21 Another day, another stalker
Ashley was looking worried while her friend stayed unconscious on top of the bed. The one responsible for putting her to sleep was the young mage standing in front of her calmly reading his book of spells, her own brother.
She was not a huge fan of asking favors to him. This guy always would request something very valuable in return. Despite being her own blood, he loved taking advantage of her status as a bartender knowing that she would often meet plenty of adventures that would require help that only he could provide. The problem was, despite how shady he was, the young mage was honestly really good at his job. Ashley had yet to encounter someone who requested for his services and left unsatisfied, so she knew he was the best chance her sleeping friend, Evlin, had at finding the person they were looking for.
After Evlin revealed a piece of cloth of the person she wanted to see, the famous hero Marceus, the boy begun to perform some kind of ritual and the cloth started to glow with an immense silver light. The light proceeded to circulate Evlin's body and made her pass out leading to the current situation.
She has been sleeping for almost an hour now making Ashley very concerned and wondering if something could have gone wrong. But before she could question him, her brother tried to calm her down.
"She's fine... Stop making such a face..."
"But it has been so long now..."
"She was looking for this guy for a long time right? They probably have a lot to talk about. Just be patient and wait for her to wake up on her own."
"You better be right..."
"Just relax for now... Why don't you go to sleep as well?"
"Like hell I would go to sleep in a place like this..."
"A place like this... I live here you know?"
"That's the point... If this is the place you call your home then there is no way i can let my guard down..."
"Oh please, you really haven't changed... Always worrying about nothing..."
"Never mind that now... What exactly did you ask for her in return?"
"You heard her... Nothing she can't live without..."
"For crying out loud... I didn't ask for her left leg or her fondest memories or anything like that... Just a material possession that I've been keeping my eye on for a while..."
"Possession... You asked for her armor?"
"Not the whole thing... I would be fine with just her crossbow."
"Why would you want that?"
"Do you ever wonder why she carries this thing around and not a staff like every other mage?"
"... Because it looks cool?"
"... No... It's because it possess all of the mass of a regular staff but in a much more practical and compact shape. Much easier to carry and handle it in combat. In fact, if you look closer, it actually possesses much more mass than a normal staff, which means she can access more magic power... And also because it looks cool!"
"This crossbow is really that good? Why don't all mages just shape their staffs as crossbows like her then?"
"Of course you would ask that... If it was that simple people would have done it already... The channeling tree can not simply be re-shaped so easily... Even my own staff is just a piece of the root in it's original state just like when i first received it."
"Really... But Evlin changes the shape of her armor like it is nothing all the time."
"That's because this girl is different... She is some kind of genius... Not many people can master modeling magic... I even heard she clobbered my student..."
"The prince, i was one of his many teachers."
"Yeah... I tried my best to make him into a great mage but he would keep acting like a spoiled child... He kept asking me to teach him how to become a master-mage rank but he just kept relying on white crystals to do all the work... He was nothing but a lazy brat..."
"I never took you for a teacher..."
"Oh there is nothing that i enjoy more than being able to share the greatness of magic with people who desire it! If only i had... ... ... The right student..."
"... Why... Are you looking at her like that...?"
"Nothing much... Just wondering..."
While the two kept discussing Evlin finally woke up and jumped out the bed screaming.
"Find Daren and Lilith! Find Ria! Find Marcus! Find Daren and Lilith! Find Ria! Find Marcus! Find Daren and Lilith! Find Ria! Find Marcus!"
She kept running around the room repeating these words over and over again with Ashley and her brother looking at her like she was a broken record. Ashley tried to calm her down.
"Evlin! Evlin calm down!! You look like you are about to explode!"
"I don't have time to calm down! I need to find Daren, Lilith and Ria!! And i need to go to Emerald Dawn now!!"
Evlin put on her boots and reached for the door on the room trying to leave. Before she could do that however, the young mage quickly appeared in front of her blocking her passage.
"Hold on, we have a deal remember?"
"Oh right... I forgot about you, sorry... Huh... Your name was...?"
"Xadi... And it is very rude to forget about your benefactor... Now... My reward..."
"Right... My crossbow... You mind if... I deliver it to you next week?"
"You're kidding right? Maybe it's because i make it look easy but do you know how much effort it takes to perform a tracking spell?"
"I can't give it right now! I need to reach the city of Emerald Dawn as soon as possible and i can't get there fast enough without all the power of my magic. I swear i will give it to you later but please let me go!"
"You really need to go huh?"
"Yes, very much!!"
Evlin looked at Ashley's face and realized that she had made the same mistake again. Xadi was a business man, and the moment they realize they have something you want, they always try to find a way to exploit it the best they can.
"In that case i want to double my price."
"You want all of my armor? Fine you can have it... After I'm done with my business i won't need it anymore..."
"Not just the armor, i want all of you!"
"... Beg your pardon...?"
"I want you to become my servant. I will be your new master and turn you into the greatest mage in the world. With you under my belt, there is nothing that will be out of my reach!"
"You know what... Never mind... Just take the crossbow and leave me alone..."
"Fat chance... You either accept to work for me or i will announce to the whole red district what you just told me... That people can find the son of the living weapon if they go to Emerald Dawn."
"Ugh... Why am i so bad at doing business..."
"It's less that you are bad and more that i am just too good. So... We have a deal?"
