Counter 13: Bolt from the Sky
Twenty-three minutes after two o’clock in the afternoon
AB Academy grounds, Fourth Watch Tower, ground floor
Earl Spade sits on the couch in the Asylum’s clubroom. He is fidgeting. He wants to leave as soon as possible. He looks at the lax professor beside him. He knows that he does not want to get stuck with this crazy looking professor. He cannot fathom what he is thinking; looking so relaxed chewing that gum ever since he entered this room. The turmoil outside does not seem to affect him. This is uncomfortable.
“Relax, Spade.” Professor Claw’s cracking voice surprises the student. “Your job is simple. If there are injured people, you heal them. What are you getting so fretful about?”
“That’s easy for you to say, prof.” Earl Spade rests his back, trying to calm himself. “For me, a healer, it’s always better if I end up in a situation where I won’t need to use my power.”
The professor turns his eyes slowly towards Earl Spade. “What a wishful thinking. I thought you grew up in a war-torn country. Are you not someone used to see people bleed?”
“First of all, I didn’t stay there for long… And, it’s precisely because of that. Looking at people getting hurt isn’t something I could get used to… it’s something I don’t want to see.”
He pauses for a while. “Hm. Your actual personality doesn't really match your usual act.”
"Everyone hides a thing or two about themselves."
Professor Claws just gives a light "hm" and then the room falls quiet. Just as their conversation dies down, Tristan goes down from the second floor.
“Aren’t you supposed to be keeping watch above?” Earl Spade asks.
“Yes,” he responds politely, “I just saw someone running towards here. Ah- don’t worry, he’s not an enemy.” He looks somewhat nervous.
Professor Claws then stands up and then casually opens the door to see who it is. There he stands a man in his mid-twenties with cleanly shaved face; wearing a light brown uniform with white linings, consists of a polo, pants, and tennis shoes. He is one of the janitors, Kris Wyvern. With a hollow laugh the visitor rubs the back of his head. Professor Claws lets him come in naturally, and then he closes the door.
“Good afternoon,” he greets with a welcoming smile. “I’m Kris Wyvern. The headmaster sent me here because he thinks that you’ll need an extra eye.”
“Eye?” Earl Spade is perplexed.
“This guy’s ability,” Professor Claws starts to explain with a laidback tone. “He is an esper. His power is to see within four kilometers radius around him. It is called the Himmel Auge.”
“With my power,” Kris adds, “we could monitor everything that’s happening right now inside the academy.”
Earl Spade and Tristan are just staring at him. They do not know what to say. Professor Claws then taps Earl Spade’s back and pushes him towards the staircase.
“Go accompany Mister dela Torre in the second floor.” He points at Tristan who is quietly standing by the stairs. “He seems bored alone. If any emergency situation happens, just ring either of us a call and we’ll respond immediately.” Professor continues while showing his phone. Kris laughs softly while Tristan shyly nods in agreement.
While the academy is slowly falling in chaos, unknown to them, another group of people are observing everything unfold from an aircraft camouflaged within Nalkad Island’s airspace.
“What a sight.” A man in his mid-twenties says softly while looking at the monitors. “With such small and inexperience force, the people of this academy are putting up quite a good fight. Or maybe it’s just that those few front liners are highly skilled?” He touches his chin while falling deep in thought. His black eyes move away from the monitor. “In any case, we cannot enter the academy grounds unless the barrier that is blocking the entry of unaffiliated high ranking reveils gets taken down. Those K’shirm bastards are quite slow.”
While lost in his thoughts, a young girl’s voice snaps him back to the current situation.
“Brother,” she calls, “our target has been spotted. She’s at the roof that gym.” She points at the monitor in the bottom right.
The man then turns his gaze down at the pointed monitor. “So, it’s really her,” he says with a cold tone. “As expected, the witch is actively participating in this chaos. Without bringing any of her friends close-by, does she think she could manage everything alone?”
“Just as how the rumors described her.” The young girl who is probably in her mid or early teens says with excitement. “Very arrogant.” She leaps happily and then grabs onto her older brother’s sleeve. Her long white hair dances along with her movement.
