Awakening | Act 1, Chapter 6: Lance |

A little salty that I didn’t make it into Odyssey Feed, but it’ll only serve as motivation to write more. Apologies for the inconsistencies with the upload schedule.

Jin awoke to the smoke resting on the battlefield. He slowly got up. Aches and pains pricked his limbs like the thorns of a rose. Beside him, the red beauty of the group brought herself to her feet. “Scarlett!” Jin called out to her. Scarlett ignored Jin’s call, and began rummaging around. Jin looked at her, confused. Then suddenly, as the smoke subsided, it became clear. Scarlett was tending to the wounds of Kaladin and Kaleigh, both of them unconscious on the ground beside her.

“I’ll help you out.” muttered Jin. He spoke quietly enough to avoid getting Scarlett’s attention. The message was for her, but oddly enough, Jin felt the message resonate within himself. He walked forward, taking step after step through the smoke. It laid low on the ground, revealing the beautiful midday sun cast over them. Jin held his hand up towards his forehead to block the sun’s rays, then cast his gaze back towards the ground. The thick grey gas looked repulsive. “This better be the last time I ever see smoke.” said Jin, before taking another step. A faint metal clunk moved as he planted his foot forward.

The sound of the clunk was followed by a groan. Jin crouched down to get a closer look. Although in his mind, he’d found the answer long before the general’s unconscious and scorched body entered his vision. Blood ran down from his forehead, and seeped on top of his cracked steel chestpiece.

Jin got up. He held the scabbard tightly, and pressed his thumb against the hilt. All was quiet, as a flash of metal revealed itself in the afternoon light. Jin entered a stance, and concentrated. He closed his eyes, and honed his touch.

He could feel the light breeze blow through his torn sleeves. His sweaty palms pressed against the handle of the blade. With grace he lifted his arms up, and with one fell swoop they came down. The general’s head rolled cleanly off his body. Leaving behind a trail of blood. Jin then sheathed his blood-stained blade back into its scabbard. At last he could look up in peace.

With the dust gone, the aftermath of the battlefield was revealed. The atmosphere was solemn and serene. Bodies and blood were laid throughout the gravel. The result of the clash had left a large crater in the ground. Just nearby, Scarlett had gathered the rest of the wizards and laid them side by side. Beyond them were mountains of shattered wood. Flat planks stood in place of the spokes and walls that were present just hours earlier.

Feeling satisfied with himself, Jin came to an acceptance. The fight had been fought. The general. Slain. He jogged over to Scarlett to assist her in tending to the wounds of their friends.

“How are they doing?” asked Jin, standing behind Scarlett as she tore apart her clothes. Then wrapped the pieces of cloth around open cuts and bruises.

“Could be worse. We all had our share of injuries in our fights, but of course Vega and Apollo took the hardest hits.” she answered. Too focused on her task to look back.

The sight of bleeding bodies left the two uneasy. Nausea built up as their insides slowly rose, ready to propel out of their mouths.

Scarlett turned to Jin. She figured it was time that he’d stop staring and get to work. “Hey Jin, can you try getting some water from the shore?” Scarlett asked. “Just find some wood or some sort of container from the town center.”

A wave of realization came over Jin. It dawned on him that Scarlett had done her best to tend to the wounds of their friends. Yet all he had done was stare. He began to sprint towards the town center with no reply. Shortly after, Jin returned with a small wooden pail in hand.

“Hey I found a small bucket in the rubble. There’s a huge part of it chipped off, but I’m sure it’ll work fine. But just a quick question, do you plan to wash the wounds with ocean water?” asked Jin.

“Oh please I’m not that dumb. I can at least wash off some dirt and clothes with the water. But putting that issue aside, I’m worried for Apollo.”

Jin with pail in hand, moved in for a closer look. Scarlett had cleaned off most of the fresh blood with a large piece of cloth. Her torn-off sleeves turned her purple sweater into a tank top. One sleeve was used for the cloth that had become soaked and donned a dark vermillion color. The other was split into various other strips, wrapped around large open wounds. Apollo’s forehead, Vega’s arm, and other cuts and bright red bruises present on the rest of the wizards. Yet a single cloth could only cover so much. Plenty more minor injuries covered all of them from head to toe.

Apollo’s injuries were the most noticeable. His back had been faced down, but Jin couldn’t ignore the massive pool of blood that surrounded him. Scarlett had moved him away from the others, preventing his blood from merging with the others. Other large cuts were present on his legs and arms. A portion of his torso suffered from minor burns.

Shit. I swear, I won’t let this happen again. thought Jin, as he stared deeper at Apollo. Jin pondered about the fight. He pictured in his mind how things could have gone differently. Images of him having faster and stronger swings of his sword. More use of his magic, both for attacks, and in acts of dodging and forcing Vega and Apollo out of harm’s way. There was plenty of room for improvement. Even though Jin knew the full truth, it would be the first time that it hurt him.

Jin felt a light tap on his shoulder. Scarlett’s thin fingers caught his attention. He slowly moved his head to look at her. As if his neck was being dragged down by the weight of his personal defeat. “Jin, look.” Scarlett pointed towards the direction of the docks. In the distance, a tall figure slowly made their way towards them. Taking slow steps across the battlefield. A shining pair of yellow gleamed past the clouds. It pierced Jin and Scarlett’s souls. They both were thrust into shock. Like an invisible force had tried to force them to their knees. Commanding them to submit. Whoever this individual was, Scarlett and Jin had immediately known. They were at a level beyond their imagination.

