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

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

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

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

Back to Chapter 1.20

Back to Volume 1

Chapter 1.20: Aftermath and Preparation

Back to Chapter 1.19

“Phew, glad he’s finally gone.  That guy talks way too much!”  Brandon walked over to Adam and Emma, starting to laugh.  Adam’s gloomy expression ended this quickly.

“Brandon, why would you… why did you do that?”

“I already said!  Didn’t you hear!? I want to learn more, and I think it would be the best place to do so!”  Brandon patted Adam’s shoulder, walking by him.

“I’ll talk to you more about it later, okay?  Relax for right now. You’ve got a lot you have to do starting tonight.”

Before Adam could say anything, Brandon walked by him and approached Emma.

“Hey, uh… so, I need to apologize.”

Emma looked at him curiously.  “What for?”

Brandon hesitated for a moment.  “Well… I know about your back.”

“I mean, who doesn’t?  I’ve told you guys all about it before.  I was in the freaking hospital for months as a kid after all.”

“I mean, yeah.  But…” Brandon sighed.  “I know a lot of the details.  It was kinda an accident how I found out… so I’m sorry for that.  But I do know that electricity messes with you. And I ended up using my Ability like that with you nearby.  So, I’m sorry if it hurt you.” He chuckled. “I guess it’s a good thing I’m going to Unity, huh? This Ability won’t mess with you, whenever I use it.”

“I…”  Emma tried to think of a response, but could not.  “I… T- thanks for sticking up for me. I was kind of scared after he heard me.  But you and Adam sticking up for me… it made me feels safe.” She turned away.

“So thanks!  And… whatnot.”  Emma pulled out her phone.  “I gotta update my sis on everything, unless you want to do that, mom-”

As Emma looked back, her and Brandon watched as Pam embraced Adam without hesitation.

“I’m… I’m so sorry, Adam…”  Tears were falling rapidly from Pam’s face.  “I swore to myself that I would protect you… as if you were my own child.  But I couldn’t do anything but stand there! Why… after all of this time… am I-”

“Pam-”  Adam calmly pushed Pam away from him.  “It’s not your fault. I’m an adult now.  I knew the risks, and it was my fault I lost my cool.  Now, I’m being punished for it.  Although, this honestly what was going to end up happening anyway.”

“But…”  Pam tried to dry her eyes.  “I don’t want you to be alone… with whatever you do.  This is what Rizzo does. He plays these games. I think he believes forcing you to be by yourself would hinder your growth, so you wouldn’t become a threat to him.  I doubt he actually does want you to grow.”

“It’ll be okay either way.”  Adam reassured her. “And besides… you honestly think I’m going to listen to him?  I’m not going to be alone.” He stepped a few feet away from the group, looking off toward the woods.

“I’m tired of that.  I’ve put myself in the situation where I had nobody beside me before… and you think I’m gonna let someone else force that upon me?  Hell no. But don’t worry, none of you guys will get involved.” He turned back to them, giving a wink and a cocky smirk in Brandon’s direction.

“After all, he specifically said that I can’t be with any living human being.”

Brandon had no clue what Adam meant, along with everyone else.  A few seconds later, it hit him.

“Oh!  Oh, you’re right!  Haha! Take that, rules!”

Pam, Emma, and Thomas were clueless as to what the two were talking about.  Adam approached the teary-eyed woman, giving her a confident smile.

“I’m going to put an end to all of this.”

Pam could not believe what Adam had just said, for the words matched ones that a young girl had told her once before.

 

“I’m going to put an end to all of this.”

 

She could not help the tears that had started to form once more.

“Becca… your will is still here, isn’t it?”

Thomas gave Pam a pat on the head, then turned to Adam.  “That’s great and everything. But, kid, how are you going to do that with a missing hand?”

“Huh?”  It took Adam a second to realize what Thomas was referring to.  A quick glance down his right arm made him understand.

“Oh.”  The World Mirror’s aura formed around the stub.  A few second later, Adam’s hand had begun to reconstruct itself.

“Woah, you can heal yourself!?”  Emma watched the event in awe. “What even is this Ability?”

“It’s called the World Mirror.”  Adam answered. “It’s got a lot more to it then one would think.”

Thomas analyzed the Ability carefully.  “It’s true. After all, Abilities are always phantonic based.  And they determined that it’s not. Just what is it?”

“That’s one thing I’m trying to find out.”  Adam stretched out the hand that had finished forming.  “It’s related to the Ouderkirk Royal Family in some way, though.”

“What?”  Pam could not hide the concern in her voice.  “How do you know that?”

Adam sighed.  “Charlotte’s an Ouderkirk.  She doesn’t have memories aside from knowing the World Mirror’s important for something.  Oh, and she’s also a ghost by the way.”

The group was speechless.  Adam walked over to Brandon, and flicked his forehead.  “Come on. Before we do anything else, I’m hungry.  Let’s go to Mona’s.  I’m getting myself an applesauce burger.”

As Adam started to walk off, Brandon looked at the others and shrugged.  He then followed close behind.

“You know, I keep telling you that thing is disgusting!  Even the people working there give you a weird look when you order it!”

“Well, maybe they shouldn’t have it on the menu, then.”

Emma ran up to her mother, squeezing her tightly.  

“Come on, mom.  Let’s leave those two weirdos to their thing for now.  How about some coffee?”

Pam let out a long sigh.  “Yeah… yeah. I think I need one right now.  Want some, Tom?”

Thomas nodded nonchalantly.  “Sure. Even I’m burnt out from all of this.”

 

Carl’s eyes opened, staring at the stained gray ceiling above him.  He sat up, the creaking of his worn out bed echoing through the almost empty room.

“Glad to see you awake, Carl.”

Carl looked off to his right, and a tiny wooden table.  There, a man sat in the shadows, moving a glass of whiskey around in his hand; the ice’s clatter was the only noise at that moment.  

“Oh, hey.  I’m hoping it went well?”

“Yeah.”  The man sat the glass on the table.  “He was able to siphon the Ouderkirk girl’s power from what was left in your body.  It worked.”

“Oh?”  Carl grinned.  “Excellent. So that test wasn’t in vain after all.”

“That’s right.  In fact, it was good that things ended up this way.  That creature you created would have never found the seal.”

“Oh?  Yeah yeah yeah?  Interesting! We finally found it?”

Carl could hear a small chuckle come from the man.  “Yes. Although, it was where we originally thought it was all along.”