“We will see, whether that arrogance can give her good results amidst this chaos.”
“Brother,” she calls again. Her red eyes are looking up at him. “You seem to be quite entertained yourself differently. Is our target such a worthy opponent?”
He turns his head at her. Looking at her expression, he immediately knows that she really wants to go down there to play around. With her power, they could easily isolate the witch; however, it is not the right time yet.
“Asna, Wood purposely didn’t fill you any information. He wants you to judge on your own.”
“Wood?” She repeats while rolling her eyes to the side. “Wood Hawkweed?” She inquires. He nods in response. “I see. That quack is treating me like a child again.”
“Because you are.”
“I am only a year younger than our target!” She stomps her foot angrily.
“You’ll learn a lot in this mission.” He pats her head gently. “Like I said before, once you could judge our targets well… maybe he’ll quit treating you like a child.”
At the corner of his eyes, he can see her frown. He uses his hand to brush his white hair to the side. He sighs before focusing his eyes on the monitors again.
“So, where do you think is Objective 3?” He asks without turning. “Just guess, I’ll go and check it. Where ever it may be.”
She pouts. “Fine. That big building there.” She says while pointing at the admin building in the set of monitors.
“You really still have a long way to go. Though… A little bit of exploring won’t hurt.”
“Brother Yhor,” she calls, her pout is gone. “That thing’s just aside loot. Isn’t it a bit demeaning for someone of your rank to be the one handling it?”
“It’s fine. I’m going to fulfill Objective 1, and then snag it on the way.” He pats her head. “Today is merely a greeting. We may not take anything from them but for sure, we are leaving them a magnificent gift.”
For now, Asna is focused on observing the witch on top of the gym’s roof. In the video feed, they cannot hear the conversations of the people.
“With little gestures from those squirming insects below, how much will my sister be able to deduce?” He asks himself.
Twenty-three minutes after two o’clock in the afternoon
AB Academy grounds, recreational area
Confrontation between Blair and the intruders
Those intruders are being too cautious. Blair observes their guarded movements. She clenches both of her fists while taking her fighting stance. She knows that the enemies are taking this attack seriously, so this is no time to lower her guard or underestimate them.
The moment she takes a step forward, one of them suddenly leaps forcefully to her direction. His speed is no joke. Blair is barely able to block his punch. She cannot prepare her D-shift in a sudden move like that.
“I guess, you weren’t that strong after all.” He mumbles. Then he distances himself before following up with a kick. “Eat this!” He yells while he spins a hundred-eighty degrees.
Blair could not hide the grin on her face. “Eat what?” She says softly while the enemy’s right leg passes through her body like he is kicking nothing but thin air.
“What the fuck?!!” Despite the shock, he still continues to attack with a left straight.
“Stop!” The other guy shouts.
The man fighting Blair then swiftly backs away.
“Will, get away now! She’s an esper!” He continues while the other retreats farther.
It is noticeable how that man called “Will” have a lot of faith towards his companion. While Will falls back far from Blair, that other guy summons a giant serpent.
Blair’s eyes are keenly focusing on the serpent. “It must be his yashou, so he is a contractor.” She concludes while returning to her fighting stance. “What is he planning to do now? And where are the other three?” When she turns her head towards the opposite direction, the other three intruders has disappeared. “Wait. Did they just run away?! I was distracted by that Will-guy, so they ran away. Shit!”
In order to calm down and focus on the situation she relaxes her stance. She cannot chase after those who have already left the scene. She has to focus on those two in front of her.
“One is a contractor. The other one?” She clenches her fists harder while thinking. “Why did he not attack me with his skill? Could it be—”
While she is assessing the situation, the serpent has started to crawl close to her and is already about to swallow her from behind. Luckily, she has enough space and time to dodge.
She rolls over to her left side and then quickly looks back to where the serpent is but it is gone. That thing is fast.
Before Blair is able to pull her stance together, the serpent again appears behind her. She quickly rolls towards her right but then Will is already there waiting to ambush her. On both of his hands, he holds survival knives. He is playing with it, spinning it around his hands.
