Chance - Kids Can Be Bullies, Too
“W-where did you get this?” I said after a 5-second initial shock. My hand trembled at the sight of two identical babies. Both of them had a thin mop of dark hair similar to mine. There was no mistaking it. This was me. But it’s too unbelievable to fathom. “I’m not sure this is believable. Tell me it’s not real.”
“We cannot be sure.” Rei quipped. “You don’t have any reasons to believe it yet, but this is what we found. Recently, Evron and I managed to track down an old abandoned safe haven of Teios Kyr. We started on the demon summoned in Africa. We backtracked it in a hidden facility in the southern most parts of Egypt. It was where we found this photo along with a lot of documents. The haven was some sort of secret laboratory.”
My mouth went dry, and my mind wandered off somewhere else. Then my eyes found the two friends Israfil had when he still had flesh and blood. I couldn’t say dead because his soul was still alive inside of me.
Nisroc and Chrystal stood from the far end of the field before zapping out of existence. It was as if a small black hole immediately sucked them inwards to a particular point between them. My only hunch was a ritual circle similar to the one Ven had inside their temporary house beside ours. A few moments later, two people came out of them. One was a man who looks a bit older than Rei, and another was a little boy.
“Perhaps you need to be distracted in the meantime. Don’t overthink it.” Rei muttered. I’m sure he was trying to reassure me. But because of my bad experiences with him, he was failing at it spectacularly. “There isn’t enough evidence to prove that this photo is reliable. But I will see to it that this gets further investigated.”
“And I’ll check if I can dig up anything at home.” I replied indignantly. My stomach churned, and a terrible feeling was boiling under my guts. It only meant I had to confront my family about it, and I don’t think it would be a good idea to blatantly state that I knew what they had been hiding all along. “I mean, they never made any hints at all that I had a twin brother. There were no concrete clues I found throughout my whole life. But I will try what I can.”
The two people who came out of the portal finally managed to walk within our range of conversation. Both seemed like ordinary people, but that was the point of blending in our dimension. They had to look their part.
“I need you to meet these two. This is Evron Sephiran, House of Vladimir. He was recently assigned to my team a few months ago, and he’s a promising Rytier.” Rei said. I just nodded at him, and he nodded back. His body had an average build and didn’t look too intimidating. Evron’s dark hair was cut really short, eerily similar to a military haircut. I’m sure that underneath that gray shirt was a well-toned body that was battered by countless hours of training. He was wearing bright casual clothes that didn’t suit him, given that he was wielding dark elemental magic like me. His face looked rugged and battle-worn for a young man in his twenties. Based on his dark sunken eyes, I’m sure he had seen enough horrors of the battlefield. “I think that by a couple of years, he should be capable of leading his own team.”
Next to be introduced was the boy. He was maybe a couple of years younger than me. Give or take a year. The kid was wearing a sleeveless hoodie that showed his wiry arms. Based on his physique, I knew he should be no older than ten. Then he looked at me with so much intensity. His strawberry blonde hair was messy that complemented his deep blue eyes.
“This is Morsus Galva, from the House of Vrakkel. He’s also a close friend to Israfil. Almost like a little brother. He studied magic in another land, so he’s not part of our country’s traditional houses. Only those who are very gifted are welcomed there.” Rei quipped, quicker than how he introduced Evron. “We need to cut this meeting short. I just passed by to check if Chance knows of the photo and to leave this kid. He’s going to part of the operation and will be on stand-by. I know it sounds risky to bring a kid into a battlefield, but he’s more than a capable mage. We’re kind of getting desperate to awaken Israfil.”
“Anything else you might want to add?” Ventus asked. His voice was sprinkled with sarcasm. I held back, smiling at how Ven was insulting his authority over this operation on awakening Israfil. “Probably another move you made without our prior knowledge. I’m sure you have one or two under your sleeve.”
“None.” Rei replied flatly. Then he and Evron started walking away. “We’re going. I’ll contact you when I need it. Ven, protect Chance at all costs.”
The two of them vanished as soon as they entered the hidden ritual circle under the grass. I get slightly sick every time I would remember how disorienting dimension travel was. And hopefully, they were better offerings for Satan.
I faced the boy next to me. His aura had a strong pang of rebellion. Ventus was just watching us from the sidelines, utterly curious how our interaction would unfold. But Morsus looked like he was proud to be a high-quality brat.
