Chapter 12:

Wind Versus Fire

Magic and the Black Cloaks

"I gotta say, I'm glad my class is so good at their jobs but... why are we the ones who aren't allowed to have fun?"

Winter was granted permission to have a small party for his class on their major success on school grounds, it wasn't any more than what was basically a cookout, but, Winter and Akari were the ones who had to man the grill and make sure nothing got burned.

Of course, being the ones cooking, they were standing with aprons on watching the food not ever going too far while everyone else was having fun talking around with each other.

"I have no idea why we're the ones who had to cook..." It seems even Akari was feeling down as she shuffled food off of the grill again and placed it into the container which she was eventually gonna have to take to the main table.

Winter had also almost understocked them, he knew these people would eat a lot and made sure to buy a lot of food. But, it almost seemed to be disappearing almost every time he looked up to the main table, these guys were ravenous...

"Maybe we should get Lance and April to do this?" Winter didn't really mind standing here as he had Akari with him, but, the thing he couldn't stand was not being able to eat.

Throwing stuff on and taking others off, he really had little time to repeatedly have to shuffle around from eating to moving.

The full meat entre, he really spent when it came to choices. Or well, he spent the school's money, they're the ones that organized groups A, B, and C to have their own individual parties.

"We should. They've had their fun! April and Lance, take over!!" Akari instantly called the two girls over who was talking with the rest of their gun squad.

"Yes, Captain?"

Thanks to the recent and smash success, Akari was able to earn a promotion from First Lieutenant to Captain, Chisai was given a rank up from Second to First, and Erwin went from Second Receptionist to Chief Receptionist.

Well, it's not as if they had more than one anyway. Usually, with bigger battalions, they would have two to possibly even ten receptionists in support roles, thanks to how potent Erwin is at his job, he was the one and only for the 102nd.

"You two are taking over cooking duty while I and Major Flynt eat."

The two took off their aprons and gave them to the two soldiers who weren't holding anything.

"Cooking duty..." Amiya mumbled with a disgruntled look while putting on the apron.

"My favorite..." Chisai sighed as she put on the apron and stood in front of the hot grill.

It didn't help that today was quite hot, these two would get it much worse as Winter and Akari were very much not affected by the heat of the grill or sun.

Winter had been cooling himself down with the breeze and Akari... you get the idea. Speaking of those two, they went ahead and collected their own plates of food and took a seat at one of the many tables around the place.

Joined by Sakura and Selen, they found themselves in idle conversation while eating and just plain enjoying the time here.

"...I mean, yeah, Winter's Wind Wildcard is impressive but I feel like Akari's fire one is better. Overall, I think Akari might be stronger than Winter." Well, everything was calm as could be until Selen sparked a question that got both Wildcards up into competition.

"You think so? I did think my fire did have more applicable means when in a battle." Akari smiled at the fact someone just called her openly stronger than the Major.

Of course, Winter being such a warrior, wasn't going to let his strength come into question. If he did that, he might as well take off his bracelets and necklace and die.

"Now you just calm down right there. How dare you say you're stronger than me, Akari?" Winter almost found it funny that she thinks she could possibly be stronger than him.

Sure, her fire was an amazing thing, he would never fault how strong she is. But, in his mind, there was no conceivable way she was stronger than him.

Considering experience, he had her by three years of actual combat experience. That wasn't something he could make up.

"It could be possible, you know? Sure, you may have been fighting in combat for longer, but I've been training to fight since I was a child."

"So have I!"

"Dear Gods, Selen what have you done...?" Sakura said while both of the two commanders stood up, both too into this now to let it go.

"I just thought fire was cooler..." Selen mumbled and shook her head looking as calm as could be in a situation like this.

"There's one way to settle this. Come on, Captain, I challenge you to a duel!"

Just when everyone thought today was going to be a good day, the commanders get into a fight.

Winter and Akari had moved to the empty area next to their party, people who could use Wind Magic cast a big barrier on the area and everyone couldn't help but contain their excitement at the prospect.

In most of their minds, Winter and Akari were something of equals. Both far too strong for their own good for anyone to say one was better than the other, as soon as a single person questioned that, things fell out of balance.

"...Captain Kazami. You can still back down before I break your jaw." Winter cracked his knuckles as Akari finally came back with her sword in hand.

Since this was a duel, all of the medics students had the right to call the match but they felt like their authority had been put into question with these two. They would simply stay on stand-by until one of them looked too injured to stand up again.

Weapons were obviously permitted and Akari knew she would lose in a hand-to-hand combat bout. This was about who was better at their full strength, Winter didn't need a sword for that, she did.

"Let's see how well you can hit me anyway? You may be fast but try not to run headfirst into a blaze, okay?"

Though the anticipation was crazy, no one expected this to last more than a few minutes maybe even less. Both of them were far too strong and even with Magic Enhancements, it didn't really do much for the human body to withstand things, it came down to their own pain tolerance.

But, even then, they could both easily destroy a human body with a flick of their wrist. This was why no one expects this to last more than a minute at best.

"You may start!" Chisai was forced to referee this battle.

She was of course inside the cage momentarily but quickly used shadow magic to get the fuck out. She didn't want to be anywhere near these two when this started which no one could argue against, you'd have to be as strong or even stronger to stand between those two.

The instant Chisai was gone, flame spells launched from Akari, blew apart the ground where Winter was standing with such force none of them had ever seen her use on just a single person. Or even a group of people at that. The heat that blasted them in the face was intense and some feared she might've just eliminated Winter off the board with just that.

