The first thing I did after calling for help was stagger around securing the guns. I avoided going close to the unconscious intruders, not willing to risk them faking it. Fortunately the ones still holding their weapons had very limp grips as I picked the weapons up with Mage’s Reach. I didn’t really have a place to store them, so I bundled them up in my shirt.
Sameera was still close to two of the intruders, having bashed their heads together. When I bent down and grabbed her ankle to start dragging her, she groaned. “Help me up…”
As I turned her over I could see blood flowing from two wounds in her chest. It looked pretty bad to me, but I had very little practical experience with combat and wounds. And we couldn’t just leave her next to enemies that might wake up. Likewise, I couldn’t just kill them. Didn’t want to and shouldn’t, at least. I was probably physically capable, even with an injury in my leg. They were unconscious after all. The thought of whatever experience that might give was easily ignored. If they died while fighting I wouldn’t feel that bad, but I wasn’t just going to strangle unconscious people.
I helped Sameera to her feet, and once she was standing she was almost more steady than me. We walked forward towards the front of the building. Florina was still laying on the floor, and it didn’t seem like we would be able to move her. Neither of us could lift her, and we couldn’t really walk much further. “I wonder how long it will take for help to get here…” I pondered to myself as we flopped ourselves down near Florina. I dropped the bundle of guns and began ripping off strips of the shirt to bind our various wounds. I couldn’t really get any thing wrapped around Florina but I used Mage’s Hand to just hold a piece of cloth on the bloodiest area. It was probably good news that the amount of blood seemed to be increasing, right? That meant she still had more.
It wasn’t long after that before one of the front doors was flung open, revealing Malaliel carrying a sword- with a gun strapped to her belt. I kind of expected her to be wearing armor as well, but the winged woman still wore a buttoned shirt and pants. Her eyes swept across the situation before running towards us. “You’re injured,” she said as she stopped near us.
“They got shot,” I gestured to the other two.
“I understand,” Malaliel said. “An ambulance is on the way. The intruders?”
“Back there,” I said. “We knocked them out and I took their guns but I don’t know if they had other weapons.”
“Got it.” Malaliel held up something that hadn’t been explained but was clearly a piece of communication technology with how she used it. It was a lot less compact than a cell phone and made a faint buzzing noise. “Just arrived at the situation. It should be secure in a moment.”
With that she ran off. I kind of expected an angel to use healing magic on us, but perhaps that was unreasonable considering they didn’t really have magic here. Just powers… and it seemed angels didn’t come with healing. Or she was more concerned about the intruders. Either way, it wasn’t long before a loud siren sounded outside.
People with uniforms and guns poured into the warehouse, wearing badges that said ‘Extra’. Some of the guns were much bigger than the ones I had piled next to me. Those would be rifles, probably, while the ones by me were pistols. I really didn’t want to get shot with them.
Right behind them came a handful of people without weapons, and the designation of ‘paramedic’ on some of their differing uniforms indicated they were healers of some sort.
Just as they were talking to me, I felt the effects of Translation fading. They said something about “pulse” as one of them kneeled next to Florina and touched her neck. Then she was carried away. Sameera was answering questions as more people looked over her. Then one more came to me. “— — alright? —– like – leg injury. — —- — get the bullet out.”
“Okay, got it,” I nodded. I hadn’t realized that the bullet would still be inside me. I used storage and indeed felt the bullet disappear. Then I used it again and held it in my hand for the medic to see. “There, got it.” Then I passed out. It turns out blood loss and mana exhaustion do not go well together.
I was quite pleased when I woke up again. Not because I thought I was going to die. I was pretty sure I would survive, though once again I had little experience with wounds. The pleasant part was waking up in a sunny room with vaguely pleasant surroundings. I couldn’t say the bed was the most comfortable I’d been on, since it wasn’t as good as the apartment I was staying at, but it was better than many I’d been on. And I wasn’t restrained at all. That meant they had probably decided that I hadn’t gone too far with my magic. I was pretty sure I hadn’t killed anyone, but who could know when people didn’t have levels?
|Turlough (No surname)|
Shocking Grasp +3
Force Armor +4
Mage’s Reach +1
Remaining Points: 7
Still not enough to reach level 12. Though I was pretty sure I had been at 381 before passing out. I couldn’t guarantee that, though. The worst part was how close it was. I only needed 390. If I could have defeated one more of the intruders myself… they gave about twelve experience each! I honestly wasn’t sure what dictated that since if they didn’t have a level I kind of expected nothing. At least the guy who hit me on the head was big, so him being worth something similar to a level 5 made sense. Maybe fighting people with guns made them around level 10? Though it felt more like each bullet was stronger than a firebolt, which was just unfair.
I couldn’t believe I’d forgotten to try anything with Grease. If I could have slipped up two people together I would have saved myself a lot of trouble… though really that also meant not knocking out one of them directly. Overall, I thought I did well enough in the battle. And I remembered to use Force Armor on Sameera, so at least I’d thought about something there.
