Chapter 228 - Junction (5)

Bord wonders what’s even going on as he intensifies his concentration. All he knows is that he was having a nice meal in a new eating establishment he discovered when he got a lot of messages at once. First, Selis started yelling at him, promising him that he would finally be able to beat Lola in a fair fight. Then, the rest of the students butted in, overwhelming him with frantic gibbering and shouting. Fifteen noticed that something was wrong by then, and also began bothering him.

Database also sent him some information, even though he wasn’t even looking at the crystal then. He solved the annoying situation by shoving his food in his ring, tossing the beastkin over his shoulder, stepping outside, jumping towards the crystal, and accepting the mass teleport.

So he appeared in front of Tree, saw Teach looking rather pale, and then he might have overreacted, he admits to himself. The red light reminded him of that time when they all got teleported, and now he stands next to Tree, exercising his will on Teach to keep him down, while Fifteen’s mouth fell open. Bord notices that she’s actually drooling on his shoulder, so he gives her a slap on her ass to make her stop being gross. “Stop being gross,” he grumbles while Willing Teach to stay in his hole.

“What?” Bord asks as the others stare at him. “What’s happening? Where’s Lola? Selis, you promised me that Lola would be here. Should we be worried about all those bright attacks that are currently hitting Teach? Guys, why are you all so silent all of a sudden?”

Ket’s voice sounds a little less dead inside than usual. “Am I the only one that thinks this is super weird? Bord being the voice of reason?”

“Nope. Come, let’s gut Teach and go.” Bord looks to the side, and sees Tess sidling next to Ket. She then grabs Ket’s hand, and Bord’s little mind explodes. Those two are hooking up? Since when has that been happening?

“I’m worried about Teach. Those dragons don’t seem keen on stopping, and torturing a charred corpse won’t be much fun.” Bord then feels some relief in learning that Selis hasn’t changed. There used to be loads of students, namely younger student mages and coloured people from the savage cliffs, who adored the little girl with blue hair. Bord just thinks she’s kind of creepy.

“HEY, FUCKNUGGETS!” roars Angeta. Then Tree grows a couple of massive fists, and the blazing beams of breath gushing from the large lizards’ throats stop as they are smacked from the sky. “Selis, how did you even? Never mind, YOU DARE SURROUND ME WITH VERMIN! DIE!”

“SWITCH KET AND ME AT THE SAME TIME? DIE!”

“MAKE ME TAKE CARE OF KIDS? DIE!”

“Sorry man, this is just peer pressure again,” whispered Vox before he starts screaming like a lunatic too. “I WAS JUST ABOUT TO BAG THAT SEXY VILLAGE HEAD! DIE!”

“I DIDN’T GET LAID FOR MONTHS! DIE!” finishes Ket.

“Whaaah?” comes Ares’ extremely confused commentary.

Bord is no longer interested in any of this and sniffs the air. For some reason or another, he feels like he should start walking towards the volcano. Yeah, that’s sure to work. He suddenly notices that he has been touching Fifteen’s butt this whole time, for some reason…

Putting the woman down, he sees that she is freaking the fuck out. The only reason she hasn’t bolted yet must be because Bord is the only familiar thing she recognises in this completely alien environment. Nodding at his wise assessment, and then promptly ignoring it, Bord resumes walking.

“Uhm, Tooth?”

“I’m Bord.”

“Yes, yes. Sorry.” Fifteen is silent for a little while, and Bord enjoys the dense qi and the familiarity of Tree’s forests for a bit. “Tooth Bord, where are we?”

Looking back, he sees her orange, white, and black striped face peering around curiously. She is walking rather close, though. She could fall into him if she were to trip. “Tree.”

“The golden one is named Tree?”

“Yeh.”

“And this entire place is also called Tree?”

“Not the moon. That’s Database.”

“Which one of the two?”

Bord looks up, and sees two moons. One is white, looking rather stark. Bone-white and dry, Bord feels the qi sucking effect of the massive chunk of rock from all the way over here. The new one is purple with bright weaves of green foliage, the bright interplay interrupted by reflective surfaces of glowing blue. “That’s new.”

“Which one?”

“White one is Database. Shut up.”

Fifteen nods with a certain grim gravitas as she walks behind him. The noises of battle behind them fade slowly as the two of them walk on, Bord speeding up once he reaches grasslands. Fifteen pops up now and then, her dark flames always letting him sense where she comes from before she slinks from the shadows.