"Just let me talk with Ashley for a second..."
Evlin moved towards Ashley who had a stunned look on her face and tried to talk to her while whispering.
"Evlin... What are you going to do...?"
"... Hold me as hard as you can, we are gonna jump out of that window."
Evlin quickly grabbed Ashley in a bear hug and started to send healing magic towards her hands and legs from her wood armor. The two leaped out of the window and landed outside. Evlin then proceeded to put Ashley into a princess carrying position and started to run.
"Evlin!!! What are you doing??"
"I told you!! I need to get to Emerald Dawn now!! I don't have time to deal with your psycho brother!"
"But why are you taking me too!?!?"
"Because i have no idea where Emerald Dawn is, so i need you to be my compass!"
"Are you planning to run all the way there like this?"
"You got a better idea? I'm all ears!"
The two of them were blown away by a lightning bolt that fell from the sky and almost landed on them causing an explosion making Evlin fall and drop Ashley.
"Oooouch!!! What was that??"
Evlin adjusted her field of vision and saw Xadi floating in the air pointing his staff at her with small sparks of electricity surrounding it. That guy actually tried to hit them with electric magic.
"Have you lost your mind?? That could have killed us!!"
"You were very clever grabbing Ashley... How did you know i was planning to use my sister as a hostage?"
Ashley heard that and made an extremely irritated face.
"You were going to do what??"
"I was hoping that revealing you little secret would be enough to stop you and was planning to use Ashley as my 'plan B'... But i guess you are much smarter than i gave you credit for... You really are a box of potential just waiting for someone to open you... Why not give more thought to my generous offer?"
"You can take your offer and shove it down your throat! I don't have time to deal with another lunatic trying to capture me!"
Evlin pointed her crossbow at Xadi and used earth magic to create a rock arrow. She infused the arrow with modeling magic and launched it on the floating mage. Xadi aimed at the arrow and tried to shot it down with electric magic but before the magic reached it the arrow was transformed in mid-air into several smaller arrows.
Xadi used wind magic to avoid the arrows easily. Evlin was trying to figure it out a way to quickly deal with this guy and proceed with her mission. After talking with Marceus when the tracking spell was being performed, she was informed that she needed to find his friends who were located in Emerald Dawn, but he also informed that they were about the wake up form some kind of deep sleep and would probably leave if they didn't find anyone there. She needed to move fast.
"Ashley!! Is it ok if i stomp your crazy brother??"
"Do you even need to ask?? Just kick his ass so we can leave this place!!"
Evlin shot four arrows towards the ground which merged with the earth and transformed into four massive hands raising towards the air trying to get hold of Xadi. The flying mage covered himself with lightning magic and easily destroyed the hands with the powered swing of his staff. several pieces of broken rocks started to fly all over the area.
"Is earth magic the only thing you can do?"
"Like you can talk, lightning-boy..."
"You really could be so much more if you just followed me... Here... Let me give you a taste of what you are missing!"
Xadi raised his staff in the air and three spears of electricity started to take form of the size of a lamp pole. The spears started to fly towards Evlin. She needed to think quickly. Dodge it with healing magic, block it with an earth shield or defend by changing her armor with modeling magic? At the last second she got desperate and simply tried to do all three at once. She leaped backwards with a boost from healing magic, shot the ground and raised a giant stone shield and proceeded to change her armor into a wooden shield as well.
The three spears exploded on her direction by colliding with each other creating a blinding light in the sky and completely taking away her vision. When she opened her eyes she realized that Xadi was right in front of her. The spears were never meant to attack her, just to scare her and force her to make a mistake. Xadi swung his electric-covered staff and smacked Evlin's body who had removed all of her armor to create a wooden shield.
"You are still just a greenhorn after all..."
Evlin rolled on the ground spitting blood from her mouth and trembling from the electric shock. Ashley screamed in despair and rushed towards her side.
"Sorry sis... But she brought this upon herself..."
"What is wrong with you!! You are going to kill her at this rate!!"
"Don't worry... I'm just scaring her a little so she will never try to defy me again."
"Stay- Stay away from her!!"
"Oh my... It seems like you need a lesson as well..."
Xadi pointed his staff towards Ashley and started to charge electricity at it's edge. Before he could release another lightning attack Evlin stoop up, jumped in front of Ashley, grabbed Xadi's staff and used it to release a rock-bullet from the other edge hitting him right in the eye.
"Aaaarghhhh!!! You little pest!! I'm going to murder you!!!"
Evlin rushed towards her wooden shield and changed it back to a crossbow. She released another arrow infused with modeling magic into the ground and created a giant hand that knocked Xadi flying against a building completely destroying the entrance. Evlin applied healing magic onto herself grabbed Ashley's hand and the two started to run away from that place.
While running away they could hear Xadi shouting towards the sky with fury in his voice.
"I'm going to kill you!! Do you hear me?? I know where you are going!! I'm going to find you two and turn you into corpses!!"
Evlin could feel her body still in pain due to that electric attack even after using healing magic. It seems like healing is weak against lightning. But she didn't had time to worry about that. Plenty of time had been wasted already. She stopped running for a second and looked at Ashley before continuing.
"I'm basically kidnapping you right now... Is that ok??"
"It's ok! It's ok! Just take me away from here!!"
The two girls went back to running and proceeded to leave the city and start their journey towards Emerald Dawn.