Chapter 4: Clericus
Kyugen awoke on some sort of hospital bed, in a tent. The tent was set atop a strange mobile vehicle with carriage wheels, though it was pulled by a steam engine.
The bumps in the pathway were slightly discomforting. A particularly large crack made the caravan jolt upwards, forcing Kyugen's head up slightly, only to slam back down onto the pillow. His eyes opened. He was confused—and a bit angry—from being woken up in such a fashion.
“Where am I?” he said.
A strange, golden-armored man in long, white robes approached him. A mask concealed his face; his eyes were obscured by circular plates in his helmet that glowed yellow.
“You are in my care now,” assured the stranger.
“And who might you be?”
“You can call me Clericus. I'm the one who saved you from the fire. Unfortunately, your burns were very severe.”
“What do you mean?” Kyugen went to move and quickly realized something was wrong. He couldn't feel his body and he couldn't move anything but his face.
“What's wrong with me?” Kyugen's eyes widened, his breath shortened.
“It appears you have been paralyzed from the neck down. I did say your injuries were severe; however, if I hadn't come to your rescue, they would have been fatal.”
“Who said I wanted your help? What use can I be like this?”
“You have plenty of use, Kyugen. See this here?” Clericus pointed his large finger at Kyugen's heart. A strange magical symbol glowed there, its presence emanating around Kyugen.
“What's that?” Kyugen questioned.
“That is what is known as a Helix! It's a rare manifestation that happens to only a handful of mages in the world. This power allows you to control all types of magic.”
“Great. I have all the power in the world and no way to use it.”
“That's where you're wrong. With the aid of my support magic—and more importantly, your mental magic—you can use your power to control your movements with your brain.”
“You've got to be kidding me.”
“Far from it, Kyugen. Give today a rest. You have a long road ahead of you, but you'll be able to move once more.”
“Fine, I'll do this. But not for you, and not for myself. I'm doing this for my clan, and my father.” A distant canned drink exploded from Kyugen's mental energy. “I'll bring an end to the one with the twin guns. The one behind this. All of it.”
“Hold on now! You don't need to down the path of vengeance. The best path to take is one of charity.”
“Charity? Oh, I'll be sure to give. I'll be very giving.”
Kyugen continued to work with Clericus, hiding away his true intentions of revenge. Though over the next seven years, Kyugen managed to recover the strength to move, he was only half as strong as he once was.
Clericus grew fond of Kyugen, but the mental mage had no desire for friendship. Once Clericus had helped all he could, Kyugen vanished.
Chapter 5: The Mysterious Girl
Kyugen traveled all the land, searching for where this rage mage could be. Ever since the destruction of his clan, the rage elementals and their mages had mysteriously vanished.
This did not deter Kyugen, however.
He stopped in a town known as Owenshire, also known as the “talking town” due to its friendly living buildings—structures that were enchanted to become animated.
Many of the citizens tried approaching Kyugen, mostly just commoners saying hello, but Kyugen said nothing to them. He didn't believe in wasting any time.
He did, however, notice a girl in the distance, eyes shadowed by the brim of her hat. Her yellow hair flowed into two long braids. She seemed to be drawn to him, and he to her.
He opened up a portal and took a step through; he appeared right in front of her.
“You there. What is your name?” Kyugen asked.
“Wow, you're rather blunt, aren't you?” the girl retorted.
“I didn't ask for crafted words, I asked for answers.”
“You don't know how to have any fun, do you?”
“Fun is not my purpose.”
“If fun isn't your purpose, then what's the point in living?”
“My life was only saved so I could take someone else's.”
“Oh, scary,” the girl said, wiggling her fingers mockingly.
Kyugen had now had enough of her banter, and went to peer into her thoughts. This girl's name was Kista. She worked in her mother's flower shop and was from a neighboring village. None of these answers were of any use to him.
“I know what you're thinking.” She leaned in towards Kyugen with a smile.
Kyugen leaned slightly backward. “I can assure you, what we think is not the same.”
“Oh, yeah? What if I told you I knew the man who burned you?” She dragged her index finger down Kyugen's chest. Without hesitation, she was teleported onto her back, Kyugen's staff pointed at her heart. They were in a cellar, far away from any prying eyes.
“Tell me all you know,” Kyugen threatened.
The girl melted into goo onto the floor; it slithered across the room and rebuilt her form.
“First off, you're going to have to treat a girl better if you want information from her,” she said.
This time, Kyugen didn't respond hastily, he listened.
Kista informed him of her plan. She was going to have this rage mage, known as Aiden, meet him in the graveyard outside of Owenshire. From there, he could kill Aiden.
“Why are you telling me all this? What agenda do you have?” Kyugen questioned.
