A note from Aetheo

Welp, I was bound to miss a day eventually. I was hoping it would be later, honestly, but hey.

A literal headache plus a figurative one contributed to that, and also likely to any typos in the bbelow chapter.

“See? Not dead.”

Jessica coughed out a laugh. She’d seen that from his perspective, where basically the only things he could see was an enormous wall of fire in his face and a wall of darkness behind that would be as-or-more deadly to bump into.

She’d tried to move her focus to somewhere useful to him, of course, but that could only fill in for a certain amount of actual vision. She’d expected that as soon as she’d looked over there to a part of the lane close enough for him to Blink to, he would have taken it.

Instead, he intentionally stayed in the middle of the enemy’s targeting in order to hit the enemy support’s shields and equalize the trade. More than equalize, really, when she considered that the opposing carry was down a thirty second cooldown, while she hadn’t used any resources other than four arrows for four mech takedowns.

The opposing support was even hugely down on shields, moreso than her support was by far.

Actually, if he was willing to play like that…

She took three arrows out of the quiver, holding onto them and concentrating.

The first one would need to be plain, then Earth, then Water…

She took careful aim with the first arrow. If this one missed, she’d have to give up on the idea, and she’d already committed twenty energy and she was about to commit more.

Luckily, the first shot she had time to line up, and the opposing carry didn’t notice and shout a warning to the retreating support until it was too late.

Jessica used her passive to boost the speed of the first arrow fired, then Sniper’s Link to mark a red spot on the ground somewhat behind her target. As her shield bubble collapsed, Jessica nocked the second arrow, already aiming again. She heard some word out of her support, but didn’t pay it any attention. At this point, he either knew what was up or he didn’t.

Next was the Earth-attuned arrow, with the pillar at a backwards and up sixty-degree angle to the shaft. This time, the support managed to get her shield up in the general direction of the attack, and it appeared to extend outwards in blue light from the sides as Jessica used the other half of her passive to teleport somewhat forwards and to the left. Probably “Cover,” but it could also be “Bulwark.” The difference was just in an attack-count versus time duration, so both were regularly taken by supports.

Not that it mattered, though– those were the two taken because they could extend to cover allies, unlike “Defend.” Defend, though, would have stopped the earthen pillar which erupted out of the ground, shoving the enemy support forward with the strength of a strong push.

It wasn’t enough to actually harm, especially without any items to scale it, yet, but it also got both the powered shields and the physical one out of the way.

The third arrow was fired before even getting that confirmation, this time not at the support but instead at the carry, this time augmented with a use of Painseeker and speed-boosted by her passive.

That concentration-link popped into her mind front and center, but she’d already decided what to do with it, pushing the arrow down and right before scooping up into the enemy carry’s shields up and left.

Water-attuned, the arrow burst into a miniature wave, hitting their shields and bursting into heavy steam upon contact, as all water abilities did. It didn’t deal much damage, but…

‘First Blood: An enemy has been slain by [Nathaniel] with [Void Strike]. Assist Reward 350 Credits’

that hadn’t been the intent, anyways.

She was already pulling out another arrow in case the enemy carry decided to push into them with his nearly-full shields and ability suite, but it looked like he’d had enough. He was hiding inside the shield-bubble of the minions, intentionally avoiding casting.

“Uh. Sorry for taking that kill, I guess. I wasn’t expecting–”

“’sfine,” Jessica said, glaring at the man who appeared to be looking for a way to cast at them without wasting too much energy. “That was what I was trying to do anyways. I couldn’t have gotten that without you dying for it.”

This time, she was the one getting stared at. That was a nice change of pace from what it had been this past few minutes.

“I uh. Didn’t really expect that. Aggressive.” Nathaniel said, pronouncing the last word like a question as he walked back to stand next to her.

“Eh, I dunno. Only possible because they pushed up with the minions after your thing. Aggressive defense, maybe.”

She could see her alternate sight feed move as though he was shaking his head.

“Given what your early damage must be, I was mostly expecting you to just sit back and farm.”

Jessica considered that for a second. It would have been the smarter decision, probably, but the woman just turning around and heading towards her team’s base without even bothering to move through a wave for cover had irked her for some reason.

Though she had to admit, that play would usually have been a bit of a waste.

Actually, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a support with enough damage and mobility to set up, let alone finish that kill.

Not that that ever came to mind before she made the attempt. It usually just made an even trade happen and wasted the thirty energy and three arrows involved in the play.

It wasn’t a huge waste, but that most of a minute’s energy and a credit and a half lost for, usually, pushing the opposing support as well as her own out of lane– while any caster-carry would usually just be down a slightly larger proportion of their energy, but no credits and no ammunition.

That was the cruel… she would say calculus, but it wasn’t that complicated… math that had forced basically every other kind of carry out of the south lane in the two years since Arrows had released.

Any carry who required the use of ammunition, whether by power-based or physical, was at an inherent disadvantage as the game played on, trading permanent power for the ability to be present in fights.

Another few arrows went to picking off the enemy minions, again, as the next wave arrived– taking only the last shot and boosting their speed, and therefore damage, with her passive ability.

Five left in the first quiver, twenty one and four metal-infused total.

“If I’m just sitting back and farming,” she said, not entirely sure of herself, “I think I’m losing.”

A note from Aetheo

And there's the chapter that should have been the tenth.

Eh, it's still the tenth some places on earth. I'm counting it, I guess.

About the author


  • Class Breaker

Bio: Is it really lying if nothing untrue was ever said?

... Probably, but that's not going to stop me.

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