The Storm 21-07 (Heretical Edge 2)

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A/N – We have a new piece of art for Aylen! It was created by the artist known as witch_trialz and commissioned by Celeste. You can see the amazing picture right here and it has also been added to the art page

A/N 2 – Also in case you missed it, there was a commissioned interlude focused on Arthur and Morgan/Gaia posted the other day! It can be found by clicking right here.

There was a lot running through my mind in that second, as we found ourselves being attacked by seven Boscher Heretics. About half were assorted curse words, but there was also a bit of useful information as well. Chiefly, I realized that our attackers had said their job was to hurt us, not kill us. That was an important distinction. It was like when Ammon had invaded Crossroads and told the others to hurt me. He hadn’t wanted me dead, just punished for being mean to him, in his eyes. And in this case, I was pretty sure Denuvus wanted us hurt in order to delay us. Why exactly she had been careful to tell them to hurt but not kill us I didn’t know for sure, but it couldn’t have been an accident. I had a feeling she didn’t do much by accident. 

Tabbris jumped back into my body, and I could feel her settle in even as I launched myself forward to meet the incoming charge. We had seven of these guys attacking us and the only full Heretics to match them were Shiori and me. We didn’t even have Robin and Persephone right now. Who the hell knew what sort of powers these guys could pull out?

One of my rings flipped in front of me and grew as I went through it, giving myself a speed boost to reach the Latino boy, who had been coming in fast with his curved sword raised. He was taken by surprise as I reached him faster than he expected, and my staff snapped up and out, slamming into his fingers hard enough to savagely break them if he had been a normal person. Yes, these guys weren’t in control of themselves, but we didn’t have the luxury of playing nice. We needed them to stop attacking us. Besides, even if I did break his fingers, they’d heal quickly enough. 

And they didn’t break anyway. But he did yelp and curse a bit, hand recoiling reflexively. Which almost made me freeze in confusion. Not because I’d hurt him, but because I’d heard his curse? What the fuck? He was right in front of me, the mute spell should’ve–it was gone. Something disabled the mute spell we’d put up and I hadn’t even noticed until right now. 

Still, I didn’t have time to worry about that, not right this second. Instead, I took advantage of the boy’s reaction by spinning around with my back to him while driving the end of my staff into his stomach. To the left (or what had been my right before I turned around), my other ring grew in front of the black girl. In this case, the slow side was facing her, halfing her speed as she passed through it. While she was still reacting to that and the boy behind me had doubled over with my staff in his stomach, I triggered the kinetic burst from it and let go. The staff launched itself off the boy, knocking him to the ground from the force of it before flying forward to collide with the back of the red-haired girl’s head as she was using some sort of energy coils to lift a bear-shaped Twister off the ground. It hit with enough force to make her stumble forward, releasing Twister. In that instant, Asenath and Stasia were there, speeding past in their blurred vampire speed forms while catching hold of the red-haired girl’s arms. They ran her straight into a four-foot-wide, six-foot-tall stalagmite, colliding with it hard enough to crack the thing. An instant later, a glowing energy cube appeared around her, trapping the girl there. It was Senny, who had come equipped with a bit of Bobbi’s blood so she could use the girl’s power. With her permission, naturally. The red-haired girl slammed her fists into it, making the cube flicker just a tiny bit before holding. 

In the meantime, the tall blond guy had been trying to line up a shot with some sort of rifle. But Tabbris had taken control of my sand powers and was using them to keep shoving the stuff in his face so he couldn’t aim properly. She was also pushing some of the sand into his shoes and heating it just enough that he couldn’t put his feet down properly and using my size-control power to make just a few of the grains big enough to cause discomfort and upset his balance. All of which were good ideas, and I was going to have to remember them.

Before he could fight his way through those distractions and take a shot, I focused on summoning several of my ghosts, including Rahanvael. They all flew that way, swarming him. He immediately produced a knife with ghost-fire on it, but that still kept him occupied. The ghosts jumped in and out of range, forcing the boy to focus on them. 