“Nice to meet you, Morsus.” I started and held a hand in front of him. It was a friendly gesture, and I expected him to shake it. But instead, he ignored it. And to make things worse, he slapped my hand off. The intensity of my temper shot upwards as if a volcano exploded. My knees quivered as the boy showed off his avroi and started to glow light blue, similar to Ven when he uses his lightning-element magic. Sparks can be seen and heard throughout his body.
Then I took a deep breath and showed off my avroi. A dark purple glow had started to dance on my skin and expanded outwards. But the boy didn’t back down from the challenge. The space that our magical energies kept on growing and started to clash in between us. Even my hair began to sway from my forehead, and the ground started to tremble. I smiled at the childish encounter. “Again, nice to meet you.”
“Sorry, but that won’t scare me. Try harder.” His voice was still high-pitched, making it more annoying than it should. Our magical energies just kept on clashing and still kept on expanding. “Where is Israfil?”
“Hey! Calm down, you two.” Ventus interrupted. He put his hands on our shoulders and showed off his avroi. It sort of amazed me because, in a snap of a finger, he overshadowed both of our energies. Morsus backed down from Ven’s threat, and so did I. The blond-haired kid was beyond my capabilities. “This isn’t how I expected it to be. But here we are, being a bunch of childish punks.”
“The only one being a punk here is this kid.” I replied. The three of us had our avrois calm down. But a staredown contest suddenly replaced it. The kid’s stare was as intense as when he showed off his avroi. His deep blue eyes were similar to Jaden’s hue. And his short, strawberry blonde hair that was messy complimented his looks. “I was just trying to be friendly.”
“Listen to me.” The boy said. His voice may have been that of a child’s, but the intimidation behind it was not. And the anger in it was pointed straight at me. “The only reason I’m here is that I want to protect Israfil from threats. So I have no choice but to protect you as well because that is the consequence of being his vessel.”
“Morsus, if you can consider him a friend, then that’s one less problem for Chance to cope with.” Ventus interrupted. The tone was condescending, given that Morsus was almost throwing a tantrum. “For the record, he’s awfully a lot like Israfil, in many ways more than one. So give him a chance.”
“I don’t know what you see in him.” The small boy replied dismissively. He crossed his arms and looked like he was asking for a good sucker punch in the face. “He will never amount to be like Israfil. Befriending him would be a complete waste of time. I’m here to be his protector, and let’s leave it at that.”
“Look here, little boy. I don’t know what your problem is, but I’m doing whatever I can to help out because I was not supposed to be in the middle of this crap, to begin with. So if you are just being forced to protect me, then I would rather have you out of my face!” I stated with an authoritative voice. Both of my fists were clenched as I said that. “Ven doesn’t need a liability in his mission that could drag me down. He should be more than strong enough to protect me.”
Morsus stared daggers at me. And I stared back. His avroi roared around him, and I didn’t shy away from showing off mine. The boy’s strawberry blonde hair swayed, and small electric pulses sparked around his body. Meanwhile, I summoned a dozen dark blades around me that would charge at him on my command. His eyes studied my next move and said, “Take that back.”
“Hey! Hey! Stop it. Morsus, we’re here to protect Chance and not assault him.” Ventus butted in. But the boy tried to intimidate him, and Ven just shook his head. He seemed to manage to stop himself from doing a facepalm. I glared at the hot-headed boy before me, who was far from being threatened. “But if you two want to have a go, I’m not going to stop you.”
“What?” I exclaimed in disbelief. “You’re kidding, right?”
“Truth be told, this should be a good training match for you now that Teios Kyr has attempted to threat your life.” Ven explained. “Morsus should be a formidable match. He’s a child prodigy and should be as strong as a Rytier in a couple of years.”
I spat at the ground in disgust. “This is unbelievable.”
“The first one which disables the other one wins.” Ven explained. He started walking backward, giving Morsus and me more space. “No dirty tricks allowed nor life-threatening spells, too.”
Morsus hands flew into the air and wrote on open space. In one quick swipe, there were three glyphs. It was quite far from the kind of magic Rei and Ven had shown me. Even different from Samael’s. “Rych Rohybius!”
Suddenly, the boy backed off a few meters away with a concentrated ball of lightning gathered in both his palms. They were at his sides as if he was about to shoot it at me. My foot automatically stepped back, and I already started to sink myself to the ground and make a shadow flit move. But before I could transmute at least to my knee, I saw a smile on the boy’s face. “Aredentisio!”
