Salis' Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

Chapter 7 (v.1) - Flying Cabbage, Hidden Salis

Submitted: August 25, 2019

Reads: 14

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Submitted: August 25, 2019

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It was the last day of my first year at the Kein School of Magic and learning and I was free for the next month and a half. Yes, I could have stayed and taken lessons like many of the children from the more wealthy families did but I needed to get away from the place.

"When are you leaving?" Arty asked me just after we had each finished our morning meals.

"Tomorrow morning." I replied.

"Do you think we will share rooms again?"

"Sure."

Arty had been a good room mate. We hadn't talked much since we only saw each other at meal times but she was a nice girl and had never treated me differently than anyone else.

Arty looked at the chest near the foot of my bed.

"Are you going to buy anything fun?"

I looked at the chest as well. It was filled with one of the payments I had gotten from my sessions with Iguana. It had originally been filled with about one thousand pieces of gold but I had spent more than half of it since. I had been payed much more than that but there was so much I would have to travel to the royal treasury in Flae to get it considering it was too dangerous to transport the remaining gold that was owed to me. I had been planning on visiting there anyways so I hadn't been annoyed with that.

"No." I replied. "I'm going to give this chest to my family in Porra-kel and then go to Flae and buy me my own sword and other weapons to train with."

Arty looked a bit disappointed.

"I would buy a horse." She said.

"Costs too much to feed one."

Arty looked at my chest again and then shrugged.

"I guess."

It was nearly time to head out for morning practice so I stood up from my chair in front of my desk and headed for the door. Ferret had stopped coming by after the first few weeks so I could leave whenever I wanted.

"You promise you will finally show me what you have been making tonight?" Arty asked as I began to open the door. She was talking about the long cylinder wrapped in cloth under my bed.

I nodded and left.

***

I arrived early to practice as usual and began doing my warm up exercises. I was not the only one from my group that had made a habit of doing this. All of us had. In fact, it was almost expected of us to arrive early or else Bench would work you even harder than he would otherwise.

By now I had gotten used to the strenuous things Bench made us do and I would only be slightly winded and, now that summer was back, sweaty by the time training was over. The only things the past few months that had given me trouble was the mud when it rained and the cold winter months as the school didn't have any indoor facilities for the athletic side of things so I had to deal with mud and snow.

Today the mood was especially bright among the groups of children. Most of the poorer ones would be heading home to help their families during the busy summer months and, for some reason, were looking forward to it. I appreciated the fact that they were happy to live with their families again but, as much as learning about boring things such as etiquette and the history of Flaern, I would rather be here than in a field somewhere.

"You are up Salis!" Bench called to me.

We had just finished our usual run around the entirety of the school. Normally we would practice our techniques but as usual Bench liked to mix things up.

I nodded and jogged to the sparring circle Bench was standing by and was soon joined by one of the other boys in my group.

"This time…" He said quietly to himself. "I will win this time."

"Ready?" Bench said.

The boy and I each took our stances. We had both taken one of the more aggressive stances we had been taught.

Was the boy stupid? Even though I was much smaller than he was I had never lost to him once. If I was in his shoes I would have taken up a more defensive stance…

"Go!" Bench yelled.

My opponent immediately lunged at me. We were nearly the same speed and I was able to bring my practice sword up to meet his.

For the next minute we traded blows with our swords, our skill nearly equal. Then my advantage finally came into play as I made an attack with all my strength. My attack was met but since I had been able to use all my strength the blow knocked the sword from his hands. I had won.

"Not again…" The boy said and bent over to pick up the sword that had fallen near his feet.

"As usual I am impressed by your strength Salis." Bench said. "You started the year just as strong as a normal girl your age but could now rival a boy nearly twice your age."

It was true. At first the only advantage I had had was that I had watched sword fights in movies. Not that that was a real advantage.

"Remember," Bench spoke to my opponent, "Strength is not everything. If someone is stronger than you, use their strength against them."

The boy nodded.

Bench then called the next two that would be sparring and I left the sparring circle.

For the rest of practice I practiced sword techniques while I wasn't sparring. Even though I didn't talk to others as I sparred with them like all the others I enjoyed this time immensely. There was something about swinging a sword that made me stop thinking about this world.

***

Immediately after morning practice I went to the place I fought a much different kind of battle. On some days it was keeping myself awake through history and etiquette. Today it was fighting with my inability to control my magic output and with Pie Can himself.

