Not going to lie, I wasn’t too proud when I rewrote this, and it seemed too dragged on compared to the original writing. Let me know what you guys think of it. Enjoy this week’s chapter.
Magic energy poured in. Both fighters were nearing their limits. Each of them neglected recharging their magic energy throughout the rapid exchange of blows. A fiery concoction of fire and explosive energy began to form between the clashes of the two blasts. Vega and the general both stood steady. Not showing a hint of weakness to their opponent, despite being at their wit’s end.
How long has it been? Two minutes? Five minutes? I’m nearly out of magic energy too… thought Vega. He could hardly come up with a clear train of thought. Booming sounds and searing heat of clashing magic energy disoriented Vega. His skin started to burn from the spewing embers and the heat alone. As each second passed, he’d squinted his eyes more and more, until eventually driving them closed.
On the other side of the blasts, the cracks formed in the armor of the general. His boots slowly began to crumble, as the cracks made their way up his leggings. Its luster had been covered from swirling dust around the colliding blasts. The general’s face was being continuously bombarded by particles of dirt being thrown upwards.
Yet he did not falter. The tenacious man would not allow mere children to defeat him. His pride would never hold from the embarrassment and humiliation that would flood him before his death. He let out a scream of defiance, pushing forward with the blast.
Vega was moved several inches back, still planted on the ground. His scorching body had gone numb, and he hadn’t even realized that slowly, he was getting pushed back.
His eyes went white, and his mind went blank.
“Do you dare lose with those flames of yours?” a deep voice called out. It’s menacing and overbearing tone forced Vega’s eyes wide open. The smoke and charred landscape he had been fighting on, disappeared. A pure white space had taken its place. Vega looked around the area. The whiteness seemed to expand endlessly with no end in sight.
Without warning, a piercing heat entered Vega’s body. As if his entire body had been set on fire. It had an odd piercing feeling to it. Like thousands of tiny spears were drilled into his skin, letting more flames enter. It grew hotter and hotter, surpassing the heat of his own fire within seconds.
He looked down at his body. No flames were in sight, and his body seemed to be perfectly fine. As if he’d never fought in the first place. Yet his clothes were still tattered and possessed clear burns and holes in them. Vega examined his hands and torso. No blood. No wounds.
The room, although it seemed entirely clear, had been surrounded by a thick fog. Vega had felt it when he moved his hands to examine himself. It was thin and shapeless like air, but had the thickness and rigidity of honey. Yet it was painfully easy to push through. With each stroke of his hand to push aside the invisible fog, the heat throbbed and pulsated. As if the fog was trying to prevent him from venturing further into the endless white abyss.
“If the pain wasn’t enough already, just where am I? If I’m wherever this place is then…does that mean…I failed?” murmured Vega. The pain made it easier to speak than to think. Although his body appeared to be fresh and restored, the physical and mental fatigue still remained.
”You are in a place of truth. Where one’s true ambitions and feelings are revealed.” the mighty voice bellowed again. His voice sounded smooth yet had a raspy feel. Vega could hear his breathing too. It sounded like a dragon, releasing its flamethrower breath as it exhaled.
“What in the? So those words earlier, weren’t just all in my head?”
The voice went silent.
“If this is a place where my ambitions and feelings are revealed, then, am I just some sort of empty husk? A ball of fire? I don’t get any of this!” Vega shouted out. He felt like an idiot. Screaming into a vast and endless landscape with nobody to receive his cries.
”Why are you confused son? Your heart and soul burn brightly. It burns for adventure. It burns for strength. You wish for strength, and power. Do you not?”
It burns… Vega stared down into the ground. The recent and faint images of a bloody Apollo. The numerous explosions that went off. The dozens of soldiers that surrounded them.
Fire. Smoke. Clanging metal. Soldiers. Weapons. Swords. Blood. Wind. Ice. Shouting.
Vega grabbed his head as it began to throb and pulse harder and harder. The thoughts and memories pounded on his head, as if his brain was trying to bust out of his skull.
“If I was just a bit faster, a bit smarter. If my flames were hotter, if I had more magic energy, if I had more magic power. If I…”
”In accepting your nature as a liar, you have discovered the truth. You are as quick-witted as you are dull. Truly, you do wish for strength. You desire it. You love it.” The voice paused for a moment. ”Well then, let me give it to you.” the voice said heartedly. His tone had a certain degree of encouragement to it, with a hint of joy and enthusiasm that made it seem like he was thrilled. Vega could feel his soul in the palm of a hand not of his own.
”Navigate my heart, and discover the origin. Search for the strength you desire so badly. Show off your greed.” the voice said. The heat grew even stronger, adding a large weight to Vega’s shoulders, dragging him down to the floor.
Despite the confusion, and torment. The vague clues and nonsensical claims behind this god-like voice. Vega propped up his knee. Then he went from kneeling on one knee to two, then finally he knelt on one foot. His other leg came up, and he was now standing again.
He took a step. Then another. With every step, the heat pierced in deeper, and the pain only grew.
But he could feel it.
He couldn’t resist such a thought of a grand reward past the pain, and so he endured it.
Vega stopped for a moment, and felt the heat around him pushing inwards, like a booby-trapped room closing in on him, eventually crushing him.
Yet he was never crushed.
He took a deep breath in.
The heated air felt like a revelation to him, as if he had experienced something wonderful.
His eyes were set forward and started to shimmer with excitement and determination.
Carrying those feelings with him he ran forwards.
He ran as the pain pierced his body and tore away at his soul.
He continued to run, and run and run.
The flame grew intense and he reached out towards it.
At the end he dashed through the clouded mist and was in a black room.
He was suspended in the air momentarily, before seeing a white flame.
It was the most beautiful thing he had witnessed in his entire life. He reached out…
He reached out. And he fell.
1, 2, 3, 4…
It started to feel like forever.
Vega felt tired. He thought so too. He could probably tell that his friends were getting tired too.
His eyes closed; first his left, then his right, before drifting off to sleep.
To sleep, dreaming.
Vega’s eyes burst open. A great orange ball stared him down in the face. He quickly realized that the entirety of his body had gone nearly numb. Just barely holding itself together under the intense pressure. Footsteps arrived behind him, followed by calls of his name. The footsteps sounded so crisp and clear, but the voices sounded distant. With each call of his name, they seemed to get further away while their steps approached.
He looked towards his hands. They were shaking, and the enormous bright red magic circle in front of him began to fade away. Suddenly, the world seemed to stop in place as everything went silent.
Then the sounds came rushing in. The screaming of his friends behind him. The crackling yet elegant bursting of embers from his enormous fire blast. The rustling of the dirt and gravel below his feet. The thumping of his heart. Afterwards, the magic circle in front of Vega had disappeared, as the wizards watched their friend be quickly consumed by the condensed explosive energy.
Mounds of gravel were sent flying into the air, as the entirety of the area was shrouded in smoke and ashes. Every person in the vicinity was sent flying back. The shockwave that was released brought whatever was left standing in the town center straight to the ground.
Nearby mammals scurried away, and birds flocked to the air as the explosion rang out across the island. It would feel like a millenia, before the dust would finally settle.