“Is that right?”  Carl started to laugh.  “After all that testing we did!  That sure is remarkable! Although, this does raise the question…”  He stood up from the bed and began to pace around the room.

“What exactly were we catching on the radar, then?”

“That’s still an important piece.  I believe it to be a sort of a key that we need for the seal.  Seeing as though even between myself and Jason we were unable to crack it open.”

“A key that moves around?  Who exactly created this seal in the first place?”

There was a moment of silence, to the point where it almost became awkward.

“A powerful man.  One that we still don’t have a chance against.  Which is why we need this power.”

Carl chuckled.  “Works for me. I’m just here to learn everything I can.  I have no limits to the knowledge I want to obtain. See what I did to my body?  I’ll do anything for the truth!”

“The truth, huh?”  The man picked up the glass of whiskey, hesitated, then took a sip.

“The truth is something nobody should really strive for.  It’s not worth it.”

 

“I can’t believe you two!”  Charlotte was wagging her finger rather violently toward Adam and Brandon.  “We’ve been trying so hard to keep these things a secret, and you two just go and reveal it all like that!?”

“Well, to be fair-”  Adam caught Charlotte’s finger.  “You also revealed yourself to people last night as well.”

“That was different!  People were in danger!  That wasn’t the case for you!  You just had to keep your cool, and you wouldn’t be in this situation!”  Charlotte sighed, taking her finger back from Adam.

“…from what you said though, I see why you did it.  It still sucks.”

Brandon cautiously tiptoed forward.  “Glad to see you full of energy. You looked as though you were going to die on us earlier- oh, wait… yeah.  You’re already-”

“Brandon.  Are you sure you want to join Unity?”  Charlotte asked with slight worry. “You know what goes on there…”

“I know.”  Brandon scratched his head.  “But, to be honest… as we trained these last few weeks, it wasn’t really doing much for me.  It just felt like extreme exercise. I didn’t get any closer to learning more about my Ability or how it works.  If I go to Unity, where they’re experts… well, hopefully that’ll help.”

Charlotte frowned.  “I just wish I remembered more… maybe I would have been able to teach you properly.”

“Don’t worry about it!  One of the reasons we’re doing all of this to begin with is to figure out your memories.  It’s all good.”

The three heard a cough come from the kitchen.  Jerry stood in front of Adam’s stove, mixing up some food in a pot.  The smell of meat and spices and started to fill up the house.

“Not much of this is good, Brandon.  Now, before the others get here, and before this beef stew is done…”  Jerry sat the spoon he was using to stir the food down on the counter.  “Adam, here’s my gift to you.”

Adam reached out his hand as Jerry handed him what appeared to be a flash drive.  It was silver in color, and didn’t seem like something that would be too expensive to purchase.

“What’s on it?  Did you find out anything?”

“I did not.”  Jerry sounded frustrated.  “It turned out that I certainly could have hacked into things very easily.  Yet, I would have been caught. What you have there is a little thing I created.  I call it a ‘god drive’.”

“Uh, alright.”  Adam analyzed the device more, attempting to figure out what was so “godly” about it.  “What’s it for, though?”

“It’s just a simple flash drive on the outside.  However, I added my own personal touch to how it can work.  If you plug that sucker into any computer, it can rip the data right out of it without an issue.  That’s what we need to do.  It’s too difficult to gain the data wirelessly, but if we use that right at the source, it’ll give us everything.”

Brandon took the god drive out of Adam’s hand to look at it.  “How the hell did you get it to do that?”

“You really think you can understand, even if I explain it to you?”

Brandon sighed.  “Fair enough.”

“Anyway.  I’m sorry this is all I can do…”  Jerry started to tap the counter in an agitated manner.  “I don’t know enough. If I had the proper knowledge, you wouldn’t have to dive right into enemy territory.  But, this is the only way at the moment.”

“Don’t worry about it.”  Adam put his hand on Jerry’s shoulder.  “You’re still going to college, I’m assuming?  You’ll absorb all that smart stuff quickly.”

“Yeah… there are areas I really need to work on.  I realized that as the process kept taking longer and longer.”

“See, Adam?”  Brandon wrapped his arm around Jerry.  “He and I both have to work on our own thing.  But we’re not abandoning you for a second! We’ll be back stronger and smarter than ever before!”

“That reminds me-”  Jerry calmly moved Brandon’s arm off of him.  “You’ve gotta talk to your dad about all of this.  He assumes you’re still going to New Age with that soccer scholarship.”

“Yeah, please don’t remind me.”  Brandon groaned. “And what I’m planning on actually doing isn’t gonna help the situation.  But, that’s alright. I’ll get it to work. Oh, right-” He turned to Adam. “I’m assuming Rizzo’s not gonna allow you to attend classes while this whole thing’s happening?”

“I wasn’t planning on it anyway.”  Adam responded. “I’ve got a cool superpower, and I’m teaming up with a ghost to conquer evil.  Pretty sure school isn’t as important right now.”

“That’s right-”  Charlotte walked up to Adam.  “I’ll be there for you. Whatever direction you end up going, I’ll follow.”

“You know, that is a good point.”  Adam looked at Jerry. “Where should I even go to obtain this information?  Somewhere in Nexus?”

“Nah, that’s too risky.  Nexus City is pretty high tech when it comes to security.  However, you may have a good source in Minuet.”

“That close?”  Adam put his hand on his chin.  “Where in Minuet exactly?”

“The library.”  Jerry picked up the spoon and checked on the stew.  “Our high school simply connected to Minuet’s library through that underground tunnel, in order to save them from building a library of its own.  However, what I did end up finding out through my digging…”  He reached into his pocket and took out his phone.  After some swiping, he showed the others a map that seemed to show multiple pathways.

“You wouldn’t need an underground map this convoluted for one simple tunnel.  There’s more down there. And it’s being covered up.  Whenever I tried to look into it, the information definitely meant to lead me away from it.  I feel like it could be something to investigate.”

“I mean, sure, it sounds interesting.  But even if there is some sort of information source down there, would it have stuff we actually need?”  Adam asked.

“I have a feeling it very well could.  You know what happened right next to Minuet all those years ago, right?”

“Of course I do.  The incident with the Fisher family?”  Adam paused. “…it’s where my mom lost her life, after all.”

“Yeah… Unity fought so hard and investigated for so long after the fact.  Information wasn’t as easy to move around two decades ago, even with phantonic technology starting to boom.  They had to have a base of operations close enough to the site where they could work easily. No public records ever state where that was, so… this is my theory of where it could be.”

