Chapter 22:

Awake and Hesitant

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World

My eyes flew back open.

There wasn’t anything different about the surrounding scenery. Alena was right in front of my eyes, but the huge fire and the battle were still there to either side.

Barely any time had passed. If I had fallen unconscious, it had only been for a second or two.

Alena was holding me, giving me enough balance so I hadn’t fallen over. She was grimacing, and her breathing was strained. She forced her grimace into a smile with visible effort when she saw that I was awake.

“Hi… You… You alright? Think… You can stand?”

I stumbled to my feet with her help. Her breathing steadied somewhat when she didn’t have to support me, but was still tinged with pained effort.

It was at that point I realised why I hadn’t fallen unconscious the way I had previous times.

Alena was right. I needed to hurt someone to keep using my magic.

And this time, that someone was the princess herself. Fire was still spilling out from my hands, and she had grabbed them to keep me from falling. I looked at her, a questioning glance in my eyes. Why would she do that?

“I was just thinking… You seem to feel like you can’t use the magic too much because you have this… Repulsion? Towards hurting people. But like I’ve said before, I think you’re wrong. While I do think you have a good heart, it’s more about the physical toll it takes on you. So I thought I’d help you out a bit. Show that I’m right, and help you keep going.”

Which meant that… My own feelings had nothing to do with it. They never did.

It was just as relieving as it was horrifying to know that I could hurt anyone I wanted to my heart’s content, without anything to hold me back.

“Thanks, but… Please don’t do that again.”

“You sure?”

Another group of soldiers, this time three of them, emerged from behind a building. How many were there in the city? There was no way we’d be able to take all of them on by ourselves. As it was, I could barely stand.

“I’m sure. I don’t want to hurt you, no matter what.”
“Even if doing something that would hurt me is the only way for both of us to get out of here safely?”


I didn’t know. But it wasn’t exactly the first thing I wanted to try.

“I think… I think I may be able to manage these three on my own.”
“But after that?”
“Then I’ll just pray there aren’t any more.”

“I’m pretty sure I see signs of others fighting off in the distance already..:”

I ignored Alena’s complaints. I’d rather not have to hurt her, and I had one idea left that could work even without doing that.

These three soldiers didn’t fire off the energy beams that the first four had. Two of them just came charging straight towards us, and the third shot flames similar to my own.

I didn’t have enough strength left to both defend myself and attack.

But sometimes the simple solution was the best. I launched a wave of fire at the three of them, and it neatly hit both the soldiers that were running at me long before they could reach us, knocking them off their feet. A second later it hit the last soldier and made him fly into a nearby wall.

It wasn’t enough.

The soldier furthest in the back had time to shoot some fire of his own, and it flew right past the side of my own magical attack.

It went straight towards Alena.

I didn’t have the time or strength left to use magic to protect her.

I threw myself in front of the princess.

I would have expected it to hurt. To burn, the way fire usually did. I burned half my hair off once in my past life, and that was far from fun. I had accidentally touched hot things a lot of times, and that hurt. The way you expected heat and fire to.

This was nothing like that.

All I felt when it struck me was a mild tingling sensation. I didn’t catch fire, didn’t even feel the heat.

I stumbled right into the princess and made both of us almost fall over, but she managed to catch me and help righten me up. At least she tried, but I didn’t manage to remain standing and ended up on my knees.

“So, sure you don’t want to try me?”

“I… Don’t… Want to cause you pain…”

It was hard to get the words out. Took effort I didn’t know if I could spare.

“I’d say I’m already in quite a bit of pain, you know. It hurts when people get violent with my illusions. Did you know that? I didn’t until today.”, Alena grimaced, “But what those people did towards that illusion I made? Their attacks may just have passed through it, but I still felt them all the same. It hurts… A lot. I don’t care how much pain you cause me if you make that stop.”

I hadn’t realised, too focused on my own fight, but a separate group of soldiers had joined the battle and were “fighting” Alena’s illusion far in the distance.

If she was telling the truth about feeling the pain of all those attacks… It seemed a miracle she was still able to stand, let alone talk like nothing was wrong.

I chose to take her at her word. Grabbed her hand, and created a small flame that surrounded both it and my own. It was nothing but a minor ember compared to the larger attacks I had been trying to use offensively.

You’d think a small fire wouldn’t do much in comparison. What I had unleashed before would have been enough to kill someone not wearing armour, this was clearly not.

But the princess wasn’t wearing any sort of protection.

And I had never directly hit the soldiers with my actual magic. And this was a continuous source of fuel. And it was given freely instead of reluctantly.

It all added up to make it enough.

Enough to launch one more attack, and finish the fight.

A huge wave of fire rolled out from in front of us, knocking all the soldiers in sight airborne with force, made them violently fly backwards, before they hit the ground meters away. The wave even continued past the closest ones, launching those far in the distance too.

This was where I would have liked to take a moment to breathe. To just take a break from the fighting, stop for a moment.

But this wasn’t the time to stand still.

The princess’s hand still in mine, magical fire still burning her, we finally started walking.

Even with the additional boost from the princess, I was still only able to take one stumbling step after the other. At the same time Alena herself also had to endure both the flame from me and whatever pain what happened to her illusion may have caused her.

But we’d make it to safety.