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Iceflame// Chapter 19: Strategy

by SalisRuinen

Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Hikaru hadn’t seen Yuki look tired before and thought he would never see her in such a state. He realized there was a first time for everything during the two’s training session on Tuesday morning.

Iziya was currently smashing compressed air with great weight in his back while he was doing push-ups, the mad bolt still being able to observe the baby doll.

She was creating tremendous amounts of ice shards at the other end of the Summerbolt residence’s yard with Rose by her side. Her every breath was heavy, her eyes hardly managing to stay open, her ankles shaking and everything about her indicating she was on the verge of falling over from exhaustion.

(Rose) ‘-More, Yuki. You’ll have to learn to create more ice if you are to succeed in producing clones that can be used in battle.’

(Yuki) ‘-Y-Yes, Rose. I’m trying my best.’

Another minute passed and the rocky grandma tapped the amnesiac’s shoulder.

(Rose) ‘-OK. I think that’s about enough. (Yuki put her hands down, the streams of ice shards coming out of them disappearing as Rose supported her in spite of the height difference between the two) Well done, my girl. Now you’ll have to start working on shaping mirror images of you from all this ice.’

(Yuki) ‘-Right.’

Saya’s mother allowed the white-haired beauty to lean on her a bit longer before she let her take a step forward on her own. When she was able to do that, Yuki directed her hands toward one of the piles of ice shards, causing a shift in it with some shards starting to come together to form more complex structures.

(Rose) ‘-Remember. Think about molding a body of clay piece by piece. Start with the torso, then the head and finally the limbs. The details come after. And try creating only one clone for now. We’ll work on the speed and the numbers with time.’

Hikaru had focused too much of his attention on his friend and her struggles, one of the masses of compressed air sent at his back by Iziya proving too heavy him.

He was hammered against the ground, some dirt reaching his mouth and some of the dust that had risen from his fall stinging his eyes, the pain in his back from the contact with the compressed air suddenly becoming more acute. Upon turning his head around, he saw his aunt had driven her shoe’s sole in the area of his back where the air had struck, pushing him down with considerable irritation on her face.

(Iziya) ‘-Focus on your own progress instead of Yuki’s, Hikaru! Do you want those bastards from Ulura’s class to grind you to dust that bad?!’

(Hikaru) ‘-I’m not even sure I’m going to survive until the Class Battle, so …’

Iziya now waved with her hand, lifting her nephew up in the air with a gust of wind and using that wind to turn him around, so she could look in his face.

(Iziya) ‘-You’re participating in that Battle even if you’re in a wheelchair and connected to an IV, boy!!! You hear me?!! You brought this upon yourself, so don’t even think about complaining now!! (the wild aunt sighed as she released the gust of wind used to hold Hikaru above the ground) Maybe there’s no need to push you any further this morning, though. Go and get ready for school. We’ll resume when I get back from work.’

Hikaru rubbed his hurt back with a sigh while looking at Yuki again, who had now successfully created a humanoid figure from one of the piles of ice shards around her, Rose instructing her on improving the details of her creation.

(Hikaru) ‘-At least one of us is making progress.’

Going to school and taking part in all the normal activities there was actually a relief for the mad genius compared to what he experienced at the Summerbolt residence daily. The only part of the school day the spiky-haired teenager wasn’t looking forward to was the lunch break. While he usually welcomed the fights that broke out in the canteen, right now he was not nearly strong enough to deal with any opponent that would attack him.

Just before lunch Line-sensei called all his students to their classroom to discuss something about the Class Battle, providing salvation to Hikaru from the issue he was worried about. The problem of everyone being hungry due to the time during which the meeting was convened was also solved, the one responsible being King.

His stores had been significantly increased to provide more energy in preparation for the Battle, so the gluttonous giant had enough food and was happy to share it with both his classmates and his homeroom teacher.

(King) ‘-Eat up, guys! Sensei, you too!’

(Tenji) ‘-Thank you, King. And I’d like to apologize to all of you for taking you away from lunch, but I thought this the best time for a Battle-related discussion. Ulura’s classmates are occupied now and won’t be able to listen in on us, so this is the only chance we have.’

Line started coughing after finishing that sentence, his students noticing the cough didn’t pass as when he had coughed before, Seiren patting him on the back a couple of times.

