If Al’s body were even slightly tangible his whole body would shake with fear as though it had an itch.
You…you can know I’m here? He thought back.
Yes. She said. I could sense you from where could stood on the street. You didn’t seem to be a dangerous fellow until you got close enough for me to read your mind like a book. There’s no question you’re a Changeling but what is your affiliation?
Oh. Kallen. The Blue Sky Kingdom? Those bullies, always sending Circles an assassin to either kill or to sabotage.
Well, I’m just going have to tell me friends about you then. That you little monsters are waiting to butcher them.
Al jumped out of the shadows, his sword drawn and aiming for Kallen but as he did she slapped him aside with a telekinetic force that would have made Keiko jealous. It seemed fairly light at first, only pushing against his ribs and shoulder first, but the distance he flew smacked him into a light post on the street, his back bending backward as he’d been hit. Al stood up from the base of the light post, thankful his sword hadn’t fallen out of his hands that far away as he scooped it up in his left hand before glaring at Kallen as she gestured for the pedestrians to move out of the way.
Al gathered the wind around his body to gather a small whirlwind as he made sure the pedestrians were out of the way. Alistair flew on the windstorm he’d conjured for himself, charging straight for Kallen. The Changeling tried to stop him with telekinesis but Al was too smart for that as he knew enough about psychic power from brawling with Keiko.
Telekinesis isn’t the ultimate god-like power most people think it is. Al thought. It’s just another force that can be resisted with another force. Telekinesis isn’t all that much different than invisible fists.
While she did slow him down he didn’t stop completely, giving him enough time to hit the ground and charge at her, slamming her back into a building with a strong punch. She recovered quickly, getting up blow purplish dust at him.
Al scattered the colorful dust with his wind, blowing it up in midair before it could land on him.
Al then jumped onto a shadow made by a shop on the street, slipping into the darkness as he avoided more explosive dust.
Al waited patiently for himself to think of a strategy while he was intangible but nothing came to mind. She knew exactly where he was before he was within five feet of her thanks to her ability to sense other lifeforms. That meant everything he did with his sword she could sense before it happened. Alistair suspected that the only way he could fight her fairly was by using wind attacks from afar where she wasn’t in range to hear his thoughts. That would at least give him the advantage of staying out of range or possibly even deflecting her explosive dust. However, if she got close to Alistair it would defeat that advantage and he’d still have to contend with the fact that even if she didn’t get close at all she could decrease the power of the whirlwinds with her telekinesis and turn them into breezes.
What are you doing? A voice in his head said. Concocting a strategy?
Al mentally glared at her, throwing as much hatred at her as he could muster while she did that.
Don’t hate me. Kallen said. I’m not the one trying to assassinate somebody because of a mix of jingoism and need for parental approval.
You can get all that just by being within twenty or so feet from me? Alistair asked.
Depends on the person. Kallen said. But you in particular are so nervous and lacking in most any confidence that I can read your mind as though it were text.
Al stayed silent, knowing that if he were intangible there’d be nothing he can do.
I’ve already told my comrades that you’re friends are attempting to kill them. Kallen told him. They’re fighting them, and winning quite handily, as we speak.
Al’s heart thumped, knowing that she most likely wasn’t lying.
Are any of them dead? He asked with barely veiled worry.
Don’t know yet. Kallen answered. They haven’t reported back yet so I couldn’t tell you.
Al made sure she could sense his hatred. She may be able to feel his fear and worry, but she would feel his hatred of her more than anything.
The son of the Black Wind? She asked. I knew that without even reading your mind. Only one Changeling has the power to mask themselves in darkness as well as wield wind. It’s those two powers that made him among the most feared Changeling warriors in existence, where one was never too sure if he was right behind them, listening to whatever they said and plotting their death. He do as you did and use his wind manipulation to fly as high as the clouds were. I’ve even heard that he was able to cause windstorms the likes of which were just as powerful as natural ones. I’ve even heard tornadoes like his could even be more powerful than nature could create. Do you hope to do that?
I hope only to one day do enough so I can help people. Al said. I know what I do isn’t morally sound, but still if I don’t do anything this will all happen anyway.
That’s an excuse you give yourself. Kallen replied. You could probably help people if you wanted to. You…just choose not to. You’re too scared of defying orders and going off on your own. Listen when I say that no one’s purpose is meant to kill another human being but if you really want to do good for human beings living in the Bizarre Realm you’re probably going to have get some guts. It won’t come to you on a silver platter.
Al felt sheepish, wishing not to talk to Kallen anymore as she was telling him something he didn’t like or want to hear.
But this is the only chance I have. Alistair thought. If I don’t stay in this academy, I’ll probably never have the chance I need to return the kindness I was given.
I understand. Kallen said. But you’ll still have to do it without killing others and wrecking life for people in other Circles. If you come out of the shadow I promise you know harm will come.
Al jumped out of the shadow before quickly jumping out, looking down at the ground with a bit of shame.
“I…I’m sorry,” he said before he was thrown against the building with telekinesis. “What…what the hell?”
“I’m sorry,” Kallen said. “I lied.
“Wh-what?” Alistair asked as he resisted the tug of her psychokinetic grip.
“I never had any intention of letting you go,” she said sorrowfully. “I have to end your life.”
“No!” Al screamed. “But why?! I thought you told me-!”
“Forget what I told you,” Kallen said, next to tears. “I know you want to help people, to help make the world a better place but you’re already a pawn of the Blue Sky Kingdom. You’re nothing more than a killer.”
“No!” Al cried. “No! No! No! I want to live! Please let me go!”
“I hate killing children Alistair,” she said. “Please don’t make this any harder than it is. Who am I kidding? You’re about to die. Scream all you want. I can’t allow you to leave alive.”