They are halfway between Tree and the volcano when Fifteen speaks up again. Bord has gotten slightly bored of the long trek - the entire walk taking much longer than he remembers - and doesn’t comment on the fact that she is ignoring his commands again. “And the members of the Flight?”

“Those are new too.”

“Good.”

“Yeah, Re-Haan is pretty cool.”

“Cool?”

“Yeah. She understands me. She’s also been beaten up by Lola more than once.”

“Right. Understood, Tooth.”

The rest of the fast trip towards the volcano is a lot less exciting than the massive brawl they just left behind. Fifteen keeps a vigil eye on their environment, but whether that’s just out of curiosity or out of her duty as an assassin bodyguard, only she knows. Bord just wants to test his mettle against Lola. Fighting against Teach is as useless now as it will be in a thousand years. The rest of the original students - as the six of them are colloquially known - should really know better.

Even from many kilometres away, the shockwaves and ripples of their fight against Teach reach him occasionally. There isn’t a single doubt in Bord’s mind that Teach will come out on top, play the entire thing off as a fluke, while having taught extremely valuable lessons during the entire fight.

Bord is still working on his own foundation and doesn’t need any know-it-all’s like Teach meddling with that, thank you very much. Sure, Teach would probably show him a mind-bending new way to use his powers, a whole new world of possibilities to explore. But that’s where Bord is completely sure in the knowledge that he knows better. A great way to have a complex and unhappy life is to overthink things.

Take the woman trailing behind him, for example. There’s an infinite amount of questions and possibilities involving her, with infinite topics. But instead of asking whether or not they were their mutual firsts, what her true motive for trailing after him is, or how in all the everloving Flight crap Dungeons she managed to get two affinities, Bord doesn’t bother with that stuff. No, he smiles to himself. He’s just a fat kid that was about to get played with by some noble, about to die a needless death in a torture dungeon. And now he’s not. Now he’s the student of a Teacher with a bunny, and he really wants to beat up that bunny.

“Why are you smiling, Tooth Bord?”

“Life is good.”

They move in silence after that, each thinking their own thoughts. Then the very earth they walk upon transforms from lush soil into scorched rock, and a permanent sheen of dark flames starts flickering around Fifteen. “Got it. Life is good,” is her late reply.

Selis is overjoyed. Finally, finally, he, the greatest asshole, the man-baby and douchebag of a Dungeon-abandoned asshole called Drew Liam - she has paid a lot of points and favours to get his full name - is at her mercy. Her entire plan has gone flawlessly. All the months she has spent taking care of kids, her mind had been elsewhere. She used more than a mortal’s thinking capacity to take care of the myriad of children, of course. She is just hungry for revenge, not some kid-abandoning monster. She made damn sure to guide those little brats along the most optimal paths of growth, assuredly showing them the best and most powerful ways to grow and cultivate qi.

She’d made an entire base for the little brats. After being dropped into the middle of the desert, surrounded by dozens upon dozens of confused children, she panicked at first. Luckily, they had appeared in the shadow of a terrible and looming dungeon, a massive black square of immense proportions. Letting her power flow through her brain, making a true vortex of liquid power let her take in the entire situation for a small eternity during the first few seconds. She formed plans then, calculating with icy precision which problem child might need what measures implemented ahead of time. Database’s connection was very slow back then, literally a couple thousandth of what she was used to.

But she persevered. She cleaned up messes, stepped into the Foundation Realm just so she could make new rooms quicker, and tapped into the difference between liquid, gas, and solid just so she could take care of certain accidents better. The fact that she had the greatest breakthrough in her cultivation base while taking care of a particular serial bed-wetter is a secret she will take to the grave. 

But none of that matters now. What is most important right this moment is that the culprit, the nexus of all this shit, the sole and single perpetrator of all her misery and forced labour is right there, and she has the perfect plan to kick his fucking ass, take his fucking name, and chew his fucking bubble gum.

Wondering where that weird expression came from, Selis retrains her focus upon the task at hand. Her plans are coming to perfect fruition, and she allows herself a couple seconds of enjoyment. Basking in the light of accomplishment, she sees Drew emerge from the smoke. The dense fog is a remnant of the many, many beams of pure energy the dragons were shooting at him. Teach is surely greatly weakened by that continuous bombardment of attacks, and flying into the dense cloud of thick dust and qi, she comes face to face with Teach.

Who is grinning like a madman, and looking healthier than ever.