It passed eventually, Tenji taking a couple of deep breaths to calm his breathing down, noticing the worried looks on the hot heads’ faces.

(Tenji) ‘-Oh, thank you for that, Seiren.’

(Seiren) ‘-You OK, sensei? I know King’s food tastes like crap but that cough sounded quite severe.’

(Tenji) ‘-No, I don’t think it’s from the food. I’ve been coughing like this since this morning. It’s probably nothing, but I’ll go and get checked up after classes are over.’

The Biology teacher took out a rolled-up piece of paper from his bag now, unfolding it on the desk in front of him, the students’ attention immediately being drawn to it.

(Yuki) ‘-Is that … a map?’

(Tenji) ‘-It is, Yuki. It’s the map of the battlefield selected for the Class Battle. The Nebula Park just outside Deckstoru.’

(Vega) ‘-That place is used exclusively for Class Battles, right?’

(Tenji) ‘-It has been so for a while now, yes. Since this is your first Class Battle, I’ll give you a detailed explanation. I’ll only be doing it once, so … (Tenji stopped because he realized the sound of his voice was drowned by the loud noise that came out of King’s mouth as he viciously devoured his food, the homeroom teacher and his student looking at each other now) Did you think because you gave me food, you can eat as loud as you want while I’m giving an explanation that concerns your survival?’

(King) ‘-Sorry, sensei, but my survival depends on food above all else.’

(Annabel) ‘-King! Just stop eating for a second or do it like a normal person and listen to sensei! I don’t plan on dying because of your idiocy!!’

(Tenji) ‘-Now then, if there are going to be no more interruptions, I’ll continue with the explanation. (although annoyed, King stopped eating) The high-school education in Barilia consists of four years – Mercurian, Venusian, Earthling and Martian. Class Battles are to take place within those four years only between classes from the same year or between classes who are one year apart. The current Martian Class #3 has fought in a Class Battle twice already – first when they were still Mercurians and then the next year when they were Venusians. They faced older opponents both times and claimed victory in both Battles. The spread of the tale of their might and brutality on the field helped them make a name for themselves within the school. Then they received the patronage of the Nightsongs and that transformed them into the masters of Sunbird. (he looked around at the faces of all his students) That’s who you’ll be facing.’

(Exo) ‘-Sensei, if the explanation so far was meant to cause us to despair even more, it sure did the trick!!’

(Tenji) ‘-No, Exo. That was not my intent at all. I just want all of you to understand the seriousness of this. You can’t ease up for a second and must give it your very all. More than that, even. They have defeated more experienced classes before and since they’re facing younger opponents for the first time, they’ll surely underestimate you. Use that. Release as much power as you’ve ever thought you could muster and turn the tables on them. (he smashed his fist on the desk with more passion in his eyes and voice than anyone in the room had ever seen) The time has come for the birth of a new legend. The legend of this class! The true heroes of Sunbird!!! End those villains’ reign permanently and change our school’s future!!!’

The room was swept by a wave of battle cries led by Hikaru in response to Line’s words, even Exo looking cheered up by the homeroom teacher’s short speech. If the exhausted mad genius and the cowardly techno-genius’ spirits could be lifted, surely victory could be achieved. That was what the young Summerbolt thought.

(Tokura) ‘-We’re gonna bring them all down!!! Together!!!’

Tenji smiled and then raised a hand to calm the class down, his expression becoming very serious.

(Tenji) ‘-I’m glad I’ve lifted your spirits, but while I did say that you have to release all your powers, simply going all-out will not be enough to bring down the Martians. The other thing you’ll need in order to ensure your victory is a good strategy. That’s why I have gathered the whole class here. So we can discuss your strategy for the Battle. (after he said that, Line-sensei’s gaze and those of his students focused on the map he had brought) As per all previous Class Battles, the two classes’ starting points will be at the opposite ends of their battlefield. (he pointed at the one end of the map, where a light-green area was drawn) Your starting point will be here, at the lowest height of the deciduous area near the entrance of the park. (the Biology teacher moved his finger to the other end of the map, stopping at a gray-colored area) The Martians’ starting point is here – the highest part of the rocky area at the other end of the park. In between the two points lies a pinewood area with a big open field at its center, there being a smaller field before it at a lower altitude back at the deciduous area. The Kisdeya River passes through the park a bit further beyond the central field and after the river stands the rocky area where there is almost no vegetation. That’s what your battlefield will look like.’

