Bonus Chapter 27 - League Battle Part 1
Hyram stood in the dark room, doing his best to meditate, though in truth he was just trying to calm his nerves. It would be his first league battle. He had been told how things worked, using the magical items he could purchase, how to battle minions, the objectives of the various battlefields. Indeed, Summoner Kuraito, his summoner partner for this match, had assured him it was just an Exhibition match. Done for entertainment and practice rather then for any real political reason. Still, he almost trembled as he realized he was about to willingly step onto battlefield for the first time in his life.
Nidalee tried to cheer him up, saying it was customary to throw a party for champions after their first battle, win or lose. She went on to list plenty of champions who had auspicious careers as a champion, despite sometimes less then stellar first matches. He’d have very much liked to have her on his side for this battle, however she had been barred from this match. Rumor was it was his sister’s doing, but he cared little for rumor. It was time for him to stand alone. Sink or swim. Win or die.
The huge double doors of the room swung open, blinding him momentarily as brilliant light shone in. As his eyes started to adjust, he meekly stepped forward, exiting the room. He had been told to simply follow the red carpet to the summoning chambers, where he would be prepared for battle. As soon as he stepped out into the Grand Entrance Hall, a room as large as most palaces, he heard a deafening roar. He flinched and almost cowered until he realized the room was filled, shoulder to shoulder, save for the long red carpet leading him to his destination, with people. Mages, Summoners, Nobles, Soldiers, hundreds. To many to count. They were all cheering and applauding, some jumping in place trying to catch a glimpse of him, the newest Champion of the League.
Lining the carpet he was to follow, towering soldiers in full plate stood, wearing emblems of the League, of Demacia, of Noxus, and other city-states he was not yet familiar with. When he finally took a step forward, they snapped to attention, the League and Demacian soldiers rising their swords in a salute. Even the Noxus soldiers, despite his previous frictions with one of their champions, bowed their head in respect of his strength. Hyram almost snorted. Back home, soldiers considered him nothing more then a target for humiliation, yet here these hardened Noxus veterans stood, bowing in respect of his ‘Strength’. The absurdity of the situation was almost enough to make him laugh.
Instead, Hyram took a breath and calmed himself. Respectfully, he bowed his head to the Noxus soldiers to his right. Much to his surprise, the second he did, he heard their officer shout ‘Present…ARMS!’ And the Noxus soldiers lifted their own swords in a salute, creating a ceiling of blades for the boy to walkthrough as he approached his first battle. As he walked by, he glanced at each soldier. Some were impassive. Some could be seen through their thick helmets. Most however, looked encouraging, confident, a few even looked awed, as if they couldn’t believe a Champion was walking within arms reach of them. The crowds roar did not fade so he quickened his pace, finally reaching the door to the summoning chamber. It opened to admit him and he rushed inside, the roar of the crowd diminishing as the door closed behind him.
Letting out his held breath, he saw a round dais on the floor. He knew he was supposed to stand on it and wait, but for what he couldn’t recall. Cautiously he stepped forward onto it and…waited. After a few moments, he started to fidget in place, unsure if he was supposed to do anything. Before he could turn around and head back to the door a flash of light blinded him. As he rubbed his eyes to clear them he realized he was standing in a huge stone floored plaza. A large building with a giant purple crystal in the center sat in front of him and he remembered from his lessons that this was the Nexus, the thing he was meant to protect…and meant to destroy.
He looked to the left and saw the other champions he would fight with, and almost immediately wanted to ask for a do over. Kayle and Morgana stood, almost shoulder to shoulder, glaring down at him. Unsurprisingly, Morgana was the first to speak. “So, I hope you’re happy Hyram. You got your wish. You’re a champion. Congratulations.”
Morgana’s tone and Kayle’s expression showed the two were anything but happy about the current situation. Hyram winced and gave a feeble shrug.
Finally, Kayle spoke. “I shall go to the north path with Hyram. Morgana, you should take the south.”
Morgana snarled loudly. “Like hell! I’m taking Hyram with ME to the southern lane, and don’t you DARE try and stop me.”
Kayle’s hand rested on the hilt of her sword as she turned to face her sister. “I am the eldest, so I choose where MY brother goes, Morgana. If he requires your…assistance…” Kayle practically spat the word with how much contempt her voice held, “Then I shall let you know.”
As the two started to advance on each other, their other teammates stepped in between. Amumu, the mummy, he knew only through Annie, who had spoke rather highly of her diminutive friend. Hyram felt he was a teammate he could trust. His other teammate he had no idea however, as he had mixed feelings watching Miss Fortune glare at the sisters. “Enough. Kayle, take the north path. Alone. Morgana, center path, alone. Amumu, take the jungle. Hyram will come with me on the southern pass. He can watch my back as I try and get some money for more artifacts.”
