“Anything others have, I have more. Anything others can do, I can do better.”
This statement perfectly describes Amber Zauberei as a person. Born into a wealthy royal family, she was spoiled like no other. Being the older of the two sisters, Amber was always the trouble maker. She constantly played pranks on her maids, insulted many that don’t live up to her standards. As a result, no maids have ever lasted longer than 1 month as her caretaker, either requesting to change duty or quitting all together. Her personality is quite nasty but no one ever dared to criticise her because of her royal status. Also because of that, no friends she ever made were genuine either, most have something to gain from their friendship. That might be why she only trusts and has a very close bond with her young sister, Nia. Her father was a renown court mage of grand status so it wasn’t a surprise that both Amber and her sister possess great gifts in magic. One good trait she had was her respect for her parents, even as bratty and spoiled as she is. With her father rarely ever being home, every encounter with him brings her joy and she wants to make him proud. Her mansion constantly had guests, varied from minor peasants, to higher ranking officials in the palace, to even the great king of Alexandria himself who paid a few visits. Some even seek to take her hand in marriage, usually requesting to be her fiance, usually to her rejection.
Her life never had any kind of difficulty as she grew up. She has multiple magic instructors, hired to hone her magic talent. With her magic ability, words about her would spread quickly throughout the capital, bringing fame and notoriety to the young Amber. After she turned 14, on a whim, Amber asked her parents to let her attend the Royal Magic Academy. With her talent and tutoring, there wasn’t really a need for her to attend school. She just wanted to simply because she thought it would be fun, taking her sister along. Soon, Amber and her sister would spend their next 4 years at the Royal Magic Academy, having the school life Amber always wanted. Meeting Leo, who has never heard of her, frustrates her ego, causing the two to clash throughout their time at the academy. Leo however, did indeed bring with him many shenanigans that were fun for Amber and Nia. His constant tales of adventure bring joy to both of them.
Graduation was the first time Amber ever suffered defeat as her younger sister graduated as the valedictorian. Amber has way more talent and ability than Nia, but her neglect of her studies is what kept her from first place. That really frustrated her as she did not expect someone who was weaker in her eyes would beat her like that. The first signs of jealousy in Amber were showing. Due to her father’s influence, Amber was assigned to be a Royal Court Mage after graduation. Her sister Nia, was assigned the slightly lower position of the Royal Librarian.
Her time doing an easy job would be cut short when 6 months later, the Great Invasion occurred. Amber and Nia weren’t all talk as they both put their talent to use, aiding in the battle and fending off the Demon Lord Army. At the king’s personal request, they both joined Gawin on his quest. Forming the so-called seventh hero’s party. Even without any real experience, the sisters have now become S class adventurers overnight, something many couldn’t achieve over their lifetime. In their defense, the sister does possess immense talent and can for sure do their jobs well given time.
The newly formed party was fearsome, claiming numerous victories against many of the Demon Lord’s minions. They even managed to slay one of the 9 apostles, an incredible achievement for such a new party. Overtime, one glaring problem was starting to show more and more, even with most of its members trying to turn a blind eye to it. Amber, as talented and powerful as she might be, has terrible spell accuracy. People miss their spells sometimes, and that is fine. But Amber’s spell accuracy is on another level, she misses 80% of her shots. Hitting spells were never a problem back in the academy and early adventuring days for Amber, but it has been getting worse over time ever since she joined the hero’s party. The answer is quite simple, a lot of it came from her lack of practice and the other came from her big ego. Her refusal to believe that she is getting worse is causing a mental block, making the next time she wants to hit an ability an even bigger challenge. If she lands the hit, there will be a big sense of relief. Contrary, if she misses, a massive sense of dread would cause more pressure, causing her to do worse the next time.
Finally, the straw that would break the camel’s back would come in the form of a new party member, Ana Straumberg. She is also from a distinguished royal family line that produces talented clerics. Unlike the rest of the party members, she speaks her mind and does not turn a blind eye from Amber’s problem. 2 weeks after she joined the party, a big argument broke out.
“If no one is going to bring this up, then I will. Amber, can you explain why a class S mage like you hasn't landed a single hit on any monsters?”- Ana brought the topic up while the group was resting at a campfire.
“That’s none of your business. You should know your place, Cleric!”-Amber snapped back.
“None of our business? I’m pretty sure it’s everyone’s business because you are a part of our party.”- Ana said.
“I’m giving you one last chance to explain yourself.”-She followed up her previous statement.
“EXPLAIN MYSELF? ME? TO A SECOND RATE MAGE LIKE YOU?”-Amber bursted out in sudden anger.
“Oh hoh Mrs. ‘I’m so mighty that I look down on others’. ‘I’m so scared’ hahaha.”- Ana sarcastically replied to Amber.
“You think you are so mighty when in reality you are just a deadweight in this party. Nia here is doing a way better job than you can ever hope to do! Are you afraid of losing your position, you spoiled brat?”- Ana said, looking right at Amber.
“WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”- Amber said, visibly upset.
“Now, now, everyone please…”- Nia was interrupted when Amber lunged at Ana.
