Chapter 4: First Battle
"Hey, well what do you know" an obnoxious sounding man said as he watched the boy walk into the meeting hall. "Look who finally decided to grace us with his presence".
"You should not talk to the boss so shamefully" a more refined sounding man in a top hat and tuxedo said, standing with a cane. "He is the one that has hired us, after all".
"Kekekekeke" a woman chuckled as she examined a potion. "You all sound so annoying".
"Now now. Crasza, Rohen, Glycia. You should understand what is at stake. This will be a great strike against the Clover Kingdom, and the crimes it lets happen that made people suffer. And, the best part, is that we will get rich doing so".
"A wonder idea, boss" Rohen mentioned. "Doing something honorable and richous, while also profiting, is something truly glorious".
"I just want to murder some annoying jerks who dont mean anything" Crasza added. "These Clover Kingdom nobles think they are so great just because they are born great, so seeing them suffer is especially fun!"
"So long as I get paid properly, I don't mind doing anything. Though, some things are more expensive then others".
"Yes yes" the boy, Axris, mentioned as he held his Grimoire. "Just remember, dont do anything stupid or unnecessary. If we go outside of our desires and invoke additional wraith, some annoying people will probably show up".
"Heh. Annoying huh? Sounds dull".
"Indeed. We should not invoke more wraith then what is necessary. As expected of boss".
"At least I got hired by someone who has brains this time".
"Well then, lets get moving" he said, as the group moved out.
"...so, why are we doing this?" Ex asked as he rode his own broom, holding on with two hands tightly with Crimson riding on the back, while Naeva and Colton rode on their own brooms. Along with them was Kareem Obsidian, who looked a bit expressionless, and a bit annoyed.
"Because Finral gave the responsibility to Mireal, who then shoved it on me, and then everyone else had run off before I could" Kareem responded.
"...no, I mean, why do I have to ride a broom?" Ex clarified, as he was perfectly capable of flight on his own.
"Because Crimson is your roommate, and someone has to carry him since he isn't good at ridding brooms".
"Haha...yeah, I once crashed a broom with training rods!"
"How can you say that so happily and optimistically?"
"However, I would like better clarification as to what this quest is" Colton added.
"Simply put, they want us to hunt some creatures that have wandered too close to town".
"...should magic knights really be spending time doing this?"
"Well, I suppose bears could be dangerous for normal people, so its probably a good idea".
"By the way...Ex, you look like your barely holding on over there" Naeva added.
"...im not used to brooms, I usually fly solo...this thing is a pain to balance, especially when I am carrying another person".
"Here, I will hold tighter so its easier!" Crimson declared, wrapping his arms around Ex.
"...this is not making it easier at all! Dont shift around mid flight!"
As that commotion was going on, a huge explosion was seen up ahead.
"Ummm, did the bears happen to somehow have explosive magic?"
"No, they didn't" Kareem mentioned. "Everyone, prepare for combat".
As they got their Grimoires out, suddenly a tree suddenly shot roots out at all of them, restraining Colton and Naeva, and knocking Kareem, Crimson, and Ex out of the sky.
"Force Enchant: Winged Boots!"
Suddenly, wings appeared on the side of Ex's boots and helped to stop his decent. Crimson used his scythe to slow his fall by digging it into a tree, while Kareem landed as if the fall from several stories up was nothing at all.
However, the land began to move underneath them, as rock spikes shot up and at all of them. And yet...water then shot at of them after they had dodged, attacking where they were dodging towards.
This attacker, to do this at long range...he has real skills and abilities.
Crimson ended up getting decked by water, while Ex blocked in time with a force barrier.
"Ex, Crimson, can you still move?"
"Im okay!" Crimson said with a smile, while a bit of blood poured down from his forehead. He did just take a hit from a tree, and then a second hit into a second tree.
"Crimson, you should rest. Ex, we should take him back and get more reinforcements from our HQ".
"What, no way! I am fine! And we cant abandon Naeva and Colton!"
"I am your superior, so do what I say".
"Kareem-sempai" Ex mentioned, flying up to him and laying his hand on his cheek, dusting some things off. "Leaving aside the fact they will just knock us down again, we are magic knights...we are heroes. We cant just run away and leave our friends and comrades in danger, can we?"
Kareem was a bit shocked. Not just because of what Ex said, but because of the expression on Ex's face. Fear. He was afraid, he knew the enemy ahead was strong. But, he was willing to stay anyways, to fight for people. It made him remember his first encounter with the captain of the Black Bulls, Yami.
...you picked some good rookies, Captain...
Kareem thought that to himself, as he stood up. "Just dont die then. Should I go down, or signal that we must retreat in any way, you must fall back, so that they learn what happened here at least".