I had gotten to the point in my magic studies last month where I was finally unable to keep up with the others in my class. I was honestly surprised I had been able to keep up for as long as I had but still had slowly found myself falling behind the other children. Now I had had my time in class cut in half and spent that time figuring out how to work with an unpredictable source of power.

There was one thing I had proven much better at than any other child had. It was my mental sparring with Pie Can himself. In fact, I had become better at it than he was. Now he trained me by making me watch for his sporadic attacks in which he helped me find any weak spots I had and to train me to keep my defenses up at all times.

During this training I had also learned how to talk to him without letting him into my mind. I did this by learning how to recognize thought over the desire to invade. I wasn't exactly sure how I could tell the difference but I did.

I will be seeing you in a few months. Pie Can, whom had long stopped speaking to me verbally, said in my head. I will try to think of better ways to teach you while you are gone. I felt a touch of mischievousness come from him. Also expect harder attacks from me as well.

I looked at Pie Can. Do your worst.

A smile appeared on his face. It wasn't very noticeable but it was there.

Unlike the first of the year where I had been looking forward to learning magic I now hated it. The sheer randomness of my magic output had almost made me quit my training altogether because of my frustration. The only magic I could do reliably was anything involving crystals and even then I had to be careful unless I wanted to blow up the crystals I was using.

I had managed to find a way to work around my problems with crystals eventually. This involved crystals that could store magic power, like the ones used to power the light crystals above each door in the dormitories among many other places.

The only problem was that these crystals tended to be more expensive than most of the other types and I hadn't been able to get one until those greasy bankers had sent me some of my money. I also had to pay for the most expensive kind which would be better able to absorb my power if it went too high.

I turned to the door and left the room. Considering my magic practice had to be limited by my inabilities I now spent the rest of the time after noon meal training. Today it was with Medic and archery instead of swordsmanship and as soon as I was done eating my noon meal that's where I would be heading.

 

***

"Hey there, 'Instructor Salis'" Dorito said to me as we met outside the dorms as usual. Also as usual he was with his friends, but by now they had lost interest in me and only Dorito and Caldren paid me any attention.

"Do you know if we will be in the same group again in the fall?" Caldren said.

"So you can be with Helnion some more?" Dorito said, grinning at Caldren.

Caldren sighed. He had long stopped protesting to Dorito when he brought up the subject and looked to be more tired of hearing it than being embarrassed.

"Have you talked to Callic about it?" Caldren asked me, shaking his head.

"He said none of you will need me anymore." I replied. And for that I was extremely happy.

"Thank the Deity!" Dorito said.

"But this means we will have to go back to listening to Callic." Caldren said.

Dorito lost a bit of his happiness at Caldren's words.

"And we will be learning even harder math." Caldren added.

Dorito's shoulders slumped.

"Way to be such a downer Calren." Dorito said, giving Caldren a disappointed look. "You could have waited longer to say that."

Caldren ignored Dorito. "Could you ask Callic to let you stay our tutor? We learn best with the four of us in a group."

"Want her to ask Helnion too?" Dorito said, giving Caldren a knowing look.

This time Caldren did blush.

My stomach rumbled.

"I'm gonna go eat." I said.

"Good idea. Those whelps might eat our food if we take too long." Dorito said, motioning to his friends, and left.

"Bye Salis." Caldren said and left as well.

I watched them leave for a second. I may have been on relatively good terms with the two boys but I did not respect them. Dorito's treatment of those under him socially was horrible and Caldren, while being generally more well mannered and polite, went along with everything and as far as I was concerned that was just as bad as doing it yourself.

If I never had to see any of Dorito's group again I would be extremely happy. I knew this was not going to be the case unless I left the school and never came back to Kein again. Even if I did choose to leave I knew I was going to see them at least one more time.

 

"Are you sure you will not stay for the summer?" Medic asked me as I waited for practice to start. "You have improved rapidly over the course of the last few months and it would be a shame to lose some of it over the summer."

There was one thing I had learned over the past year about Medic. It was that she had some sort of rivalry with Bench and, from what I could tell, she wanted to win me over and make me choose archery over swordsmanship when the time came for me to choose between the two.

"I have plans." I replied.

I also wanted to take a break from all this training. As much as I enjoyed both of them I wanted to relax for at least a few weeks.

Medic didn't show any reaction to my reply.

"Let me know if you change your mind." She said and walked off.

Training soon started and I heard nothing more from her until just before it was time to leave for the evening.

"Very good." She said.

