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    Laura S. Fox
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

This Strange World Needs A Kicking! - 26. Who Are You?

Chapter Twenty-Six – Who Are You?

“Maybe you should go talk to Milo, see how he’s dealing with all this breakup thing,” Beatrice suggested to him after the game.

It had been a horrible affair in the end, and by how Milo walked alone from the court, it appeared that his teammates were not pleased with him.

But what could he do? The alternative was much, much worse. He would never put Milo in harm’s way if he could help it, and he would always do everything in his power to help it. At least he was protected from the pig-like face boy and his posse.

Beatrice patted him on the back, and seeing how he made no gesture or said nothing to keep her, she left with her friends, not without reminding him one more time that he should try to mend things between him and his boyfriend.

His boyfriend. Yes, it appeared that Milo had been that for a short while, and it had been a happy time for Sebastian, if not the happiest, as short-lived as it had been. Could it be that was what Luna Celeste kept blabbing about? Love, with its times of elation and happiness, but also despair and gloom? He was living through the second part now, and he would have much liked to do without.

He left the building where the match had taken place and was deeply lost in thought when he heard someone running toward him. Tani was rushing to him, her breath coming in short, her eyes full of worry. Was it about how he hadn’t wanted to take her to see the match? It was for the best since the game had proven just an occasion for their school team to be humiliated due to Milo’s subpar performance. Sebastian had wanted to protect him with all his soul when he heard the people around commenting on that, but he knew he was to blame, so nothing could be done.

“What is it?” he asked her.

Tani grabbed him by the arms and leaned against him, unable to breathe or talk.

Sebastian felt the now familiar alertness creeping in. She was almost crying, so it couldn’t be just about the basketball game. “Kai, some ugly boys took Milo,” she eventually managed.

His entire body tensed. “What ugly boys? Where?”

Tani continued to breathe hard and let go of one of his arms only to point in the direction of what looked like an old workshop. “I peeked inside, and they were starting to push him around and call him names.”

Sebastian ground his teeth hard. “Does one of these ugly boys look like an unwashed pig?” he asked.

Tani nodded. “They all look like pigs. I don’t know if they’re unwashed or otherwise.”

Sebastian began walking purposefully, with Tani on his tail. “Kai, you should call a teacher or something,” she pleaded as she ran behind him.

And put more innocents in harm’s way? That wasn’t something he was willing to do and had never done in his life. He scouted with his eyes and saw a thick wooden pillar leaning to one side, stuck in the ground. It must have been part of an old fence in another time, and it had to do.

He grabbed it with both hands to make it come undone as anger grew inside him. Curses formed on his tongue as he struggled with the damned thing.

“Kai, what are you doing?” Tani asked, more and more concerned.

“I’m settling the score,” Sebastian said through his teeth as the pillar began to move. “This,” he grunted, “strange world,” he added as the thing finally came off, “needs a kicking!”

Suitably armed now, he rushed toward the building where his would-be assassins were most probably harming Milo in ways he didn’t want to think of. With a loud cry, he pushed open the doors that rattled on their hinges by driving his shoulder against them.

Milo was on a chair at the end of the room, with his hands tied behind him by his position. Around him, Chet and his posse were shouting, hitting him from time to time. Sebastian took in his surroundings as dark flames licked along his veins.

As soon as he barged in, Milo’s attackers stopped and turned toward him.

“You scoundrels,” he said in a deep, rumbling voice he recognized from a different time.

“If it isn’t lover boy,” Chet said with a sneer. “What’s up, homo? We were just talking about you. Your boyfriend is a pussy, just like you.”

Sebastian jumped on the long line of tables and broke into a sprint. A new power surged through him, but no, it wasn’t new, he registered faintly, as he swung the wooden pillar and smacked Chet right in the face.

For a moment, a deadly silence followed. But then, Chet’s acolytes rushed to grab him while shouting obscenities. Sebastian moved with ease, the routines learned from online instructors coming to him like second nature. He evaded their maneuvers with ease, using his improvised weapon to hit them efficiently and where it hurt the most. It wasn’t his way of doing things to go against an opponent that was so poorly equipped, but the moment they had dared to lay a finger on Milo, these young delinquents had sealed their fate.

He was breathing hard when all of them were down on the floor, squirming and crying. But when he turned his attention on Milo, his heart sank. Chet was holding one arm around Milo’s neck while blood was pouring from his nose. Milo was struggling to kick him away, but his face was getting redder.

“Step away from him,” Sebastian hissed.

