Snarling, Krula bounded the distance towards Thomas and swung her weapon in a sweeping arc. Thomas hastily jumped backwards, her wings snapping open. Thomas countered and unleashed a volley of black bolts at Krula. Krula twisted to avoid the volley and tossed her halberd into the air. Then, the hellhound dropped on all fours to avoid a projectile shooting past the space where her head previously occupied.
“Playing fetch with yourself now?” Thomas sneered as she hurled another blast at Krula.
Unconcerned by her taunting, the hellhound ran off of the path into the grassy field. As it turned out, that was a wise decision. The road exploded behind her, sending clods of dirt spinning into the air. Lithely avoiding the thudding impacts, she sprang into the air and met her halberd before it had so much as began to fall. She clutched her paw around the handle and found her target glaring at her from below. The hellhound gleefully brought the blade down, aiming for Thomas’ skull. The halberd stopped dead mid-air with a metallic ringing and a translucent black dome revealed itself around Thomas. The mage looked rather bored. Krula landed heavily on the magical surface, and stared tensely at the occupant for several seconds.
Thomas stuck her tongue out and blew a raspberry.
Enraged, Krula began repeatedly slamming the barrier with her halberd. Thomas watched amusedly as she continuously hammered away at her barrier with seemingly little results. However, once she saw the small spiderweb cracks where the hellhound was hitting, the smile dropped. Thomas hastily brought her palm up and struck the hellhound in the chest with a bolt. The furry guard was blown off of the dome and tumbled backwards into the dirt road. Surprisingly, it did little and she quickly regained her footing. Thomas lowered the dome and materialized a horde of magical projectiles above her head.
“Well, looks like controlling Demonic energy isn’t going to be too much of a challenge for a sorceror of stature,” she glanced up at the swirling vortex of magic and smiled, “it’s been quite a while since I’ve actually cast any real spells so I must thank you. Despite being a monster, this is actually quite refreshing.”
Krula stretched, planting her halberd into the dirt. “You know, I don’t see any problem with being a monster. And, you say that like you somehow used to [i not] be a monster,” she ran her paw across her mohawk, “Well whatever, doesn’t really matter. Anyways, I’m done, how about you?”
In response, Thomas launched the multitude of bolts suspended above her. The hellhound’s ruby eyes widened as she scrabbled to snatch her halberd out of the ground. She hastily brought the blade up and managed to deflect a bolt, sending the projectile away at an angle to devastate a patch of grass and the occupying worms. Once she recovered from her initial surprise, Krula began staggering forward through the storm of magic, blocking the unrelenting flurry of bolts with her halberd. Gritting her teeth in frustration, she swung her weapon at a bolt whizzing by and launched it back towards the alp. Thomas ceased her bombardment abruptly as she was forced to dodge her own projectile. Much to her dismay, Krula had quickly mastered the art of deflecting magical balls. Three more bolts followed the first in close succession, two of which Thomas was able to avoid. The third caught her in the exceedingly unarmored chest, the resulting blast sending her to the ground, gasping. Krula sent the few remaining bolts into the dirt and sauntered over victoriously to the mage. Winded, Thomas could do little other than roll over and watch as Krula stamped her furry paw onto her chest.
“Nice ‘sorcerer’ thing you got going there, but looks like you were just being a cocky little bitch,” Krula scoffed. She lowered the halberd’s blade inches above Thomas’ neck and smirked, “Now, just admit it and I can take this little ol’ thing out of your face.”
At the sight of a blade brandished at Thomas, Hero’s fingers twitched. David stood beside him and gave him an encouraging look. The guardsman had, so far, sat the battle out and spectated beside the knight. He had even sheathed his sword without doing much more than menacing with it. Slowly, Hero wrenched his gaze from the defeated mage to an empty spot in the sky. Empty, save for a suspicious spot of purple sticking out from the blue.
“David, how come you haven’t done anything yet?” he mused slowly, watching flecks of purple appear in the air, “Krula might need some help.”
