Shaman King Fan Fiction / Yu-Gi-Oh! Fan Fiction ❯ Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Shaman Tournament ❯ Montoya vs. Hengist: Ill-Fated Fight ( Chapter 16 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

Rai lied on the desk, protecting the three empty mortuary tablets and the beaded necklace from her first human owner. She was curled up in her tails, stray crackling from sparks originating from her weeping over her missing owner.
I promised them. I promised Kikaita and Tsunami I'd protect her… I've failed them… She repeated herself through the night and most of the day.
While she was talking in sleep-telepathy, Montoya placed a psyche-shield spell on Rai after an hour of annoyance. He had his own problems to worry about.
His fight was next, against someone whom he'd hope he didn't have to face in the tournament. Montoya's hands trembled over his studies that were too distant to distract him while the hours ticked away. He closed his book shut and stood up from his desk, capping his head with his fedora and shoulders shielded over with his cape.
He looked to the far corner of his desk, where a chicken wing lay cold and untouched on a plate. Next to it was Yaril, staring terrified at the Oracle Pager.
"Lost your appetite, too?" Montoya asked his caller demon. Yaril nodded and hovered up to his perch on Montoya.
The demon summoner made his way out, running a finger in between Rai's ears as he passed. "You better come with me back to the apartment. I'm going to be locking my lab up and you won't be able to get out, not even in your lightning form. You can keep those here until Miranda returns,” he said.
Rai nodded and followed close to Montoya's heels.
Outside the Hells, Montoya and Rai stood on the slate as it began to elevate into the atmosphere border until the real world returned to them.
Rai instantly felt a spirit and darted to the window; a raven had a scroll in its black beak waiting on the apartment's bench. Montoya…we have company… Rai advised.
Montoya looked out the window to see for himself and opened the door. The raven fluttered about the living room after dropping the scroll into his hand.
"Message from the Patch Tribe…" Montoya had a flicker of curiosity while unrolling the message and his eyes skimmed the note. "Miranda's second match was unauthorized…"
What?! Rai sparked, zapping the raven and made it hit the carpet in a heap of spirit feathers; the raven exploded and vanished.
"That's what the message said. The Patch officiates stationed in Domino Town took Miranda into their custody and she stands in decision before the Head of the Grand Shaman Council, deciding whether or not she can proceed further." Montoya read further. "Also, they're keeping her to heal her injuries. She will be back with us tomorrow - her injuries were severe."
Rai didn't feel relieved. Where are they keeping her?! She growled with electricity surrounding her body.
"Now's the time I don't need to worry about that," Montoya said, "If you want to make a frantic search, be my guest. I have more important matters to take care of." He lifted his arm to glance at the Oracle Pager. "Domino High School. That's all the way in the south of Domino…"
More important matters? Like what? Rai questioned.
"My second round…it's not going to be pretty,” the demon summoner answered, slightly going pale again of his own anxiety. "I'm fighting someone more powerful than me."
Yaril shuddered. Montoya took his strides out the door, after adjusting his fedora to shield his eyes.
The demon summoner wandered through the streets, not even his cape catching any attention as he walked. His thoughts drifted around his mind… thoughts a demon summoner should never have brooked in the first place, but ones haunting him little by little since the day he'd brought Miranda to the Three Hells.
Having her around… it's a change from my usual focus on the denizens of all the thousand Hells I know of… He sighed. But I can't let it get closer than that. Being close to those around me gives the demons a million ways to strike back. And yet…
He stopped and kicked himself in the ankle. Damn you, Montoya! You'll be forty years old in two years, and she's still going through puberty! She is your ward and nothing more!
Yaril stared at his partner, and the human sighed again. “It's nothing, Yaril. Just a few stray fears concerning Miranda, but I'm certain she's in good hands with the Patch. Whatever her battle was like… it's nothing compared to what I'm walking into…”
By that point, Montoya had arrived at Domino High School, and he waited outside the building, leaning against a lamppost. The wind caught his cape and billowed either side of it; a chilly gust tried to take his hat off, but he caught the fedora with one hand and held onto it.
A glance to the Oracle Pager revealed that the demon summoner had half an hour before his next battle would take place. Montoya shut his eyes and tried to compose himself, but he couldn't forget when he'd met his opponent the first time…
In 1983, Bonn was still the capital of West Germany, the Berlin Wall still stood, and few visitors bothered to stop by the city.
One of the exceptions was a young Spanish man, holding onto a German phrasebook and with another, older book under one arm. He looked very confused, but this was where his father had said to come.
Stopping a passerby, he flipped open his phrasebook and haltingly said, “Where is the… Belial's Eye bookstore?”
“Down three blocks and to the right,” the passerby said. It did not escape the young man's notice that the passerby performed the sign against the evil eye as he walked away.
One who was trained as a demon summoner could not miss the Belial's Eye bookstore. It was covered in symbols that meant nothing to the inexperienced eye, but were magnets to those who had the right teaching.
Steeling himself, the young man opened the door… and was instantly held at gunpoint by several men in black robes. One yanked him inside, and another slammed the door shut.
A man with absolutely colorless eyes stared into the eyes of the Spaniard and demanded, “The public are forbidden to enter - we have made that clear. Who are you, and what reason do you have for entering this place?”
Holding his questioner's gaze, the young man took on his future name for the first time: “You may call me Montoya.” He then took a breath and said, “My father's notes told me of your group. I have come to study alongside you.”

