Metaworld Chronicles



Chapter 74 - All work and No Lunch


A note from Wutosama

Edited 27/01/20


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The day had begun to wane when Gwen and Whetu finally made it back to the dorm. To Gwen's surprise, the young man didn't yet receive his Storage Ring, so Gwen had Alesia transfer over Whetu's luggage into her's.

"Whoa, big spender. A medium Ring!" Alesia whistled. "Nice work, Tiger!"

"It was a gift from Opa and the big man," Gwen answered euphemistically.

"Lucky you, I had to maim a Magus for mine," Alesia said nostalgically. "I suppose that's why they banned honour duels to the death these days. The war was a great time for picking up bric-a-brac trinkets from rivals."

Sweating, Gwen and Whetu ignored Alesia's explosive revelation.

"Gwen, do you think we can stop over some shops? I need to purchase some supplies," Whetu requested.

"Of course, Whetu, we'll get right on it."

They arrived at the dorm a few hours later, Whetu having purchased all the necessary supplies for living in a new home.

"It keeps the colour fresh and the lines clean," Whetu introduced Gwen to the finer points of tattoo maintenance. "The creme also keeps my skin smooth like a babe's."

Gwen gave her approval, then helped Whetu settle into his room before returning to her own. The shared loft was as the trio had left it. From the looks of the undisturbed furniture, neither Yue nor Elvia had returned.

Gwen called Debora.
Debs answered within a second.

"Hey Debs, I am back at the dorm, how about yourself? Are you back?"

"Yep, can't wait to get started on the sweaty training, where are you now?"

"I'll meet you down at the canteen, got our new Abjurer with us."

"Oh nice, what's she like?"

"It's a guy, and he's super cute."

Debora grew silent.

Gwen hung up and placed her luggage and clothing back in the wardrobe. She then bushed her hair to straighten out the salty tangles from the harbour. When she met up with Whetu again, they were both starved for supper.

"Very nice building," Whetu remarked.

"This is luxurious?" Gwen asked, puzzled.

"It's sweet-ass." Whetu placed a hand on the aluminium handrail of the elevator. "In my old dorm, the lift is for cargo, the doors, they close like dis."

He made a motion with his hands like two parts of a jaw enclosing.

"Youse can get stuck in there. Ooo it can cut your head off."

The young Maori was so expressive that Gwen couldn't help but giggle. Whetu was a funny guy, and his easy manners helped her relax.

Arriving just as dinner was being served, Whetu rubbed both hands together expansively.

"I love it already, Gwen. Free food?!"

Gwen nodded, saying a prayer for the cook.
She watched the big man polish off a whole BBQ chicken by himself with a side serving of a dozen dinner rolls and a small mountain of mash. The rest of the canteen marvelled at Whetu as well, wondering who this giant was and why he was eating enough for three grown men.

Mid-meal, the lift opened and revealed Debora in a tight singlet and bell-bottom shorts that rode high onto her buttocks.

"Gwen!" She ran across the foyer and into the dining, wrapping her arms around Gwen's neck, kissing her on the cheek.

"Hey Debs, meet Whetu. Whetu, this is Debora Jones, our transmuter."

Debora had no intention of removing herself from Gwen's neck, so she arched her back and shifted her weight instead, extending a hand towards the gigantic Maori.

Whetu looked up from his half-chewed chicken, embarrassed, his mitts glistening with grease.

"Finish up, no rush." Debora retracted her hand, moving it over Gwen's waist. "What's wrong, Gwen? You're so tense!"

Gwen endured. "So what did you do for New Years?"

"More church, plus stuff with the family, I heard you went back home?"
Unlike Yue and Elvia, Debora was never privy to some of Gwen's more personal affairs, especially those involving her family. Debora had only a vague idea that Gwen had a bad relationship with her parents, something involving a messy divorce.

"Nothing, in particular. Sorted out some drama with the fam. I am free from mum for a while."

"Awesome." Debora's hands were wandering a little too north from her wait. Politely, Gwen arrested her friend's wandering hands.

Debora hugged Gwen from behind, then suddenly withdrew herself.

"You're still using that scale?" Debora accused Gwen cattily.

"Yeah, why?"

"It's dangerous. You don't know what's gone into it. You should get rid of it."

"Sorry, no can do, Debs. My grandfather crafted it for me."

Debora removed herself with a huff, then sat crossing her legs. Gwen couldn't help but notice that Debs was sporting the traditional Aussie flip-flop, her toenails painted a dark cherry.

"Do you like the colour?" Debora asked, changing the subject.

"Yeah, they suit your skin tone well," Gwen remarked.

