Fickle Things - Outset

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Prologue - A Real Life


No, that's not quite painful enough.


Much better.

Draga regarded the floor as he normally did- with disdain. His face, and most notably his nose, had become increasingly acquainted with the gym floor. It was an unfortunate consequence of Kirase being cooped up as they awaited news from Jak.

"Up for round three?" Kirase asked, offering him a hand. Oh, right... The fight... Draga reached an arm up to clasp the black skinned paw of the Demon king. One quick tug and Draga was on his feet, taking a new stance. "Take your time."

Draga rolled his eyes, but did take him up on the offer. A quick straightening of his plain white t-shirt and beige cargo shorts, an equally swift hand through his hair, and he took his stance opposite Kirase.

Sparring was the man's main method of blowing off steam, which was honestly great. It kept him and Draga fit- not like Kirase really needed it, when the bastard could shapeshift at will- and also helped train Draga to defend himself. Not too useful a skill for everyday life, but only because he fought so infrequently. Back when he didn't have Kirase or one of the other Demons at his side? Ho boy, those were the days.

Even if he had been taking it easy, he still fought enough to react when Kirase suddenly lunged forward.

The initial punch was sidestepped easily enough, and the second was caught in the palm of one hand. Kirase ignored the occupied limbs in favor of whipping one leg around, forcing Draga to immediately disengage.

At least, that had been Kirase's intent, but he'd done that exact trick before. Instead of backing up, Draga raised one knee up to take the hit, grimacing from the impact of the much stronger person's leg. Draga forced himself to continue, using his free hand to grab his opponents heel and lift.

Kirase responded well, turning away to prevent Draga from knocking him over and then diving forward.

Draga had to let him go to stay standing, but kept up by taking a few tentative steps forward. A smart move, as Kirase predicted the approach and did a spin to kick out his legs, only to find him just barely out of range.


Draga dove forward and a look of realization came over Kirase in that moment... but was quickly replaced by a cheeky grin.


What should have been a perfectly executed tackle, and subsequent victory, was ruined while he was in midair. Kirase's entire body flickered for a brief moment- the effect well known for his shapeshifting- but for an entirely different purpose. By reforming his body, but with exactly the same parts, he could change his position.

Long story short, Draga missed, and was forced to duck into a roll to dodge one of Kirase's boots stomping on his head. 

Kirase showed enough mercy to let him stand up before engaging again, but he was pulling out all the stops this time. Er... He wasn't, since he wasn't using any actual magic yet, but he was blatantly cheating with his shapeshifting powers. He didn't move forward so much as he just existed in range of his attacks.

Draga expertly blocked the first blow with his cheek before slamming his chin down onto Kirase's knee. Using the momentum from that second strike, he flew backwards, but was aware enough of his opponent to ensnare his fist with his gut.

The final attack sent him crashing to the ground- thankfully on his back, for once- where he laid down for a moment. By choice, obviously.

"Masterfully done, Draga," a deep, booming voice said with equal sarcasm to the clapping that accompanied it. "And you, Kirase; I know this is rich coming from me, but your powers are bull****."

Kirase rolled his eyes, letting the slight go without mention. "Hey, Alvadeer. Long time no see- I take it Jak's back?"

Alvadeer nodded, and thankfully voiced the thought too for Draga's sake. "He arrived a few minutes ago and asked for me to collect the both of you. All of us are meeting for the final push. Come on."

Draga groaned in a vague approximation of agreement while the other two made their way out. It took a moment for him to get up, though not because he was tired. The fights never really lasted long enough to leave him exhausted... They just hurt. A lot.

Fortunately, he already knew where he was going, and had no trouble finding his way through the maze of corridors to the conference room. Kirase and Alvadeer were already inside, along with fourteen others.

Exceed- the group destined to defeat God and attain their greatest wish. Literal wishes, in this case, as Tetral had stated himself that the victor would get whatever they wanted.

Based off the smile on Jak's face as he stood at the head of the long table, it was time.

Draga quickly made his way to the only available seat so he could listen to the speech he just knew Jak was dying to give.

"Brothers, sisters, whatever you four count as," he greeted, the last one aimed at the resident shapeshifters. "We are gathered here today to celebrate the holy union between this-" He lifted a 'sword' made of the glued together pieces of a chess board. "- and Tetral's face."

The sword was enough to earn a few laughs on its own- the casual disregard for the sixteen artifacts capable of taking over the world being just too fitting for someone like Jak- but his words garnered a different response. Cheers erupted throughout the room, Draga joining as well with a whistle.

"When do we start?" Draga asked when the noise had finally dimmed out.

The Terakali

#33 at Fantasy
#4 at Action fantasy
#26 at Contemporary fiction
#4 at Humor

Text includes: magic, gods, other worlds

Edited: 11.12.2018

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