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Iceflame// Chapter 21: Welcome to the Clash

by SalisRuinen

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

The sun was already high up in the sky when Saya and the rest of the Summerbolts got in the family car driven by Graid and headed for the Nebula Park on 28 May.

They reached their destination rather fast as all those leaving Deckstoru by car had already left and there wasn’t much traffic by the time they left, thankfully for everyone in the vehicle.

The car that was painted in dark red and bore the family insignia in a jungle-green color on its roof had five seats to house all the five Summerbolts and had always been very comfortable to ride in. Now that Yuki was added to their numbers, things had got a little more difficult.

Iziya was put next to Graid in the front while all the rest were in the back, Hikaru sitting in the center with Rose on his lap, Saya and Yuki occupying the side seats. Thus, everyone was relieved when they stopped at Nebula’s entrance and got off their transport to go inside.

(Rose) ‘-I think it’s time to get a new car.’

(Graid) ‘-Sure thing, mom. You want to pay for it?’

(Yuki) ‘-I’m so sorry. This is all my fault. I’ll find some work to help with the funding for a new car, so we don’t have to go through this again. Maybe at the Octohorn Ring.’

(Graid) ‘-You’re not to come close to my bar again, Yu!’

(Iziya) ‘-Would you stop your complaining, so we can get to work?!’

(Hikaru) ‘-Easy thing to say for the one who was in the front seat! What about you, mom? Mom?’

Saya had not given a response as she was looking at the park around her with a small, somewhat nostalgic smile on her face, her son’s words breaking the trance she was in.

(Saya) ‘-Sorry about that, Hikaru. I was just thinking about how this place hasn’t changed one bit.’

(Hikaru) ‘-You’ve fought in a Class Battle here, right?’

(Saya) ‘-I’m the only member of our family … (she paused for a moment, wondering if she should say what was on her mind, but decided to do it anyway) … aside from your father … (Hikaru’s mother paused again to see if her words had saddened her son in any way, but found he was still smiling) … who’s fought in a Class Battle. And the only Class Battle I participated in took place right here.’

(Hikaru) ‘-Was it the same one my father has participated in?’

(Saya) ‘-It was. (the smile returned to her face as more memories from a wonderful past flooded her mind) We were fighting for opposing sides, though.’

(Hikaru) ‘-Who won?’

(Saya) ‘-It ended in a draw.’

(Hikaru) ‘-Because you two loved each other too much to finish off the other?’

(Saya) ‘-Wh-what?! No, no! We weren’t … it wasn’t … back then we still weren’t …’

Saya hadn’t been this flustered in a long time and looking at her child’s face, which reminded her so much of that of her husband, didn’t help deal with this at all, so she looked away to regain her composure.

(Hikaru) ‘-Are you blushing? I’m not sure I’ve ever seen you blush.’

The boy just made things worse with every word he said. Unable to maintain control anymore, the fiery mom just let loose on him and smashed a burning first on his head, slamming him in the ground.

(Saya) ‘-Stop focusing on me and the past! You’re here today for one reason and one reason only!! To beat those Martian bastards!! Turn your full attention to that if you don’t want to be returned to me in pieces!!’

The hot-headed six moved beyond the slightly rusty fence, the integrity of which was very questionable, finding debris from previous Class Battles that had not been properly cleaned inside Nebula. There were fallen trees of the deciduous type, mainly oaks, birches and beeches, here and there, only tree stumps being left in other places, the land still being scarred by cracks, cuts, holes and the like.

Some members of Earthling Class #1 had already arrived and had gathered at the base of a 20-meter observation tower that looked a bit run-down, Yuki and Hikaru joining their classmates right away.

The brats were all wearing the typical attire for students in the Earthling year who were participating in a Class Battle: either T-shirts or tank tops for both the boys and the girls, wristbands and longer shorts for the boys and elbow braces, knee sleeves and shorter shorts for the girls. The greater part of the T-shirts/tank tops was forest green and a lesser part – azure, this being applied in reverse for the shorts. Both the upper and lower half of the outfits had a wide bright yellow band on them, going across the chest for the T-shirts/tank tops and to the sides of each leg for the shorts. The wristbands and elbow braces were azure with a forest green line in the middle and the knee sleeves were forest green with an azure line in the middle.

