As the cold wind gushed through the grassy ground the siren ranged and the VALDRO event started. Harry, Ken and Amber decided to part ways as Harry and Amber moved towards left and right while Ken decided to stay in the center. Their plan was to eliminate maximum players on their respective wings and meet each other at a common point near the end of the stadium ground.
So, all in all, it was similar to the ancient Roman military marching formation with Amber and Harry as two ends and Ken being the center of the lot.
Drawing the first blood, Harry eliminated two players head-on as he beautifully concatenated his sword kills with magical spells turning him into a deadly opponent. Meanwhile, Amber didn’t start too well as she avoided two close calls but managed to keep her health bar to maximum.
With all kinds of fireballs, water-cannons and other spells all around the stadium which was calm and breezy few moments back was now the arsenal for spells, madness and magic. But among the midst of the madness, there was one player who was constantly focused on his goal. And that player was our very own Ken.
Although he himself devised the plan and instructed Harry and Amber how to follow he himself wasn’t going to walk through it. From all the presentation in the morning, he knew that the key to winning this contest was not to take kills but to survive the whole event and attack only when the time comes. And as such he decided to act as a moderator of the group and look after both Amber and Harry while avoiding his own health loss.
Following his plan, Ken moved slowly and steadily with Harry and Amber in his sight and eliminated two players with an easy slice of his sword
An announcement followed “ 20 players have been eliminated and 45 remain.”
Following the announcement, Ken changed his position slightly towards Harry as Amber in spite of being a non-attacking player was somehow managing to stay away of danger and from that energy that Ken felt coming from her side, he was sure that Amber will manage to survive but the NIX energy which was coming Harry’s side was big and scary.
Eliminating a player with head kill, Harry was cruising swiftly along the plan but only to be stopped by a fireball which came from behind and landed right infront of him, attracting his attention to his new opponent.
“Wait! Wait! Wait! Hero. Aren’t you in too much hurry?”
“ Stop firing from the back and fight head on!” Harry snapped as he focused his eyes on his next opponent.
“I am not here to fight you. I am here to be friends with you”
“ I have no interest in talking to you.”
[interrupting him ] “That’s not how you respond to someone’s proposal. You need to be disciplined ” with an evil touch to his voice, he fired continuous greenish-white rings towards Harry. Harry hopped back and forth and rolled towards his left and easily avoided the hit but one ring brushed past Harry’s outfit before landing on the ground.
The foul smell of burning cloth came to Harry’s nose as the brushed part was actually decomposing with black mild smokes and blacky residue. Surprised from what happened, Harry turned behind to find black patches on the ground where the greenish-white rings had landed.
“You looked surprised my friend! it was nothing but plain water mixed with some ‘highly’ concentrated acid”
[maintaning his stance and holding his sword tightly] “Such attacks won’t work on me! Try something else”
“I was just getting started. Oh! Wait I know you. Aren’t you the famous American athlete Harry. How immature, you didn’t even change your character inside the game also“.
‘’ Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold, don’t you think?’’.
“Super! You speak like a celebrity also. What an amazing person you are.” Laughing childishly, while holding his cape around his body.
“Enough of talking!” a close-range melee attack followed as Harry rushed like a cannonball but only to be stopped a muddy swamp in between the two. The swamp was such that it wasn’t visible by naked eye until and unless someone steps on it.
“You think I am a fool! While we were talking I already planted this swamp because I knew that you will run towards me without giving it a second thought. How naïve of you.”
“What I was outside the game has nothing to do with what I am inside. So stop this nonsense and like a man fight with me hand to hand.”
“Hand to hand! Are you serious [an expression of amazement followed]? only a fool would fight someone like you in hand combat and importantly I use a dagger and yours a sword. So sorry sir!”
As time passed Harry, slowly and steadily was sinking down the swamp. He was in deep, deep trouble and he immediately needed a plan. Not because he was sinking but because of the fact that his health bar had started to reduce slowly.
Harry moved his body vigorously like a fish outside water but each time he tried to move his body, his rate of sinking increased. Suddenly, bubbles and smoke began to appear on the surface of the swamp as Harry started to cough and his health bar began to decrease at a greater pace.
(coughing heavily)“What is this smoke ?”
“Oh! This is nothing more than a simple mixture of sulphuric acid and some carbon mono-oxide.”
“Oh! No!No! senpai. I am no evil. I am just a plain simple man who doesn’t anything about chemicals. The only thing I know is how to mix some chemicals here and there. ”
“Who are you? And what do you want from me?”.
“How stupid of me to not introduce myself! I am Rico from Belize South America. When I was a kid, I used to see you performing in various events. I was a big fan of yours. When I grew up, I used to see your videos on my cell phone and I liked intimating your style, your blaze and the fire that runs within you.
