“Fuck a bunch of this,” you mumble. Goddamnit, you’re a wizard, and you’re only going to be one for around another half an hour. Running and hiding are the options you’re going to have for the rest of your life. But for the next thirty or so minute, you’re got one more choice. If you’re going down, then by hell you’re going down swinging.
You begin to sprint forward, toward the largest cluster of other costumed competitors. With an exertion of will you feel the familiar energy crackling along your fingers. A charge up the middle, that’s the way to kick this shit off. It’s actually a solid tactical idea, not to mention it will raise your profile in Victoria’s eyes.
Unfortunately, you aren’t the only one who thought of it.
“Fucking Ma-” BOOOM. The entire stage rocks and dust goes flying, along with several bodies, as a red and blue blur leaps into the air and slams violently back down. Your words and charge are both cut off as the tremor sends you tumbling to the ground. By the time you stop rolling you’re covered in dust, beer from the cup, and dust mixed with beer. You look up in time to see Not-Superman catch the knight’s sword mid-swing and crumple it like tinfoil. With a casual effortlessness, Not-Superman then grabs the armor on both ends and rips it away, like he’s opening a Christmas present. For a moment, the knight stands there, the remains of silver armor still shining in Not-Superman’s hands. Then, an instant later, the armor is gone and the knight is just a gangly young man holding a broken toy sword. Not-Superman turns his eyes to his next victim, and darts off to continue the reign of destruction.
You pull yourself up carefully, eyes still adjusting to the dust-filled air. You notice you dropped your cup of infinite booze and bend back down to get it. This action is all that saves you as a meaty foot goes flying past where your head was only moments ago. Victoria’s admirer dressed like some sort of karate guy lands on the other side of you, spinning around the moment his free foot makes contact with the ground.
“Nice dodge,” Karate-Guy says, red headband flapping in a non-existent breeze. “You’re quick for a wizard.”
You adjust back-up to a standing position, only now putting together what just happened. It seems like you two are apart from the main group, so at the moment he’s your only concern. A small smile slips onto your face.
“This should be easy,” you say confidently, taking a sip from your cup.
“Umm, dude, you know who he is, right?” Jim’s voice comes through clearly on your “magic” Bluetooth headset.
“Doesn’t matter,” you reply. “He won’t be anything in a second.” Karate is well and good, but this fool brought punches and kicks to a magic fight. You’re going to show him the error of his ways.
“You’re over-confident,” Karate-Guy remarks, shifting his foot position and taking a strange stance.
“Pfft, whatever, fucking magic.” You give a simple thrust with your free hand, blasting a bolt of magic right at Karate-Guy’s center of mass. It’s as fast as ever, however it is nowhere as quick as Karate-Guy’s reaction. In a single motion he steps back, presses both wrists together like he’s cupping an invisible basketball, and summons a burst of blue light in his empty palms.
“Hadoken!” Karate-guy screams, firing his blast forward. It strikes your magical bolt on the way, destroying the weaker energy as it moves. And move it does, closing the gap between its origin and you before you even have a chance to move. Thankfully, it seems your magic had a little effect on the energy ball, as it curves at the last moment and strikes your lower body rather than torso. This still sends you flailing to the ground, waves of pain washing over your legs and even more beer showering atop of you.
“I was trying to tell you,” Jim says, voice perfectly clear over your heavy, pained breathing. “He’s dressed like Ryu from Street Fighter. So, you know, watch out for the hadoken.”
“It was a good warning,” Circe tells him. “Pity that Wizard was too foolish to listen.”
You flip onto your back in an effort to get up and catch sight of your robes. While the dust and beer are falling away, there are burn holes where the hadoken struck that seem to be staying in place. Karate-Guy walks over carefully when you’re noticing this.
“Looks like your outfit has almost had it,” he assesses. “One more should destroy it completely. Sorry about this, but with so little time there’s no other way I’m going to be able to pay my price.”
“What was yours?” You ask, trying desperately to buy time while you think of strategy.
“I have to conquer my greatest fear,” he replies. You notice he’s begun to shift back into his hadoken stance.
“Wizard, he’s about to attack,” Circe tells you, not that you really needed her too. “This is your last chance.”
“What do I do,” you wonder aloud.
“Try not to move,” Karate-Guy-Ryu tells you. “It’ll hurt less.”
“Shit, blast him when he blasts you,” Jim advises. “Mutually assured destruction.”
“He’s ready for that, just like he was the first time,” Circe disagrees. “You need to do something out of the box, something he wouldn’t expect. I don’t know, throw beer on him, do anything.”
It occurs to you that since you and Circe joined forces by agreeing to help one another, maybe a similar arrangement can be reached right now. Judging by the flickering blue orb beginning to manifest in his hands, you better pick something and run with it.
You grab the plastic beer cup