A note from dotturndot

Hi, hope you're having a great 2021! 

Blowing a hole through the other side, Tia quickly noticed that Curtis—wasn't there.

Ice slabs continued to form, with Tia suddenly being in the centre of a cyclonic structure. The ice which had rippled to shards were carried by the wind as tiny pieces, swirling around like serrated glass. As inconsequential as these ice shards were, a hundred small wounds were no different than a single large one.

Tia clicked her tongue. This was the first time she had been surrounded like this. Just what did Curtis do that made it so difficult to keep tabs on him.

Tia swung her small dagger and tried to create an air shockwave. With a mere dagger, achieving such a feat with a similar magnitude to the great sword she used before was impossible.

Tia saw that a small area of the ice wall was blown into tinier fragments, but besides that, not much had changed. She was still encapsulated within a whirlwind of ice.

Magic was absurd.

Ruth continued to chew on potato chips with hyper-intense focus. Spectating the incredible showdown between the cat and mouse, it seemed like the mouse was winning.

Also, a pint of her concentration had been used to bring out the chips from inside the jar. Manoeuvring the wind to drag out a potato chip was especially difficult to do in a small enclosed space. It required fine precision control at the micro-level. To Curtis, Ruth thought it would be no different than him snapping his fingers—wait, wrong analogy, he doesn't know how to snap his fingers. Though, he could manipulate hundreds of heavy ice blocks using wind magic while running around.

Ruth was already a considerably incredible mage herself. During the evenings after work, she would spend her spare time practising. Besides those moments, she would also take the opportunity to solve small obituary problems using magic. For example, heating water, cooling drinks or healing a wound, though, that always went wrong. Under Curtis' guidance, Ruth took heed in his advice to master the basic elemental magics first.

After a while, Ruth stopped trying to use magic to feed herself. Placing her hand inside the jar, she dug around for another piece. Noticing something wasn't too right, she left her gaze from the battle and looked to the empty jar. No wonder. The battle was just about to enter its climax too..

Tia had stopped her attempts to break free. Strength and skill weren't the only important things during a fight. Those things weren't as omnipotent as one would expect. In a fight, there was another very important aspect that Tia constantly reminded herself of, tactics. No matter how strong someone was, one could not overlook the importance of this fundamental point.

With the wind churning around her, Tia careful accessed a formula using the information she had gotten so far. The question to Curtis' thin presence was something Tia had to properly think about. Being unable to grasp his location in time was no different than missing an opportunity. Tia could barely lock eyes with him before he would suddenly disappear.

Next was the icy wind cyclone around her. A dagger did not have the power and size to tear it away, unlike what she could do with a long sword or great sword. The dagger also had a gryostone etched into the guard, transcribed with basic wind magic, {Wind Compression Burst} although the effect was greatly diminished.

All that time she was thinking, she had been staring blankly at the ceiling.

That was the answer.

"Curtis, can I go all out?"

"Sure," a breeze swept those words into her ear.

"If you say so," Tia muttered, hand clenching her dagger tightly.

Pushing her lower body against the floor, she made a stomp and blew herself up into the air. Twisting her body to one side, she positioned her dagger and made a violent slash, casting {Wind Compression Burst}, combining both the physically induced shockwave and wind to propel herself away from the small cyclone of ice.

Before Curtis had noticed Tia's escape, she had already poised herself on the other end of the room for her next assault. This time, with all her effort.

The streams of winds shifted, and ice fled from its initial position. As if having a soul of its own, it forced its way into a wall between the two.

Tia stomped the ground, wooden splinters blew off the floor.

Parts of the ice broke off to form a similar ice cyclone around Tia.

{Side Step}

Tia's figure vanished and reappeared. Repeating the skill, flickering closer to Curtis bit by bit.

Tia could only dodge the big pieces and had those small pieces left no mind. Small cuts could be found on her face and her clothing was slowly torn. She manoeuvred in a way to best protect her eyes while avoiding any chance to slice the ice slabs as to not create more ice shards.

Curtis could only count on the feeling of the wind to guide his attacks against Tia due to the low visibility brought upon by the ice wall and numerous ice chunks. Metaphorically, Curtis felt it was like he was putting his hand into a snake's den, trying to hold it between his palms. He could be bitten any time if he lost focus.

And by bitten—

Without disturbing her salt seasoning covered fingers, Ruth took a sip of tea using magic.

'The fight is going well. I wonder if Curtis would win this time?'

{Side step}

{Ice Wall}

Tia swept her dagger upwards in an arc, raising it high up her head, she swung it down again. A powerful air shockwave pulverized the air, blowing it together with the wall of ice.

Curtis made a difficult expression, retreating a few steps back at incredible speed.

{Ice Wall}

This time, the ice appeared in front of him at a tilted angle. Curtis was close to being backed by the wall of the training room.

Tia didn't think too much and blew the wall away like nothing.


Curtis managed to slip past from the small leeway created. The ice was tilted to allow Curtis to flee towards the opposite direction where Tia was. Also, since the options to move backwards was removed, if he failed to retreat then, he would've been hit by the chunks of ice blown by Tia.

Curtis commanded the swirling ice shards and ice slabs to cover him, propelling the wind behind to block off Tia's chance of counter-rushing.

