Chapter 13:

Volume 2, Chapter 1-3: The Feline And False Archer

Heroes of the Past

“Wait, something is awry,” Tess remarked, looking over at Lionel.Bookmark here

I saw Zhuyu brace himself for an attack as Lionel rushed over towards our side. Kyoi immediately reacted, dashing over in an instant. Two swords appeared in her hands and she pointed the blades at him. Lionel jumped back but maintained eye contact with Zhuyu.Bookmark here

“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked, looking around at everyone.Bookmark here

No one gave me a response. Kyoi acted as a barrier, preventing Lionel from reaching him. In addition, both of the men near Zhuyu stood on either side of him, ready for a fight.Bookmark here

“Really?” Ichaival shouted out as he rolled away from a burst of lightning.Bookmark here

A dark skinned man with an orange beanie was Ichaival’s opponent. He wore a simple singlet with black fingerless gloves. There was no fear in his eyes.Bookmark here

Ichaival charged at him, but his blade missed. Bartholomew already pivoted behind him, delivering a strong punch to Ichaival’s back. Ichaival stumbled and I saw a disappointed look on Shan’s face.Bookmark here

During Ichaival’s stumble, I heard the whizzing of blades. A dozen blades flew down from the ceiling. The blades split once they neared Bartholomew. Four curved in from the left and right. The remaining blades headed straight for the head.Bookmark here

Bartholomew, unfazed by the blades, locked his eyes with Ichaival. He raised his left and then right arm up. Cat-like spirits appeared, deflecting all the blades. Ichaival closed in on the man. Instead of brandishing his blade, he stepped to the the right. He disappeared and appeared behind Bartholomew.Bookmark here

Bartholomew swung his fist back. I saw a cat head materialize, striking Ichaival right in the face. Ichaival, blinded, fell backward. Bartholomew raised his right knee and jammed it into Ichaival’s stomach.Bookmark here

“Oh man, Bartholomew is really taking it to Ichaival,” I commented, checking on the showdown between Kyoi and Lionel.Bookmark here

Lionel, equipped with knuckles, took a deep breath. Kyoi, a bored look on her face, parried each of Lionel’s attacks with no effort. Frustration built up on his face and he dashed in for a power attack. Kyoi swung her left sword upward and I heard a crack. Both his equipped knuckles shattered and he looked down at the floor.Bookmark here

“Why?” he asked, pounding his fist on the floor.Bookmark here

“Because you’re weak. You’re not at that point where you can even think about beating me,” Kyoi replied.Bookmark here

“I won’t accept this. I can win. I believe in my feline charms enough that I will beat you!” Lionel declared, confidence on his face once again.Bookmark here

Kyoi shook her head, a look of pity for Lionel on her face. I saw her eyes turn serious for a brief moment as a large cat appeared behind Lionel. The cat had a fierce face, tiger stripes running across its body. Lionel ran straight at her, not even hiding his intentions.Bookmark here

Kyoi stabbed both her swords down on the ground and a large wave of energy struck Lionel. Lionel struggled against the wave of energy but lost. It knocked him into the tables. He coughed and blood spilled out of his mouth. He clutched his chest, trying to stand, but fell onto pieces of broken table.Bookmark here

“That’s enough. Bring him back,” Lilith ordered.Bookmark here

Two of the women from the left side dragged Lionel back to their side. Lilith gave Kyoi a quick glance but said nothing. I could tell she didn’t want to do anything right now, it was too dangerous.Bookmark here

Returning to the other battle, Bartholomew now stood over Ichaival. A grey cat purred near him. Ichaival crawled away, his mobility lessened by the repeated blows on his leg. The grey cat pounced on Ichaival’s chest. The cat sunk its teeth into Ichaival and a ring of fire surrounded him. The flames traveled up Ichaival and he gritted his teeth in pain.Bookmark here

“Do the thing I told you already!” Shan shouted.Bookmark here

Ichaival looked over at Shan and nodded. I saw him take a few deep breaths and he disappeared from the spot. However, the ring of fire also disappeared. Bartholomew spun around, catching sight of Ichaival. Shan’s friend, blades around him, crashed into Bartholomew. However, the flames remained on Ichaival’s body and he too sustained damage.Bookmark here

“Damn it! You actually did it, but not really,” Shan shook his head in disappointment.Bookmark here

Bartholomew brushed off the blades and glared at Ichaival. A golden glow surrounded the man. Ichaival, finally extinguishing the flames on his body, prepared himself.Bookmark here

A dozen blades, assembled in a circular shape, appeared and would shield Ichaival from a possible attack. Bartholomew’s eyes glowed with an orange-yellow tinge. The glow around him grew brighter. Ichaival’s face transformed into one of fear and I wasn’t exactly sure why. Shan looked away, perhaps disgusted with the way Ichaival performed in battle.Bookmark here