Only one person’s outfit stood out – that of Seiren. While wearing a tank up like some of the others, he had covered his left arm from under the shoulder to the wrist with an azure sleeve that had forest green lines at both ends. That left only his right arm with a wristband while the lower half of his right leg was covered by a forest green sleeve with azure lines at both ends.

If Saya were to judge this group by their appearances, she would say they were battle-ready and more than that – they were eager for victory. Even Exo had a certain confidence and ferocity about him, which was surprising after everything Hikaru had told her about the techno-genius.

(Saya) ‘-You brats sure look very lively today. What’s got in you that even you’re so pumped, Exo?’

(Exo) ‘-We made a deal with Line-sensei. While we’re fighting on this battlefield, he’s fighting his own battle in the hospital. The next time we meet, we’re to greet the other with news of victory. So we’re definitely going to win today.’

(Rose) ‘-That’s a great spirit. Don’t lose it during the whole Battle and make sure to put those villains in their place!!’

(Tokura) ‘-Mrs. Summerbolt, aren’t you supposed to be neutral as an observer of the Battle?’

Iziya and Graid, who had just come back from the top of tower after leaving the five metal boxes they had taken out of the trunk of the car there, joined the conversation.

(Iziya) ‘-The Battle hasn’t started yet, so we’re free to favor whoever we want to favor. (she turned to Saya) But we need to make some preparations before it starts, big sis, so we might as well get up there.’

(Seiren) ‘-What’s in those boxes you took to the top of the tower?’

(Graid) ‘-The monitoring equipment we’ll use. Looks like the remaining members of the class are arriving, so why don’t you guys go over your strategy again while we get ready? Your opponents have already assembled their full force, so as soon as we’re done with the preparations, the Battle begins and you won’t get a chance like this again.’

As the brats gathered closer together to discuss their strategy, Saya pointed at them with her eyes while she and the rather sad Yuki looked at each other. She had said the night before she had come to terms with not participating in the Class Battle, but maybe seeing everyone in their outfits and being present on the field had changed her mind.

(Saya) ‘-Go and join them. You guys have been planning a scenario in which you might fight beside the others, right?’

(Yuki) ‘-Hikaru came up with such a plan, yeah.’

(Saya) ‘-Go over that plan with them one more time just in case, then. The four of us can handle these preparations.’

The baby doll joined the rest of the Earthlings while the four Summerbolts made their way to the top of the tower, where Graid unlocked the metal boxes. Four of them contained twelve minidrones each with Sunbird’s logo – a bird with its wings brought closely together and a star between them. The contents of the fifth were different, having four tablet-like devices in it.

Each member of the quartet took one of the tablets, synchronizing it with the set of drones connected to it, testing and tuning the devices as the Earthlings gathered their full strength and went over their strategy one more time.

Before Saya realized it, all was ready, the drones being sent ahead and above the park. The fiery mom’s set was placed across the deciduous area, her sister’s – over the pinewood area, her brother’s – over the Kisdeya River area and the sides of the park and her mother’s – above the rocky area. An additional indication the time to start this event had come was that the group at the base of the tower sounded like they were getting really fired up.

Hikaru’s mother wished she could postpone it further, but she had duties to fulfill as the chief observer of the Class Battle, so delaying was no longer an option. Neither was worrying about her son. She needed to steel herself to make proper observations and comments as an observer. And to believe in her child with all her heart and soul as a mother.

Going down to send him off would only serve to distract her, so she chose not to, instead calling to the whole class from atop the tower.

