Young Writers Society


16+ Language Violence

Iceflame// Chapter 31: Burn the Bolt

by SalisRuinen


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

Hikaru knew right off the bat Hock wasn’t trying simply to defeat him. He wanted to kill him.

The mad genius quickly got back on his feet after the worst bully in Ulura’s class pushed him down a gully in the pinewood area of Nebula, luckily having survived the whole rolling down without a scratch. Just as he got up, his opponent reached him with stunning speed, clad in scarlet and electric violet energy and with a hand directed forward in a dagger-like fashion for a piercing attack. What was truly unnerving wasn’t his speed, though, but his expression.

Hikaru had had many squabbles with Hock and during all of those the villainous bastard would always have a mocking smile on his face. His approach to fighting had never been really serious.

Right now, his face was a shadow of menacing solemnity. And that solemnity was menacing enough to even make the young Summerbolt feel a tinge of fear.

Whether it was due to that or to the fact Saya had trained his reflexes to develop as fast a response as humanly possible, he teleported to the side of the attack with his lightning. As the Martian pierced the tree behind him with enough power to make it fall, the spiky-haired teenager looked at his chest.

A piece of his T-shirt was ripped there and a shallow wound had formed on the skin. With the knowledge he had of human anatomy, he could tell the spot the Martian had aimed for was exactly where the heart was supposed to be.

And in the moment of this realization his heart started pounding faster, the cold tone of Hock’s voice as he spoke while the opponents turned to face each other striking even more fear in the Earthling’s soul.

(Hock) ‘I missed. I’ll have to go faster next time.’

(Hikaru) ‘What the hell are you doing?!’

Hock burst in even more of the two types of energy he could use.

(Hock) ‘What does it look like I’m doing? I’m killing you, Summerbolt.’

At that point the lightning warrior wondered if the young man sitting opposite him was even the Bully King of Sunbird he knew. Everything – his behavior, the way he spoke, the very air he had about him – was different.

(Hikaru) ‘Why go that far?! Have you been brainwashed or something?!’

(Hock) ‘I’m just taking the next step.’

(Hikaru) ‘Towards what?!’

(Hock) ‘I’ve had enough of bullying. That’s kids’ stuff. It’s time to see if I have what it takes to be a man.’

The second he finished that sentence, he lunged forward with an even higher speed than that of his previous attack, Hikaru being ready and teleporting aside to dodge it again, only receiving a scratch on his shoulder this time.

(Hikaru) So you want to become a man by murdering someone?! Is that the kind of man you want to be?!’

(Hock) ‘What’s this? The start of some speech about choosing a better path in life? Since when do you care what happens to me?’

Why did Hikaru care, indeed? He himself wasn’t sure how to answer that question. Hock was nothing more than an annoying bully who enjoyed making those weaker than him suffer. In the mad bolt’s mind such a behavior was a waste of the skills the Bully King possessed. But was that all there was to it?

Maybe he had had a change of heart about Hock after hearing the declaration of his murderous intentions. Bullying could leave some permanent damage on its victims, but they would still survive. With murder there was no coming back, neither for the murdered, nor the murderer.

(Hikaru) ‘I was kind of hoping you Martian bastards would think about what you’ve done and decide to change after we kick your asses. And then you come in and show me you’re even more deprived of morals than I thought you were.’

Hikaru hoped his words would cause a change in Hock’s expressionless face, but that attempt led to no avail.

(Hock) ‘That’s right. We are.’ – finally his face changed a bit as he narrowed his eyes and it seemed that was due to being annoyed – ‘Your way of thinking, Summerbolt … it’s like I said. Kids’ stuff. Trying to save those you think are going down a wrong path. A man knows what can and cannot be changed. And he knows the only way to deal with things that can’t be changed is to end their existence.’

(Hikaru) ‘That’s what you’re doing right now, then? Killing someone because you know they can’t become like you?’

(Hock) ‘Am I wrong? If I am, tell me now. While there’s still time.’

This time Hikaru was the one who ran toward his enemy.

(Hikaru) ‘After hearing what your real thoughts are, I think you’re right.’

Hock dodged the lightning bolt the spiky-haired teenager had transformed into with zero effort, having moved to another pine tree nearby.

(Hock) ‘Then let’s get to killing the other without further delay. I’ve wasted enough time with you as it is and there are more members of your class to kill.’

Although he had suspected as much, the young Summrbolt was truly infuriated after hearing that. And even with all that anger he didn’t feel like he wanted to kill Hock the way the former bully wanted to do with him. Maybe he indeed was still a kid.