Meanwhile, another swarm of my ghosts was sent to help Twister with the black girl. She too had her own ghost-fire spell, which she used to cover the trident she had produced. Still, between the ghosts playing distraction and Twister shifting into various animals, the Heretic girl was busy. 

Behind me, the Latino boy was lifting his hand from where he was lying on the ground. Flames appeared there, starting to build into a fireball. But before he could launch it, a pretty (and familiar) wind chime-like sound filled the air. The boy immediately stopped what he was doing, head tilting just a bit to one side as he listened to it with a dull expression. Those flames he had been summoning faded away. 

It was Shiori, using the hypnotic whistling power she’d picked up during our very first trip to the Meregan world. Unfortunately, it could only work on one person at a time, and even then only for a few seconds. But it was enough to distract the guy so she could reach him at a sprint. Before he could recover, she hoisted him off the ground with both hands. His leg extended a couple feet longer than it should have been, foot hitting the ground so he could kick off with incredible force. The two of them went flying sideways through the air together, and he hit her with some sort of kinetic blast that sent her straight toward a hanging stalactite. But before she could hit it, I had sent both of my rings up there, the slow sides facing her. It dropped her speed enough that Shiori could recover in midair, rebounding off the hanging rock to throw herself back at the boy unexpectedly. 

While that was happening, I could sense the causasian guy with the brown flat top collide with Judas. I was too busy to see what happened, but the two of them went tumbling end over end across the ground just before my sense of the clothes that the attacking Heretic was wearing vanished, along with every other item he had on him. I risked a quick glance over my shoulder while summoning my staff back, just in time to see Judas on his back, swinging a fist that passed through the Heretic on top of him, who had turned himself intangible. That was why I couldn’t sense his items. Worse, he held his hands out over Judas and let off some sort of electrical blast that made the man jerk and spasm a bit. 

Well, if that guy wanted to play ghost, I’d show him how it was done. “Grover, stab!” I shouted, before belatedly adding, “Non-lethal stab!” 

Immediately, the small ghost boy appeared behind the Heretic, knife in hand. The others had learned to make bags out of their own energy. But with Grover, we’d gone a bit further. This was the result, a weapon that could stab other ghosts and many types of intangible things. He drove the blade into the boy’s shoulder, which made him flicker back into solidity while yelping. 

Judas took advantage of that, boxing the guy’s ears before kicking him off so he could roll to his feet. He grabbed for something on his belt.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to see what it was. Mostly because Trice had decided he was tired of hanging back and watching. There was a rush of wind that whipped across my face just before the green-haired boy appeared in front of me, already swinging his pike around to catch the side of me furthest from where I was holding the staff. Like the others, he wasn’t going for a lethal blow, but he definitely wanted to hurt me.

Fortunately, I was faster than he thought. In an instant, the staff transported from my left hand to my right, and I managed to snap it up just enough to catch the very tip of his incoming weapon. It knocked the staff out of my hand from the force, but still deflected his pike slightly. Between that and my own abrupt pivot, the weapon glided just past my stomach. And with a thought, my staff was back in my hands as I faced the older boy. 

All around us, the others were fighting. Shiori and the Latino guy were off in the distance, going at one another. Tabbris and that first assortment of ghosts were still helping to keep the blond guy off balance while Stasia had come in to actually fight him. Twister and those other ghosts were still busy with that black girl, while Judas was still fighting the flat top guy (with help from Grover). The red-haired girl was still trapped in the cube, but Miles was right there. His swarm of bees kept shifting into various weapons to attack Asenath with, while the vampire girl used Bobbi’s powers along with her own vampire speed and strength to keep up with him. Unfortunately, I knew from past training that she could only keep one containment cube active at a time, especially considering there wasn’t unlimited energy for her to pull from down here. If she created another one to hold Miles, it would let the red-haired girl go. 

And I had Trice right in front of me. 