"But we just cant..."
"If we were to all go down fighting, then these people would not be known, and they can keep hurting people. This is our duty...as Magic Knights".
Kareem then looked at the attacks made on them so far. A few more popped up, but Kareem dealt with them instantly before they had time to activate.
"It appears there are two mages, Earth and Water, at least".
"Maybe..." Ex said. "But those spells were together, weren't they?"
"If so, we are dealing with an opponent that uses two elements, which is impossible, or two mages who are perfectly in sync".
Ex looked away, holding onto his Grimoire. "Right..."
"Anyways, we need to clear the forest and get to the town. Any ideas?"
"I do!" Crimson said, getting his Scythe ready. "Lets goooo! Crimson Comet!"
"It looks like we knocked them all down properly" Rohen mentioned. "A wonderful use of your magic, Boss".
"Dont want anyone interrupting us as we pillage the vault, after all".
"Wonderful, simply wonderful, seeing those noble knights get knocked down a peg or two!" Glycia added.
As they were discussing this, suddenly a huge beam of flames seared right through the forest, forcing them to dodge in order not to be caught up in it. It lasted for a few seconds, but once it was over, they turned to see a huge scorched path that leads right to them.
"See see? I told you it would work!"
"That was...a bit intense".
"A bit? I hope we dont get scolded for annihilating a huge amount of the forest".
The three mages walked out of it and faced them.
"Hey! Dont forget about us!" Naeva called out. She and Colton were riding on top of a huge bird like monster, as Colton discarded a frozen branch.
"I suppose its time to deal with these idiots".
And that was when...
"Wait, is that...Coto?"
"Is that you..."
"Yeah, its me, Ex".
Coto, who was the one leading this group, and Ex locked eyes.
"You know this guy?"
"Yeah...he has a difficult to deal with magic, and can be a bit...well...he...has bad judgement making ability..."
"I dont want to hear that from you, who gets lost in a city unless someone holds your hand!"
"Hey, I dont get lost anymore!"
"Like I would believe that!"
Ex and Coto looked at each other. The tension between them was obvious, as both had their Grimoires out.
"Flame Ice Magic: Burning Frost Spears!"
Coto cast the first spell, however...
"Wait...a dual elemental spell?!"
Ex meanwhile flew up into the air and dodged before heading right towards him.
"Fine then, lets go this way! Fusion Magic! Groundseal!"
Suddenly, everyone's shoes got sealed to the ground, as if they were fused together.
"...so that is what he meant by annoying magic".
"Fusion Magic? Seriously?!"
"Tsk. What is Ex doing, taking on the enemy boss on his own" Kareem mentioned, when suddenly he stepped back and dodged a crystal sword that flew right where his head used to be.
"I am afraid that I will be your opponent" Rohen mentioned, with a smile.
Glycia meanwhile attacked with ice, but then an ice wall deflected it, and both attacks shattered.
"Another ice user?" she stepped back, when suddenly a seal appeared and an ice spike flew up and hit her. She managed to recover and land on her feet, but it still hurt.
"It appears I have my opponent".
"Wait for me Ex!" Crimson yelled, when suddenly a large, muscular man smashed down on him with a Warhammer. He dodged just in time, and then deflected a second attack with his scythe.
"YOU WILL FACE ME NOW, PIPSQUEAK!" he shouted with vigor.
"...he is big..." Crimson remarked on the man three times taller then himself.
Naeva then tried to rush after Ex as well, but was intercepted by Crasza. "So you use magical beasts huh...well then, have fun with my magical insects! Insect Magic: Devouring Swarm!"
"Go, Beast Creation Magic: White Lemur!"
A dozen or two white lemur appears to help fend off the swarms of insects.
Crimson meanwhile unloaded another attack, but his opponent was tough.
"Hahaha! Nothing can defeat my Super Enhancement Magic!"
"I wont let you stand in my way! Crimson Comet!"
Crimson then unleashed the move that let him burn down a huge section of forest, shrouding himself in flames and charging right at the muscleheaded man. However, he swung his Warhammer at top speed, with enough force to counteract it.
"I will never be defeated in a contest of strength!"
At that point, Crimson appeared behind the man, but he was surprisingly fast and brought his weapon around to hit Crimson, knocking him away and into the dirt.
"You should just stay down, cute little boy. A wittle baby like you has no place on the battlefield".
"What...did you just call me?" Crimson asked, as a huge pillar of flame shot up into the sky, engulfing him.
"I...am not...A BABY!" he shouted, as for the first time ever, Crimson appeared to be angry. His aura was so intense, even Kareem felt scared for a moment.
