About kyologist

I write that Phantonics thing.

Chapter 1.2: Charlotte Ouderkirk

NOTE: This is a re-post of the original chapter, which will be added to the Table of Contents, taking away the original page. This is to help myself organize things a tad better, as well as countdown to Volume 2!


Adam awoke, as he usually would.  He found that he lied in his exact bed as well.  It took him a few seconds before everything flooded into his mind.

Jumping onto the floor beside the bed, pain flowed through Adam’s body.  It was strong enough to cause him to fall right back down. He lied there with his feet dangling over the edge.  Taking a glance to his left, he noticed Charlotte had been lying there this entire time, eyes shut. She had returned to her original appearance, and seemed to be wearing a navy blue sweater and black pants.

“Why… what the hell?”  Adam stood up a second time, this time with his weakened body in mind.  He still had to hold onto his nightstand next to his bed to keep his balance.  “Why are you sleeping in my bed?”

“I must recharge my energy, especially after that act I was doing last night.”  Charlotte’s eyes opened and she rose up from the bed in a robotic-like fashion. “I have to make sure my body doesn’t fade away, so moments of rest are required to stay existing.”

“Uh… whatever.  ANYWAY! What was all of that!?  What happened last night?” Adam looked down at his hand.  “I think… I awakened some kind of Ability? World Mirror… right?”  He held his head. “It’s kinda fuzzy… although I DO remember you attacked me.”

“Correct.  I couldn’t be nice, I told you.  But now that you have accessed that power, it’s my duty to aid you in the upcoming perils you must face.”

“Your duty, huh?”  Adam sighed. “And perils?  What perils?”

“I have to apologize…”  Charlotte seemed bothered.  “I’ve had my memories altered with, it seems.  While helping you, I hope to uncover the things that I have forgotten.”

“Of course your memories were messed with.”  Adam had the energy to start walking around his room.  “If that’s the case, then how can we be sure this World Mirror stuff is accu-”

Adam stopped walking just in time.  Pieces of glass were scattered all over his wooden floor.  A glance up revealed that an old, small television that he barely even used was broken.  Someone had thrown a remote directly into it. The remote was still where it broke through.

“I have to apologize…”  Charlotte began. Adam turned around and noticed she was facing away from him.  “I didn’t know how to get the television to work so I could see that news thing…”

“So you threw the remote into it?”  Adam seemed more disappointed than angry.  He carefully walked along his floor so he could reach behind the television.  Picking up a cord, he waved it at Charlotte. “You could have just plugged it in.  I’m pretty sure it still works decently enough.”

Charlotte turned slowly back towards Adam, seemingly glaring at the cord to the television.  She turned back around a few moments later.

“I have to apologize-”

“Enough apologizing.”  Adam sighed. “Now, here’s a question.  How did you manage to get all of that information on me if you barely know how to work a simple TV?  I assume you would have to look up things on a computer and whatnot.”

Charlotte lied back down on the bed.  “Since I’m a spirit, I can do things such as pass through objects, as you saw last night  Or possess people.”

“Posses?  You can do that too?”  Adam was puzzled. “How did you manage to use that to get info?”

“Well, it’s quite simple really…”  Charlotte begun an explanation, but paused.  The next thing Adam noticed, she was fast asleep.

“Uh, hey?  Wake up?”

“Must… recharge… energy…”  Charlotte was able to mumble those words before the walls started to echo her loud snores.

“What the hell is even happening at this point?”  Adam glanced over at his nightstand and noticed his cell phone and the envelope Pam gave to him were there.

“Damn… this envelope is covered in my blood.”  Adam looked down at his clothing. It was torn to shreds, covered with dirt and his blood.  “I need a shower.”

Adam opened up the envelope to check the damage done inside.  There was a note folded up, but was miraculously not covered in blood like the outside was.

“I could open it now… I figure almost dying last night was considered a low point.  But…” After hesitating for a few moments, Adam put the note back inside the envelope.  “Not yet.”

Setting the envelope down, he picked up his cell phone.  Cracked, but seemingly still functional. Although it was difficult for Adam to read what was on the screen.  He sighed, putting it down as well.

 

A few minutes later, Adam was in the shower.  He had his head lowered, the water flowing through his hair.  The dirt and blood on his body was coming off, but he figured some scrubbing would finish it off.

“I don’t feel that pain I was feeling when I woke up.”  Adam looked around on his body.  There did not seem to be a scratch on him.  “That… World Mirror power.  Did it heal me?”

Adam raised his hand, almost touching the shower head.  “I guess this is some kind of Ability?  How do I even use it?”

Adam peeked outside of the shower at the bathroom door.  He had locked it, yet knew that Charlotte could just phase through it if she wanted.  Or bust it down simply with her strength.

“I’m not sure if I can trust her.  She did send me flying through a tree last night trying to kill me, after all.  If I do have some incredible power, I need to figure out how to use it. Just in case…”

Adam closed his eyes and held his hand in front of him.

“World Mirror, ACTIVATE!”

Nothing happened.

“Well, that’s all I can think of.”  Adam was calm on the outside, but was dying of embarrassment on the inside at the chance that someone heard him.

Adam turned off the shower and got out.  After drying off with a towel, he put on clothes that matched the ones he wore the day prior.

Walking out of the bathroom, he was met with Charlotte standing right in front of him; her eyes seemingly empty.

“Uh, hey.  Did you enjoy your nap?”

“I have to apologize…”

Adam sighed.  “Not this again.”

“When I woke up, I used my phasing ability to pass through the walls to look for you.  I ended up in the restroom for a brief moment…” Charlotte bowed. “Please forgive me, I didn’t mean to look!”

“Huh?  That’s it?  I don’t care.  It’s fine.” Adam lightly patted Charlotte’s shoulder.  He realized something was off about her. Charlotte’s “body” was cold rather than warm.  He assumed it was due to the fact she was in fact a ghost.

“…well, I’ll also help you figure out how to use the World Mirror.  But I can assure you that your attempt was in fact NOT the way to do it.”

Adam was deadpan.  “You heard that, huh?”

 

Adam and Charlotte were outside walking within Prelude.  They were heading to the other side of town towards Jerry’s house.

“It’s cooled down a lot since yesterday.  You don’t seem as crazy wearing a sweater.  Still a bit, but not as bad.” Adam commented.

“I can’t feel temperature, so it doesn’t really matter to me either way.”  Charlotte was examining her clothing. “I could always steal something else to wear.”

“Steal…?”  Adam asked under his breath.  “Anyway, we have to do something about these memories you’ve lost.”

“And you think Jerry would help?  I know he was the valedictorian of our class, but I’m not sure if that’s enough.”

“He’ll get us on the right track, at least.”  Adam seemed to be pondering something. “The Ouderkirk family.  It was for sure in our curriculum, but nothing aside from the basics.  I tried to do a report on them once, but there wasn’t enough info to make anything good.”

“Probably more than I know.  I genuinely don’t remember much of anything.  Aside from knowing about my powers and the World Mirror.  Everything else feels like it was lost somehow…”

“You said you’ve been waiting, right?  How long? And what have you been doing all of these years?”

“I can’t really give you an honest amount of time… it’s as if I was a newborn.  You hardly remember your earlier memories, but begin to become more aware of your existence as you grow up.  About a hundred and twenty years ago I’d say I started to notice things around me.”

Charlotte stopped walking.  Adam could hear the strain forming in her voice.

“Still… I just stood there.  I couldn’t interact with anything around me.  It was as if I was frozen in place. Anywhere my body decided to appear.  Countless locations all over Requiem. I’ve seen so much.” Charlotte paused and started to look around.

“It was only a few years ago when I was finally able to move on my own… and I’ve been attempting to figure out what I can, with the power I have.”

Adam sighed.  “Well, we have a lot to figure out, it seems.  Let’s take it one step at a time. We don’t need to wear ourselves out too quickly.”

“You’re right,”  Charlotte agreed.  “Although it is frustrating.”

“That’s life for you.  It’s frustrating.” Adam stated bluntly.

 

A few minutes later Adam and Charlotte had arrived at Jerry’s house.  They met him in his room, where he was currently sitting at his desk working on his computer.  There were five large monitors on the desk, which took up about half the room. The actually computer was massive, lit up in bright blue light, and took residence underneath the desk.

Adam took a seat on Jerry’s bed, which was difficult.  The rest of the room was cluttered with many electronics devices, bed included.  Charlotte remained at the door, unable to figure out how to walk inside in the first place.

“It’s okay Charlotte, you can come in!”  Jerry beckoned her. She slowly nodded, walking carefully around a red toolbox on the ground.  Adam moved a laptop-looking device over so she could sit down next to him.

“So, what can I do for you guys?  I didn’t know you two were friends?”

Adam rubbed the side of his neck.  “Well, let’s see. How to explain this?  There were some… events that transpired last night.  And, we need to figure some things out.”

There was a prolonged silence; Jerry simply staring at Adam.  He eventually began to move his mouth.

“Holy shit.”

“No, not like that!”  Adam sighed. “Look, I don’t know how to explain this that well.  So, just… Charlotte, do something to show him?”

“I can do that.”  Charlotte responded.  She took a look around Jerry’s room, figuring out what to do.  After a moment, she looked to the side of Adam’s head. Shrugging, she put her arm right through it.

Jerry’s eyes lit up immediately.  As Adam jumped back from the awkward sensation going through his temple, Jerry stood up and grabbed Charlotte’s arm.

“NO WAY NO WAY NO WAY!  DID YOU JUST DO WHAT I THINK YOU JUST DID!?”

Charlotte answered the question by pulling her arm away, phasing right out of Jerry’s hands.

“This… this sensation!”  Jerry curled his fingers, putting great focus into the coldness he now felt.  “After all these years, I’ve finally met a ghost! And it was you Charlotte!?  How? How?”

“Well, she’s not an ordinary ghost, to begin with.”  Adam stated.

