JB Lacaden’s Picture Choice: 2
Title: Hex 6 - A New Trick
Everything happened so fast. Hex’s eyes couldn’t follow the movements of his opponent. One minute they were running towards each other, the next both of his thighs have huge cuts on them. Blood soaked his pants but, strangely enough, he felt no pain. His eyes jumped back to his assailant the moment he saw movement. The hooded man slowly approached. Hex took a step back but almost tripped to the ground. His legs felt strange. They felt heavy, clumsy, numb. Hex looked at the man then at the daggers in his hand. Poison! Hex thought. The man charged again.
Hex balanced the fireball in his hand. It floated about an inch from his palm and it was roughly the size of an apple. Hex eyed his target—a swinging piece of rock tied to a branch fifty feet away. Hex breathed in deep, raised his arm, and threw the fireball hard. It missed and hit the trunk.
He heard laughter from behind him.
“Again,” Merlon said, waving a piece of bread in the air.
Hex heard his stomach grumble and complain. The condition was he’d have to hit the rock before he could eat. He’d been going at it since yesterday morning.
“Focus,” Merlon grabbed a knife and scooped some jam from a small jar. “Don’t hastily throw your spells. Study your target first. Learn to anticipate where your target’s going next.” Merlon applied the jam to his bread. Hex watched in frustration.
He turned around and closed his eyes. With each attempt, it’s been getting harder and harder to conjure up flame. Hex extended his hand forward, with his palm facing the sky, and gathered all of his energy into one spot—his tattoo. “GAAHH!” Hex heard himself scream. His knees buckled but he forced himself to remain on his feet. Cold sweat flooded his back and chest. Finally he felt his hand generating heat then fire. Hex opened his eyes, panting and gasping. The fireball in his hand was significantly smaller than the previous ones. Hex looked back at Merlon. The old man took a huge bite from his bread and winked at him.
Left. Hex ducked just as the hooded man swung his left hand; the dagger barely missing Hex’s head. Hex formed a fist with his right hand and drove it into the hooded man’s gut. Hex’s assailant, unfazed by the punch, raised his right knee which connected with Hex’s chest. Hex was sent reeling backwards; coughing and hurt.
Ten. That’s the number of punches Hex had thrown into the hooded man’s body. But the punches seemed to do nothing. The man just kept on rushing and attacking and Hex’s poisoned legs weren’t helping either. His bones felt like they were filled with lead. His muscles ached with each movement. Fatigue was also catching up. He had not yet gotten a proper rest since his time from the Golden Forest.
Hex conjured up a fireball in one hand. The hooded man tensed. Hex smiled and said: “I’ll have to congratulate you for pushing me this far. I was saving this for an old friend of mine but you left me with no choice.”
The hooded man remained silent with daggers raised at chest level.
Hex raised up his other hand above his head. The light hum of static filled the air.
“What are you—?” The surprise was clear in the hooded man’s voice. Hex saw the daggers get lowered a bit.
The static turned into a spark. Sparks danced all over Hex’s fist. Hex lifted his forefinger and the current traveled at its tip. A small ball of blue energy formed itself on Hex’s finger.
“What am I doing? It’s simple really. I just generated lightning.” Hex answered.
Hex could see a smile on the hooded man’s lips. “Interesting,” the man said.
Hex wolfed down the sandwiches Merlon brought. The old man watched him. In Merlon’s hand was a badly burnt rock.
“Forty tries and you finally were able to hit the target,” Merlon said. Hex paid him no mind. All he could think of was to resupply his body with fuel and that meant eating...a lot.
“How comfortable are you with using the fire spell?” Merlon asked.
Hex looked at his mentor and gave him a thumbs up.
“You think you’re up to it?”
Hex swallowed the chunks of bread in his mouth and asked: “What do you mean?” Merlon raised a finger and the tip started to let out sparks. “Learning a new magic trick, boy!”
Hex smiled and gave a nod.
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JB Lacaden dreams of someday being a published writer. He currently resides in Manila, Philippines. He's a lover of comic books, science fiction, and high fantasy. Check out some of his works at http://www.jblearnstowrite.com/ and follow him at @jblearnstowrite.