He released his magic on his left, and a bright light flashed before me. It canceled the spell I was casting because I needed a fair amount of shadow to flit into. In that brief moment, the shadow disintegrated, and Morsus was able to travel instantly right in front of me. That move was very similar to Ven’s but less flashy.
Then my intuition kicked in. Morsus was about to strike me with a lightning blast at an awfully close range. Getting hit by that would be fatal, and I had no idea what Ven would do if I really did get hit. “Fulgra Obturamentrum!”
But in that split of a second, an unnatural amount of focus dawned on me. I slowly waved it off and instinctively accessed the advanced Gravity Magic of Vladimir to repel the attack just in time. The blast swayed to my right, but I still felt the tingling heat from the explosion.
Then came my counter-attack. As if on instinct, I was bending the laws of physics by redirecting gravity. Morsus was suddenly disoriented with a sweeping force under his feet. With a wave of a hand, he was blown away from me. But the boy managed to land safely on his feet.
“Hey! That’s not fair!” Morsus scowled with a high pitch of his brat-like voice. I could seriously smack him and still feel good about hitting a small child. “No one said he could use Gravity Magic!”
But Ven just stood and watch with utmost interest as the sparring match unfolded itself.
Focus. A gentle voice nudged in my head. I gathered avroi in my left hand, imagining the same sensation I had when I could cast the gravity spell and charged it as if it was about to burst. Then on my right hand, I summoned a blade and gripped it.
Morsus charged at me with blinding speed, and I swung my short gladius-like blade at him. He crouched low enough to avoid it and slid underneath my attack. But it was just a feint, and I pulled back with a backhand swing to hit him. Yet the boy was agile and nimble. He jumped upwards and was about to do a dropkick. With my left hand, I managed to guard myself. Then he used me as a wall to kick away and give distance. It caused me to step back a few feet. The spell on my left hand was a gravity lock spell that would draw everything into it once released.
“Spathio Obtestoria!” The boy produced two small daggers and charged back at me. A series of cuts and hacks erupted from his hands, but a sort of instinct kicked in again. I moved my reserved spell in my left forearm area and summoned blades on both hands.
My body suddenly knew how to wield a sword, but the boy was fast and was easy to disarm me. So I kept summoning one blade after another, and my arms tried to keep up with his speed. For some reason, I was able to be on par with his fast-paced swordsmanship. And I didn’t even know I had my own.
Blades upon blades were scattered on the ground, and I cast a weak but quick gravity pulse spell. Energy erupted as a attempted to hack at his arm. It managed to push him back weakly, but it successfully disoriented him. I seized the opportunity and did a palm strike with my left hand on the center of his body.
Then I sealed the gravity lock spell in combination with a restriction shadow spell on his body before I clasped my hands and used a gravity reversal spell. Everything within a small radius sprung upwards into the air, including all the blades that were seemingly disposed of. Morsus looked surprised, and I released the gravity lock spell on him. Since the dark swords had a weightier edge, all of it would be ‘falling’ on his body with the pointy end towards him.
As I released the spell, the swords were suddenly drawn to the direction of gravity with him at the center. The boy was surrounded in every direction, and defending himself from it would be hard. But a wind barrier erupted around Morsus, and the blades that were rushing at him had been quickly swept away everywhere. After that, the boy landed safely on his feet.
“That’s a win for Chance.” Ventus announced. His hands clapped a few times, and I saw Morsus’ hands curled into a ball of flames each. “Using Gravity Magic properly was a good surprise for Morsus.”
“I had him!” The boy shot back. “You shouldn’t have stopped the match.”
“Morsus, you were already surrounded, and you don’t have a defensive spell against that. Your spells are mostly for the offensive. High Magus Shiraea would be most displeased.” Ven replied dismissively. Then he turned to me. “Good job, Chance! I feel better now. We’re a step closer to our goal if you could use advance magic this early.”
Then the strawberry blonde-haired boy stormed out and threw a couple of fireballs at a distance. It exploded into the ground and singed the helpless grass. Morsus walked away towards the hidden ritual circle on the field. A few moments later, he vanished.
“I think I heard his voice during the fight.” I said. Ven’s brows just raised, and he looked proud of me. A smug could almost be seen on his face. “You’re right. My power doesn’t define me. My character does. I should have handled Morsus more maturely.”