"I wish I had your paleness." Debora placed a hand on Gwen's knee. "If I get anymore tanned, I am going to look like a rock."

"I heard that folks use Polymorph for cosmetic effects, though only temporary," Gwen assured her. "You're only two tiers away."

"But it won't be natural" Her fingers moved up from Gwen's knee.

Gwen spanking Debora's increasingly adventurous hand with a flick from her fingers.

"Whetu, are you done?"

"YES!" Whetu eyes flittered between Gwen and Debora. "You chucks dating?"

"No," Gwen refuted, much to Debora's chagrin. "We're friends though, and I trust Debora."

Debora's mood lightened up.

"Dobra Jones." She extended her hand toward Whetu.

"Whetu Tikitiki O Taranga."

Her friend shook Whetu's bear-sized mitts without a single kink in her brow. Confused, she wondered if the Indigenous folk specifically triggered Debora. But then again, that hypothesis didn't hold water either - Debs was chill with Tommy; it must be something to do with the Spirit Magic.

The three of them made small talk, mostly regarding the monsters of New Zealand.

"No way," Debora uttered in surprise. "You guys have Halflings?"

"Ay." Whetu shrugged. "Had em for years, they came over with the Brits during the colonial error."

"Hobbits?" Gwen inquired with great interest.

"What are Hobbits?" Whetu questioned.

The big man informed the girls that halflings were a humanoid sapient species common on the Island of the Long Cloud. In a place as rich in mana as New Zealand sapient demi-human species such as Halflings, Dwarves, and even the occasional Elf could be seen in the human cities. The caveat was that demi-citizens had to be especially warded against the barrier's repulsion effects through Abjuration offsets.

"They're good farmers. Great with growing food, bad at fighting. We buy their vegetables on the regular. They cost quite a pretty crystal."

"What do they do with human currency?" Gwen asked, surprised by the cosmopolitan nature of it all; Sydney was strictly human.

"Some of them send it home to Europe, for their families there who don't do so well," Whetu replied. "Others barter for materials."

"Wow, Wellington and Auckland sound like a treat." Gwen marvelled.


Yue and Elvia popped into the cafeteria, having returned from New Years at the Lindholm's. Gwen could just about imagine Yue's mother spending the entire night on wobbly legs, speaking to high and mightly Mages that came and went.


Whetu watched the girls hug, studying the foursome that was to be his teammates.

"Whetu Tikitiki O Taranga," he introduced himself. "Aim your Abjurer."

"Elvia Lindholm"

"Yue Bai."

"Pleased to meet you."


"Alrighty!" Gwen had the girls all sit so that they were five around a circular table. "The crew's all here. Let's get some dessert and introduce ourselves to Whetu."

The kitchen staff brought out five serves of custard pudding.

"I'll start den." Whetu straightened himself. "Aim an Abjurer, and my element is Pounamu."

"What's pounamu?" Yue asked, imagining a jackfruit or a durian.

"Dis is ponamu," Whetu replied, placing a slab of greenstone on the table. The girls felt a pulse of Abjuration mana emanate from the Kiwi. The chunk of stone came alive, forming into a dome.

"It's beautiful." Yue reached out and touched the conjured dome of jade-like substance. "Is it strong?"

"Very strong," Whetu promised. "Resist water, fire and cold. Good against physical attics too. The only drawback is that Pounamu is extremely dense."

The girls nodded approvingly, looking at Whetu's biceps. Whetu's muscles were very larger than life; his biceps have a personality all of their own.

As the mana faded, the dome crumbled into motes of diffusing mana.

"Okay, me next," Yue announced. "I am half-arsed tier four Evoker, tier five fire. My best spell is Fire Ball, and my best record is six consecutive casts before I am OOM."

"Coor! Impressive." Whetu resoundingly applauded. "I bet you kick ess in a head-on fight!"

"Ha, thanks, Whetu, I'll be counting on you." Yue turned to her diminutive partner. "Elvia, you're up!"

"Hi," Elvia announced demurely, her face reddening. "I am a tier 3 healer, hybrid Conjuration-Evocation. I can do Cure Minor Wounds and Healing Word, Remove Diseases and Minor Restoration, as well as some simple vitality buffs."

"A healer!" Whetu reached out and grasped her hand. "You're my number one priority."

Elvia blushed ever more adorably, and Gwen felt her heart sing songs of worship. She reached out and enveloped Elvia, pulling the struggling girl against her chest. That Positive Energy! Evee's soft blonde hair, her boneless body! Snuggling with Elvia was heaven incarnate.

Debora looked on saltily. "As you already know, Whetu, I am Debora Jones. I am a tier 3 Transmuter, Tier FIVE Earth element. I have a spirit of sand which allows me to control grains of elemental earth and mould them as I see fit."

