Mage Among Superheroes 11

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A phone rang. Then it rang a second time, then a third before I realized what it was, and that it was mine. I managed to roll out of bed to grab my phone and press the button that made it work. There was silence for a few seconds. “… Is this Turlough?”

“Yes,” I answered. Was I supposed to say that? Anyone calling should already know it was me. That was what the number was for.

“This is Meztli from the Power Brigade. I was hoping you could come in again soon for another talk.”

“Of course, when works best for you?” I was literally free all of the time. It was so hard to find something to occupy myself with for the days I had been waiting. But saying that wouldn’t necessarily help.

“Are you free today?”

Oh good. I didn’t have to wait more. “I am, in fact. When do you want me to be there?”

“Any time before noon would be good, if you can make it.”

“Very well, how about…” I looked around my room. There was a clock. 6:13, no wonder I had been asleep. Power Brigade people must get up early. “How about 7:30?” That would give me time to prepare myself, eat breakfast, and get a car to take me there.


My crutch clicked on the marble floor as I once more made my way to the front desks of the Power Brigade. Zorphax followed through and got me one of the kevlar vests the gunmen in the warehouse had been wearing, so I had it with me. In Storage, of course. It took up most of my capacity, and that was with all of the papers sitting on a table in my room. Though for armor, it was extremely light. I didn’t get one of the guns, but I didn’t have a license anyway.

Someone at the front desk was waiting for me, and took me to the elevator once more. This time we went to B6. One level deeper, probably.

Instead of the targets, this level just had a curved hallway. Though there was a window not far in front of me. Did that somehow lead outside? No, in fact it looked down into a large circular room. 

Meztli was not far away, and waved to me as I made my way over. “Good to see you again. Continuing from where we were last time, today you’ll be having a spar so we can check out your actual combat abilities.”

“I don’t mind but…” I looked down at my leg, “I’m not going to be in top form.” I could still do magic just fine, but if I couldn’t defeat my opponent before they got to me I couldn’t do much besides bashing them with my crutch. Though that might work on a regular human.

“Yeah I’ll take care of that. Eat this.” She held out something in a wrapper.

‘Power Brigade Energy Bar’, it read prominently.

“Is this some sort of magic healing thing?” I asked. “I already ate breakfast.”

“Nope. Just eat it.”

So I did. It was some sort of compressed… food. It didn’t taste bad, but I couldn’t say if it tasted like anything except ‘food’. 

“Alright,” Meztli said, “Now sit on this chair.” So I sat. Would I be sparring sitting down? I felt like I could do alright in a ranged spar if my opponent also had to be still. “I suppose I should ask, do you mind me using my power on you?”

“Will it hurt?”

“Not specifically.”

I probably should have asked what that meant, but I nodded. “Go ahead.”

She reached down, placing her hand on my shoulder. Nothing happened for a few moments. “Hmm…” she frowned, then I felt a sudden burst of energy… followed by increasing dizziness as I felt myself being drained of that energy and more. I nearly fell off of my chair fatigue hit me so quickly. I would have, if Meztli hadn’t been holding on. “That’s why I had you sit down.”

“… what was that for?” I asked.

“Just gave you a little boost. Specifically to your healing. It all happened all at once, so it’s draining. Thus the bar.” She pointed to a box on the table next to me. “There are more if you want. At least we get branded energy bars for free.”

I ate several. While I did so, Meztli talked with me about recent events.

“You’ve sure been in quite a bit in your time here, huh?” Meztli said. “Most people don’t get in two fights in a week.”

I shrugged, “If they’d happened in the other order, I wouldn’t have been wandering around so much. I’d expect people to rest longer.” I touched my leg with my hand, squeezing it. It didn’t hurt. Maybe it really had healed, though I didn’t understand how the power worked. Even healing magic should have been recognizable, but since this place mostly didn’t have magic I would just have to get used to ‘powers’

“You came from a type F world, right? Through one of Doctor Doomsday’s portals?”

“I think so,” I answered. “That was what I heard.”

“Seems like a dangerous place, if you’re so comfortable with fighting.”

I shook my head, “Not really. Not for a while. That’s why I thought to go somewhere else. I’m not sure if I’m actually good at combat or just did things people didn’t expect.”

“That’s not a problem. You have the potential, and people can learn. Speaking of which, how are you feeling? Ready for a spar?”

“I think so. Who am I sparring against, you?”

She shook her head, “Not this time. I need to be around to observe in case anything goes wrong. Before Sophia arrives, I’ll explain the details. Nobody’s trying to kill each other, and try not to aim for the neck or higher since that can lead to serious accidents.”

I nodded as she continued. Not too long later, Sophia showed up. Or she should be called Great Girl, if I understood superhero identities properly- which I probably didn’t. “We meet again,” she said. “Ready for a match?”

“Not quite,” I said. I used Storage to pull out my kevlar vest. “How do I put this on?”

“Kevlar huh,” Meztli said. “Not gonna do much good here, but we do have protective padding for you if you want.”

Soon enough I was suited up with padding and a helmet, though I noticed Great Girl only had the helmet. “Don’t you need protection? I could burn or shock you.”