“Well obviously!  There’s no physical way your average ghost could completely act like how she’s acted.”  Jerry raised his finger, as if he was a teacher. “Ghosts were confirmed to be entirely possible, but there are limits.”

“What would those limits be?”  Charlotte asked.

“Let’s see… when it comes to the phantons within us, they don’t necessarily disappear after one dies.”  Jerry pointed towards his window, which Charlotte just took notice of, considering it was hiding behind the computer monitors.  “They can do certain things. The event that happens most of the time is they rise, and head upward towards the sky.”

“To… to heaven?”  Charlotte was intrigued that such a thing could have been discovered to exist.

“Well, we’re not sure what it does exactly.  We do know that in between the exosphere and thermosphere the phantons form a sort of barrier referred to as Xavier’s Ceiling.”

“Named after the guy who discovered the phanton, Xavier Ouderkirk, in 1959.”  Adam added nonchalantly.

“Precisely!”  Jerry gave Adam a thumbs up.  “What happens within this barrier is totally up for debate, however.  It does not seems to affect technology at all, as we’ve been able to launch rockets successfully.  It’s peculiar, as normally there can certainly be disruptions due to phantonic interference.” Jerry sighed.  “Technology also cannot get any specific readings on the dang thing, unfortunately.  We can just detect where it is, as we can track the phantons that leave the Earth’s surface.”

Charlotte was entirely focused on Jerry’s explanation, delighted to learn what he was discussing.

“Well, I’m sure that is informative for her.  But how about what happens with those phantons that don’t leave?”  Adam asked.

“Yeah… those phantons still need a lot of research.  But what we do know is that they like to, well, create ghosts.  The phantons have the capability to travel to anywhere the deceased person had been in their lifetime.  They then proceed to sort of ‘re-create’ events of that person’s life; that’s the most common thing to happen.  It’s referred to as a ‘residual occurrence’.”

Jerry pointed at Charlotte.  “Now, with you…” Jerry paused for a moment, and let out a sudden squeal.  “I can’t believe I’m actually conversing with a ghost, this is the greatest day of my life!”

“Well, I’m glad you are enjoying your first encounter with a ghost.”  Adam stated sarcastically. Jerry looked at him in a questioning matter, but he shook his head.  “I’ll get to that part soon.”

“Anyway, continuing on.  Charlotte, in your case, you would for sure be at least considered something known as an ‘intelligent occurrence’.  This is when the phantons have the capability to create an entity that is able to do whatever it wants.  There is also a massive increase in phantonic power compared to a residual occurrence.”

“She’s plenty powerful, that’s for sure.”  Adam held his chest. “That freaking hurt a lot.”

“What?  Did she attack you or something?”  Jerry seem concerned.

“Yep, right after she kidnapped me.”  Adam stated rather bluntly.

Jerry stared at his friend.  “What the hell happened last night!?”

Charlotte stood up, stretching her body.  “He’s right, regarding the power thing. I think it would be simpler to show you.”

Realizing what Charlotte was about to do, Adam grabbed a pillow off of Jerry’s bed and held it up for protection.  The azure aura lit up around her body, although nowhere near as powerful as the night prior. Jerry was staring in complete awe as Charlotte revealed her true form to him.

He fell to his knees, taking a hold of Charlotte’s hands.  She looked down at him in confusion while Adam lowered the pillow he was holding up.

“My god, you’re an Ouderkirk!?  Absolutely amazing! This day…” Tears had begun to fall down Jerry’s face.

“Alright, buddy.  Easy now.” Adam stood up and got Jerry back on his feet.  He turned around and looked at his desk. All of the monitors were glitching out; the images unrecognizable.

Wiping his tears, Jerry picked up a device that looked like a tablet.  He tapped it furiously, wanting to get something to work.

“Thank goodness this is still operational… here we go!”  Jerry analyzed the tablet in silence; his mouth slowly opening.  “My god… these readings! Adam, if she has this much power and she attacked you, how did-”

Jerry looked up at Adam, and stopped talking when he noticed his friend’s eyes.  They were glowing exactly like they did the night prior.

“Adam?  What… what is that?”  Jerry pointed at Adam’s face.

“What are you talking about?”  Adam was confused. Jerry tapped the tablet a few more times, and showed the screen to him.  It was a camera, pointed in his direction. Adam was able to see his own eyes glowing for the very first time.

“What the… hell?  Is- is this the-”

“That is a sign that the World Mirror is active, yes.”  Charlotte answered Adam’s question before he could finish it.

“What’s a ‘World Mirror’?”  Jerry asked.

“It’s why she freaking attacked me last night…”  Adam responded, still staring at his eyes. “Apparently, I have an Ability now.”  He loud out a loud sigh. “And this kidnapper right here has been waiting around to find it.”

Charlotte nodded.  “Yes. Most of my memories seem to be missing.  All I’m aware of is my Ouderkirk heritage and the fact that I need to find the World Mirror.”

“Adam’s ability… is this World Mirror thing?”  Jerry seemed to be deep in thought. “Your memories missing… something doesn’t seem right.”

“Yeah, it’s freaking stupid.  That’s why I wanted to come to you for help with it.  You’ve got the brains after all.” Adam finally looked up from the tablet.

“I mean, you’re not wrong.”  Jerry turned to Charlotte. “Are you able to get out of that form for me?  I need to use the computer.”

“Sure.”  Charlotte breathed in slowly.  In a flash, her body reverted back to her previous state.  Almost immediately, Jerry’s computers were back to normal. He sat down, and began typing away.

Adam’s eyes returned to normal.  He noted that he seemed to feel a strange sensation.  Looking at the tablet, he realized the change. Charlotte took note of this as well.

“You noticed that, huh?  That should the first sign that you feel the World Mirror’s power.  And the fact that it’s not causing you severe headaches anymore is great as well.”

Adam held his head.  “You may not know what the World Mirror is for, but you do seem to know some details surrounding its power?”

Charlotte pondered for a moment.  “Yes… I- I can really understand why I know certain things, yet am in the complete dark about the rest.”  Charlotte sat back down on the bed. “I knew how to get the World Mirror to work. I’m also aware of the great power it holds, along with the fact that the power seems capable of healing wounds you receive.”

Jerry chimed in.  “It seems that the memories you do have hold importance.  Not substantial importance, but enough to get you on the right track.”  Jerry turned around. “I’ve got a lot to think about, and research.  Also…”  Jerry pondered something.

“I think it’s worth it to finally do that.”

Adam and Charlotte looked at Jerry questionably.  He raised his fists up into the air, getting himself pumped up.

“I’m going to hack into the Requiem government’s servers!”

“Woah woah woah, cool it.”  Adam went up and held Jerry’s shoulders.  “I don’t want you getting in trouble and throwing your life away over some simple information!”

“Relax, you know who you’re talking to, right?”  Jerry smirked. “Besides, I’ve always wanted to do this.  Not necessarily for information on the Ouderkirk’s, but for other things.”  Jerry sat back down at his computer.

“As I’ve studied Phantonics growing up, there have been quite a few holes I’ve noticed in certain areas.  We’ll be here for another five hours if I were to explain it to you guys, but… just…” He paused.

“It’s important we find breakthroughs in the field.  I want to help others, and I don’t want anything or anyone getting in the way of that.”

Adam smiled softly.  “Right, that makes sense.  Just be careful, alright?”

“Don’t worry about it.  It takes some time anyway.  You two look into what you can in the meantime, and let me know if you figure anything out.”

“Will do-”  Adam pulled out his phone, remembering the screen is busted.  “Ah, crap. Can’t really do much with this in its current state.”

Charlotte reached into her pocket and pulled out a slip of paper.  “Here, I think you should have this.”

She gave the paper to Adam.  He looked at it, his eyes opening wide.  “Wh-wh-what is this!?”

Jerry stood up and looked as well, instantly forming the exact same expression.  “Why are you giving Adam a check for six thousand dollars!?”

“I’m a ghost.  I don’t need a home, or anything that people living really need.  I figured I owe it to Adam anyway, after last night.”

“S-so you really only had that job for surveillance purposes, I’m guessing?”  Adam asked. “And… you don’t have a home?”

“I still have that job, actually.  I can’t really disappear out of the blue, especially after the manager has been so kind to me.”  Charlotte looked down at the floor. “Even though I used such means to obtain the job in the first place…”

Jerry sighed.  “You both really need to work on how you word things.  Or I’ve just been hanging around Brandon so long that his influence has rubbed off on me.  Gah, even saying rubbed off is sounding… whatever!”  Jerry continued work on his computer.

“And Adam… what are you going to do about that?  Since you have an Ability now… I know how you are with that whole thing.”

Adam seemed melancholic.  “I’m honestly not sure. I think I have to see how things go before I come to a decision for it.”

Jerry nodded.  “I know you’ll come up with something.”

 

Adam and Charlotte left Jerry’s house, now standing outside.

“I think it’s about time for me to go to work.”  Charlotte stated. “Don’t worry though, I plan on putting in my two weeks notice today.  We’ll have more time to investigate things then.”

“I really don’t think this job is as important as figuring all of this stuff out, but-”

“You said it yourself earlier,”  Charlotte interrupted. “We should take this one step at a time and not wear ourselves out, remember?”

Adam sighed.  “Yeah, you’re right.”

Charlotte pointed at the check, which was still in Adam’s hand.  “For now, you can go cash that and buy yourself a fancy new phone.  And anything else you think we might need.”

“I guess I’ll do that.”  Adam put the check in his pocket.  “Also, you’re free to stay at my house if you’d like.  My dad’s never freaking home anyway, so it shouldn’t be a problem.”

“You’re… you’re inviting me to live with you…?”

Adam smirked.  “Well, you’re a ghost, so it’s more along the lines of ‘I’m inviting you to be dead with me’”.  Adam chuckled quietly. “Although, I’m still alive… at least on the outside-”

Charlotte’s tears interrupted Adam.  “I-I’m so… happy…” She wiped her tears away.  “Although, I’m not sure I feel that way about you.”

