Distillation of Alchemy
“Why am I telling this story in third person? Forgive an old man his eccentricities. There are many reasons. First is narrative license, it is easier to weave a tale from an impartial narrator. I can also include details that I did not know at the time but learned later. It lets me do things like this…
He set down the phone with a smirk on his face. It was only one one day until he got to teach that smug detective a lesson. It was only a five crystal battle and bet but when he was picking on newbies that was expected. Sure he could earn more from a high stakes fight but those people were more experienced and even if there was only a small chance that he would lose that chance existed.
However he would never lose to a rookie. Not when he had Hound of the Underworld at his command. Most people preferred human heroes because they accepted orders and could do other tasks but he had gone out of his away to acquire one of the rare full monster heroes. They never complained and fought tirelessly for their owner. Sure he had some humanoid heroes to but he preferred the Hound of the Underworld above all of them.
Theofilus lounged in his penthouse apartment. He had bought it from its previous owned using money he had earned selling his excess crystals. There were plenty of dreamers out there with too much money and not enough skill. They would purchase crystals off people like him to either fund their purchasing of packs looking for a specific spell or to fuel their desire to fight despite their lack of skill. There were enough of those fools for him to live an opulent life.
When the lights in Theofilus apartment suddenly turned out he didn’t waste a second. He drew a card from his pocket and called out, “Awaken, Hound of the Underworld.” People who wasted seconds at times like this lost battles.
A black pit appeared in the ground and the Hound of the Underworld clawed its way out. It was a three headed giant dog with razor sharp teeth. It was covered in armored plate. The monster was unbeatable. However its apparent still didn’t set Theofilus’ mind at ease. He always watched his surroundings.
A hollow voiced called from the shadows, “Call your beast. I am not here to kill you tonight.” With those words a man stepped from the shadows of the hallway. His wore a mask. It seemed to be made out of metal and showed some kind strange lizard bird face.
Hound of the Underworld quickly moved to take up the space between them. As Theo’s eyes adjusted he could see there there was another figure in the hallway behind the man.
“So what did you come here for?” Asked Theo.
“I saw that you are dueling Detective Abarca tomorrow.”
“Yah, that’s right. Are you planning on stopping me from doing that? I’m not going to pretend I don’t know who you are Cockatrice.”
Then the mask smiled and Theo took a step back. “No, I don’t plan on stopping you. I plan on helping you. After all I want you to win.”
“You want me to win? Does that mean you plan on killing him sometime after the battle?”
“Does that concern you?”
“Not really. I’m just not certain I can trust you.”
“Ah, but I have a gift.” Cockatrice pulled out a card from his sleeve, “A boosting spell to help you defeat him.”
Theo couldn’t make out the card in the darkness. It seemed like the card was darker than normal cards. Theo said, “I don’t think I need any help against a nobody like him.”
“Do not underestimate an opponent. He has an experienced veteran training him. I was only able to beat her previous master by surprising her and outnumbering her. In a fair fight I could not have beaten Rose of Unyielding Flames.”
“Really? The mighty Cockatrice could not beat somebody in a fair fight.” Theo snarked at him.
“Knowing you weakness is important. You should keep in mind to remember your own.”
One of Hound of the Underworld’s heads turned and sniffed the air. Theo looked out toward the balcony and gulped. There were three more people out there. He looked back toward Cockatrice. “Alright then. I’ll take your boosting spell. I don’t expect to have to need it but more spells are always better.”
“Good boy.” Said Cockatrice in the tone of a man complimenting a dog.
Theo ground his teeth. He didn’t like having to accept Cockatrice’s terms but he knew better than to fight a losing battle. Better to forfeit and come back later able to fight even better. His other cards were across the room in a case, without some extra heroes he wouldn’t be able to defeat Cockatrice.
He wouldn’t be able to sustain as many as Cockatrice did but he had a different strategy for opponents like him. Rotating crystals with a host of sacrificial heroes could wear down opponents with a weaker collection than him. It didn’t work in a regular duel because of the limited crystals but in an illegal fight it was an exceptional tactic.
Cockatrice took the card and walked over to the case sitting on the table just a bit to far for Theo to be able to get to it fast enough. The man placed the card on the case and gave it a tap. Then he said, “Oh, your going to use it. Because you are full of pride. I can see it in you. You think you could beat me if you had your case. You are wrong. That is because I would kill you before you beat me. Have you ever fought in a duel where it was legal to attack the opposing Dreamer?”
The mask continued to contort. Theo gulped, Cockatrice was right. He had never fought in such a battle. If Cockatrice used all his heroes to attack him directly then he could certainly die before getting to beat Cockatrice.
