Chapter 20:



The scowled verdict was the best the fiend would receive.

It was begrudging respect, even so, one rarely offered even.

He noticed as much and shrugged his shoulders.

No sooner had their exchange of polite deferences ended did a still scrutinising boy pose a question.

"Even though you've beaten me, you've still yet to answer any question or query of mine," Tommy said, standing with dust off his shoulders. "Do tell, after the conclusion of this farce, what do you suppose will happen next?"

Curiosity and wrath alike gnawed at his every word, suggesting a dual implication of due entertainment and incurred vengeance.

"Are you sure you want to know, Tommy? Wouldn't you rather it a surprise?"

Inducing an excessive edge to his words, Tommy replied, "Don't question my words, you athletic clown."

Then, walking to meet the fiend, Tommy put on an uncharacteristically devious smile.

"Would I ask of you what I was not certain?" He replied, brushing the dust off his clothes. "The answer to that, of course, is no. So, if you would... Lasagna, betray to me the extent of your dastardly plan. You would find yourself better off."

Tommy led his words with a confident nuance to the very end, going as far as to give a wicked smile while clearly stating a wrong name.

"Well, alrighty then." Entertained Azama, resting a hand on his chest. "Truth is, I'm here to see first-hand that this building blows itself up!."

Seeing the puzzled look on Tommy's face, Azama explained without so much as a hint of tension, "Not with magic or any similarly supernatural phenomena, no no, we all know that'll set off countless sensors and whatnot, just good old nitroglycerin, dynamite and fireworks."

Inquisitive as to why, Tommy scratched his chin and gave Azama a sideways glance.

"So, Lasagna, could you care to explain how you got all this past Rainee?"

Rooted in genuine yet subverted wonder, Tommy's question came out with an exhale of predetermined disappointment. Rainee was a stupid, conniving mistake of a mage that he knew. Those attributes, however, did not ever warrant the murder of teenagers for seemingly no reason.

He didn't want to put it past him just yet, but some sliver of Tommy's soul doubted Rainee would even be capable of anything along those lines. Such a belief, of course, was not derived from any form of goodwill, camaraderie, or anything resembling that for the matter.

If asked to put his feelings into words, Tommy would describe it as something along the lines of "That wretched man lacks even the basic merit to reciprocate a hello without stuttering. (Accompanied by exasperated glare) If even simply talking back remains outside his repertoire, do you really expect me to believe that he could so much as muster the courage to kill someone?"

The mere judgement exuded from that line of thinking alone should be more than telling. Rainee was not a respected man. Tommy was not alone in this logic either. Many others, when confronted, would likely spew the same rhetoric.

So, with an earnest conclusion, he blamed Azama for what occurred.

"Well, thing is, Tommy, I didn't."

Tommy's surprise took a few steps forward, presenting an arched brow.


"Meaning everything happening right now is the product of some good old joint-thinking." Azama's finger tapped against his forehead while his voice exuded delight. "Teamwork, if you will."

"And what might the purpose behind this teamwork be?" Tommy was saying.

He wanted to continue his investigation, but Azama stopped him.

Shoving a finger in Tommy's general direction, the man gleefully replied

"Now now, Tommy, telling you that will ruin all the fun, besides..."

-and cast an eye out the window.

"We've only got two minutes left."

Tommy burst into question, only somewhat inferring his meaning.

"Until this building blows, you mean."

Even as he assessed the weight of those words, the mage remained cool.

"Yep." Azama nodded. "So I would get going if I were you."

"So be it."

Tommy glanced to his back, and walked to the nearest wall.

Under the guise of the darkened night, Tommy gripped a handle, pulled upwards and lifted a window.

A cool wind brushed through his hair, blowing his clothes ever so softly.

At that point, the mage calculated the general height downwards, and the necessary time it would take.

Noticing Azama begin to tread out of earshot, Tommy closed his eyes, wondering what the meaning behind all this was. Immersed within a room of darkness, the mage lost himself in a swirl of opinions and conviction.

About to plunge himself into a reverie, Tommy soon found his ritual cut short. Presumably, out of some unclear motive or responsibility, he heard the mercenary's voice call back. Tommy swallowed hard, then swiftly rotated his body to face him.

"Oh and, just as a precaution. Try not to fall and die. That would put a dent in our plans."

The mage with the ash-grey hair replied, "I'll make sure to keep that in mind."

In the end, Tommy figured to summon another demon of his and escape the general vicinity. Having decided on what looked like a solid piece of water in a vague teardrop-like shape, he descended.

After a brief lapse of landing and unsummoning, Tommy found a spot under the cordate orange leaves of a tree.

He inhaled in air, and with it, the musky scent of earth and wood. His adrenaline was beginning to wear off, and the pain in his arm ached more by the second.

Focus. Take joy in what is to come.

Tommy stared at the tower, still intact in its tall bearing.

When a piercing sound rang out, which it did after ten seconds or so, he smiled.

Any semblance of pain faded away, replacing itself with delight at a timely spectacle.