“Huh?  What way?  What do-” Adam groaned.  “No, it’s not like that.  Honestly, can’t a guy and girl just be friends without-”

Charlotte was sobbing now.  “F-friends!? I’ve never had a friend before!  A-at least not that I can remember!”

Adam walked up to Charlotte, patting her on the shoulder to calm her down, his hand freezing in the process.

“Yes, you sappy, narcoleptic kidnapper.  We’re friends.”


Next: Chapter 1.3

Previous: Chapter 1.1 (Part 2)

Volume 1

Just Some Patreon Related Stuff

It is Wednesday, my dudes. Hope you’re all enjoying your day so far. I’ve been working on a few things such as Volume 2, updating sections of the site, and doing some Patreon related things.

I’m going to back off on having chapters a week early via supporting my Patreon. It feels as though it may be too soon to have that? The plan was to start having it be a thing once Volume 2 began releasing. It may be a potential thing I still do in the future, however.

I HAVE made some smaller goals for us to reach on there. If we reach 10 dollars per month, that should help me keep the site up and running when I have to pay my WordPress subscription every two years. And if we reach 25 dollars per month, I will begin working on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Along with this, I’m going to begin posting chapters directly on Patreon as well, for everyone to view right on there if they want to. Chapter 1.1 is already up on there (both parts in one post). I may begin to post more updates on there that are specifically for Patreon alongside this.

Thanks for reading, as always. Been working on everything a lot the last few days. It makes me feel good to actually be motivated about something.

-Kyle

Out of Context Major Phantonics Spoilers #4

So, I’ve been so into learning Wind Waker speedrun strats, that this is now a thing…

And no, I’m not kidding.

http://zelda.speedruns.com/twwhd/tech/item-sliding


If you’re up for it…

Support the series on Patreon!

Follow me on Twitter!

Check out my streams on Twitch!

Chapter 1.1: Dear Future (Part 2)

NOTE: This is a re-post of the original chapter, which will be added to the Table of Contents, taking away the original page. This is to help myself organize things a tad better, as well as countdown to Volume 2!


Adam walked in the twilight.  He always felt a rather strange sensation around this time of day.  There were some ancient myths in his country of Requiem which related to the twilight, such as the famous one about souls having the ability to join together as one, which was always a favorite of Adam’s.

As Adam passed the scenery around him, he could not seem to focus on any of it.  It was as though Adam was deep in his own world. A world where there were no thoughts or feelings, only existence.  He only snapped back into reality by a pain surging through his head.

“Gah… this again?  Is it the medication I’m taking?  No… that wouldn’t make sense. This has been going on for a while, way before I started taking stuff.”  The pain seemed to subside as Adam walked into the heart of town.  “It’s been happening a lot more recently though…”

The shopping district of the town was centrally located right between Adam’s house and the Roswell house.  There was a slight increase in people around, but nothing too drastic that would make Adam uncomfortable. A few miscellaneous stores including a general goods store, a pharmacy, and a gas station were a few things people could go to.

Adam walked into the store, named Ann’s.  The store was rather small, with a few aisles filled with your everyday goods.

A girl who was sitting in a chair behind the counter waved to Adam.  He knew her as an acquaintance from school, Charlotte Smith, who had just moved to Prelude his senior year of high school.  She played around with her black hair while her blue eyes were glued right to a book in her hands.

Deciding to do something out of the ordinary, Adam walked up to her and initiated small talk.  “Yo, how’s it going?”

“Fine.”  Charlotte responded, eyes still focused on the book.  “What are you up to?”

“Just getting some food, nothing too special.”  Adam responded.

“Cool.”

“Damn, this isn’t good.  Maybe the fact that she doesn’t seem so interested in talking is a good thing, I can get out of this quicker.”

“Oh, Adam!”

Adam turned to the left of him, a wave a relief passing through him as the focus shifted away from the attempted conversation.  Walking up the aisle to the register was Winona Collins, Faith’s best friend. Winona smiled at Adam.

“How nice to see you!  Are you doing well?” Winona was holding a blue basket filled with various goods from the store.  “I heard you had dinner at Faith’s? Wish I could have made it. I’ve been doing work in the garden with my father all day.”

“Yeah, I’m alright.”  Adam’s tension from the talk with Charlotte was gone now.  “You two love working on that garden, don’t ya?”

“Mhmm!”  Winona nodded her head.  “I always love having a wide variety of flowers to look at.”  She shuffled her hand through her basket. “Now I’m getting some things to help mom cook a late dinner.”

“You enjoy that.  I gotta get some things myself.”  He waved at both Winona and Charlotte and headed into the aisle nearest to them.

“I’m all set, Charlotte!”  Winona put her basket on the counter and took her items out of it.

Charlotte had a smile on her face as she rang up Winona’s items.

 

As Adam walked down the aisle, he looked back and forth between each side.  A sharp pain started to form in his head again, and this time it was as if he felt dizzy.  Almost losing his balance, Adam was able to regain his posture and focus ahead of him.

There stood someone who wasn’t there before.  A little girl, about six or seven years old, wearing suspenders and a pink backpack.  She had brown eyes and brown hair wrapped up in pigtails using pink braids. Adam was trying his best to analyze her appearance, as something was off about it.  Horribly off. Adam swore he could see right through her.

Before Adam could conjure up another thought, the girl had disappeared.  It seemed as though time stood still. It wasn’t until he felt and hand on his shoulder that he snapped back to reality.

“Hey, how long are you gonna just stand there?”  Charlotte was now behind him, seemingly more weirded out than concerned.

Adam turned towards her.  What met her blue eyes were not Adam’s usual gray ones.  Instead, his irises were glowing an eerie white. The wide-eyed look he had on his face was copied by Charlotte.

“You… no way.  Is it you…?”

“Huh?”  Adam had no clue what Charlotte was talking about.  His head seemed to calm down now, as the glow slowly left his eyes, returning them to their usual gray color.

“You seem to not know, do you?”  Charlotte folded her arms, sighing.  “I can feel it though, now that I seriously stop and sense it.”  She closed her eyes, seemingly deep in thought.

“You know who I am…?  I’m Adam. Adam Grayson?  We were in school together?”

Charlotte opened her eyes; tears seeming to fall from them.

“Thank god… finally.  After all this time…!”

Adam took a few steps back.  “So, uh. I gotta go grab some apple juice.  It’s my favorite. So, if you’ll excuse me…” He started to walk towards the back of the store, where the drinks were located.

“It seems it hasn’t really awakened yet.”  Charlotte wiped her tears away. Adam stopped and started to turn towards her.  Something about her tone in that sentence uneased him.

Before he could turn all the way back around, he was met with a chop to the side of his neck.  It was light-speed; he did not even know what happened until he saw Charlotte’s hand move away from him.  His consciousness started to fade.

Adam fell to the ground.  His gaze ended up on the spot where he saw the little girl moments before.  With his last second of consciousness, he could have sworn he saw her again.

 

Adam felt a cool breeze upon his skin.  He seemed to instantly focus on that fact that Charlotte knocked him out.  Vision returning to his eyes, consciousness was coming back. The next moment Adam was on his feet.  It was only then he took in where he was.

It seemed to be a clearing of some kind in the middle of the woods.  Knowing the layout of Prelude his entire life, he could tell that he was still near the town based on the nearby pine and apple trees, and how they were lined up in rows.  One row was filled with pine, followed by apple in the next, and so on. All Adam had to help him see was the light of the full moon above of him.

“How… long was I out?”  Adam looked in each direction, his fists clenched ready to jump into action if need be.

“Three hours.”

Adam turned towards Charlotte, who was standing behind him.  He could have sworn he looked that way and did not see her at all a moment ago.

“I’ve felt that it would show up here.  Ever since I forged my way into your school, I was sure it was being narrowed down.”  Charlotte looked up at the moon. “Wouldn’t expect a guy with no physical training whatsoever to have it.”

“What… on earth are you talking about?”  Adam took a step forward. “Right now you’re really talking like a crazy person, you know that?”

Charlotte sighed.  “Not sure if you heard me before, but I am sorry that I can’t be nice about this…”  Her attention return to Adam.

“Do you want to know something interesting?”  Charlotte smiled softly. “I’ve actually existed for hundreds of years, at this point.”

“Huh?”  Adam did not seem convinced.  “Alright, Charlotte the Kidnapper… think that’s all the time I’ve got for today.”  He clenched his fist. “I’m not dealing with this anymore. Sorry, but not sorry.”

Adam dashed forward, planning to knock Charlotte down.  Swinging his fist, he was sure that he made contact.

But his entire body went right through her’s.

Falling onto his knees, it felt as though Adam just went through a freezer.  In fact, he started to shiver a little.

“You’re…”  Adam stood up, teeth chattering.  “Y-you’re a…?”

“A ghost, you could call me.  Or a spirit, whichever works for you.”  Charlotte’s smile, which remained on her face during Adam’s attempted attack, faded.  “Someone simply dying and remaining as a spirit though couldn’t do what I’ve been able to do.  That secret lies in my blood…”

As Adam was about to ask her what she meant, an azure aura started to form around Charlotte.  Starting off calmly, it quickly shifted into a tremendous force that knocked Adam off his feet.  He tried standing up, only to be knocked back down once again.

The force diminished a few seconds later, and Adam was able to regain his footing.  Focusing his attention back onto Charlotte, he noticed she changed. Instead of the jet black hair she normally possessed, Charlotte now had pure white hair.  Her eyes seemed almost sapphire in color now. The clothing she wore was now a set of blue armor.

“That appearance… it reminds me a lot of…”

Charlotte nodded, seeming to know what Adam was thinking.  “Yes, I know it’s been taught in your curriculum. My true name is actually Charlotte Ouderkirk, a member of the royal family of Requiem!”

Adam’s head started to hurt, his eyes shifting once again from gray to that glowing white color.

“Agonizing, right?  Seems there’s been a lot of emotional strain on you recently, which is causing that to happen.”

Adam held his head, sharp pains erupting from it and seemingly scattering throughout his whole body.

