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Chapter 5: Acolytes of Yggdrasill

Author’s note: I love to read what you thought of this chapter. Don’t be afraid to leave a comment, I don’t bite ;)

“Great… Any ideas, Angelique?” I fumbled with the ropes tying my wrists behind my back. The terrorists stood right in front of us, their magic circles primed to fire at a moment’s notice. In addition to that, I realized the ropes were imbued with a magic circle that reinforced them.

“N-N-No…” She replied shakily. The girl leaned against my back. Her hands were bound the same as everyone else here. The terrorists patrolled between us all. They divided us into groups of two people each, which made things easier for them.

“You there! Be silent!” One of the attackers kicked me in the face. I spit some blood and glared at him, but didn’t say anything. Angelique gasped and struggled against her bindings. One of the attackers noticed that and hit her in the face. She whimpered in pain.

I held her thumb in my palm to calm her down. Think, Carnel, think! What was the best course of action to take right now? Those spells weren’t particularly of high-calibre, but they could kill a defenceless person easily. And being impaled by icicles was not my preferred way to go.

“Angelique? Listen to me.” I whispered to her. I was careful not to give the attackers a reason to punch my squid-like friend or me again. It took a while before Angelique calmed back down. When she finally noticed my voice, she leaned backwards and listened to my idea.

“I… don’t know. It sounds really risky…” She complained when she heard my plan. I shrugged: anything we could try was going to be risky. Better go with the plan that has the highest chance of succeeding, I reasoned.

“It’s not like we have many other options, right?” I countered. Angelique sighed. I felt her nodding against my head.

“Okay, tell me when.” The squid-girl replied. I glanced at the terrorists. Their attention was solely directed towards us. Oh well, nothing to be done about that. People tend to miss things when they are focused on one thing, and one thing only.

“Now.” I whispered. Angelique started forming a magic circle. I felt the heat around me increasing until the entire area around the two of us was engulfed in flames. The ropes burned through almost immediately.

I knew it, I thought to myself. The spell was designed to counteract force, not heat. The things you read upon in books.

“You bastards!” One of the terrorists immediately reacted. But not that my arms were free, I dashed forwards. Just when the magic circle was completed and sharp icicles started to form, I grabbed one and let my Mark devour it.

It felt like my blood turned to ice in a matter of seconds. My joints felt like they were completely frozen solid. No matter what I tried, my body didn’t react.

“Die, you heathen!” A robed figure jumped up behind his perplexed comrade, his Angelic wind spell ready to fire. I recognized it as a simple Wind Blast, a spell normally designed to clear small rubble. But with enough force, it could kill a person as well.

Come on, move!, I tried spurring myself on. But my body didn’t react. However, something else did.
For the first time, the misty being of my Mark reacted to my will. It reared its head and opened its misty maw. From the dark depths of its throat, the spell I just absorbed appeared again. In addition to the Norse magic circle, which was the original spell, a fourth part got added. The magic of the Unknown.

From the moment the magic circle had been completed, ice shards pierced the enemy in front of me. He tried summoning a protective magic spell, but the ice shards didn’t give a damn. He fell on the floor with a loud scream.

“You’ll pay for that!” Another terrorist jumped up from behind his fallen comrade. Before he could do anything, however, a torrent of fire knocked him out of the fight. Then, the fire smashed into a nearby pillar, destroying it completely.

“Nice one, Angelique! I see you’re getting better!” I said. The squid-girl said before she grabbed the nearest can of water and poured it over her shrivelling tentacles. I saw how their springiness slowly returned.

“What now, Carnel? We can’t stay here. And judging from the fact that we didn’t get any help, I assume the entrances are blocked.” Angelique said. The other shoppers undid their bindings as well and soon, everyone who got tied up had been freed. But what of the other guests in the mall?

“We’ll go around the entire mall and clean up this mess.” I answered. The girl turned to me with shocked eyes.

“What? The two of us, alone? Did your brain get frozen as well?” She replied. I chuckled. Maybe that was the case. But we weren’t exactly alone.

“You saw Lily here, right?” Angelique gasped when she realized what I proposed. The squid-girl shook her head fervently.

“No, no, no! Do you know what she did to me?!” Of course I knew. However, I didn’t see any other option right now. We needed more capable fighters, and during the training sessions at school, Lily had proven herself to be a more than formidable force in her own right.

“Do you see another option? I’m all ears.” I answered. I knew working together with Lily was going to be a major roadblock for Angelique. Certainly when you considered that Lily had been bullied by the redhaired vixen.

“Tsk… F-Fine. B-But if she does anything, then—” I cut her off right there.

“Then I will personally hit her in the face. Promise. Besides, this is your moment to show her that you are better than her. What will she say if she sees you eradicating more enemies than her?” I persuaded my seaweed-haired friend. Angelique slowly nodded as she gulped.