I had been shooting at a target about fifty meters away and had gotten most of my shots not far from the center. I was not the best in my group and I was nowhere near as good as the best in the school but I was satisfied with my level of progress.

"A few more years of training and the king would be proud to have you as part of his guard." She said, her usual emotionless speech making her complement sound hollow.

I wondered if that's how people felt about me. Not that I gave many compliments to begin with.

Medic was probably the most emotionless person in the school after me. Unlike me, however, I guessed that the reason she didn't show emotion was not because she was not good at it, it was either that she did not have many emotions to begin with or it had been trained out of her. Maybe.

"I'm not changing my mind about staying." I said.

Medic appeared to ignore my comment and moved down the line to the next child.

***

I left the archery range as soon as I could and headed straight to my room. For the first time I had invited people to my room and I didn't want to keep them waiting.

Inside the room I found that my guests were all already there. The first person I saw was Arty, whom was sitting on her bed and chatting with Ferret. Yes I invited Ferret. On my bed lay Helnion, whom had taken a liking to sleeping there while she waited for me to get back. There were also several other girls there as well. It was almost everyone that had had a bucket of excrement dumped on them by the boys at the beginning of the school year.

"Are you finally going to tell us what we are going to do?" Ferret asked a bit excitedly.

"Get revenge." I said.

"Revenge?" Almost everyone said at once in shock.

I walked to my bed and pulled out the large cylinder Arty had asked about this morning and the sat on Helnion as hard as I could, waking her up.

I unwrapped the cloth from the cylinder.

"What is it?" Arty asked.

"A non-lethal long range cabbage delivery system." I said.

Everyone looked at me completely confused.

"You'll find out later." I said.

"You still haven't said what we are going to do." A girl said with irritation.

"You will do nothing but watch." I replied. "Bringing you all would only get us caught."

"Caught?" Another girl asked.

"Like last time." I said.

Ferret's eyes and mouth suddenly went wide. "You are not going there are you?"

The other girls immediately realized what Ferret was speaking about and began whispering amongst themselves.

"They will be expecting us to come again." Ferret continued.

"I know." I replied. "That is why I am going alone."

"No! Salis, it is not worth it!" Ferret said, getting more angry by the second. "I will not let any of my friends go through that again!"

I got off the bed and opened my chest. I then pulled out a cloth bag and then took out one of the three items that was inside and tossed it to Ferret. I then tied the bag around my waist.

Ferret caught it and looked at it for a second.

"A communication crystal?" She asked.

"So you can watch."

Ferret looked at the crystal again.

"I say we let her try!" One of the other girls spoke.

"Y-yeah." Another girl said timidly.

"But if they catch her…" Ferret said.

"Catch Salis?" A third, older girl said. "She was hard enough to catch at the beginning of the year, just imagine what she is like after all the training she has done."

Everyone looked to Ferret. I was annoyed that everyone thought that I needed her permission to do this. I would be doing it whether or not she wanted me to.

"Okay." She said, her face becoming more serious, "But if something happens we will be coming for you."

The other girls were all smiling now.

"Give them your worst Salis!" The first girl said. "Whatever it is you are doing with that thing!" She added.

The rest of the girls soon joined the first in giving me words of encouragement.

"I better go now." I said after I began to get annoyed at all the chatter.

"Already?" Ferret asked. "We still have a few hours before sundown and I will not get to see you after tomorrow."

"I need to prepare some things." I replied.

It was true that I needed to do some things before I made my way to that certain grove but there was no way it would take me the two or three hours until the boys began to gather. Being around Ferret and her friends for this long was more than I ever wanted, another two hours would drive me insane.

"If you say so…" Ferret said with disappointment.

I rewrapped my toy and then walked to the window and opened it, Helnion following after me.

"Is Helnion going with you?" Ferret asked, a bit of jealousy obvious in her voice.

"I need her help for a part of my plan."

Ferret looked like she wanted to argue but soon looked like she decided it was better not to.

"May Attish help you." Ferret finally said.

As much as it would be nice to have the Deity over Justice on my side in this I highly doubted he would over some fight between children.

I didn't reply and jumped out the window.

 

***

I moved as quickly as I could while making sure not to be seen. This sneakiness had less to do with trying to not been seen by any boys from a certain group but more to do with not wanting people to be able to follow me to a different grove of trees that Helnion and I had made our secret base.

Seeing the boys and their secret meeting place had made me want one of my own and thanks to the numerous groves that grew randomly around the countryside it had not been hard to find one that satisfied me.