“No, no please!” he said. “I’ll never come back! I’ll never return! Please just let me live!”
Al saw out of the corner of his eye two more Changelings walk up to Kallen, exactly like what he’d seen in the pictures that were given to him, except on their backs they carried his unconscious friends. The two plopped Hale, Kelly and Sasan onto the ground, everyone one of them looking fairly beat up and all unconscious.
“What happened?” Al asked.
“We won,” the blonde said. “Your blonde friend gave us the most trouble, almost took my arm off with a blast of light but I showed her what for. We defeated your friends and now we’ll bring them in for questioning. We don’t need to kill these guys, just keep them under watch for interrogation.”
“Good,” Kallen said. “It means we won’t have to kill any of them so long as we get Hell’s Iron on them.”
“Hell’s Iron?” Al asked.
“Chains we put on Changelings that are made of specialized metal to suppress their powers,” the man with the iron helmet replied.
“Sorry to scare you like that,” Kallen said saddened. “In the moment I forgot we could do that. I…I never wanted to kill children in the first place.”
Al sighed dejectedly, feeling empty at the defeat before seeing something weird happen to Sasan. He saw her back sort of…ripple, as though her body was made of liquid. None of the Changelings below him noticed it until Sasan’s body started melting and shedding at the same time, as though a different body had been living inside a wax statue of her all along. Stepping out from the wax-like discarded shell was a man dressed in yellow tassels with long black hair.
“Ju-Julian?” Al asked.
Julian shot a blast of blue electricity from his hands, blasting back the Changeling in the iron helmet. He slammed into a building where his clothes and skin smoked as though he’d been cooked while the blonde Changeling glared at Alistair’s master.
“Rob!” he shouted after seeing his corpse.
The blonde attempted to attack Julian but the Al’s master simply electrocuted him with another blast of lightning, his fried corpse bouncing against the pavement. Julian then turned to Kallen who quickly blew purple powder at him but with superhuman speed, that Al couldn’t whether derived from a Changeling power or by intense training, leaped across it before being pushed into the pavement by Kallen’s telekinesis. He was obviously in visible pain before standing back up again and leaping backwards to dodge the woman’s explosive dust.
Kallen’s concentration apparently broke because Al fell to the sidewalk, looking at his hands before turning back to the fight.
Kallen was apparently punching at Julian with psychic fists because Al’s master seemed to be trying to catch and block something invisible barreling towards him in midair before throwing lightning forward. The blue electricity seemed to clash against those invisible fists, erupting in multiple miniature midair shockwaves.
Kallen then blew more dust from her mouth at him but this time Julian reached for a small jug around his waist he emptied its contents onto the dust, wetting it before the purple cloud fell into a wet puddle on the street that managed to leak all the way to Kallen’s feet.
No. Al thought. He’s not going to…
Julian zapped the water with the full force of his electricity, frying Kallen’s body like a bug caught in a lamp.
She let out a horrid scream that brought Alistair to tears before falling over in crumpled heap. Julian walked over to pick her body up off the ground by her collar and, to Al’s relief and fear, he saw Kallen was still breathing.
“No,” Al pleaded. “Please…Julian…”
Julian turned to Alistair with a sharp glare before putting his palm to Kallen’s face and loosing another bolt of electricity. Blood splattered against his sleeve before she fell to the ground, her face mutilated and unrecognizable. Alistair looked at the red haired woman’s corpse, sobbing a pool of tears at the sight of her incredibly scarred face.
Julian then walked up to Al as he still stood on his hands and knees and gave him a swift kick in the shoulder to which Al flew into the building behind him, slumping over as his back hurt with a dull pain as most of his senses were numb. Alistair looked up at his master who glared at him with a passive sort of disdain, less that he was made and more he was disappointed.
“I am so sorry I had to kill your little friend,” Julian said. “I guess you politely going to ask them to give up this Circle to the Blue Sky Kingdom with your insatiable charisma, were you know Alistair?”
Al looked up at him, a mix of emptiness and seething hatred very visible from his expression. Julian got on his knees to look Al in the eye, his disappointed leer boring holes through Al.
“You would be made an utter disgrace if I told you brother or your mother that,” he said. “Do you have so little sense about you that you think everyone who speaks politely to you is your friend you shit-stain of worm? You think because she hesitated to kill you means she likes you?”
Julian gripped Alistair with an iron grip, his hairy knuckles looking as though they could leave handprints in metal and pulled him within inches of his face.
“You are gravely mistaken Alistair,” Julian said. “That woman was certainly not going to coddle you like you think she was but she was definitely weak in that she didn’t want to kill you because of your innocent appearance. In other words, she let a prime example of warrior’s potential like you get off easy because of your appearance alone, and not the fact you will become a major threat to anyone who opposes you in battle on day. Her kindness was in fact her weakness Al, and the reason you are alive is because of that.”
Julian slammed him back into the building before letting him go.
“Be wary you never fall to the same trickery Kallen used on you,” he said.
“So I guess you were Sasan all along?” Alistair asked. “Why did you lie to us? I didn’t know you had shapeshifting powers, but why reveal them now?”
“Because,” Julian said. “You think we’d need to employ brats like you to kill small-fries like this? No, we could take them out easy but we see how you do against these small-fries to see how good you are. Just about any seasoned Changeling warrior of the Blue Sky Kingdom could have come into the Ulrichian capital while it was this weak and taken out these three. We just wanted to see how you well you did and you failed, speaking of which.”
Julian turned to the crowd of pedestrians that had backing up as far as they could and had been watching the battle unfold.
“You all!” he cried. “I contacted the Blue Sky Kingdom’s military to replace your present government and they should be here within less than four hours! The Kingdom of Ulrich is now under control by the Blue Sky Kingdom! Spread the news!”