“No fucking way,” Chet blabbered, and the wild look in his eyes said that he was scared. “You’ll let us leave first.”

No moments could be spared. He cried out, and this time, when he launched his attack, he didn’t hold back and put his full strength behind it. Chet remained standing after the hit, but only for a moment, and then he crumpled to the floor. Milo began coughing and wheezing. Around him, Sebastian felt a breath of cold, one that he had known to be with him throughout his life.

He hurried to untie Milo when Tani rushed in. “There are teachers and people coming, Kai! Let’s get out of here!”

He didn’t understand why she was so keen on them running. He had defeated his enemies, so he would stand his ground. But when he turned toward Tani, he noticed how she took a few steps back. There was uncertainty in her moves, but she was too far away for him to read her eyes.

“Go, Kai,” Milo said in a raspy whisper. “You’ll be in trouble if you don’t. If they dare to tell on you, I’ll say otherwise. There’s a back door.” He pointed with his chin behind him.

Their eyes met briefly, and Milo blinked fast like something was preventing him from seeing well. Sebastian just nodded and rushed out. He hated to leave Milo like that, but he would get the proper care.

***

The only place to go directly was home. He had thrown away the wooden pillar and tried to dust his clothes to the best of his abilities, and yet, people on the subway had kept throwing strange looks in his direction. There was a slight tremble in his arms, the energy he had felt coursing through him still not yet consumed entirely. Tani hadn’t come after him, and he could only assume that she was safe with those people.

He needed to change his clothes, and later, to call Milo and see if he was all right. Now that he had done this, the assassins were sure to come after him and him only. Milo needed protection, and other people were now involved, people from this world who wouldn’t allow Chet to beat up boys like Milo.

The door closed behind him once inside Kai’s bedroom, but not because he had done that, so the sound took him by surprise. He turned on his heels to find himself face to face with Tani, who had a strange improvised hat on her head and held a stick with a star at its tip. “You’re not my brother,” she said while her hand trembled on the stick. “Who are you?”

Sebastian stood there baffled for a moment. “Can you see me? The real me?” He pointed at himself. Where was a mirror when he needed one? Was he transforming into his real self?

“All I see,” Tani said, “is my brother’s body but there’s someone else inside him!” She swung the stick in her hand wildly.

Sebastian narrowed his eyes. Was that a tinfoil hat? He walked toward Tani, making her squeal. With a sure move, he grabbed her tinfoil hat, made it into a ball, and threw it on the bed. “I’m not an alien,” he said. Yes, he had seen those horrendous movies, and he seriously doubted tinfoil hats were any good at offering protection against creatures from another world.

She cried out in despair and raised her arm, dropping her stick. Sebastian groaned. Dealing with little girls scared of aliens wasn’t something he had any idea how to address. He seized her wrists, trying to be gentle but firm. She stopped her shouting and stared into his eyes, looking scared.

“I’m not your brother, it’s true,” he said in a measured voice, “but I have no intention to hurt you. I’m not a bad man.”

Tani blinked a few times, but it was a good sign that she wasn’t shouting anymore. “Who are you then?”

It was strange to hold her arms up like that, so Sebastian let them down slowly and then took a step back. “Are you sure you’re capable of listening to the truth? I tried telling it to Milo, but he wouldn’t believe a word I said.”

Tani nodded, but she was so pale that Sebastian worried she might faint. So he took her hand and guided her toward the bed, and made her sit. He grabbed a chair and sat at a fair distance from her to ensure that he didn’t scare her any more than he had already done.

“My name is Sebastian, and I am the Protector of Ifigia. I am a prince in my world.”

“Ifigia? Is this in Europe?” Tani asked.

“No,” Sebastian said firmly. “It is not anywhere on this planet, and according to everything I’ve read since coming here, it is not anywhere in this universe.”

Tani inhaled and exhaled, then repeated the procedure. Sebastian allowed her, seeing how shaken she was. But the color was turning to her cheeks, and her eyes were now shining with curiosity. “Are you like from a fantastic land?”

“It would be a good definition according to the rules of your world,” Sebastian agreed.

“Do you have dragons there?”

“Yes, there are dragons,” Sebastian confirmed.

“And beautiful princesses?”

“I think so, although I would not be the right person to judge their physical appearance.”

“Do you mean that you’re into boys in that world, too?” Tani’s eyes were as big as saucers.

Sebastian sighed. It was so like Tani to ask useless questions. But he needed to be patient with her and establish what made her see behind the body he was inhabiting by chance or curse. “Yes, I prefer men,” he said shortly. He found the conversation inappropriate given the young age of Kai’s sister, but he had no choice but to offer answers as clear as he could.

