Mage Among Superheroes 41

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I was vaguely conscious when the barn un-collapsed from on top of Hammerfist and me, with my consciousness improving when I was un-tackled through some of the supports in the barn. Things continued to reverse, with my bones un-snapping as the fight rapidly progress backwards until the beginning, where I stood across from the old woman in a perfectly normal barn that wasn’t even a little bit on fire.

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do, but fortunately that was answered by the other new person in the area shouting at us. “As a reminder, you need to stop fighting now!” called a voice from outside. “Unless you like nearly dying.”

I didn’t, particularly. Except as far as it gave me experience. I looked down at myself, feeling my definitely not shattered shoulder. “What happened?” I asked.

“That’s Reset’s power,” Hammerfist explained as we walked out of the barn.

“I thought he was a healer?”

“No. He’s just why we don’t need a healer here.”

“Yo. Did it work?” Shockwave abruptly- as usual- appeared in front of my face. “Tell me it worked. Otherwise this is all a waste.”

“Did what work? I’m alive and stuff…” I frowned. My thinking was a bit confused though. Probably a result of time flowing the wrong way for a moment.

“Experience, man! The whole point of you being here. If you un-experienced all of that, it’s kinda pointless. But you should remember, right?”

“Oh!” I checked my numbers. “Yes, I got almost twenty points from that.” I also noticed that not everything had gone back to the way it was. My mana reserves and lack of Force Armor spoke to that. “Am I supposed to still be low on mana?”

“That’s the source of your power, right?” Reset nodded. “I can reverse the effects of things, but I don’t restore people’s power or most effects of their power. Though it often looks like I did.” Reset shook his head, “It’s… situationally useful, but often just a pain in the ass. But if you got what you needed out of that fight, it’s good.”

“I did,” I nodded. Along with the experience number, a brief but impactful combat was a good way to be more effective later. And it made me think of some important things. First, I still needed more mana. There wasn’t that much to do about that one except keep training. Second was that I really needed a stronger offensive spell. Getting by with just Shocking Grasp and Firebolt was fine for people who would be taken out by a single one of those, but people with powers- and bruisers like Shockwave’s grandmother Hammerfist- would require something more. Higher level spells started off more efficient in damage per mana, but that was only if all that power was necessary. Overkill was just wasted mana and unnecessary collateral damage.

Maybe I should buy a good offensive spell and upgrade it a few times? I could do that. When I had points again, but I had 0 at the moment. Which was what got me this whole special training thing, so it was fine.


Turlough (No surname)
Level: 15

Experience: 641

Storage +1

Firebolt +1

Shocking Grasp +3

Grease +2

Force Armor +6

Mage’s Reach +1


Haste +4


Familiar Bond


Energy Ward

Remaining Points: 0


Yes, it seemed like getting one more powerful offensive spell and then spending some time upgrading things would probably be best. Mana efficiency was what I needed, after all. Besides not dying. Not dying was most important, because I couldn’t level up while dead, now could I? I wasn’t going to bet on there being a super with a resurrection power that bothered to use it on me.

I tried not to think about the fact that I had now spent 33 of my total 120 points on Haste, more than a quarter. Instead, I thought about the fact that I’d gotten almost twenty experience, a quarter of a level, in the last five minutes. Though it seemed I’d have to wait a bit for more. And by the end of the weekend, if we managed to do this three or four more times, I could be level 16 and have 16 juicy points to spend, which would basically make up for the three upgrades to haste. And I would probably have spent those points eventually anyway.

“Your power is an interesting one,” Hammerfist said to me. The old lady… Charlotte, as she’d introduced herself, eyed me critically. “I don’t see a common theme.”

“It’s magic,” I said. “Any mage from my world could do the same things. At least, they could have chosen to do the same things.”

“Ah. Extradimensional?”

I nodded. “Type-F planet, even.”

“Ha! Don’t get a lot of people admitting that.”