“You know Avalon wasn’t responsible for what happened to Torv,” I snapped at him. 

He shrugged a bit. “Yeah, sure. It was the Seosten. But I still think you’re annoying. Plus, you killed Doxer. Sure, maybe we attacked you first and all. So you don’t deserve to die. But I wouldn’t mind smacking you around a bit.” He bared his teeth, adding, “You know, while your mom’s busy helping Denuvus.” 

He was trying to get a rise out of me and make me lash out blindly. The guy was intentionally being an asshole to bait me. I knew that, and yet, it still took everything I had not to give him exactly what he wanted. I so wanted to slam my staff right into his teeth, even if he was expecting that and would have countered.

Instead, I gripped my weapon more tightly while snapping, “I dunno, sure you’re up for it? After all, I’ve had more than a week of training at this point, so I might not be your preferred type of opponent.” He wasn’t the only one who could bait people. “Maybe you’d rather find someone more on your level to fight, like one of the twelve-year-old recruits we picked up over Christmas.” 

To my surprise, the boy actually laughed, dark as it was. “You give as good as you get, I’ll grant you that much.” He almost sounded admiring, though his eyes were still dangerous. “But you’re still in over your head right now, babe. Don’t forget, you helped Gaia lock me up. I owe you for that too. I’ll give you a chance though. Surrender, then tell the others to do the same, and none of you will be attacked anymore. You have my word. We’re just supposed to stop you from coming any closer anyway, so if you all surrender, we can hang out here until Denuvus says it’s cool. No more fighting. That’s fair, right? After all, you wouldn’t want to be responsible for your friends getting hurt.” 

That all made sense, of course. I could feel his words playing through my head. We didn’t really need to fight like this. If we just surrendered, no one would get hurt. Maybe we could even convince them to tell us what was actually going on. Yeah, that could work. It would definitely be more productive than trying to fight against someone like him. Especially considering–

Flick! Tabbris shouted inside my head. It’s a trick, he’s using a voice power, like Uncle Satan!

As soon as she said that, I felt the effect slip away. I was back in control of myself, seeing the boy smirk in front of me as what he believed was his successful attempt to control me. Well, I was going to have to disappoint him on that front.

I did so by slamming the tip of my staff into his chin hard enough to knock his head back and snap his mouth shut with a clack of teeth. Before he could recover, I used my recently-acquired rocket burst under my feet and on my back to throw myself forward and up, driving my knee into his face an instant after my staff hit his chin. The force sent him onto his back with a grunt, and I shifted the rocket burst angle to throw myself down toward his sprawled form while slamming my staff into his face. At least, that was the idea. But just before I would’ve hit him, the boy vanished in another gust of wind, blowing off to the left while my staff rebounded off the rock. 

“Okay then!” he blurted while reappearing to one side, his foot lashing out to kick me in the hip before I could move. “The hard way it is!” 

He tried to follow up by driving his pike into my arm, but Tabbris reacted faster, making my head turn before opening my mouth so we could spit that resin stuff. It struck a spot near the base of the pike and the nearby stalagmite, sticking the weapon to the rock just as he was trying to drive it forward. 

Before he could recover from that, my hand snapped out. I hardened my fingernails enough to cut through stone. Or, in this case, his forehead. The boy recoiled as blood dripped from the wound into his eyes. Even then, however, he was already lashing out with a front kick toward my stomach. I twisted just enough to avoid the worst of it, but the blow still made me stumble a step. And he took advantage, ripping his pike free of the resin before spinning around to bring it slamming toward my exposed right side. At the last second, I managed to make my staff grow, extending the thing another foot in length so it could intercept his weapon. They both rebounded off each other with a loud clang. 

Using the momentum from that, I spun around and dropped to one knee while swinging my staff from one end to send it into his knees. But he brought the pike down to block it again. Even as my staff bounced off his weapon, I triggered the boost from the end I was holding, along with the rocket burst to send myself up off the ground and over his head. Twisting in the air, I shifted my weapon into its bow form and sent a concussive-energy arrow straight at his back. 

