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TS24: Telling Blow

The moment dragged out. Rabbit and wolf stood facing each other amid the floating stone platforms in the warrens. The other students and the teacher gave them a good amount of distance, unsure of what was about to occur. The wolf crouched slightly, and sprang forward to drop into a spinning leg sweep. His motion carried him around, crouched and ready. Jove winced, Aden’s spell had not gone off.

Aden fell to the side, landing heavy on the stone floor. Shaken, he pulled himself into a ball. “It doesn’t work if you hold back.” Painfully he sat up, then stood. “It has to be in response to a real attack. You can’t hold back.”

Chris nodded. “Please forgive me,” he whispered. He sprang forward, a solid punch aimed right at Aden’s head.

Aden closed his brown eyes, and his hand whipped in front of his face. He caught Chris’ punch, the timid rabbit vanishing into a confident smile. Jove watched as fiery energy radiated from somewhere inside Aden and filled the rabbit.

Aden laughed, “Yes. That’s better.” Defying leverage, he pulled Chris’ arm forward and down, pushing the larger wolf onto the ground. Casually he stood up, and opened his eyes, the fire inside visible as a slight red glow. “Get up.”

To Jove’s surprise, Chris was also smiling. The wolf lay there, shifting his weight onto his stomach, and got his arms under his chest.

“I said,” Aden shouted, “Get up!” He stepped forward with a downward punch to Chris’ back. Jove was certain he saw a translucent trail of energy leading from Aden’s right hand to Chris.

Chris pushed himself back onto his knees, using the momentum to get to his feet as Aden’s fist struck solid stone. Aden’s energy shifted from moving forward to backwards, he pushed off the ground with his fist, and sent the elbow of his left arm at Chris’ neck. Chris continued moving back, just barely out of Aden’s reach. The wolf reached out, and caught Aden’s back shoulder, pulling it forward and downward to spin Aden around and onto the ground.

Aden made a short hop to prevent his legs from getting tangled. The energy inside him spun with the wolf’s tug, and used the momentum to send a kick up and over Aden’s body. Chris brought both of his arms up to block, crossed over his head as the kick pushed him down. Chris pushed back, and both of them backed away to regain their footing. Chris and Aden looked at each other, and Chris bowed again.

Mark ran up to Aden, “Hey man, that was amazing!” Jove could see the energy that Mark was about to put into a pat on Aden’s back. He could see how Aden’s spell would react; it felt threatened.

Jove ran forward, but he was too late. Aden grabbed Mark’s hand before it had a chance to congratulate him. The fire energy within Aden burned hotter and somehow darker. Aden said, “Are you a moron?” His words were followed by kicks to Mark’s stomach and head that sent the stoat reeling backwards and over the edge of the landing. Kate dove after him.

Jove started to say something, but Aden quickly turned. A sense of danger washed over Jove as Aden leapt at him. The energy inside Aden lashed forward as it had when he attacked Chris. Jove jumped back to get out of the way, but Aden hit him in the gut. Jove gasped.

Aden laughed, “You can’t seal if you can’t speak.”

Jove smiled, losing himself to the feeling of danger. He grabbed Aden’s hand, and twisted. He could feel the fire inside himself now. The original spell, not the darker version Aden was currently under. Aden flipped onto the ground, keeping his body under control, and twisting his hand out of Jove’s grasp.

Several of the students started to approach, but Chris stopped them. The wolf said, “Jove can’t stop either.”

Hypatia asked, “What?”

Chris didn’t respond. Instead he turned to watch Jove and Aden exchange a quick series of blows. He tensed, and waited a moment. The wolf ran forward, knocking Jove out of the way of a punch, and taking a kick to the side in return.

Separated from Aden, Jove felt the danger vanish. The rush of strength faded when he realized he had kicked Chris. In a moment of shock, he watched as Aden took advantage of Chris’ injury to pummel the wolf.

Chris slumped to the ground and Aden slowly stepped over the wolf. Aden said, “You’re not going to stop me, revoker.” Jove saw the tendrils of energy flowing forward, each one a test of his defenses. Jove watched them merge into a single line.

A stocky wolverine stepped in the way of the tendril. Paula said simply, “I will.”

Aden laughed and spun around, sending a back kick at the new obstacle.

There was a sound of crunching as Aden’s attack hit stone. He paused a moment then punched Paula, with the same result. Jove looked closer, her fur had a gray tint. He fought to get air in his lungs. He could see the earth energy infusing the wolverine and he could see how it deflected Aden’s strikes. He focussed on Aden’s aura and found what he had hoped for. A second spell, an infection that was twisting the original.

Aden growled, “You won’t stop me.” He leapt to the side, going around what he couldn’t go through.

Paula raised a hand, “Weight.” Somehow Jove knew what she meant.

Aden started to leap forward but then collapsed on the floor. Earth energy surrounded him, turning his fur into a massive block of dead weight. He lacked the strength to stand properly, instead he struggled to get up and finish his attack.

Jove finally managed to breathe. “Aden, this isn’t you. It’s not your spell, there’s another.” He let go and allowed his magic to locate the spell. “Calm.” He reached out with his hand and snuffed out the extra spell.

Aden gasped, finally able to dismiss his original spell. Jove could see the emptiness left, that spell was a drug and Aden was crashing hard. And pinned by dozens or hundreds of pounds of stone fur.

“It’s okay Paula,” Jove said, “you can dismiss the spell.”

The wolverine shook her head, “I don’t know how.”

Hypatia walked up, “Paula, you’ve burst. They’ll fade when you calm down. We have time. It will fade. In the meantime, I’m going to patch up Chris’ bruises.” She said to Aden, “The alarms didn’t go off, Chris isn’t seriously injured.” Then she called over the edge of the landing, “Kate, did you catch Mark?”

“She caught me,” Mark called up. “Is it over?”

“Yeah, it’s over.”

Jove shook his head. He knew this was only over for now.

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