The two were now engaged in a fight. Being a cleric, Ana was way more fit physically, landing one hit after another on Amber while dodging all of her attacks. The party members all jumped on them, breaking the fight apart.
“Please guys, we have an important battle tomorrow. Now is not the time to fight amongst ourselves.”- Gawan begged the two.
His words proved effective as the two went to their own corners, far away from one another. Nia followed to console her sister while Sylfie and Ori went to calm Ana down. A few hours later, as the party was starting to head to bed. Gawan, who was first on night duty came to visit Amber.
“Hey, are you still awake?”- Gawan whispers.
Amber’s back was turned away, she was indeed still awake. She considered not replying to him, but ended up answering right as Gawan was walking away.
“Do you think I’m holding you guys back?”- She asked, still with her back against him.
After a brief silence, Gawan answered:
“Of course not. I’m sure Ana doesn’t think so too. Being in enemy’s territory these past few days have really stressed everyone out, so please don’t hold anything against her. I know you are capable and we’ll be relying on you as always.”
Amber laid there quietly, blushing from Gawan’s comment. Going on adventures with him for a year has really made her drawn to him. After a moment of gathering courage, Amber spoke up:
“Well, I li...” - She stopped her own confession from getting out.
“You what? Sorry, I couldn’t hear what you said just now.”- Gawan asked.
“Nothing. I just wanted to say I’ll do my best tomorrow.”- Amber answered.
“That’s the spirit! You are the one with the most magical knowledge here, I’m sure we’ll be able to defeat the apostle.”- Gawin smiled as he stood up, leaving for his patrol.
With Gawan gone, Amber whispered to a sleeping Nia.
“I know you are still awake, Nia. It’s not good to be eavesdropping on others.”
Before Amber could say anymore, Nia interrupted:
“I like Gawin. Not having a crush kind of like, I really love him. Would you help me confess to him tomorrow after the battle?”-Nia said.
The question completely stunned Amber as she was shocked that her sister also loved Gawin. The young fletching who has always been in her shadows has grown into a fierce bird while Amber wasn't looking. This is the first time in Amber’s life that Nia seriously wants to do something for herself. Now with her back turned away from Nia, Amber replied while clutching her chest.
“Of course! I’ll never shy away from helping my family.”
“Thanks.”- Nia replied with a smile.
“Well, it's getting late. We wouldn’t want to fight with no sleep.”-Amber awkwardly tries to end the conversation.
“Yeah, that’s true. ‘Night.”- Nia said as she turned away from Amber.
“I know it's a dirty move. But I can’t be in your shadows forever, sorry Amber.”-Nia thought to herself with a frown.
Soon the dawn came, the party got woken up by Ana, who was patrolling. After some time, they have packed up all of their supplies and prepared for one of the most important battles. Geared up and well rested (well except some, ahem Amber), the party starts heading deeper into the forest. In the middle of the forest, a black suit of armor can be seen sitting on a rock in complete silence. “Wooosh,” a loud, wind-like sound can be heard in the distance. A giant golden sword made out of light breaks through the tree, hitting the armor almost instantaneously. Through the smoke created from the collision, the armor can be seen dodging it by jumping up. Its eye glows red as dark particles and a purple magical cape can be seen forming behind it.
“HOLY SMITE.”- Sylfie chants from the ground.
A shriek of light blasts through the cloud, beaming into the armor, sending it all the way to the ground. As it is standing up, Gawin dashes out from the forest holding his sword, striking it right on the left shoulder. A rumbling sound can be heard as a sinkhole formed right below it. Halfway through its fall, the ground closes in, trapping half of its body. Ori Grimfoot, the dwarf of the party, can be seen winding up her hammer as she strikes the armor right in its head. After a brief silence, the armor glows purple and blows up, creating a dark force field that pushes both Ori and Gawin away. Nia casts Gentle Wind from a distance, creating a gust that broke their fall. Just as she finished her spells, she looked to her left. The armor dashes straight to her, about to strike. “Clink,” a metallic sound can be heard as Sylfie blocked its punch using his sword.
“OW! THIS THING HITS HARD.”- He grunts.
With no time to waste, Gawin and Ori both stood up and charged at it. They slam their weapons into its back, but it seems ineffective. Closing his eye, Gawin activates his blessing of might, turning his sword into a reddish color. With a shout, he cuts its arm clean off. The armor immediate jump kicks backwards off of Sylfie, trying to get back to the open field where it was originally sitting at. Ana casts an earth spell, summoning a hand from the ground, grabbing the armor as it jumps back.
“DO IT!”- She yells.
“You don’t have to tell me.”- Amber replies, casting Volcanic Eruption.
A hole can be seen from the ground, spewing lava at the armor.
“Yes, it hit. That’s a great start.”- Amber thought to herself while jumping in joy.
“BE CAREFUL”- Nia yelled as the severed arm on the ground shot up and hit Gawin.
The armor flew out from the lava, its body glowing red from the heat and flames still surrounding it. It wants to burn Gawin by slamming into him.
“NOT ON MY WATCH! BARRIER!”- Ana said.