Helnion and I walked the two kilometer distance that our grove was away from the school. I had chosen one this far out because it was much less likely for the random person to wander into it and to also make it easier to spot anyone that would try and follow us. The only downside, at least at first, was that Helnion had been pretty out of shape and would have to rest periodically. Thankfully she was now used to it.

I set the cylinder down next to a fallen tree and sat down. I then watched Helnion as she brushed the leaves and dirt off of an oiled cloth and then uncovered a hole that held one of our secret stashes, this one in particular containing a course linen blanket and a softer cotton blanket.

Helnion pulled her blankets out of the hole, brushed them off and then levitated them into one of the trees. She then climbed up after them where she then unrolled the two blankets, the linen one going on the branch, and the cotton one on top of her. It was what she usually did when we got here, at least until I started doing something, but as much as she seemed to sleep she almost never did here as she would watch and listen to all that went on around her. The few times she had fallen asleep she had nearly fallen out of the tree.

What amused me the most about this aspect of Helnion was that, despite her love of nature, she was very particular about keeping insects off of herself, hence the two blankets. On the other hand she never seemed worried about the other, more dangerous, animals and had chased after foxes and even a snake.

I stood up and decided to join Helnion in the tree. Unlike her I didn't like sleeping on the ground because I was worried about the foxes and snakes. I was pretty sure the animals around here would have a chance of having rabies and I didn't want to find out if any of the snakes were poisonous.

The next few hours passed quietly and it was just before dark. Unless I wanted to resort to a light crystal or make Helnion make a magical light I needed to start getting ready for tonight's show.

I jumped out of the tree and headed for the hole that contained the things I would need to make my toy work.

Inside I pulled out two bags. I opened the first one and pulled out a large cabbage that had begun to rot and placed it inside the cylinder.

Helnion jumped out of the tree and squatted next to me.

"You sure I cannot shoot it?" She asked.

Helnion was the only person aside from myself who had seen the cabbage cannon in practice. I had even let her shoot it once or twice. In fact, I couldn't have gotten it to work without her magical abilities. Under the right timing I could charge it up faster than she could but she was more reliable.

I opened up the second bag and pulled out one of the wax and rings I had made. Since I hadn't been able to find anything like rubber I had had to make a wax seal to prevent the compressed air I would be using to propel the cabbage out of the cannon. It wasn't perfect and only lasted a few minutes at best before failing but it was the best I had come up with so far. It also tended to make a mess since the wax was ejected along with the cabbage.

The metal cap itself had a metal ring welded onto it, thanks to Helnion, that was slightly large than the circumference of the cannon and helped hold the wax in place. I inspected the cap quickly and pressed the wax onto the metal ring before loading the cabbage into the cannon and latching the cap into place.

With this done I turned the cylinder around and checked to other end. This end was where the heart of the cannon was. It was also where plenty of gold had gone into as well. This gold had gone to some very expensive magic crystals. Three storage crystals and a very high quality wind crystal.

I quickly checked to make sure there were no cracks or gaps in the wax I had used to cover all but a part off each of the storage crystals. The biggest problem I had had testing the cannon was either escaping air or the wind crystal blowing itself out of the back end of the cannon. At least the latter had been a problem until I had put a latching metal cover on the back as I had with the front. This made it a slight pain to actually get to the crystals themselves but well worth the extra effort.

Next I checked to make sure the storage crystals were fully charged. They were.

I had had instances in the past where a bump had made one of the crystals make a slight connection with the wind crystal and the storage crystal had slowly been drained. I had fixed this by having the storage crystals held in place by some thick wires and only a heavy pressure would make them bend enough to let the crystals make contact.

These stiff wires had also become a part of the firing mechanism to the cannon. I had made it so that when I fully tightened the end cap it would push the storage crystals into the wind crystal. When I did that I had to be certain I was ready to fire the cannon or else I was in danger of having the back end of the cannon blown out as poor Helnion had found when she tried to open it not long after I had made the modification. The bruise she had gotten on her chest from the impact of the end cap had not been pretty. In fact, I think it was still there even though it had been a few weeks.

I put the cannon down and Helnion and I put away everything we were not taking with us.

"Ready?" I said to Helnion.

"Ready!" She said excitedly.

Almost no one could figure out what was going on inside Helnion's head, but it had been obvious that she held no love for Dorito's group and had been adamant in helping me with every idea.