The guard chuckled, still watching Krula flaunt her victory and hips, “You know, I usually sit these out for a little bit, getting a feel of what the other person can do. If Krula can take ‘em out using her muscles, I can just sit out the fight. No big deal.” He looked up at Hero, who was continuing to stare at the rapidly expanding ball of magic. “Anyways, aren’t you a little worried about your girlfriend there? I would expect you would be a little less cool with the whole situation.”
Hero’s helmet swiveled and glowered at David. He redirected some of his ire meant for Thomas towards the guard, “You guys haven’t seen what she’s capable of. All of that stuff she’s throwing looks like it’s just a bit of testing. And, he’s a dude, so no, not girlfriend.” David shrugged, clearly unconvinced at the last part. Sounded suspiciously like an afterthought.
Krula broke into their thoughts with her steadily increasing threats, “Look here you little fuck, if you’re just going to pretend to be out cold, I’m going to have beat you with the shaft of this thing until you tell beg. You want that?” No response. The hellhound raised her weapon before a girlish giggle caught Krula’s attention.
“Well, it looks like most of my magic will work, even the whole teleportation business. Anyways I did hear your threats, and because I am shivering in my boots, I’ll surrender,” Krula ears twitched as she turned around to see Thomas calling out to her, hovering in the spot where Hero was initially looking, “Also, I beg your pardon, but would you mind repeating what you called me?”
Krula and David both looked back at the mage that Krula had pinned in confusion. The faux-Thomas shot a sly grin at the guards before melting away into an inky black puddle.
Thomas wore the same devious expression.
As angry with the mage as he was, Hero couldn’t help but be amused at the two guard’s shock. The melting clone was a nice touch.
Krula whipped around, futilely attempting to leap at Thomas, “You little fuck!” Though her hind legs were powerfully muscled, Thoma had the advantage of flight. Krula didn’t even manage to leap halfway to the alp.
Thomas nodded sagely, “That’s what you called me. Well anyhow, I lack enough expletives to adequately refute you. How does this sound instead?” She held her palm out and pointed vaguely at Krula, murmuring softly. The hellhound gripped her halberd tightly, preparing to avoid Thomas’ next spell. Suddenly, several walls of earth erupted around her, cutting off any escape routes. Taken off guard, she ineffectively hacked at the surrounding dirt in an attempt to break out. Thomas didn’t give her the chance.
A colossal stream of fire exploded out towards the hellhound, instantly engulfing her in an inferno. The intense heat washed across the road, incinerating all the dirt and grass within the fireball. Hero and David stepped away hastily from the sudden brightness, and didn’t stop until they had nearly reached the wall. Despite the intense heat which they could feel, the guardsman did not seem terribly worried.
Thomas’ eyes glowed an intense purple, rivaling the light of the fire. Satisfaction etched into her wicked expression, she ended the spell with a clenching of her fist and the intense light of the flames disappeared.
Once the sustained firestorm ended, the assembled group blinked rapidly to readjust to the sudden lack of light. Before them, a billowing cloud of smoke obscured the plain and towered into the sky. David gave Hero an absent pat and walked into the smoldering road. His stride had a slight skip to it. He took the chain leash he had unhooked from Krula with him and swung it around purposefully. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a flash of light from the chain, and a new glowing link appeared attached to the chain. Hero briefly thought about warning Thomas, but with no small effort, decided against it.
The mage in question floated above the cloud, impatiently waiting for the plumes to clear. After several seconds of relative peace, Thomas allowed her impatience to get the better of her. She waved the cloud away with a brief magical gale and exposed the two guards in a peculiar pose.
Krula, her quivering mohawk now slightly charred, seemed to be unharmed and only slightly peeved. Thomas mentally slapped herself. Hellhounds were fairly well suited to fire. Though, judging by her half melted chainmail and molten halberd, her equipment was not.