When controversies surrounded you, I prayed for you and even sent you many emails and messages knowing the fact that I won’t get the reply of even one of them but still I had faith that not for my messages but my prayers were definitely reach you and you will be back on track soon. But I was wrong.
You came back, being more hopeless. The spark, the blaze which I saw within you, which made me your fan, was all gone and only broken and weakened Harry remained. ”
Rico was a South American who was of 18 years of age and was a big fan of Harry and his aura of an athlete. He was of Belize and was exposed to very little technology in his childhood but because of his smartphone he came to know about Harry, who was quite popular in those days.
He had a very unique fashion sense and wore a yellow, leopard patterned bandana on his head with a blue denim shaded jacket on the outside and black jeans on below the waist with perfectly matching boots. In addition to his usual dress, he had a cape which was matching his bandana and was large enough to cover his whole body.
Further, he contrasted his look by a black sunglass on his brownish-tanned skin and sharp facial features and a well-developed personality. The only thing which he lacked was a masculine body like Harry and others.
“Look! I know that I might have hurt your sentiments and I accept that I didn’t live up to the image that I had built earlier but many things were going on in my life at that time and I wasn’t mentally stable.”
[interrupting him]” You weren’t stable. Cut the crap out. I used to fight for you in my school. When you came back from your injury, I was so happy that my idol is back.
You know Harry, my friends used to make fun of you and your personal life but I used to hit them so hard that once I even broke the arm of my batchmate.
But! But! [laughing madly] I was such an idiot to pick up fights for such small issues and I even used to boycott them just for this small reason.”
“I am very sorry if you have suffered because of me but do you think that torturing me like this will solve your problem? ”
“Who told you that I am here to take revenge or anything from you! I am just a normal player who is here to eliminate my enemy.”
“Good! Because I’ll also feel bad if I eliminate my supporters!”
“Supporters! My ass” clenching his right fist, he started to mutter a spell as Harry tried to get to out of his dire situation.
Tremors started to shake the ground as Rico chanted his spell. Player’s started to fell and even Amber made the ground as she fell while running from an opponent. Suddenly, out of nowhere two huge, hands appeared from the ground and wrapped Harry around his waist.
“Now, you will know what pain is!” wrapping him around, the hands began to tighten their grip as shouts of pain and agony came from Harry’s side.
“Oh! One more thing. If you try to use any spell, the swamp will absorb the NIX radiating out of your body and eventually you will run out of NIXp and will be helpless like in those days.” Harry knew that he was helpless.
He couldn’t use any spells nor does he have his sword around. The only way which was left was to somehow escape from the tight grip of the hands and fall in the swamp because the grip of the hands was causing much more decrease in his health than the swamp and hence he started to twist his body side by side.
“One last thing. These hands are the extension of this very swamp. So if you try to move, it will tighten its grip.”
This was the final blow to Harry as his only way out was also cut off by these words from Rico. Now, he could either pray from someone to help him or wait for the health bar to die off!
“You monster!”Harry yelled as sounds of cracking bones were now audible to some extent.
“I am no monster senpai! I am just a supporter who is disappointed in you! <a long pause followed from his side as Harry kept on screaming in pain while Rico stood at a distance and enjoyed the whole scene>
So! I guess its goodbye champ!” Rico turned around as he was sure that it was goodbye for Harry.
Suddenly, the sounds of falling stones began to rumble in the stadium as Rico turned around to find a young man cutting through his giant hands with one slice of his blade. Holding Harry from his waist, he jumped over the swamp, step by step and reached the solid ground easily.
An astonished Rico remained as the man shrugged off the dirt of his overcoat. The man was none other than our Ken who, fortunately reached there before time actually runs out for Harry.
“this nullify gravity spell is really useful. It felt like I was jumping in space”.
<holding his abdomen with his hand and expressions of pain on his face> “Thank you for helping out”.
“Oye! Champ. Are you alright?”
“It seems that your ribs are broken.”
“No! it’s paining in here but they aren’t broken.”[getting off the ground with his teeth grinding against each other]
“So what’s the deal with this kid here? ”
“Nothing much! Just an acquaintance of mine”
“Acquaintance! Ya I can see that”<<taking a pun at Harry>>
“Don’t make fun of me. I am in no mood to play around now”.
“Ya! Ya! I know. Now stay behind and let me handle this”.
“No! wait I’ll handle this on my own.”
“I respect your decision but look at yourself. You are all broken up in here(pointing towards the abdomen) and your health bar is less than half ”.
