Fighting For My Freedom In Another World
I was close enough.
That Nina woman was no longer just able to attack me one-sidedly, leaving me no choice but to defend. I was actually able to do something.
That “something” mostly consisted of hurling whatever shape of fire I happened to think of at the time towards my opponent at the same time as I tried to keep my guard up and use magic to block any attempts at targeting me.
I could once again feel the same thing I had when I fought the same woman back in... some city I didn’t know the name of yet.
I was stronger.
The only thing holding me back was my unwillingness to inflict more damage than necessary. The desire to avoid risking any unfortunate complications of the sort I had back then.
If I hadn’t had those things to restrain me?
Everything would have been over in an instant, my opponent overwhelmed by a sea of flames.
In reality, things were progressing a bit more slowly.
I was actually stronger. I had already suspected as much before. This time I could say for sure.
If I had anything to thank the person that inhabited this body before me for, it was how powerful her magic was.
That I had to hold back in order to not be overwhelmed, and that I couldn’t fully handle the mental strain of doing several things at once with magic yet were the only two reasons I wasn’t winning.
I almost hit her more than a few times. One time my opponent even flinched slightly and quickly pulled her hand back if she had touched a hot stove, the magic I had launched at her just about having managed to scrape her side.
I suffered my fair share of close calls of my own too.
At this point I was exhausted, and keeping up with defending myself was getting harder and harder. There were times when I got a bit sloppy and was hit by some small shock, either because I didn’t create a large enough shield or because my adversary sent something smaller designed to slip around my defenses at me.
In short, we were about evenly matched, in the sense that we were both at the end of our rope and just waiting for the moment the other would inevitably slip up.
Eyeing each other and waiting for the right opportunity to strike.
There were two fundamental differences between what I was doing this time and I was doing back then that let me hold my own:
I had slightly more experience using magic, and I was less afraid of hurting someone that I could tell for sure would absolutely hurt me if given the chance. What little experience I had been able to acquire probably wouldn’t have mattered much to most, but when you were a total beginner? Then just a little bit of practice could change a lot.
And regarding the damage I could cause to the woman I was fighting?
I didn’t feel any need to hold back anymore. Not as long as I didn’t kill her. I had already done worse. Any damage I did to her was fair game. It was only what was behind her I cared about enough to hold back.
At some point during the fight, I had taken the opportunity to ask about what happened after the last time we faced each other. There had been some vague hope inside me that if she was alive, then the soldiers that were with her could have been too.
I thought something like.. This was the same woman. She would know. Know if they survived
So I asked, not sure why I was expecting an honest answer from someone who was in the middle of trying to kill me.
The answer I got?
“Those fools? Of course they’re all dead. What do you think would happen after that kind of explosion?”
In other words, I killed them. No matter how unintentionally or indirectly it may have been, it was still my fault.
I had already done much worse than anything I could do to this woman as long as I made sure I didn’t go too overboard with how much magic I was using.
And that was why I was looking for an opportunity to take my opponent out. If I already had caused the death of that many, knocking one more person out could hardly matter much in the grand scheme of things.
Before that chance came, a carriage came barreling along on the road our fight had been taking place next to.
I personally wouldn’t have minded letting it pass through. That… Nina person, though?
She blasted it with her electricity, making the whole thing burst into pieces.
I didn’t have time to react and protect it with my own magic.
Someone jumped out the back of it.
This was my chance.
While my opponent was distracted, I’d be able to take her out and finish the fight. I readied my magic, fire surrounding me…
I hesitated for a moment when I saw who had jumped out of the carriage. If she was there, there was a risk I’d end up hurting her with my magic. The signals my own mind was sending me weren’t reliable enough.
If I …
I hadn’t caught it at first, but a man had fallen out of the carriage just before Alena. He was holding a knife and heading towards her, and it looked a lot like they had been fighting, with a little bit of blood on the knife and Alena having a few shallow cuts on her.
It was possible I’d hurt Alena if I used my magic, but it was just as possible that hesitating would only end with her being hurt even more badly.
This wasn’t the time for indecision, or for waiting for someone to tell me what to do.
It was the time for action
For making my own choices, right away.