I’m Gonna Be a Wizard When I Grow up Again! Chapter 19

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William wrapped Chris in cloth (after asking for his permission, since William still wasn’t sure that Chris was safe, and wouldn’t decide to bash him in the head). The cloth covered Chris so that people couldn’t see that it was the cursed staff that formerly resided in the dormitories. He wasn’t hiding it because he felt guilty, but because Chris was a trump card. In fact, William had idly talked to Professor Pierce about the crystal staff before, and the general consensus had been that if anyone could take it away and not have it cause trouble, everyone would breathe a sigh of relief. Just sitting there, it was a head bashing incident waiting to happen.

William grimaced for a minute. He hoped that Chris wouldn’t cause any problems. William thought that Chris felt trustworthy, but he didn’t have any evidence for that. He also wasn’t a particularly good judge of people, so he could easily be wrong. On the other hand, it was clear that Chris could have gotten out at any time to cause trouble, if he wanted to. Though, maybe he could get up to more trouble in the hands of a wielder? William was starting to regret his rash actions. He may have just made a very bad decision. On the other hand… Chris was a really awesome looking staff. William was almost starting to regret naming Chris something that sounded so normal… but he also thought it was a great pun, if one that only he would understand.

Shortly, William realized that he should stop pondering about whether his decisions had been bad, and pay attention to his surroundings. William turned to Lila who was sitting next to him at the arena. “Did I just get called up?” Lila nodded. William hurried towards the arena. He was very nervous. He wasn’t sure what tactics Geoff would use. What weaknesses of his own might he have missed? In addition, Chris (plus the cloth covering him) had a different weight than his previous staff. Would that mess him up? It was probably a bad idea to go into an important fight with a new weapon. Was he making a big mistake?

While all these thoughts and more were flying through William’s head, the call for the start of the match came. Chris tapped William on the head. Not hard, he mostly just leaned towards him. However, the feeling jerked William out of his confused thoughts, and into action. William started moving, since whatever else happened, he needed to be moving. What spell would Geoff cast first?

Geoff started casting, but William only heard distorted sound. Ah, so that was it. Geoff had something to confuse the sound of his voice. It was a good move. William had to say that Geoff really had learned quite a bit. That didn’t mean that William liked him anymore, though. Just respected his skill.

William thought hard. If he couldn’t hear the chant, what else could he use to figure out the spell? Eye movements? Geoff was following William’s movements. Based on past battles, he would probably use a fireball. That was Geoff’s area of specialty after all. William was confident that he could at least avoid most of the impact of the fireball, if he got the timing right. How long had Geoff been casting? William counted the time in his head as he moved toward him. He watched Geoff’s lips. The timing should be… Now!

William prepared to dodge in either direction. Geoff probably couldn’t change the trajectory it was going to go after it launched, unlike Lila. If he could, William would still likely avoid most of it. Geoff might even launch it directly towards William’s feet, or in front of him, so that he couldn’t continue forward. William was prepared for anything, or so he thought.

However, suddenly Chris shifted his position in William’s hands. William wasn’t used to his staff moving on its own, so he was slightly unprepared. However, he still held on with his hands, and the staff pointed at an angle in front of him. Then, there was a loud bang, and a flash of light. William had experienced this before. It was a lightning bolt! Specifically, one targeted at him. William could do nothing to avoid it. He would have had to dodge before it was launched.

It was unfortunate, but it looked like he would lose here. Though, the next moment, William realized that Chris hadn’t moved for no reason. The top part of the staff was directly in the path of the lightning. As it struck, the cloth that was tightly wrapped around was burned off of that area. However, instead of damaging the staff, the lightning bolt was deflected off course slightly. However, it still grazed William’s shoulder.

Geoff looked surprised. Frankly, though, he was only half as surprised as William. However, William quickly recovered. “Thanks, Chris,” he muttered, then started to sprint towards Geoff. Hopefully, he could take advantage of this opening. His shoulder wasn’t too bad, but he probably wouldn’t be able to put all of his strength into his swings. Still, he was confident that he could still continue, though he would have been defeated without Chris.