Bartholomew jumped into the air and dove straight for Ichaival. I finally caught sight of how Ichaival managed to vanish. It was faint but I saw a portal opening. That would have allowed Shan’s friend to escape.Bookmark here

However, three cats appeared and dashed straight into it. The cats reappeared, five feet away from Ichaival’s location. Ichaival attempted another portal but each time, cats dove in before him. A look of exhaustion crossed Ichaival’s face and he now readied his blades in anticipation for an attack.Bookmark here

All the cats targeted Ichaival. The cats disappeared once they made contact with the make shift blade shield. The blade shield broke down, allowing Bartholomew to strike from the air. He struck Ichaival in the right leg and I swore the sound of bone shattering occurred.Bookmark here

Ichaival raised his hand up but nothing happened. Not even a slight glimmer of a portal. A look of surprise appeared on Ichaival’s face and it quickly changed into one of pain. Shan’s friend lay limp on the floor, clutching his right leg. Bartholomew pointed at Ichaival’s chest and a final cat leaped up onto him. It spat out a fur ball and dissipated. Ichaival’s eyes blinked rapidly and closed.Bookmark here

“Well, I guess I should go get him,” Shan sighed.Bookmark here

Bartholomew walked away, not looking back. Shan, along with Kisai, walked toward the center. Shan slapped Ichaival’s face but got no response. He shrugged and signaled to Kisai. They carried his limp body back to our side.Bookmark here

Shan poured a bottle of water over Ichaival’s face. Ichaival finally reacted and coughed as the water splashed his face. Shan, satisfied, pulled Ichaival up from the floor.Bookmark here

“It hurts everywhere,” Ichaival remarked, falling down onto his right knee.Bookmark here

“How did the cats feel?” Kisai asked, pointing at the scratches across Ichaival’s body.Bookmark here

“Like crap. Things got rough,” Ichaival remarked.Bookmark here

“Maybe if you had listened to me, things wouldn’t be this bad,” Shan pointed out.Bookmark here

“Hey, didn’t you see me? I did what you told me and looked what happened!” Ichaival protested, pointing at his leg.Bookmark here

“You don’t carry the flames with you,” Shan argued, a look of pity and frustration mixed on his face.Bookmark here

“Okay, you’re right about that. I need someone to look at this leg,” Ichaival requested, clutching it in pain.Bookmark here

“I guess you can walk home today then,” Shan remarked, walking away.Bookmark here

“Wait, you can’t do that. I’m injured! Do you not see my leg?” Ichaival pointed at his limp leg.Bookmark here

“I think you can still walk on something like that,” Kisai said.Bookmark here

“No. Damn it, I hate you guys!” Ichaival shouted.Bookmark here

“Fine, let’s get going then,” Shan ordered.Bookmark here

He walked toward the exit and Ichaival followed behind him, hobbling. Shan waved at Tess and she nodded. I felt my pendant move again, this time with less motion. Shan yelled out a thanks and then both of them left.Bookmark here

“I still don’t really know what’s going on here,” I muttered.Bookmark here

Kyoi also left soon after, talking to Zhuyu one last time. Zhuyu nodded, a solemn look on his face. Zhuyu conversed with Kisai soon after and Kisai nodded with a smile. Zhuyu left with his short friend and Shui. Now it was only down to Kisai and Tess on this side.Bookmark here

“I actually have work in thirty minutes. But watching Ichaival’s battle was worth my time,” Kisai revealed, amused by the confrontation.Bookmark here

Kisai gave Tess a wave and left. On the left side, everyone else left except for Bartholomew. He adjusted his beanie and stared at me. His glance was not one of malice, but something about it bothered me. Damn, weird things were still happening to me. There was no peace at all.Bookmark here

“You ready to leave?” Tess asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, let’s get going,” I answered.Bookmark here

We arrived back at the car. I glanced inside and saw Felicity sleeping inside. How long were we gone?Bookmark here

“Fel, wake up!” Tess said as she entered the car.Bookmark here

“Oh…good, wait! How did things go? Anything cool happen?” Felicity shot straight up, staring at me with a gleeful expression.Bookmark here

I glanced at Tess several times during my summary, making sure she approved. The Gatekeeper only cut me off a few times. At the end, Felicity got a general idea of how things went down.Bookmark here

“Are you sure that Darryl will be okay, Tess? He doesn’t need to go to a hospital for a checkup? I could take him,” Felicity asked.Bookmark here

“He will be fine. Although the damage appeared severe, the effects felt here are minimal. Darryl will feel like he sprained it but his condition will improve with rest,” Tess assured Felicity.Bookmark here

“Who is this Bartholomew? I’m going to see what I can dig up on him,” Felicity murmured, taking out a small notebook.Bookmark here

During the car ride back, I looked out the window. I went through the events of the meeting and came to the conclusion I still knew nothing. And there was still that math final coming up. I needed to get help as soon as possible.Bookmark here

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