She turned down the path leading south but Iranueel still stood motionless. He concentrated on his spirit sense skill and tried to get an image of his neighbourhood. But the limited range of the skill allowed him only 100 meters to scan. And they were clear for now.
Misako turned back and laid her head to the side with a question in the eyes.
“Just checking if there are any problems ahead, I can sense, but I don’t have enough range.
By the way, I have an idea, that could warn us if any hostiles stop by here, but I would need a bit of time for it.”
“Hm, about how much time are we speaking?”
“10 minutes, I guess. I want to draw a magical circle around the car with a big diameter, that warns me as soon as any people with hostile intentions enter it.”
Misako nodded and then turned sceptical.
“The problem is, that any avatar with a bit of magical aptitude could sense and move around it.”
“Yeah, but then we’re fucked anyway. Runabout mortals will not recognize it and trigger it, warning us ahead of time to turn on them before they can turn aggressive.”
“Ok, seems solid. Take your time, I will check the ritual, perhaps I can learn something myself. Or discover any mistake you make.”
A bit hurt Iranueel began concentrating on his earth magic and created a circle a little bit beneath the ground by turning the dirt into solid stone. It was a bit arduous, but after 3 minutes and meditating he began to infuse the circle with mind magic. He was surprised how much energy it took to cast the spell and it took him al last 15 Minutes more to end the spell and Misako looked quite irritated. He turned to her with a satisfied grin.
“Ready to go. Sorry for the delay but it was my first time casting a ritual and I wanted to keep a bit of a reserve of energy in case of a sudden attack.”
Misako’s look softened and then she turned around.
“Good idea, but now enough time lost. The longer we stay at a single place, the more forces our enemy can direct to us. So we will have to make more of the remaining time. I want to be on the street again in less than an hour.”
She began to jog down a hardly visible path leading to big bushes some distance away. They stood between 3 and 6 meters tall and seemed to consist more of thorns and unfriendly looking gnarled wood than green leaves.
Iranueel would never go in between them if he had a choice but Misako steered right down to them.
When they reached the copse Iranueel and Misako were a bit sweaty and had an unsteady breath and had to stop for a moment because Iranueel activated again his spirit sense.
“There are 6 small entities some 30 meters away.”
“That’s a convenient skill you have there. Why didn’t you use it at the village?”
Shrugging Iranueel turned to her.
“Its range is quite limited and I can’t keep it activated without neglecting the rest of my senses.”
“Oh, that’s bad. I guess there had to be a drawback anywhere. So, back to topic, how would you take them on?”
“How much time do we have?”
“The less the better, but I guess we should stay here for no longer than 10 minutes.”
Iranueel examined the copse and estimated its size to be around 150 meters in diameter. Then he calculated some things in his head.
“We have two ways of dealing with the guys in there, but I would tend to reduce our risks. the frontal assault is the obvious one and also the one with the higher risk. The other one takes around 10 minutes to complete, but would leave us with minimum risk and a depleted mana reserve on my part.”
“You want to cast another of these fancy circle spells, right?” Misako raised her left brow somewhat sceptical.
“Hey, it’s an elegant way to deal with the problem!”
“Yeah, sure. I forgot that I’m travelling with a fledging wizard eager to level his skills.”
That hurt Iranueel’s feelings quite a bit.
“The circle won’t take as long as before because I don’t have to conceal it and the spell itself is a simple ether spell targeting the inside of the circle. It will siphon the power of the elementals and killing them that way.”
“The moment they sense the spell they will be hellbend on killing you and ignoring everything else. And you will have to keep the spell running as long as possible.”
“I’m almost sure, that I have enough juice for this.”
Misako snorted and shacked her head.
“Almost he says. You know, I will have to save your sorry ass, if this turns bad?”
Iranueel grinned pleased with himself.
“I trust your magnificent skills with the knives. And for emergencies we can still use the pistol. The surrounding should dictate the kind of elementals that are around, so we will likely have to deal with earth elementals, perhaps a wood kind, but they can be killed easily by steel.”
“You are right there. Ok, enough time wasted. Do your thing and we will see how it goes.”
Iranueel took a branch and used fire magic to create some ash he then used to mark the circle. He had to do this six times more and when he completed the circle he had to meditate again, much to Misako’s anger. Ignoring her he sat down and let his mind clear and take in the energy of the world.
Just when he was finished he sensed his warning spell triggering.
“Misako we got a problem. Hostiles have triggered the circle at the car. We should get around the copse as fast as possible to get out of the line of sight!”
The woman took a fast look back and recognized a bit of fog disturbing the sight and then ran following Iranueel to get to the other side of the copse.
“Try to not break the circle, we could use it against this suckers.”
“They have to be blind to overlook it.”
“So we will have to make them look another way. We will have to use the gun to make them more concentrated on us than the ground.”
Misako stared at him angry.
“And I will have to animate them, right?”
Iranueel pacifying raised his hands.
“I have to cast the spell and need all the energy and concentration I can muster.”
“It’s just that I’m not happy with being the one with the target painted on its back. But I understand the matter. I hope they do not break the circle by accident, because then we’re fucked.”