There was a pause, and then every one of the gathered men began to laugh, lowering their guns as they mocked the boy. A snap of someone's fingers brought the laughter to a halt.
From the back of the room, an older man in the same robes as his compatriots stepped forward. He pushed the colorless-eyed man out of the man, looked over Montoya, and then offered his hand.
Nervously, the young Spaniard took it.
“Welcome to the group, Montoya,” the older man said. “I am the leader; you may call me Hengist Svom.”
Overhead, Montoya could hear the familiar sound of Stelet coming in for a landing. Turning, he nodded to the officiant. “Tonight will be a dangerous night for us all, Stelet.”

“Why is that, Montoya?” the Patch tribesman asked.
“Because it is a battle of two demon summoners. I suggest getting far away and steeling your nerves.”

Stelet's eyes narrowed. “The first warning I can understand,” he replied, “but why the second?”

Sighing, Montoya drew his sword. “Because odds are good one of us will be dead before this battle has ceased.”
A third figure arrived on the scene of the impending battle. Aside from the rings and the blankets, this one could have passed for a white man… but on closer inspection, his color was simply from sheer fright.
“Bronsen?” Stelet asked. “What's wrong? You're as pale as a snowshoe rabbit in winter…”

“We need to get away,” Bronsen replied. “This fight will be extremely dangerous! We have to make sure innocents don't enter the area!”

Stelet frowned. “Montoya said the same. I suppose he wasn't exaggerating, after all…”
One last person entered the area. This one made Montoya's blood run cold in his veins. A hooded clad draped over his head as he entered the schoolyard to face his opposition. Even in the darkest shadow, Montoya recognized him.
Around the hooded figure's body, a lithe snake made of energy slithered around his body. It looked to Yaril and hissed.
Yelping, the caller demon tucked itself under Montoya's cape.

Now the hooded man lowered his hood. After all the years, time had never touched his face. He still bore the slate-gray eyes, the thick white hair, and the aura of true confidence in his power.

“Hengist Svom…” Montoya whispered.
The year was now 1986, and the man calling himself Montoya had studied with the cabal of demon worshippers in Bonn for three years now, growing in experience and power over that time. He had swiftly proved to be one of Hengist's best students; when he joined the cabal, he was barely familiar with summoning grunt and soldier-class demons, but now he could call upon minor lords - an amazing feat to learn in just three years.
This, of course, invited jealousy.
Tucked into a chair in his quarters behind the Belial's Eye bookstore, Montoya, now 20, was so engrossed in the text he was studying that he didn't hear the door slam against a wall. He did, however, hear a loud yell of, "Montoya, you bastard!"

Setting the text aside, he turned to look at the complainant. It was a member of the cabal he'd come to know as Runcipher, an Italian-born punk with messy black hair and a face like a moldy apple.
Standing up, Montoya stared at Runcipher, hands in his pockets. "What is the problem today, Runcipher?"

