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by Wizard
Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Fantasy · #2203721
Continuation of chapter I

The nimble merchant sprang from his seat with fantastic speed, rolling to the side as he touched the floor. Moments later a playing card came harrowing through the mist. To Doran's disbelief it cut straight through the chair; whence he'd been breaths earlier.

Farren hollered to Doran, "Keep clean those cards."

He rose from his chair steadily, illy fascinated by the danger; tucking his chair neatly under the table and placing his pipe gently into one of his pockets. He bent down to pick up the card, "this ace of spades, though appearing ordinary, has been tampered with."

"Tampered with? with what?" hawked Doran.

"Alchemy!" exclaimed Farren, examining the cards surface in utmost fascination, "Perhaps a combination actually, of alchemy and illusiohonomy I'd wager."

The flour dissipated, revealing a slender figure dressed in black, his hands clasping a fresh hand of cards. The tip of his cape collapsing onto the floor, the tip of his top hat towering overhead.

Farren looked over to witness his friend spitting on the floor; it was like spitting at the feet of a bull, unconvinced of the danger even as it hooves scraped the ground ready to charge. Doran speeds towards his assailant making use of the tables as he did, gliding across them as if they were stepping stones, only the tips of his feet making contact with their surface as he hops. Doran quickly arrived to his opponent, soaring through the air at him. He felt a searing pain strike across his leg. His assailant stepped to the side as his foe came tumbling onto the ground. Doran eyes shot open to the pain of his leg, he looked to see indeed he had been hit. His garments neatly torn to show a tidy cut trickling with blood. Realising what had happened he quickly turned to his attacker. Before him towered the dark figure of his foe, his long pale hand reaching into his coat, emerging with his thin fingers and twisted nails gripping around a dagger of gleaming gold. Doran felt as though his heart had stopped, for as he looked at his foe, his eyes the mexel could clearly see, they were bloodshot with murderous intent.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you!" a voice shouted.

He turned to see Farren slowly walking towards the scene, his head held high and his friend held higher.

"It just so happens, that person you wish to presumably stab; happens to be my apprentice."

The pause was long enough, Doran quickly scurried to the side to pick up his blade. The pain the mexel felt was not severe, but the wrath he felt was. He rose, and perhaps he would have done even if his leg had been severed. The dialogue between the wizard and the man, most likely was not finished, but Doran had finished listening, unable to bare staring at the side of his attacker any longer.

"You! You cut my leg."

The cardholder speaks to reveal a deep calm tone that was almost as sinister as his appearance.

"You seem angry. I must admit, it's not my finest work, how about I finish the job."

The man began to uncontrollably cackle. But it was brought to an abrupt halt as Doran charged, beginning his counteroffensive. His blade only managed to slice air as his foe slid and weaved, unleashing an impressive and precise set of footwork. Doran found that his foe was unusually swift for his long frame, but what was more troubling was his ability to evade his attacks, which were by no means slow. The blade pirouetting cat is struck a more serious blow, his dagger knocked from his hand as he falls to the ground. The wizard calls the man's attention once again,

"those cards of yours are quite impressive, alchemy and illusiohonomy, am I correct?"

The wizard halts a few meters away from the man, yielding no blade, only a piece of chalk.

"thou mayest and mayest not, I beeth at no liberty to tell thee."

Farren snorts, rather annoyed at the response; he hated secrets. The wizard grabbed a chair and snapped one of its legs off, the man cocked his brow impressed by the old man's brawn.

"Surely you don't intend to fight me with that?" laughed the cardholder.

"Don't be daff," holding the stick and chalk together; the wizard closed his gentle eyes and passed his hand over the other, and with a flash of blue he had joined the chalk to the end of the stick, Farren chuckled, "my back hurts when I bend you see, afraid I'm decaying with the passing of time, I have the spirit of a young lad, but the body of a decrepit creature."

The wizard then begins to draw a circle with it, slowly as if he were painting, as if it was the artwork of the world; as if a killer didn't stand over him.

"A containment circle? So art just as thou claimest. Now then, let us perceive who is greater. The arcane versus the insane."

A fresh round of cards shot from his sleeves and into his hand. Farren glared at the card holder as if he had spoken some great insult, and as if the wizard had taken great offence; he speaks:

"Alchemy is not sorcery, it is ambition; it is the act of transferring one's emotion to reality."

"Magic and science: dreams and reality; the two have one key difference, Magic comes from your dreams, alchemy comes from your perception: your desire to experience, versus the experience itself. What you can imagine and what you have seen"

The cardholder relaxes his arms "stall as thou pleases, thy end art the same"

"The beginning point of alchemy is to first draw a circle, a circle of containment. Emotions are boundless, the body is not. If they are not regulated, that is locked to a specific point, the area you are trying to transmute will expand, 'till you fall from exertion...or death."

"Thank you for your patience, I'm quite done stalling now" said Farren, completing his work's edges. The wizard had drawn a very large circle, and upon its completion he waved no wand, nor did he shout an incantation. He closed his eyes: concentrating. Regulating his breathing. The wizard placed his palms close to one another. The whole world seemed to cease with anticipation, the only sound was that of the cardholder as he ran at the wizard. But as he did a blinding light of blue, seemingly manifested between his palms. This glowing aura he cast down as sparks; the circle shone with dazzling light. From it the wooden floor was consumed, producing a series of spikes shooting outward; the cardholder tried to evade, but he had charged too fast and with too much weight. One of them impaled him, straight through the chest. The cardholder slowly eased off the spike, staggering backwards as his blood let onto the floor. Farren scrunched his face and looked at the man sternly, he had not wanted to hurt him, but his hand had been forced; there are certain moves you cannot take back. The man was brought to a halt as he felt the ship wall behind him.

"You speak to me as if I were a novice!" said the cardholder, tearing the remaining scraps of his tattered shirt, and with it the wizard's look of glee, and Doran's sense of triumph vanished; for on his ghostly chest a circle was carved. "Tell me, can you swim?"

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