Episode 15: Ranking Ceremony Part Two
"Here we go!" Ven yells as he tumbles through the air.
He quickly flips himself over so that if he were to hit the ground, he would be able to use his hands to help break the fall. He lets off a a blast of fire to disrupt the fall's momentum, and kicks his feet out to push off the trunk of the tree and lands on the ground safely with a thud. He gets into his defensive stance.... hands up and plants his feet.
Water slices through the air, aiming for Ven's face, but he quickly tilts his head to left so that the strike misses him.
"Ah, so your training has been paying off."
Ven faces forward and sees a silhouette of a man, walking towards him from the shadows of the trees. Ven focuses his eyes onto the figure and when he becomes clear, Ven recognizes him as one of Lox's "subjects".
"Merrick. Didn't think you would be the one to follow me. Let me guess, Lox sent you?"
Merrick steps out infront of Ven. He's dressed in an all black suit, with buckles plastered all over it.
Lox's right hand man. He's a talented water Madokai. About 19 years old, stands about 6ft and has a slim build. He normally wears all black and isn't a man of many words. He has long black hair, brown eyes and has his fingernails painted black.
"Of course. We both knew that you would have an idea as to where Enishi, Nyx and Kia would hide an item." Merrick says dryly with his silky smooth voice.
"So where is Lox?"
"On his way back to meet them. It didn't take him long to find one of Kia's objects.. Figured she would hide something by the water."
Ven tilts his head. "So why even bother following me if Kia's objects were so easy to find?"
Merrick smiles a sinister smile. "We have other plans."
Suddenly, a wave of water appears infront of Ven. He quickly shields himself from the wave by covering his face with his arms. He then peaks over his arm, and sees a fist coming for him. He takes the punch but gets knocked off balance and drops his guard, leaving Merrick to find an opening to kick Ven in the stomach, hard. He coughs and crashes to the ground. Merrick then attempts to stomp on Ven but he quickly rolls out of the way and gets back on his feet, holding his stomach.
"It's like that Merrick?" Ven says as he puffs.
"It is." Merrick responds. Combing his hair with his painted black nails.
"So what? You plan to seriously hurt me or kill me?"
Merrick forms a ball of water with his hands and shoots it at Ven. Ven dodges the attack and sees Merrick circle him.
"Kill." Merrick then shoots off many balls of water at Ven as he continues to circles him. Ven easily blocks off the attacks and keeps his eyes on Merrick. Merrick laughs manically as he shoots water at Ven. He then charges one of the balls, leaps into the air and throws it at Ven. Ven blocks the attac and the ball of water splashes onto the ground, kicking up dirt and dust. As the dust clears, Ven looks up and sees that Merrick has disappeared. He turns around and is once again greeted by Merrick's fist. Ven's head knocks back from the force of the punch. He takes two steps back but then he is hit by a wave of water, and crashes into a tree. Ven falls down to the ground but Merrick catches him and holds him up against the tree.
"We've been waiting for this day for a long time," Merrick says. He looks into Ven's eyes. "Been waiting to taste Tenari blood." He takes his painted forefinger and wipes the blood dripping from Ven's lip and then places his finger in his mouth. "Delicious."
*I'm going to be sick*
Ven says to himself.
"Why wouldn't Lox just kill me himself? He's been hell bent on making my life hell ever since I came here." Ven says.
"I wanted to do the honors." Merrick smiles.
Ven's eyes widen. "What do you plan to tell the Masters? Enishi? Kia? Nyx? It's not like you can just kill me and get away with it.
Merrick tilts his head. "There are a lot of dangerous things in this forest. Accidents happen."
Merrick raises his palm and twirls his fingers. Ven cuts his eyes to the left. Thousands of beads of water can be seen coming from the roots of the plants and leaves nearby. They're all gathering in one spot... Merrick's palm.
*He's forming something*
The beads of water form an icicle, with a very very sharp point. Merrick's eyes are filled with excitement. He licks his lips. He twists his palm to face Ven, pointing the glistening icicle at Ven.
"Such a shame really. I was expecting more of a challenge, especially from a Tenari. After being trained by Enishi, Nyx and Kia? This is so sad." He clicks his tongue. "Any last words?"
Ven locks eyes with him.
Merrick raises his eyebrows.
Ven smiles. "You hit like a bitch."
Ven raises his legs and shoots fire out from his feet. Merrick stammers back, losing his grip of Ven. Ven uses that to his advantage, he then bends his legs so that they touch the trunk of a tree, using the strength of his legs, he pushes off of it and rams himself into Merrick. Merrick crashes to the ground and Ven sits ontop of him and then starts to pummel Merrick.
"You weird piece of shit!"
Merrick's head twists with each punch that Ven lands on him. His eyes start to swell and blood starts to pour out of his mouth. Merrick tries to raise his arms to stop Ven's onslaught. Ven stops punching and then grabs Merrick's hand.
"You want me to stop?" Ven asks.
He looks down at Merrick's bloodied face. Merrick spits up blood.
Ven locks eyes with him and for a brief second, his eye iris's turn a bright red. His eyes then turn back to their hazel color.
He bends down and places his forehead against Merrick's.
"Don't ever fuck with me again."
*Enishi, Kia and Nyx*
There is only 5 minutes left in the first round of the Ranking Ceremony.
Only 14 students have returned with a painted object. 4 of them have accepted that they will not be moving on to the second round since they did not bring back an object, and with only 5 minutes left, it was too late. Most of the students found Kia's objects and only a few have found Enishi's hidden objects. Nobody has been able to locate Nyx's objects.
"Where is he?" Kia says aloud.
"There is still time left. Have some faith." Enishi replies. He rests his hand on her shoulder and gives her a comforting squeeze.
"Lox was the first one to make it back. However, I do not see Merrick. You know he's his shadow. Probably watches Lox wipe his ass." Nyx comments.
Kia chuckles and looks at Enishi, who is staring into the forest with a worried look on his face.
"Hey," Kia gently grabs his chin and turns his head towards her. "He's OK. We've trained him well."
Enishi gives her a reassuring smile and then looks at the sun as it begins to set.
"One minute left." He says.
"I was expecting more from your pupil, Enishi." says a voice beside him.
Enishi whips his head and sees Ezreal standing next to him with his arms folded and a look of disappointment on his face. Nyx rolls his eyes.
"30 seconds Enishi. I guess your training did not pay off after all."
Enishi growls and turns to face Ezreal.
"Ven!" Kia shouts.
Enishi turns and sees Kia ponting towards the forest.
Ven can be seen walking slowly, carrying an unconscious Merrick on his back.
"I'll be damned." Nyx says and smiles.
Ven walks up to the group and lowers Merrick onto the ground gently. Ven briefly looks at Ezreal, who scoffs and walks away.
"You've made it." Kia says and smiles at Ven.
He smiles back and says, "Of course. I was trained well. Look!"
Ven reaches for his pocket and pulls out the painted pebbles.
"Where did you get these?" Enishi asks.
Ven cuts his eyes at Nyx. Nyx laughs.
"Asshole." Ven smiles.