One of the demon worshipper's hands struck Montoya in the chest. "You interrupted my private time with the maid!" Runcipher yelled. "It was our special time and you broke it up!"

"She was asking for help," Montoya answered, swatting down Runcipher's hand. "Do you try to do that to every maid we hire? No wonder we can't keep one more than a month."
Furious, Runcipher stepped back and began to chant, the light shifting and bending around him. His hands moved into key gestures that Montoya did what he could to identify.
The air bent, and then a warrior demon stepped into view. It was fully twice as tall as Montoya, its body covered in blue scales and each scale bearing several scars. One hand held a massive diamond-edged sword, as wide across as Runcipher, and the other held a large shield. It glared down at Montoya, and then swung.
The Spaniard barely got out of way in time, and the blow decimated the chair he'd sat in moments before. Desperate for something to defend himself with, he snatched a summoning pentacle off a table.
This won't help me, he suddenly realized in his panic. These pentacles are useless without a sacrifice, and I don't keep a large stock of pigeons on hand! What am I going to do?
Trembling, Montoya held out the pentacle, shutting his eyes and turning his head away. The warrior demon chortled, and raised its blade.
Suddenly, a massive surge of power came from Montoya's hands. He glanced at it, and uttered, "What the hell?"

The summoning pentacle shined a deep blue, confusing both the warrior demon and Runcipher. From its center reached a large hand, grabbing the warrior demon's chest and pulling…
…and a beastly creature, the demon of the pentacle, emerged in its full foul glory. It was covered in thick black fur, long iron nails extended from its hands, and it dripped foul fluids from its fangs.
Runcipher took several steps back. The warrior demon tried to follow suit, but the pentacle demon grabbed it and ripped it in half.
Before Runcipher could escape, the pentacle demon grabbed his head and slammed it against a wall. The cabalist sank unconscious to the floor.
Even as Montoya dropped the pentacle in shock, the energy he was feeding it came to a halt. With a roar of satisfaction, the demon of the summoning pentacle disappeared in a cloud of acrid smoke.
"What the hell just happened?" Montoya muttered, kneeling in shock. He'd summoned a pentacle's demon with no sacrifices… and he'd controlled it the same way. One of the most vicious breed of demon, and somehow, he'd called and controlled it apparently through sheer terror.
It took him a week of study in the cabal's libraries before he found his answers.
"'Throughout human history, a type of people known as shamans have existed throughout the centuries to sought matters, personal and political, by calling forth spirits to guide them,'" Montoya read from a very old text he'd found in the library. "'Through this medium, many of the important decisions of history were made. But as centuries passed, technology grew and the powers of shaman began to fade into history. Today, most "normal" people fear and misunderstand them.'"
Montoya paused. So… am I a "shaman"? Do demon summoners qualify? He skimmed ahead a few pages. "'A tournament is held every 500 years among shamans. It is the ultimate tournament where the victor is granted undisputed power by merging with the King of Spirits, and able to do anything imaginable. This Shaman Tournament is hosted by the Patch Tribe, a clan of Native American shaman guise in the United States' Indian reservation.'"
This makes little sense. What happened to me that day? Montoya thought. He then found the section he was looking for: "'Shamans have energies called mana. Mana is used to manipulate their Spirit Allies at will. Each shaman has a key spirit they pair up with in combat. Shaman use mana to fuel their partner's abilities; the shape, type, or power of the partner is endless, as are the shamans themselves.'"
So… that was mana… To Montoya's frustration, the text's section on shamans ended there, and it went into a discussion of voodoo/vodou/vodun. His questions on the specifics of mana and Spirit Allies went unanswered.
Suddenly, a hand-written note on the text caught Montoya's eye. "'The next such tournament will be in Domino, Japan'… that's Master Hengist's handwriting."
The Spaniard nearly leapt out of his skin when he heard Hengist's voice behind him: "So Runcipher was telling the truth about what happened that day."
Turning, Montoya bowed his head. "Hello, teacher."
Hengist picked up the text, flipping through it. "Ah, you found the one text on shamans we have in this place," he said. "But I'm afraid most of the cabalists here are mere mortals; you won't learn much on your newfound abilities by staying here."
Numb, Montoya merely nodded… and then Hengist took his hand, opened it, and pressed a plane ticket into it. Baffled, Montoya read the ticket's destination. "Colorado? You want me to go to the United States, teacher?"
"The next Shaman Tournament is in eighteen years," Hengist answered. "If you want any hope of understanding your power by then, the Patch will be your best answer. Begin packing, my student; your time under my tutelage has ended for now."