“Right.  Pam didn’t want anything to do with the case after it happened, so she wouldn’t know.  Besides, I’m ‘supposed to do this without help’, so I can’t ask her. Rizzo could find out if I did.”

Jerry looked on the counter, picked up a bottle of spices, and poured some into the stew.  “I’ll do my best to avoid Rizzo’s eye, cause I want to see the data you hopefully end up obtaining.  I’ve also… been really curious about something.”

“What’s that?”

Jerry stirred the stew slowly, before putting the top on the huge pot.  “The guys you encountered… they had some really state-of-the-art tech on them.  And after what I heard today… I’m really concerned. They could track your power, Adam.  Remember? That’s how they found you in the first place. And seeing as though your Ability isn’t phantonic based… just what kind of technology do they have on their side?”

“That’s true…”  Adam sat down on the couch, stretching out.  “I’m gonna have to watch out for those guys as well.  After last night, they’re definitely trying to do something.”

Adam felt his phone vibrate in his pocket.  He took it out to see what he had received. It was from Faith.

“Win and I are all good.  We’re about to head back. I heard Jerry’s making stew?  I can’t wait! But… yeah. I heard everything for Em. We need to talk later, please.”

“Uh oh, that’s not good.”  Brandon said, gazing at Adam’s phone from the other side of the couch.  “Whenever a girl says ‘we need to talk’ it doesn’t end well.”

“Well, obviously there are things we have to talk about, after what happened today.”  Adam attempted to shoo Brandon away. “And don’t look at my phone. I might have secret stuff on here.”

“Huh?  What would you have to hide?”  Brandon suddenly gasped. “Does she send you nudes!?”

Adam poked Brandon’s face to shut him up.  Charlotte grabbed Brandon by the neck, pretending to choke him.

“Cold, cold, cold-”

“Adam, is that what we’re going to try first?  Seeing if there’s anything in Minuet? Once you leave tomorrow, my advice is getting started right away.”  Charlotte let go of Brandon, whose teeth were starting to chatter.

“That’s probably our best bet.  I don’t have enough control over the World Mirror yet as to where I can move as freely as I want to.  Along with that… if I do get caught, I’ll probably get the normal punishment of trying to, you know, break in somewhere to steal something.  Considering this top-secret info as well, it’s not gonna be a pretty sentence.”

Brandon shrugged.  “I mean, the law says you’re supposed to join Unity if you have an Ability, right?  And you’re already not doing that, so might as well go break other laws!” He laughed sarcastically.  “That’s not good advice… but anyway. Do you think Rizzo has ulterior motives to forcing you to do this?”

“Oh absolutely.”  Adam responded bluntly.  “Although it could be a valid argument that my Ability could mess with the development of others, I know there’s something more.  Could…” He paused. “…could he know about what happened to me? Like… how being alone can mess me up?”

“I’ll go kick his ass right now!”  Brandon cracked his knuckles. Charlotte held his shoulder to calm him down.

Jerry walked over to his laptop on the nearby chair and picked it up, flopping down on the seat.  “Stew just needs a few more minutes. And, yeah. This situation is odd, to say the least. I wouldn’t drop your guard for a second, Adam.  Actually, that goes for all of us. Anyone connected to Adam could be used to Rizzo’s advantage. This all… seems like some strange game to me.”

Brandon smirked.  “Well, good thing I’m good at games!”

“I think it’s more serious than that, Brandon.”  Adam sighed. “…look. I’m sorry, guys. For getting you dragged into this.”

“Don’t be.”  Brandon reassured Adam.  “It was my decision to show Rizzo my Ability in the first place.  I got myself wrapped up in this, to be honest.”

“I think it’s a good thing you did.”  Jerry stated. “I feel like those of us close to Adam who don’t have any ‘value’ in Rizzo’s eyes would be in more danger.  With an Ability, you’re more valuable. Luckily, or unluckily, I know Rizzo. He’s aware of my talents with phantonics, and even said I’d be extremely useful some day.  I think I’m okay?  Let’s hope.”

Charlotte started to walk toward the door.  “Adam, I took some of the money I gave you. I’m going to head to the store and get some supplies I think we may need.  Just relax for now. I’ll be back in a few.”

“Oh, alright?”  Adam leaned over the couch to look at her.  “You’re actually gonna go to Ann’s though-”

Before he could finish his question, Charlotte had walked right through the door.

Brandon walked up to the door, trying to figure out how exactly Charlotte pulls off her ghostly powers.

“Hey.  Do you think she even knows how to use a door knob?”

 

A few minutes later, Adam sat on his bed.  He was going through various things that he had found under the bed.  The envelope that Pam gave to him had already been placed in a backpack he was preparing.

Jerry peered around the doorway, knocking on the wall.  “Stew’s all ready. I know you just went to Mona’s, but feel free to come get a bowl.”

“I’ll be out there in a few.”  Adam gave Jerry’s a smile and a nod.  As Jerry left, his expression grew gloomy.

“Can… can I do this?  Just up and leave? Everyone had just re-joined my life recently, and already I’m abandoning them.  What is Rizzo going to end up doing? Not just with me, but them. I can’t let him hurt them…! But… how can I stop him?”  

Adam held his head in frustration, feeling a headache come on.

“I should rest, but I don’t have time for that right now!  What do I do!?”

“Adam?”

He glanced at the doorway, where Faith stood.  She gave him a warm, gentle smile. Although, he could see the concern in her eyes.

“Hey, Faith.”

Back to Chapter 1.19

Back to Volume 1

 

 

Chapter 1.19: Versus Absolute Power

New chapter! I put a lot more into this one than I originally intended. A lot of things go down, setting up for the end of the first volume and the beginning of the second. Only one or two more chapters left!

 

“But sir!  He’s never had a day of combat in his life!”  Pam could not hide the concern in her voice.

“I won’t fight the boy seriously.  I just want to see what he is capable of.  If my theory is correct, even one quick spar will show it.”

“But-”

“It’s okay, Pam.”  Adam raised his hand to calm her down.  “I accept.”

“Oh?”  Rizzo smiled.  “I like the confidence.”

“Why would you, though?”  Pam asked, stepping forward.  “You’ve never fought before. And this is the Leader of Unity!

“He did say he wouldn’t fight me seriously.  I think this would be a good learning experience, as I’m uncertain on what I would like to do with my life anyway.  Who knows? Maybe I have it in me to fight?”

