Chapter 39:

A Brief Struggle

Fighting For My Freedom In Another World

Somehow my first instinct was to blow a few of them up.Bookmark here

Not literally, of course. I couldn’t do that with my magic. But a violent enough fire… Was not a bad approximation of an explosion. A huge, boiling sea of flames. Even if it wasn’t quite the same thing, it would have a similar enough effect. Bookmark here

Though there was also that time my magic actually had caused an explosion…Bookmark here

Right. Bookmark here

Everything that felt like it had made sense just a moment ago, all the steps upon steps of logic I had been building up, suddenly came crumbling apart. Bookmark here

What was I even thinking? Why would I ever want to blow anyone up? There were better ways to win a fight.Bookmark here

I suppressed the weird thoughts running through my head and forced myself to think about something else. Bookmark here

I didn’t have time for this. If I thought about it for any longer I’d be hit anyway. Bookmark here

The shields I had conjured up went down and upon my command two bolts of fire appeared instead, heading straight towards two of the soldiers and knocking them airborne from the sheer force of the blast. Bookmark here

It looked like it would have hurt. Bookmark here

That hopefully solved one of my issues. If it hadn’t been enough to render them incapable of fighting, I’d just have to hit them again. Or as many times as it would take. Bookmark here

Perfect.Bookmark here

Even if there was a big flaw in my admittedly rather simplistic plan. Bookmark here

Dropping the barriers meant I was left wide open and became easy target practice for the remaining ten enemies I totally had ignored while fixating on the two I had managed to take down. Bookmark here

I may very well have died if I had been hit. Bookmark here

I was not. Bookmark here

Alena stepped in front of me and was hit by all the magic. All of it. Enough to have killed me for sure if I had needed to take all of it head-on the way she did. Bookmark here

Somehow, she remained standing. Bookmark here

“Alena, are you—”Bookmark here

“I’m fine. My magic lets me endure more than most people. Maria, you don’t have to protect me. Or rather, there’s a better way to protect me. I’ll… I’ll fight too. I’ll distract a few soldiers. You use the opening to take out the others fast.”Bookmark here

She spoke quickly, almost too fast for me to catch what she was saying. She was right. Bookmark here

I couldn’t handle this on my own. Bookmark here

No matter how much I didn’t want to put Alena in the way of danger, refusing here would just end with both of us dead. I had just seen her take a hit that would have killed me, anyway. It was probably fine to leave things to her. Bookmark here

Just this once. Bookmark here

She ran towards the soldiers closest to her. I didn’t see what happened next. As much as I wanted to know, I had my own task to accomplish. Bookmark here

I blocked several blasts of electricity that came flowing my way. It was much easier when I both didn’t have an additional person to protect and several fewer I needed to fight. Bookmark here

Only about five of the soldiers had their attention on me. I could handle that. Bookmark here

Easily. Bookmark here

I could do two things at the same time, at most. With only five people trying to attack me, all I had to do was block their attacks… And then strike. Bookmark here

One down. Bookmark here

With only four left, protecting myself from their magic only became easier. They were still trying to spread out more, but not fast enough. I send a blast of fire up from the ground below one of them.Bookmark here

That meant two less.Bookmark here

With only three people left to fight everything suddenly felt a lot less confusing. I could actually keep track of what all of them were doing. Bookmark here

They had spread out enough that I couldn’t realistically prevent all three of them from hitting me with only two fire shields. Creating three wasn’t anything I ever was going to consider again. Bookmark here

If I couldn’t defend, there wasn’t much need to think about my options. I only had one choice I could make.Bookmark here

Attack. Bookmark here

And if there was one thing I had learned the last few days, it was that attacking was something I was very good at. Bookmark here

Fire erupted around two of my opponents. A quick, merciless, magical blow.Bookmark here

The two soldiers I targeted were soon lying unconscious on the ground… Or if they were conscious, they at least weren’t willing to fight anymore and remained where they had fallen. Bookmark here

And that was three, and four. Bookmark here

Only one left. Bookmark here

I was hit by something. Bookmark here

A blast of magic from my last opponent. The one I had ignored in order to take out the other two. I knew this was coming, but it still hurt. My fingers twitched slightly in reaction to the electricity. I grit my teeth and did my best to endure. Bookmark here

It hurt, but I wouldn’t die from it. I was already hit once at the start of the fight. That was enough to know I’d be fine even if I got hit one more time. Bookmark here

What was more important was whether I would manage to retain enough presence of mind to summon up the magic I needed to end the fight. I was feeling a bit foggy. Kind of dizzy. Getting hit by a bunch of magic tended to do that to you. Bookmark here

It wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t keep fighting. Bookmark here

Fire roared up around me once more. Bookmark here

With only one opponent left, I didn’t need to block anymore. I could just conjure up a little bit more fire, and blast the last standing soldier, swiftly ending the struggle. Bookmark here

That was it. I had won. Bookmark here

For now. Bookmark here

It wasn’t over yet. My part of the fight was only half the battle. Even with the two I hit first, and the additional five I had defeated after that, there should still be another five opponents yet. Bookmark here

I had managed to bring all the soldiers I fought down thanks to the distraction Alena provided. Now all I needed to do was help her.Bookmark here

At least I thought so. Bookmark here

But as it turned out, she had managed well enough without my help. All five of the soldiers that had gone after her were lying on the ground, clutching various parts of their body in pain. Bookmark here

It was at this point I was forced to realise something. The princess was no worse a fighter than myself. If anything, she was probably better. I didn’t know how she won the fight, but the fact that she had testified to her ability. Bookmark here

Alena looked like she had been hit a few more times after we split up. Her short hair was even more of a mess than it already had been, and just looking at her made it clear exactly where she had been struck by magic. She also had a cut on her arm, but it wasn’t bleeding too horribly. Bookmark here

She was clearly injured. Bookmark here

But she was still standing, and turned around to look me in the eyes, and smiled. Bookmark here

“Told you I’d be fine, didn’t I?”Bookmark here

And just like that, we had won. Bookmark here

But the real defeat I suffered that day wasn’t in battle. Bookmark here

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