(Yuki) ‘-How will the victor of the Class Battle be decided?’

Line-sensei coughed a little again before turning to answer Yuki.

(Tenji) ‘-The two classes are to fight each other until all members of one of them have either yielded or have been rendered incapable to continue fighting. Only murder is strictly forbidden during the Class Battle. You can wound and maim your enemies to your hearts’ content, but I would suggest to not go that far unless absolutely necessary.’

(Hikaru) ‘-From a geographic standpoint both sides have equally favorable positioning. They can defend themselves more easily from the higher area they occupy but we’ll have the cover of the trees in the deciduous area. (he put his finger on the light-green ellipsis at the center of the dark-green area of the map) This field here will be where all will be decided in my opinion.’

(Seiren) ‘-Our main advantage over them is that we have more deviants with sensory and healing devas. We’ll have to protect those at all costs.’

(Tenji) ‘-Indeed. That’s why that group should be placed in the center of your class as you move through the field, protected on all sides by their classmates. You’ll need strong deviants for the front group that ought to focus on attack and for the rear group that can focus on defense. The flanks can be made up of fighters of a middle power level to act as the main defenders of the sensors and healers in case any enemies slip past the assault and defense groups.’

(Tokura) ‘-I’ll definitely be in the front, then.’

(Exo) ‘-And I’ll definitely be in the back.’

(Tenji) ‘-You guys fight best when all of you are together. In previous Class Battles Ulura’s class has used the tactic of sending small groups to separate some enemies from their classmates while their main force waited further in the field. Once the main group had crushed most of the opposing class, they would rejoin the smaller groups. All that remained then was to deal with the separated enemies those groups had been holding off to achieve victory. In short, you can’t allow them to split you up. (Tenji directed his eyes to Tokura before continuing with his explanation) Your role in this will be crucial, Tora.’

(Tokura) ‘-How so?’

(Tenji) ‘-If they attack the class with small groups, you’re the one who should stay behind and deal with them. You’ll be able to do it faster than any of your classmates and rejoin the group to provide support against the main Martian forces.’

(Vega) ‘-What if we’re further split apart before Tora can get to us? Our healers and sensors can’t be left alone.’

(Hikaru) ‘-Each of them can join the assault group, the defense group and the flank groups. We’ll have to pick the members for every group in such a way that they can divide their attention between fighting the enemy and protecting the sensors and healers.’

(Tenji) ‘-I like that idea. Given the numbers of students in the class, the ideal version will be to have four people in the assault, the defense and the flank groups each. And there can be an extra member for the assault group in case Tokura is forced to stay behind.’

(Yuki) ‘-I can be an extra member of the assault group, sensei. I’m pretty sure Hikaru and Seiren will be in that group as well and I have the best teamwork with those two, so our chances to defeat our foes will increase if we’re together.’

(Tenji) ‘-If I’m able to secure your participation in the Class Battle in the coming days, Yuki, you can do that, yeah. (he coughed a bit again) Now, back to our plan. While Hikaru’s idea is great, it’s not likely the enemy will just allow you to split each group in such a way that you can both fight them and protect the sensors and the healers.’

(Seiren) ‘-Nice strategy, Summerbolt. If we keep listening to you, we’ll only ensure our defeat.’

(Tenji) ‘-No, no, Seiren. His idea can be put to use. You’ll only need to match the timing of your actions. If Tokura is separated from the rest of you, he’ll need to pass through each of the other groups your class has been split into after he’s dealt with his enemies to gather up the healers and sensors. Should he put some distance between them and the main enemy forces, who are fighting the rest of your class, it won’t be a problem to protect the healers and sensors, even if that task falls on him alone. After the healer-sensor group is secured, all other members of your forces will be able to focus solely on offense. And Ulura’s class will no longer have any back-up to rely on at that point because Tora will have taken them out beforehand.’

(King) ‘-That sounds great, sensei!! Looks like we may yet stand a chance against the bastards if we follow your plan!’

