Fan fiction:The Mage Academy of Gea Kul/Chapter Eighteen
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The delay was not long, but it was long enough, and only a reflexive teleport saved me from being cut in half when a Barbarian streaked into the tent, his great axe flashing through the spot where I'd been standing a blink before. The momentum of his charge was so great that he passed straight through the other side, ripping loose a large piece of the tanned leather and knocking down one of the long posts that supported the tent from the outside.
His two fellows were not far behind, and before I could turn back towards Zia, the other two savages burst through the door flap, bristling with battle rage and wielding huge swords. They were clearly expecting me to run, or to shower them with ineffective elemental spells. I did neither, and before they could advance I took a breath and teleported across the tent, straight at them. Neither was quick enough to react when I appeared behind them and reached out, laying my hands on their shoulders. They hardly had time to realize I was touching them before I dug in my fingers and teleported again, throwing myself blindly backwards out of the tent and pulling the Barbarians along with me.
We appeared far from the tent, and several feet above the ground. I'd aimed high, in case there were rocks or other obstacles outside. There were none, and I released my grip on the Barbarians and pushed off even as we fell to the ground. I landed on my feet and fell heavily, rolling over backwards and sprawling on the rocky ground. It hurt, but as I gasped for breath I laughed, for I'd fared far better than the Barbarians.
My desperate gambit had worked perfectly, and the two mighty men were now joined together, fused through the torso and arm. They had become one, one huge and impossibly ugly man, with four legs, two heads, and three arms. One man's arm was vanished into the other's body, and that was the least of his wounds, as the one-armed man gave a gurgling scream and vomited up a fountain of blood, his legs giving out.
The other Barbarian was less wounded, and he tried to stand, lifting his comrade on nerveless legs. The other man was beyond standing; some internal organs must have been ruptured by the fusing, and he was dying already, even as the other man struggled, pushing madly against the body that had been so suddenly joined to his own.
Such an enchantment was almost unimagined, but I'd envisioned it a decade ago, and practiced it several times with sticks and other inanimate objects. It was horribly difficult; a perversion of the physical dissolution required to teleport, and I hadn't been at all sure I could manage it with such large targets. Neither had I been sure they would be killed by the maneuver, but clearly the damage was too terrible for either man to consider hacking off his extra arms and legs and coming at me while the stumps spurted their joined blood.
There had been three Barbarians, I remembered, and just as I tore my eyes from the abomination I'd fashioned, the other Northman returned. He came charging around the side of the tent, the axe held over his shoulder large enough to cleave an ox in two. If the sight of his conjoined comrades started him, he showed no sign, and hurdled them, catapulting high over the monstrosity, his mighty axe glowing with a blue light as he soared straight at me like some great vulture.
I could not kill him from a distance, not as exhausted as I was, but Zia's murderous escape from the Academy had given me an idea, and I knew it was my only chance. Moving as quickly as my muscles would allow, I sent a burst of sparks up with my left hand, then took a step to the side, focusing the rest of my energy into my right hand.
The sparks were no real attack, not against this foe. They were bright enough to blind him though, and dazzled by them, the Barbarian had to guess which direction I'd moved. If he'd guessed right he would have split me like a log. He did not, though it was a near thing; I felt the cold radiating from his weapon as it whistled past me, close enough for the wind to ruffle my hair. The axe head buried itself in the ground, a minor explosion and shock wave emanating from the weapon and the Barbarian's thunderous landing.
I dove at him, forcing myself through the waves of power his impact had unleashed, and just managed to reach his hip with my right hand. My touch was light, hardly powerful enough to break an egg, but my arm was surging with power, and I instantly sent it forth, releasing a volcanic heat into the Barbarian's body.
I'd hoped to send it higher, where it might have scorched his lungs and boiled his heart. The attack was less effective at his waist, but the heat was sufficient to set his intestines to bubbling, and the pain and shock doubled him over. Gagging, the Barbarian fell to his knees, holding his belly and writhing. I was too tired to cast another spell and too weak to pick up his huge axe. Fortunately, one of the other Barbarian's swords had tumbled some distance from their mutated, fused corpse, which was still slowly flopping on the ground, and with only a few steps I reached the sword. Lifting it was a struggle, but I dragged it behind me as I staggered back to the third Barbarian, then stabbed the sword down at him once I was within reach.
My aim was poor; I was no fighter; but he was defenseless and the blade was sharp, and one strike was sufficient to spear him through the lower back. It was easy, no harder than sticking a chunk of meat on a skewer, and when the impact with the ground knocked the sword from my hands, I let it fall. The man was cooked from within and stabbed cleanly through the back. Let another Barbarian come along and chop off his head, if they needed such assurances of death.
Stumbling back towards the tent, I spared a glance at the first two Barbarians. One was still moving, but slowly, his bloody fingers clawing desperately at the hard earth. I paid him no mind, leaving the savages to die in the darkness. At that moment I wanted nothing more than to sit by a warm fire and wrap myself in a thick blanket. I was shivering, despite the effort I'd exerted. I was naked, after all, my clothing still wrapped up in the ropes I'd teleported out of, just a moment or two earlier. It seemed like it had been much longer than that, and I could only hope that Zia had not recovered. If she had some fight back in her, I feared she would best me with ease, in my current condition.
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