Chapter 4:

Borrowing moonlight

Full Moon! Through the Rings of Love

We were heading to the school's sporting arena. It was usually open for students as long as there weren’t any events going on.

Thanks to Luna’s suggestion, I was set to duel a level 60 Egresser mage. Forming the right words to describe my anxiety seemed just as impossible as this situation.

I tried my best to not get people upset enough to punch me. When you're so low a level that a flick of the finger can hurt you, it only seems right to avoid conflict.

“Luna, what’s the deal here?” I asked. “Do you have a plan?”

She nodded. “I do.” She had a glowing smile on her face. It was hard to tell in the sunlight, but her whole body was actually glowing. “You are much stronger than him now.”

“Luna, I can’t even use magic if the moon isn’t out.”

That didn’t make Luna lose her smile. Her hand simply tightened on my own and she lifted it up in the air.

“Don’t worry, Walden, the power of our love will overcome all adversity.”

At first, I wanted to say how silly that sounded. But there was something inspiring to her words. Could it have been real, our love? Did I actually find myself embracing this feeling?

Everything in that moment felt soft, like the calm feeling you get as you ease into sleep. For the first time in a while, I felt like maybe I had a little power flowing through me.

Going up against Charlie at my level though would be humiliating. How was I supposed to beat him? If I were literally anyone else, I might stand a chance.

“Just believe in yourself, and believe in me.”

Knowing she had confidence in me, I checked my level on a whim.

“Level 99…”

My thoughts left me again. No way this was real. Or was it?

Power wasn’t something easy for me to gain. Quite honestly, I even feared it a little bit. Right now though, it was something Luna must have been sharing with me.

Something about her smile, her confident stride, my hand in hers. Too many hints glittered around her for this incident to be a coincidence.

Under my health bar was a status effect box. What was that skill? X’s were in place of its name.

“You did something to me,” I said to Luna. Zumi took notice of my level again too and listened in.

“Your magic is lunar based. You are only able to use it when you are in moonlight. It makes sense that you’ve struggled this long to level up. But I can give you the strength of lunar light with my own magic.”

That must have been why she was glowing. She was radiating moonlight.

“There’s a full moon tonight, so you’ll be at full strength. Think of me as a reflection of moonlight. So if the phase is full, so will I be. If it is a new moon, I will not have any strength to give you.”

These mechanics were really good to know. And now it was going to be easy to take advantage of the situation, since I had nearly 40 levels above Charlie.

“Luna, this is incredible magic,” I said.

“Seriously,” Zumi added. “I almost stopped believing in fate, but it seems like you two are destined to be together.”

Why’d she almost stop believing in fate? I'd have to probe into that later.


Now we were in the stadium. Charlie’s own entourage of people were scattered around the stands. He was sitting down in a seat at the other end of the arena.

“Well well well…the pre-mage arrives.”

“Alright, Cougar Killer, let’s get this over with.”

“Eager to fail, I see? HA!” He stood up, approaching his side of the field and pulling out his wand. “If you lose, then you have to do whatever I say for a whole week.”

Could he have come up with a more juvenile losing condition?

“And if you lose, you have to help us with a little problem.”

He clicked his tongue and took on an offensive caster stance.

“As if I’d lose!”

As long as he agreed to the terms, that's all that mattered.

I took on my own stance, pulling my wand up and readying it to attack. Zumi and Luna took seats behind me.

“Let’s begin!” Charlie shouted, spinning his wand in a circular motion.

Ripples tore across the air, filling the whole arena with magical distortions.

Charlie waved his wand around and a purple looking portal opened up at his side. He jumped into it.

A portal opened up to my right and back. Radiant lightning shot out of both and hit me.

It didn't hurt at all! Was that because I was. Level 99?

Charlie exited his portal, then looked at me, shocked.

"How did you take that hit?!"

He tried his strategy again, using more power and portals, but it still didn't hurt me at all.

I’ve never had this high of a level, and I rarely ever talked with people about it out of spite, but it was amazing to think that merely raising your level higher would prevent damage completely.

Charlie pulled out all the stops, whipping all sorts of magical menagerie my way. Twirls of light struck me, nothing even tickled.

“Unbelievable!” He shouted in a panic. “No way! This can’t be happening! Did my wand break!?”

It was time to retaliate. But how did I actually use a spell?

Most spells require specific movements to activate. You think about what spell you want to cast, then you wave your wand in the right motion to cast it. The more flamboyant your movement, the easier it is to cast.

Maybe I could just do the same thing I did to protect Luna? It was called Lunar Flame.

I waved my wand in one stern motion. Power exploded out the tip and washed over Charlie with sparkling white flames.

“AHH!” He screamed, overwhelmed by my power. “Alright! STOP! I LOSE!”

“What was that?” I heard him, but I wanted to hear him say he lost again. “I couldn’t hear you over my overwhelming might!”

“You cursed dingus! I said I LOSE!”

I stopped using the spell. He didn’t even stand a chance.

Luckily, this attack wasn’t meant to kill someone, at least based on the description in my spell list. It was just meant to purify evil. I guess Charlie survived, but he definitely made it sound like it stung.

He was on his back in seconds, looking like he was out of breath. Small bits of shiny white flame caught on his jacket.

“Great.” He huffed out. “I hate you so dearly. When did you turn into a monster?”

I expected him to claim I was cheating. I'm glad he didn't.

“So, are you ready to help us?”

“Whatever. I can’t believe you won." He sounded so dead on the inside. "Just leave me alone for a few minutes."

I really knocked the wind out of his sails. I almost felt bad for the poor snob.

His lady friends went down to support him, healing him with magic and comforting him over his loss. Maybe I expected the worst out of them, but it was surprising that they didn't make fun of him for losing. It seemed like that would be the type of people he'd hang around.

Zumi came down from the stands, she had a terrified look on her face.

"Somethings wrong with Luna!"

Those words put me in panic mode. I raced to her to find that she was passed out in her seat.

She was still alive, but her skin was pale and cold.

"How did this happen?" I asked.

Zumi said that while Luna was cheering me on, her voice was slowly trailing off.

I had one idea. Maybe because I was using her power in battle, it was draining her of all her vitality.

"I'm sorry…" Luna breathed out. "I wasn't able to see the end of your duel."

The duel only lasted about a minute. Using this power must have really took the life out of her quickly.

"It's alright," I said, taking her up in my arms for support. "We won, so you can take it easy for a while."

She smiled, resting her head comfortably on my shoulder.

"That's wonderful news. I'm glad our plan worked."

This was all her plan, really. I was just strung along.

If I really was draining her vitality, we'd have to be careful how we use this power. I didn't want to end up making Luna sick. Or worse.

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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