Chapter 33 - I got stones right here
“You’re… kidding, right?”
“Unfortunately not. I don’t even know how we’re gonna catch them now,” Arata spoke, Pixa looking out into the horizon, trying to spot something, anything of interest.
On the other side of the call, Jomiko punched a wall.
“I…honestly don’t know,” Arata said, scratching his head.
“There!” Pixa suddenly voiced, immediately jumping off the ledge onto another rooftop.
“Er…or maybe I do, I’ll call you right back, we’re heading east.”
“Wait don’t!” Jomiko almost twisted her ear trying to keep the spell from disconnecting.
“So?” Kazuki asked.
“Sanpu and Fuun’na engaged them on their own. And somehow, Sanpu got his hands on Spellgate’s stone. Persephonai got in there in time to save them but they lost the stone.”
“I wish,” she headbutted the wall, “I knew we shouldn’t have brought them along! We just can’t count on them!”
“They’re not unreliable if you use them as a weapon. Point them and release them, but we trusted them to make decisions. That was where we erred,” Kazuki explained, so commonly it sounded cruel.
“I’m starting to think you’re right,” Jomiko commented, looking far wide and around, hoping to see Arata and Pixa leaping about. Instead, her eyes landed again on the smoky location of the broken house of mirrors.
“Gah, I can’t stay here doing nothing. Let’s just keep going towards Persephonai.”
Arata was chasing after Pixa, and hard as he tried, he could not spot whatever it was she was seeing. But her eyes were definitely locked onto something.
She wasn’t as good at moving around as he was, however. Once or twice, he had to shove her or pull her, away from colliding with something. It momentarily annoyed her, but she immediately understood her failing and just continued.
“What’re we following?”
“Arata please, it’s like keeping up with a fly, let me concentrate.”
That actually made sense, so Arata let her be. She had probably caught a glimpse of some sign of whatever spell they were using to camouflage themselves, and now had to keep focused on it or she’d lose it. It explained why she was constantly near colliding with things along the way.
They kept the chase until, at one point, Pixa landed and lied down to hide behind a ledge. Arata did the same.
He assumed that the thieves had stopped and that she was just making sure that if they were checking for followers, they wouldn’t find any.
Arata judged that it’d be impossible to notice the two when the entire city was up in arms and looking for them.
And no joke, either. Rides had been stopped; streets were being cleared and inspected; homes were being invaded; trash was being emptied. Most everyone in sight that had a weapon, or even looked like a warrior, was asking questions, taking names, or at the very least walking around ready to start a fight with the wind.
Pixa eventually tugged at Arata, not looking anywhere in his direction, and resumed the chase. Pretty soon, Arata spotted the edge of the city.
Arata thought about how they’d be able to exit the city. Most certainly, the guards were not allowing anyone to leave before a scan, and that stop would most likely make Pixa lose the sight of them.
“We’re not gonna be able to keep up past the city’s perimeter, Pixa.”
“You need to attack them before they leave the city,” Arata stressed.
“Oh. Ok, let’s go.”
“Alright,” Arata landed his foot hard, breaking a tile, and jumped down the roof towards where Pixa was fixated on.
Pixa landed with the light blueish energy squares forming parallel to the palms of her hands. They shone when she joined them together, ready to strike.
Meanwhile, Arata was running to the end of another rooftop, to leap for the ground. He cast the communication spell, and quickly reported in:
“Head east, they’re trying to escape, but we’ve spotted them!”
“Ok!” Jomiko was with Kazuki, next to Persephonai. “We can still salvage this, c’mon.”
“You found them? I’ll come with,” Persephonai spoke. Jomiko turned to argue, but Sanpu yelled before she could get a word in, bratty and annoyed.
“Go, we’re ok.”
“Ok, try and keep up,” Jomiko said, patronizingly.
Persephonai opened his wings in demonstration.
“I think that won’t be a problem.”
Pixa let loose a very large ray of light. It hit a solid veil which folded upon itself like a blanket reacting to a pebble, and then went up in a puff of smoke, just as Arata was about to land, sword in each hand.
“Dammit!” Shinyaki looked plenty pissed, not to say fully infuriated by all their meddling. He swung his Scythes, forcing Arata back.
Arata landed and saw him advancing towards him, with Agathon in the back, concentrating on a spell, and Danatcia running after Shinyaki.
He took a breath as he heard a rumbling behind him.
“Ever since Stormdream! You just don’t know how to quit!!”
Arata rolled to the right, a spike of earth shooting out past him from behind, having failed to impale him. Shinyaki stepped to attack him but had to stop and flinch to avoid a light beam, which gave Arata the chance to leap further back while hitting away a dagger that was thrown by Danatcia.
She crouched and engaged him, thrusting at his belly, but he twisted and tried to slice her arm off but failed because she spun around, spinning a dagger around in her hand to try and stick it in Arata. Arata also spun, though, slashing away at her attacking hand to make making her back out.
“Hey it’s them!” A yell came from around them.
“It’s the thieves!”
“Tch, Fiahra, we need to ’port out!”
She nodded, flustered “I-I need a minute.”
“Are you kidding me?!”
“I SAID I NEED A MINUTE!”
“Damn it,” he yelled at her, jumping to the side to avoid a light beam - getting scraped nevertheless. “Agathon!” he threw one of the stones stone at him.
Agathon grabbed it with a satisfied grunt and then punched the ground. Earth platforms shot out from the ground around them, hitting back about 6 oncoming fighters. He punched the ground again, raising four walls of rock around all of them and Arata. It had, however, an opened ceiling.