“Why?” I asked. “It’s not like anyone can go there and look for weaknesses.”

“Ah. Stuck here, huh?”

“Stuck?” I shook my head. “I wouldn’t say that. I just can’t go back.”

“Oof. Was it so bad there that you don’t even want to try to go back home?”

“The whole place was almost devoid of fighting, except for stray pockets of monsters out of the league of a young man. Which meant there was basically no path of advancement for me.” I shook my head, “In the time I’ve been here, I’ve gotten more experience than the entire rest of my life.”

Midnight hopped up on my shoulder to be approximately eye-height with Reset, who was standing nearby listening interestedly. “Hey. Reset. How safe is it within your power? Can people die?”

“That gets a little bit into the personal area, but I can say… with Mage there fighting against Hammerfist, she’ll hit just hard enough for him to be only basically dead, and she’ll be able to withstand anything that can come at her in a short timeframe.”

“Would it be a problem to have a third person in there?” Midnight asked.

“Who?” Reset asked. “I could be in there, but that’s pointless. Shockwave… isn’t gonna suddenly learn anything new from that either.”

“I could be in there,” Midnight commented. “If it’s safe enough, I’d like to try.”

“That’s mostly up to Hammerfist, or I’ll have to reset early…”

The old woman looked over Midnight. “You don’t look very durable,” she commented.

“Remember that barrier you punched through when you fought me?” I really hoped she’d noticed that. “He’ll have that too.”

“Ah, can take a decent hit then.”

“I also don’t need to be in mortal peril,” Midnight commented. “I’m plenty happy with gaining less experience.”

“Offensively he’ll be close to me,” I pointed out. “Potentially. Were you in any danger?”

“Not even close,” the old woman grinned. “You’d have to do a lot more than that.”

I nodded. With Midnight involved… there were more options. “So, if I were suddenly twelve feet tall and kicked you through a wall…?”

“Just don’t stomp me into the ground or something where I have to absorb the whole impact,” Charlotte smiled. “I’ve got a bad back. Though it won’t be a problem as long as we stay within the confines of the barn.”

“Right…” I nodded. “Cool.” I grinned at Midnight, intentionally speaking to him in his own language. “We have some strategizing to do.”

During the strategy session we got to have tea and cookies. I probably didn’t need more tea, but it was tasty enough. And the cookies were excellent. I noticed Shockwave had an entire plate to themself, which were quickly munched through. Given their athletic figure, I assumed it wasn’t hard to burn through excess calories with a little bit of running.

“I am ready again, if everyone else is,” Reset commented. 

“Always,” Charlotte’s demeanor became Hammerfist as she stood and flexed. 

“We’re also ready,” I nodded. It only took a couple hours at most to restore all of my mana, and Reset had taken about three. 

“Alright. Time for the next session.”


Midnight stood on the ground next to me, while Hammerfist and I faced off in basically the same places as before, just slightly rotated in the middle of the barn. I wanted it to be a bit harder to hit me into the tractor.

“On the count of three,” Hammerfist called out. “One… two…”

I wondered if it was cheating to begin gathering mana before the battle started, but the way she shifted her weight I decided it was fair enough. I didn’t cast Haste before she said three. She was already moving when I finished, and Midnight and I shuffled out of the way. We couldn’t just not fight her, but Midnight was still in the middle of his spell. We wanted both of them to go off as quickly as we could near the beginning, so he’d been assigned to the one that wasn’t upgraded.

Suddenly, Midnight was the size of… a medium dog. Maybe on the border with large dogs. Of course, he seemed about relatively the same to me, as he used Enlarge on both of us like I used Haste. It was about a third of his mana, but it let us both leap into action. 

I wasn’t under the impression that my change in tactics would suddenly lead to a win, but just repeating the same moves was pointless. Even if it let me get some experience in terms of numbers, the practical application of it was very little. 