Kista smiled. “Let's just say I need him for something.” She licked her lips.
“... I dare not question your intentions. But understand, I'm killing Aiden for myself, not for you.”
“That's alright with me, darling.”
The two left the cellar and plotted out their next plan of action. While Kista manipulated the rage mage, Kyugen prepared himself in the graveyard.
Chapter 6: The Path of Vengeance
“I foresaw your arrival,” Kyugen said, with Aiden walking into his sight.
“What a genius. Yeah, I'm here. Now tell me, where's my—” before Aiden could finish his sentence, the blue mage launched a powerful arcane blast at him. He dodged it and countered with a flurry of fire spells launching from his twin fury pistols.
The two wizards exchanged magical blows, each one more powerful than the last.
Aiden landed a searing cinder shot on Kyugen's leg; the mage grunted and cast cure upon it. The holy magic relieved the damaging wound and restored his flesh.
“I have no time for these games,” Kyugen said. He used his staff to create a portal in front of him, and several more surrounding Aiden.
Kyugen dashed through and swiftly emerged from each portal, delivering close up arcane blasts at Aiden to catch him off guard.
Realizing that the pistols weren't as effective at close range, Aiden quickly threw his weapons down and readied his fists.
In his mind, Kyugen saw Aiden's skill with using his fists. He questioned the red mage.
“You fight with your fists?”
“Yeah, it's actually my weapon of choice!” Aiden yelled, managing to deliver a devastating blow to Kyugen's face. Kyugen's magic protected him from the flames, but the kinetic force of the punch still sent him flying back.
“Not bad I see,” Kyugen mused as he picked himself off the ground, clutching at the staff in his hand. He turned to Aiden. “You're lucky I'm not in peak condition.”
“Yeah, most mummies aren't,” Aiden condescended.
“Enough!” Kyugen took one of the two staves from his back and equipped it into his other hand. Using one staff to charge his astral and the other to project it, he began conjuring a massive blast.
Aiden took a step back and snapped his fingers, his guns being drawn to his hands almost magnetically. Once they returned, he began firing, but Kyugen's powerful barrier formed ice so cold that it put a halt to the oncoming fire.
Ice shards started to form on the ground, several of them launching up as though they were alive and attacking Aiden. He used magic to jump high into the air, but Kyugen was instantly above him to blast him back onto the ground. Once Aiden landed, another blow that Kyugen had been charging shot Aiden and froze him to the ground.
Aiden desperately tried to move, but the ice was holding him in place. Even the flames from his fire fists didn't seem to help.
“There's no escape for you now. Not anymore.” Kyugen raised his staff to the back of Aiden's head.
“Now, before I end your life, tell me—why did you attack my clan, and why did you attempt to kill me?”
“What? What are you talking about? You're the one that took my friend from me!” Aiden cried, shivering from the cold.
Kista, watching from the shadows, knew this wasn't going the way she had planned. She appeared before Kyugen, but stayed behind Aiden, out of his sight.
“Go ahead, Kyugen, get revenge on your family. He deserves it. You deserve it,” she said into his ear.
Kyugen charged a projectile at Aiden, ready to end his life, but hesitated, instead beginning to search through the depths of Aiden's mind. As suspected, he found nothing that made him think he was a killer.
“You're not the one,” Kyugen said. He lowered his staff.
Kista was not pleased. “Kill him now, Kyugen!”
Kyugen turned his head towards her. “I see. You've placed a magic trap for me. The memories I read of you, the thoughts I read of you, they are all fake.”
Kista's—or rather, Hexa's—expression grew angry. She waved her hand and summoned an arrow of darkness into the sky, aimed at Aiden. The arrow flung down to kill him, but Kyugen parried it with a swift twirl of his staff.
“Leave us, witch,” Kyugen stoically said. “I do not take orders from the likes of you.”
He lowered the ice from Aiden, ending its sempiternal frost. Half dead from the cold, Aiden proceeded to heat his body up with his fire to restore his strength.
He turned around and saw Hexa—he had met this girl before.
“It's you!” he shouted.
“Darn, this isn't the way I wanted things to go. I'll be back soon, but in the meantime you can deal with these,” Hexa said, her body beginning to dissolve.
Portals of darkness then opened, and from them poured wicked and foul beasts of different shapes and sizes.
“Hey, wait!” Aiden said.
Hexa completely disappeared into the shadows with a wide grin upon her face. Kyugen tried to negate her spell, but it was futile.
He then stretched his hand out for Aiden to grasp.
“Stand and fight with me.”
The once bitter enemies, now forced comrades. They aligned themselves back to back, and stood in opposition against the horde that rapidly approached.
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