Montoya bowed low. "Thank you, teacher."
The two demon summoners, the teacher and his former student, stared across at each other. Both Oracle Pagers beeped with their two-minute warning.
"Let's get out of the way," Stelet said to Bronsen. The second officiate eagerly agreed, and they flew upwards, landing atop the high school.
"So…" Hengist smiled, although the cracks showed through. "How have the years gone for you, Montoya?"

"Fairly well," Montoya answered, putting on an equally false smile. "I've kept busy… and you?"

"Not bad at all. The Order of the Pit is waiting for your return."

"I'm thinking about rejoining after the tournament."
Hengist nodded, looking for the entire world like a badly-strung puppet. "That sounds like a winning plan."
The smile dropped off of Montoya's face like a shattered pane of glass. "This won't work, Hengist. Neither of us can pretend nothing's wrong."

Hengist's own smile evaporated, and he sighed. "You're correct, of course, as much as I wish it weren't the case."

"You wish it weren't the case? I'm no happier about this…"

The Oracle Pagers beeped again, warning both shamans that only a minute was left before the fight began.
Pulling back the sleeves of his robe, Hengist revealed two iron armbands, puzzling his former student. "I only hope this ends without undue bloodshed," he said.
Readying his sword, Montoya began to concentrate. "You and I both know it won't," he answered.
Beep… Beep… BEEP! And the pagers went off.
Montoya immediately completed his Oversoul and declared, "Demon Rush!" He waved his blade, and a cloud of grunt demons approached Hengist.
"Einlanzer! Into my armlets!" Hengist declared. His supporter demon did as ordered, and with one wave of his hand Hengist floored the Demon Rush.
Montoya stood back, sword down. What is he going to do?
Drawing in his willpower, Hengist began to chant, the sky above them roiling. "Zm frk su Ashmodai ws Z xvqq jst.  Qkf frk mzmk dvfkg su wvnmvfzsm yk slkmkw, vmw v mkc khv su wvhpmkgg ykdzm.  Z rkhkyg yhkvp frk xrvzmg frvf yzmw jst, vmw hkitkgf frvf jst hzgk fg frzg kvhfr, fs gzmp vqq frvf cvg vmw kekh czqq yk zmfs nvwmzgg vmw fkhhsh.  Xsnk msc, vg Z frk mvnk... Zykagos."
Montoya gasped, stumbling backwards. It cannot be! That chant… he can't be summoning a Greater Demon Lord!
But it was so. The world seemed to fade around them, leaving only Montoya, Hengist, and Yaril. From the ground between the two, a giant hand rose up. It set itself on the ground and pressed, and soon an impossibly giant figure came into view. It dwarfed the Domino High School building, and supported itself on four mammoth legs. For all intents and purposes, it seemed to be a green-skinned, one-eyed centaur, with a pair of leather bands across its chest and three horns sprouting from its head.
Zykagos, one of the Greater Demon Lords, roared at the top of its lungs, and the din could be heard everywhere in town.
Montoya looked up… and up… and up. He then dropped his sword and jaw simultaneously. So… how in the name of every one of the Demon Lords am I supposed to FIGHT this creature? He tried to concentrate, but it was next to impossible.
"Strike him down!" Hengist commanded, swinging his arm down.
One of Zykagos's great fists descended on Montoya's location. The demon summoner barely jumped out of the way in time, thrown aside by the shockwave of impact. His sword landed next to him.
On top of the school roof, Stelet and Bronsen flipped to Hengist's stats on their own pagers… and both gasped. "7,000 Ghost Power?!? This isn't possible, Bronsen!" Stelet cried.
"I'm afraid it is," the other officiate answered. "It costs him half his mana to call Zykagos, but it's far stronger than anything the other shamans can throw at it. Last time it was only 6,000 Ghost Power - it's gotten stronger."
On the ground beneath them, the shaken Montoya checked to make sure Yaril was all right, and then rose to his knees, retrieving his sword. The only way I can fight him directly, he thought, would be to call forth my secret weapon… but I can't play that trump card now! If I do, how will I survive in the later stages? This is only the qualifier! I have to find another way.
Zykagos's fist came down again, and Montoya dove to one side.
The year was 1991, and Montoya had matured a great deal in those five years. The now-25-year-old demon summoner had learned much in America, to the point where he could synthesize an Oversoul using only the power of his mana. He was one of the rare shamans that did not count on a Spirit Ally for such power.
On returning home to Spain, the young man threw himself into his books, seeking a legend he remembered from his childhood. Once, his father had spoken of the Order of the Pit, the oldest group of demon summoners in the world… but he had not known where to find them. It was for this that Montoya searched the books, and he was certain he'd found it.
For this reason, the young man was riding through the forests of Russia on horseback, heading towards where he was certain the Order met.
Finally, near the base of a giant tree, he spotted something very unusual. Someone had carved a Danver's crossharp - a symbol used in conjuring circles - on the base of the tree. The point, however, was aimed wrong; instead of at the ground, as such a symbol was usually drawn, the crossharp was pointing to the east.
"That has to be a guidepost!" Montoya said to himself. He then shook the reins and galloped towards the east, yelling, "Hah!"
By sundown, he had found the crumbling remains of what was either a monastery or an army post. From the architecture, he guessed the former. He tied up his horse and stepped into the building.
Immediately, a tall man with twin scars on his face stepped into Montoya's way, yelling, "Crs kmfkhg rkhk?"
"V yhsfrkh zm frk grvwscg," Montoya said in the traditional reply.
Relaxing, the scarred man gestured towards the back of the building. "Frzg cvj, nj yhsfrkh."
They entered a hidden door, mocked up to look exactly like the stone around it, and entered a series of passageways. It was too dark to see how far they had gone, but Montoya was certain they were a mile below ground by the time the path leveled out again.
Several other people stood before a doorway, each of them armed with a summoner's pentacle and a knife. Montoya recognized the pentacles - all they needed to be triggered was a small amount of human blood.
"Prove your worth," the scarred man whispered to Montoya in German. "The guardians will only let those worthy of being an Order of the Pit member through that door."