Adam started to stretch his body.  Although he was obviously putting up an act, he was telling the truth at the same time.  He had no clue what path to take so he and the others could learn more about the secrets of the World Mirror and Charlotte’s memories.

It was also a perfect opportunity for Adam to see the strength of the Leader of Unity, as well as vent his frustration against the man.

“Adam!”  Brandon ran up next to him.  “Are you… are you sure? Are you really gonna… you know?”

“Don’t worry, Brandon.  Just trust me, alright?”

Despite his hesitation, Brandon nodded at Adam in understanding.  Pam walked up behind Brandon, holding him by the shoulders. After a mutual glance, she escorted Brandon off to the side.

“You two, get the others to move the vehicles out of the parking lot.  I think that’ll be a nice space for this test.” Rizzo demanded the two Brown Suits.  They immediately nodded and ran off to do their task.

A few minutes later, Adam and Rizzo stood face to face on the black pavement.  Brandon, Pam, and Thomas were off to the side to view the event unfold. Before anything started, Emma had appeared.  She ran right up to her mother.

“What’s going on?  What’s Adam doing with Rizzo?”

Before Pam could speak, Brandon answered the question for her.  “He wants to test Adam out in a fight, just cause his mom was apparently really good.  It’s crazy!”

“What!?  Adam doesn’t know how to fight!”

Brandon nodded in agreement, even though he knew Adam has had experience.  He was aware the small amount of training he had done would mean nothing against an opponent like this.

Pam kept her eyes on the two who were about to engage in combat.  She was terrified at what would happen.

“Becca… I’m sorry.  I can’t do anything to stop this.  Even if Adam refused, Rizzo would have still made him fight.  Please… keep him safe from whatever happens…”

Rizzo tossed his coat off to the side, revealing a short-sleeved black shirt.  The scars on his face were in fact not the only ones on his body, as his arms were completely torn up as well.  He took off a small silver ball that was attached to his belt.

“Do you know what this is, Adam?”

“Yeah.  Little balls of phantonite called ‘Cores’.  Phantonite can change its shape and expand as much as it wants depending on how the phantons operate.  You basically code into it what kind of weapon you want, and with a response to the person’s phantonic output, it forms.”

“That’s correct.  Very impressive. It was around the early nineties we developed this.  Took awhile to get it down, however.”

A blue light began to slowly form around the ball.  After a few seconds, the energy erupted, causing Adam to put his arms up in defense.

“Whatever he has planned… I can’t use the World Mirror.  I’ll do this without the help of an Ability!”

As the light faded, a silver longsword had appeared in Rizzo’s hand.  He held the hilt and began spinning the blade around with ease.

“You can use this for our battle.  Don’t be afraid to come at me with everything you have.”

Rizzo tossed the sword into the air, spiraling toward Adam at a swift speed.  The four off to the side gasped, fearing it would strike Adam.

To everyone’s surprise, Adam caught the sword.  Rizzo in response grinned, while everyone else caught their breath.

“Well, that action itself was not bad.”  Rizzo took a step forward. “I won’t be needing a weapon.  But don’t worry, I won’t be serious, like I said.”

Adam raised the sword in front of him, taking a rather awkward battle stance.

“That seemed slower than the attacks Derek and Alexander were throwing at me.  I’m getting better, bit by bit.”

“Despite how many openings you have right now, you are keeping a keen focus on me.  That’s good. You’ll need that.”

There was silence.  Not even the wind was blowing through Prelude that day.  Rizzo raised his hand, and beckoned Adam to attack.

Without hesitation, he did.  Kicking off the ground, Adam dashed forward, taking care not to use his Ability in the process.  Swinging the sword, Adam slashed its blade right at Rizzo’s neck with great force.

Nothing happened.  Rizzo simply stood there, analyzing Adam’s movements.

“What the?  What kind of Ability does he have!?”  Adam, surprised, leaped back swiftly to keep a safe distance between himself and Rizzo.

“What just happened!?”  Brandon was even more shocked than Adam was.  He turned to Emma, who couldn’t hide how nervous she was.

“Nobody knows exactly what Rizzo’s Ability is.  That’s one thing, right there. It’s nearly impossible to damage him.”

“He can do other things too!?”  Brandon almost ran into the duel happening in front of him out of instinct to help Adam.  He was able to stop himself, although was clearly frustrated.

Adam continued to slash at Rizzo.  Each attack connected with ease, yet were unable to do anything.  The only progress Adam made was being able to cut into Rizzo’s shirt a few times.

“Not yet!”  Adam roared, charging into Rizzo with the tip of his blade.  Unable to move him, Adam was flung back, falling on the warm pavement below.

“Your attacks are actually not too bad for your level.  Yet, I’m sorry, but… you can’t hurt me.”

“Yeah?  Well I’m not done yet!”  Adam leaped into the air, descending his blade toward Rizzo.  

Adam did not make it to the ground.

“Huh?”  He was confused.  Without any indication of movement, Rizzo had grabbed his sword, stopping it with his fingers.  Adam’s feet had touched the ground before he could even process how it happened.

“I think that’s enough for now.”

Once again, without any noticeable motion, the blade shattered.  The force sent Adam flying back, hitting the ground hard. So hard, that it knocked the wind of of him.

“Adam!”  Brandon and Emma both yelled his name, about to rush over to him.  Pam stopped them from doing so.

“You two stay back… I don’t want you getting involved in this.”

“What are you saying, mom!?  He’s hurt!” Emma tried to squirm past her mother to no avail.

“He’ll be alright.  It’s over now…” Pam gritted her teeth, furious at not only Rizzo, but herself.

Rizzo walked over to Adam, who had already started to calm his breathing.

“I can see great promise in your already.  Your strikes are strong, and I could see you improve with each swing.  I’d be happy to offer you entrance to Unity, if you so desire. You can definitely-”

“Shut up.”

Adam stood up slowly, clenching both of his fists.  

“I’m gonna make sure you feel the pain that you inflicted that day…”

 

A young Adam ran into the police station in a cheerful mood, almost bumping into one of the officers.  This was the norm, as Adam would often come here to see if Faith and Emma were with their mother, wanting to play outside.

“Sorry, mister!”  Adam dashed off toward Pam’s office.

“Hey, Adam!  You shouldn’t-”

Adam was already out of view.  The officer sighed.

“I hope he doesn’t get in trouble…”

The fire at the Roswell household happened two months prior.  Adam did not understand the situation that well, especially with how they got their house back seemingly the next day.  