“Thanks for letting me take in that power. I’ve finally got a handle on this thing.” Time stretches on forever as Teach talks in his leisurely drawl. Selis is still moving forwards, pulling every single drop of water she can call upon behind her when Teach is suddenly all up in her face. One of his hands holds a small hammer, it’s dark and unassuming form somehow radiating more danger than the glowing fullblade in his other hand.

Then that unassuming massive hunk of glowing metal slaps her from the sky as Teach twirls around.

Vox really is doing this largely due to peer pressure. He might not have been about to bag that sexy village head, as his son is the biggest cock-block ever, but he is actually kind of pissed at the man named Drew. Teach avoided his super variable beams of light with ease, forcing Vox to get in close. Shooting his trademark lasers from close range is sure to make them hit, right?

Nope, as it turns out. Instead of taking any damage from the massive bombardment of Flight breath attacks, the man that had kidnapped Vox from prison comes out swinging. Selis is the first victim, her small body being caught by the flat of Teach’s massive blade and being flung away into the distance.

Vox backs up immediately, willing his forwards momentum to shrink into infinite smallness before immediately jumping backwards. The redhead barely manages to avoid Teach’s backswing, jumping up and hauling both legs over his head in order to avoid being cut in half.

“Don’t just fuck with vectors, man. Wavelengths are relative too,” whispers Teach into his ear.

Vox’s mind grinds to a halt. What he’s been doing this entire time is to look at everything as if they have small arrows attached. He has found a way to put those arrows in perspective and then mess with that perspective. But what if he just views everything like an oscillation, like a vibration?

His epiphany is cut short as Teach’s blue and orange sword slams into his head.

“Tag-team?” asks Tess.

Ket nods grimly, after which his lover sinks into the shadows. He feels her moving to the side, and Ket shoves at the metal far below in the earth as he ascends high into the air. Seeing Tess was great, but the fact that there are a lot of people around, and that Teach cock-blocked him for months now makes him see a little red.

No worries though, as Teach is great at a lot of things, but handling unpredictable circumstances and true randomness seems to be a weakness of his. Tossing out the massive amount of iron items he has procured from the many, many, many dwarven smiths, he also starts pulling every single iron item he can feel towards him. Pretty soon, there is a true storm of lethal projectiles circling around him, making for an impressive sight.

Now all Ket has to do is wait for Tess to strike first, then he can exploit that gap in order to deal massive damage. Ket swerves to the right, pulling on the iron inside a building far away to dodge the large chunk of wood Teach throws at him. His short hair rustles in the gail wind resulting from the sonic boom the wooden projectile went through, and Ket swallows hard.

Bord just walked off, Selis got punted into the horizon, Vox is out cold, and the dragons are still looking rather dazed. Their forces are dwindling, but Teach is also looking rather rough.

Then Ket wonders when Tess will strike, and this slight moment of distraction prevents him from seeing the small non-metallic stone that Teach just pelted at him.

Tess wonders when Ket will start his barrage, giving her the opportunity to sneak in and deliver a fatal blow, when she sees Ket drop from the sky. She briefly wonders what happened when she sees the big welt thats growing on his forehead.

They had a perfect tag-team plan, and Teach took out Ket before they could even start it. Shivering in fear, Tess thinks about retreating before she feels a slender yet unyielding hand rip her from the shadows.

“WRAAAARG!” roars Angeta. She started out so well, and now everything is going to shit. Tree is malleable to her will. But instead of yielding to her manipulations like any other plant, the big golden lunk seems to want to think about her commands first. These few milliseconds of delay are no problem when facing the Flight, but when it comes to Teach…

And her feet are stuck in the mud. Were Selis still with them, this would not have been a problem. That little minx is a lot of things, but she’s also great at handling solids and liquids. The white and gold flickers of power keeping her feet inside the soil are a sure sign that Teach and Tree are keeping her pinned like this, so Angeta looks for other options.

Teach is trading blows with Tess now. He has plucked her from her hiding spot, but she turned to black smoke, only to try to stab him while appearing behind him the next second. They are now fighting at speeds that Angeta can barely keep track of.

Feeling like this entire situation is only getting worse by the minute, Angeta pours out her power, determined to just wrap everything that moves in unyielding strands of green.

Then she feels a slight trickle of information and knowledge poke at her mind. Not feeling any malice or ill intent from the mental nudge, she accepts it. A rather draconic set of thoughts enters her mind, and Angeta smiles widely.

Cancelling her grass control, the beastkin makes preparations for the plan. She then grins fiercely. Now that a certain dragoness has joined the fray in a managerial role, things are surely about to get interesting.

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