Nodding, Montoya turned to the guardians. "Gtnnsm jsth wknsmg," he said.
Confused, the guardians whispered to themselves for a moment, and then as a group shrugged and set the pentacles down. All five slashed their palms with their knives, and blood dripped onto the pentacles.
Five pentacle demons, among the fiercest of all the creatures of darkness, emerged and howled for Montoya's head.
The Spaniard drew his longsword (a gift from another cabal member when he'd left for America), concentrated, and filled it with his mana. He then swung the sword once over his head.
His mana seeped into the bodies of the demons, and they looked at him, puzzled. He swung the sword again, and they flew to his side, awaiting his commands.
Pointing the blade at the guardians, Montoya asked simply, "Ws Z lvgg?"
As the guardians were curled into little balls out of fear, they took a moment to answer. As one, though, they yelled, "Lvgg!"
Montoya resheathed his sword, and as the mana faded, the demons returned to the pentacles. He stepped over the cowering guardians and waked through the door.
Shock hit him on the other side - in a stone chair in the center of the next room, Hengist Svom himself sat surrounded by other men and women. Looking up, Hengist smiled wide and said simply, "I've waited for your arrival for some time, Montoya."
The younger man lowered his head, almost blushing. "Finding this place was the hard part, teacher."

"You have no need to call me that now. We are brothers in the Order of the Pit, after all. Come… we shall prepare you for your initiation."

An hour later, clad in a robe of black linen and with arms bared, Montoya stood at the center of a chalked circle in the "ritual room" of the Order's headquarters. The initiation was about to begin.
Holding a scalpel in his hand, Hengist traced Montoya's elbows. "We of the Order of the Pit each possess a demon ally, a small solder-class demon who aids us in our work," he explained. "This ritual will call one to your side and bind it to you, so that it serves only you. Do you have one in mind?"

"My mana allows me to control demons with my spirit," Montoya answered. "For that reason, I wish to summon a caller demon."