(Saya) ‘-Enough talk, brats! Get yourselves ready! Yuki, get up here! (Yuki hugged Seiren and then Hikaru, waving to the rest of her classmates as she moved away from them, Saya giving the white-haired beauty a flare gun when she reached her) Here you go. It sends up a flare to signal the Earthlings’ departure. The Martians have a flare gun like this as well. When they see the drones are positioned above them, they’ll fire their flare. Then you fire yours and announce the beginning of the Battle, OK? (Yuki looked a bit insecure at first but regained her confidence soon enough and nodded, Saya taking her tablet in her arms then) Looks like my drones are in position. How about the rest of you?’

(Iziya) ‘-All good.’

(Graid) ‘-Me, too.’

(Saya) ‘-Mom?’

(Rose) ‘-Almost there … just a second. Yes! Mine are positioned as well.’

(Saya) ‘-Earthling Class #1, are you ready?’

(The Earthlings) ‘-Yes, sir!’

The head of the Summerbolt family rained small flames of the bright yellow type she used on the students’ heads, roaring at them with the full might of her lungs, her faith in them channeled through every word she said.


(The Earthlings) ‘-YES, SIR!!!!’

The brats shot up lightning bolts, beams of bright red fireworks, dull green energy projectiles, Daroid energy rays and many more deva attacks to further demonstrate their resolve, Saya turning to Yuki after everyone calmed down.

(Saya) ‘-Wait for their flare. (within half a minute a flare was shot up in the sky in the distance, bursting in a lot of red sparks, dark red and brown smoke) Go, Yuki.’

The baby doll pulled the trigger of the flare gun, sending the Earthlings’ flare high up, where it burst in green sparks, dark blue and dark green smoke.

The burst of the flare was followed by a shout that rivaled the might of Saya’s inspirational address.

(Yuki) ‘-Earthling Class #1 vs. Martian Class #3!!! COMMENCE CLASS BATTLE!!!’

The Earthlings ran forward between the trees, Yuki looking at the image on Saya’s tablet she could no longer follow them with her eyes, the drones showing their movement from above.

Hikaru’s mother zoomed in on the image of the drone that had the best view of the group at this time, the structuring of that group being clearly visible now. Hikaru, Seiren, King and Tokura were moving in the front, Vega, Exo and two more girls being at the back. Quartets of girls were placed on the sides with five more girls having a center position, Annabel being among them.

(Saya) ‘-They’re moving with good speed so far. And are keeping a tight formation. How’re the Martians doing?’

(Rose) ‘-They’ve made their move already, so we should see some action very soon.’

(Iziya) ‘-Woah! Something passed through the pinewood area very fast! It seemed like a couple of steam deva teleportations.’

(Graid) ‘-It was. Those three at the river were responsible for that.’

(Yuki) ‘-There! I think it’s begun!!’

The image in focus on Saya’s tablet showed how great amounts of steam came in at the Earthlings from the trees in front of them, blue dots appearing amid the vapor when it spread enough. Suddenly hundreds of orbs made of blue flames came out of the steam, all of them moving in pairs and the orbs in each pair rotating around the same axis with increasing speed. Their rotation speed soon became high enough for the orb pairs to become rings of fire, reaching the frontal assault quartet just then.

Tokura reacted first, directing his hands forward, which caused all the rings to be wrapped up in azure energy and then disappear. Their absence lasted only a couple of seconds, though, before they appeared some distance away from the pseudoknight’s classmates.

Upon reappearing, the rings cut down some trees in their way before breaking apart in tiny flames that were completely extinguished without setting anything ablaze.

Earthling Class #1’s ‘small’ battering ram proceeded to shield himself with his energy sphere that turned invisible after the fire rings were disposed of, shouting something at his classmates before teleporting forward with a burst of azure energy.

A hard right turn was made by the class group to go around the steam and continue beyond this area while the drones focused on where Tokura was showed how three silhouettes came out amid the vapor that had already lessened in quantity.

The silhouettes were revealed as three girls, two of them being twins, who were rather short in stature, with cyan hair tied in two pig tails, light blue eyes and lighter skin. The third one was much taller, with a dirty-blond bowl cut, cloud-gray eyes, average complexion and piercings at both ends of her lower lip. Their outfits mirrored those of the Earthling group in design, the only difference being the color scheme. The Martians’ colors were light red and dark brown with a blue band across the chest and on the sides of both legs of their shorts.