It had actually been Helnion herself that had given the the idea for the air cannon. Most of her ideas weren't well thought and were usually unfeasible but this one had stuck with me.

"What do you think they will do?" Helnion asked.

"Chase us of course." Was my reply.

"I hope they do not have more buckets."

"I hope they don't either."

"Can I carry the cannon?" She asked.

As expected…

"Remember what happened last time?"

Helnion pushed out her lower lip and pouted.

I was not going to have her drop the cannon again.

 

***

Every time Helnion stumbled on a rock, or whatever it was she kept tripping on, I was glad I had not let her carry the cannon. If we hadn't been stooping over to conceal ourselves in the tall grass she wouldn't have been so bad but she had never getten used to sneaking like this no matter how many times we did this.

"Salis," Helnion said in a whisper, "my back hurts."

"We're almost there." I said.

"Do you think they have seen us?"

"We'll find out soon, just be ready to run if they do something."

I looked back to Helnion. He face was clearly visible in the moonlight and showed no signs of nervousness. If anything it was full of anticipation as she scanned over the grove that was now only a few meters in front of us.

By this point we had already begun to hear the chatter and laughter of our targets. They were obviously not worried about attracting attention.

"Do you see anyone?" I whispered.

Helnion shook her head.

One of the few things Helnion had over me, aside from magic skill, was that she had extremely good vision. She often pointed out animals in the dark that I would have never noticed myself. I was also certain she could spot a squirrel five kilometers away even if it was sitting behind a rock wall.

I paused behind a bush and waited for Helnion to catch up to me.

We both looked around the area and listened.

Helnion shook her head at me and we moved to the next bush.

We had scouted out the area a few weeks ago and I had drilled into Helnion's head exactly what to do and to my relief she had remembered.

Next, as rehearsed, we split up and each went to a different bush and after that to more bushes and finally trees as we entered the grove.

Finally we met up at our tree of choice. It was an unremarkable tree and was barely big enough to hold Helnion. The one thing it had going for it was the small opening in the foliage that revealed the center of the grove and the spot where Leader Boy was most likely sitting.

Helnion gave me one last pleading look. She loved shooting the cannon and watching the cabbage explode, even if she never hit her target. Not that the cannon was all that accurate to begin with.

I shook my head.

The next part was the most dangerous and was likely the time we were going to get spotted. Not only were we close enough to be seen by the boys if we even stood up, but they would hear any loud noise we made as well.

I motioned for Helnion to start the next phase of our plan. She did not look forward to doing it, mostly because what we were about to do would probably get us expelled, but it was also very dangerous.

Saying that I actually found myself getting nervous.

I soon felt myself begin to float. Helnion had started levitating me. By school rules no students of magic were allowed to levitate any living thing and for good reason. It was a good way to get someone killed if done by an unskilled person. Not only did we risk getting expelled but it wasn't unheard of for someone to get a collar that made them unable to use magic.

I wobbled as I rose but to Helnion's credit she was able to keep the tree between me and, hopefully, the line of sight of any boy that happened to be looking this way.

By the time I reached the target branch I heard no cry of alarm. I hoped they weren't biding their time.

I wedged the cannon between some branches and then pulled myself onto a branch as quietly as I could and thanks to our practice I did just that.

I looked down at Helnion. She was looking back and forth at me and the light coming from the direction the boys were at.

I got her attention and motioned for her to leave the grove.

She pouted again but began making her way away from the boys.

I glanced towards the boys and saw it was almost exactly the same sight as it had been the last time. This time I scanned for buckets too and saw none.

I next reached into the small pouch at my waist and pulled out a communication crystal. Unless my magic power was at its weakest I would soon be seeing Ferret's face. I just hoped they weren't being too noisy at the moment.

I turned it on.

"Hello." I said as loud as I dared.

I heard the chattering of several girls come through the crystal and glanced towards the boys in hopes that they hadn't heard it. Thankfully the chatter almost immediately cut off.

"Salis?" I heard Ferret say and soon saw her face.

I pointed the crystal towards the boys and then back towards myself.

"I hope they did not hear us." Ferret said with concern.

"If I hurry it will not matter." I said. "But for now just watch."

Ferret nodded and then placed the crystal on a desk. I could now see every girl that was in the room with her.

I pulled the cannon from its place in the branches and propped it on the branch I had though best suited for aiming.

"No more noise until I say so." I said into the communication crystal.

I heard several quiet replies and then nothing.

