I am Eryk Solbourne, C-Rank [Adventurer,] and I am about to crush my opponent in a mighty Surf-Off.

King Bodhi thinks she can win this. She thinks that her hegemony over this tyrannical Santa Barbaran government can last for generations as she grows into an adult and then an old lady, conquering the high seas and bringing back riches to her mighty city-state. Well, and I am flexing my vast Earth knowledge off here by making this comparison, Santa Barbara is no Monaco, and King Bodhi is no Prince Albert II. Everything she does here pales in comparison to those who reign far supreme.

As a secret [Demigod,] I can say that royalty isn’t all it’s made out to be, anyhow.

So with a whip of my surfboard and a dash across the waves, I resume our battle and charge right towards her.

She, too, charges right at me.

We’re two jousting knights, albeit with no horses but instead the mighty steeds of the ocean.

“Avast!” she shouts in an unrighteous fury.

Matt, my transmigrated spirit that hovers around me shoots blast after blast of fire, singing the waters around us and letting steam pool up around the entire arena. But each ball of flames that could collide with King Bodhi, she blocks with the sheer force of her palms.

Impossible, one might say for a human. Especially a systemless human!

“With one look in your eyes, I’d say you’d think that was impossible,” says King Bodhi, snickering while covering her mouth with her hand. “I’ll have you know that I trained with a wonderful teacher as a child. Master Keitou, down in Hollywood.”

“Master Keitou, eh? Sounds like a fine man,” I say. “I’d respect to have an encounter with such a man, and I may very well go out of my way to make that happen as well.”

“You won’t have the chance,” she tells me. “You’re about to be my slave.”

Matt shoots one more fireball at King Bodhi—she grabs it with her hands and sends it hurtling back at me—

I poof out my bow and arrows and volley it away with my bow just in time. (My bow is made from Dragon-steel, which means it is not only impervious to fire, but actually reflects it! Very useful information that I had not divulged until this very moment.)

The fireball then goes back to the girl, who uses her hidden technique to catch and send it my way once more. I slice it, and it flies in reverse to the girl. The fireball goes back and forth between the two of us as if it were a particularly sporting game of badminton, and all the while we are surfing the waves and doing as cool of tricks as possible in order to earn new points.

We do this for as long as we can before the crowd grows bored and starts openly demanding for us to move on. However, the fireball itself has only grown more and more powerful due to the magical absorption that fire naturally possesses as one of its properties; one of us is going to need to take the blow, or else it could impact the ocean, create a massive whirlpool in the waters, and cause the entire area to be engulfed in a mini-monsoon. As little as I care for the people of Santa Barbara, I feel it would be best to avoid a situation such as this.

Matt senses it too. He is merely my small imp companion, some poor fool from another world who has been transmigrated into this temporary form for a limited time, but his powers have grown immensely in these past five minutes. Were I or another to somehow break the time limit for the [Transmigrated Spirit] card, it would surely mean the destruction of the world in which they inhabited, if that spirit had even the slightest inklings of negative emotion.

And Matt, of course, is filled with negative emotions. He died so suddenly and tragically that it almost feels like he is the protagonist of one of those eesekeye novels Francis is always on about—in fact, he is crying right at this instant.

Crying, but also getting ready for the moment of his life.

He floats in front of my bow, blocking my ability to strike back the gigantic, meteor-sized ball of flames.

“Let me do this,” he says. “You’ve done so much for me, Eryk Solbourne. Thank you so much for helping me understand.”

“Understand what?” I ask.

“Now I know that life isn’t pointless. I’m doing a noble thing here, serving a master and fulfilling your destiny. I, too, have a destiny. And in just a minute my soul will be sent to some other world, ready to be reincarnated to a new world and become a stronger person.”

“You’re wiser than I,” I tell him. “Until the day I died, I thought The Goddess merely sorted departed souls into the various Hells and let us fade into the etherflow. Now, though, I know the truth about reincarnation and the beauty of our multifaceted existence.”

“Yes. Well, I hoped I could say goodbye to Alyse, to St. Louis, but I guess you’ll have to do it for me, won’t you buddy?” Matt asks.

“I’m not your buddy,” I correct. “I’m your master.”

“Oh… I kind of thought we were…”

“Don’t get the wrong idea. Especially when we are in the middle of a battle.”

“Haha… Yeah… Whatever.”

“So are you about to do your noble sacrifice, or not?”

“Sure, sure, yeah,” Matt says. “Coming right up.”

Matt lets the gigantic fireball collide with his tiny body. He absorbs the flames, the fire magic, the kinetic energy, the sheer momentum itself…

A bright blinding darkness—almost indescribable with human words—forms around him—

And then the fireball, and Matt, are a smoky wisp in the air.

Everything clears up. The sky becomes bright and sunny.

Thank you so much, Matt, for your noble sacrifice.

The remainder of the Surf-Off continues.

We zip around the waves and make striking blows at one another. We try as hard as we can to defeat each other in combat and end this far-too-long-running match. The audience surely loves a good fight, but this scene of fight has gone on for so long that it feels like it’s been three and a half months since it started.

Time to end it, I say.

And end it… in style.

We both skid to a stop on our boards and stare each other down. I poof away my bow and arrows, leaving only me, my fists, and my pink-eyed glare.

King Bodhi met it with one of the most intimidating looks I’ve ever seen, so I am far from outmatching her.

“It’s clear you’re the strongest opponent I’ve met on Earth,” I tell her. “No-one, not even Pablo Rosas of Paso Robles, has shown such power that I could honestly say I feel genuinely like I could lose this duel. I’m impressed.”

“You’re everything the Paso Roblites praised about,” she says in return. “Everything and more. You’ll make a fine addition to my Royal Guard, just as soon as we perm your hair and dye it blonde.”


This statement was beyond a “diss.”

It was an outrage!

A mockery!

“You fool. I am a NORTH SPIRAN, proud and true. Never in my life will my hair be anything but pink!” I shouted. “You take that back before I go full-on C-Rank on your ass!”

Instead of recanting, she merely laughs.

“That has it. I’m finishing this Surf-Off—NOW.”

I’m done with combat. I am a surfer, true and true, and I will finish all of this.

A large wave is coming our way, and I treat it like it truly is—a watery half-pipe just made to be surfed.

I blast up on my board and rocket off the wave’s surface. I spin around one full time, completing the famed 360 Varial Twist, and then land right on the edge of the wave. The audience goes nuts—but I’m not done.

Next, I grind all the way down the wave, turning its surface solid, I expend so much—SO MUCH heat that it actually freezes the wave as my board goes across it. Solid ice.

I do one small ollie to reposition myself and then do a lip trick, balancing my board on the edge of the wave just in time to perform a Hardflip BS Nosepicker. The sheer kinetic energy of the trick is enough that an electric shockwave pulses through the wave and stops it dead in its tracks. It no longer advances towards the shore, and all the water ahead of it recedes. The beach grows, permanently, another five hundred feet.

And for my final trick:

I surf down to the bottom of the wave and then ride it back up with as much intensity and force as possible. The board builds momentum, I kick my right foot up into the air, and—


Eryk Solbourne performs the first-ever airborne 900 spin on a surfboard spinning a complete three times in mid-air. He, and by he I mean me, lands perfectly on his feet a hundred feet below, and lets his board come to a gentle stop.

He—-I mean, I bow gracefully like a maestro who has just finished a wonderful piece.

The crowd knows who has won, and so do the judges.

King Bodhi, overwhelmed by the sheer coolness of it all, falls off her board and crashes into the water.


[+1 DP.]

[Total: 98 DP.]

The Surf-Off is over.