“No!” Pixa yelled, looking around. She quickly saw that a tower was on top of the roof right next to her. Quick as she could, she ran to climb it so she’d have a good shot of them.
While she didn’t, Arata jumped around, concentrating on not dying. He focused on keeping away from Shinyaki, whose speed had been decreased by the lack of stone, spinning his swords like fans whenever Danatcia threw a dagger at him, just to make sure he caught the invisible ones. Which he did. He only ever was going to block one, only to see about three rebounding off his swords.
“We will not be stopped! It’s been too many years, too long in the making,” Shinyaki complained.
“It doesn’t matter how long it takes to build something,” another voice came from the side.
Shinyaki looked to notice Jomiko, standing on top of one of the walls, just before she flipped sideways to avoid a wind cannon from Agathon.
She landed, still on the wall, just as Kazuki pulled himself also to the top of the wall.
“It’s always just an instant to bust it down!” She punched her hand.
“Really? Again?!” Agathon yelled.
“We have the stones, girl, when are you going to understa--”
“Pfah, I have stones right here,” Jomiko said, clenching her fists, and jumping headfirst against Agathon.
Kazuki jumped in to join Arata, by far the one of the two he trusted to use reason in the fight, and Persephonai was arriving by air.
Strangers started to leap over the wall too. At all that, Shinyaki glared, finally intimidated.
Agathon slid through the ground, stopping next to Fiahra so he could protect her. There, he just continuously shot streams of fire and wind, keeping all who came at bay, including Jomiko.
Kazuki crossed ahead of Arata, hitting away a Scythe to place himself next to him.
“Go keep Fiahra safe, I’ll handl--” Shinyaki was interrupted by a light beam that he took to the face. His body bent, his head strongly hitting the ground, sending him tumbling aside for a few feet. Kazuki jumped at the opportunity to kill but Danatcia showed up in front of him and engaged.
Arata went around and threw a sword at Shinyaki but Danatcia grabbed a dagger with her tail and threw it to parry the sword in mid air. Shinyaki was then able to push himself off the floor just in time to grab a spear thrust by a Jun. He kicked him in the groin, then span the spear diagonally, cutting his throat while also parrying an ax uppercut at his left side.
Then it devolved into a crazy bar brawl. Arata and Kazuki soon lost the chance to keep Danatcia engaged, as other people started to jump in the middle.
From Pixa’s point of view, she just saw dozens and dozens of people running towards the small arena Agathon had erected, climbing or jumping over it to join the fray. Some people exited kind of the same way, courtesy of Agathon’s powerful strikes.
On top of the arena, one could see a Xia, frantically keeping himself afloat. Persephonai just stood atop, yelling over and over again for Danatcia to stop.
It got to be so many people she could no longer attempt to shoot without hitting somebody else. Not that that wasn’t happening inside the battlefield already, there was an archer somewhere that had killed 5 other people by the time Pixa decided to stop.
“I need to get down there,” she hopped down and started running.
Meanwhile, Jomiko was finding herself punching everyone except Agathon, completely lost in the brawl and trying to save their lives.
“Stop charging him like that, you idiots!”
Arata span to avoid somebody’s tomahawk. Then had to jump off a puddle of water that soon electrified about four people who didn’t. Then had to push a swordsman out of the way, all to get a swing at Shinyaki, who smacked it away and kicked him away. He landed outside the water’s reach to continue defending himself against the others.
Kazuki impatiently cast speed on himself, but then six others in the crowd did the same. He rolled his eyes and continued to try to get at Shinyaki.
It didn’t take him too long to start cutting up at people who refused to get out of the way, especially if it got him an opening. Indeed, eventually, there was a Jun woman who was kicked away from Shinyaki. He saw an opening so he quickly cleaved her aside and then thrust his sword at Shinyaki, managing to draw blood.
She stayed in the floor bleeding and whimpering while Shinyaki grunted in pain and jumped away, but Kazuki had managed to shove at least two fingers worth of blade through his mid-section, a hole which started to bleed immediately.
“Damn it…” Shinyaki cursed, knocking away another person. Kazuki bowed his head and disappeared amongst the crowd again.
Before long, a Pan was on the floor, trying to find his fore-arm, and Shinyaki had a deep downward cut across his chest.
Probably because she had a stone, and with Kazuki and Arata focused on Shinyaki, Danatcia was managing to avoid critical wounds, though the occasional shallow cut did make its way to her skin.
“I’m ready!” Fiahra suddenly shouted.
“No!” Jomiko dashed, bull-rushing Agathon. She smacked three fighters out of the way, just rebounding them off like they were trash cans, and then slid across the ground to avoid a flame, thrown off Agathon’s fist.
She span in the ground, flipping a bit to the side, thus avoiding Agathon’s aiming down his fist, and then pushed against it so her body would rise back-first into Agathon…while laying out her elbow to hit his face.
And it worked.
With a grunt of pain, he exited the scene, flipping through the air, and just as Jomiko was turning to punch Fiahra in the face, her surroundings filled with a sort of transparent darkness. She not only saw it, she felt it: the air muffled and stifled.
Fiahra twisted her face into fear, and a voice sounded out loudly. The voice Persephonai quickly recognized as that of Laevicus.
“MY APOLOGIES, BUT YOU ALL DIE NOW!”
The entire arena had been enveloped in Laevicus’s spell.
Persephonai opened his eyes, startled. He couldn’t believe he was going to die. He looked at Danatcia and Danatcia was staring back at him, scared.
His heart tightened. And then, in one quick instance, it was sucked in tight. As if imploding.