Charthur stepped over Adrian’s surfboard and scrambled up the slope of his wave, frozen in place. From its peak, she surveyed the scene. The square had emptied out, perhaps thanks to news of her arrival traveling ahead of her. The war was still young, the two teams still feeling out their matchups.
It had been a week and a half since the last war. In that time, Charthur had been mulling over certain ideas. It was about time she got to try one out.
As if on cue, Nim emerged from the entrance she had arrived by, escorted by Bastion. She hopped down, and called out, “Nim, great, I need your sight / send it, quickly, into flight.” Nim nodded, then stared off into the distance, his pupils growing fuzzy for a moment. When he returned, he reported, “We’re in good shape. Zeromy is ready to make a play for their flag, so if you head to the midfield…”
Charthur waved him into silence. “That’s not how the war is won / point me towards their biggest gun.”
Nim let out a small groan. “Charthur, no, please, can’t we just take the easy point? I promise, you’ll have time to…” he stopped himself. He knew that look. With an exasperated sigh, he said, “Okay, since you seem to have forgotten how this worked out last time, Jasmaby’s currently locked up in the East Bazaar. We’ve got a few tigers there working to keep him caged in and, relevantly, away from Zeromy’s escape route. So if you could stay away for five minutes, I’m sure —”
“She’s gone,” Bastion pointed out.
“I know,” sighed Nim. “I know.”
Charthur pushed her way past Kid Neon, who was busy desperately trying to pat out a small fire in her mohawk. Ahead, she could see several fireballs hovering in the air, dancing back and forth as if being tugged about by invisible strings. Charthur stepped out of the safety of the alleyway, and got the impression that she had caught the attention of the nearest few flames.
Jasmaby stood in the center of the bazaar, spacious thanks to all the merchants that had evacuated at the news of the war. He turned as Charthur caught sight of her, but did nothing more — his face betrayed nothing, his hands remained loose and relaxed at his side, fingers twitching curiously.
So. Frontal physical assault had gone poorly last time, and that had been with the element of surprise. Charthur had been hoping that perhaps Jasmaby would be the one to strike first this time, but he seemed perfectly content to wait for her to make the first move.
Strategically, this was ideal. Charthur’s teammates could go off to secure the midfield, leaving the two of them locked in their stalemate. Jasmaby couldn’t rush Charthur’s alley without leaving himself open to an easy ambush at the mouth of it, nor flee without her rushing in from behind. Strategically, the right thing to do was to do in this situation was… nothing.
Four, thought Chathur. It’ll take four sickles. Tricky. But I can manage. She started forward, hurling one of her sickles towards Jasmaby. He gestured with one hand, the nearest fireball slamming into the icy projectile. There was a burst of steam — but the sickle continued onward.
Jasmaby hastily gestured again, a few more fireballs screaming out of the air to intercept the sickle, still en route. Fire was a bad match-up for Charthur, but she had gambled on him arrogantly underestimating the power of her ice magic; and it had paid off. Keeping up her momentum, Charthur launched the other sickle, still advancing on her target.
Jasmaby gestured frantically with his other paw, sending the remaining fireballs still in the air at the second sickle, each one impacting with a hiss and an expanding cloud of steam. Charthur marched into the steam cloud. She ran her fingers through the air, extending herself into it briefly. She’d have to work fast.
When she emerged from the other side, she was grinning maniacally. There was Jasmaby, hints of panic on his face, desperately sending more sparks from his hands into the air. It would take a few seconds for them to blossom into fireballs — an eternity, at this range. Charthur raised both her sickles, reformed from the steam, victoriously.
She threw a third sickle. Jasmaby, to his credit, barely managed a sidestep that took him out of the sickle’s arc. Charthur prepared the fourth sickle. It would be all she needed. Jasmaby was only slightly off-balance, but he had made a fatal mistake: he had made eye contact with her. Charthur’s eyes widened and flashed. “Icy You!” she cackled. A shudder ran through Jasmaby’s body, holding him in place. Just for a moment. Just long enough. Charthur launched the final sickle.
He couldn’t intercept it. He couldn’t block it. He couldn’t dodge it. Victory!
The sickle arrived at the rooted Jasmaby, who caught it and winged it back in one motion.
“Wha-” was all that Charthur managed before the sickle plunged into her shoulder. That’s impossible! Her nerves screamed as the chill bit deep into her body. She dropped to one knee, grabbing the wound with her opposite hand. He couldn’t be that fast, he… focus! She gritted her teeth and yanked the sickle out, a second wave of pain wracking her body. This is bad, she thought, her arm suddenly numb and weak. But it isn’t enough to take me out of the fight!!
A hand grabbed her by the collar and hauled her to her feet. She looked up into Jasmaby’s face, then to his other paw, pulled all the way back. Oh, okay, she thought, this is going to be enough to ta-
Part 4 by Opa-opa!—glitchedpuppet