"Very impressive!" Whetu was genuinely impressed.

"Then there's me." Gwen awkwardly coughed. "Can we bring our heads a little closer?"

The team made a huddle.

"So er… I am tier 4 Lightning, and tier 3 the 'V-word'. Tier 3 Evocation and Tier 3 Conjuration." Gwen whispered lowly.
soundedNo matter how many times Yue had heard Gwen's talents, it still sounded like a bald-faced lie. The numbers were just too absurd, not to mention she also knew that Gwen had other untapped potentials.

"I am working on reaching tier 4 Conjuration for this competition," Gwen added.

Whetu visibly shivered. He had read the data which Henry had sent over to his Master in Auckland.

"I'll show you everything when we have some privacy," Gwen suggested, then caught her faux pas.

"WHOA-HO!" Yue clapped. "Nice!"

Gwen blinked, then caught her faux pas.

"Spells, Yue. I'll show Whetu my SPELLS."

Elvia blushed in Gwen's arms.

"For now, let's get some rest because tomorrow is the beginning of a long three months!"

The oddly shaped group retreated from the communal dining. There was some time before their Inter-High training begun.

Debora leaned in for a kiss, received one on the cheek, then called it a night.

"Let's head up," Gwen announced. "Big day ahead."

Midway, Whetu disembarked for his suite while the girls returned to their long vacated home.

"Uhh~ Home sweet home!" Yue bounced onto her bed, instantly ruining the efforts of the housekeeper.

Elvia meticulously checked through her closet, replacing her linens, changing into something more comfortable. Gwen went into the bathroom and materialised her toiletries, preparing herself for a shower and a brush down.

The girls convened for another meeting before they slept in their PJs, where Gwen revealed to them the developments with Surya, Henry, and her mother.

"Yes!" Yue shouted jubilantly, ignoring the shushing from the other two girls. "Good on ya, Gwen!"

"I am happy for you." Elvia hugged her friend endearingly.

"Yep, with that episode is behind us at last. Let's focus on the days ahead! For Inter-High victory!"

The two girls bumped fists against Gwen's own.
The lights dimmed.
Tomorrow was a long day.

"UP! UP! UP!"

Gwen shot out of bed, gasping for air.
What the hell was happening, and what is that racket?

The racket was Alesia, and she was slapping Yue across the chest in the manner of a man playing a pair of bongos.

"Arrg!" Yue slapped away at her Master with futility. "Let me sleep!"
Elvia was already up, timidly dressing in the corner.

"Training starts at 7 AM! Didn't you read the memo?" Alesia asked incredulously, her face full of mirthful sadism.

"No?" Gwen replied, confused as hell and still groggy. "What memo?"
Alesia looked at Gwen blankly. She materialised a thick, leather-bound notepad, which dropped at Gwen's bedside table.

"This memo!"

Alesia patted the book. "I forgot— hahaha... Fine. Just for today, you get thirty more minutes!"



Hell began.
The five of them had stamina training in the morning, followed by the inspiriting vision of watching Whetu devour enough breakfast for five. Then they had individual training with Alesia, joined by an assortment of tutors sent over from the Tower. Lunch was mana-rich, vitality-filled food by the tableful. Following lunch came meditation and mana management. The afternoon involved more physical training, followed by dinner at six, where once again, they ate the town. After dinner, the girls had individual theory lessons with their various tutors.

Every second day was group training, fighting mock battles and working on cooperative strategies.

The girls had Saturday and Sunday off for personal training and reflection. Gwen took each opportunity to visit her Master in the Tower, where Henry personally taught her the nuances of her new spells - Dimension Door, Morden's Faithful Hound, and Eilard's Dark Tentacles.

"Morden's a Mage's Mage," Henry explained. "Truly the best of us. He was a nineteenth-century Scot, a Highlander, originally from the Greyhawk Citadels in Suilven. He invented numerous spells as a Conjurer supreme. A born genius, the Mage built a Tower alliance before such concepts existed - eight obsidian towers across Scotland known as the Circle of Eight. Unfortunately, not all the towers had Mages as rulers; some were local lords, one of which was the King of Scotland at the time. Inevitably, the mixed-company meant that the coalition failed at keeping out the Britannic Mageocracy. Morden blamed it on the rulers lacking equal skill and talent. He believed very strongly that only men of intellect and sorcerous skill, whose primary interests were more than material, could keep Scotland free and magic pure."

"Sounds like he was an amazing Magi," Gwen marvelled, fantasising if she too, was destined to be like this fabled Morden.

"His apprentice was another legend, you know, I am sure you've heard of him."