Yet, he knew the real damaged it caused.

Faith and Emma’s father was dead, Emma had been in the hospital the entire time, and Pam had to work overtime to catch the group that had caused the inferno in the first place.

Due to this, Faith was alone most of the time, struggling to deal with the aftermath.  Adam took it upon himself to keep her company as much as possible, and to continue their adventures together.

To put her mind at ease.  That was his goal.

This day was no different.  He had the perfect idea for an adventure this time, as Faith apparently had not heard the fairies speak to her recently.  Therefore, it was up to Adam to plan things.

“She’s gonna love it!  We haven’t spoke with the stars in so long!  They’ll know where the fairies went!”

As Adam approached Pam’s office, he stopped immediately upon hearing shouting.  

“Please, sir!  Not today!”

It was Pam’s voice.  Adam almost rushed right into the room, but decided against it as he saw a bunch of ominous-looking men surrounding Pam.

“Pamela, you know how close the investigation is.  And you’ve been one of our greatest resources. Do you honestly think I can let you have free time now?”

Adam hid on the side of the door and glared into the room at the man directly in front of Pam, who was like a mountain in height compared to the rest of them.

“But they think they might be able to do something for Emma!  Please, I have to be there for my girl, especially with how risky the procedure could be!  I don’t want to lose her-”

Adam watched in horror as Pam fell to the ground.  The image of Rizzo’s hand striking her was etched into his mind, while the sound of the impact, as well as the agonizing scream Pam unleashed, made Adam want to tear his ears right off of his head.

“We must purge the darkness of this world.  To do so, you must follow my orders.”

There was a desire within Adam to charge right into the room and attack the man.  

However, he was a wise child.  He knew that it would amount to nothing, and it would make things worse.

Shedding tears, Adam ran away from the scene.  There was nothing he could do.

 

It wasn’t any better for him now.  He had the potential to do something.  To use the World Mirror. Knowing how much power it harbored, surely it could take now Rizzo?

However, he was a wise young man.  He knew it would amount to nothing, and it would make things worse.

Rizzo approached Adam, leaning down to his level.

“Pain?  I see. I sensed a presence that day.  It was you, wasn’t it? I figured it was but a mere child, so I didn’t bother to take action.  But if it affected you that badly, let me just say this…”

Putting his hand on Adam’s shoulder, Rizzo ominously galred into his eyes.

“That wasn’t even considered pain compared to what she’s gone through.  And then you compare it to the rest of the suffering in the world… it’s nonexistent.  So, let me ask you, Adam Grayson. What are you getting so worked up about?”

Adam took a deep breath.

There was a long pause.

“You know what?  Honestly? Fuck it.”

The blinding white light from his right hand collided with the side of Rizzo’s face, and in an instant, sent the Leader of Unity catapulting out of the parking lot and into the nearby northern woods.

Everyone was speechless.  Even the nearby Brown Suits showed uncharacteristic emotion seeing their leader hit like that.  It was at a speed that even they could not see.

Adam did not hold back, as shown by the lack of his hand as the light faded.  He moved his head toward the others who had been watching, glaring at them with his white eyes.

Pam inched her way forward, eyes widened in horror.  “Adam… that… power. You had an Ability? Or, did Rizzo set it off by whatever he was saying to you?”

Thomas grabbed Pam and held her back.  “It doesn’t matter, he just attacked Rizzo.  This is bad.  Especially…”

He pointed at the Brown Suits, who had snapped out of their amazement at the event and pulled out pistols that were hidden under their clothes.

“Men, do not bother.”

Rizzo had already re-entered the parking lot, rubbing his face where was struck.  “Did my words awaken your Ability? Or is this something you had? We’re still working on technology to determine the length of time a person who has had an Ability, so it really doesn’t matter either way.”

Adam glanced at Rizzo, then back to the group.

“I’m really sorry, everyone.  I’ll even say sorry to you, Rizzo.  But I can’t even fathom to work on a side with you in charge.  So, I’ll fight. I’ll either defeat you now with the power I currently possess, or die trying.”

Rizzo stared at Adam, who had returned his gaze back to him.  Eventually, the man started to chuckle.

“You actually caught me off guard.  And then, that was the first time in ages I’ve felt pain, even if it was just a little.  Impressive. Truly, impressive. Men, use the network. I want you to check Code 2819. This Ability of his intrigues me.”

A Brown Coat nodded, taking out what seemed to be a tablet.

Brandon took this opportunity to run up to Adam, grabbing him by the collar of his shirt.

“I… I don’t even know what to say to you.  What about…” Brandon felt as though he was about to come to tears.  “What about…?”

“Brandon-”  Adam placed his left hand on his friend’s shoulder.  “Like I said, I’m sorry. I… lost my cool. I couldn’t hold it in.  But it’s true, I can’t be on the same side as him. So, I’ll see what I can do.  If I die, then it’s my fault for getting too emotional.”

“You’re not going to die!  I’ll-”

“Sir, the readings come back negative.  Does this boy really…”

Rizzo seemed pleased with the Brown Suit’s response.  “Yes, soldier. It seems this boy’s Ability does not have phantonic values involved with its structure.  I felt the same feeling in his attack that Psycho Matter had.”

Adam was astonished.  “He knows that Alexander guy?”

“Since that seems to be the case, then I’ll make a deal with you, Adam Grayson.”

Adam brushed Brandon off and approached Rizzo, his eyes still lit up.  

“What kind of a deal?”

“It’s difficult to raise an Ability like yours in the curriculum we have at Unity.  So, that’s not where you’re going to go. In fact, you’re free. Free to do what you please.  However, you must leave this town, and abandon every living person close to you.”

“What the?  Why would I do-”

“Cause the people around you are promising.  You may be the most promising of all, from what little I’ve seen today.  But with an Ability like that, it doesn’t bode well for their development.  It has unknown properties, seeing as though Code 2819 was negative. I don’t want it interfering with Unity’s development.  I could always send you to a lab, but I’ve tried that before, and it’s not how to go about this sort of thing.”

“I can’t leave them!  They’re the reason I want to take you down!  I want them to live a peaceful life, without having to do your bidding 24/7!”

“Adam…”  Pam felt tears form up in her eyes.  “You’re going this far… for us?”

Emma slowly approached the scene, standing near Brandon.

“I… relate to that, actually.”

“Huh?”  Brandon looked at her curiously, seeing as though she was keeping her voice down.