“Oh World Mirror, I’ve waited so long for you!”

“What the hell’s a World Mirror?”  Adam continued to hold his head, which actually kept him standing.

“Don’t worry about the details for now.  I promise I’ll explain it later.”

“I feel like I won’t live that long…”  Adam gulped.

“No, no.  You must live!  I need to see the World Mirror!  I’m so tired of waiting! So stay alive while I beat it out of you!”

The next thing Adam knew, Charlotte had struck him directly in the chest.  With a punch? Kick? Adam did not know. It was too fast for him to see. The moment this even registered, he found himself flying into the woods behind him.  His body rolled through several bushes and eventually went straight through a tree. He fell onto the ground as the tree fell right beside him.

“How could my body go through a tree?” he thought.  “How am I even alive?”

Blood quickly blinded him.  He felt searing pain throughout his entire body as much of it was now broken.

Adam could not decided on whether to scream in agony or cough up his lungs.  He went through a mixture of the two, his body having no way to process this kind of pain.

Charlotte was now in front of him, although Adam’s senses were in complete disarray.  He had no idea what direction was what at the moment.

Charlotte waved her hands in a motion as if she was beckoning someone.  A blue glow formed near her hand, and a long sword of the same blue color appeared.  Adam seemed to notice this, and had begun to focus back into reality.

“It’s not coming out.  It needs to come out!”

Adam was able to hear Charlotte decently enough.  He tried to form a response, only to realize that he somehow bit his tongue during the hit.  Only blood came out of his mouth. At the same time, tears came out of his eyes which continued to glow even now.

Charlotte raised her sword, but halted after noticing Adam’s tears.  She took a deep breath, and lowered the blade.

“I looked through the various medical records of all the students.  Being a spirit, I can slip by things pretty easily if I want. Getting them was no problem.”  There was a rather long pause.

“Six months ago, you tried to kill yourself.  Is that correct?”

Adam was able to temporarily handle the pain, as the shock of her knowing that seemed to take over.

“A kid with no real hobbies, no real plans for the future.  Friends that have loads of promise, on the contrary. You distanced yourself from them, thinking they no longer needed you.  And your home life… heh. Truly, you don’t have much of a family, right?”

Adam’s mind went back a few hours ago to what Pam told him.

“You have a family here, don’t forget that.”

Anger seemed to fill Adam’s body.  It was strange, he now seemed to shut off the majority of the pain at this point.

Charlotte pointed the blade towards Adam’s face.  “Along with all of that though… something happened to you, didn’t it.”

Adam was slowly standing up.  He did not notice the fact that his body started to form a white glow similar to the one his eyes were producing.  His injuries he just received were fading away.

“Tell me, Adam Grayson.  How do you perceive this world?”

While Charlotte moved the blade up to Adam’s throat, his gaze met the moon above.  In that moment, despite the surge of emotions inside of him, he was able to answer calmly.

“I saw it.  All of it. Clearly.  The despair plaguing the world.  Ever since all of those things happened years ago, I wanted to do something about it.  I wanted to save… her, and everyone else. Including myself… that feeling combated that despair, and lost.”  Adam formed a light smile.

“It’s funny how I lost due to happiness, however.  It felt as though she was better off without me. I was so able to see her genuinely smile again.  Her, and my other friends as well. They have so much going for them. They don’t need me. And that’s all I had… the fact that I could help them through things.  I was too scared of the rest of the world to try to find something myself.” Adam fell to his knees, his eyes still locked onto the moon; tears coming out at a faster rate.

“Can’t they see… all of this twisted shit in the world?  I know they can, everyone can.  And they…  they don’t do a damn thing about it!  Nobody ever does!

Charlotte lowered her sword.  A few seconds later, it faded out of existence.  “Let me ask you, why are you upset?”

Adam’s eyes widened, seemingly confused from her question.  His eyes would not stop looking upwards, however.

Charlotte answered her own question.  “It’s because that feeling actually didn’t lose.  That feeling to combat that despair. It’s still there.  But it’s struggling. Life makes everything struggle. But it’s not over.”  Charlotte walked over to Adam and bent over him, now blocking his gaze at the moon with her own eyes.

“You have a purpose.  To continue fighting that despair.  And if you think you’re useless, that you have no power, just look.”

Charlotte motioned to the area around him.  All the trees around him were now toppled over many meters away from where they originally stood.  It was as if the two were standing in a crater where a meteor struck.

“That’s why the World Mirror manifested within you.  It knows you want so desperately to fight, regardless of how many times you fall.”  Charlotte dropped down onto her knee and bowed to Adam.

“I’ll be by your side while you do so.  That’s why I’ve existed so long. I was meant to wait for the World Mirror to appear again and assist whoever it chose to reside in.”  Charlotte smiled. “It’s the least I can do, for being so physically and emotionally harsh to you. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me one day, yet you don’t have to-”

Before Charlotte could finish talking, Adam fell down.  The glow the World Mirror created faded away. His body was exhausted, and could hardly handle was what happening anymore.

“Well, that’s fine.  I’m exhausted as well.  I think having to act like a villain exhausted me more than using my power.”  Charlotte chuckled, holding her head. “Was it acting, though?”

As Adam fell asleep, an apple from a nearby tree that miraculously remained standing fell onto the ground.


Next: Chapter 1.2

Previous: Chapter 1.1 (Part 1)

Volume 1

Brand New Facebook Page

I decided to go ahead and make a Facebook page for the story, branching out onto other platforms. And… yep. That’s all. Feel free to check it out, as it’ll be another place where things will be posted as they release on the site, much like my Twitter and Tumblr page.

Chapter 1.1: Dear Future (Part 1)

NOTE: Phantonics deals with themes that may be heavy or sensitive for some.  This story is NOT intended for younger audiences. Read at your own risk.

NOTE 2: This is a re-post of the original chapter, which will be added to the Table of Contents, taking away the original page. This is to help myself organize things a tad better, as well as countdown to Volume 2!


Dear future…

How is it?

Did everything work out okay?

I need to know…

Is this thing called “life” worth it?

 

Adam Grayson slowly opened his eyes; their gray color reflecting the light from his window.  He leaned up and rustled his hair, which fell down partially over his eyes. For the first time in a while, he took note of it, and wondered why within his dark brown hair, lighter brown streaks naturally appeared.

Adam looked at the clock on his nightstand, noticing it was around 11:30 in the morning; a pretty normal time for him to wake up.

After sitting in place for a few minutes, Adam finally decided to get out of bed.  Seeming half dead, he opened the door to his room and walked into the bathroom next door.  He went up to the mirror and looked at himself dead in the eyes. Holding his head, he seemed to be in pain.

“It’s bad today…”

Adam put on a black t-shirt and gray cargo shorts.  Taking a second look in the mirror, he analyzed his unkempt appearance, yet shrugged it off as he usually would.

The town Adam lived in was known as Prelude, with only a few hundred residents.  A lot of houses seem to have been made using Gothic architecture, just like his house was.  He walked outside and shut the door behind him.

Breathing in, Adam took in the fresh air.  This town was nice and peaceful, which he appreciated.  Standing outside for a few seconds, Adam noted something he did not appreciate.

“This heat… why?”

“Yo, you gotta put up with it during the summer, unfortunately.”

A boy walked up to Adam just as he reached the road.  This was Brandon Shepherd. He had an athletic build to him, as he played a few sports throughout high school.  Adam noticed that he always stayed somewhat slender, though.

Brandon chuckled, wiping some sweat out of his short jet black hair, seemingly wanting to now agree with Adam’s complaint of the heat.  Regardless, his light blue eyes lit up along with a powerful grin.

Adam looked at his friend in disgust.  A mosquito was flying around Adam as he tried repeatedly to swat at it, failing miserably.

“It’s already humid as hell, why do the bugs have to add to it!?”

“Maybe they just find you so irresistible, dude.”  The boy smirked. “Something’s got to.”

“Ignoring that-”  Adam gave up on his attempt to kill the mosquito.  “Why are you waiting for me in front of my house?”

“I texted you though!  Asked if you wanted to do something today?”  Brandon took out his phone and pointed at it.  “Did you get it?”

“Oh.”  Adam pulled out his phone, realizing he did get a text.  “Sorry, didn’t look at it.”

“Weird, you were always on your phone 24/7 during high school.  Times must be changing, huh?”

“Yeah.  Not sure if I’m ready for it, to be honest.”

Brandon patted Adam on the shoulder.  “No worries, college will be a blast! I know you’re not one to party, but maybe getting you out and going to some will-”

Brandon’s idea was met with an ominous glare from Adam.

“So, uh… maybe not?  Well, that’s alright!  We’ll do cool things regardless!”  Brandon was silent for a moment, before a huge grinned formed on his face.

“And just know, if you need the room for some late night ‘activities’ just let me know ahead of time.  As I will with you. Cause…”

Adam started walking down the road towards the center of town, having lost all interest in what Brandon was talking about.  Brandon sighed.

“That’s fine, we’ll lay down those rules later on.”  Brandon ran and caught up with Adam.

“So, what do you want to do today?  Do you already have plans? You managed to actually get out of the house without anyone pushing you to.”

“Maybe.”  Adam responded.  “I was planning on just going for a walk, but if you’re here then we might as well do something.”

“Hmmm… what to do?”  Brandon pondered. “Well, there’s honestly not a whole lot to do here in town these days.  We could catch a bus to Nexus City. Or get Jerry to drive us? That’s a good idea actually!  Let’s see if he wants to hang out too! I’ll text him. I know he’s been busy with preparation for college, but maybe he’ll want a break?”

“That could be good…”  Adam stopped. Brandon turned back towards him after realizing he did so a few seconds later.

“In all honesty, I could be content with just walking around this town.  It’s very… relaxing to me. But I do want to do more. Even if I have to push myself to do something out of my comfort zone.  It’s been almost six months since I…” Adam paused. Brandon has a look of concern on his face, knowing exactly what Adam was referring to.