“As if I’ll let him hit me!”
“Breath!” Will shouts.
Blair cannot stop the momentum of her movement anymore so she uses D-shift to pass through. Unlike a while ago, Will is not looking startled anymore.
“Don’t underestimate us, esper!!!” He roars.
After hearing that, that other person named Breath quickly maneuvers beside Blair with the same knife on his right hand. He is prepared to stab right into her.
Again, Blair uses D-shift to get pass at him. She then manages to put enough distance between them, the serpent, and her.
“Fuck! Can she continuously pass through anything?!” Will grumbles noisily.
Blair almost scoffs hearing the guy with a loud mouth. But then it is better if they do not fully know the limits of her ability. Though they seem to be very observant about her abilities, as long as she can keep them confused then she has nothing to worry about. That Breath-guy is the only one using his power. At this point she can only assume that the other enemy, Will, is an ubliss.
“Serpent Sting!” A loud voice snaps in the far right direction.
Blair immediately thought that the yashou is after her. But from where? When she turns around the serpent is suddenly there, but then again it quickly crawls away. While she is following its movements with her eyes, Will rushes towards her while swinging his knife left and right. He sure is fast, but not in a speed that Blair cannot keep up with. After all, she did not waste her time running around the mountains just to be done in by some people. She can see the movements of his strikes clearly as if it is in slow motion. Her footwork is fast enough, no- she is actually faster. Her body can follow what her mind has set to achieve, enabling her to dodge and block with ease. She has trained well in close combat that her body coordination is on point. The only problem here is when will that contractor makes his move.
Out of nowhere, that serpent appears again; it crawls out from behind Will and then spits out some liquid at Blair. She may not be that smart but she figures that she should not let anything touch her especially if it is from the enemy.
Well, it’s also kind of gross.
She dodges, and as she expected, Will follows up with a swing of his knife to her side.
Blair clenches her fist preparing for a counter punch while the knife slips through her body.
Gaining enough momentum and good chance, she hits Will’s nose bridge with a right hawk. The force is enough to throw him of balance and make him drop on his butt. She originally thought of knocking him unconscious but before she could make another move, Breath leaps to the rescue. He throws his knife at Blair making her instinctively step backwards. At a moment’s notice, that serpent takes Will distancing themselves away.
Blair clicks her tongue. She then turns her sight back to the gross liquid that the serpent spat. The thought of being proud of herself for dodging that blooms her mind. The concrete ground where the gross liquid fell on, now appears as if it has been dissolved. That spit must be very acidic. She has to be careful or it will melt her as well.
“Will,” Breath calls looking all concerned. “Get back on your feet, we’ll strike again.”
He coughs. “I dropped one of my knives.” His voice sounds weird because of his broken nose. “We both have one each.” He stands up while wiping the blood dripping from his nose.
“That’s the least of our concern now.” Breath gestures something then the serpent crawls away. “Did you figure anything about her power?”
“She’s not using it as much as she could,” he says softly while playing with his only knife on his left hand. “It is possible that its use is limited to a certain amount of time. We could figure that out if we continue fighting however, it might be too late.”
“So you’re saying that… even with the two of us, we’ll still lose against that esper?”
“We don’t need to win.”
Blair’s brow twitches after reading a little of their chatter. She is not an expert in reading lips but she somehow picked up the habit. Back in her village, many people likes to talk softly and gossip when she is around. At some point she is just started to be able to read a little of what they are talking about which only made her uncomfortable.
“Huh?" She is only able to pick up the last sentence of their conversation. "If they are not interested in winning, then?..” She tilts her head slightly but she cannot figure it out.
At the corner of her eyes, she notices Breath making another gesture. Soon, the serpent again attacks from behind. It tried to wrap its body around her but with D-shift it is useless.
But then, Will and Breath are swiftly following up with simultaneous attacks using their knives. Their knives are swinging at her in coordinated movements as if they are one.
What flawless teamwork.
