Trapped in her rabid state, Ophelia thrashed against the net but was unable to free herself. Lorac came to, but barely, as he was helped onto the stretcher and carted away. A second drone carefully carried the net, Chris waved a hand dismissively after his crusher.
"She should return to being human again soon." Then he faced the handful of teens in the audience. "Last fight! Step up, step up. You know who you are."
Jane cringed before getting to her feet. Ignoring the pit in her stomach and the fear in her veins. Victor was grimacing as they walked, but didn't look so much frightened. He gave her a sneery grin when they stopped and faced each other, ten feet away in the middle of the field.
"Ready for this?"
"Are you?" The anger kept Jane's voice level.
"On the Godrid side!" The black-robed elemental waved his arm. "We have number eight, Victor Magma! Who is fighting number four, Jane Flame! Begin at the siren!"
The three elementals were watching with arms crossed. Jane's heartbeat sped up. Abruptly the fear vanished… and there was only adrenaline. She heard the siren, and then she gasped.
A wave of lava was suddenly above her. Burning brightly orange, the heatwaves radiating from it were unbelievable. Jane spun back and away. It hit the ground with a heavy slosh, searing and sizzling, the grass immediately igniting at the edges and burning outwards. She looked up at Victor just as he flayed his hands again, the tips of his fingers were burning white. A jet of lava spurted toward her and she darted back, prancing away. Then moving further, deciding she needed to keep her distance.
More sizzling and fires. The lava was glowing orange, luminescence so strong it reminded her of radiation. The heat itself would burn her skin if she weren't already fire-proof. Yes, Zorgon fire-users were immune to normal fire, fire on the red spectrum. That lava however? It'd burn through her as easily as acid.
Victor tilted his head, he walked around the orange pond like the heat didn't bother him either. She waited for his clothes to ignite.
"The lava I create is over two-thousand degrees Celsius." He began arrogantly, stepping toward her.
"Big deal!" Jane raised her hand, a ball of scarlet fire blazed into existence. She punched a stream of fire toward her enemy and it hit him square in the chest.
Victor fell back and thrashed as the red tongues devoured him. After rolling around for a moment he straightened, unburned, though there were holes and black marks in his clothes. He got on one knee and glared at her.
"Victor is immune to red fire…" the white-robed Blake observed from the sidelines.
"The colour spectrum of Zorgon Fire is different to Godrid Lightning. Most Godrid lightning-users never advance to the second level, blue lightning. But plenty of Zorgon fire-users advance once they're good enough." Chris mused before turning his head. "Blake…?"
"Blue fire is the next colour. While primarily used for flying, it is hotter than red fire. It can burn Zorgon fire-users. Whether it can burn Victor… we'll have to see."
Jane was grimacing at their talk. She couldn't fly with blue fire, in fact she could barely use it at all. It'd come out sporadically during training, and quite rarely too. Only sparks. She knew the theory of it, she knew which emotion summoned it… but if she was trusting her victory on whether or not she could pull it out at the right moment to stop Victor, she might not have a chance.
Obstinate anger was the emotion that summoned red fire. She leapt with a growl, punching another stream of scarlet that Victor rolled away from. Another punch flame-thrower. Then she jumped and spun-kicked, a line of fire curving outwards. Victor dodged, jumped and ducked again. He was running; he shot another torrent of lava. Several kilograms that Jane swerved away from, running the other way round, jumping and punch-shooting more fire in his direction.
Victor leapt back, he started throwing his hands out, hurling smaller pockets of lava that burned dangerously into the grass. His aim was on point. Jane was pretty sure she had a longer range than him, but if she didn't get in close he'd just keep dodging her. She'd have to rely on her signature move.
Skidding in the grass Jane outstretched her hand, a burning blaze of red began to turn as she concentrated, condensing and burning brighter. Like a red sun. Victor flung his arm back, a splash of lava whipped out and she dropped to her side. The searing orange went over her, Jane tossed the fireball upward. Her torso hit the ground and she kicked out with a grunt. Her opponent and the watching elementals all looked stunned.