"An interesting choice," Hengist mused, "but appropriate for you. Are you ready?"

Montoya nodded and shut his eyes.

The other members of the Order of the Pit began to chant, but in later years Montoya could never remember the words they recited. Nor could he remember the words Hengist spoke as he called upon the elements of the ritual.
All he could remember was a hot line of pain as Hengist sliced a circle around his elbows and a line down the back of his arm, the feel of his blood dripping onto the circle…
…and then, for the first time, his mind linking to an alien presence, but one that felt more familiar with each passing moment. He opened his eyes.
At his feet, a tiny demon was lapping up the spilled blood. It had light red skin, a long, pointed muzzle, two horns curling back from the top of its head, tiny wings, and a pointed tail - in fact, it looked something like a little gargoyle. As Montoya watched, it looked up at him, licking the last drops of blood from its mouth.
Confused, the demon summoner extended one hand. The caller demon flew up and landed on his palm, licking the blood from his arm.
"What is its name?" Hengist asked.
After a moment, Montoya said, "Yaril."

Yaril and Montoya looked at each other, and both felt an odd kinship. The kinship had yet to die, even thirteen years after their first meeting.
Sliding one hand under his cape, Montoya took Yaril out of hiding and checked on him. Even during his dodges, the caller demon was unscathed. He was terrified, but unscathed nonetheless.
"Good. You're safe, at least," Montoya said. He then danced out of the way just before Zykagos's fist smashed into the ground where he'd stood a second before. "I, however…"
At that moment, he noticed the positions of the three points where Zykagos's attacks had left permanent impressions on the pavement. They were at certain angles and certain distances…
A mad idea began to form. It was risky and guaranteed to fail, but it was the one option he had left - he couldn't summon anything strong enough to fight, and he couldn't risk his trump card on this opponent, so it was his last chance.
Mentally, he drew lines from the first three points to the next, hypothetical point, and then to the next, until he could see eight separate points in his mind's eyes. Now he had a plan.
Darting to the next point, Montoya waited for Zykagos to spot him, prepared to provoke the Greater Demon Lord if he had to. He didn't have to; the gigantic fist came down seconds later. It didn't hit him, though, as he'd spun out of the way seconds before impact.
Roaring, the demon extended its hand and began to fire bursts of energy from its fingertips. Montoya merely danced around them, his cape leaving a trail of where he had moved as he spun and whirled around the blasts. On dodging the last shot, he moved to the next point on his mental trajectory.
Above the battle, Stelet and Bronsen checked their Oracle Pagers; Stelet's was set to Montoya and Bronsen's to Hengist.
Stelet watched as the numbers for Montoya's mana kept decreasing. “Not good,” he said. “As he dodges Zykagos's attacks, his body `borrows' mana to keep him moving fast enough. He's down to 250 already - from 345 - and I doubt he can keep up that speed with less than 200 points…”

Meanwhile, Bronsen shook his head. “Hengist spent 450 points summoning that thing, and his Oversoul Power's at 450 - that's all that he has left. Why does he have all of his mana invested in his Oversoul?”
While at the next position, for the first time, Montoya got a clear view of Hengist. The elder demon summoner raised his arm…
…and to Montoya's horror, Zykagos raised its arm in exactly the same manner.
That… that can only mean one thing, Montoya thought. Hengist has formed a Spirit Link with the Greater Demon Lord. That means he controls it through his thoughts, but it also means that when I slay the demon… it will kill him as well…
Shaking it off, Montoya thought, There is no way around it. I must defeat the demon to survive.
His thoughts so distracted him that he barely got out of the way of the next attack before it shattered the pavement.
For twelve years, Montoya stayed with the Order of the Pit, growing in power and knowledge with each passing year, and moving from a simple demon summoner into the most powerful conjurer of fiends after Hengist in the Order. But by the end of those twelve years, the Spanish-born man was dissatisfied with the arrangement.
He had found all the wisdom the Order of the Pit could bring him, and his power was almost confined by their limitations.
When you have reached perfection as you know it, what else is there for you to find?
And so Montoya left the Order of the Pit and returned to his father's home on the Spanish plains, back to what he had left behind when he was a mere boy.
But when you have studied under one man for the great majority of your adult life, you cannot abandon it that easily, and so a constant stream of letters between the teacher and the student crossed Eastern Europe.
Finally, one crisp April morning in 2004, Montoya bent over his latest letter, adding the last lines. When they were finished, he read over them.
“`And finally, teacher, I have made all the travel arrangements necessary to go to Domino for the Shaman Tournament. This is the one chance I may ever have in my life of becoming strong enough to control El Diablo, so I must win. Once more I must thank you for pointing me towards the Patch - without your aid, I may never have unlocked my true powers. Sincerely, Montoya.'”