The hell is with that kid...his magic is spiking out of control...wait, now that I think about it, he did mention something about that...dont tell me, this is the true form of his power?
Behind Crimson, his aura became something that appeared to be a Dragon, holding its own Scythe. A Crimson Dragon of Death.
He shot forward towards the musclehead with extreme power, far greater then any normal magic knight, and exceeding that of Royalty even. Kareem could tell that right now, in terms of raw power alone, he exceeded the Wizard King.
Colton meanwhile was on the defensive, although...
Glycia shouted as she triggered another trap.
Perhaps, that was where he was at his greatest. For Colton's defensive game has Glycia running circles, and constantly being wary of any traps he had placed.
Kareem meanwhile, was dealing with Rohan himself, who was far more skilled then he initially expected. Furthermore, he was getting pushed further and further away from his allies, who he had been supporting.
"Hey, old man...you are pretty good".
"Of course I am" Rohan mentioned. "After all, traitors like you...are those who I hate the most".
"Traitors...wait, you dont..."
"Don't think that forged altercation can fool me. Your Grimoire may appear to have the Clover Kingdom's mark, but I can tell very easily you are a traitor of the Diamond Kingdom".
Kareem used his shadows to block as another sword came at him.
"Wait...this magic, could it be..."
That was when Rohan showed him, a Silver Grimoire, only he took away the illusion on it, showing a different design. It was one Kareem had known...after all, it belonged to his handler. He had only seen him once, since they mainly communicated secretly through letters and deadrops.
"What are you..."
"After you ran away to the Clover Kingdom, they declared the rest of us traitors, and so those of us who did not run were executed for failing to notice your behaviors. Your act of dishonor tarnished the rest of us, so now I shall do what any noble gentleman should, and be rid of riffraff like you".
Kareem knew this was bad. In terms of power, anyone who reached a position to be in charge of others was strong, and since Kareem himself never reached his position, that meant this man was stronger then himself. Kareem felt like he should run. No, he had to run. This man was stronger then him, and he was going to die if he fought him.
"Now, you will fall!"
Kareem deflected the attack with shadows, but one of the blades got by and cut his cheek.
"What is so wrong with no longer wanting to kill people?!" Kareem shouted, as he took a step back. In truth, Kareem was not that brave. He would rather run away then die. He had a healthy respect for living and life after all.
"Then you should have taken your own life, not dragged down everyone else with you!"
That was when he launched an even larger, more powerful attack. Kareem tried to block it all, but a number of attacks went past his defenses and right at him.
Damnit...sorry guys...just please realize I went down...and escape...
And so the attacks hit him...but then they were all blown away, and Rohan knocked down, by a powerful shockwave that emanated from Kareem.
"What the..." Kareem mentioned, when he remembered earlier about how Ex had touched his cheek. He felt it, and there was a faint trace of mana there, Ex's mana.
At that time...did he cast a protection spell? I never sensed anything though...his Grimoire never glowed...so then, it was a natural application of his abilities?
Kareem couldn't help but think of that, but then was reminded of something else. Right before they left, he had asked Yami if it was really a good idea for him to look after the rookies.
"ARe you sure this is a good idea?"
"Yeah, I would think you are the best one to look after them for their first mission" Yami mentioned. "You can deal with anything problematic that threatens them, so do exactly what I said, and put that crazy magic of yours to good use".
Focusing back on the battle at hand, Kareem chuckled to himself, which surprised Rohan.
"Damn, I was so distracted by this sudden turn of events, I totally forgot what I was supposed to be doing" Kareem mentioned, as his summoned forth his mana. "As their Sempai, I should be protecting them, not the other way around. Shadow Magic: Shadow Attack Puppets".
Suddenly, several humanoid shadows appeared, all holding shadow weapons.
"What the...this magic..."
"Yeah. Its a new spell I gained after joining the Black Bulls. An assassin would never need something like an attack force, and doing my job right meant never needing a distraction either. In terms of assassination ability, you are far superior to me...but, I am not fighting this battle as an assassin. I am a Magic Knight, and I will protect my juniors, and the people!"
"You have gotten a bit more chatty!"
No...I just finally have comrades who I can talk and open up to...
And so, Kareem decided to go all out, even if it meant risking his life.
Meanwhile, Ex and Coto ended up in a nearby clearing, far away and a bit above where the others were.
"Hey, Coto" Ex said, as they stopped their fight for a moment. "What exactly was the purpose of bringing us here?"
"Isn't it obvious" Coto said with a smile. "If your using that name, then I am guessing you are using that guy's magic".
"Well, I am Ex" Ex replied, as his Grimoire changed from the Force Grimoire to the white Grimoire with various wing and feather imagery and decoration on it.