Unfortunately, Trice transformed into wind once more. His air-form flew backward, further along the path the energy arrow was taking as it passed through the area he had been in and kept going. He transformed back into his solid form while facing the incoming shot, pike raised. Even as I landed on both feet, the boy caught the energy arrow on his pike, and I belatedly remembered that he could absorb and redirect kinetic energy with that thing. Which he did in that moment, sending a wide blast of force back toward me. It would have sent me sprawling, but I held my weapon (still in its bow form) out and froze it there so the thing wouldn’t move. In the same instant, my finger found the bit of wood in my weapon and I possessed it. Then it was just my weapon hanging there in midair. The pause power forced the thing to stay where it was, even against the force of that kinetic wave. And the second it passed, I was back out of the bow. I took another shot, which Trice was ready for. But this time, at the last second I aimed upward instead of at him. The energy arrow shot that way, colliding with one of the hanging stalactites with enough force to snap the thing free. It fell straight toward Trice. 

He was ready, of course, shifting back into his wind form to fly sideways in order to avoid it. But I had been anticipating that. Even as my arrow was hitting the ceiling and the boy started to react, I was already launching myself that way, in the direction I knew he was going to move. My weapon shifted back to its staff form and I brought it around, blade-end stabbing toward the spot where his arm was. 

Or rather, where it should have been. Even though I had anticipated his movement, even though I was boosting, despite all of that, he still managed to intercept my incoming staff with his own weapon the instant he solidified.

I followed up with a rapid series of strikes, growing and shrinking my staff the whole time. But none of them managed to nail the boy. His pike was always in the way, as the two of us circled one another. He was so fast, it was almost impossible to actually hit him. 

Now? Tabbris quickly put in, even as I snapped my head back to avoid one of his retaliatory strikes, catching a slight cut across my chin in the process. 

Now! I agreed. 

Immediately, bright glowing wings erupted from my back. They only lasted for a brief moment, long enough to catch Trice’s attention. Then they vanished, as Tabbris took all the energy she was using for them and pushed it into her own boost power. Which she then pushed into me. I boosted at the same time. 

It would only last for a few seconds. We both knew that, from testing. That was why she had been holding back, waiting for the right moment. But now, at least for those seconds, I was faster than Trice. So much fucking faster. It was like he was standing still. Or at least moving in slow motion. His pike was still rising to intercept my staff, so I adjusted the angle slightly. It rebounded off the side of his head, and he began to recoil, face twisting in surprise ever-so-slowly. I brought the weapon down and around, driving the blade into his foot in what had to be a blindingly-fast blur of motion as far as he was concerned. To me, he was practically frozen. Even as the blade went through his foot, I was already snapping it up to drive the grapple end into his chin hard enough to knock his head back once more. I could see his body starting to shift into its wind form, but from my current perspective it was happening very gradually. Before he could finish the transformation, I spun myself in a full circle, simultaneously activating the staff’s own kinetic burst and applying the rocket boost to it. The weapon came around, slamming into the side of Trice’s head hard enough to interrupt his transformation. He was sent to the ground in a heap, lying there completely dazed. 

My super archangel-assisted boost ran out a second later, while Trice groaned, clearly completely out of it. I managed to look around then, only to find that the others had the situation in hand. Twister was an elephant and had a couple of the Heretic students held securely under her massive feet. Meanwhile, my ghosts had swarmed over several others and were holding them prisoner. In fact, the only one still on his feet and free was…

“Miles?” I turned that way, just in time to see the boy already retreating. He went running through the cave toward a half-hidden tunnel, blurting something about ‘warning her.’ Yeah, he was definitely affected by Denuvus. If I hadn’t been convinced already, seeing him abandon his friends like that made it clear. 

“Miles!” I shouted, starting to run after him. 