Beside her, David had tied the chain neatly around his forearm, and handed the loose end to Krula. The hellhound gave the guard a slobbery kiss before Krula bounded off of the smoldering path to an unburned patch of grass farther down the dirt road. The chain did not pull David with her, but seemed to produce new links to gap the new length with a white glow. Slightly cautious, Thomas threw up her barrier and readied several bolts. She expected them to throw up the obviously enchanted chain, though she was confident that she could block anything that flew her way.
Unfortunately, David had a subjectively better way to deal with the mage. Signalling the hellhound, David was suddenly picked up off of his feet by Krula, who began to swing the chain in a circle. The chain picked up speed as the hellhound put her entire prodigious strength behind it, her black fur straining to constrain her taut muscles. The alp continued to watch in confusion, her gut telling her to climb slightly higher. Finally, once the spinning guardsman had reached sufficient speeds, the chain once again clinked into action, huge spans of the glowing metal shooting out behind David.
Thomas was unable to register what was happening. While she had somewhat believed that David was indeed allowing himself to take a merry-go-round ride on Krula, the idea that he would launch himself at an unhealthy speed seemed ever so slightly unsound. The mage feebly attempted to dodge, but succeeded in only moving several inches to the left. David sailed over the top of the dome and twisted around the magical barrier. Thomas desperately attempted to hit the speeding guard, but similarly to the hellhound, her poor aim prevailed. However, she could hardly be expected to accurately hit the guard, seeing his speed seemed completely unabated as he wrapped the growing chain around the dome. Thomas had stopped attempting to hit David and was reduced to watching the chain’s progress at constricting the barrier. After nearly half a minute, only pinpricks of light shone through the thick layering of white metal links, and from the sound of the scraping metal, David was still hard at work outside.
Thomas briefly thought about teleporting her way out of the chain link prison, but to do so, she would have to lower her barrier. Already feeling the pressure on her magical shield, she had little illusion on what would happen should she lower the barrier. On top of that, the sheer weight of the enchanted metal was making her flight somewhat laborious. Suddenly, she knew exactly where the chains were heading for. Down. The silence of the metal outside confirmed her suspicion. She felt her body lurch and her wings give out as the chains were presumably being pulled down by the two guards. Feeling her stomach make it’s way up her throat, she desperately reinforced the barrier. Luckily, her magic kept her at a fixed distance away from the barrier’s walls, something the mage kept in mind as the chain wrapped orb was rudely introduced to the ground.
Because of the barrier, broken bones weren’t suffered, but the strong desire to lose her jerky breakfast took precedence. The bone-jarring impact of suddenly stopping also left a fairly painful sensation running through her legs and back. She blearily refocused on the barrier around her and examined the badly cracked walls under the dim light diffusing from the chain. At the sight of the chains still snugly tied around her, a sour expression spread across her face.
After sufficiently ensuring she wasn’t dead, she experimentally loosed a small jet of fire at the metal, succeeding in slightly heating up the links. She intensified the miniature torrent, and to her delight, it began to distort in the heat, slightly melting. Sure of the exact temperature required to melt the surrounding chains, she closed her eyes and visualized the exterior. Throwing her considerable magic pool at it, she bathed the outside with flames many times the necessary heat, immediately causing the inside of the barrier to warm. Putting her faith into the heat resistance of her magic, she pressed on, while keeping an eye on the distorting chains. The interior flooded with an intense flickering light, sending eerie beams of orange light across the walls. However, once the heat reduced the chains into little more than a thick layer of slag coating, the inside of the orb dimmed and Thomas doubled over in nausea.
Despite that, Thomas was content. Of course, she was still slightly disconcerted by the fact that she was surrounded by an orb of enchanted metal, but the warmth and the darkness inside was exceedingly cozy. Her wings had long stopped attempting to keep her airborne, mainly from exhaustion, and she remained mostly still.
It seemed that she burned through Demonic Energy far more quickly than she had with Spiritual Energy. Or she was out of practice. Either way she didn’t have too much time to contemplate as her eyelids drooped and she began to nod off. Her last thought was how nice the heat in the encroaching cold. Then, losing consciousness, Thomas’ eyes closed and her small frame went limp.