Chapter 42:


The Scorned

Selene slowly walked towards the man with a look that said she was ready for a fight. I quickly scrambled to my feet and got in her way, forcing her to look at me. Once I had her attention, I said, "Look, there is no reason to rush; we don't know what is going on here." Selene slowly looked me in the eyes and said, "What is going to happen is simple. I am going to fight this man, and you can either come with me or fight the woman who I assume is defending the other hole in the wall."

I took a deep breath and tried one more time to talk some sense into Selene. Grabbing her hand, I asked, "And what about the man himself? It's obvious that he has a power we don't know about." Selene pulled her hand from mine and replied, "He is a mage and uses magic; that is all we need to know."

I stood still, trying to figure out if I had heard her correctly. Magic? That was supposed to be something that my parents told me about before bed. Yet here this man was, burning soldiers alive with only his hands.

I didn't have much time to think because Selene began to walk forward again. I quickly joined her, walking by her side, and asked, "Can you at least promise me that if you believe your life is in danger, you will switch back into your normal form?" Selene nodded her head and replied, "I can do that, and I am going to ask you not to get involved in my fight. I know you aren't going to leave me, so watch my back and make sure the other one doesn't attack me from behind." Before I had the chance to answer, Selene began to run forward, leaving me behind.

I made sure to stay a few steps behind Selene, begrudgingly complying with her wishes. She ran right into the field, shoving retreating soldiers out of her way. Eventually, she stopped in front of the mage, and the two silently stared at each other. He was the first to break the silence and taunted, "You must be very proud of yourself to challenge me. It's a shame you will die so young, though." With a voice full of venom, Selene hissed out, "You do a lot of talking, human. Are you going to bore me to death, or are we going to fight?"

The man stared at Selene, then, with a flick of his wrist, he shot a fireball towards her. I was caught off guard by the man's speed, but Selene easily dodged it with an amused look on her face. She let out a laugh and taunted, "Is that the best you can do? And here I thought I was going to be able to have some fun. Oh well, at least you will serve as practice." As soon as she finished talking, she appeared behind the mage. She reached out for his neck, but a wall of flames suddenly appeared, stopping her movements. With his own smirk, the mage said, "You didn't think it would be that easy, did you? Now lets even the playing field."

With that, he muttered something to himself that I couldn't hear. The only thing I noticed was, for a brief second, it looked as if some symbol lit up on the back of his hand. There was a brief pause, and then something began to shoot towards Selene with blinding speed. I couldn't tell what it was, but I sprinted towards Selene's side just in time to shield her with my body. I let out a grunt as it slammed into my stomach and knocked me off my feet.

The force of the impact carried me well away from Selene. I tumbled across the ground until I could get my feet under me and slid to a halt. It took a moment for me to get my bearings when I noticed that I was in the middle of the battlefield. Looking around, I saw my attacker slowly advancing towards me. I took a fighting stance, but stopped when I saw that it was the woman from before. I waited for her to get closer, then called out, "I have no quarrel with you. I only want to make it back to my partner. There is no need for us to fight."

The woman stared at me and replied, "I have no problems with you either, but I don't have a choice. I have been commanded, so I must follow his orders. Now ready yourself. The time for talking is over." Before I could respond, the woman began to sprint my way. I watched her run when suddenly she increased her speed, and I lost sight of her. I had an uneasy feeling. I never had problems following Selene's movements, but I couldn't keep up with this woman's. Was it possible that she was stronger than Selene?

That question quickly answered itself as a fist found its way to my ribs. I had been shot and stabbed and never felt anything, but there was pain with this attack. It wasn't anything excruciating, but if it happened a few more times, I was sure I would be in trouble.

I let out a deep breath, trying to calm myself. Panicking wouldn't help anything. Scanning the field, I was able to spot the woman running towards me. She was nothing more than a blur, but it was better than nothing. Right before she attacked, I covered my ribs, expecting the same attack, but instead, she feinted and hit me in the jaw. The blow sent me sprawling to the ground, and my vision went blurry. While I was trying to regain my senses, I heard the woman state with her voice void of any emotion, "You are powerful. I will give you that. Those two attacks should have killed you, but unfortunately, strength won't help you when you don't know how to fight."

As I stumbled back to my feet, I knew that she was right. In a straight fight, there was no way that I could beat her. I quickly tried to think of a way to defend myself when I thought back to when Selene had called me a brute. I was trying to fight as Selene would, and there was no way that I would win. I spat blood from my mouth and smiled. It was time to fight like a brute.

I was able to spot the woman sprinting towards my right, ready to attack again. I waited until she got as close as possible then swung both of my fists downward with all of my strength. The woman was able to dodge my attack easily and landed another blow cleanly onto my ribs. I gritted my teeth as I felt a few bones break from her attack, but I didn't slow my own. Both fists slammed into the ground, creating a massive crater that sent out shockwaves away from the impact. My attack had the desired effect, as the woman lost her balance and fell to the ground.

I quickly pounced on top of her and pinned her to the ground. I winced as pain filled my body and hissed out, "This is your only chance to stop. I don't want to hurt you, but if you get in my way of protecting her, I will kill you." The woman gave me a sad smile and replied, "She must be lucky to have a master think that highly of her. I lost the fight. Do what you have to do." With that, she closed her eyes, accepting her fate.

Acknowledging her words, I raised my fist back ready to end her suffering, when I heard Selene scream, "Leo!"

I turned to Selene and was surprised to see that she was already in her demon form. It appeared that she was having some trouble of her own. She was panting heavily and had a small amount of blood trickling down her cheek. The other thing that caught my eye was the massive fireball screaming towards the woman and I.