The sight of the tower exploding bore resemblance to a show. Although any form of explosives may have been used, the ones Azama took were of a tinted variety. Sending out light resembling every colour within the visible spectrum.

For Tommy, the sight of such abrupt and bombastic destruction was amusing.

He imagined the many workshops of the mages, potential years of research, washed away by the whims of one madman, and grinned. His musings were supported by his own lack of one, having been unable to afford a space within the area.

This almost perverse pleasure was only improved with each coming second.

Having relinquished any sort of social awareness, Tommy calmly waited for any sign of life.

Besides, research or not, it could all be rebuilt. Hell, Rainee had constructed The Tower on a week’s notice. Lives on the other hand, were another matter.

And from the way it seemed, no one had perished.

Try not to fall and die. That would put a dent in our plans.

Those words rang like an unsung mantra.

Tommy lifted his eyes in attendance.

Across the distance, drifting in the wind, were a slew of students. Illuminating their surroundings with magic and flashlights. Some descending through monsters of their own, some by means of levitation, or some by just running atop falling rubble like maniacs.

Thusly, Tommy affirmed that Azama's words were true.

Everyone seemed to be alive, with even the maids in charge of the building being present.

Only difference was that there was a unified choir of shouts and curses. Obviously coming from those frustrated at what had become of their research.

Approaching what seemed to be the usual crowd, he offered the then landed people his signature cold gaze.

At the same instant, a random student rushed up to him, a fierce gaze in their eyes. He was someone unfamiliar, a brown-haired human with little remarkable. From the looks of it, the student was quite angsty too, marching with a palpable tension in his body.

"Where were you Sessogun?"

The student pulled out his cell phone, gesturing to it. He spent a small moment looking somewhat sorry, as if expressing concern over some mistake he made. Then straightening himself, reverted back to his usual ruffled angst.

“The signal’s gone, and we didn’t have any magical means of reaching you either.”

"The crazy self-proclaimed teacher attacked me while I was heading to my room."

On seeing his lukewarm concern, Tommy explained the circumstances behind his disappearance.

Physical proof should suffice. Almost unnecessarily, Tommy then traced the line of his arm wound, showing the still lacerated skin and blood.

Bringing it to the attention of a few observant mages, Tommy noticed some come towards him. One human girl, and one vampire male, the former lighting the vicinity with fire, and the latter reaching into a white-lacquered pouch by their waist.

“Does it hurt?” Said the vampire, warm and calm.

“No.” replied Tommy, lying through his teeth. “I was cut with a sword by a walking skeleton.”

“Was the sword rusted, poisoned, or cursed?”

“Haven’t the remotest idea.”

“Are you against the Vilisi’ Method?”

Tommy pondered over the implications of it, but replied with a shake of his head.

“Use whatever maggot, insect, or parasite necessary.”


The proud mage gave an uncharacteristically appreciative nod. Going as far as to say ‘thank you’ in the vampires’ native language.

A few seconds passed, and so did small sounds of clashing glass and opened lids.

The vampire was obviously about to begin his method, so Tommy didn’t want to think about it.

Upon feeling something slimy touch his skin, however, he found himself forced to. No sooner than a second and a fiery sting also ensued. He imagined it might’ve been a vampire speciality, some parasite designed to eat away at infection and curses alike.


Not wanting to look at it, Tommy chose to face the brown-haired boy from earlier.

He was still as exasperated as before. His arms crossed over each other and one eyebrow even arched. It was almost comedic how exaggerated the boy’s emotions were, presented with one stupidly punchable face nonetheless.

Amused, Tommy arched his eyebrow and crossed his arms in turn. As if to say ‘Yes, this is how you look, ingrate.’

"So, you claim to have been preoccupied."

The harshness in his words conveyed an almost confrontational approach.


Peculiar. Tommy thought.

"And yet you chose to escape The Tower because?"

In his confident demeanour, the words of prior still in mind, Tommy smiled.

“We won’t die. That would put a dent into the self-proclaimed teacher’s plans."

The words manifested like the morning crows of a rooster. Loud, resonant, and all things boisterous. In essence, lacking in any subtlety or foresight, driven solely by the innate drive of instinct.

"Tommy, what did you say?"

"We won’t die. That would put a dent into the self-proclaimed teacher’s plans."

When the boy heard that strange poise within Tommy's voice, he frowned and promptly walked away. Afterwards, upon an exchange of newly discovered information and talks did the student return.

This time, accompanied by several others.

"So you mean this is all Rainee's plan, right?"

Tommy haughtily replied, "Yes, I believe I've made myself quite clear."

"Right, and you know this because?"

"As I said, I spoke with the crazy self-proclaimed teacher and he informed me."

"And he decided to inform you because?"

"Well, out of amusement, I suppose. We battled, and after seeing myself as a worthy opponent, he decided to elaborate that Rainee had something in place that you guys wouldn't die."

Another student unleashed a long-agonising sigh.

"Tommy, do you realise how ridiculous that sounds?"

Tommy’s eyes reflected pity. “Yes, nameless mage, yes I do.” he said, self-aware of how crazy his situation was.

Steward McOy
Kya Hon
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