“It’s fine,” she said, grabbing a bit of her outfit. Like many superheroes, it was made of something tight-fitting and colorful. In this case, a nice purple with the letters GG overlapping each other emblazoned on her chest. “Super suits are resistant enough.”

“Okay,” I said.

We moved down into the round room with the windows up high. I supposed they were up high so they would be less likely to break during a spar, and perhaps so the combatants wouldn’t be distracted by people watching. Though it was mostly Meztli watching, I did see two men in suits. Regular suits, not super suits. Quite different.

The sparring chamber was enormous, nearly a hundred feet across. We started at opposite ends, which was the only thing that made me think I had a chance. Other than that, it was an empty room. 

Before we started I made sure my Force Armor was at full power. That meant I wasn’t quite at full mana, but I still had plenty. At least, I didn’t expect the battle would last long enough for it to matter either way.

Meztli’s voice came from nowhere and everywhere- probably through the power of technology. “Begin!”

I immediately thrust my hand forward, shooting a firebolt at my opponent. She was ‘only’ about my size, six feet tall and maybe an inch or two. She avoided the beam of fire by twisting to the side, and I only managed to graze her- causing no visible damage. 

My next move was to throw grease in front of her, but the instant I did so she leapt into the air, growing slightly as she did so. Her body twisted through the air strangely as her size changed, but she landed on the other side of the black pool. 

I held out my hand again. “Firebolt!” I shouted. Then I sprayed another gout of black grease at her. Instead of aiming at the floor in front of her, I spread it out as much as possible on her and the area around her, so even as she dodged to the side I still managed to partly cover her. Her feet began to slip, until she grew even more. Now she was nine feet tall, and the amount of grease covering her seemed quite a bit less for the change in size.

She was barreling towards me at a quick pace, but I couldn’t stop her- and she was agile enough to avoid me. She was also currently big enough I was quite concerned about getting hit by her, even with more points in Force Armor. 

If she’d talked to Meztli or watched me fight when I first appeared she would know most of my limited bag of tricks, but that was just how things had to be. At least I could hold the charge of Shocking Grasp until I actually got contact. I didn’t have the proper amount of time to conjure two instances of Mage’s Reach, so I made just one and shot it towards her with Shocking Grasp activated.

She tried to dodge out of the way, but I dogged her with the hand until it grabbed an arm. I almost thought I might actually slow her down with that, but she shrugged it off by growing another foot taller. It was a reasonable idea, distributing the shock throughout a larger area. Did she actually increase in durability as she got bigger? She might, since her muscles got bigger as well- even when comparing relative size to her.

I only barely managed one final shocking grasp with my Mage’s Reach before she was only two steps away from me. Two very large steps, but only that many. Then she was one step away, swinging down towards me with a big fist. 

I judged the angle she was attacking at, preparing to dodge under it while using the last of my mana for a glancing blow as I ran past her. I wished I had more mana reserves, but that was a problem that came with having a low level.

My plan nearly worked, except I misjudged one thing. The angle of her arm changed as she shrunk from ten feet tall to closer to eight as she also angled her fist further down. I was lucky she was paying attention since her fist was going right for my head. Even with a helmet that would hurt. But instead of that, she suddenly shifted her stance and kneed me in the chest, letting her fist go over my head.

I heard the sound of my Force Armor breaking, and maybe something else. I was flung onto my back, vision dimming… but I remained conscious. Well, I hadn’t thought I could really beat someone who took out a giant rock monster anyway, but it was still slightly disappointing. Until I looked at something and smiled.

“That’s a pretty good attitude you have there,” Great Girl said. “You hardly look defeated at all.”

“I leveled up,” I said. I’d gotten 13 whole points of experience, bringing me to 394 and over the threshold for level 12. I wondered what that said about her strength, that I got so much even though I clearly lost the fight by a significant margin. But of course, experience wasn’t just about winning. I must have done some sort of damage to her, even if it didn’t look like it. I groaned as I tried to sit up. Something beyond my Force Armor definitely broke. Or maybe it was just bruised? It was hard to tell except that it hurt.

Soon enough I saw Meztli over me, looking down. “Let’s take a look at you.” She placed her hand on my chest. Gently, but still enough to cause some pain. “Nothing out of place,” she said. “Should be easy enough to recover.” I felt the energy flow into me once more, and since I was already on the floor it didn’t matter if I got dizzy. “Interesting. Easier this time.”

That was probably because I didn’t have Force Armor on. But I didn’t have the capacity to explain that at the moment.

“Let’s take a look at you, S- Great Girl.”

I couldn’t see them, but I heard their footsteps. “I thought you said it was like a stun gun? It freaking hurts.” The way she was complaining told me she wasn’t that badly injured… or very used to it.

I idly smiled to myself as I checked something once more, to confirm a theory I wasn’t sure of. There it was. Another point of experience. So recovering from wounds did give experience. But I knew for sure that magical healing didn’t result in any experience. Otherwise, I would have had more. But… I certainly wasn’t going to be using that as a method to increase my experience. It was far too unpleasant.

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