(Hikaru) ‘I’m not going to kill you.’ – the two lunged at the other simultaneously for their next exchange – ‘I’m just going to beat you up real hard, so you can’t hurt any of the people I care about!!’

As a series of clashes between blue and a mixture of scarlet and violet began, it was time for the genius to analyze his opponent.

Among the deviants that possessed energy compounds, the most common case was having one compound, the rarer cases being those with two compounds and only a few people in history being known for wielding three compounds at the same time.

Hikaru knew that just like his uncle, Hock was among those in the second group. Where the two differed was how lethal the combination of their compounds was.

The Martian could use the speed-increasing Daroid and the Sairoid, the violet-colored energy compound that enhanced the user’s piercing ability to the max. While Graid could land very hard hits very fast, there was still a chance to survive his attacks because they dealt lesser damage to the internal organs. On the other hand, if Hock focused on a target at a 100% output and managed to land a single proper hit, that target would be killed on the spot.

With these things in mind, the young Summerbolt split his focus between using the highest possible teleportation speed and covering himself with as dense a lightning cloak as he could muster to avoid fatal damage. That way he could also keep up with the dual-compound user to land strikes of his own or so he thought, because it soon turned out that blocking and dodging was all he could do. Hock’s speed was so high and his precision higher still that there was no opening for a counterattack. And although the attacks were evaded or blocked, the villain always managed to leave at least one scratch on him after an exchange with his continuously increasing speed.

After a couple of minutes Hikaru had quite a few scratches on him and already felt tired from having to constantly keep up with Hock to escape death while his opponent showed no signs of fatigue. As painful as it was to admit for the Earthling, the Martian was simply faster than him and the way things were going, he would catch up within the next minute and succeed in landing a solid hit.

And that would be it. The end of everything.

(Hock) ‘You’re really getting on my nerves with your stubbornness, Summerbolt.’ – he launched at him again, this time Hikaru hardly seeing more than a flash of his enemy – ‘Didn’t I already tell you I have other people on my kill list?!’

Hock stopped right next to the spiky-haired teenager who at first didn’t feel anything, needing a few seconds to feel blood coming out of his mouth and look at the newest source of pain on his body – the rather deep cut on the side of his abdomen. A wave of dizziness hit him the moment blood started leaking out of the wound, but in spite of the fact he could barely stay on his feet, he still managed a smile. Perhaps he was losing his mind from all the pain and the exhaustion.

(Hikaru) ‘Maybe you’re just not as serious as you were saying about killing me? Or maybe the things I was saying about you earlier weren’t as far-fetched as you thought.’

Taunting the Bully King or trying to persuade him would lead to nothing other than the young Summerbolt dying faster, but he really couldn’t help himself at this point. The closer he drew to death, the more he lost control. And maybe that was exactly what needed to be done to turn the whole situation around.

He had gone beyond the limit put on his abilities on numerous occasions his whole life and the moment he was given a 100% output, he thought there was no greater power to be reached. But that wasn’t true.

If he could handle the pain from going over his limits at 15% outside and 50% in school, then surely going beyond a 100% wasn’t going to be a problem. It was just like what had happened with Lieutenant Grak two weeks ago. A villain was dead-set on killing someone he cared about and needed to be stopped.

The only one exposed to danger last time around was Yuki, but this time many more of those close to the mad bolt were at risk. It was only logical he needed to push himself even harder to protect them all. Harder than ever before.

Hock came around for another high-speed attack, but was left surprised as his target not only managed to fully dodge that but also smacked him across the face with enough force to make him take a few steps back. He shook his head to steady himself again, hearing a manic laughter and the very loud crackling sound of electricity as he did.

The source of both was the hot head standing a few meters away, the lightning cloak around him looking denser than ever to an extent where it had become white rather than blue in terms of color. And with that came other changes as well.

The mass of electricity was digging into his flesh now, darkening his skin and burning away his clothes bit by bit, his hair becoming spikier. As he laughed, his open mouth was twisted in a very wide smile, all that was left from his eyes being two big white orbs, his face being the incarnation of madness at the moment.

Was this more painful than anything he had ever endured? Yes.

Was it enough to make him want to fall on the ground and never get up again? Definitely.

There was something driving him to keep fighting despite all the agony, however – the shock on Hock’s face.

(Hock) ‘What the hell is this?!’