Then an impact shook his head.

Curtis' figure was sent flying halfway through the room.

It was Tia's elbow strike.

Rewinding a bit. At the second ice wall Curtis created, Tia thought that the tiled wall was rather suspicious. Having super-human instincts during fights, she thought of a different approach.

What blew the ice wall into pieces wasn't her dagger—it was her deliberately stepping on the vertical wall, forcing her forward momentum to a halt.

At the moment Curtis heard the crack coming from the ice wall, he rushed out. That was a mistake. If only he was a little more patient.

With her foot anchored to the wall of ice, Tia kicked it, adjusting her trajectory to drive herself backwards, towards Curtis.

The chilly wind and appearance of ice slabs came too late, but the few groups of ice shards that appeared in time grazed Tia's skin in the air.

It was a risk. But it was worth it.

At the moment her flying-self reached Curtis, she made an elbow strike to the back of his head. Incidentally, the impact was multiplied because of the initial momentum airborne. That was overkill right?

Curtis slammed against one of the walls. The impact was partially negated with wind cushioning and the rest by the effects of {Coat O' Arms}. Either way, it hurt like crazy.

Curtis fell to the ground, squalling soundlessly while holding the back of his head. After a while, he started rolling around the floor in agony.

'Yup. I put too much force into that.'

Tia felt guilty, looking at Curtis who was struggling at the pain with a sigh. It could be said as part of the practice. Pain tolerance was important after all.

Maybe she didn't need to be sympathetic.

A drop of something could be felt rolling down her face. Moving her hand up to touch it—blood.


The many ice shards had sliced some parts of her skin open. Her clothes were partly torn with some ice flakes still stuck between the fabric.

The ice slabs before all fell to the ground, the ice shards had disappeared; the temperature in the room started to drop drastically. Ice was no longer bound by Curtis' magic, so their normal properties were starting to manifest.

After a while, Curtis got up. Craning his neck left and right for a bit, he exhaled deeply. His right hand, placed at his nape while a white light could be seen glowing slightly. Healing magic.

"Now I understand how painful it was for Ellis that time she got hit at the neck."

"Sorry," Tia sighed. "I didn't hold back on the last strike."

"At least I finally got a chance to feel your true strength right?" Curtis was feeling optimistic. This was the first time in a while he had forced Tia to not hold back. "I don't understand how stupidly fast one can become."

"I'll take that as a compliment?" Tia tried to hold back her smile from her victory but it showed on her face as a crooked one instead. She had to use her full strength to take down Curtis, then it wouldn't it mean that the distance between them was closing in?

Curtis noticed that Tia was bleeding. Wounds over her arms, legs and face; Her clothing drizzled in blood at various places.

"I forgot," Curtis looked around the room that was starting to turn into a mini water-duct due to the of melting ice, then at Ruth who was trying to disperse the ice bit by bit using her magic. She was turning the ice and water into water vapour at room temperature.

Stretching his neck to feel the light recovery, he pulled his hands forward together with his Spellbook. The Spellbook was basked in a bold light. Then, all ice disappeared with Tia being enveloped in a subtle light barrier that impelled recovery.

"Thank you," letting out a sigh of relief, looking at the training room that had returned to it's the original condition. It would have been troublesome if it weren't for Curtis doing this service all the time.

Looking at Ruth, then at 'that', Tia instinctively held her breath.


"Yes?" Ruth who stood up from squatting because she was trying to remove the ice before replied in a rather cute, innocent voice.


"Oh, that? I was afraid the chips would become stale. It had been a few months already, right? On top of that, it was almost finished either way," Ruth glanced away for a moment, "I can't believe you've been eating so much by yourself!"

"I shared! I shared! I swear! I was sharing with the staff and papa!"

Ruth made a pout with her mouth, "Then I was just finishing the job."

Tia's shoulders drooped down sullenly. There was a saying that the most delicious part of a potato chip batch was at the end, where most of the flavouring would be contained. Here, it was a jar, but the same rule should still apply.

"We'll make more together with Ellis when the time comes," Ruth tried to cheer up the crestfallen Tia.

Looking at the empty jar, Curtis remembered that he had yet to taste a single chip from there.

Tia made a jerking motion suddenly as if she sensed something.

Subtly heard by Curtis, the bell at the door of the front store area rung, signalling that someone had entered despite the 'close' sign.

"Give me a moment," Tia quickly rushed out of the training room.

Curtis and Ruth stared at the trail of light Tia created. One of the interesting side-effects.

Then they turned to look at each other.

For a moment it was silent, until—

"This is?" a different male voice sounded.

The person who appeared from the entrance of the training room was someone Curtis recognized.

He too had a surprised looked when he saw Curtis.

"Ah, I've finally found you," An amiable smile spread across his face. He stretched out his hand towards Curtis, a handshake. "We meet again. My name is Hermit Hie."

It was the guy that helped Curtis at the whaling dock a day ago.

A note from dotturndot

Boohooo,,, I'm struggling to write lately. I noticed how my writing style has changes a lot.. is that considered a normal thing?? This is chapter 24 and I'm writing chapter 70-something. Yup, I have a lot in stockpile. But still thou.... could inconsistency be a good thing??

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