Henry made the motion of opening and closing his fingers.

"Bilby's Hand is a highly utilitarian spell."

Sufina manifested a mass of tendrils that became a humongous hand. The overall appearance was green and friendly until Gwen noted the barbed thorns covering its surface. Gwen observed the fist sail through the air, opening, closing, and grasping at nothing.

"Imagine that, with Lightning or Void." Henry laughed. "Ah— Gwen, what I'd give to see you mature. Though I'd dare say this combination of both Evocation and Conjuration would significantly drain your vitality—"

Henry coughed violently. While Gwen practised, Sufina saw her Master through his fits via a steady stream of Golden Mead.

The first few time it had happened, Gwen had rushed to her Master, but Henry had told her that it was an old wound acting up, that all he needed was rest. After all, he stated, Sufina was supplying him with raw life-force channelled from the heartland of an island paradise, there was nought for Gwen to do but wait for the episode to pass.

As their training progressed, Gwen realised she was once again the recipient of a rare privilege. Usually, students worked through theory, but she needn't worry about the usual, slow-going process.

Henry instead opted for brutal efficiency, putting Gwen in the Greater Cognisance Chamber to directly demonstrate how the conduit of mana and the invocation of Sigils should take place. Under her Master's peerless guidance, thus, what was a complex system of calculations and conjurations left no secret unexposed to Gwen's cognisance.

As a result, it took Gwen only a few hours to learn Faithful Hound, even though she couldn't cast the spell with combat efficiency nor guarantee a fully functional manifest, she could invoke the dog into the material plane without issue.

"Master, this feels like cheating," Gwen announced after observing her stoic hound, a mass of flickering electricity that was all but invisible to the caster and his allies. "I am learning this too quickly. Learning a tier 4 spell is meant to take months. My progress doesn't feel concrete."

"Can you afford the time?" Henry asked in turn. "One month is to learn to cast the spell, not use it in combat and under duress! You, my dear Gwen, need to master the spell! What use is Dimension Door if you cannot escape from your enemies in the split-second a Fire Blast or a Sleet Storm struck?"

"This feels so surreal," Gwen confessed. "I can't believe I just cast a spell I've never seen before in less than five hours. Those other kids at the private academies, wouldn't they have access to this method too?"

"Well," Henry smirked proudly, twirling his moustache in delight. "I have the only Greater Cognisance Chamber in Sydney. A standard chamber is incapable of sustaining a live broadcast of phenomena. You don't think your Master is only as good as someone which can be purchased with crystals, do you?"

"Master!" Gwen realised the extent to which Henry was providing for her. He was monopolising a precious resource of the Tower just to give her an edge, how could she ever repay her Master's kindness and generosity?

"Focus, Gwen, it would make me happier than you know to see you succeed in three months. If you wish to repay me, show the world that the Void element can be controlled!"

"I will, Master," Gwen promised. She turned to the wallless space of the chamber and began practising her spells again. First with Lightning, then with Void, fuelled by Sufina's generous vitality.

"Gather-round!" Gunther Shultz, Paladin of Sydney, shouted over the sound of explosions ringing out in the training field. Bartlett had not only allowed them the privilege of using the arena exclusively; the principal also had set up a privacy screen. He too wanted a team that excelled in the Inter-High, for it would bring incredible boons for the public school, maybe even propelling them into the status of a Selective High School should they best the private academies.

"Magus Shultz!" Whetu left the field and ran towards his idol. Gunther Shultz! Even in New Zealand, Gunther was a Mage of legend.

"Whetu, good work."

"Sah!" Whetu saluted.

The girls came down one by one. Gunther's lips twitched.

"Alright! Listen up!" Gunther told his students. "We're going to play a little game."

The girls were already exhausted, but Whetu was keen for more.

"It's called 'Beat Whetu'."

Yue sniggered.

"Wot?" Whetu spluttered out. "Why me?"

"The aim is to Break Whetu's barrier. You get a Ten-second countdown. At five, you get rice. At six, you get Salads. At seven, you get mains. At eight, you get dessert."

Paladin Shultz waited for the horror to sink in. "I once played this game with Alesia. She lost five kilos by the end of our month-long training. Instructor De Botton swears by it as a crash diet."

The girls regarded one another. They turned to Whetu.

"Do we get more than one go?" Debora asked.

"Best of three."

"How do I do this?" Elvia leapt up and down, waving her hand. "I can't attack!"

"The punishment or reward is collective," Gunther pointed out. "Though Gwen, I would advise against using your Void element, if you know what's good for you."

"How come?" Gwen asked, curiously narrowing her eyes.