My increase in size came with more strength- otherwise it would have been mostly pointless- and the speed allowed me to close in on Hammerfist from behind. But it seemed that being merely three or so times as fast as normal was insufficient. I’d suspected that she could react, I just had gotten the method wrong. Instead of dodging to the sides or ducking, Hammerfist heard me coming and spun around on her heel, throwing a punch directly behind her. I had the reaction time to do something, but the only options were straining my arm against its momentum and getting my wrist or forearm broken, or sticking with my attack.

Our fists met, and I was the loser. A twelve foot tall orc against a grandma, what should I have expected? Exactly that, given her general powerset. My Force Armor shattered with the blow that would kill a normal person, but at least my fingers weren’t all broken because the momentum also flung me backwards.

At least the moment wasn’t for nothing. Midnight was ready with Grease, creating a slippery area beneath her feet while I rolled to a standing position and reapplied Force Armor. Without it, a single hit could take me out of the match. Stoneskin was tempting, but I really needed to think about offense too. Besides, I literally couldn’t afford Stoneskin with an entire level’s worth of points.

I realized how dumb I had been to not use Shocking Grasp on my first attack. I didn’t actually have to grab someone, despite the name. I corrected my error as I leapt towards the unsteady Hammerfist with a flying kick. I was absolutely aware of how poorly that move could go, but I didn’t want to take my chances on the grease myself, and setting her on fire hadn’t done me any good last time.

I saw her react in slow motion, judging my trajectory and adjusting her stance. She was slipping, falling to the side- but not before I reached her. At which points her arms wrapped around my leg and squeezed. I spun around a few times, feeling the power of Shocking Grasp flow out of me and even having the time to start up a second one… before I was flung into that stupid tractor. Fortunately she hadn’t chosen to break my Force Armor- or my leg. I was able to twist myself so I hit legs-first, absorbing a good portion of the impact and merely straining Force Armor.

As for Hammerfist, she was free of the grease- using the rebound force from the throw to push her away into a pile of hay, which she used to wipe off the majority of the slippery substance that had clung to her boots. Maybe it was just hopeful thinking, but she didn’t look completely unfazed from taking the full brunt of one-and-a-half Shocking Grasps. 

She was, however, ready to respond to Midnight’s charge, leaping at her with claws extended. They were quite sizable, but he was unable to land even a small scratch on her as she kicked him off to the side. He ran back at her, this time using Shocking Grasp, his body crackling with electricity. I had pushed myself up off the floor and was ready to intersect with Hammerfist at the same time, sweeping for her legs. 

Surprisingly, instead of dodging or striking back at my leg, she punched downward, wrapping herself forward over my leg. Midnight’s claws scraped along her neck and only left red marks and no blood, but the electricity might have done something when combined with my own. 

My leg still had momentum, but Hammerfist punched into the floor and dragged herself to a stop, with my leg in her grip. “Almost dying is good for you, right?” the kindly old grandma asked before my leg snapped. I was pouring everything I could into my attacks, but as I twisted towards her I just couldn’t throw her off or strike a solid hit. On the other hand, she seemed to be using suboptimal moves on me just so we could fight more.

Even so, it wasn’t long before I was slammed through a few more supports, my second Force Armor gone. My vision faded for an unknown time, before once more things reversed and I was standing healthy once more. Though I was still large, and I had a little bit of Haste left in me.

“Ooh, I leveled up,” Midnight commented. “More magic for me~~”

I actually wasn’t that far either. 662 out of 680. Though of course Midnight had just gotten to level 5 or something, which took a lot less experience.

Though we still got stomped into the ground, that was kind of the whole point of the exercise. And I learned that physical attacks were just hard to pull off against extremely experienced bruisers. There was nothing to be surprised about there. At least Charlotte looked a little fatigued after our fight, but I didn’t know if we’d done any actual damage before it was reset.

“We can get in one more before bed, I think,” Reset commented. “Then we can all pass out for the night.”

Even Shockwave nodded. Running laps around the property in between plates of cookies had to be tiring on some level. Probably.

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