Suddenly, balls of acid came from the front as Ken rolled out of the way and defended them. Regaining his posture, he looked towards Rico who stood exactly opposite to him.
“It’s bad-manners to break into someone else’s matter.”
“And it’s a grave sin to dress like a clown in a game where you have millions of good outfits.”
“Ha!ha! you definitely are a brave man to talk to me like this even after seeing what I did to your friend.”
“Actually your dressing sense fascinates me more than your power.”rushing off towards Rico, Ken held his sword in his right hand while he made a firebolt into his left palm. Fusing the two, he made his blade to blaze like fire as he charged towards Rico slicing off the acid bombs which came in his way.
“Hey! Hey! Wait, wait, wait!” backing off from the fight, Rico started to fall fack as Ken closed in the gap and “boom!”
With a solid hit, Ken anchored his sword Into the ground as Rico’s cape got caught into that and it started to catch fire because of the fire of the sword.
“I’ll be leaving Harry. Amber seems to be in trouble. But you don’t die on me. I’ll be waiting for you at the end.” [Ken started to walk back.]
“Don’t forget your blade!”.
“it’s fine. I’ll take yours in the way and remember, don’t let him toll with you.
Be the master of your own mind, rather than mastered by mind. ” saying his final words for Harry, he ran departed leaving Harry to face his own difficulties alone because he knew that if Harry gives up now, his confidence would keep going down and he would never be able to stand up again.
Detaching his cape and coming back to his original stance, “Where is that stupid friend of yours. Look what he did to my outfit. ”
“Enough of talking kid. Now it’s time to finish this up.” Collecting his strength, Harry dashed towards Rico and with all his power punched him on his face as Rico felt the wrath of the punch and fell down on the ground immediately.
Unanchoring the sword, he said “I know that I couldn’t live up to your expectations that but I thank you for the trust, the faith that you showed in me and so, I’ll defeat you in here fair and square and show you that I’m the same old guy whom you could rely on. Come at me with any attack and I won’t let you down.”
Rico stood up and in a really pissed manner he said, “Stop blabbering. Do you know how hard it is to believe in a dream and see it crumble infront of your own very eyes? You know nothing. So stop acting so high and mighty”.
“I know that I’m a fool and so come at me with everything and I’ll prove that the man within whom you put your dreams is back.”
“Pouring demise!” a squadron of clouds appeared above Harry’s head followed by mild rains. At first, it seemed like a normal water but slowly, slowly it began to melt Harry’s cloth and started to itch on his skin. It was acid that was falling from above.
Harry tried to escape the clouds by running here and there but the clouds moved with him and there was no escaping them.
“Don’t waste your energy. It’s useless to run away from them. A time passes, the intensity and concentration of acid will increase and it will melt your skin and you’ll be eliminated.”
“I’m not going down so easily! Enclosure.” With the words enclosure, an invisible air wall surrounded him. With series of firebolts, he made the circle light up with fire to such an extent that the temperatures sored nearly upto 500 degrees causing the clouds to evaporate like ordinary water.
Although his health took a toll in this as from less than half, it came to such a condition that one more such attempt and he is gone.
But Harry was a person who liked taking risks. From the start of the contest itself, he never was bold and straightforward. He was the one who initiated the attack from the front, whether having Ken as an opponent or anyone else.
What all Rico said about Harry just got him more pumped up as somewhere knew in his heart that there are people like Rico who looked up at him and because of these people, he can’t afford to give up on this competition or any other contest from here onwards.
[coming out of the cylinder of fire with his sword in his right hand ]“Alright! That’s enough Rico. It’s time to go home now.”
For one last time putting everything into it, Harry bolted towards Rico. ‘Left, Right and front’ three simultaneous quick attacks and Rico was left helpless with very little health left.
Perhaps Harry’s agility and his confidence caused his NIXp to boost up to such high levels, that the very last attempt he made had so much power in it that Rico couldn’t handle it and his health went from being everything <symbolizing nearly full>to nothing.
Rico knew that it was his end. With a smile on his face, he asked “ Before finishing me off, won’t you like to know what was my NIXp?”
“Seeing the nature of your attacks, I would guess that it was something on the darker side only”.
“Well! So much happened in my life in the past few years, that it made me sad and helpless and my NIXp turned out to be gloominess or more preciously sadness. Meeting you was my dream and taking inspiration from this battle, I’ll make sure that this gloominess turns into happiness. Goodbye”.
Muttering his final words, Rico disappeared as Harry delivered a weak punch as a finishing blow.
Looking towards the sky, with silence all around him and the wind blowing past his hair he said to himself “In the midst of winter, I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer. Ken Koshi, keep running and I’ll make sure that you will always find me beside you, competing with you till the end.”