“Okay. Let’s go.” It seemed she made up her mind. We walked down the central staircase and hid behind some rubble. We heard yelling coming from further up ahead before a spell smashed into the rubble beside us.

“Keep moving!” I yelled. But Angelique didn’t need to be told that. The squid-girl rolled to the nearest pile of debris and went closer and closer. I followed in her wake. We continued our advance towards the noises.

“You killed her! You bastards, you fucking killed my friend!” Lily’s voice sounded hoarse. She danced around a bunch of knocked-out terrorists. Most of them had a broken nose, twisted limbs and more. I heard the screams of a couple of terrorists near us. They seemed to be fighting against each other.

“That’s Lily for you. Letting others do the fighting for her!” I commented. Just at that moment, Lily smashed her legs in rapid succession against her opponent and knocked all air out of his lungs. After that, she smashed him into a nearby pillar. When she heard our voices, she immediately turned to us with a murderous gaze.

“Easy there! We’re not enemies!” It took Lily a couple of seconds to realize the two people standing in front of her weren’t opponents.

“Carnel? Fish-for-brains? What are you two doing here?” She asked. I sighed; That didn’t take long at all. But Angelique wasn’t about to let the redhaired vixen walk all over her again.

“M-My name is A-Angelique, you know. A-And we came here to save you, b-but it seems you don’t need us so—” Lily’s response sounded really desperate.

“N-No! P-Please, I need you two! M-My friends—They’re--!” The redhaired girl started panicking. Only now did I notice the blood on her clothes. And it wasn’t just a bit of blood: there was a whole lot of it. Just what happened to her?

“T-They came in and… and they… they attached some kind of magic circle on my friends. Whenever they try to use any kind of magic, they get a massive electrical shock. And…And she—she tried to use a high-tiered spell and she—” The rest of Lily’s sentence got lost in sobs. If the shocks were proportionate to the level of magic used, then I didn’t need any help to imagine what happened to her.

“Calm down. Deep, slow breaths.” I said to her as I hugged her. Angelique rolled with her eyes and looked around. There didn’t seem to be any other attackers around. At least, not right now.

“Right… Seems like you’ve calmed down a bit. I think the best action right now is to safeguard your friends. Bolstering our forces is still our best option.” I proposed. Lily gulped and slowly stood upon her shaky legs. It was nice to see she had an other side, aside from her bitchy self.

“F-Follow me.” The redhaired girl said before she walked over to another lane of stores. The three of us took turns looking out for the other two as we made our way through the ruined mall. Those explosion really did a number on the structural integrity of the building.

“There!” Lily suddenly whispered. I stopped and felt Angelique bumping into me. We both fell backwards behind some broken concrete and looked into a women’s store. There, in the middle of all the debris, were a couple of guys and girls. I didn’t see any restraints on them, but I remembered Lily’s explanation.

“Okay. Here’s what we are going to do. Lily, you ask your friends to use the lowest-tired magic they know, okay?” The redhead looked at me like I had gone crazy.

“Are you insane? Then they get fried!” But Angelique saw where I wanted to go with this.

“Think you can handle the shocks?” The squid-girl brought up a valid point. If I couldn’t handle the shocks, we all would be in a world of trouble.

“Well, only one way to find out. Lily, you’re up.” The redhead wanted to complain, but she decided to keep her words to herself and rolled away from the debris. She took a deep breath.

“Guys, use your weakest spells, now!” The redhead yelled. The terrorists guarding their prisoners immediately turned around when they heard Lily’s voice.

“Angelique, cover me!” I yelled behind my back and jumped over the nearest pile of concrete. The squid-girl hummed in approval before she fired off her ‘Righteous Inferno’ once again. I used the commotion to get closer to the captured students.

“Got you!” From the moment I saw a magic circle appear above the students’ heads , I had my mark devour it. The shocks fried my nerve system, but each time I felt like I was going to pass out, I bit in my own fingers to keep me awake.

In the meantime, Lily was cleaning house. All her pent-up rage was expressed through her kicks and punched. She razed through the ten terrorists like they were training dummies and using some of them to fight for her with her Unique Magic.

“I’ll make sure you remember not to mess with me, you bastards!” She yelled before she finished off the last enemy. The robed figure smashed into a rack of perfume before limply falling on the ground. The redhead looked around fervently. When she noticed her friends, she flashed a smile. She seemed really glad that they were still alive.

“Thank the gods… You’re still alright.” The redhead said with a sigh. She ran towards her friends and pulled them all towards her for a big hug. The redhead genuinely seemed happy, which was nice to see.

“Alright… What’s our next move going to--?!” A sudden scream cut me off. I immediately jumped up and looked around.

“Angelique?! Angelique, where are you?!” I ran out the store and looked through the debris. I felt my heart skip a beat when I saw my squid-like friend lying still on the floor. Her left leg was covered in blood.

“Angelique, speak to me!” I yelled while I dashed towards her. I was relieved to hear a grunt rolling over her lips. A grunt full of agony, but she was alive.