"Right, right...anyways, I figured you wouldn't go all out right in front of them right? I thought that would be a bit boring".
"...didn't you come here with some sort of agenda? I know you too well to think you would engage in random acts of violence. After all that happened".
"More like, what happened to you? Joining the Magic Knights? How can you seriously trust them?"
"I simply chose this path to go about my dreams...I will achieve my dreams".
Coto narrowed his eyes.
"So, your serious then?"
Suddenly, a pair of white feathered wings appeared on Ex's back, creating a gust of wind that nearly blew Coto away.
"I see...well then...I suppose I will have to beat some sense into you".
Ex shot multiple feathers at Coto.
And yet, Coto deflected them all.
The two then excahgned magics back and forth, Coto with various magics fused into his Grimoire. That was why he could use so many elements, he had fused the magic into his Grimoire and made it even more powerful.
"This is quite a bit of power...but knowing you, you probably hunted down some scum for it right?"
"After all we went through, do you even need to ask? But the true mastermind, the Clover Kingdom, has yet to be punished!"
"You intend to punish a whole kingdom?! There is no proof!"
"But you think so too! I can see it in your eyes!"
The magic volleys at each other grew only more intense. Between Coto launching a series of different elemental attacks, to Ex utilizing a variety of Force and Angel spells, the shockwaves were staggering. And yet, while it appeared to be a stalemate...Ex was the one running out of stamina first.
Coto knew that he would have more stamina then him too. It had been like that since as long as he knew him.
"I won't...give up...I wont lose!" Ex shouted, as his magical power spiked, surprising Coto. "Force Angel Magic: Force Angel Blades Barrage!"
Suddenly, an overwhelming number of feathers and blades came at him at the same time. At first, he thought it was a combo, but then he realized Ex was dual casting.
He tried to defend, but he could not defend all of that damage, and got blasted back. It hurt, a lot, but he managed to remain conscious, while he saw Ex fall to one knee, gasping, as his white wings drooped downward.
And then, it was at that point some sort of liquid seemed to appear around Coto, as well as the others, and they got pulled away into the sky on a large, flying manta ray type thing. A young pink haired girl with a large backpack was on it, and gave him the thumbs up.
"I got the package! Its time to leave!"
"Package?" Ex muttered, as all of the enemies were recovered by that weird magic.
"Sorry Ex, looks like its time to leave! We can play later!" he shouted. "Oh yeah, by the way, I should probably let you know, Ayma survived also!"
Ex went a bit pale after hearing that.
"Yep! Try not to die when you meet her!"
"Oi oi! It would be nice and all, but please tell me you are joking! Or at least, she grew out of that! She did, right?!"
As they flew away, Coto only smile and waved, and then appeared to pray as if he was in front of a grave.
"Please tell me she wont kill me!"
Crimson meanwhile, collapsed to the ground after his prey had gotten away. At first, the others were wary to get close to him, for a variety of reasons, but...
"Awwww, he got away" Crimson pouted as he turned around. When he did though, Naeva and Colton both got embarrassed. "What?"
At that same time, Kareem made it back out of the forest and saw Crimson.
"Why is Crimson naked?"
"Eh?" Crimson said, looking down and seeing all of his clothes were gone. To be exact, he had turned them to ash when his mana spiked and he kept that up for so long. "Well...its probably fine, right?"
"Hey everyone...sorry for taking awhile to..." Ex started, as he limped back into the clearing, when he saw Crimson and got embarrassed for him. "Crimson! What happened?!"
"He incinerated his own clothes when his mana spiked".
Kareem quickly went over, and put his own cloak on Crimson, fastening it up so that he was totally covered. However, he then looked towards Ex.
"You are not much better, Ex".
Ex looked down, and saw his clothes were in tatters, barely holding on. In fact, his pants and shirt were falling apart right then and there in front of them.
"Eep!" Ex shouted, using his own cloak to cover himself out of embarrassment.
"Right...okay. Well, its not what we expected, but...congrats everyone. Mission accomplished".
"Still...I wonder what they were after? Like, why are they here? Did they even enter the town?"
"All of you can go back to base, and get changed into clean clothes and recover. Leave the investigation to me. That's an order".
""""Yes sir!"""" they all replied.
As the group split up, there was a lot on Kareem's mind. But there was one thing that he did not forget. These rookies...there seems to be more to them then first appears.
He was actually getting interested, and curious.
Post Chapter Report:
Crimson finally got mad.
Ex's past hinted at.
Kareem's past was revealed to some degree.
Lots of interesting magic used.
Coto retrieved a package.
The mysteries deepen!