“I know how much this job has messed up my mother, and I worry that Faith’s going to end up dealing with the same thing.  So, Ability or not, I want to join Unity to be by their side. And…”

“And… what?”  Brandon asked with an unnatural amount of compassion in his voice, while Emma struggled to get the words out.

“I know what he’s done.  Mom’s told Faith and I everything.  I don’t blame Adam at all for slugging the guy.  I would love to do the same.”

“Such interesting goals all around.”  Rizzo snickered. Emma looked up in shock as he was looking directly at her.  

“I… I… how did he?”

Rizzo took a step toward Emma, as Brandon got in front of her and raised his guard.  Adam did the same, putting up his left arm in between Rizzo and his friends.

Brandon approached Adam, cautiously patting his shoulder.  He gritted his teeth and pointed directly at Rizzo.

“Don’t even think of messing with her.  You do, and I’ll be the one to take you down!”

Adam panicked, holding Brandon back after the clear threat to the man.  “Brandon, stay back! You-”

“You’ve got spunk, kid.  I’ve had some spunky fellows in Unity before.  In fact, Pamela’s late husband was quite the character if I recall correctly?”

“Rizzo…”  Pam let her anger rage inside of her, yet kept her worry of the current situation on the outside.

“You’ve been around these people for awhile.  Ability or not, your phantonic energy could potentially be quite powerful.  How about it? Want to join Unity?”

“Don’t get anyone else wrapped up in this.”  Adam demanded. He then felt his friend’s hand on his back.  As he looked, Brandon gave Adam a huge grin. After a moment, he walked right up to Rizzo.

“Sure, I’ll join.”

Adam was shocked.  Before he could say anything, he heard Emma make a small yelp.

“Emma, what’s wrong-”

Turning to her, he immediately looked back at Brandon due to a crackling sound.  He now had electricity emitting out of his body, almost to the point where it made contact with Rizzo.

“And don’t worry, I have an Ability.  I call this thing ‘Shepherd Surge’. You wanna use it?  Fine, be my guest.”

Adam was speechless.  All he could do was raise his hand toward his friend, not knowing what to say at what he had just done.

Rizzo grinned.  “Electricity? Well now, that’s a very interesting Ability you’ve got there.  Also, it was rather smart of you to come forward with it.  Unity would have had to arrest you if we found out any other way-”

“I’m not smart.”  Brandon interrupted Rizzo, turning off his Ability.  He glanced back at Adam. “I’m naive, like you said, Adam.  I have much to learn. And I’m willing to dive headfirst into everything so I can learn more.  So that I can fight by your side when the time is right.”

“Well, this has been quite the eventful day.”  Rizzo walked over to his coat on the ground and put it back on.  “After all the bad news about last night, I sure did learn quite a lot.”  Rizzo pointed at Brandon.

“Very well.  You may start orientation when Faith Roswell and Winona Collins start theirs in a few weeks.  Pamela-” He looked over at Pam, who had an empty look in her eyes at this point. “Make sure you make all the necessary preparations for the boy.”

“Yes, sir.”  Pam answered apathetically.  Thomas poked the side of her face, snapping her back into reality.

“You okay?”

“No, I’m not.  This is too much.”

Rizzo gathered the Brown Suits surrounding the parking lots, and ordered them to prepare for departure.  He then focused his attention to Adam.

“Adam Grayson.  11 AM tomorrow morning, you must leave this place.  I don’t care where you go, or what you do, but you may not have any help from your friends.  They need to be monitored carefully, so their potential isn’t ruined by your unknown capabilities.”

“Fine.”  Adam responded bluntly.  “Also, is this what you did to Alexander Strauss?  His power has mystery behind it as well, so did you send him away from everyone?”

“Oh?  You know him?  Interesting. But yes, although I do get him to do a few odds and ends for me.  It’s part of our deal. You have yet to ruin anything of mine, so you have the amount of freedom that you currently have.  But get in the way of Unity, or obtain any help from your friends, and that will change.”

Rizzo finally walked to one of the vehicles, opening the door.

“Will you survive?  Will you perish? It all depends on how valuable that Ability of yours really is, and if it wants you to remain in this world.”

Within a few seconds, the Brown Suits had drove off, leaving the police station at last.  It was as if they were never there. Yet, they were. And they left their mark.

 

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Chapter 1.18: So Many Questions

New chapter! This will be the first chapter that I’ll straight up put right here on the chapter release post, so enjoy!

 

“Adam… hey, Adam!”

Brandon’s voice echoed inside Adam’s head.  He had told Brandon on countless occasions to only wake him up if there was an emergency.

Adam opened his eyes, ready to grab a hold of Brandon’s throat.

“Dude!  You’re awake!  What the hell happened to you!?”

“Huh?”  Adam’s hand lowered, falling onto his chest.  It was then he noticed the state of his clothing and how torn apart it was.  

Then it all came rushing back to him.  He jolted upward, almost smashing his head against Brandon’s.

“Shit!  What did happen!?  I’m alive!?  I’m back in my house!?”

Brandon took a few steps back, uncomfortable with the unusual amount of energy his friend was displaying.

“You went somewhere?”

Adam was breathing heavily, trying to gather his thoughts.  Brandon approached him, making sure he was alright.

“I… yeah.  A lot happened.  I need to tell you guys about it.  But, uh… what are you doing here?”

“We’ve been trying to find you since last night!  Did you get caught up in all the shit that happened in town?”

“Huh?”  Adam moved to the edge of the bed.  “I… no. I was kidnapped, and-”

“Kidnapped!?  Huh!?” Brandon let out a large sigh.  “Well, come out into the living room. Jerry’s out there.  Before we discuss everything… there’s something more important we have to deal with.”

“A- alright…”  Adam stood up, following Brandon out into the hallway.

“Something happened here?  Did Muraco come back after I got dragged into the portal?”

As the two entered the living room, Adam noticed Jerry sitting in what had become his chair.  Although this time, he was not on his laptop. He had his focus on something else. Adam looked over to the couch, his eyes widening.

“Charlotte!?  Are you okay!?”  Adam rushed over to her, realizing that his body ached from the sudden movement.  Charlotte was sweating and breathing heavily. She looked up at Adam, returning his concern.

“Adam… thank goodness.  You’re okay. I was worried that those guys got to you while we were off fighting in the forest.”

“What!?  Those Derek and Chris guys?  Did they come back? Is that why you’re in that state right now?”