“…you guys all taught me that where I was… wasn’t a good place to be.  I want to be back where everyone else is, and not in my own lonely world.  Even if some things aren’t for me, this is the place where you guys are. After all you’ve done for me… I just don’t want to be a burden.”

Brandon let out a small laugh.  “Well, this ‘place’ that you’re talking about… the one where we are now.  It’s not all that great. I can see why you ‘left’ it. But I think the fact is that all of us are here together.  I mean, look at all the cool things in this world! We just gotta stick together and enjoy all the good we have!”

Adam smirked.  “Not sure you’re too good at sentimental talk.”

“I don’t even know what that means.”  Brandon shook his head. “Oh well, how about I go show you what I’m talking about?”

“You’re not gonna start singing to me, are you?”

“No, I don’t sing.”  Brandon pointed ahead.  “Come on, let’s go!”

 

Two sisters stood shoulder to shoulder:  Faith and Emma Roswell. The sun shimmered off their light brown hair; their eyes, matching the very same color were focused ahead.

The person that stood opposite of them was their mother, Pamela Roswell.  Her hands were placed firmly on her hips with a huge grin on her face.

The sisters were panting heavily, sweat dripping down their faces.  Emma, having longer hair as opposed to Faith’s bob cut, had to move her ponytail out of her face.  It was clear that they were going through some rough training, and the heat did not help them. Pam on the other hand did not seem exhausted at all.

“Alright, you two.  You’re doing great. One more round before I start getting an early dinner ready.”  Pam raised her hands up in the air and motioned for the two to come at her.

“We’re almost there… I’m so hungry.”  Faith complained. She began to take a few steps towards her mother.

Emma sighed.  “Sis, you’re always hungry.”  She slowly followed Faith’s motions.

Faith let out a small chuckle.  “But training…”

She dashed at her mother with almost inhuman speed, fist clenched.

“Makes me even more hungry!”

Pam blocked the punch with ease.  “Your speed is good, but you’re attacking in very obvious-”  Before Pam could finish, Faith grabbed a hold of her mother’s arm.

Emma appeared behind Pam with the same speed Faith used.  Emma started to swing a kick towards her mother. With tremendous force, however, Pam was able to throw Faith behind her, intercepting the kick and sending both of the sisters flying.

“That was a pretty basic combo.  Yet, I’m impressed at how you two were able to coordinate that without speaking to each other.”

The sisters stood up in pain.  Without a doubt, if the two tried to take on their mother in a serious fight, they would lose with ease.  It was an obvious gap that was created with years of her experience.

Pam raised her arm slowly into the air.  With the movement of her fingers, steam began to emit from her body.  Faith looked down at her hands. Her expression turned into a somber one.

Emma stared in awe at her mother.  “It’s always amazing, no matter how many times I see it.”

“My good old Ability, Steam Engine.”  Pam noticed her eldest daughter’s behavior.  “Faith, honey?”

“I want to get to the point where I can use my Ability as easily as you can, but…”  Faith’s body seemed to be shaking now. “It… it’s alright. This was something I’ve wanted to get over for a long time now.  I think it was sort of a blessing that it ended up being this.”

Pam nodded.  “That way of thinking works.  Always turn the tables on things like this.”

Faith took a deep breath and slowly let air out.  “Can… can I try it out, mom?”

“Absolutely you can.  Just take your time.” Pam breathed in as well, raising her arms up into the air;  A lot more steam was now coming out of her body. “It’s a part of you, remember that.”

Faith put her hands together as if she was holding something within them.  Closing her eyes, she continued to breathe in and breathe out. It was easy to tell that her breathing was unsteady, yet she continued to persist.  A few moments later, a small flame began to form within her hands.

“There you go sis!  You’re doing i-”

Pam hushed Emma, preventing Faith from losing too much focus.

“Open your eyes, sweetie.  Look at how beautiful your flame is.”

Faith did as she was told, opening her eyes gently.  It was true, the small orange flame that she created was so calming and warm to simply look at.  Faith was pleased at what she accomplished.

However, that did not last long:  Staring into the flame for too long caused her breathing to suddenly pick up.  Thoughts came rushing through her head almost instantly. She panicked and threw the flame out of her hands, which fell onto the ground.  The flame quickly dissipated. Faith sat down, seemingly unable to stay standing up due to her shaking.

“Hey!  Hey, sis, it’s okay!”  Emma grabbed her sister’s arm, trying to calm her down.  Pam let out a small sigh, the steam coming out of her body disappearing.

“I… I know.  It just sucks that I can’t help… that from coming into my mind.”  Faith was able to calm down just as quickly as the event began.  Pam walked over to her daughter and leaned over, placing her hand on her shoulder.

“We’ll get there.  No need to feel rushed, okay?”

“Yeah, I haven’t even awakened my own Ability yet!”  Emma gave Faith a thumbs up, “We’ve got time.”

“Thanks… I guess you’re right.”  Faith let out a rather loud sigh.  “I really need to turn the tables on this though, don’t I?”

Unknown to the family, Adam and Brandon had noticed their training session from the road as they were walking by.  They decided to walk into the yard to check it out.

“Yo, Adam.”  Emma completely ignored Brandon, who immediately grew a pissed off expression on his face.

“Is… is everything alright?”  Adam asked her. Emma nodded.

“Yeah, just testing some stuff out.”

“Hey, Adam!”  Pam greeted him.  “We’re just testing out Faith’s new power, nothing to be concerned about!”

Faith slowly looked up at him.  “Yeah… the flame has grown to be really pretty.”  She smiled at him giving the impression that she was okay.  Adam saw through it though.

Nevertheless, Adam smiled back at her.  He held out his hand. “Here. I’ll help you up.”

Faith noticed his hand.  This act triggered a sense of nostalgia within her.  She quickly stood up on her own, seemingly flustered.

“I- it’s okay!  I’m good! Thank you, though.”  Faith calmed down quickly and smiled back at him, this time sincerely.  “Thank you.”

Adam was confused, but didn’t think much of it.  “Yeah, no prob.”

“So, what are you doing on this side of town?”  Pam asked Adam. He turned around and pointed at Brandon, who was over near Emma.  “Brandon and I were heading over to Jerry’s to see if he wanted to do something today.  He’s not answering his texts so he’s probably busy. We don’t want him to get too busy and stress himself out.”

Brandon was glancing over at Adam, stomping his foot, riled up about something.  Emma turned towards him, “What’s your problem, idiot?”

He Looked at Emma, turning his irritation towards her.  “Hey, don’t call me an idiot. I’ll fight you.”

“And I’d kill you, idiot.”  Emma responded.  Brandon wanted to continue arguing, but he stopped:  He knew she was right.

“Oh, well you two are welcome to stay for dinner!  In fact, you can invite Jerry over as well! I know his dad is out of town for a conference.”

“Well, if you’re offering, then I don’t see why not.”  Adam responded. “We’d love to.” He looked in Brandon’s direction.  “Hey, we’re gonna have dinner here. Call Jerry and see if he’ll answer:  Invite him!” Adam shouted.

“Oh, great.  Now I have to be near you with forks and knives.”  Brandon sighed, pulling out his cell phone.

Emma snickered.  “Good, you’ll stay well-behaved then.”

Faith seemed to be in a better mood now.

 

Adam and Brandon were sitting on the couch in the living room.  To the side of them, there was a chair which Emma was sitting in.  The television a few feet across from the couch was currently on, playing the news.  Adam and Emma were busy on their phones while Brandon seemed to be having some sort of crisis.

“What’s your issue?”  Emma asked him, irritated at his behavior.  Brandon didn’t respond. “Is is because my sister is in the other room showering?  It makes sense, since you’re a pervert.”

“It does, doesn’t it?”  Adam agreed in passing with Emma.  Brandon got angry,

“Hey!  Who’s side are you on?”

“I’m usually on everyone’s side.  I just favor people who make sense.”

Emma nodded.  “Yeah. If you try to sneak a peek on me when I go in there next, I really will kill you.”

Brandon raised an eyebrow, getting a cocky smirk on his face.  “Now, why would I wanna sneak a peek of you, you-” Adam interrupted Brandon by clasping his hand over his friend’s mouth, not even looking up from his phone,  “You just want to die today, don’t you?”

Emma shook her head.  “Whatever. Honestly, I don’t care what you think of me.”

Adam let go of Brandon’s face, wiping his hand on the couch.  Brandon didn’t say anything; He just let out a small sigh.

Faith entered the room, wiping her hair with an orange towel.  She was now wearing a black t-shirt and brown shorts.

“Alright, Em.  Your turn.” Faith walked up to her sister who stood up from her chair.  “About time! What took you so long? Actually, don’t answer that.”

Emma walked into the other room while Faith took her seat.  “So! Is Jerry coming?”

“Yeah, he should be here shortly,”  Adam answered. “He said he was bringing a surprise.”

“Food related!?”  Faith’s face lit up.

“Yeah, I think so.”  Adam laughed lightly.  Faith cheered in anticipation.  Brandon was trying to focus on the news, trying his best not to have his eyes trail over to Faith.

“So, you guys are going to New Age University in the fall right?”  Faith asked the two.

“Yep, we sure are.  This guy right here is gonna be my roommate.”  Adam patted Brandon’s head mockingly, who swatted Adam’s arm off of him.  “Jerry got hooked up with enough scholarship money to get his own room in that big fancy dorm they have for Phantonics majors; I don’t think I told you that.”

Faith smiled,  “That’s great! New Age isn’t too far from Unity.  We might be able to visit each other sometimes…” Her voice trailed off as she looked at the ground.  Adam instantly knew what she was thinking about.

“Don’t worry, we will visit each other.”  Adam reassured her, drawing Faith’s eyes back up to him.  Brandon seemed to be aware of what she was thinking about as well.

“You’ve got Winona, don’t you?  You won’t be lonely! You two actually ended up being teammates, right?”  Brandon asked her.