Before either sister could object, Amumu nodded happily at the plan, cutting off any conversation on the subject. Kayle spoke in an even tone, though Hyram knew her well enough to catch the barely restrained fury it contained. “Guard him well, Bounty Hunter.” Saying nothing more, she started heading north to do her job.
Morgana pitted Miss Fortune with a harsh glare. “That wasn’t a request, by the way. It was an order. Anything that happens to Hyram, I promise you, I’ll see to it you meet the same…times ten.”
At that she stormed off toward the center path.
Hyram followed Miss Fortune to the southern path in a daze, all his mental preparation undone by the unexpected arrival of his sisters. Miss Fortune, as if reading his mind, gave him a comforting grin. “Hey, kid, it’s not like they don’t have say in things. You didn’t expect them to go to their favored summoner and demand they be chosen for this fight?”
Hyram winced at he realized the obviousness of it and nodded. “Right. So…I guess…I guess we’re working together on this one.”
Miss Fortune nodded. “Listen kid, I know we might have some….unresolved issues. But I just want you to know, you can trust me here. I’m letting you watch my back, ok? I wouldn’t do that with just anyone.”
Hyram nodded, gulping softly. “So, any idea who we’re up against?”
The word barely left his lips before the knowledge of his opposition flooded his mind. He could feel his summoners presence in his mind, and what the summoner knew, he knew. Silently, his summoner telepathically communicated all he knew about the enemy.
So far it looked like Mordekaiser was heading to the northern path. Hyram winced as he realized the Void Monster Cho’gath was almost certainly in the jungle and that Le Blanc was going to be dueling Morgana on mid. Cassiopeia was taking the southern path, and his wince gave way to a full on groan as he saw that Gangplank would be joining her. Hyram shook his head. “I’m never going to be rid of that psychopath am I?”
Miss Fortune grinned ruefully. “Nope. Sorry, he’s got a bit of a crush on you. Not many have dueled him outside the fields and lived to talk about it. He views you as a challenge. It‘s actually somewhat flattering in a really scary way.”
Hyram let out a long sigh. “Alright, so, my job here is to just watch your back, keep you at peak shape while you fight those minion thingies for money? Not jump into a fight with Gangplank?”
Miss Fortune’s grin widened. “Yep, that’s pretty much it, but if you think you can beat Gangplank, by all means, jump away.”
Hyram winced, shaking his head. “No, thank you.”
The two enemy champions finally got within sight range and the second Cassiopeia caught sight of him, her eyes widened slightly. “Mmmm…you weren’t lying Gangplank. He is something. I want one…”
Gangplank guffawed loudly. “Good luck to you, lass. You’re gonna have to deal with both his sisters, that wild woman, and even little Sarah here.”
Cassiopeia smiled, showing her sharp fangs. “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to settle for a little taste then.” Her serpentine tongue slid along the length of her fang as she glared at the boy intensely, causing Hyram to gulp and shrink back behind Miss Fortune. She growled and shook her head. “She’s just trying to get inside your head Hyram, don’t let her.” Hyram nodded and steeled his nerves.
The battle continued at a sedate pace for awhile. Hyram was glad to see that no one was interested in making any aggressive movements without a decided advantage, even Gangplank, which gave him a little time to learn how to pay attention both to the battle in front of him and the constant stream of information about his team mates from his Summoner. He found his job surprisingly easy. All he really did was occasionally heal Miss Fortune, shoot an occasional weak attack at his enemies to remind him that they’d have to fight him if they tried to attack the Bounty Hunter. None of it could prepare him for what was about to happen.
In an instant, he saw Gangplank grin and grow just every so slightly bulkier, and he knew that Gangplank had grew in strength due to the effects of the field. All of them had done so many times over the last minutes, but this time was different, as Gangplank gained an odd gleam in his eyes. He fired his pistol into the air and roared as suddenly cannonballs started exploding all around Hyram and the Bounty Hunter. The two turned to retreat, but before that could get more then a step or two, suddenly Cassiopeia vanished in a flash and reappeared, many yards closer. Her eyes let forth a burst of green light, and Hyram found it very difficult to keep running. He managed, but his sprint was turned into a slow jog. He looked ahead and saw Miss Fortune having similar issues. Gangplank was charging forward, his gaze resting completely on the Bounty Hunter. Hyram saw the Dread Pirate level his pistol and without thinking, Hyram shot a bolt of golden light, it struck Miss Fortune square in the back. Golden energy surged through her, invigorating her and freeing her from the odd affliction that sapped her speed. She retreated to the safety of her tower at full speed.