Satisfied, he folded the letter in half, slid it into the envelope he'd prepared beforehand, posted it, and returned to his studies.
It was perhaps two weeks later when the response landed in Montoya's mailbox. He handed the envelope to Yaril, who slit it open with one claw, and then took out the letter and read it.

He read it twice, and then set it down, distraught.
All the letter said was, “Be wary, my student. I will be in the Shaman Tournament as well. Pray we do not meet in battle.” The signature read, “Hengist Svom”.
Collapsing into a chair, Montoya shut his eyes and wished with all his soul that he might never have to battle his teacher.
The wish, of course, did not work.
The fist came down, and once more Montoya was not under it. It was the seventh point that Zykagos had struck.
Montoya put one hand on his hat, keeping it in place as he staggered to the last point. He hadn't even attacked - his Oversoul was active simply to keep him in the battle for now - but he was exhausted from the sheer effort of dodging all the blows coming his way, since even one hit would probably hospitalize him.
Both Hengist and his summoned demon were enraged. As one, they roared, “Montoya! Stop running and fight me already!”

The Greater Demon Lord drew its head back, channeling energy into that one great eye and making the air crackle around it. The sky boiled as the monstrous being prepared to strike.
Montoya set himself on the eighth point and readied for the evasion.
With one roar, the demon let loose with its energy, the beam coming down like a blast from the heavens. It slammed into the ground below, turning the pavement into tar and lighting up the city like a nuclear blast.
But Montoya had dodged at the last second. The splash damage sent him flying halfway across the street, but he'd avoided the impact.
Stelet shook his head. “That brought him down to 195. He can't dodge like that again.”
Looking to his own Oracle Pager, Bronsen gaped. “And Hengist is still at 450!"
Slowly, Montoya rose to his feet, blood dripping from several cuts on his arms and legs. He staggered towards the first point, head down and cape fluttering in the night breeze. Not even sparing a glance at Hengist, he dropped to his knees in that first impact crater.
“So,” Hengist and Zykagos said together, “will you attack now?”

“Yes,” Montoya answered. “You know as well as I do that a demon summoner must always have a way to counter when a demon goes out of his control. I must thank you…” He smiled despite himself. “Your demon's attacks left traces of its mana behind. This will make things a deal easier for me.”

He set his hands on the ground and concentrated, whispering, “Demon Slayer's Cage.”
Both hands glowed blue as his energy seeped down through his arms and into the ground beneath them, spreading out amid the eight points. Lines began to be drawn from point to point, marking the octagon around them.
Atop the school, Stelet stared at the Oracle Pager, confused. “Montoya's mana just plummeted to forty points!” he declared. “This makes no sense!”
Bronsen shook his head. “I'm still not sure why Hengist hasn't lost any since that summoning, so I can't help you.”
Down below, Montoya relaxed, his body quivering after the massive output of mana he'd just performed.
Hengist, meanwhile, was looking around in abject confusion. The eight lines Montoya had just drawn were moving upwards, forming a sort of framework cage around the two demon summoners. The points of the octagons now began to extend lines across their interior, every point joined to every other by a solid line of light.
And then the centers of the two octagons joined with a beam of light, the beam passing right through Zykagos. The Greater Demon Lord let out a scream and froze in position; no matter what Hengist tried to do, his summoned creature could not move. The elder demon summoner began to sweat.
Climbing to his feet, Montoya picked up his sword, pulled down his hat, and began to climb up one of Zykagos's legs. His feet dug into the surface, his empty hand dug into loose scales on the demon's leg, and his sword hand jabbed the weapon into the demon's flesh each time he moved it. Despite his obvious exhaustion, Montoya moved at a good pace.
Now on the back of the demon, Montoya moved to where the beam pierced Zykagos's body. There, he found another octagon, similar to the ones surrounding the two shamans. Taking a deep breath, he whispered, “I'm sorry, teacher,” and raised his sword.
“Montoya! You can't!” Hengist and Zykagos said together.