“You’re from a BL novel, lol!” she exclaimed.

“I assure you my world is not fiction.”

“But if you’re here, where is my brother?”

Sebastian let out another long and heartfelt sigh. “I can only assume that he is currently inside my real body, ruling Ifigia in my stead.” He didn’t have the heart to tell Tani that he believed Kai was ill-equipped for such a task.

“I bet he’s making a mess out of it,” Tani said.

He couldn’t help a smile. “It is a possibility.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” she continued. All the fear from before was gone from her face. “So, he’s now surrounded by bishies who want to sleep with him?”

Bishies. Oh, right, he remembered the term. It meant beautiful boys. “At the moment, I believe he would only have to fend off the advances of my royal concubine, Conrad --”

Tani made a sound like she was choking. “You have a royal concubine?”

Sebastian frowned again. This conversation was surely going places that were making him feel uncomfortable. “The thing is,” he said quickly, “I have no idea what happened that your brother and I switched places in such an incredible fashion. I suspect a curse, but I have no proof. I was also suspecting that Chet and those other boys were assassins sent to kill me, but I think they’re just delinquents and nothing else. How is Milo?” he asked, suddenly alarmed. Under the surprise that Tani had discovered the truth about his identity, he had forgotten about the boy.

“The teachers took him to the infirmary. And those jerks were taken by a security guard, and an ambulance was on the way when I left. I think they’re in deep trouble. They might get expelled. And Milo didn’t say anything, and the others didn’t dare to rat you out. No one would believe them anyway. My brother is incapable of hurting a fly, and you cracked that jerk’s nose open.”

Sebastian waved, wanting to get to the heart of the matter, now that he had the confirmation that Milo was all right. “Tani, I must ask you. How could you tell I’m not your brother?”

Something of the fear from before returned to her eyes. Then, she grinned. “When I rushed inside to tell you to get away, something awesome and scary happened. When you kicked that guy in the face, there were blue sparks everywhere. Are you Electric Man?”

“No,” Sebastian said patiently, “I am Prince Sebastian of Ifigia.”

“Right, right. So, Seb – can I call you Seb?” She didn’t wait for him to reply. “Those blue sparks turned into small flames, and they were, I don’t know, like part of you,” she said with admiration. “And when you turned to look at me, your eyes were blue and like burning. They’re normal now, though.”

The familiar cold breath and his eyes burning. Of course, how could he not realize it? “That must have been my ice magic,” he said slowly.

“Ice magic?” Tani shouted, and her eyes grew wide. “You have ice magic?”

“Yes, my mother, the ice goddess Reya, created me from it, and it’s an important part of me.”

Tani linked her hands together and swung her body. “That is so cool,” she said in a reverent voice. “Omigod, so Kai is now using ice magic in your place?”

“He could be, but the fact that my magic manifested now is quite strange,” Sebastian said.

“Hmm, maybe it’s not so strange,” Tani said. “I mean, there has to be a reason. Milo was in danger, you went there to save him, and because of the power of love, you summoned your ice magic to this world. There,” she said with satisfaction.

Sebastian wasn’t exactly pleased with the expression on her face, but he had no other explanation, so hers could be the correct one.

“Omigod,” she exclaimed again, “Milo has a prince as his boyfriend! So much wow!”

“He doesn’t believe it,” Sebastian said sternly. “And it is for the better. I don’t see what good would do.”

“I see,” Tani replied. “And you know, there’s something more. Your voice. You don’t sound like Kai anymore.”

Sebastian cleared his throat and began listing all numbers up to ten. Indeed, that was almost his real voice. “Yes, you are correct,” he said, more and more flabbergasted by the transformation. It was a sound reason to become alarmed. “I must return to my world,” he added hastily. “Ifigia is in danger, and I cannot be transferred for good into this world, or all will be lost.”

He couldn’t say precisely why his line of reasoning was taking him down that path, but it felt like the most believable explanation.

“Oh, no, what are we going to do?” Tani asked and slapped both her cheeks.

“We? It is my duty --”

“Seriously? Kai is my brother, and I bet he has no idea how to deal with fantastic worlds in danger and all that, unless they’re part of a video game. Actually, maybe his experience as a gamer could help him,” she said as if she was talking to himself.

“I must return to my world,” Sebastian insisted.

Tani stood brusquely. “And Kai needs to get back home, or mom will be really pissed. Let’s check my stash of fantasy novels. There must be something in there about this.”

