Red liquid poured quickly into the ice shaft. Time disappeared from her clock. The pounding of her heart returned. Pressure slammed on her body. A decision had to be made. No time remained for planning or guesses.
Eudokia braced herself against the paneling behind her. Closing her eyes, she focused tightly on her Field. Ice everywhere disappeared allowing the fluid of Dareia’s Field to rush faster towards her. Seconds ticked by as it gathered around her boots burning once more. Then finally her ice Field returned driving back the enemy Field. “Only one chance…”
Chapter 38 – Gushing Imagination
With Dareia carving out chunks of the park, ice pillars shot up out of the utility shaft. The now red and green liquid Field shrank away with the expansion of ice. Standing atop the pillar, Eudokia looked down with weapons in hand once more.
Dareia turned to face her now holding a halberd tinted green. Sweeping the weapon through the air, an entire half meter chunk of the ice pillar disappeared instantly following the motion of the halberd. Ice remains started to fall when it stretched out into a ramp straight for Dareia.
Sliding down like before, she hurdled towards Dareia with even greater speed. She threw the chakram in motion. Chain attached, it stretched out adding new links as the disk weapon wrapped itself around Dareia leg. The weapon froze to the ground sending frost up the assassin’s leg. It wasn’t enough to completely catch her off guard, but the sword pierced her shoulder.
However, Dareia still had one unhindered arm and swung the halberd down. It sliced through Eudokia, erasing half her body from shoulder to hip diagonally. Blood splattered everywhere released from the container of her body.
The ice Field remained.
Realizing the trap, Dareia looked quickly around to locate the real Eudokia. The chain around her leg suddenly reforged in a different direction. It pulled taunt forcing the sword along with Eudokia speeding back to the chakram. The woman couldn’t move in time as the sword pierced her heart spraying blood over the liquid Field.
Dareia coughed and staggered on her feet. Eudokia's sword ripped up through her chest and shoulder, hastening her end. “So you did find a way…good girl…” The woman fell back into the shattering Field as ice took over everything.
Eudokia panted collapsing to her knees, the battle finally over. “Goodbye…” Everything went numb for her. Her body fell over as the world went dark.
A dull shaking woke her mind back up. The pain scouring her body had disappeared with only fatigue left. “Yuki…” she whispered, opening her eyes. Her mind still pieced together the gap in time.
“Ayumi? How do you feel?”
“Better…” She leaned on Yuki getting back to her feet. Ayumi looked around at the state of the park. It didn’t make it unscathed this time from her fight.
“Should you be standing?” Fumiko immediately went around to the other side helping her.
Ayumi nodded to her looking over at Yuki like she had something on her mind. “His power healed me. All that’s left is rest.” She scanned the park for a second check before breaking away. Limping over to the body, she stared down at Dareia.
“This the real assassin?”
“Yes. You’re going to need to step up.”
A nod in agreement came from Yuki. He wanted things to be different. The sidelines wasn’t his idea of how to participate. ‘Perhaps things are improving, I was able to heal Fumiko without too much of a struggle…’ It gave him a little hope that Ayumi’s lessons made a difference.
Suddenly, the dead woman disappeared, making Fumiko jump back to hide behind Yuki, which didn’t really work in practice. “Where’d she go?”
“Ayumi removed the body. It’s like I said, this is all a big secret.”
Ayumi’s expression narrowed from tired to serious. “You told her everything?”
“Well she got stabbed, nearly killed and then healed. Not going to start trying to lie at that point.”
“She looks really scary, Hayashi. Nothing like the girl I saved from those boys.”
“Yeah, Ayumi’s like that. This is the real her.”
“Right…” Fumiko looked between the two for things to make more sense than just things being magic or some such thing. That didn’t happen. “I’m not going to pretend I understand any of this. This whole power system seems a little too convenient.”
“See Ayumi! She gets it! But I know right? It’s like really OP, but it’s got all these rules at the same time. So it can be really glass cannon-y, but also not.”
“Feels like something you’d give a villain for the hero to fight against.”
“But what’s stopping you from just like erasing breathable air?”
“Honor I guess, though, since the assassins use the same power. It wouldn’t work against them, their Field would cancel the effect. But I guess if you were overwhelming the other person maybe?”
Ayumi sighed, not feeling up to the nerdy energy of Yuki and not being hit in stereo. She looked through half closed eyes over at Fumiko. “Can you just knock him out already?”
“Huh?” Fumiko stepped back, becoming confused by her request.
“It’s alright, Fumiko. It’s normal at this point… Just hit me hard.”
She panicked even more with Yuki being on board with it. “What?! This isn’t one of those things is it?”
“Huh? Oh! Oh! N-no-no, it’s not like that. I’m still learning. So while I can activate my power…I can’t deactivate right now. And it interferes with Ayumi’s power.”
“Right…” Fumiko looked back and forth between the two of them. They were both looking completely serious and earnest about what they were asking her to do. Ayumi was hardly in the shape to be doing much physically. “Forgive me…” She closed her eyes as her arm went flying hoping it would all work out.
“It’s ok,” said Yuki as she launched her fist at his face. The impact bounced his head around a little, but it went by otherwise unnoticed. Yuki looked over at Ayumi for confirmation, but only got a head shake.
