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I’m not usually prone to backing out of a fight. Either I win, or Ravenwood’s magic teleports me back to the Commons. I’m not used to losing either— even if it means pulling out a Treasure Card.

Which is probably my weakness. I hate to lose, hate to seem weak to others. I also rarely accept healing from teammates unless I desperately need it.

So why am I caught between two choices, equally bad: either stay till the end of the fight and most likely lose, or flee and temporarily lose all my mana.

Why the actual fuck.

I grit my teeth, counteracting the Living Scarecrow’s magic with a shield. There’s two of them, actually, but I like to focus on getting rid of them one by one.

I probably shouldn’t even be here— Ravenwood’s magic dictates that I’m only a level 17, despite the fact that I’ve literally fought several evil bosses. I’m not strong enough to be warranted a trip to Grizzleheim, although that sucks because I’ve been there before and it was probably one of the best experiences in my life.

Oh. And then there’s fucking Krokotopia, which hardly even has sidewalks, how do expect me to avoid the monsters, and I’ve got maybe four quests to finish there already.

Fuck.

I swipe my wand through the air, satisfied when my magic successfully summons a huge monster— never mind that the card only lets me summon it once, unless I find the same card again— and relish the feeling of success. Because I know it won’t last long.

The next round of magic from the Scarecrow fizzles out. It was fire, but I’ve got a shield up anyway so it would have been fine. The second Scarecrow, however, seems to have no problem summoning an Imp to sing some magic curses and steal my energy. What a time to be alive.

I can feel my energy draining fast. My mana is fine, but you can’t use any of it if you’re being teleported back to safety.

Fuck. If I lose this, the three wizards I’ve been paired with are gonna think I’m a coward. If I can’t beat these Scarecrows now, then I’ll at least put a dent in them for someone else.

I select the ghoul card, and feel it filing back into my spellbook for later. The magic courses through my veins, and the telltale death magic sparks appear in front of me. At least this spell will attack the enemy and give me back some energy.

But I know it won’t be enough. It almost never is, I don’t have enough training to learn a new life spell. I don’t have the card that lets you restore your energy by a thousand points at the snap of a finger. I have to make do with a simple 400 point healing spell, and hope it does enough.

But I don’t even have that now. My spellbook has always been testy, pulling out random cards and failing to give me the ones I need almost every single time. I know the healing spell is in there, maybe if I concentrate hard enough, I can pull it out by the sheer force of will.

And then I’m blown back by a fire spell, and almost everything falls out of focus. I’m pretty sure the ground is on fire, because there’s smoke surrounding me and the two Scarecrows like a fog. Their eyes glint with fire, rage, and something else I can’t quite pinpoint. Glee? I don’t know. They’re closing in, crossing the marked runes of the battle circles.

One of them fires an Ice Beetle before I can retaliate. My energy hits zero, and it feels like the air has been knocked out of my lungs. I stagger for a few seconds, my vision growing hazy.

The last thing I see before being pulled away from the battle and to the Commons are two pairs of red glowing eyes.