Sebastian didn’t argue and followed her out of the room.

Tani stopped for a moment and turned toward him. “Was that why you were so happy with flushing the toilet?”

“Yes,” Sebastian replied in a cool voice. It was somewhat assuring to hear himself again.

Tani grinned. “So damned funny. I thought my brother was finally losing it.”

He surely didn’t find it funny, so he pushed her toward her room. “We have something important to do.”

***

It felt like they had been riding for hours. Kai couldn’t stop yawning, and a couple of times, he had almost fallen from the saddle. Good thing Galien was there, keeping him awake and straightening him back so that he didn’t make a total fool of himself by falling off the horse.

“You should have slept properly last night,” Galien scolded him, “instead of trying to sneak away. And what’s with you? You usually spend your nights tiring your lovers, and your days training and fighting. How come you’re so sleepy now? I hope it’s not some sort of curse --”

“I don’t think so,” Kai interrupted him. How could he explain to Sebastian’s cousin that he usually hated waking up so early in the morning, mainly because he spent his nights playing video games? “I mean, that would be a pretty lame curse, don’t you think?”

Galien huffed. “You somehow believe that this war is still something you should take head on, don’t you? That is why you pretend to be sleepy and bored while we’re marching on the enemy. And why is your voice so high? You don’t sound like yourself.”

What the hell did he mean by that? His voice was completely normal. He didn’t like that Galien didn’t believe him to be sleepy for real but wasn’t it weird that he felt all that while inside Sebastian’s body? Whatever, maybe Sebastian got sleepy sometimes, but people didn’t know because the Protector of Ifigia couldn’t have any weaknesses, and he kept it well hidden.

“What’s our strategy, after all?”

“Don’t you mean your strategy?” Galien asked. “You wanted to head here and confront them directly. We’re only following.”

Kai couldn’t suppress a groan. “See how you all made things more complicated than necessary? If it were just me, I could have just sneaked in and… well, destroy the enemy and that, all in a day’s work.”

“Not that I don’t find your confidence in your abilities refreshing, but you really make me think that you are taking things too lightly. Is it a ploy so that I weaken my resolve in sticking by your side?”

“No, nothing like that. It’s just that I’m all powerful, and you guys, not dissing you or anything, but you have no special powers. How about leaving the OP character do all the work?”

“I won’t dwell on your strange manner of speaking you picked up from those barbarians and ask in detail what on earth you mean by dissing and OP. However, I insist that you don’t leave my sight while we’re engaging.”

“Do you want me to stay glued to you? That will be tough since we need to fight and everything.”

“I will make sure you stay in my sight, and you don’t have to worry about it. Conrad will keep his eyes on you, too. I mean it, Sebastian, no tricks. If you fall, this world will end.”

Like he needed more ominous words to remind him what was at stake. “Yeah, yeah, I get you,” he said and waved. Why the hell was he so sleepy, though?

***

They set camp at a fair distance from what counted as the border between Ifigia and Uxilan, and Kai wished he had a pair of binoculars so that he could inspect the movement of the enemy troops like in movies. Unfortunately, as OP as Sebastian was, he didn’t have any skills in seeing far and wide, more than any other average human being. It would have been helpful to have Adhe’s wings right now. He searched his pockets for the dragon scale, but he didn’t find it. Could it be that he had misplaced it somehow? Maybe he had left it in another coat. Anyhow, he wouldn’t bother Adhe, who had a baby to care for.

“We’re just going to wait?” he asked Galien.

“It is preferable that we confront them on our ground where their dark magic is not as strong,” Galien replied.

“And how long will that take?”

“As long as needed.”

Galien was pretty annoying. He could just dash in there, throw some magic around, destroy them, and be back by dinner time. Pepin had talked about how those jerks had taken Sebastian’s magic away, but it had gone back, right?

So, before they could even do anything, Kai was going to enter their realm, blasting ice left and right and finishing them off before they knew what hit them. Of course, if he were just to wait there for hours and hours, they would be alerted and had the time to prepare their anti-magic offensive. He pursed his lips in frustration; he so much needed to use the element of surprise to make sure that he defeated those assholes in one fell sweep.

That meant that he needed to shake Galien off and try his own strategy. And after he made sure that the dark magic wielders were defeated, the rest of the troops could sweep in and deal with the rest if anything remained. After all, they had come all that way, and Kai didn’t want them to feel disappointed.

But what could he do to make sure Galien didn’t notice his getting away? As he racked his brain for solutions, his eyes fell on Conrad, who stood not far, speaking with some knights.