But, when Akari prepared her sword but instantly dodged out of the way, they could see bullets of wind being shot at her. Winter came running at her from the smoke heap that was Akari's attack and before the girl could properly formulate a proper defense with her sword, a strong gust of wind threatened to send her flying.

Winter was close but quickly used the air brakes as a stream of flames shot at a diagonal angle out of the ground. Through those fires, Akari slashed at Winter only for him to dodge and then strike her right in the side, wind knocked out her legs as Winter felt more than a few flaming arrows strike him in the back.

Of course, they didn't feel good and he pretty much wanted to give up just from feeling those but he didn't, he had won.

Akari was zipped into the air while her sword was ripped out of her hands, she clasped her hands around her throat as Winter clenched a fist. She was currently being strangled by his powers and there was literally nothing she could do about it except stop the user.

Most would think this is where she gave up but she pointed a hand at Winter as everyone saw the fire explode in front of her but then collapse in on itself then blast out immediately in a blue flame which last less than two seconds.

Winter was perfectly fine as he created a barrier of wind, just the area in front of him and he himself was fine as everything else was burnt into ash and soot. The ground was literally burned away leaving him on elevated ground.


He let go of his powers letting Akari fall down to the ground gasping for breath.

"...Damn it!" She then noticed that if this were a real fight, she would've been done in mere seconds.

He didn't even use his wind blades as that would be far too much overkill, the flames she was using were finely crafted to leave nothing more than a good burn that wouldn't be life-threatening. Even the final one, which turned blue from the heat, wouldn't have evaporated him like the ground to the side, not like it mattered since she lost.

She looked up from her despair as Winter reached down a hand to her, she of course took it and was pulled to her feet. She wasn't going to be stubborn about it, he was the stronger of the two.

"So, I'm gonna go and have the medics heal my back... those arrows did hurt..." He waved them over as he started walking off towards them.

Akari could see that his white shirt was now red and had holes in it. She gave him a sorry as she was the one who came off easy in this fight, sure her throat hurt from how tight his grip was but it was nothing she couldn't tough through.

She went back to their table to which Selen and Sakura followed her back.

"...I should've seen that coming."

"Yup, confidence is a killer sometimes," Sakura said while continuing to eat the plate of food that she had left before the match had begun.

"You had no chance." Selen's blank face made Akari unsure if she was trying to berate her or some sort of comfort, "I meant, he didn't even use his wind blades, I'm sorry for putting you in that position."

Akari took one deep inhale then an exhale as Winter came back wearing a new black shirt, "No worries, that would've occurred someday, it'd better it would be today than some other time."

"I now understand why the enemy screams so much, those arrows really hurt."

"Huh? I had them on the lowest setting too...?"

"...Akari, you have got to reevaluate what the lowest setting is..." Sakura shook her head for all the people she's had the pleasure of hitting with her powers.

"I don't think I will."

If they die, they die was what she was thinking at the moment. If they weren't strong enough to survive then that just meant they shouldn't be alive in the first place, she was there to show the weak ones the exit to the afterlife.

It's how most of them thought, strength over everything, Akari was just on the most extreme side of the spectrum and she had her own reason for it.

"Yeah, if they're our enemies, just kill them." Winter was also pretty far on the scale but instead of it being about strength, if he was told to kill them, they would die.

"Wow, you two really are perfect for each other." Selen couldn't help but say out loud after seeing just how far these two were.

"When you say it like that, I might as well buy a ring for her?" Again, he spoke it in such a cryptic tone, that no one could tell if he was serious or not.

"That's the second time you've said-"

"Second?" Selen asked faster than Sakura could and the usual semi-serious face of Akari fell into one of surprise.

No one had known they had gone out before so they had no clue of Winter's antics that day.

"Wait, wait, Sakura, remember that place I had told you about, and I was going to get permission to go to?" Her speedy explanation helped them figure things out but it didn't go as Akari wanted.

"You went there with the Major?"

"I knew you two were supposed to stick together but even going out on days off...?" Selen had put a hand to her mouth and you could even tell she was making fun of Akari here.

"Yes- I mean, he was going there too! So, we went together! And when we were there, he said he wished he was going out on a date with me?! ...This doesn't sound any better?!?!" Akari slammed her fist into the table out of annoyance.

All while she was freaking out, Winter was peacefully eating not correcting a single thing going out or even paying attention to what was happening right in front of him.

"Will you help me?!" Akari turned to him with a pleading look in her eyes.

"Help you how? Everything you said is true? Oh, but we aren't dating or anything."

Akari balled her fist as she braced herself for him to say yet on top of that but he didn't, letting her mind calm down. She gave a sigh and took her seat again, nothing was cleared up, really...

"Major Flynt, I'm surprised you were able to tease her without saying a word. Teach me your ways...!" Sakura whispered out loud making Akari glare at the pair.

"Of course, It's best for you to be able to-"

"No way in Hell! Stop that, right now!!"

The two suspects put their hands up as if they were being arrested making Akari sigh again.

"I can't believe you two...!" She spoke through gritted teeth.

"Captain, you have no one to blame except yourself. You give the perfect reactions, it's exactly what they want to see." Selen told her outright what was wrong and Akari knew she was right in that regard.

Akari maintained silence and didn't say anything back as the two partners in annoyance moved away from each other. She figures she might as well calm down before those two get any bright ideas.

As much as she couldn't say it, this was fun in its only special way. She hoped things like this could last forever but knew sooner or later they would have to be redeployed again and with every redeployment, someone got closer and closer to death.

If they weren't strong enough to survive, then they should die, or at least that's what she really wants to convince herself concerning her friends...