Chapter 16:

The Chimera and The Bandit

Full Moon! Through the Rings of Love

Our next trial in this ring realm had been given to us.

Luna and I were tasked with defeating a chimera monster and retrieving a crystal artifact within a coliseum. Not an easy feat, but with the powers Luna shared with me, we stood a good chance.

“If you can get a strike on the Chimera's goat head, you should be able to stun it and take it out. Watch out for its fire breath!”

Zumi was always full of much needed facts. Hearing her describe this monster's weakness was a comfort.

Luna and I were ready. We passed through the entrance of the coliseum, keeping caution by our side. We’d definitely need it.

The monster was behind a large gate adjacent to the entrance. He prowled his pen, awaiting the time he could finally step out and confront us.

The chimera looked like a lion with an extra goat head attached to it. It was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. It looked like a big dog that got mixed up in some polymorph spell.

Its growl was fierce, contrary to its size. Would its bite be as scary? Neither one of us wanted to find out.

We raised our tools of combat, Luna stepped slightly ahead of me to keep the shield forward. I grabbed onto her shoulder and pulled her close.

Her skin brightened like when we'd first met. The heavenly glow gave me literal strength I could turn into magic power.

Lists of spells appeared at my command, I chose one called Lunar Flame.

The monster also prepared to attack as his gates were lifting up on their own.

This was it. It was time for us to work as a team.

My wand wasn't available, so I channeled the lunar spell through the sword. Something unexpected happened. My sword caught a blaze with a silvery gleam.

At first the chimera was hesitant to pounce, seeing me command a flaming white sword, but it quickly grew a backbone and sprung forward.

"Make short work of this beast!" Luna announced, blocking its first claw strike with her shield, nearly falling over in the process.

She shivered with fear, but her determination to survive along with me kept her focused.

I retaliated and swung the sword, sending a shockwave of silver fire through the arena. The flames struck the walls, scoring it with vibrant fire.

The chimera barely escaped, but its goat head was nicked in the attack. If I could do that again, I'd bring it down quick.

There was a problem. Using too much power all at once was draining Luna. I could feel her already burning up from the stress.

"You alright?" I asked her.

She nodded. "I'm fine. Use all of my power!"

I needed to efficiently use that power. I could put a whole lot of energy into an attack, but it wouldn't be worth it if I missed.

I was currently at level 75, which was far less powerful then when I first met her. She might have been holding back a little, or maybe the stress of sharing power was getting to her.

No wait! I forgot about something Luna mentioned. She said her power was a "Reflection of moonlight," meaning that depending on the phase of the moon, her power would be greater or weaker.

That moon was at a Waning Gibbous phase today. I only had 75% power to draw from.

Right now, all that power was filtering into the sword. With each spur of flame, a bit of her energy was sapped.

I let the fire die down, it was wearing her out too much.

"What are you doing?" She shouted to me.

"I don't wanna wear you out!"

"No! Don't worry about me! We have to defeat this chimera!"

She forced her power into the sword. I didn't know she could do that. My body was tingling as the energy zapped through me.

I tried denying this forceful input, but I didn't know how. Guess this power was mine now.

Fire breathed from its mouth, but Luna used her shield to summon a wall of light to guard us.

"How'd you do that?" I asked in amazement.

"You aren't the only one who can channel magic through objects."

That move was incredible. She was quick on her feet.

The chimera came at us with more feral strikes. Luna did her best to shield us.

I retaliated again, this time striking the goat head dead on with the flaming sword. It was stunned!

Then I took it up and drove the sword into the chimera's lion head, turning it into a pile of ash!

“We did it!” Luna hugged me. "This is wonderful!"

Once we'd claimed victory, a pedestal with a wooden altar rose up from below.

There was the gem, shaped like a heart, floating over the altar.

I reached to grab it, Luna's hand adjacent to mine. We were ready to take it…


But someone just snatched it up!

“Hey!” I watched the guy run off, like some sort of bandit. “Get back here!

I was ready to swing the sword at him, but Luna caught the weapon with her shield.

"Do not attack until you have a clear shot," she said, looking tired.

We didn't have much ammo left in her, so wasting her power now might cause a problem. But this guy really was everywhere! One moment he'd run behind a pillar, then the next he'd be right behind us, making some crude gesture and sound. How was he getting around so quickly?

"You want this crystal, right? Come get it!"

"Give that back! Indignant snatcher!" Luna shouted.

"You tell em', Luna!"

Where would we be if I didn't support her vulgarness now and again?

"Fine!" He shouted. "Take it then!"

He tossed the gem into the air, it was coming down to us.

I was ready to catch it.


That jerk jumped in and got it last minute!

I noticed he was dressed like a vagabond, wrapped in bandages and long unkempt hair. Why was he even here?

"What's your deal, freak?"

"He he! Wherever a lovely lady is, I will steal her heart!"

Oh, he was one of those types of perverts. Probably after Luna.

"Well, do you mind giving that heart gem back? We kinda' need it."

"Yeah!" Luna supported. "We need it for our marriage!"

Did we explicitly need it for our marriage, or to progress past this realm?

"Hmm…" he managed to get up into the stands. "I'll never give this up now! I can't let the two of you tie the knot!"

He ran into the stands, jumping under the seats.

Then he was back in the Coliseum, but in the cage the chimera was held up in.

"If you can hit me, I'll give this to you as a reward. But if you can't, I'll escape!"

Given how he got in here in the first place, it probably wouldn't be too hard for him to get back out. He was definitely toying with us.

This arena had open rooms, so he had plenty of places to dive in and out to prevent us from hitting him. How were we going to hit him, and how long did we have before he got away from us?

"Wait! I think I know what to do." Luna turned to me. "Do you see the pattern he's using?"

She quieted her voice and started to whisper.

"Every time he runs for cover, he always appears in specific places."

Now that she mentioned it, there were some spots he seemed to frequent. The places he was jumping in and out of were all hidden too, so maybe he was using some sort of method to teleport.

Luna and I went to one of the slots we'd seen him go, but nothing was there.

After that, it seemed like his pattern changed.

At this point, we pretty much had to memorize this new pattern and bait him into a hit, like some glorified whack-a-mole game. It took a few moments, but I found an opening to attack.

I swung the sword, the flames hit the man and he fell onto the ground!

"Ouch!" He shouted. "You got me! Then I have to leave you and the lovely lady be. For now. HE HE HE!"

The weirdo threw the gem up in the air again, but this time he whipped out a bow and arrow and shot it.

His shot missed, but a sling was attached to the arrow, and it snatched up the gem.

The gem got carried all the way to the arena door.

"What skill he has…" Luna turned back. "Goodness! He's gone!"

He must have used that distraction to get away! Cursed weirdo!

But if he had a goal to stop us from getting married, he must have known about our mission.

Mario Nakano 64
Taylor J
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