Hyram however, was nowhere near as lucky. Before Gangplank had a chance to turn his attention to him, Cassiopeia fell upon him, coiling her snake-like lower half around him, pinning his arms to his side. Her serpentine tongue flicked out against his exposed neck, causing the Serpent Woman to give a pleased hiss. Without another word, Cassiopeia lunged forward, both fangs digging deep into Hyrams neck. He felt venom pour into him from the wound and felt heat leaving his body as Cassiopeia drank in his life blood deeply. His face grew paler as his strength faded, until finally his eyes slowly closed and he fell limp. Cassiopeia held on for a few more seconds, before she reluctantly dropped the boy to the ground, but he never hit the ground, vanishing in a flash of light, returning to be revived back at his Nexus. Cassiopeia brushed up a bit of red liquid from the corner of her mouth with a clawed finger . She stared at it for a moment until finally she slowly sucked the red liquid away, savoring it. “Mmmm…so sweet. He…He tastes like honey.”
Gangplank grinned and turned back to face Miss Fortune. “Oh, guess he’s not making to good of an impression. First time dying out here is harsh isn’t it?”
Cassiopeia licked her lips. “I want more. Do bring him back quickly, I could dine on a morsel like him for days.”
Gangplank laughed as they taunted Miss Fortune who kicked at the dirt, but knew it was hopeless. She should’ve seen that attack coming, but she had been caught off guard. She’d been over confident due to how passively the two normally aggressive champions were and it allowed them to catch her completely off guard. Miss Fortune cursed and could only hope Hyram hurried back, because she didn’t look forward to fighting these two alone.
Hyram woke with a start. He was back where he started, by the odd looking shopkeeper. He felt whole and healthy, though the memory of the serpent woman’s long fangs still caused him to shudder. He turned to the shopkeep, unsure what he should do. Without a word, the shopkeep smiled at the boy and held out a large purple rod, with a spiked crystal head. The second his hand touched it, he felt invigorated. He remembered the name of the artifact now, it was called a Rod of Ages and it made it’s wielder ever more powerful as time passed. Suddenly, in his mind he heard Kayle calling for him to join her on the north path. He rushed off to join her, but before he’d barely gotten past the first tower, he heard Morgana’s and Miss Fortune’s voice in his mind as well, calling him to he center and southern path respectively. The two sisters started arguing empathically, both apparently feeling that Miss Fortune had lost her right to have Hyram help her by letting him die and the two argued over who he would join instead. Hyram froze, uncertain what to do, when suddenly he saw Gangplank and Cassiopeia pressuring a weakened Miss Fortune.
Taking off at a sprint, he rushed to the southern path, running through the jungle to save time. He had barely made it halfway through the south forest when suddenly spikes shot forth from the ground, tossing him up into the air. He cried out in pain, but managed to land on his feet as the engorged Void Beast approached. Just his luck, he’s managed to stumble across it, completely by accident. The Void Beast gave a happy roar. “It’s time to FEED!”
Hyram, feeling very defeated, shook his head. It wasn’t over. Not yet. He still had one more card to play. He might be taking another trip to his nexus, but not before he made this monster pay a heavy toll. He glared at Cho’gath and spoke. “Come on you oversized gecko….”
A flash of light surrounded Hyram, leaving the golden winged Angelic Warrior Hyramis in his place. Hyramis raised his flaming sword, expression stern. “…come and get your throat cut.”
Kayle, Miss Fortune and Amumu finally fell back toward Morgana. The three were battered and pressured on their own, they’re only choice was to stick together now, so they all gathered around the forward most center tower. Kayle and Morgana did not have kind words for Miss Fortune. Morgana spoke first. “Well done, you idiot. Thanks to you, our little brother just died. TWICE!”
Miss Fortune shook her head adamantly. “We don’t know he’s gone again. He could win..”
Kayle shook her head. “I said it once, I shall say it again. Hyram is a healer. A gentle soul. He has no chance against a monster like Cho’gath alone, and if we go to his aid, we are certain to meet our deaths at the hand of the void monsters allies. Perhaps now, you’ll listen to me and let me take my little brother home. He doesn’t belong here. I do not wish to see my brother hurt anymore..”
Morgana spun, snarling. “What are you talking about? It’s your fault he was even in there at all. If you’d just let him come with me, I’d have kept him safe!”
Kayle advanced a step, starting to glow faintly. “Staying with a traitor is not my idea of ‘safe’, especially not for one as impressionable and eager to please as Hyram.”
Before the two could bicker anymore, the enemy team started to gather at the opposite tower. They all wore confident expression, certain in swift victory. The two sisters glared at each other, until suddenly something large and purple flew between the two of them, causing them to freeze. Both teams looked down as the purple object rolled to a stop between the two teams. Their eyes widened as they realized they were looking at Cho’gaths severed head. Stepping forward, brushing past his sisters without even giving them a glance, young Hyram came to a stop just ahead of his allies. The left side of his face was bruised and swollen, he was favoring his left leg, and he was spattered with purple ichors. Despite this, Hyram pulled himself up to his full height as all the champions stared at him in silent awe. He took a breath and wiped a bit of blood from his lip, then finally spoke, still very much out of breath.
“Alright. Who’s next?”