Chapter 29:

I Set Stuff on Fire, Stuff Explodes, Then Everything Explodes

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World

A normal fire needed something to keep burning. Bookmark here

Sustenance, fuel. Whatever you’d like to call it, that fact didn’t change. Bookmark here

The fire I had seen when we exited our inn had spread to the point where it was covering half the city. A disaster in the making if no one did anything about it. Perhaps it was already quite deserving of being called one. Bookmark here

Anyway, Someone had to do something. Bookmark here

And how many people were there in the city that both could and wanted to do something about it? Bookmark here

My personal guess would be exactly one. Bookmark here

That’s right. Bookmark here

Me. Bookmark here

At the same time as the cage of fire around me and the princess dissolved, I sent my fire out to the sides. Let it burn down as much stuff as possible to enable me to use more magic. Didn’t stop until my flames covered a straight line across the whole city, about two hundred meters away from where the natural fire still was spreading. Bookmark here

If I burned everything just ahead of it in its way down before it could get there… That fire wouldn’t have anything left to let it spread. Bookmark here

And I would be able to use all the magic I wanted. Just from a simple mental estimate, I would need to burn down at least a hundred buildings to stop the fire from spreading entirely. Bookmark here

I was able to fight for one to two minutes when fueled by one building. If I burned a hundred down, I would literally be able to keep going for hours.Bookmark here

That Nina lady better have prepared herself. Bookmark here

She kept trying to launch various kinds of lightning magic at me while I gathered fuel for my own magic. With all the resources I had now, blocking all of it wasn’t a problem. Bookmark here

I created a huge shield right between us. Bookmark here

She tried to attack from above again, but I just extended the one shield I had created to cover the area above me and Alena too. It stopped all of Nina’s magic cold. I couldn’t effectively maintain two shields, but what I could do was make a larger one instead. Bookmark here

That was blocking. Next up was attacking. Bookmark here

I launched several pillars of magical fire at her. Bookmark here

She managed to block or dodge all of them, but it was taking visible effort, sweat clearly visible on her face. Bookmark here

I conjured up more fire. Bookmark here

I just threw as much as I could of it towards my opponent. Bookmark here

She was still able to block most of it, but her attempts at defending were growing weaker and weaker. Bookmark here

Creativity wasn’t my strongest suit, but it didn’t matter if you could vastly overpower your opponent no matter what you did. I just kept throwing more and more magic at her. It didn’t matter how long it took. I’d overwhelm her eventually. I had time. Time, and magic. Bookmark here

There was one slight hitch in the whole thing. Bookmark here

Reinforcements.Bookmark here

A large group of soldiers came marching out from behind every corner in sight. All of them simultaneously launched their own variety of magic at me. Bookmark here

That was admittedly not part of my plans. Bookmark here

But it didn’t matter. Bookmark here

In my current state I was powerful. Unbeatable. At least that was the way it felt. I could do anything I wanted to, and no one would be able to stop me. I could almost understand why the previous witch had done what she did. Bookmark here

Almost. Bookmark here

But I was different. Wanted to think I was. I didn’t immediately retaliate against all the people that were attacking me. Just created a cubical barrier made of fire around me and the princess. Completely shut down any attempt at attacking me, every attempt at hurting Alena. Bookmark here

And when the time to counterattack came, I was merciful. Didn’t just kill everyone. Bookmark here

I could have. At that moment, I had the power too. If I wanted to. Everyone’s life balanced upon my slightest whim. Bookmark here

It was intoxicating. Bookmark here

I hated it. Bookmark here

There was something that was just… Not right. Felt like it was trying to control me. Like the more I used my magic, the less I felt like myself. The less the objections I once had seemed to matter. Bookmark here

I could keep doing this for hours. Bookmark here

But I didn’t want to. Bookmark here

I wanted to end it all now. Bookmark here

A wave of fire emanated from me, flowing across the ground at an almost imperceptible speed. Bookmark here

It could have killed someone who wasn’t adequately protected. But the soldiers were all wearing armour, and it reduced what could have been a killing blow to something that just swept them all to their feet. Bookmark here