“Yeah, we are.  Win’s always trained alongside me.  I’m glad we managed to actually be paired up together.”

Adam was briefly distracted by a report about dogs on the news, yet still paid attention to Faith.  “Yeah. So don’t worry about it.”

They heard the bell ring.  Adam was able to look away from the dogs as he stood up from the couch.  “Come on Brandon, let’s get the door. It’s probably Jerry.”

The two walked out of the room, Faith’s gaze following them.  She still had an uneasy feeling about the whole situation.

Pam walked out of the kitchen and met the two in the hallway.  “Oh, great. Thanks you two.” Adam nodded at her. They reached the door and opened it up.

Their eyes went immediately to the spiky red hair the person had, confirming it was in fact their friend, Jerry Peck.  He raised up a bag that was in his hand.

“I brought cookies.”

Faith appeared in between Adam and Brandon, seemingly out of nowhere.  Her eyes were lit up like stars and she was drooling profusely. She snatched the bag away from Jerry, who appeared to be  terrified. Before she could run off, Adam took the bag away from her.

“No.  Not until after dinner.”

Faith was disappointed, but agreed to Adam’s terms.  She sulked while walking back towards the living room.

“Anyway, come on in.”  Adam motioned to Jerry.  He nodded, taking off his shoes.  As he began walking into the house, he abruptly stopped.  Adam and Brandon turned back to him, curious as to why he stopped.  He started to smell the food cooking in the kitchen.

“No, no, no!”  Jerry shouted, storming into the kitchen.  Pam whirled around in surprise as he investigated her cooking on the stove.  “You’re cooking those chicken breasts at an absurd temperature. It’s all wrong!”

“It… it is?”  Pam was rather amused.  He nodded.

“Yes.  Here, I’ll help you.”  He turned towards Adam and Brandon.  “Don’t worry guys, this dinner will be amazing.”  The two slowly raised their hands, gave Jerry two thumbs up, and walked back into the living room.

 

After dinner, everyone was sitting at the kitchen table.  They all had an incredibly satisfied look on their face.

“Jerry, you can cook here anytime.”  Pam stated. Faith nodded in agreement, rubbing her stomach.

“Yeah.  Become my personal cook.”

Jerry blushed, laughing awkwardly.  “Nah, it’s nothing special.”

Brandon turned towards him.  “Jerry? Teach me how to cook?”

Jerry shook his head.  “Remember that chemistry lab a few years ago?  That’s what would happen if you cooked.”

Brandon was confused.  “Do you mean the cotton candy stuff that tasted like clay, or the fire?”

“Both, probably.”  Adam answered.

Brandon sighed.  “Oh well. You’re probably right.”

Pam stood up from the table.  “Now, it’s my turn for a shower.  You guys can stay as long as you want.”

The three boys thanked her for her hospitality as she walked out of the kitchen.  Adam turned towards Faith. “Hey, Faith?”

“What’s up?”

“I know I said not to worry earlier, but I do feel the same way you do.  We’re getting to that age where we may be more separated. It does kind of suck.”

Faith frowned, but nodded in agreement.  Jerry, who wasn’t there earlier, picked up on the topic pretty quickly.

“You know, guys.  We should all do stuff together this summer.  Before it’s school time again.” Jerry suggested.

Faith lit up.  “Yeah, we should!”

“I should probably join you guys as well.”  Emma suggested. “Michelle’s on vacation to the Bahamas all summer, so I’ve got nothing to do.”

“That’s fine.”  Adam looked around the table.  “So, what should we do?”

Everyone was silent, trying to figure out what would be fun.  Faith stood up and looked Adam in the eyes.

“An adventure!”

Adam’s eyes widened.  As children, they both came up with crazy adventures around Prelude and went on them all the time.  Her saying those two words was a blast from the past. Faith knew this, and grinned.

The others played with them as well back in the day, but weren’t aware of what “an adventure” entails.

“We’ll get things planned out, and go traveling.  All of us! We should all be able to fit in Jerry’s fancy car he’s got there, Win included!”  Faith seemed ecstatic.

“Yeah, I guess I can drive us around if we wanna go somewhere.  Just gotta take care of some things, but I should be able to go in a few days to somewhere.”  Jerry looked around the table. “You guys free?”

Everyone seemed to confirm that they were indeed able to be free.

“I’ll see what Win’s doing as well.  I’m sure we can get something figured out.”  Faith stood up from the table. “Now where’s my phone…”  She walked away to see where she left it, while Jerry stood up a few moments later.

“I need to get going.  Gotta finish up some work.  Can’t wait to go somewhere though!”  Jerry walked near the door, while the others followed closely behind.

“Yeah, I should go as well.”  Brandon stated, putting on his shoes just as Jerry was doing.  “My dad might need some help in his workshop. You mind giving me a ride Jerry?”

Jerry nodded at Brandon’s request.  He turned towards Adam. Want a ride as well?”

Nah, I kinda want to go for a walk before it gets dark out.  Should stop at the store to get some things. Thanks though.”

Faith walked up towards the group.  “Gah, I think I left it in the bathroom.  Oh well, I won’t bother mom. Don’t have to text Win right away anyhow, no big deal.”

Brandon and Jerry waved goodbye to everyone and began to head out the door.

“Shotgun!”  Brandon yelled.  Jerry turned toward him with a slightly confused expression.

“You’re the only other person in the car, though…”

As the two went towards Jerry’s silver SUV parked in the driveway, Faith turned to Adam.  “Not going with them?”

Adam explained to Faith what he just told Brandon and Jerry.  Faith nodded in understanding. Her face suddenly lit up.

“Oh!  This is perfect timing!  Come on, I wanna show you something.”

“Oh?  Sure.”  Faith beckoned Adam as she led him into the living room.  Emma looked at them, then glanced at the door. She turned back to the living room and once again, the door.

“Guess I’ll go in my room and play a game or something?  I dunno.”

 

Faith reached under the couch and pulled out a small cardboard box.  Adam had no idea what could be in it.

“I was cleaning the other day, getting some stuff prepared early for the move.  I came across… this stuff.”

Opening the box revealed several photos.  They were all pictures of Adam, Faith, and Emma as kids.  One was of the three trying to fish at the local creek. Adam almost got pulled in by a gigantic fish while Faith and Emma held onto him for dear life.  Another was of Faith and Emma having a tea party with all of their stuffed animals. Adam seemed to be an unhappy guest of the party, but still participated.

“Wow… can’t believe you found this stuff.”  Adam was amazed at the pure nostalgia these pictures held.  They each sat down on the couch. “We were always together when we were younger, weren’t we?”

Faith began giggling almost uncontrollably.  “I almost forgot about this one!”

She held up a picture of Adam pretending to be a brave knight who was rescuing the princess, Faith, from a dragon, which was portrayed by Emma.

“You always played the hero role, didn’t you?  Well, not always. I played the hero sometimes.”  Faith smirked. “You even played the princess that one time.  That was hilarious.”

Adam said nothing, simply sighing.  “Yeah, that was fun. I liked playing the dragon as well.”

“Yeah, the hero and dragon roles are always the best, since those are the two who fight each other.”  Faith nodded at her own statement.

“So, yeah.  I didn’t always play the hero.”  Adam started to pick up random photos and go through them.  There was silence for a few moments.

“Well, I think you have.”

“Huh?”  Adam turned towards Faith, confused at what she meant.

“The hero.  You’ve always been like one…”

Adam rustled his hair a little bit.  “I mean, I’m not too sure about that.”  Adam set the pictures down and looked ahead towards the floor.

“I know you’ve been afraid of using your power.”  Adam said bluntly. Faith seemed startled at this topic being brought up.

“I get why, after what happened all those years ago.”  Adam put his hands together, just as Faith does when trying to create her flame.  “Well, when it comes down to it, those flames that you’re afraid of… well, they saved me.  So I guess that makes you a hero too. I can’t be the only one, okay?”

Faith stared at Adam, seemingly wanting to say a million things, but could not get any of them to come out.

“Don’t be afraid of something that can save someone.”  Adam stood up from the couch. “I know you can do it.”

“Adam…”  Faith stood up as well.  “See, this is what I mean by the hero thing.  You always know great things to say like that!”

Adam chuckled.  “I mean, I guess.  If it helps you out, that’s all that mat-”

He was met with a firm embrace.  Adam could barely move his arms as Faith held him.

“Thank you, for everything.  Just know… I’ve got your back, alright?”

“Well, I mean sure you do.  Your hands are on my back at the moment.”  Adam returned the hug, although it was done somewhat awkwardly.

Faith slowly let go of Adam, giggling.  “You know what I mean.”

“Yeah.”  Adam formed a smile, and nodded.  “I’ve got yours too.”

The two stared at each other, not noticing the presence standing at the entryway to the living room.

“Am I interrupting something?”  The two turned to see Pam smirking at them.

“M-mom!”  Faith jumped back onto the couch.  Adam seemed unfazed.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.”  Pam laughed.

“Well, I should be going.  Gotta do my walk and get to the store.”  Adam gave a wave to Faith, who waved back.

“I’ll see you later, Adam.”

Adam looked back and nodded.  As he walked towards the door, Pam followed behind.

“I gotta get something out of the car, I’ll be right back Faith!”

“Kaaaaay!”  Faith yelled back to her mom, as she went out the door with Adam.

Outside, Adam turned towards Pam, knowing well that “getting something out of the car” was a filthy lie.

“What’s up?”  Adam asked her.

“You’re sharp.  I’m really glad you got that from your mother…”  Pam reached into her pocket and pulled out a plain white envelope.  “I was helping Faith out with cleaning, and I found this along with the pictures you guys were looking at.”  She handed the envelope to Adam.

“What’s in it?”  Adam started to open it, only to be stopped by Pam.

“I had to read it to see what it was, of course.  So I know what it is. I want you to promise me you’ll only open it when you’re feeling your lowest, alright?”

“Hm?”  Adam tilted his head in confusion.  Now he was even more curious. Holding out the envelope in front of him, he eventually decided to put it in his pocket.  “Alright, sure. I can do that.”