I bent over the cannon, holding the communication crystal towards my target, and began to aim. I had rigged up a rudimentary cross hair system and looked down it.

In the area ahead of me lit up by magic and lamp lights I scanned for my target. It did not take me long until I spotted Leader Boy sitting exactly where he had been sitting last time. This made sense because he was sitting on a large stump that could easily be interpreted as a throne of sorts. Next to him stood Dorito and Caldren, the former was laughing at two boys wrestling in front of him and Leader Boy.

I fully latched the end cap of the canon. It took several seconds before I heard air start to escape through various gaps as the pressure began to reach it's maximum and after forty three seconds, the time it took for the storage crystals to deplete, I pulled the lever that released the clasp for the front cover of the cannon.

***

There was a THUUM! as I released the latch and the pressure inside the cannon blew off the front cover. Lots of wax and a cabbage flew out of the cannon.

The cabbage itself had partially disintegrated, it being soggy and slimy from sitting outside for a few days, and pieces of it and wax covered the boys nearest to me. The core of the cabbage stayed true in its course and exploded on Leader Boy's left shoulder and judging from Dorito's actions some of it had gotten on him as well as a few other boys.

I ignored the muffled giggles coming from the communication stone, turned it off and stuffed it into my pouch. I then picked up the cannon and jumped out of the tree.

"It came from that tree!" I heard a boy shouting. "I saw it!"

"Is it those idiot girls?" Another said.

"Does not matter!" An enraged Leader Boy shouted. "Whoever it is will be…"

I had already begun running as hard as I could but was being slowed down by the cannon. I had gotten much faster at running over the last year but I knew I was no match for the older boys, especially with the extra weight, and was going to waste no time getting as far ahead of them as I could before they began to come after me.

It didn't take them long and I began to hear more shouts and the sounds of bushes being disturbed but by this time I had exited the grove and was only moments away from entering the sea of grass.

It was here I would be at the most danger. Not only would they easily be able to see me but there were no bushes obstructing their path and they would be able to sprint at their best. My only hope was that I had gotten far enough away that they tired themselves out before catching up to me. It was probably more likely for me to tire before they did.

"Over there!" A boy's voice yelled behind me.

"Is that the Terran?" I heard another say.

"It is!"

"You will not get away!" Leader Boy yelled. "No way those short legs of yours will carry you fast enough!"

I finally took the chance to look behind me and saw that I had not gained as big a lead as I had hoped with maybe twenty meters between me and the nearest boy and that gap was closing quickly.

"Where are your friends?" Leader Boy shouted. "Wherever they are hiding we will get them too!"

I veered to the right.

Moments later I looked back just in time to see the two closest boys trip and fall over the large rocks Helnion and I had hidden in the grass.

"Get up you bumblers!" Leader Boy shouted as he came up behind them.

"Watch out for rocks!" One of the boys shouted back.

"This one of your tricks?" Leader Boy shouted to me.

Leader Boy slowed as he approached the rocks and then jumped over them before picking up speed again. The rest of the boys either went around them or jumped over them as we.

It was unfortunate that it wasn't Leader Boy that had tripped over the rocks but I had succeeded in slowing him and the others down.

I dropped the cannon and veered towards the left. I hoped the grass hid it well enough so they would not find it, but even if they did I was now able to run to my full ability.

"She dropped something in the grass!" The nearest boy shouted.

"Ignore it! It is probably another trick!" Leader Boy replied.

I looked back and saw that Leader Boy had turned with me but was keeping the two boys that had tripped over the rocks in front of him. This had slowed him down a little bit but the two boys were almost as fast as runners as he was and it would only be a matter of seconds before they caught up to me.

It didn't matter. My heart was now beating so quickly now that it felt like my ribs were going to get pushed out of my chest and my lungs were burning so much that I could have inhaled hot coals.

I skidded to a stop, turned around and the jumped into the closest of the two boys, ramming my shoulder into his legs, causing both of us to fall to the ground.

"Finally realized you had no chance?" Leader Boy said between breaths as he came to a stop and stood over me.

I rolled away from him and then stood up as quickly as I could.

The boy I had rammed into had hit me in the face and I held my left hand over my nose in hopes to stop the bleeding.

"So Terrans do bleed red." He said when he saw the blood.

Leader Boy took a step towards me. I stepped back.

"Surround her!" Leader Boy shouted to the other boys that had caught up to us.

I watched as a circle grew around me, caging me in. Several of them were holding long, thin branches and a few held buckets.