A glass-like circle forms in the air, blocking the armor’s attack. It bounced off the barrier and fell down to the ground. Ori pulled out a ball-like object from her pouch. As she drops the ball, it suspends itself in the air as if a string is holding it up. She starts to wind up her hammer by spinning it, preparing for her attack. Meanwhile, Nia casts Magic chain to hold the armor in down. Nia cast Downpour, a water spell in order to put its flame out. Amber immediately follows it up by casting Nimbus. A dark cloud forms above the armor, sending hundreds of lightning to the ground. To her shock, every single strike misses it as the armor took the chance to break the magic chain. Sylfie, not wasting any opportunity, jumped up and cast his paladin magic, Holy Thunder Smite. One of the thunderbolts from Amber’s spell flew to his hand and started glowing yellow. He slams it down right into the armor, stunning it.
“EVERYONE, GET OUT OF THE WAY!”- Ori yells as she finishes winding up.
Sylfie was immediately teleported further left by Nia, getting him out of the way. After spinning a few times, Ori strikes the ball with all of her might, sending it directly into the armor. For those who don’t know, the ball is a magical device capable of storing energies. Prepping it requires the mage in the party to feed it mana, kind of like preparing a bomb. The ball hits the armor, and a blinding light emitted from it. “BOOM,” the sound of a massive explosion rings everyone’s ear and the force pushes everyone back. The barrier Ana put up earlier soaks the damage and protects Gawin since he is the closest to it. Seconds pass as the tree-lines around the explosion are completely wiped out. The armor broke into many parts, exposing its core.
“This is our chance to kill it!”- Gawin says, holding up his sword and casts his Blessing of Might.
He jumps over the barrier, lunging at the exposed core.
“WATCH OUT!”- Nia and Ori screams.
The armor’s helmet, laying on the ground, opens its mouth and charges up a dark ball of energy. Gawin is too focused on hitting the core that he can’t evade that attack.
“I have to pull this off!”- Amber thought to herself as she cast mini Meteor Strike.
It’s the only spell in the group’s arsenal strong enough to blast the helmet to Valhalla.
“PLEASE LET IT HIT!!!”-Amber begs.
Time seems to slow down for everyone as they see the meteor making its way to the helmet. To their horror, it went off course and the meteor struck the ground next to it. The helmet shoots the dark energy beam, making a roar-like sound. As Amber collapses on her knee, she thought to herself:
“It’s over. This is all my fault. Why am I so pathetic? Why am I so weak? It’s my fault that Gawin is going to die.”
Tears rolled down her eyes as Ana and Nia stood up, casting Barrier.
Two barriers appear next to Gawin, attempting to block the beam. The dark energy beam broke to the first one, then the second, hitting Gawin directly on the side. The blasts send him flying to the ground, dropping his sword. The group is now in a panic as they try to get to him. The armor reforms itself, with all the parts gathered up. It's almost as if they never did any damage to it. Bracing for another fight, Sylfie charges at it. To everyone’s surprise, instead of attacking them, the armor retreated into the forest. The battle was over, resulting in the group sustaining heavy damage. Amber is still on her knees in shock, saying:
“It’s all my fault...Nia should have been our primary damage dealer...It’s all my fault.”
“SHUT UP YOU MORON! IF YOU GOT TIME TO BE REGRETFUL, YOU GOT TIME TO HELP US OUT HERE. GAWIN IS STILL ALIVE.”- Ana shouts as she rushes over to Gawin, casting Greater Heal.
Some time passed, the group can be seen back in the camp they set up the day before. Not a single word is being exchanged between them. Gawin seems to be sleeping, his torso covered in bandages.
“Ugh…”- Gawin grunts as he wakes up.
The group came to life, all rushing to him as he tried to sit up. Everyone is in tears, especially Nia who ran up to hug him. They had a long talk that night, with no one bringing up Amber’s mistake, even Ana.
“Please don’t beat yourself over it too much Amber. It’s my fault that I jumped in without looking.”- Gawin says with a kind, warm smile.
Not a single word could come out of Amber’s mouth, she didn’t know how to reply to that. For the first time in her life, her ego and laziness has caught up to her, almost killing someone she loved. Amber has now seen the dire consequence of her actions. Later at night, after the whole party has now gone to sleep. Amber is laying on the ground, thinking. Nia, who was lying next to her, sits up and walks towards Gawin’s tent.
“Good luck with your confession.”- Amber said as Nia walked by her.
“I believe that it will go well between you two. I wish you all the best.”- Amber followed up her statement.
“Thank you.”- Nia replied. Unlike the night before, Nia wasn’t smiling, she was sad because Amber seemed to have given up.
As dawn approaches, Amber seemed to have woken up before everyone else. She quietly packs her items, and slowly walks away.
“You couldn’t live with your mistake? So you choose to run instead of owning up to it?”- Ana says, stopping Amber on her track.
“At the rate that this is going, my next mistakes will end up killing everyone here.”- Amber replies.
“So you don’t trust us at all...That’s disappointing. Well suit yourself.”- Ana says as she turns over, going back to sleep.