“Not them…”  Charlotte coughed a few times before continuing.  “Although, the person who I fought seemed to be working with them.  He’s the reason why I’m weakened… I used up a lot of power.”

“Something… entirely different happened to me last night.”  Adam sat down next to the couch.

“Yeah, he said you were kidnapped!?”  Brandon turned from Adam to Jerry. “What the hell?  Both sides seems serious. But first… what do we do about Charlotte?”

Jerry was silent, clearly deep in thought.  Brandon looked at the couch, concern all across his face.

“She needs some rest, that’s all.”  Adam reassured him. However, Brandon shook his head.

“No dude… it’s more complicated than that.”

Before Adam could respond, Charlotte let out a small yelp.  Adam quickly turned his attention to her, noticing that for a moment, she had become completely invisible.

“It’s… tough to remain in the world of the living.”  Charlotte paused for a moment to steady her breathing.  “Even with my blood, it’s turning out to be too difficult.  I think…”

Adam knew what Charlotte was about to say, yet could not prepare himself for it.

“…I think I might disappear…”

“No!”  Adam quickly grabbed her hand, surprising her.  “Everything is just beginning! We’re gonna figure out the secrets behind your lost memories!  Behind the World Mirror! We’re gonna stop whatever bad nonsense happens in the future!”

“Yeah… I know.  That’s what I want to do, obviously, but I’m not sure if-”

Brandon suddenly shouted, tipping and falling onto the floor.

“Uh, Adam?  What are you doing!?”

“Huh?”  Adam had no idea what Brandon was talking about.  The frightened boy slowly pointed at the ceiling. A mass of blue energy had emitted itself from Adam, floating high above his head.

Before anyone in the room could respond, the bizarre aura descended, and merged with Charlotte.  Adam tried to swat it away, but it had already done its job. Charlotte gasped loudly, as if she was impaled by a sword.

“Dammit!  Dammit!  What’s happening!?  Why is so much random shit happening!?  I”

Charlotte raised a finger in Adam’s face, silencing him.  She had a dazed look on her face, yet had seemed to calm down from her previous symptoms.

“That… wasn’t your power, was it?  Someone gave that to you, right? What happened to you last night?”

Adam paused, glancing at Brandon and Jerry.  The three sighed simultaneously, expressing both relief for Charlotte, yet annoyance at everything happening.  Jerry pulled out his laptop, seemingly out of nowhere.

“Yeah, let’s catch each other up, please.”

 

“Al!?  Is that really you!?  You’re actually home!?”

An irritating voice awoke Alexander from his slumber.  He was facing a ceiling that seemed somewhat familiar to him.  Before he could move to investigate, a face had block his vision.

“Al, are you okay!?  Your clothes are a mess!  What kind of stuff has Rizzo been making you do now?”

“Laura, get out of my face.”  Alexander pushed his younger sister off of him.  She immediately retaliated, going back to where she just was.  This time, her long, curly hair that matched Alexander’s filled his face.  

“No, not until you tell me what happened!  You never come home, and I find you collapsed on the couch this early in the morning with clothes all torn up?”

“Don’t ya have something else to do?  You need to get ready for college, yeah?  I know it’s all a cinch for ya, but ya gotta at least pretend to show some effort.”

“Hmph!  I’ve been doing college work for a few years now.  Actually starting isn’t gonna be that much different.  Why can’t you tell me what happened?”

“Cause, it doesn’t concern you.”  Alexander sat up, as Laura moved onto the cushion next to him.

“You… you don’t have to keep protecting me, you know.”  Laura paused for a moment. “I’m an adult now, so you don’t have to-”

“Ya know this is more serious than that.  This is the deal he and I had between each other.  I keep investigating the disturbances the Nexus Network is causing to form using my Psycho Matter, clearing any spirits that are around here in the Blue World.  Ya stay alive, capable of doing all your research, just like good ol’ mommy and daddy did.”

“It still doesn’t make any sense… simply clearing the spirits won’t help fix the issue the network’s causing.  Why isn’t he…” Laura clenched her hands. “Why isn’t he using you for something else?”

“Yeah, it’s all pointless for me.”  Alexander smirked. “He’s just trying to get some kind of bullshit information out of it.  I go to report all the calculations I took, yet nothing changes. Obviously it’s to try and hold be back from getting stronger.”  Alexander stood up, starting to chuckle.

“He’s scared of what I am!  And you’re too vital toward Phantonic research for him to off you!  I could just charge into his office and end all of this right now!” He paused, slowly pointing toward Laura.

“Yet… that’s not how it works.  I might have great power, but as things are at the moment, Rizzo has absolute power.  That’s what I need… absolute power.  I can’t risk the chance that he’ll still come after you if I make a move.”

“I… I’ll get stronger!  I’ll-”

“Ya just keep doing your research, ya smart ass.  I’ll work on what I need to do. Once I understand how my Psycho Matter truly operates, Rizzo is dead.  All the Brown Suits are dead. Anyone who fucks with me and my sister are dead.”

Alexander started walking away, entering a hallway to the left of the couch.  Laura sprang up, clearly pissed off.

“And where do you think you’re going!?”

“Gonna shower.  I smell like shit.”

As she watched her brother enter the shadows, Laura flopped back down on the couch.

“Why do you have to deal with all of this on your own…?”

Alexander slammed the bathroom door behind him, leaning against the door.

“I wonder if that kid survived… he was looking to be a great source of info.  Yet… what happened at the end there…” Alexander gritted his teeth.

“It might be a reach, but… if it’s how I think it is… Rizzo might not be the only one with absolute power right now.”

 

Adam was walking toward Prelude’s police station at a quick pace.  Brandon followed close behind, as well as Jerry who was struggling to keep up.  Adam took out his phone and look at a message he had just received.

“Faith and Winona are okay.  They’ll probably be coming home later tonight, actually.  They just need to go through some questioning about what went down.”

“Well, that’s a relief.”  Brandon glanced over his shoulder to see Jerry, who had his phone out as well.  “Did you find anything?”

“There’s nothing on the news about what happened here at all.”  Jerry responded. “The main headline is the weird light that appeared above Nexus City last night.  And they’ve already concluded that it was some kind of… joint test? By the Requien Military and Unity?  Haven’t heard that one before.”

“Did I really use that much power as to where it was seen in the real world?”  Adam seemed somewhat fidgety. I noticed that my power ripped right through the Blue World… and then everything went dark.”