Except for the buckets all was going according to plan. Now all I needed was to get him to challenge me one on one.

I reached into my pouch as discreetly as I could with my right hand and pulled out a crystal. There was no way I would ever be able to beat Leader Boy in a fair fight so I had devised a way to skew the odds into my favor.

I took my left hand from my face and readied myself in a fighting stance.

"I thought Terrans were supposed to be smart." He said and grinned. "But girls never were smart."

We looked at each other, neither making a move.

"I have an idea!" Leader Boy said. "You land a good punch and I let you go."

I pushed the small crystal between two of my fingers, exposing the surface so that it would touch whoever I punched.

I walked towards Leader Boy.

He watched me, grinning.

I studied him. During my training I had learned to watch my opponent's body and their movements. What I saw from Leader Boy was that, despite looking pretty angry he was relaxed, showing he didn't expect much from me, as well he should under normal circumstances.

"I see another girl!" A boy shouted.

That would be Helnion, and thankfully right when she needed to be.

I punched just when leader boy looked away but even then I was blocked easily. As expected.

My crystal made contact with his arm. My so called lightning crystal made contact with his arm.

I activated the lightning crystal.

Leader Boy immediately tensed and fell to his knees.

"What did you…" He said but was cut off by my next punch.

I had wasted no time and took advantage of Leader Boy's temporary paralysis from the electrical shock. To his misfortune my the weak spot of all men was at the perfect hight to puch for one with my small stature.

I punched him in the groin as hard as I could and then activated the lightning crystal once more.

 

***

Leader Boy fell over, his hands covering his crotch.

"What did you do?" A familiar male voice said.

I looked up and saw Dorito.

His voice had a touch of pain in it as he watched Leader Boy writhing on the ground. I noticed some of the other boys were covering there crotches as well and most had pained expressions.

I raised my fists at him and he backed off.

"What should we do Dario?" One of the boys asked.

"We get revenge for the Yyth. That is what!" Another, older boy shouted.

"Yeah!" Several other boys added in approval.

"We should wait for Yyth to get back up…" Dorito said but was ignored.

"You are going to regret this!" One of the bigger boys said and broke from the circle.

The other boys, Dorito included began closing in on me. They had forgotten about Helnion.

It was at this point things were out of my hands and my hopes now laid on Helnion and, if I was lucky, Ferret and her friends as well. Even if I didn't get out of this I had humiliated Leader Boy not once but twice and would be satisfied even if I got buckets tossed on me.

"She is using magic!" One of the boys yelled, pointing to Helnion, as a ball of fire sizzled over our heads.

I felt a hand clamp on my ankle and was then pulled to the ground.

I looked behind me and saw Leader Boy had partially recovered.

"Go get the other girl and watch for others!" He shouted through teeth clenched from pain.

Leader Boy had glared at five boys that were closest to the direction Helnion was coming from and they began running towards Helnion.

"What are we going to do with Salis?" Dorito asked Leader Boy.

"Make her so she fears us." Leader Boy replied icily.

Dorito looked at me with uncertainty.

"You have a problem with that." Leader Boy said when he saw Dorito's reaction.

"I do not think she CAN get scared." Dorito said.

Leader Boy grinned and stood up and at the same let go of my ankle and then grabbed my arm before picking me up and holding me in front of him.

"Give me a stick!" He yelled to no one in particular.

The nearest boy that had a stick hurriedly ran to Leader Boy and handed him his stick.

"Hope you do not bruise easily." Leader Boy said and began striking me with the stick.

"Salis!" I heard Helnion shout in terror.

What happened next surprised me and at the same time increased my opinion of Helnion three fold.

It was as if a switch had flipped on inside her head. Up to that point Helnion had only been flinging bolts of fire or pelting the oncoming boys with rocks. Now she was holding three boys in the air and had formed what looked like a wolf.

Helnion flung the three boys she was holding behind her and charged the wolf at the remaining two boys.

"That girl is crazy!" A nearby boy said.

"She want to kill us?" Another said.

I noticed a boy nearby turn towards Helnion and just before he ran off an opaque fox formed at his feet.

I looked back to Helnion and saw that the two boys had fled from the wolf as it charged towards me, Helnion herself close behind.

I could not see the fox through the tall grass but I could tell when it and the wolf met. Animals conjured by magic made no noise and it was difficult to tell what exactly was going on.