Before I could take more than a step, however, Trice interrupted. “Pretty hot shit, huh?” He still sounded dazed and mostly out of it, but the words still made me look that way. The boy had something in his hand. Which he pushed before I could react. “Good thing Denuvus always has a backup plan.” 

As he pushed the… whatever it was in his palm, a nearby section of wall just disappeared, like it was a hologram. Another large section of the cavern was revealed, along with what had to be about forty or so heavily armed and armored guys of all shapes and sizes. 

Oh yeah, and they were all unconscious. Every last one of the men was lying on the ground. A few still gave weak groans of pain in their sleep, or breathed heavily. But they were, one and all, completely out of it. There were deep dents in their armor, a few had broken weapons lying nearby, blood scattered across their bodies and the ground, all signs of a truly epic fight. Yet there was no sign of anyone who could have actually fought them. 

“Uhh…” Shiori had moved next to me, staring that way. “What sort of backup plan is this?” 

Trice looked just as confused, staring that way in complete bafflement. “The fuck…?” 

I started to say something else, only to blink down. “Oh, hey little guy.” Stooping, I picked up my new monkey-tailed beetle. “How’d you fall out? Come on, you’ve gotta be careful around here. 

“I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” 

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12 comments

  1. Whooo, new chapter and pretty intense fight scene to boot! Not to mention the fight scene we didn’t even get to see between Sun-Beetle and those guards. Hope you all enjoyed that, and that you’ve enjoyed the chapters this week. If so, it’d be fantastic if you could boost this story on Top Web Fiction by clicking right here! Thanks for that, and for reading as well, and your tags are: Asenath, Chas Mena, Do You Think Miles Will Run To Denuvus Waving His Cyberform Weapon While Shouting ’You Won’t BEE-LIEVE What Happened?!’, Emily Perry, Felicity Chambers, Flick, He Should Definitely Do That If Only Because Denuvus Might Just Keel Over From The Pain Of It, Imagine The Comedy Perfection Of Forty Armored Soldiers Failing So Hard To Stomp A Single Beetle That They All End Up In Traction, Jason Trips, Judas Iscariot, Kaleigh Ruffin, Miles Cleary, Rahanvael, Royce Jacoby, Shiori Porter, Stasia, Sun Wukong Tabbris, Trice, Twister

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for the update.

    I just wasn’t feeling this fight.

    It just felt like Flick’s group should have more “go for the kill non lethaly” as soon as possible. But it just felt like they were playing around. Which felt odd considering they should be really desperate right now to get to Jose.

    I remember the first time i “saw” Asenath, very brutal in taking down the gangsters. Now she’s been around for at least 9 decades right ( maybe 1 century? More?) And she would have experience in fighting Adult heretics. I just expected her to be so much more unrestrained against opponents she encounters especially so close to finding the dickweed she’s been looking for.

    And then there’s Flick looking away from the troublesome opponent after she has dazed him- not knock him out or cuff or anything. She knows just left him dazed and looked away. If it were Flick down on the floor she would have used a back up even while dazed.
    And if it were Trice standing over her , he would have made sure she was down for the count before looking away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing! Personally I think the fight worked fine for what it was supposed to be, as they had to be careful both to keep from killing the Heretic students while also feeling out what powers they had to work with. Neither side wanted to kill the other, so it was…. not quite a sparring match really but also not as deadly as it might’ve been otherwise. And it’s quite hard for Flick to properly secure Trice in that exact moment, particularly given his ability to shift into wind. People don’t just get knocked out that easily. Flick was taking in the situation around her while she had the chance to.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Do You Think Miles Will Run To Denuvus Waving His Cyberform Weapon While Shouting ’You Won’t BEE-LIEVE What Happened?! Imagine The Comedy Perfection Of Forty Armored Soldiers Failing So Hard To Stomp A Single Beetle That They All End Up In Traction

    Come for the amazing story telling & emotional arcs, stay for the puns & in-jokes! I’m lovin’ it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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