(Hikaru) ‘Oh, don’t tell me the cold-blooded killer from a moment ago is scared now! You won’t be able to claim your first kill with that kind of attitude, Hock!!’

The Martian’s surprise only lasted a few moments before it was replaced by anger as he shot himself forward once more, this piercing attempt also being foiled and countered. This time the counter took the shape of hundreds of lightning spears quickly created around Hikaru and sent at the dual-compound user just as fast. His response to that was creating two energy daggers that combined a scarlet and electric violet color in his hands to cut up all the spears before any could hit him.

(Hock) ‘Do I look scared to you?! Using more than a 100% of your power will only lead to you going into shock!!’

(Hikaru) ‘I guess I’ll just have to beat you before that happens, then!!’

It was time for Hikaru’s wave of counterattacks, forming a wide hemisphere of lightning to consume his enemy first, knowing full well he was going to dodge that with ease. What awaited the Bully King after was a barrage of lightning projectiles, spears made of the same element being hidden in some of them so they could add another level to the assault.

None managed to reach their target as a flash of scarlet an electric violet shattered all attacks into electric charges, smaller flashes appearing before the burned bolt’s eyes, realizing they were sped-up energy daggers thrown at him. A quickly materialized lightning spear was used to block all the enemy weapons, acute pain starting to burn in the Earthling’s left thigh then.

One of the daggers had been too fast to stop and had pierced his leg, a hand being placed on its hilt no more than a second after the spiky-haired teenager had registered the wound’s existence. The one holding it was Hock, his Daroid-Sairoid cloak having more vibrant colors, his eyes having the same appearance as Hikaru’s, only in the Martian’s case the orbs in place of those eyes were harlequin-colored.

(Hock) ‘You didn’t think you’re the only one who can push themselves beyond their limit, did you?’

He quickly pulled the dagger out of the young Summerbolt’s thigh, swinging with it at his face, but a lightning-clad hand stopped that attack a few centimeters before it could make its mark.

(Hikaru) ‘Figured you’d do that. Now it’s only a matter of who can last longer in overdrive mode!’

The combatants pushed the other back, the next time they clashed the ground being cracked open, the grass set ablaze and the trees shattered to pieces. Only one thing was visible from the enemies now in the whirlwind of splinters, pieces of soil and other debris along with flames, lightning and energy – projectiles made of their devas that kept hitting each other all around.

If one was able to slow down time to actually see how Hikaru and Hock were fighting, though, they would see that first a lightning roar was met with a dual energy roar, the attacks canceling each other out while their users faced the other again nearby. Now a double lightning fist was blocked by one energy-clad arm, the other already directed in a dagger-like fashion at the adversary’s chest.

The burned bolt teleported away to evade that, quickly followed by the vile piercer, their kicks meeting this time with the Martian getting the upper hand. He succeeded in unbalancing the Earthling enough to make him fall to the ground, taking another shot at his head when a new lightning roar erupted from the mad genius’ mouth. Sunbird’s Bully King managed to move to the side just in time to come out unscathed by the roar, as he tried to strike the head the roar was coming from, the young Summerbolt rapidly turning while maintaining his attack to leave no openings.

The two went at it like this for a bit longer, both showing signs of fatigue now and Hock also being wounded a couple of times along the way, but Hikaru’s body clearly being hurt a whole lot worse. Yet despite the length of the battle, its outcome remained as inevitable as it had been from the moment it started.

That point was proven further when the dual-compound user implemented a new strategy by wrapping up sharp pieces of wood, sharp rocks and any other sharp object around him in his Sairoid and Daroid. The mini-cloaks both sped up and maximized each object’s piercing capacity, turning them into projectiles with attacks as potent as those of Hock himself.

Gorudora’s best friend also moved to attack again, Saya Summerbolt’s son realizing that he couldn’t possibly split his attention equally between his main assailant and the attacks coming from the sides. And that was probably the whole reason for the use of this approach.

The vile piercer knew that at this point of the battle all he needed to do was wound Hikaru enough to slow him down. After losing the speed his body had been straining itself to move with for all this time, he wasn’t going to be able to regain it quick enough to block the next attack. An end to the battle would come swiftly then.

Using clones to divert the enemy’s attention didn’t help because the clones couldn’t match the strength of any of the attacks coming their way. Trying to teleport the attacks away like Tokura didn’t help either, because the burned bolt wasn’t as skilled at doing that as his classmate. With every tactic rendered useless, there was only one thing left to do.