Whatever the two magic animals had been doing was soon over and the wolf continued on its way, but was soon stopped by a something else just in front of the boy.

Instead of confronting what I assumed was another magic fox the wolf disappeared. There was the a large burst of wind, blowing the grass down in a large circle, and Helnion was pushed into the air and over the boy.

"Why are you still standing there! Go get her!" Leader Boy yelled.

Several more boys, including Caldren, left the circle began charging Helnion.

One of the boys charged up a fireball and shot it at Helnion. The fireball narrowly missed her as it suddenly veered off course just before it impacted and flew up into the air.

"What are you doing!" I heard a familiar voice yell. It was Caldren. "You could have killed her!"

Caldren then jumped at the boy and punched him.

My attention went back to Helnion. The other boys had reached her and had begun to surround her.

Helnion stopped.

There was a loud ripping noise and the grass around Helnion was ripped out of the ground. Moments later it began to whirl around her as a strong wind formed.

The boys jumped back as blades of grass spun around Helnion like some sort of strange tornado. Most of the boys ran away in fear.

Leader Boy dropped me onto my feet.

"Accursed magic users." He said. "Hold her!" He said to the remaining boys and then stomped off towards the grass tornado.

Dorito approached me, but before he could the other remaining boy kicked my to the ground and put his foot on my back so I could not get back up.

"Careful!" Dorito said.

"Be quiet softie!" The other boy said.

Dorito started to complain but stopped and turned to watch Helnion.

"Stupid girls." I heard him mutter.

 

***

Leader Boy had stopped in front of the tornado and looked at it.

"You must be getting weaker." He yelled. "All that fancy magic tiring you out."

Leader Boy stuck his arm inside the tornado, but was soon pushed back. He did not fall over and skidded backwards a meter or two before coming to a stop.

"You!" He said to one of the boys that had not run away. "Grab her!"

"But boss!" The boy complained.

"Now!" Leader Boy yelled back angrily.

The boy nodded and nervously approached the tornado, his arm reaching out.

I heard a noise behind me.

The boy standing on my back had heard it too and was looking towards the school.

Moments later several figures leapt out of the grass. Two of them tackled the boy standing on me and another tackled Dorito.

"Salis!" It was Ferret. "Are you fine?"

Ferret walked stood up out of the grass and stood next to me, offering her hand to help me up.

I accepted it and was pulled to my feet.

"Is that…" Ferret said pointing towards the tornado with her chin, "Helnion?"

"Yep." I replied.

"Did you know she could do that?"

"I had no idea."

"Should we not help her?" Another girl said, appearing from the grass with the last of the girls.

"Oh right!" Ferret replied and hit herself on the head.

The girls all nodded to each other and charged at the few remaining boys, none of which had noticed Ferret and her group, that is until the girls started screaming.

Leader Boy looked back and as soon as he saw the girls he screamed as loud as he could and charged at the tornado.

By now the winds of the tornado had noticeably become weaker since I had last seen it and Leader Boy easily broke through them, tackling Helnion. He then punched her in the stomach before standing up to face Ferret and the other girls.

"Come on boys!" He yelled.

I looked around and saw that most of the other boys were now gone. Those that had not run from Helnion had run when they saw Ferret and co.

"Bunch of cowards!" Leader Boy yelled and charged at the girls, only three of the older boys joining him.

The boys put up a tough fight. It took five of the nine girls to take him down and three to hold him down, while the other four barely managed to hold off the other three boys until they were joined by two of the girls that had gone after Leader Boy.

Leader Boy eventually went down and Ferret stood triumphantly over him, her foot placed firmly on his back.

I looked around and saw that one of the buckets had not been overturned. I picked it up and took it to Ferret.

Ferret took the bucket from me hesitantly.

"I DARE you to!" Leader Boy yelled.

Ferret pursed her lips but then raised the bucket.

"For my friends." She said and poured the contents of the bucket onto Leader Boy's head. She then covered his head with the empty bucket and walked away.

Helnion joined me.

"I am tired Salis." She said.

"After what you did?" I said to her. "I bet you are. I've never seen you like that before. Was that some sort of Concentration Mode?" I said.

"Concentration Mode?" Helnion said curiously.

One of Ferret's friend walked passed us. "We better hurry. Do not want to get caught after all this noise." She then slapped me on the back and added, "Thanks for doing this for us. I haven't seen Ferra like this since last time."

I nodded and made may way to the area I had dropped the cannon, glad that things had gone well and the night was over.

 


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