The Nina woman used her own magic to reduce the impact of mine, keeping her standing. She did at least flinch slightly. Bookmark here

It still wasn’t enough. Bookmark here

More. Bookmark here

I needed more. Bookmark here

More power. More fire. Needed to…Bookmark here

...No. That wasn’t what I was trying to do. That wasn’t what this was about. I needed to find me and Alena a way to escape, and execute my plan to stop the larger fire.Bookmark here

What if I just unleashed everything at once? Burned all the buildings I was going to use as fuel at the same time, and created an absurdly huge barrier that none of the people that wanted to kill us would be able to get through for at least an hour or two. Bookmark here

It was a better idea than anything else I could come up with. Bookmark here

I took Alena’s hand and pulled her along with me. We ran while I conjured up the gigantic wall of magical fire behind us. Bookmark here

It looked like it would work. Like it would keep us safe for long enough to get to safety. Bookmark here

We ran, as fast as we could. Past Alena’s illusion that still stood where she had placed it closer to the city gate, then through the gate itself. Bookmark here

It worked. Bookmark here

I thought it worked. Bookmark here

It was already too late when I realised it didn’t. Bookmark here

Something was… Wrong. But what? It didn’t hurt the way it had when I used too much magic. I wasn’t in pain. I wasn’t having any trouble keeping the magic up. Bookmark here

As far as I could tell everything was fine. Bookmark here

Yet, something was off. Bookmark here

There was just this kind of foggy feeling in my mind. Something that I couldn’t grasp as accurately as I should have been able to. Something was wrong. It was… What was it? Bookmark here

I didn’t feel anything obviously off about my magic. Bookmark here

I didn’t feel anything. Bookmark here

That was the problem. Bookmark here

Until now I had been able to know what my magic was doing even without directly looking at it. Had some sort of mental connection to it. Had been able to know what it was doing. Bookmark here

This time I couldn’t. Bookmark here

I needed to turn around and take an actual look behind me to realise what was happening. My own mind wasn’t able to tell me what my magic was doing. Bookmark here

I froze when I saw what was happening. Bookmark here

The barrier.Bookmark here

The fire. Bookmark here

My magic. Bookmark here

I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t make sure it wouldn’t cause more damage than I wanted it to. Bookmark here

The flaming wall I had unleashed started bending and twisting. Turned a brighter red, then orange, then white, then blue. Started sputtering and spitting out fire in every direction. Finally the fire turned… Black? Bookmark here

Then it exploded. Bookmark here

I couldn’t see anything. Couldn’t see anything for several seconds. I thought I heard a scream beside me.Bookmark here

When I could see again, I wished I hadn’t been able to. Bookmark here

The explosion had stretched much further than what I ever had intended to destroy. Almost half the city was nothing more than… Nothing. Just, nothing. It was gone. Without a trace. I would have called it a smoking crater, but my magic didn’t even leave behind smoke the way a normal well-behaved disaster would.Bookmark here

It wasn’t just buildings that had been hit. Bookmark here

I heard muffled noises from the ground beside me. A girl’s voice. In pain, but trying not to scream out. Crying, unable to hold back tears. Bookmark here

Alena’s illusion had been in the way of the explosion I caused. She couldn’t remove her illusions until several hours had passed, and she felt all the pain from anything that hit her illusions. Bookmark here

In other words, she would have felt it. Bookmark here

All of it. Bookmark here

Like she got hit by something that could have taken out half an army. Like she got hit by something that could take out half a city. Bookmark here

I wanted to protect the city. Bookmark here

Instead I destroyed half of it. Bookmark here

I wanted to protect Alena. Bookmark here

Yet she was lying on the ground, clutching her chest in pain, tears flowing down her face. She moved her mouth, but was unable to form any words. That she didn’t fall unconscious was a minor miracle in itself, but probably one she would have been better off without. Bookmark here

It was hard to know what to call this outcome. Bookmark here

Victory? Bookmark here

Failure?Bookmark here

Both? Bookmark here

Had we won? Bookmark here

Had I done the right thing? Bookmark here

Had there been a better choice?Bookmark here

Or were we doomed to fail from the start? Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.