Cockatrice patted the case. “Take good care of these because if you lose then I will be coming to collect them from you.”
Theo felt like he wanted to slide back down onto the couch but he couldn’t even move his legs he was so frightened.
Then Cockatrice turned around and began walking down the hallway. The lights began flickering back to life. Theo could hear his laughing voice calling back to him, “Feel free to try and follow me and beat me. That is if you want to die.”
Once everything was finally gone and all the lights were back on he fell back onto the couch shaking. He was biting his finger in fear and annoyance. How dare Cockatrice threaten him and in his own home. That man needed to be taught a lesson too right after that pesky detective.
He scrambled over to his card case and grabbed at it feeling more secure with it in his hands.
However he couldn’t avoid seeing the card that Cockatrice has felt for him.
‘Abyss - Gain uncontrollable power’
The date of the duel between Detective Abarca and Theofilus had arrived. In the lower part of town near the train station there were a bunch of old warehouses. Many of which still hold good which have been brought in by train to the city.
Some of them had been converted into other purposes however. This warehouse for example had been turned into an arena for playing Destiny Burst. The way into the arena was locked with a digital lock which opening using the Destiny Burst application. Once inside the stairs up lead to the upper cat walks of the warehouse.
This is where the Dreamers would stand on opposite sides of the building. In the bottom part of the warehouse was countless shelves and boxes which acted as blocking obstacles for during the duel. The heroes would fight down there while the Dreamers provided commands from up top. Should one dreamer run out of heroes then the opposing Dreamer can send one of their heroes to touch that Dreamer which would result in a win.
Berardo arrived there around 30 minutes early. Theo was not there yet. Berardo spend the extra time walking around the bottom layer of the arena. He had the communication spell that he had been given active and was using it to receive advice from both Rose and Horizon. He had done a lot of testing and how found that spell to be incredibly useful. One of its unadvertised features was the ability for heroes still inside cards to see what he was seeing and give advice to him.
There was room around the upper walkways where watchers could stand and observe the battle. Rose had said that some battle were apparently quite popular. If people came to watch this battle it would be to see Theofilus, the Alchemist, cream a rookie. At least normally.
At the 10 minutes remaining mark he moved up to the top level. Theofilus still hadn’t arrive. He would probably arrive at the last minute So Berardo stood on the walkways and waited. Theo arrive 5 minutes before the dual time. He came up the stairs and walked over toward Berardo.
He poked him in the chest and said, “I hope you’re prepared to lose rookie. I’m going to teach you a lesson in respect.”
“I’m pretty certain that isn’t the lesson you are trying to teach me. Maybe ‘keep in line’ or ‘see how weak you are’, or maybe ‘look at how big of a jerk I am’.”
“Say what you will but Rose won’t be able to dig you out of this hole. She won’t stand a chance against my Hound of the Underworld.”
“Good thing I don’t plan on using her then.”
“What? What do you mean you don’t plan on using her? How else would you beat me?”
“In it completely left your mind I do have a second hero. I plan on beating you with Eyes that Gaze the Horizon.”
Theo looked nervous for the first time like his carefully constructed plan was falling apart. However he recovered his attitude quickly, “You’re going to use your rookie hero, mr rookie? You make me laugh. I only regret that I will have to teach her a lesson instead of Rose.”
He did indeed laugh as he walked over to his side of the walkway.
“It looks like he is planning on using Hound of the Underworld just like you said, Rose.”
“Good. Just remember to keep watching him as much as the battle. Knowing where your opponent is looking and when he is playing spells will be critical.”
“I know thanks. I need to cutoff the spell now.”
The duel was about to begin so Berardo had to cut off all his spells. All the crystals had to be available at the beginning of the duel.
There were a few people that trailed in as time ticked down. Mostly unsavory looking people who probably just wanted to see Berardo lose. Then just before the dual was supposed to begin the person that Berardo had been waiting for walked it.
They drew everybody's eyes as Meike and King of Endless Water walked it. Even Theo looked surprised to see them show up. The other watchers made way for them and soon enough those two were watching from one side of the battle arena and everybody else had moved to the other side. Berardo hadn’t quite understood the level of respect people
Then there was a ringing throughout the battlefield and both Dreamers looked up. It was time to begin.
“Awake, Eyes that Gaze the Horizon” shouted Detective Abarca.
“Awake, Hound of the Underworld” shouted Alchemist.
And with those words the two heroes materialized on the battlefield. Glowing representations of the crystals each Dreamer was using appeared behind them. The battle had begun.