How hadn’t he thought of that yet? The perfect opportunity presented itself. “I need to spend some time alone with Conrad,” he said in a perfect straight voice.

“What for?” Galien asked.

“You know.” Kai wiggled his eyebrows.

Galien stared at him in disbelief and then narrowed his eyes. “I thought you were adamant about not cheating on Pepin, as you said.”

Kai bit his bottom lip. Right, he was making Galien jealous, but it was all for a good cause. And afterward, when the Uxilan jerks had been defeated, he would apologize and tell the truth. But what if he changed back to his own body, and Sebastian was back? Probably, the actual prince would have no issue laying his claim on the royal concubine once more, so maybe, just maybe, he was making Galien hurt now so that he would hurt less later.

“You are making strange faces again,” Galien brought his train of thought to a halt by talking.

“Right. Well, I’m suddenly in the mood, what can I say?” The weird things he came to say, all because of this ridiculous BL plot. Why did a BL plot have anything like dark magic wielders in it, though? It was annoying. No, what the hell, now he preferred BL plots to fighting fantasy creatures and enemies? He was losing it, clearly.

He set his chin high and stared at Galien, challenging him and also worrying that if his cousin suddenly said that he disagreed with that, he wouldn’t be able to tell him ‘no’.

But Galien moved out of the way, his eyes never leaving Kai. “As you wish, Your Majesty. Do not let me keep you.”

Kai moved fast before Galien changed his mind and grabbed Conrad, dragging him away from the knights.

“I want you or something,” he said the moment he noticed Conrad’s questioning eyes.

“Now?” Conrad asked and blinked. “This is hardly the time or place --”

“Hey, I’m the prince, right? And you kept on bugging me about it. Don’t you want it?”

“Of course.”

It was evident that Conrad had no idea what to think.

“We need a quiet place,” Kai said quickly.

He had observed how their camp was bordered on the left by hills that stretched toward the border with Uxilan. If he managed to reach over them, he would move without being detected before anyone got alerted of his absence.

Conrad gestured for him to follow. Kai waited for him to enter the last tent that appeared to be as far away from prying eyes as it could be. And then, Conrad began to undress, holding his eyes just as guarded as before.

“Yes, yes, nice, like this,” Kai said quickly but averting his eyes so that he didn’t stare too much at Conrad’s junk.

“Aren’t you going to undress?” Conrad questioned.

“Yeah, soon. But I want to play with you, first.” Gawd, the cringe. “So,” Kai continued, “close your eyes and lay there.”

“Wouldn’t be easier if I first lay down and then closed my eyes?”

“Yeah, whatever. No, not like that, on your belly.”

“Your Majesty,” Conrad breathed out but obeyed. “Do you intend to use me in that fashion? I thought you didn’t care for being the man on top.”

“Well, people change,” Kai replied.

He straddled Conrad fast and then pulled the belt from his pants to fasten his hands to the back. Now he needed something else. Under him, poor Conrad was breathing fast. Probably no one had ever had the Prince of Estfalia in that position.

He took his handkerchief and turned it into a blindfold, placing it over Conrad’s eyes.

“Your Majesty,” Conrad said, more alarmed this time.

“Don’t worry. I promise you. You won’t feel a thing.”

For real.

“Allow me to doubt that. I’ve seen Your Majesty, and you lack nothing in that respect.”

“Trust me. Now stay like this, while I go grab something to, you know, use on you.”

He didn’t wait for more of Conrad’s protests and went outside. A look around convinced him that the soldiers gathered there were too busy with stuff of their own, so he sneaked behind the tent and smiled when he saw the horses.

Like taking candy from a baby, only that Kai intended nothing like that. What he much intended was to grab those dark magic jerks and teach them a lesson.

TBC

Well, I hope you enjoyed Seb's moment of revelation! And the title drop moment. Now, it remains to be seen what Kai is planning... feel free to guess!

Until next time,

Hugs,

Laura.

Copyright © 2021 Laura S. Fox; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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I can't wait for Kai to tell the others! I wonder if Seb will teleport to his world and confront Kai lol that would be fun. I hope Milo will accept Sebastian as he is and forget about Kai.

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On 11/19/2021 at 2:10 PM, Aevylio said:

I can't wait for Kai to tell the others! I wonder if Seb will teleport to his world and confront Kai lol that would be fun. I hope Milo will accept Sebastian as he is and forget about Kai.

Ah, I'm so regretting not really thinking of a real confrontation between Seb and Kai, lol!

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