“I must,” the younger man answered. With one loud, “HAH!” he grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands and drove the blade down into the octagon, finishing the ritual.
Even as his sword struck the demon, a massive beam of light descended from the heavens, slamming into Zykagos. The Greater Demon Lord shrieked, its cry of pain and fear tearing through the barriers between the human world and all the worlds of demons.
And then, its life finally at an end, Zykagos let out one final scream of agony and exploded. Unlike the usual death of a summoned demon, which merely banished it back to its home, this death was permanent, as Zykagos was bound to this world by Hengist's mana.
The explosion tore through Domino High School, shattering all the windows and destroying the bricks on the building's front. Stelet and Bronsen took to the sky, barely getting out of the blast radius in time.
Montoya was thrown through the sky, barely catching himself on his hands and feet instead of his back or head. He then fell over anyway, worn out.
But his Oversoul was still intact. He had not lost.
The smoke took several minutes to clear, during which time Montoya took advantage of the opening to get his breath back. Finally, he rose back to his feet and found his sword, resheathing it. He then moved to where Hengist had stood.
His teacher was there, prone and severely injured. One hand reached towards the sky, and the other was scratching at the pavement. He was saying something…
Montoya knelt, putting his ear above Hengist's mouth. He then groaned - everything his teacher said was gibberish.
“He's ranting,” Montoya whispered to himself. “His spirit was destroyed when I killed Zykagos. My master is dying.”
Raising one arm, Montoya looked to his Oracle Pager, checking on whether his victory was registered yet.
To his shock, the word “FIGHT” was still on it. The battle hadn't ended.
Stelet and Bronsen landed on the school's roof again, checking their Oracle Pagers once again.
“Montoya still has forty mana points,” Stelet said, “so he's still in this. How about Hengist? The loss of the demon should have taken him out.”

Bronsen shook his head.

“You're joking,” Stelet muttered.
“I wish. Hengist still has one mana point. The fight won't end until it's gone.”
Down on the street below, Montoya drew his sword and flooded it with mana, bringing it down hard on Hengist's armlet.

The sword bounced off. His blade couldn't cut through the steel composing the armlet.
Montoya simply stood there, in shock and in pain. Finally, he looked to the heavens and whispered, “Don't make me do it.”

There was no answer. There was no choice.
Raising his sword, Montoya whispered one final message: “Goodbye, my teacher.”

His arm plunged down, and his sword passed cleanly through Hengist Svom's heart. His teacher was instantly slain.
On June 3rd, 1997, Hengist Svom was wandering the halls of the Order of the Pit when he nearly tripped.
On taking a few steps back, the summoner gasped: he had nearly tripped over Montoya's bleeding, unconscious form.
Immediately, he brought the younger man to his chamber, bandaging his wounds and setting him in his bed. For the next three days, he did everything he could to care for the severely injured man.

At the end of that time, Montoya finally awoke, groaning in pain as he did so. He looked up from the bed and saw Hengist, sitting beside him with a damp cloth.
“Teacher? Where am I?”

“You're in my room,” Hengist answered. “I found you covered in wounds and out cold in the hallway three days ago. What happened?”

Closing his eyes, Montoya thought back to that time, and then answered simply, “I found the name.”

“You what?”

“I found the name…”
Hengist took Montoya's hand and clasped it between his own. “Congratulations!”
As Montoya kneeled by Hengist's body, the Patch officiates descended from the school roof and walked up to him. They looked between him and the corpse, not saying anything.

“I had no choice,” Montoya said quietly. “He was dying slowly… and I couldn't let him suffer…”
Stelet nodded, raised a hand, and announced, “The winner is Montoya.”

With one hand, Montoya reached out and shut Hengist's eyes forever. He then fell forward across the body and began to cry.
He hadn't cried in twenty-one years, but he cried now.