Chapter 8: Into Battle
When William emerged from the portal, he found himself on a different battlefield than the one he was familiar with from the previous rounds. This one had much larger boundaries set out than the previous arenas. Magic of all kinds radiated underfoot as the folf strode towards the center of the arena where the representative from the Academic Collective stood in their hooded shroud alongside a purple demon with blue hair. William walked right past the judge and to his opponent.
“William of Clan Wintersong-Drackonas,” he introduced himself with his hand outstretched, “William is fine, though.” The demon regarded him with curiosity momentarily before he stepped forward to shake the grey folf’s hand.
“Abel Lambwell of Clan Hell, I guess though that is not fully accurate anymore,” the demon introduced himself as the two shook hands. “Good luck in this battle; I hope it will be a most illuminating combat.” William was confused by that phrase but the Academic Collective representative cut in as the two combatants released their hands.
“Good, you’re both introduced,” the judge hurriedly said as he pointed the fighters to their respective sides of the arena. “The battleground will randomly change to different elemental hazards in this round. You will aim to incapacitate but not kill your opponent while avoiding the traps.” Upon hearing that this was a pretty straightforward fight, William became excited. Elemental avatars and plushie protection weren’t what he trained to do. The folf trained his whole life to fight, and now that there was one, William was ready for it.
When the signal for the fight began, the magic beneath the battlefield erupted to life. Pillars made of unstable rocks sprung from the ground. William ran through the maze of pillars as they started to fall. Hand on his talisman dagger, the arctic folf whistled several notes from the Winter Song, sending gusts out in all directions. Rocks caught in the gales flew out and away from William. Suddenly all the rocky pillars disappeared and were replaced by hazardous wind gales and tornadoes that ripped across the battlefield. Normally wind like this would tear a person's breath, but William could walk among the wind without trouble. He spotted his opponent on the opposite side of the arena. Abel had a tornado on his tail as he tried to outrun it. A few more whistled notes redirected a couple more tornadoes toward the demon.
William ran to intercept his foe when the ground beneath him disappeared, and water flooded the field to waist-high levels. Abel could walk on water and easily close the gap between them. Waves started to crash around the now wet folf as his demon adversary began to summon more magic with his magical tome. William whistled a series of notes into his hand that increased in speed exponentially. He held the spell for a moment in his hand before it slammed into the surfaces of the water. The wind shot straight down into the water. Water began to swirl until William stood on the land beneath the waves at the center of a whirlpool. Tsunami-sized waves threatened to consume the whirlpool as magic ripped from the pages of Abel’s tome. Frigid air froze the waves before they became icy projectiles aimed at the demon as William whistled cold fast notes.
The water and ice suddenly disappeared as rocky pillars reshot from the ground. William released his held spells before a new set of runic notes set a gale through the pillars that shifted their alignments. Abel summoned a set of liquid stairs to get above rocks as they collapsed. A blade of high-pressure air rocketed through the sky at the demon, who could summon a shield of water to absorb the attack in time. Boulders flew through the air propelled at high speeds but were either blocked by Abel’s shield or blasted apart by a concentrated stream of water. William ensured all the rocks flew in the same direction as he snuck behind his occupied opponent. The folf hoped the next arena change would be to air as magic fired beneath his feet.
Abel descended his water stairs as all the rocky pillars disappeared. To the blue-haired demon’s confusion, his opponent wasn’t where he thought he was. As fire erupted from the ground, William ran up behind his adversary, throwing his witch knife into the air and grabbing him. With his tome hand pinned behind him and an arm around his neck, Abel couldn’t muster up the magic to cast anything. As he held his opponent in place, William whistled a round of notes that circled the pair to create a whirlwind of pure oxygen. The fire quickly ignited the oxygen, creating a fiery cyclone that encircled the combatants. Rapidly the radius of the swirling inferno began to shrink.
“Let me go, you oaf,” Abel choked out as he struggled against William’s grip. “You’ll burn both of us up!”
“I know how to survive this and can still cast,” William laughed as the demon struggled against his grip. “The real question is whether the stage will change before you get all burnt up.” The tone of the grey folf’s voice made it clear this wasn’t a bluff. He was ready to burn up his opponent to win this fight. William released the demon as the walls of the fiery cyclone closed in. A near-silent whistled note protected the canine witch as he backed through the walls of the flaming tornado. Water erupted from the whirlwind of flames as its walls closed around Abel. The demon was about to be swallowed up, the arena shifted, and all the fire disappeared.
Wild tornadoes suddenly tore across the arena as a smile spread across William’s face. Abel looked relieved not to be on fire when a string of happy notes shifted all the wild winds away from him. William kept his whistled song going as he drained all the air around his opponent. The folf watched for any sign of Abel to surrender as the lack of oxygen became apparent to the purple demon. William watched as his opponent tried to crawl across the ground before he passed out. Immediately the witch released his spell to allow oxygen to flow back in around Abel. The arena turned back to a normal field as the Academic Collective representative declared William, the winner of this round. After a few minutes, Abel sat up with a gasp.
“Careful, don’t take in too much air too fast,” William warned the demon struggled to his feet.
“You could’ve killed me,” Abel yelled between gasped breaths. “I was trying to surrender, but you let me black out.”
“I thought you were trying to crawl to safety,” William awkwardly laughed as he pulled out a flask. “Here, it’s full of a healing juice that’ll get you feeling better in no time.” Abel snatched the flask and drained its contents. The demon returned the flask before furiously scribbling in his tome as he walked away. “Nice to meet you,” William called after his opponent as he walked away.