Even though my leg is fine now, I can't take that chance again, especially if I have a team with me. I need to be swifter, more powerful, more in control.
My fists continuously punch against the holograms with various weapons, smashing their skulls with a combination of my strength and magic. I think of how those Shadow Men got into my head so easily, a low growl escapes my chest as I dodge swords, arrows, spears and fire balls.
"Care, you're going to break the system again. Take it easy."
I ignore Caleb and continue, feeling my body strain as more and more opponents appear and come towards me, trying to over-power me with their numbers. Clicking my knuckles, I leap into the air, my leg straight as I swing my body 360 degrees, knocking down a few holograms.
“Care, slow down.”
I jerk my head back and rapidly bring it forward with enough force to make the hologram stagger, giving me the chance to snatch his sword. Turning my body around fast, I deflect multiple advances towards me and slice the previous owner of the sword in two.
“You don’t have to prove anything. I know about the Shadow Men.”
My movements become more frenzied as I desperately try not to listen to my best friend. I swing the sword over my head, only letting go once the blade is firmly lodged inside another’s skull.
“Your mind hasn’t stopped thinking about it since you have been back. Normally I would stay out of it but you are pushing yourself too much.”
I leap back in the air, arrows barely skimming my skin. My magic surrounds me, boosting my body back higher. “Stay out of my head Caleb!”
“Care, you’re scared, I can help-”
I scream as an arrow goes into my skin. Why can’t he just leave me alone?!
How can he use his magic against me? I flip my body, feeling magic engulf me as I bring my arms together and the rest of the men smash into each other, the ground rumbles and falls in on itself, leaving large burnt marks and making their holograms dissolve into nothingness. I silently scold myself, wanting to have taken them down without magic intervening. Especially the magic my cells have copied from Master Juxon and my betraying best friend.
Frowning, I start to walk away, ignoring the look on Caleb's face as he follows me outside. I leap into the air, bouncing from branch to branch until I am at the highest point of the great oak tree with the insigma of our guild overlooking the town below.
"You didn't tell me that you can use my power."
“I also didn’t tell you that you could read my mind.” I spit, ignoring the pain in my arm and the slight ringing in my head. My magical energy must be running low.
“You may be quiet Carissa Black but you mind was screaming.” Bringing my legs up to my chest, I rest my head on them. “I was worried Care. Last time I heard your mind that bad was after I-”
“After you found me. Yeah, I know.” Caleb wraps his arms around me and we sit in silence for a long while, listening to the playful shouts from our guild and watching the sky change with the wind.
"So that's two people now you powers have attached to now; Master Juxon, and me. Unless you've copied someone else's power without telling me."
I turn to him, glaring hard. "I did not copy your power, my cells have manipulated and then evolved it to suit me. It's no big deal.”
“The Juxonator will be proud that your control has improved Care.”
“Don’t call him that. It’s disrespectful. He is our teacher, our leader, our family and you will show him respect!” I can feel my blood pressure start to increase. Caleb's body starts to shake and soon a booming laugh escapes him.
“Juxonator is a no go. Go it. Oh Care, you are tightly wound today.” I groan, rolling my eyes before pushing myself away from him and out of the tree. I land softly onto the ground, letting the soil cover my feet until Caleb lands next to me.
Walking inside, I ignore Caleb trying to make me laugh with his tales of the latest tail he has been following. It’s been a long few days and I need a drink. Surprisingly, Lancer and I did not kill each other nor did we destroy the entire town as I expected. That was probably down to Lara, she has a firm head on her shoulders and she really knows how to keep us in line. I wonder how they are getting on with the new girl.
Stopping in the middle of the guild, my eyes lock onto the source of a strange magical energy. It’s familiar but I have never felt it this strong and… reckless before. I can feel my red eye is glowing slightly as I narrow my eyes at Rai. That woman puts me on edge.
"Look who's supporting a sexy new scar on her arm." Caleb whistles, causing Rai to glare at him. "Shut it boy and get out of my way." She barges past him; a woman on a mission. "Ah, come on baby, don't be like that. I know you love me really." She swears before moving on, leaving Caleb smirking.
"Can you get a read on her? I have an odd feeling..."
"Never can get a clear one. She just can't control herself around me. That's all." I shrug, not really believing him. "Here's my sorry present. I'll see you later, the Juxonator.. sorry, Master Juxon, is finishing with the new girl which means that I get to be my helpful, charming, self."
I hold onto the jug of mead which he sent my way, watching him gracefully climb the stairs towards the Master's office.
"Thanks. Watch out, she's feisty. I hope she breaks your nose." I call after him.
"You know I like the feisty. And I’m sorry about before." His voice whispers in my head. I roll my eyes, drinking my mead whilst suppressing a smile. I can never stay mad at him for too long, he’s like my big brother.
Heading towards the bar, I lazily use my magic to swing my scythe around, only stopping to ruffle the hair of Aya, giving her a wink as I continue towards the bar counter.
Scanning the crowd, I can see the families happily laughing, playing with their kids and all the various teams joining together for different contests to test strength and endurance; alcohol related mainly.
The guild is family. My family.
Pushing myself away from the counter, I walk toward the jobs board. No use sticking around for too long. Turning to check on Aya as I pass, my body collides with something solid, my mug falling to the floor with a loud thud, spilling my mead everywhere. “Watch it girl.”
I glare up at the 6”6 handsome form of Zero Slater. “You were the one who walked into me Snowflake.” The muscles in his jaw tighten, his eyes mischievous and annoyed about his old nickname.
“Don’t call me that.” I can feel his magical energy start to grow as his anger does. I increase mine as we square up to each other. “I’m an Elite and you really don’t want to play with this Thunderstorm. Your pretty face could get hurt.” His hand, lifted by one of his muscular arms, caresses my cheek, causing my mind to go blank.
What is he doing?
Slapping away his hand, I glare harder at this weather wielder. “I don’t care what your name is. Get out of my way and get me another beer.”
He moves closer to me, a wicked smile goes over his face. I hold my ground, extremely aware of how close his body is to mine. If I let him touch me again, I know that I am too angry to prevent my magic from draining his and using it against him. He lowers his head towards mine. “I’ll make you a deal. You can have mine.” Manipulating the wind, he brings his mead over to us, ice is covering the mug. I raise an eyebrow, he only makes it snow near his mead when he’s thinking; I wonder what about?
I firmly grab it. “What’s the catch?”
His smile broadens. “Tomorrow morning, you’re training with me.” He leans closer, whispering in my ear. “Seven sharp.” His lips brush softly against my cheek, anyone watching wouldn’t have noticed, but I did. Before walking away, he winks, leaving me puzzled and trying to ignore the urge to follow him. My magic wants to challenge his, excited about another opportunity to be close to him. I don’t understand, but one thing is clear; I am going to train with him.