“This ‘Blue World’ you mentioned…”  Jerry put his hand on his chin. “I’ve honestly never heard the phrase before.  And that Alexander Strauss guy… I’m not sure who that is. Although the last name is familiar…”  Jerry shuddered for some reason.

“Well, I was in some kind of bizarro world, that’s for sure.  And the guy had some kind of powerful Ability… he grabbed me right through this portal that formed and dragged me right in.”

“-after a mutant white rabbit kidnapped you?”  Brandon did a quick chuckle. “Honestly… stuff is starting to seem more and more believable.  We always knew weird things like Abilities existed, but after seeing all that sort of stuff up close for almost a month now?  It’s changes ya.”

“It has been crazy…”  Adam sighed. “We gotta be careful.  I’m not sure what that weird bunny’s gonna do next.  He was keen on throwing me into that Blue World, so maybe he thinks that seeing me go in means his job is done?”

“Are you sure leaving Charlotte alone is a good idea?”  Jerry looked back toward the other side of town. “What if something happens?  The stuff about him against the Ouderkirk family does raise some questions for me.”

“Charlotte wanted to make sure she got some rest.  Before I could say anything, she passed right out. Guess that weird power’s gotta sink in.”

“Right…”  Jerry put his phone in his pocket.  “You two keep heading to the police station.  I’m gonna go check on how my home computer’s doing at processing something.  Be careful though, I’m sure Unity’s swarming the place right now.”

“Alright.  And don’t worry, right now we’re just some innocent kids.”  Adam reassured Jerry.

“Innocent?  I’m not sure about that one.”  Jerry laughed, waving at the two before walking off to his house nearby.

Adam and Brandon continued to their destination, which was only another minute away.  Jerry’s hunch was correct. Several SUVs with the infamous blue “U” on the side were parked in front of the station.  

As the two approached the front door, they encountered two male guards standing outside.  They wore brown from head to toe; brown suit, brown pants, and brown shoes. Outside of this, they wore a light blue tie that had Unity’s symbol on it in black, along with strange brown cyberpunk-styled goggles with blue lenses.

“Brown Suits?  Shit, they’re actually seriously investigating this…”

“What business do you have here?”  The guard on the left asked with a stern voice.

Brandon stepped back slowly, clearly nervous.  “Oh, uh! N- nothing! We were just passing through is all-”

“We’re here to see Pamela Roswell.”  Adam responded to the guard with no hesitation.

“She is currently in a meeting with Mr. Rizzo.  No outsiders are allowed into the police station until the meeting, as well as the events that transpired last night, are investigated thoroughly.”

“Rizzo’s here!?”  Adam started to get angry.  

Brandon grabbed Adam’s shoulder.  “See? She’s in a meeting right now!  We can talk to her after-”

“Do you even know how your leader acts?  The things he does?” Adam asked the two Brown Suits bluntly.  “Working so close to him… you have to know, right?”

“Young man, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the premises at once.”  The guard on the right spoke up, as both began to raise their guard.

Brandon in the meantime started swatting Adam’s shoulder repeatedly.  “Dude, come on! Let’s not start something!”

“Brandon.  If he’s in there with her, I can’t just sit back and wait.”

“What the hell are you talking about?  They just said it’s a meeting-”

“You’re naive, Brandon!”

Brandon stood in shock at his friend’s words.  Adam turned and glared back at him, yet his eyes were different.  It looked as though Adam was about to break down and cry.

“Young man, if you have some sort of hatred toward our leader, then you are allowed to put in a complaint at our office in Nexus City.  However, with direct threats, we will show no mercy. Leave, now.

Adam felt the World Mirror rising to the surface.  He knew that he should not use it, as everything would fall apart the moment he did.  Yet, the burning fury within him told him to just do it.

Before Adam came to a decision, the front doors of the police station opened up.  A tall, giant man came out, his jet black hair almost rubbing against the head jamb.  His empty green eyes glared down right into Adam’s.

“What seems to be the problem here?”  The man scratched at his face, which was covered in scars.  They extended downward, and one could assume that there were more hidden underneath his black coat.

“Sir, this boy here, he-”

“Your eyes are gray…”  The man bent down, getting close to Adam’s face.  Adam could not help but freeze.

“No… they’re a certain kind of gray.  Yes, they match her eyes… you’re Adam Grayson, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s me.”  Adam responded, taking care not to get too riled up.

“It’s a pleasure to finally meet you.  Elliot Rizzo, Leader of Unity.” Rizzo extended his hand out.  Adam hesitated, yet decided to shake his hand in return.

“It’s thanks to your mother’s efforts that we’re here today.  Great ruin could have fallen upon this country, yet she made the noble sacrifice to save all of us.”  Rizzo gave a creepy grin. “She was easily one of the greatest fighters Unity ever had, without a doubt.”

“So I’ve heard.”  

Rizzo smirked.  “That’s right. You were just a baby when it happened.  I apologize that you never got to know her. Truly, she was magnificent.  Many people, including myself, thought that she had something in her blood that made her so powerful.”

Before Adam could say anything, Pam walked up behind Rizzo, as well as Thomas.

“Jerry’s dad?  What are you doing here?”  Brandon seemed surprised at his appearance.  

“They needed my help with some data that was collected last night.  You do know I just recently became a doctor on the side, right? Phantonic technology is what I’m really good in.”

“Damn!  How is the Peck family so damn smart!?”

Rizzo chuckled.  “You make a good point, young man.  Perfect timing, as it relates to what I was just discussing.”  He walked past Adam and Brandon, raising his hands up to the sky.

“This world is filled with so much mystery.  Not just regarding phantons and their counterpart, chaons.  The world goes so much deeper than that. For example, let’s take Adam’s mother and Thomas here.”  He pointed at the group.

“How can one hold such great skill in combat?  How can one possess such limitless knowledge? I feel like it’s something that goes beyond what the phanton can do!  Thomas’ son is pretty gifted as well, correct? I think it could be something within our genetics… within our own flesh and blood.”

“Where are you going with this?”  Adam asked, gritting his teeth at how much enthusiasm Rizzo was showing.

Rizzo nodded at Adam, and turned to Pam.

“Pamela.  Mind if I test how this boy is in a fight?”

 

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Chapter 1.17: What a Hand Can Hold

New chapter! After about of week of nothing after those strong days of chapter releases, it is back. Enjoy!

Read here: Chapter 1.17

From now on I’ll also be posting links to stuff at the bottom of each chapter release. So, that’s what that is down there v

 

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