Iranueel shrugged and tried to take look around the copse by sneaking careful around its border.
“Then we have to improvise. At least they have no one with magic powers with them, because then they wouldn’t have given us this warning.”
Misako admitted he was right with this one.
Then she followed Iranueel and overtook him shortly after to get a better look herself.
“If I am right, I will have to lure them in the copse to get them inside the circle, right?”
“Unfortunately yes, but I can exclude you from the spell. I will have to change the spell to attack them and the elementals also, so I will use mind magic to kick their asses. Do you think, you can lure them inside?”
“Depends on how much there are, which weapons they use and how much ammo they can spend.”
“Hm, I didn’t take that into consideration. We will have to change the plan then.”
Misako shacked her head.
“No, we will try it and in case the whole story goes south, get away as far as possible and leave me. My blood oath will hopefully bind me long enough to the world that you can revive me.”
“If this is over we should look into ways, that your soul just travels to me in case of your death.”
“Yeah, that would make the whole thing much more convenient.”
Misako got down into a crawl and went the rest of the way leading inside the copse on her stomach. Iranueel stayed back and also went down to make the smallest target possible.
The grass concealed him quite good but it also made it harder for him to watch the surrounding.
He activated his spirit sense sporadically. After 10 minutes he sensed 7 people entering his range moving in a half circle towards the copse. A quick glance above the grass made him see that all of them were equipped with assault rifles and watching the path leading inside the bushes.
They were only 50 meters away from it when the head of the guy in the middle rocked back and the body fell lifeless to the ground.
The next moment all of remaining team dropped to the ground and opened fire. Fire and smoke exploding out of their weapons they sifted the bushes with everything they got.
Iranueel saw Misako’s HP dropping a bit, so she had been hit at least one time. Then he heard an inhuman scream erupting from inside the bushes.
The mobsters didn’t get disturbed by it and emptied their clips into the copse.
When an earthen figure stormed out of the path and moved into their direction they put everything into it after they had just changed the clips in their weapons.
The elemental shattered into small bits but gave its brethren enough cover to get into close range. They moved much faster than Iranueel had estimated regarding the fact that they consisted out of wood.
The mobsters were now scared enough to stand and getting together.
Misako took the chance and fired another shot, but only hit the protected chest of the target.
The guy looked for a moment in her direction and regretted it the next when an elemental reached him clawing his face with wooden hands. All the other magical creatures turned to him and under heavy fire went down on the guy shredding him and gotten shredded themselves.
Misako fired 4 times more during the fight but didn’t score another deadly hit. Then he heard a loud curse and breaking branches when Misako went deeper inside the copse.
Iranueel watched the squad taking a moment and then taking pistols out of shoulder holsters.
“Open field… can’t flee…Inside…” was everything Iranueel could understand when all of them followed Misako inside with weapons raised.
Iranueel prayed that the commotion didn’t destroy his circle and began to collect his power for the spell. Formulating it carefully and excluding Misako from it, he felt its power rising inside trying to reach out forcefully.
His energy dropping like a stone he touched the ashen circle and released the magic with a headache building in his head.
Screams and fired weapons erupted from the inside.
He stood and ran around the bushes ignoring any sneaking. Drawing his knife he turned around the corner leading inside and saw the remaining 5 mobsters trying to get up. Blood flowed out of their ears and noses and they were definitely dizzy.
Iranueel moved as fast like a lightning to the first guy and rammed his blade in his enemy’s throat, moving right after to the next one ignoring the thorns slicing his arms and face.
Misako came from the other side moving like a rabid wolf slicing and hacking at the first guy in her way.
When Iranueel reached his second target he watched sickening green energy connecting with the next mobster on Misako’s side and turning the man’s skin black and sour. In the same time a wound on Misako’s right shoulder popped out a bullet and closed.
Iranueel hammered his knee into his target’s face crushing its nose inside and knocking the guy out.
The last remaining triad member lined his pistol with Iranueel’s chest and fired.
The young avatar felt an overwhelming pain erupting from his ribs and got knocked back to the ground.
Wailing like a fury Misako threw herself forward into the mobster’s back and stabbed her blade into his neck repeatedly.
She stopped only after the guy was a total mess and the head almost disconnected from the shoulders. Then she stood and looked a horrified Iranueel holding his hurting ribs.
The flattened bullet stopped by the armoured jacket he stole some time ago fell to ground.
A little bit ashamed Misako went to the last living enemy and siphoned the same green energy from him and directed it to Iranueel.
With surprise Iranueel noticed his pain vanish. Simultaneously Misako’s target turned into a rotting pile of pure gore and innards.
Iranueel stood and reached his hand out to Misako.
“Let’s collect their weapons and then leave this unpleasant place before more of them appear.”
Misako only nodded and followed him outside after they gathered the loot. They took 2 bullet proof vests, some pistol ammunition and four .45 caliber Colt 1911. They also collected 50000 Yuan, the Chinese currency. Outside the also took two of the assault rifle with them. They were of Chinese manufacture, so Iranueel wasn’t quite impressed with them, but perhaps they could sell them somewhere.
Then the two of them jogged back to their parking car.