Ven just laughed at my realization and shook his head. “Looks like you don’t need my protection anymore.”
“Hey! That’s not what I meant!” I exclaimed. My voice almost cracked in disbelief of his silly joke. “I’d love to be your douchebag in distress anytime.”
“Chance, you and Israfil are both my friends now. And I would do everything in my power to protect the two of you.” He said with a melancholic voice. Ven smiled at the thought and looked at the ritual circle from a distance. “I just hope Morsus warms up to you. That boy is a troubled kid. And Israfil saved him from an asshole of a father.”
“That explains his aggression.” I replied. “I’ll try my best to befriend him. Just don’t be too far if he’s up for a rematch. I might need your protection next time. He was just caught by surprise this time.”
“Do you wanna know he was caught off guard?” Ventus asked. But all I did was shrug at his question. “Israfil used that tactic to beat him in a sparring match. It was flawlessly replicated.”
I shrugged at the idea that I was turning more and more into Israfil.
A few days later, ‘Trevor Craig’ was a lot closer to the rest of my classmates. He was naturally charming because of his friendliness. Plus, we had the same classes. I was not really sure how they were able to perfectly mimic my schedule. But these were mages who would battle the forces of evil. I’m pretty sure they were also experts in manipulating a middle schooler’s class schedule.
“Can you believe it?” Jaden beamed. He seemed more excited than I do. But truth be told, it had been a while since our small group added another person. From its looks, Ventus was drawing a lot of attention from some of our girls in our classes. The mage didn’t seem to mind, though. He had higher priorities, and that was to be my guardian. “I think Trevor is more famous than I am. And he hasn’t even stayed a month-long in our school!”
“Well, he’s a lot less weird than you. No doubt about that one. I don’t think anyone could beat you there. And believe me, everyone, I’ve seen the worst parts of this awful jerk.” Caitlyn interjected. Dylan almost spat out his drink from her side-comment. “It’s pretty obvious who’s more likable.”
“I’m onto your dirty secrets, Craig.” Jaden’s eyes narrowed at Ven, and the rest of us just chuckled at his antics. “Then we’ll see who’s really the weird one here. So you better watch out for me!”
“Go ahead and try.” Ven replied. And Jaden looked pretty challenged. “I’d love to see your reaction once you see that weirdest parts of me.”
“Be careful of what you’re asking for, Trev.” I said. Then I looked at how Ven was blending in with my crowd. Dylan and Anya really took a liking to him. So did Caitlyn and Jaden. “He can be quite persistent with his own little games. I mean seriously, it’s a pain in the butt at times.”
“By the way, any word on your uncle on getting us those VIP tickets?” Dylan asked me. “I mean, he was quite specific that even your friends would get to have those. Not just your family, right?”
“Oh yeah! I forgot about that, sorry.” I responded. Dylan just shrugged it off. I was sure he wasn’t going to press furthermore. “It went through my head that the fair is less than a month from now. I’ll try to leave him a message. Maybe we could get the tickets by next week or so.”
“Am I invited, too?” Ven asked with a hint in his voice. And I knew what he already meant. “I’m sure you haven’t forgotten me. After all, I’m competing against Jaden to be your best friend.”
“Woah there! Did I hear that correctly?” Jaden shrieked. His face was painted with disbelief. It looked like Ven personally attacked him with that statement. “You have nothing on me, blondie! I’ve been with Chance since he was in diapers.”
“Jade, I met you when we were 6 or 7, I think.” I interrupted. But I was sure he was not about to stop there. The mischief of his smile made me think of hiding away before it was too late. “The diaper part was too much.”
“You wore diapers ’til you were 10, so shut up.” Jaden muttered. Then faced back at Ven, who was enjoying it than I was. “I’m not gonna back down from your challenge, Craig. You’re on!”
And as if on cue, the bell rang, and lunchtime was over. Everyone laughed at Jaden’s challenge, but it seemed that he was serious about it. For some reason, I saw him being as childish as Morsus. His banters could be out of hand, but that’s what makes my life more alive. Only Jaden could bring life to my dull outlook on everything.
As we walked down the hall, Ven walked beside me. The way his eyes were speaking didn’t mean anything good.
“Don’t put your guard down.” He warned. “We are being watched.”