After my assessment of the battle, which rated it a ‘good enough’ assuming Sameera survived, I took more specific stock of my situation. There was a pouch of clear liquid going down a tube into my arm. I wasn’t sure what that was for, but I didn’t want to pull something out of my arm and cause more bleeding. As I was wondering about that, a thin man walked into the room with a neutral blue outfit on, carrying a flat thing with some paper attached. He began to say something, but I held up a finger. I approximated my internal mana stores. Nearly full. That was good news, but also meant I had been out for at least a few hours. I cast Translation. “Sorry, I didn’t have Translation magic active. Can you repeat that.”
“Of course. I was just saying it was good to see you awake. I’d like to make an assessment on your condition. How are you feeling?”
“My leg… hurts.”
“That’s not unexpected. The medics worked on the understanding that your anatomy functioned similar to a human’s, but we couldn’t be sure how painkillers would affect you. Any dizziness? Lightheadedness?”
“Maybe a little.”
“Any other symptoms?”
“Good,” the man nodded. “Any questions?”
“Why is there a needle in my arm?”
“That’s for intravenous fluids,” the nurse answered professionally. I couldn’t tell if he thought it was a weird question or not.
“Why is the liquid clear? Blood is red.”
“You didn’t lose too much blood. This is just to restore balance while you were unconscious to help with recovery.”
I didn’t really understand that, but I wasn’t a doctor or anything. “Okay. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Do you feel up to talking with someone else? Zorphax wanted to meet with you.”
My stomach growled. “Can I have something to eat first?”
The man smiled. “Sure thing.”
Hospital food was kind of bad, but at least it filled me up. An apple and a sandwich and some juice made me feel better. The small Zorphax sat nearby while I devoured it all.
“Normally this isn’t my job,” he said after I finished, “But they figured a familiar face would be best and Malaliel is busy with other things.” He looked down at the tablet in his hand, instead of paper notes like the nurse. “Just a few questions. You’re first to wake up. What do you remember about the attack on the warehouse?”
“I heard loud sounds. Shooting. I saw Florina bleeding… is she…?”
“She’s in intensive care,” Zorphax said. “But they’re hopeful about her chances. Sameera is out of surgery and recovering.”
“Okay.” I realized after a few moments that I should continue. “After the shots, I cast Force Armor on Sameera and myself and saw the intruders through the shelves. They were talking about silencing anyone on the way to whatever they wanted.” I paused, “They meant killing people, right?”
“Probably,” Zorphax said.
“Did any of them die?”
“Two of them have bad head injuries. The other three were in a somewhat better state… though they’d clearly been electrically shocked, and that comes with complications. I presume that was you again?”
“I couldn’t really hold back. Wait, three others?”
“Yes, five total.”
“There was another one,” I said. “Six. It should match the number of guns as well.”
“Is that so?” Zorphax said. “I’ll make a note of that. Someone might have escaped.”
“Anyway, I took down four of them with Mage’s Reach and Shocking Grasp, but they shot at me. I probably would have died if Sameera hadn’t come up on them and knocked two of their heads together. She got shot for that… and the Force Armor didn’t help enough.”
“Maybe it did,” Zorphax said. “They said the bullets were fairly shallow.” Zorphax sighed, “You sure seem to attract trouble. Like a real super.”
“I’m just a mage though.”
He shrugged, “Powers are powers. And yours seems quite suited for combat, if you can take out a handful of people with guns.”
“I can’t really protect myself from them, though.” I did strongly consider putting my remaining points towards two more levels of Force Armor though. That would make it about… ten percent stronger. A little less. Or I could aim for a more powerful defensive spell, but it would likely take all of my points. Though I would barely be able to afford to cast it. If it cost six mana it would require me to recover for a full hour, and I only had sixteen points at the moment. If I had a few more levels and bigger reserves I could think about it more.
“It seems to have worked well enough, though I would suggest a kevlar vest if you plan to get in more gun fights any time soon.”
“Where can I get one?” I asked. “Is that the armor they were wearing? Can I have theirs? And the guns?”
“Why would you get their guns?” Zorphax asked.
“I defeated them in justified battle. It’s only reasonable.” Was it not? His face said it was not.
“Look,” Zorphax said. “I’ll talk to the department about the kevlar, given what’s happened. But you’d need a license for a gun. Even if so far you’ve used your powers responsibly, it’s still early. And Extra doesn’t handle permitting of standard firearms in any case.”
“Do you have other kinds of guns?”
“Of course. But not in my department. And licenses will be much harder to get. You’d only be able to acquire them if you were working for a merc company or something.”
“How do I do that?” I asked.
“Do what?” Zorphax frowned.
“Get hired by a merc company. That means mercenaries, right? They fight things?”
“Yeah. Which is why I wouldn’t suggest it, unless you want to get shot at again.”
I didn’t want to get shot at. I just wanted to fight so I could level up. Zorphax didn’t seem keen on the idea though, so I thought I would have to look up mercenaries myself later, somehow. It might be easier to get hired by them than to become a hero.
Zorphax finished his questions about the incident, though the only thing they hadn’t already figured out was that there was a sixth gunman involved. After that, I was left to sit bored in my room, waiting to heal. Then I spotted a television, and next to me on the table a remote control. I just had to figure out how to make the latter control the former.