“Well, I hope you don’t get to your lowest again.  But if it ever happens… hopefully that’ll help.” Pam placed her hand on Adam’s shoulder and looked him directly in the eye.  “You have a family here, don’t forget that.”

Those words caught him off guard.  He did not expect Pam to say something like that.  It meant a lot more to Adam than one would think.

“Yeah… thanks.”  Adam said his goodbyes to Pam and headed off.


Next: Chapter 1.1 (Part 2)

Volume 1

Volume 1 Re-Posts Begin Today

Just a reminder that Volume 1 will begin to be re-posted today at 4 PM EST. There will be one chapter per day up until March 12th, where Volume 2 will begin.

Started writing for Volume 2 last night, actually. The first major arc is getting set up, and once that one’s done, probably one of the most important arcs of the series will take place. I think that’s going to be my goal: have two arcs per volume. We’ll see how that goes, depending on how it works for the narrative.

-Kyle

 

If you’re up for it…

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Volume 1’s Completion! + Reminders

In case you missed it, Chapter 1.21 was released late last night. This is the final chapter of Volume 1, which means the very first volume is now complete!

As a reminder, I will be re-posting the chapters with minor edits starting on Monday. It will be considered a countdown for Volume 2’s debut, which will be on March 12th. When this volume begins, chapters will become accessible a week early on my Patreon.

The plan is to have the first chapter posted on the site immediately, along with the second one on Patreon. That Friday will have the third chapter on Patreon, aaaaaaand the following Tuesday will have the second chapter on the site, as well as the fourth on Patreon. That’s the schedule I’m going to rock with (at this current time). So, every Tuesday and Friday will have updates for the story!

I plan on doing my own personal review of Volume 1 soon, which will help me reflect on how well I did with working on it, as I have difficulty with introductions to things. I’m already going to start on Volume 2, so I’m well prepared for its scheduled release (I’m bad with schedules, so I gotta take extra care with this lol).

Thank you for your support, as always. Here’s to continuing to grow, and getting closer to gaining some serious traction for this series!

-Kyle

Chapter 1.21: XYZ!

Back to Chapter 1.20

“Charlotte!?  You’re okay!”

Brian was shocked to see Charlotte enter the store.  He had been stocking a shelf near the entrance and almost knocked a box of cookies over.

“Hi, sir.  I’m okay…” Charlotte was nervous, yet relieved to see that her old boss seemed to care about her well being.

A boy that stood behind the counter chuckled.  Charlotte recognized the messy blonde hair and cocky posture immediately.

“Hello, Roy.  I see you haven’t been fired yet?”

“Hey good lookin’.  Nah, I’ve been busting my ass ever since you quit.  Brian’s been thankful to have me.

“It actually is remarkable.”  Brian commented. “He seemed to suddenly get a lot better at his job since you left.  Although, flirting with the customers is still a thing. You’d already be fired if we weren’t so short staffed.  Remember that, Roy. Continue to do well and not be… yourself, and we can get past that.”

Charlotte frowned.  “I’m so sorry… even though I put in my two weeks… I just up and left like that.  And… I heard about what happened yesterday. I should have been there-”

“Charlotte, it’s okay.  You young people have a lot going on.  It’s understandable. And…” Brian approached Charlotte, leaning up so he could whisper to her.

“I mean… you were here, weren’t you?  You saved me last night, right?”

“How did-”

“Relax.  Your secret’s safe with me.  Those Unity guys already questioned the hell out of me and left anyway.  Don’t worry about it.”

“Hey!”  Roy shouted, slamming his hands on the counter.  “You tell me not to flirt, and here you go leaning up close to women, freaking old man!”

“Oh, I was just uh… what is the term people use these days?  Roasting you! Yeah, I was just roasting you so bad, I didn’t want you to hear.”

“Huh?  How the hell do you know what that means!?”

“Roy-”  Charlotte interrupted.  “Just get back to work. Don’t you have to save up for college next year?”

Roy sighed heavily.  “Yeah, yeah.” He sat down in a nearby chair, pouting.

“Glad to see you got the whole ‘working’ thing down.”  Charlotte said mockingly.

Brian coughed, to get her attention.  “Do you need anything, Charlotte? If you just came here to apologize, you did not need to worry about that.”

“Actually… if it isn’t too much trouble, can you help me get some stuff?”

 

Brandon, Jerry, and Emma sat around Adam’s living room, each with a bowl of stew in hand.  Emma especially seemed to be enjoying her meal.

“How did Sis just walk out when this was in here!?  This is freaking delicious!

“Her and Adam wanted to go for a walk to talk in privacy, I guess?”  Brandon responded, slowing down on his food consumption. “Damn, Adam.  Trying to gain the upper hand, huh?”

“What?”  Jerry stared at Brandon with a confused expression.

“Don’t worry about it.”  Brandon sighed. “Anyway, I’m full!  Emma, wanna fight in, well… Phight?”

“Sure.  I need a break after everything today.”  Emma and Brandon stood up with their empty bowls and took them over to the sink.  Jerry heard his phone buzz, which he instantly investigated.

“Oh, wow.  She’s actually free?”

He stood up, dialing a number on his phone.  “You guys enjoy that, I gotta talk to someone.”

“Oh?  Alright.”  Brandon nodded, dashing over to the television in the living room.  “Emma! Prepare to be defeated by my Gladiator skills!”

“I’ll be using the Dragon, so I doubt you can do much against that.”  Emma stated mockingly, sitting next to him.

“Oh come on!  That’s the most broken character in the game!”

Jerry walked down the hallway as the phone rang on the end.  It was answered after three rings.

“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry.  If it isn’t my arch nemesis.  Why do you call upon me-”

“Yeah hi, Laura.”  Jerry groaned. “Listen, I need to ask you a few questions.”

“Oho?  Ask away!”

 

Charlotte had left Ann’s with several bags in tow.  Although they seemed heavy with a glance, she had no trouble carrying them.

“My body, as of right now… is totally fine.  That power Adam gave to me… just what was it?  Where did he get it? It honestly feels… familiar…”

“Charlotte!”  Winona ran up to her, with a cheerful demeanor.

“Winona… you’re okay?”  Charlotte asked, concerned.

“Yep!  All better!  Just needed to rest up!  Whatever that energy was… it was powerful.  I’m glad I put enough energy into my defense, or else it would have blown all of us away.”

“That… that was…”  Charlotte sat the bags down on the ground, almost ready to cry.  “I’m certain… that was me, who did that. I’m so sorry… I didn’t know how my power would work when I got serious, and it slipped right through the guy I was fighting, and… and I’ve been lying to all of you… and I hurt you, and-”

Winona quickly embraced Charlotte, closing the distance between them.

“You’re… cold.  Then, it’s true what Faith said, isn’t it?  I’m not sure if she was supposed to tell me, but she did.”

“That’s okay… you should know.”  Tear began to run down Charlotte’s face.

“Charlotte, you don’t have to worry.  Obviously, you have quite the situation going on, and you tried to keep it from us so we wouldn’t get hurt, right?”

Charlotte did not saying anything.  She simply nodded confirmation into Winona’s shoulder.

“You can talk to me about it.  About everything. If you want to, I would like to hear it.  Is that okay?”

“Yeah… yeah, it is.”  Charlotte took a step away from Winona, yet still held onto her.

“You know, that’s the same kind of thing you said to me when we first met.  Nobody talked to me when I first entered your school. You were the first one.  You came up to me, introduced yourself, and said I could always talk to you about anything.  That’s how we became friends.”

Winona smiled.  “And it still stands.  Come on, let’s go over there-”  Winona pointed toward a bench off the side of the road.  “Nobody should bother us over there.”

Charlotte agreed.  Winona helped her carry the bags over to the bench.  They sat down, and started to talk.

 

“Adam Grayson?”

Alexander stood in an office near the top of Soul Tower in Nexus City.  This minimalist office was owned by Rizzo, who had it as a spare outside of the main Unity building a few blocks away.

Rizzo sat at his desk, glaring at Alexander who was a few feet away from him.  Although, Alexander could barely tell, as the lights in the office were out.

“Shit, man!  Why are the damn lights off!?”  Alexander stomped his foot, creating a glowing pink liquid that covered the entire floor within a second.  “There! Now I can see your ugly-ass face.”

“Just make sure you dispose of that when we’re done here.”  Rizzo demanded. “Anyway, yes. Adam Grayson. Does that name ring a bell?”

“Nah.  Although, wasn’t there a Rebecca Grayson in Unity years ago that was some hot shit?”

“Correct.  She would be the mother of this boy.  He seemed to know you, from what I gathered today.”  Rizzo stood up from his seat, stepping in the pink liquid below him without an issue.

“Just like yourself, Code 2819 came back negative for him.  There was no phantonic value found whatsoever.”

“Huh?”  Alexander was curious.  “What a minute… could this Adam kid possibly be the kid from last night!?  Shit, I never caught his name!”

“So, as I did with you, I took precautions so that his power would not affect others in Unity.  As of tomorrow, he is banned from his hometown of Prelude, and must do whatever it is he wants to do on his own.  Seemingly, taking me down is part of that agenda of his.”

Alexander smirked.  “Well, add him to the list of people who wanna do that to ya!”  His expression quickly changed to a serious one. “Also, what kind of bullshit are you spewing?”

“Hm?  What’s that?”

“As you did with me?  You never banished me from anywhere!  I’m just not allowed in Unity cause ya don’t want me gathering people together to take ya down, seeing as though I know things!  Me keeping that shit a secret and my duty with the Blue World is simply a deal so ya leave my sister alone. So his power would not affect others?  That was never a reason!”

“If that’s what you want to believe, then believe it.”  Rizzo turned to stare out the windows behind him. He gazed down at the evening blue of the city.  “Also, would you happen to know what happened in the sky last night? It was clearly a distortion from the Blue World.”

Alexander shrugged.  “Beats the shit outta me!”