“What happened?” I said as I gently cradled her body closer to me for protection. The girl looked at me with teary eyes. However, she was in too much shock to say anything sensible.

“Oh deary me… Looks like fishy lost her tongue. And I didn’t even cut it off yet!” An unknown voice echoed behind me. Out of sheer reflexes , I rolled forwards with my seaweed-haired friend in my arms. The sound of metal scraping against concrete followed a second after.

“Tsk.” The voice sounded annoyed. From between the rubble, a figure appeared. He or she was robed like all the others, but these robes were far more intricate. They were laced with golden ribbons, instead of golden thread. The same tree pattern that covered the other terrorists’ backs was present all over the black cloth of this one.

“Who the fuck are you? Did you do this?!” I yelled to the figure. However, the answer came from behind me.

“Questions, questions… why don’t you be a good little boy and die?” The sentence was followed by a sharp pain in my right ankle. I screamed out in pain and grabbed my foot. Hot blood trickled over my fingers.

“Acolyte Barbatos, don’t play with your food.” Another unknown voice suddenly said. When I turned around, I saw a Devil’s magic circle. I barely had the time recognize the spell as a Zephyr burst before it blew me ten feet away.

“Carnel, what is going on here?” Lily screamed. I groaned and tried to warn her. However, another blast of wind hit the girl and knocked her into some concrete debris. Luckily, her injuries were minor.

“I’ve heard of some disturbances, but I’d never imagined they were caused by a couple of children.” The deep male voice said. The other voice cackled. It sounded like it was coming from all directions. I grabbed Angelique, who seemed to be recovered from her shock nicely, and rolled over to Lily.

“Are you alright?” I asked the redhead. She untangled her hair from the steel bars poking out of the concrete.

“Let’s see… I am currently being attacked by two people, both of which want us dead. I’d say I’ve had better days.” The vixen replied sarcastically. And , in hindsight, I had to admit it was a rather redundant question.

Another wind spell flew towards us. This time, I was ready for it. I had my Mark devour it. I felt my limbs getting light as air. However, with that came uncontrollability. My limbs flailed around uncontrollably before I fired the spell back at the figure with the deep voice.

The spell simply bounced off him. I thought I saw wind floating around his body. A wind barrier?, I wondered.

“Shit!” I cursed that man’s reflexes. While I was thinking of a way to get through this relatively unscathed, Lily suddenly jumped up. She kicked at the floor. I saw the faintest remains of a magic circle lingering on the ground. I recognized the colour and symbols: It was a Devil space-distortion spell!

I judged from the cackling around us, that spell belonged to the crazy voice. The deeper-voiced hooded figure used wind-magic.

“Give it up, kiddos! We are the best duo of the acolytes of Yggdrasill!” The cackling voice revealed. That made me think. Duo. Combo. Combination; Combination of spells!

“…I don’t like that crazy smirk, Carnel.” Angelique said in a concerned tone. She had recovered enough, it seemed.

“Oh, the idea in my head is crazy in itself but… Lily, be ready to jump on the crazy guy at a moment’s notice and Angelique; Ready your strongest fire-spell!” I announced. The two girls looked at each other with a face that said ‘we don’t trust anything you say with a crazy smirk like that’. But in the end, they nodded.

After a couple of seconds of carefully looking around, I saw the beginnings of that spatial distortion spell again. I dashed towards it, dodged an airy blast and used my Mark to devour the spell. However, I ordered the creature of my Mark not to dissolve the spell but keep it in its stomach. It wasn’t particularly happy with that, but it obeyed.

“Ahhh! My leg! My leg’s stuck in the wall!” The crazy voice sounded maniacal right now. But more with panic than desire to kill.

“Lily, now!!” I yelled behind me. The redhead immediately jumped up and ran towards the hooded figure that was stuck in a wall. His companion reacted immediately, something I hoped he would do.

“No, you don’t!” I yelled and devoured his wind spell. I felt my body reacting to both spells at once, the spatial distortion spell and the wind spell. It felt like I was being blown up like a balloon! Any more of this and--!

“Time for payback!” I muttered. Immediately, the spatial spell opened up a small portal near me. Then, I fired off the wind spell into the portal. The figure with the deep voice immediately reacted and blocked off the spell with a wind wall. He blocked my spell that came crashing down on him from above. Which left him open in front.

“Angelique, get him!” The squid-girl immediately fired off her trademark ‘Righteous Inferno’. The man tried to protect himself against both spells, but he was no match for Angelique’s overwhelming flames. His screams got easily wiped out by the roaring flames.

On the other hand, Lily was still bashing into her opponent, who had nowhere to go. I was certain the figure had long lost consciousness, but I let the redhead have her destressing moment.

A couple of minutes later, police arrived and took care of the wounded. They captured every terrorist they could find and brought them all away.

And the three of us? We got hospitalized immediately with slashes, cuts, bruises and various other injuries. But we were happy. Happy to have survived.

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