At a certain point the young Summerbolt just stopped, one of the projectiles piercing his collarbone and another – the shoulder next to it, making him fall to his knees as Hock appeared before him. The barrage of projectiles was stopped and the Martian formed an energy blade with a very sharp tip around his right hand, aiming straight for Hikaru’s forehead.

What he thought about at that moment as he closed his eyes on the verge of losing consciousness from the numbness that had come over his whole body from being riddled with torrents of pain was Yuki. And without realizing it right away, that’s what saved his life.

Upon opening his eyes again, he saw the lightning cloak around him had managed to stop the Sairoid-Daroid blade of the Bully King, only the tip of it having managed to go through. That tip had done nothing more than scratch Earthling Class #1’s mad genius, however, Hock being left devastated from the shock this turn of events had brought.

(Hock) ‘No way in hell could your lightning block that!!’

Thanks to the tip of the blade still being in contact with Hikaru’s cloak, he could run his electricity through it in order to reach its creator, grabbing Hock’s right hand before he could pull away.

(Hikaru) ‘Too bad for you that it did, then.’

All the electricity clustered around the hot head was channeled through the vile piercer, moving beyond his energy cloak and frying him up to a medium rare level. When the electrocution was complete, his smoking and shocked body fell on the ground next to Hikaru, the cloak around it having dissipated.

The victor somehow managed to rise again, feeling as if the strain of that action alone would be enough to kill him and wondering how much longer he was going to remain conscious for in this state. As he got back on his feet and looked at the defeated Martian, he thought about what had just happened.

To his knowledge, an active-type deva like his lightning couldn’t block an attack as fast and precise as the one Hock had used. He had been trying to increase his cloak’s density throughout the battle, but that could only do so much. It was something else. 

Only static-type devas stood a chance at blocking direct attacks like that. Only static-type devas. Like Yuki’s ice.


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1175 Reviews


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Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:51 pm
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IcyFlame wrote a review...



Last one! I found it immediately interesting that Hikaru knows this is not just a typical class battle, when Seiren didn't. I don't know how much all of the Martians know, but it was an interesting contrast between the two characters - and also means tension is back up!

Hikaru's internal dilemma about Hock's future was also interesting, but it kind of felt like it came out of nowhere. Hock asks why Hikaru cares which is a fair question - but wasn't Hikaru just trying to stop being killed? He then has quite a long internal debate about why he cares but it didn't really land for me, because I had interpreted it as him just trying to distract Hock.

I like this chapter too and the way the fight developed, but I can't help but feel like all three of the last chapters have been a bit too similar in structure. Our hero is getting beaten, they unleash this dangerous never before (or never recently) used power and then manage to claw back a victory. It's a good trope because it works so well, but I'm finding that with three chapters in a row like that it's starting to feel repetitive. I wonder if there's a way you can change one of them up so it feels a little bit different?

This one does start to feel a bit different because of the illusion of Yuki's ice power helping Hikaru when he most needs it - I do hope that this means we're finally going to see more of her power and what she can do with it! She beat the class bully before, can she save them all now when everything is on the line?

Phew, I'm all caught up - what a whirlwind! As usual, I have no idea where this is going but I'm excited to find out.

Hope this was helpful

Icy




SalisRuinen says...


Thank you for this review as well!!
Hikaru's dilemma was something I hadn't originally planned to include in the chapter, but came about as I was writing it, so I guess that's why it doesn't land %u2013 I should've gone into more detail about his thought process here. My main point with this was to show the protagonist is able to care for his enemy even under such circumstances (at least as long as he knows them, as he didn't think the same way about Grak back when he fought him alongside Seiren).
You're right about the fights being a bit similar in terms of structure, but I quite like the trinity they form - three characters going overboard for the same reason despite their differences in age, mentality, etc. Maybe it just becomes too much when these chapters come one after the other, so I'll see what I can do about it.
In terms of where this is going - it's slowly moving toward the conclusion of the Class Battle as the number of fighters decreases further and further and it's all going to be about who'll be left standing/alive in the end.



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Points: 78
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Thu Dec 08, 2022 3:16 pm
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Dipro wrote a review...



Very good.Quite the world-building.Do focus less on power stats and more on storytelling though.Create drama and don't just narrate.Forgive me saying so but the characters are a bit one-dimensional.Seek other perspectives.Bring a realistic edge to it.This whole story should be happening to a real person with extraordinary abilities




SalisRuinen says...


Thanks for the review!




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— Francis Bacon