Upon seeing William sprint closer, Geoff rapidly started casting again. William shifted his grip on Chris. He thought that maybe the lightning bolt could have been completely blocked, except that his hands would have been in the way. Perhaps it couldn’t be done more than once though. Still, he changed his grip to allow Chris to move more freely if he needed to. He seemed to be able to react more quickly than William could.

Before William could reach Geoff, his spell was complete. However, there was no reason for William to block or dodge. This was because Geoff had casted a defensive spell. Flames rose up around him. William recognized the fire shield spell. Again, he had to admit that Geoff had made a very good choice. The shield could block magic attacks as well as physical. In addition, melee attacks would require one to get close to the flames, and thus likely get burnt. Though metal weapons would be alright, a wooden staff wouldn’t last long.

Except, Chris wasn’t made out of wood. He was strong enough to break through an iron door. He’d even deflected a lightning bolt. However, William wasn’t sure if that was something that could be done often. Could he also resist fire? It was even possible the lightning bolt had harmed Chris, but William hadn’t had the luxury to check.

William managed to reach Geoff before he could get off another spell. Then, he swung his staff at Geoff. Chris could control his own movements. William decided that if he resisted the action, that he would let him. Chris should know what would hurt him and what wouldn’t. William would have liked to ask about such things, but he hadn’t had the luxury of time, especially not in battle.

The part of the staff that was still wrapped in a cloth swung in an arc toward the fire shield. However, instead of slowing down or resisting, it actually went faster once it got closer. There was a loud sound as staff struck shield. It bounced off, and the cloth caught fire. William quickly moved his grip to the parts of the staff that weren’t covered as the fire quickly consumed the cloth. He carefully touched the parts that had just had cloth burned off, but they were not even warm. He readjusted his grip.

The fire shield still looked stable, but maybe a touch weaker. Still, he thought he might be able to break it. Previously, William been running forward, so his stance hadn’t been good. William wasn’t sure if the stance he’d come up with was optimal, but it was definitely better than others he’d tried in practice against Lila and others. In addition, he hadn’t been prepared for Chris to accelerate. This time, he would have a more solid swing.

Geoff was casting another spell. William could see his lips moving, but the sounds were still incomprehensible. William didn’t think he’d be able to easily dodge at this range, so he had to do his best to break through the shield. William took a grip that wouldn’t put too much strain on his shoulder, and swung his staff with all his might. Chris again accelerated beyond what William could do alone, but this time he was prepared. Staff met shield, and a loud sound rang out. However, this time it was a shattering sound.

Momentarily, William was worried. However, he could clearly see his attack had gone through the shield, and the flames dispersing. He didn’t hit Geoff, though, since the shield had extended about two feet away from him, and William had been concentrating on breaking the shield. He hadn’t even really expected it to work. Geoff’s look of surprise showed the same.

William took the chance to take another step forward, and thrust Chris into Geoff’s gut. Geoff partly dodged, but still took the hit. He lost his concentration, and fire flared around him. William prepared a follow up attack, just in case. A moment later, Geoff stood there mostly unharmed. He’d managed to control the backlash well enough to take minimal damage, with the rest absorbed by the defensive properties of his robes. However, he quickly surrendered, seeing William ready to strike again.

William was glad to have won, though he knew he was somewhat lucky. He knew that, as much as he would have liked to say it was otherwise, he couldn’t have won without Chris. His equipment made all the difference. Then, he remembered how much expensive stuff that Geoff was wearing, and felt better about himself. He knew he would have to answer some questions about how he got Chris… the cursed, hexagonal crystal staff, to let him wield it. Well, he would deal with that when it came to it. The good news was that Chris hadn’t hit him in the head even once, so it seemed he would be fine in that regard.

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