Rizzo remained silent for a moment.  “…fine. Very well. That’s all for now.  You may continue your work tomorrow. Soon, I’ll want you changing objectives.  I’ll give you the details on that within the next few days.”

“Alright, sure.  Whatever.” Alexander started to walk toward the door as the liquid began to fade.  “Looking forward to it, shitbag.”

As Alexander slammed the door behind him, the room was dark once more.  Rizzo continued to stare out the window with a blank expression on his face.

“I was surprised today.  That was the first time you altered what I said.  I would have simply forced the boy to join Unity, like usual.  But this… just what’s so special about this boy, enuexse-

As if his voice glitched like a computer error, Rizzo coughed up blood out of his mouth, splattering all over the window in front of him.  He collapsed onto his knees, in agonizing pain.

“You- you made me… speak, like that-”  Rizzo continued to cough violently as he attempted to calm himself down.  After a minute, he was able to. He breathed calmly.

“…I guess things are finally starting to set in motion for you, aren’t they?”

 

Muraco hopped around the Requiem wilderness, underneath the clear night sky.  He had his arms crossed, deep in thought.

“When that hole above Nexus opened up… I sensed all kinds of things.  Things that concern me… however, I think, that human survived whatever happened.  The question is, where is he now? Is he still in there? Is he back in this world?  I can’t tell from here.”

Muraco gazed upward, viewing  the clouds as they passed over the moon and stars.

“If I find you again, human, what do I do?  Shall I continue where I left off, or… those words.  Are those words you spoke genuine? If so, then maybe… just, maybe…”

 

Adam followed Faith through the dark woods, heading northeast from his home.  Both had remained silent for several minutes, only listening to each other’s footsteps.

“Hey, Faith?”  Adam decided to speak first.

“What’s up?”

“Are you… mad at me?”

“Why would I be?”

“Cause of what I did today…”

“I’m not…”  Faith stopped, hesitating for a moment.  She then turned to him.

“I’m… thankful, to be honest.  That you would go so far for us… although, I’m also scared.  Scared for what will happen to you. This banishment from our town… it’s not normal.  Just what is Rizzo planning?”

“I take it you know that I have an Ability now, right?”

Faith frowned, nodding at Adam’s question.  “To be fair… I knew you’ve been hiding something for awhile.  But I trusted your judgement, and why you would keep it a secret from us.  Seems there’s something serious involving Charlotte being a ghost and a Ouderkirk as well?”

“Yeah… my Ability is actually related to that.  The night I awakened it… it was due to Charlotte.  She’s lost her memories, and has been trying to figure things out for awhile now.  Apparently my Ability, called the World Mirror, is important.”

“The World Mirror…?”

Adam’s hand lit up in white light, as he raised it in front of him for Faith to view.  “It’s some strange energy, that has a lot of mystery to it. Right now, I know that it can give me lots of strength and also heal any injuries I take.”

“It’s beautiful… like moonlight.”  Faith stared in awe. “…injuries?  You’ve been injured?”

“I’ve… actually almost died a few times already.”  Adam laughed awkwardly. “It’s certainly helped get out of some sticky situations… although it’s the reason I got into them in the first place.”

“Adam… I really wish you told me.  Don’t get me wrong, I do understand why you didn’t.  You didn’t want my family, Winona, and others getting involved.  But still… you know how my I despise Unity as well! I would have joined you, and we could have fought it toge-”

“Faith, it’s more complicated than that.  We’re both weak right now. When it comes to our Abilities, we have much to learn.  We can’t make a move yet, despite how much we want to.”

Faith looked down at her hand, forming a small flame.  Adam noticed that she started to shake.

“Yeah… it’s still not perfect.  I’m not completely over the fear yet… but I’m getting there.  I’ve taken huge steps. If we’re to do something, we have to be strong enough.”

“Right.”  Adam smiled.  “Even Brandon realized that, with his Ability.  He wants to join Unity just so he can get the best training he can, for when the time’s right.  Rizzo’s aware of all of this though… I’m afraid of what will happen to you guys. He says your development is important, which is the main reason I’m being sent away, but still I-”

“Even though we need to get stronger, Adam, don’t worry.  We still are strong.  Don’t worry about us.  You have… a lot you have to do.  With whatever it is you’re going to do next.  Charlotte’s going with you regardless of Rizzo’s rule, right?”

Adam nodded.  “Yeah, I figured she’d be able to help me out, as well as easily hide with her powers if Rizzo decided to track me.  I’m… expecting that to happen, honestly. Just… a lot of this doesn’t make sense.”

“You’re right-”  Faith agreed. “But, what part are you referring to?”

“I’m not sure exactly.  But, it just feels like there’s a lot more going on with Rizzo, and the entirety of Unity than we realize.  Even deeper than the obvious as day corruption.”

“I’m sure there is.  Which is why we have to be careful.”  Faith lifted her flame that was still in her hand toward Adam’s which was still shining brightly.

“You know… it’s like your Ability and my own… are the sun and moon.”

“Huh?  I- I guess they kinda are?”  Adam chuckled at Faith’s comparison.

They both lowered their hands, as their respective Abilities faded away.  Before Adam put his hand back down at his side, Faith grabbed it with her own.

“You know why we’re out here, right?”

Adam smirked.  “Yeah. This path seems familiar.”

“Well then, let’s go!”

“Wrong.”  Adam wagged his finger, confusing Faith.  “It’s XYZ, remember?”

Faith burst into laughter.  “Oh my god, I can’t believe you remember that!”

“Of course I do.  We used to say it all the time before adventures.  I’m not even sure where you came up with it.”

“Oh, you probably wouldn’t.  I don’t think you ever watched that show.”

“It’s from a show!?”

“Yeah!  Kitty Kid and Puppy Pal!”

Adam was bewildered.  “It… was from that show!?  That show was awful!”

“Hey!  No it was not!  It was my favorite!  Take that back Adam Grayson!”

“No!  It was horrible!  The plot was too obvious!”

“It was a kid’s show, of course the plot wouldn’t be that great!”

“Then… wait- what does XYZ even mean!?”

“I don’t remember, but they always said it when they went on an adventure, so I thought I would use it for us as well!”

“Well…”  Adam paused for a moment.  Suddenly he started to laugh cheerfully.  “Ah, what the hell? It can be our thing, regardless if that show was good or not!”

Faith could not help but from smile ear to ear upon hearing Adam’s laughter.  “Of course. It’s our thing. Anyway, come on! XYZ!”

She dragged Adam along through the woods, as he quickly matched her pace.  A few moments later, they emerged from the trees. What met them was the side of a cliff that dipped off into a wide valley filled with nothing but grass.  Miles away, on the other side, the blue light from Nexus City could easily be visible to them.

“Ah, dang it!”  Faith pouted. “I was hoping we could see the aurora again… too bad!”

“I knew that’s what you were after.”  Adam chuckled, taking a step forward. He did not let go of Faith’s hand.  “This is still great. The clouds are starting to go away, and you can see all of the stars.  And that breeze… can you feel it? And look at it blow the grass down there.”

Faith nodded, taking in the view as well.  “It’s like a sea of green. And the light from the city adds to it.  It’s… quite the feeling you get… looking at this place. Aurora or not.”

“Jerry told me about that.  It’s different from the Northern Lights.  Actually, it really only happens due to the phantonic technology used in the city.  Once in awhile, a pure blue aurora will form somewhere in the skies of Requiem, made out of pure phantonic energy.”

“Yeah, it’s got a more complicated name… but uh, it’s also called the Requiem Lights, right?”

“That’s what I call it.  I wish I could see it again.  That night with you was the only time so far.”

“That night… yeah.”  Faith turned toward Adam, and looked directly into his eyes.

“Just like I dragged you here, back then… you were the one who dragged me.  It was the first time in ages… I felt happy.  After everything that happened with the fire… you saved me with your kindness and your cheerful self.”

Adam sighed.  “I’m sorry I’m not all that cheerful anymore.”

“That’s okay!  You can still show it sometimes!  And… after everything recently, I truly believe that, despite all the changes that have happened, the heart of the boy who saved me is still there within you…”

“You think so?  Maybe… I’m not so sure myself.”

“Adam.”  Faith placed both of her hands on Adam’s shoulders, moving in closer.  “I want you to know, that no matter what happens… even if you don’t believe me or not… I want you to know…”  Faith hesitated.

Then, she spoke.

“You are my hero.”

Adam’s eyes widened.  The directness of what Faith had just said struck him.  Within its simplicity, “You are my hero” held so much power.  It was at the level that only an “I love you” could have possibly competed with.

He took note of that comparison, as simply thinking about it caused a sudden warmth in his chest.

“…and I’m going to also be your hero, Adam!”  Faith declared.  “Like when we were little, we’ll keep on exchanging roles!  Sometimes you’ll be the hero and I’ll be the princess. And then sometimes you’ll be the princess and I’ll be the hero!”

“I- I guess that’s how it can work?”  Adam sighed. “But, Faith. I trust you.  Right now, I have to go down a certain path, and you have to go down another.  Those paths will merge once again, when the time is right.”

Faith removed her arms form Adam, nodding with a mighty grin.  “Mhm! They will!”

Adam raised his fist, putting it in front of Faith, which confused her.

“Faith, I’ve known you longer than anyone.  I’m pretty sure words between us aren’t needed when it comes down to it.”

“Heh… yeah, I see what you’re saying.  Although, I do love talking to you.”

She had understood Adam’s gesture, and raised her fist up as well.  “Let’s show this world not to mess with us!”

“You know what to say, Faith.  What have we been talking about this whole time?”

“Oh, right!”  Faith giggled.  Adam could not help but chuckle.

As their fists joined, they mutually shouted the simple phrase that always started their adventures.

“XYZ!”

 

From the shadows of the woods, two eyes gazed at the boy and girl, hidden behind a clock-shaped mask.  A whisper of a young woman could be heard.

“Will I exist in this world?  It’s all up to you two…”

 

Volume 1 END

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