(Saya) ‘-Lara Jade and the Nelaz twins, also known as Martian Class #3’s Hera Trio, clashed with the Earthling group first. They showed excellent use of their devas and their surrounding environment by going to the Kisdeya River, where the twins used their blueflame devas to heat up the water and produce a lot of steam. That steam was then used to fuel Lara Jade’s steam deva and allow her to teleport all three over a great distance with just a couple of high-speed teleportations. Tokura Braveheart remained behind to face them while his classmates continued forward, their frontal assault group having one member less now.’

(Iziya) ‘-Earthling Class #1 has just entered the pinewood area, heading for the big field at its center.’

(Graid) ‘-Three Martians have remained just beyond the Kisdeya River, while the rest have already moved on to the pinewood.’

(Rose) ‘-It appears the main forces of both classes are bearing down on the big central field. I wonder what the three left behind by the river plan on doing, though.’

(Yuki) ‘-Our guys just reached the central field!’

As Mrs. Summerbolt kept her attention on the clash between Tokura and the Hera Trio, Yuki went over to Iziya’s side to see how things will develop at the center of the park, the baby doll’s scream drawing the attention of Hikaru’s mother.

The advance of her son’s class across the field was halted when the ground under their feet crumbled to reveal a pit full of coral-colored crystal spikes, blades and stakes that were created beforehand.

Saya ‘s lips could not move to comment on the situation’s development for all her energy was focused in her eyes, straining to their limits to see every detail of what was happening on the field. To see Hikaru was alright.

Before she could confirm that, a typhoon quickly formed above the hot heads and tens of meteors rained on them, both attacks smashing the group right in the masses of sharp crystals.

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Wed May 25, 2022 3:50 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...

And I'm finally caught up! Please feel free to tag me in any of the future chapters you post (though I may not get to them immediately as I'm still working through a bit of a backlog in terms of my reviewing).

(Rose) ‘-I think it’s time to get a new car.’

(Graid) ‘-Sure thing, mom. You want to pay for it?’

I love this kind of family dynamic! It really helps flesh out the characters when you have interaction almost for the sake of it rather than simply because it forwards the plot.

(Saya) ‘-I’m the only member of our family … (she paused for a moment, wondering if she should say what was on her mind, but decided to do it anyway) … aside from your father … (Hikaru’s mother paused again to see if her words had saddened her son in any way, but found he was still smiling) … who’s fought in a Class Battle. And the only Class Battle I participated in took place right here.’

I think I'd kind of misunderstood how important the class battle was. To begin with it seemed like a huge deal, then when Graid explained it it seemed as though every class had one at the end of the year. Not sure if that's just the way I read it, but maybe the importance of it could be clearer in his initial explanation.

I can see the hope in Yuki that she can participate and I really hope she gets her chance. It's somewhat surprising how quickly she's become attached to these people but given that she knows literally nobody else I guess it makes sense.

I like that we've got kind of a birds eye view of the battle. It's very clever because it means we've got a view of everything going on all at once. I'd like to see a bit more of Yuki and the Summerbolt's emotions here. I know they're supposed to be judging, but they clearly have a preference for one side over the other. How are they feeling in all this chaos? It's all very factual so I'd love to see some emotion, and I hope we get that and some added tension when Yuki (hopefully) joins the fight.

Looking forward to the next chapter and the next phase of the battle!

Happy Wednesday


SalisRuinen says...

Thanks for the review! And I'll be sure to tag you from now on.
To clear things up, Saya pauses while explaining to Hikaru about what she experienced during her Class Battle because she mentions his father and knows that simply mentioning him will upset her son. This time around the boy is more intrigued than saddened, though, so it's fine.
And don't worry about Yuki and the Summerbolts' reactions. You'll get more of those soon enough.

Once you have read a book you care about, some part of it is always with you.
— Louis L'Amour