Fumiko opened her eyes looking at her hand still touching Yuki’s cheek, but he looked a little disappointed. “I’m so sorry!”
“You need to hit me harder than that.” Yuki sighed a little to himself trying to think of another way of doing this seeing that she probably didn’t have enough strength to knock him out or get anywhere close. But she went to hit him several more times with the same effect all while keeping her eyes closed. ‘This isn’t working…’
He started to move thinking that he had an idea when there was suddenly a shadow over his head giving him a sinking feeling that something bad was about to happen. Yuki turned his head towards what was casting the shadow to see a school bag flying through the air at him. “No! Wait!” Yuki flailed his arms at Fumiko trying to get her to stop, but it was already in motion and slammed in his face loudly dropping him to the grass.
“Oh no! I hit him too hard! Hayashi!” Fumiko ran over to him checking to see if he was still alive, flailing her arm about at Yuki’s lifeless body. “Hayashi! Stay alive! I’m so sorry!”
Yuki coughed and began moving revealing a large red mark on his face from where the bag hit him. “Ugh…I’m still alive, Fumiko…”
“Oh! I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry, please forgive me!”
“It’s alright!” Yuki stood up slowly pushing back on Fumiko a little to let her know that he was fine. He pressed his hand against his head feeling the soreness and cracking his neck feeling a little better. “What you got in that bag? Bricks?”
“Just all of my fantasy books I read and a textbook,” she said, showing him the contents of her bag.
“Oh awesome! I’ve heard of that one! Is it any good?”
“Definitely, I’m re-reading it right now! I love how the main character bravely faces down the ugliness of the world. Fighting the temptations of morality and struggling with black and white binaries! And the wizard!”
Left out of the nerd talk, Ayumi watched them lose several minutes. ‘I thought she might be different, but it seems she’s just like him…’ Processing her own emotions took a bit for Ayumi. Eventually, she returned needing to hurry things along. “I’m glad you two are all friends now, but I need to erase your memory now.”
Yuki was quick to move his feet getting between the two of them. He had seen this with his family. “Stop! She’s accepted what she saw. You don’t need to erase her memories!”
“Anyone that sees can’t be allowed to remember. It’s for their safety as well as yours.”
“But Saki already knows. Can’t you make an exception?”
“The more that know the worse this will get. It’s bad enough half of your class is probably suspicious or questioning their sanity each time before I wipe them.”
Fumiko watched the two argue over her leaving her uncertain about what was happening. She stepped forward around them looking at Ayumi directly. “If you want to erase my memory, fine. But I can keep this a secret. I won’t tell anyone. It’s not like anyone would believe me anyway, right?”
“That’s not the problem. People are after him and anyone around him is at potential risk. It’ll be better this way.” A ripple came out from where she stood. Ayumi raised her hand towards Fumiko and a brief flash of light washed over her face. “You helped me meet my little sister. Afterwards, you returned to your club content with the outcome.”
A dazed Fumiko stood still until they started escorting her back to the school. They left her a little inside the gate to match with her new memories. The third year walked on auto-pilot for a stretch until everything came back to her and she hurried off.
“You could have left the friends part.”
“Like you need any more influence for your powers to manifest. I saw the way you two acted.”
He pouted a little walking back to the gate. “What about that big hole in the park?”
“I patched it up enough, but the city will have to do the rest.”
“Not worried about people figuring that out?”
“We both used Laws that prevented outside observation, so it’ll just be an unexplained mystery. I don’t have the energy right now to repair everything.”
Yuki caught a directing eye from Ayumi, which turned his head towards the track field. “…Saki…” He straightened up and tried to shake off the nervousness. A usual fake smile came over him for her.
“Yuki… Another assassin?”
“You seemed to keep it private.”
“I’m sorry, Saki.” Yuki could feel the uneasiness in his stomach from before, but it wasn't holding back his words this time. “…Saki…I’m…I…I know that you never liked Seiji…” Part of him hoped that Hiroshi smoothed things over for him. She seemed to be talking to him. “I’m sorry, Saki. I know that I must have hurt you…”
“Yuki…just stop…” She could see the confusion in his eyes. Some comfort came from his words. Each line of their argument had echoed through her mind. It left her in an unknown place until now. “It’s alright, Yuki. I know. You don’t have to say anymore.”
“But Saki…I-I… I don’t want to lose you because of Seiji.”
“Yuki!” Her words needed to stop him before she placed yet another boulder to his burden. ‘That smile carries so much…’ She stepped forward, reaching out to stop him shaking. “Idiot… Our friendship’s stronger than this, Yuki. I’ve stuck it out with you through it all and this isn’t going to break me. I’m sorry I over reacted.”
“No…I…Saki…” Yuki hung his head down feeling some relief, but sad as well.
Saki looked down at him, developing a little smile to see that they were finally able to talk and get the air cleared between them. “Just promise me, Yuki.”
“Huh?” Yuki began to lift up his head.
“Promise me that you’ll stay the same. I know you can’t help it with assassins after you, but don’t let it consume you please. Promise me not to fight because you want it.”
“…Saki!” Yuki's eyes widened as memories came flooding back to him that he tried to forget. Of painful times that were in his past.
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