(Exo) ‘-You still haven’t told us who’ll be monitoring the Battle besides you and Martian Class #3’s homeroom teacher, Line-sensei. There will be other people present to judge our performance, right?’

(Tenji) ‘-Oh, yeah. It had slipped my mind. Thanks for reminding me, Exo. The Summerbolt family has been chosen to monitor this Class Battle.’

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Reviews: 64

Fri Sep 23, 2022 9:50 am
VengefulReaper wrote a review...

Hey Salis! Just here to leave a quick review.

Well, for starters, I really enjoyed this chapter. It's very dialogue heavy and very strategic which I appreciate as opposed to the common 'run at each other until one side is defeated'. There seems to be real thought and preparation put behind the Class Battle even before it starts. I was under the impression that the terrain wouldn't be known but I guess I was wrong there.

Secondly, I really like each person's personality coming through during the strategy session. Hikaru is really taking charge of the group and people are listening to him which I am glad is happening. He's a very strategic fighter and prefers to be prepared before a fight rather than playing it off the cuff like Seiren would.

I also really like the small training sequence you added at the beginning of the chapter. Showing their struggle to develop their abilities really makes it feel more earned when they finally pull it off so I am really glad we're getting that setup.

I like the brief description of the battlefield. As I have it in my mind: It's two starting points with one hill and an area of trees. Other than that, it's just flat terrain. I think adding in environmental obstacles to the strategy would make it easy to incorporate more descriptions to the environment. Something like: Are there muddy spots that make it hard to move? Loose rocks/boulders that can be taken advantage of? etc.

Other than that, I don't have any nitpicks to point out. Your writing is getting much better and the world and characters are really coming to life in my mind. The later chapters are also becoming more memorable and vivid considering I haven't read this in a month or two and didn't struggle to pick it up again.

Great chapter and looking forward to the next one. As always, stay safe and keep writing!
The reaper sends his regards...

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Mon Jun 27, 2022 7:42 am
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Liminality wrote a review...

Hi there Salis! I read through your first and second chapters a while ago, so I decided to give this one a review.

First Impressions

The chapter definitely fits its title! Compared to the first one at least, it’s a lot more dialogue-heavy. I appreciate that the script-like formatting (just showing the character’s names and what they’re saying, with actions in brackets) is appropriate here, though this is the first time I’ve read a novel chapter on here that’s been styled this way. I liked reading the strategy discussions – they were very involved, which makes me eager to see them play out even if I'm not eager to see any of the characters get hurt ^^'. Speaking of characters, I’m a fan of Rose and Yuki – they seem level-headed, which helps me relate to them a little better. I also kind of like King because of his generosity and straightforward demeanour.


Something I liked was that this chapter builds up tension and anticipation for the Class Battle. It seems that a few different twists or foreshadowing for future twists are being introduced, which makes me curious to see them play out.

(Tenji) ‘-No, I don’t think it’s from the food. I’ve been coughing like this since this morning. It’s probably nothing, but I’ll go and get checked up after classes are over.’

Suspicious. I suspect poisoning. Since the opponent class has been described as tyrannical, I wonder if Tenji’s apparent illness has something to do with them . . .

The strategy they come up with sounds pretty well thought-out. I like that they have some idea of what their opponents will be doing as well.

They have defeated more experienced classes before and since they’re facing younger opponents for the first time, they’ll surely underestimate you. Use that.

That’s pretty smart! I like using the antagonist’s mindset against them.


Something that could be improved on I think is the description of the setting. There’s a lot of detail given via dialogue about the social structure (the different class years and Ulura’s class’s history) and some detail shown about how the devas work. I think it would help me understand the world of these characters more if I had a sense of say, what their classroom looks like. Is it built to accommodate people with special powers? What sort of food are the classmates eating? The story kind of implies it’s special, since it helps King with his powers. Even if the classroom has been described in previous chapters, I still think it would be nice to see the characters interacting with their environment a bit more.

I’m also curious about the epithets, like “the mad bolt”, “the baby doll” (is Yuki . . . secretly made out of wood or porcelain or something like that? Like a Pinocchio situation?), “the exhausted mad genius “, “the cowardly techno-genius”. Are those special titles that get assigned to each of the deviants? Nicknames given by friends? Or is that just part of the style of the story?