“No fucking way…another one?” exclaimed Jin. He reached for his katana, but his shaky hands prohibited him from grabbing the handle. “Calm your nerves man,” said Scarlett. She had already taken a stance with her longsword beside him. “We can’t go down without a fight.”
“I just have the slightest feeling that we won’t even be ‘fighting,’” belittled Jin, brushing off Scarlett’s cliche words. As the individual approached, a clapping sound drew closer and closer. Becoming louder and louder as the figure approached them.

Clap! Clap! Clap!

“Marvelous! Truly amazing work! What a splendid battle!” The voice came from what sounded like a young man. He clapped slowly, applauding them. Rather than the expected malicious tone, he sounded entranced and impressed.

He donned a black trench coat with shining yellow lines that ran from the collar to the tails of the coat, paired with matching pants of the same color and design. A brown bag hung on his hip. Held in its place by a leather belt around his waist. The man brushed back his golden spiky hair that shone as the sunlight beamed on him.

He paced himself as he approached the two, glancing at the unconscious bodies beside them. A pair of golden lights illuminated the area. Shining deviously of desire and action. His bright yellow eyes were prying, like a predator slowly eyeing down its prey. Jin and Scarlett had their focus locked towards the man’s glare.

“For such young ones, you’re quite experienced in combat! ‘’ said the man. The enthusiasm in his voice carried an odd charm to it. Although it failed to captivate Jin and Scarlett, as the two stepped back, maintaining their unwavering guard. “All good if you’re still a little tense. Keeping your guard up is a sign that you’re careful, and most of all…” stated the man, continuing to walk forward, before he suddenly stopped. A glowing yellow light appeared from his palm. “Alert!”

His final word was followed immediately by the cries of another adult male. A wounded knight yelled in fury as he charged towards Jin and Scarlett. His right arm was gone, and the longsword he held with his left, flailed around in the air as he ran.

In a flash, a jolting blast of yellow energy shot out of the man’s hand towards them. Dust and wind trailed behind the blast, carving a path of the blast’s trajectory. Then as the yellow spell collided with the knight’s chest, there was silence. Followed by a blinding flash of yellow and white, before the familiar noises of a booming explosion came rushing through their ears.

When the noise and light finally faded away, a bright smile and two arms reached out to Scarlett and Jin. They two hesitantly grabbed the hand, as they were quickly lifted up. The man then flicked his wrists outwards, and a gust of air formed from the sheer strength of the movement, blowing away any dust on their clothes.

“Sorry for not introducing myself earlier.” the man chuckled, scratching the back of his head. “I tend to be quite clumsy and forgetful at times. The heat of the moment gets the best of ya. Right? Anyhow, the name’s Lance! I’m a traveling scholar investigating the mysteries of magic! Pretty cool huh?” said Lance. His careless and obnoxious wide grin reminded the two of Apollo.

“I was just drawn in by the sound of explosions and magic projectiles flying through the air! It was a perfect opportunity to see some fights up close, and maybe join in the action!” Lance motioned his words as he spoke, moving his hands and arms to mimic the explosions, and the flying magic blasts. “Then I see that epic duel with the three wizards, and some more fledglings fighting off armored knights! So of course I’m going to observe how the youngest of mages would fare against a kingdom’s platoon.

This guy’s kinda off…For someone that literally frightened us with his presence, this is the complete opposite of what I was expecting. thought Jin. He turned to Scarlett with a face of worry and questioning. Conveying to her a look that communicated a ‘What do we do?’ kind of message. Scarlett looked to be just as confused as he was. She shot the same look back at him.

Jin lightly groaned. Alright then. “Well as you can see, we did a pretty shit job,” said Jin. He motioned towards his unconscious friends on the ground.

“Ah. I see. Allow me to help with that.” said Lance. He walked forward and reached into his bag, pulling out a glass vial. It contained a bright pink liquid.

Scarlett moved in between Lance and the bodies. Stretching her arms and legs out wide, stopping Lance in his path. “Just what you intend to do?”

“Youngling, did I not say I was a scholar? It would be an embarrassment to me if I lacked the slightest knowledge of alchemy. I’m not particularly adept in the craft, but I can certainly whip up a basic healing potion.” explained Lance. He manifested several more vials that he held between his fingers. There was enough for all nine of them. He handed Scarlett two vials.

“You two should try them out. You’re quite beat up yourself.” said Lance. Scarlett gave Jin the other vial. The two took off the cork cap, and stared into the liquid. They smelt it and brought the glass closer to their eyes for a better look.

“Here. I’ll even drink one myself if you’re still doubtful.” Lance said, after observing the two. He did as he said, and swallowed down a full vial of the pink liquid. After wiping his mouth, he smiled brightly at the two.

“I’m not really injured, so the potion won’t really do much other than give me a bit of a stomach ache. But if you’re suffering from even a couple cuts and bruises, expect those to heal within a few minutes. Trust me. Your friend over there could really use it.” Lance tilted his head towards Apollo.

Scarlett stared at Jin doubtfully. She had so many questions. What if the potion only had positive effects on older people? What if the potion was laced with poison? There was a possibility the man could be resistant to his own concoctions. Yet if he was truly telling the truth…

“Scarlett!” screamed Jin.
Lance broke out a wide smile.