The big guy only smiled.Bookmark here

“So childish. The more you talk just makes it more obvious. My predictions were off because I thought you were serious, but you were just hitting my body to stop me from running and evading even though you know I'm an expert in redirecting damage to my body too. And you’re deliberately mocking me until I start attacking you with the blade. Just what is that power you got?”Bookmark here

All of us watching on the sides started to understand his reason too.Bookmark here

Mahika frowned. “Oh, you already found out. Now it’s boring… So, will you end it now or should I make you too?” They’re getting to the conclusion but the threat, in the end, was something like bait for them to continue the excessive testing.Bookmark here

“We’re in open space, so I’m really at disadvantage here. It still hurts though, so I’m telling you, watch your back. You never know when I’ll do my revenge.” Plash returned his knife to his back and started scratching the back of his head in annoyance. “So… What’s that power you’re so proud of. What made you think that I became weaker in your eyes, while you became stronger?”Bookmark here

Obviously, that was the word to activate it. We waited on what will happen and focused our eyes on Mahika.Bookmark here

“Hahahahaha! That’s right, look at me, and let me show you the power I gained through living the way of my life! The proof that to survive is to be strong, and to be strong is to survive!” He raised his injured arm and after uttering the words, even under his dark leaves-like clothing, the magic circle drawn on the magic weapon shined and became visible.Bookmark here

The wound healed fast. Everyone was shocked at the sight. Yoona even closed her mouth with both of her hands that opening because of the amazement. Plash was also speechless.Bookmark here

“How did you like that? Astonishing, right?” Mahika was standing firm and proud, wearing a big smile with his hands on his hips. “I intended to get more wounds but Plash was too weak and scared to make his blade go deeper into my body. Well, I raised my expectation wrong. Hahahahaha!”Bookmark here

Leto from behind me, and Domino a little far from me, looked at me with evidence of a delightful mood, particularly Leto who was even tearing. “Shu, you might really be able to do what you want.”Bookmark here

“Grr. You damn monster. Are you immortal now?” Plash was confident with his acrobatic skill, so except for an open space, he’s confident that he’ll be able to outsmart Mahika and slowly damage him if they really happen to fight and get serious, and thus he did not really felt inferior to the big guy. But with the new power at play, you can see from his face that he felt left behind by one step. “It is really powerful and all, but surely there’s a limit to it too. Leto, is there a time limit or anyway it can be deactivated?”Bookmark here

“There is, and unfortunately it’s pretty simple.” Leto showed the paper to prove that it was written on it. “The range of the effect is 20 meters, and it will still be active while the target is in there, but if the target gets away from that range, it will lose its effect and will need to be activated again.”Bookmark here

“We plan on using the advantage of it being unknown, so we need to kill our target if we choose to use it, huh,” I said talking to myself.Bookmark here

“That’s really easy, isn't it?" A slight smug came out from his lips. "But anyway, I’m getting hungry, anyone wants to eat now? Come on, let’s run!.” Plash ran to the base we came from like he did not take any damage at all. He ran with a grin like it was not just the food the reason he was running for.Bookmark here

“You sneaky little bastard, you’re afraid of my power? Come back here!” Mahika pursues Plash to maintain the effective distance.Bookmark here

“Ah, I’m hungry too. C-can we eat now?” Yoona smiled at me while asking for permission, but her feet were already moving, following the two.Bookmark here

“Yeah, let’s replenish our energy now,” I said. Then I started walking in the direction of the base and Leto and Domino followed me.Bookmark here

I ended it there for now. We now know that it's functioning and how powerful it can be. But I still had questions and doubts, so I planned to continue it before we raids another facility.Bookmark here

N. D. Skordilis
Real Aire
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