The fireball banged, hurtling through space like a soccer ball, connecting with Victor's chest and exploding into a nebula of red. Victor flew back, engulfed again by the fire. He was scrambling to get up as Jane sprinted over.
Amusement. The evil mirth that comes from the suffering of others, it was the strain of emotion that awakened blue fire. Jane tried to laugh at Victor's panic in her mind, she got close enough and thrusted her palm. She might've seen a speck of blue. But it was so quick it could've been her imagination.
Jane's hand padded against Victor's side but did nothing. Fear returned, she couldn't hold the right emotion. And even though he was still covered in the red fire, now he knew where she was. Victor stuck his hand out to her face, the fingers glowing hot. She got her knee to his forearm, pinning it down while lava spewed out beside them. The force of it sizzled a path through the earth and it was so hot that Jane felt pain in her side just from being near it. Burning pain. Her eyelids were glowing orange when she scrunched them. Victor turned and gripped her, and Jane realised he was trying to shove her into the lava.
She elbowed his face, tried to shoot away but he caught her leg. Swirls of red and orange as she turned and fell. Jane kicked at his face. Once free she scrambled away. Victor got up, his nose bleeding. He looked furious, his shirt now barely attached for all its holes. A little red fire was still going at his pant leg.
"You're… going… down." He heaved. Not good.
Jane raised both hands, summoning twin bursts of flame. Victor stormed over, shouting furiously as he fired streams of high-flying lava. The molten rock rained down, Jane extinguishing her fire and fleeing back as he advanced. More shouts of anger and more lava squirting forth and raining down. Taking a chance meant you could die, but freezing up was certain death. Jane waited for him to hurl more lava, then she ran forwards instead of backwards. Those dark eyes zeroed in on her. Jane dived as Victor stopped, his other arm going up, the lava raining down behind her.
She slammed into him, hands burning with red fire as they wrapped around his neck. Victor's eyes bulged and he shot lava directly upwards as he fell back. Jane felt herself freeze for a fraction of a second before scrambling off him. The lava rained down in heavy splotches. Most of it landed to his right, but several droplets burned into Victor's arms and legs when he tried to shield his body and face. An anguished scream. Jane wasn't immune to direct contact with that lava… but Victor wasn't either.
He screamed and thrashed. Jane was panting, sliding on her butt to get away from him. Moving with all-fours.
"Yep, that looks like serious damage." Chris leaned over from where he stood. He waved the medical droid over and it whizzed into action.
Jane stayed where she was, breathing hurriedly several paces from Victor's head. Two people approached and she jerked in their direction.
"Don't worry, Jane. It's over now." Zac spoke soothingly as he crouched beside her.
"The winner of the final battle of the initial rounds is Jane Flame!" Blake sang merrily. Victor was still screaming painfully in the background. The old man ducked down as well "Dadadada~!" He was holding out a can of coke for her.
Jane was still in too much shock to feel relief. She took the can absently and pressed it against her face. Her skin was hot.
"Let's get you out of here, dear." Blake was proud as he helped her up.
After Victor was whizzed out, still thrashing, Chris waved off the three witnesses. The teens got up to go. They were the uninjured winners. Was Jane an uninjured winner? She wasn't at all sure she'd escaped without injury. She walked dazed, clutching the can of coke while Blake walked with his arm around her shoulder. They were the last to leave.
Jane turned her head to study the white cube-room one last time. The fighting area was demolished. Body-sized dirt holes throughout, grass uprooted, patches burned, trees busted in half, pools of lava bathing the area in orange light and fire.
"The winners of the initial rounds, those who will be advancing into the tertiary…" Chris could be heard talking from ahead "Marine Finn, Lyle Zappos, Dan, Claire Anvil, Leaf Sprout, Evan Powers, Ophelia Langdon… and Jane Flame."
Cheering could be heard from the teens walking ahead.