"Mr Tikitiki O Taranga isn't so easily defeated." Gunther grinned.

The girls turned to the punamu Mage.

"One sec gills, lemme get ready!" Whetu took a deep breath. "Shield Wall!"

A semicircle dome of punamu instantly formed around Whetu, creating a protective barrier of jade.

"Shape Stone!"

The surface of the Punamu grew geometric, forming into little hexagonal shapes that bulged from the once smooth exterior.

A lattice fabrication! Gwen felt impressed. An application of physics in the magical world? Who could have come up with such an idea? Was there someone, somewhere that practised material science through magic?

Gunther noted Gwen's dismay.

"That's Magister Hildenbrandt's signature Shield," Gunther revealed conspiratorially. "Don't think of trying to learn it from Whetu though, his Master was inspired by watching honey-bees build hives in her Tower's garden. Only her registered Apprentices can use the spell."

"Resist Elements!" Whetu finished.

"Alright, come at me bro," Whetu shouted from behind the barrier, his voice muffled by the layer of protection. "Give me everything you got."
The girls looked at one another.

"Alright, who goes first?" Debora asked.

"Fireball!" Yue flicked a spot of flame towards the shield before Debora could finish, it struck the outer layer and erupted into a blossom of heat and death. In the next moment, fire dissipated, revealing a scorched shield that was flaked but otherwise undamaged.

"Fuck, for real?" Yue marvelled at the shield. "A dent only?"

There was then the sound of stones clinking into place. The shield was repairing itself.

"Fuck!" Yue shrieked, firing off another four blasts of Scorching Ray. Without the kinetic force of the Fireball, the strikes did less than nothing, piercing only the surface layer of Whetu's punamu barrier.

"Lightning Bolt!" Gwen gestured with her finger, a beam of lighting shot toward Whetu, skidding across the stone and grounding itself. "Well, fudge."

"My turn!" Debora summoned her Spirit and clad herself in sandstone. "Enhanced Strength! Magical Weapon! Haste! Jump!"

Using a successive burst of self-buffs, Debra launched a flying kick. Upon striking the shield, she felt the satisfying crunch of the punamu below. She kicked again, feeling another layer collapse. Then, Debora used both hands as a hammer, hardening her fists before crushing the shield with the impressive force of a cyclopean hammer.

Splinters of the stuff went everywhere, but still, she couldn't penetrate the shield.

From outside the action, the others saw the shield rapidly replenish itself by shifting stones from the parts which remained undamaged.

"Fuck!" Dobra cursed.

Haste was a skill that required incredible physical capabilities. Having now exhausted her mana, Debora puffed her bronzed skin slick with sweat.

"Well, that's about a minute and a half. You girls want to try again?"

"Elvia, get ready, I am going to need a double dose after this," Gwen warned her battery pack.

"Okay!" Elvia took a deep breath and readied herself to channel positive energy into her friend.

"Whetu, I am going to use it, the thing I showed you before! Are you ready?"

"Let me live!" Whetu shouted.

"Void Bolt!" Gwen felt the vitality leaving her body as the corrosive energy surged through her conduits. A second later, a dark bolt struck Whetu's shield and bit into the hardened outer layer.

There was a sound of shifting matter— then nothing.
After only three of six layers of Pounamu, her bolt was spent.

Gunther laughed heartily. "We have the same problem, Gwen! Our spells possess increasingly diminishing returns on subsequent targets. Against a multi-layer barrier, our mana cost is exponential! I hope you're learning from this!"

"Cheeky Whetu!" Gwen turned to the girls. "Hit em with everything at once! Debora, rapid-fire Catapult! Yue! Swarm tactics for your basic Explosive Bolts! Elvia! Magic Missiles!"

Whetu groaned.

It took their combined power to whittle Whetu down.

"Two seconds left." Gunther tsk-tsked with his tongue. "Guess no lunch, hmm?"

The girls glared at Whetu.

"No free passes." Gunther pointed out to Whetu. "Your very best. If you don't last five seconds, no lunch for you."

Whetu moaned despairingly.


The barrage continued.

In the end, the girls managed to down Whetu after five seconds.

The girls ate their meagre meals, Whetu ate his three courses meal while the girls received their just desserts.

They stared at the plain, colourless rice balls. At least they had salt.

"Whetu," Yue said innocently to their Abjurer. "Next time, prepare to die."

A note from Wutosama

Chapter Ref :: 

Volume 1 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
Volume 2 Amazon (US) the book is in all markets as well.
V1 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link
V2 Google Play, iBook, Kobo, Nook and Playster Link

Paper back in near future


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About the author


Bio: I write on the phone and edit at home. Times are tough!

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