Blair finds herself in a pinch. These two proves to have been trained for coordinated attacks. Though she has also trained herself to attack and defend at the same time, she is too concerned of the timing.
“Crap… I’m not supposed to be having fun here… but I find this very thrilling!” Blair tries so hard to hide her childish grin.
She is not using her D-shift unless she is in a really unfavorable situation. Most of the time she is using her vambrace to block the attacks. The twang of the metal blade against the metal of the vambrace is resonating in the area. The sound that their battle makes is both chaotic and rhythmic.
As time pass the enemies’ attacks are becoming more and more coordinated that evading and blocking them is more difficult. Soon, they are able to corner her. An uppercut from her bottom left and a spinning kick from the right aiming for her legs. Having not enough momentum to leap back, she activates D-shift. She can see them smirk with the thought that they are going to hit her. She could not hide her dubious grin as she lets their attacks pass through.
She moves as though she is barely dodging their attacks. She trained herself to fight without relying on her esper ability alone. She used to think that it is not something she should use often. Those trainings have come in handy.
“I must not waste too much time.”
She then quickly moves to their back and then she gives one of them a surprise reverse side kick. She does not give a damn whoever it is. That unlucky person goes flying in air before falling with a thud and then dashing on his back on the concrete ground.
She looks at the unconscious man. “Ah- that one’s Will-guy. There’s only serpent-guy left.”
Seeing his comrade fall and the opponent occupied looking at him, Breath rushes to stab Blair from behind. Blair blocks the knife with her vambrace again, as if she knew what he is about to do from the start. She then follows up and elbows his side. She hears him groan in pain while falling few steps back.
“Bitch!” He grunts while charging towards Blair with his knife in stabbing position.
Blair keeps her defensive stance but the serpent suddenly wraps its tail around her left leg.
That is not a big problem; however she needs to find a good timing for her counterattack to be more effective. She keeps her stance with her arms crossed in blocking position.
As Breath gets close, just a step away from Blair that is when she unleashes the blades hidden within the vambrace. Her strike cut through the knife making its parted piece fly away.
Shock is clearly written on Breath’s face as he hears the clang of the knife’s piece falling on the concrete. While his sight is focused on the piece of blade spinning on the ground, Blair seizes the chance to give him a strong hawk punch into the pit of his stomach. The power of her punch almost lifts him from the ground. His face twists in pain. He then falls on his knees while clenching on the part that is hit.
Blair stands calmly while watching him curl in extreme pain.
“A-ain’t done yet…” Breath grumbles. His voice trembles.
“Not done?” Blair mumbles looking down at this grown man groaning in pain. At that moment, the serpent that is wrapping itself on her left leg hisses loudly that she can sense its head to be positioned above hers. “You’ve got more tricks up your sleeve, huh?” She says.
Without uttering a reply, Blair sees him grin from the side. Before she could look behind her, the serpent has already spat something from above.
“Please die--” He mutters but then he stops mid-sentence, swallowing his own words. He realizes that the esper can still use her power. His attack is useless. “I see, you--…” He grunts but he again stops before he could finish anything that makes sense. Then his body, as if losing all its strength, slowly falls motionless on the ground. At the same time, his yashou, that serpent also disappears like smoke.
Again, the place where that gross spit landed is slowly melting. It is definitely some kind of acid. It is fortunate that Blair is always prepared to turn on her D-shift in case she gets attacked from behind.
She really is not the thinking type, she might as well be the kind of person that might lose if she uses her head too much. Keeping some common precautions while in the middle of a battle is a survival instinct for her. She remembers some old man in her village once told her that she always reacts by instinct like a wild animal. It is probably not a compliment.
“Now, I only have to take care of one more and then I am done here.” Blair tells herself while turning towards the other guy who is supposed to be unconscious. “Crap--!!” She yells out loud. “I am really not the thinking type!”
Why did it not occur to her that the other would run away? When she turns to the place where he is supposed to be lying or standing, that man is gone. He is not around the recreational area anymore. He is not attacking. Or maybe is he preparing for a surprise attack. She looks around but finds no one.
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The Bewitched Demon Hunter
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