While I’m not super familiar with everyone in this chapter, I did notice that characters like Hikaru, Seiren and Yuki seem pretty consistent with how they were written in the first chapters.
(Yuki) ‘-I can be an extra member of the assault group, sensei. I’m pretty sure Hikaru and Seiren will be in that group as well and I have the best teamwork with those two, so our chances to defeat our foes will increase if we’re together.’

I remember that Yuki met Hikaru and Seiren first, so I think this makes sense and I like that there’s continuity there.

(Seiren) ‘-Nice strategy, Summerbolt. If we keep listening to you, we’ll only ensure our defeat.’

I also find it in-character that Seiren is insulting him here even though when Hikaru was actually discussing the strategy, Seiren joined in the conversation like he agreed with him 100%. It shows a kind of frenemy relationship, I think.


I like that the plot still seems fresh and exciting all the way in to Chapter 19. The thing that I’m most curious to see as I read through these chapters is how the battle will turn out, but also what it will mean in the society that these characters live in. (After all, it seems quite different from our own, with dangerous battles taking place among . . .teenagers? Young people, at any rate, and the adults just kind of being okay with it.) I also wonder if Yuki will succeed in creating those ice clones, since she seems to have made quite a bit of progress in this chapter alone.

Hope some of this helps, and feel free to ask for more feedback!

SalisRuinen says...

Thank you very much for the review!!
Descriptions of the environment are one of the main things I'm still working on and will be one of the last to be added in different parts of the story. Sadly I haven't developed the habit of describing things yet and I guess it shows it here. But I'll be sure to fix this soon enough.
The epithets you mentioned represent examples of the sets of nicknames/compounds to describe each of the characters so I don't have to refer to them by their name every time they're mentioned and thus avoid too much repetition. In Yuki's case, she's referred to as a 'baby doll' due to her mesmerizing beauty similar to that of a porcelain doll. Hikaru, on the other hand, has anger issues and uses lightning, thus being called a 'mad bolt'.
Lastly, the adults don't exactly agree with Class Battles being held, but are forced to accept that as pleading with the government to forbid such a practice - the main tool to evaluate young deviants' battle preparedness - would lead to no actual result or more likely - to a negative one.

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Wed May 25, 2022 12:04 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

We're getting there! Only two more chapters after this one until I'm up to date.

It was nice to see Rose back in this chapter. It's been a while since we've seen her and she's quite an interesting character so it was good to have her return. I also like the relationship Yuki is developing with the family, she's really fitting in.

One thing that does seem odd is that nobody seems at all concerned about who Yuki is and where she's from anymore. She's integrated into the school and now doesn't seem to care about the rest of it as she has this new goal in sight. It just seems like a bit of a miss.

Now that you've introduced Tenji's cough, it would be good for him to cough in a few further sentences so that we're reminded of it (as subtly as possible).

What else do they actually learn at this school except how to fight each other? It might add a sense of realism if they at least refer to some other lessons, or does this class battle take precedence over everything else? The class certainly seem to be somewhat knowledgeable about things in relation to the fight so I'm assuming they must learn other things but it would be good to have some further indication of that.

(Exo) ‘-You still haven’t told us who’ll be monitoring the Battle besides you and Martian Class #3 ’s homeroom teacher, Line-sensei. There will be other people present to judge our performance, right?’

(Tenji) ‘-Oh, yeah. It had slipped my mind. Thanks for reminding me, Exo. The Summerbolt family has been chosen to monitor this Class Battle.’

Oooh a twist in our favour! I have no idea they've managed to swing this considering... aren't they going to be incredibly biased in favour of Hikaru's class?

I guess I'll have to wait to find out!

Hope this was helpful!


SalisRuinen says...

Thank you for this review as well!
With the resources the Summerbolts have it's impossible to find out more about Yuki's past and if even the police can't find anything more, the mystery will have to remain for the time being. Plus, looking into her past is the least of Yuki's worries with the coming Class Battle and all the preparations for it.
Combat training is essential in Sunbird, but all the standard subjects for high school education are taught there as well. I'll take time to edit some of these chapters to fit more information about that in them.
It's obvious the Summerbolts will be biased, which suggests that there is another reason they've been chosen as observers. What that reason is exactly will be revealed in time.

I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.
— Markus Zusak, The Book Thief