Updates to Patreon Tiers

Recently, I got rid of a few of the tier I had on Patreon, leaving only two remaining: The Red Apple and Golden Apple tiers. I mixed certain benefits in that were in higher tiers into these, and also made a few new ones.

This post is to inform everyone that I am now changing the prices of the tiers, including the main one, the Red Apple tier. I had it set to $1, yet I learned today that it would be better to boost this up to $2. The reason? Processing fees. It’s cheaper to have a $2 tier as opposed to a $1 tier. The second tier, the Golden Apple tier, is now at $4 for all the benefits included in that one.

I’m also going to get rid of Patreon goals for the time being. I think once I begin to gain traction on Patreon, I’ll create goals that I think are appropriate.

Check out my Patreon to see the benefits you can get!

Chapter 2.18

About an hour later, Faith sat on the edge of a bed in the infirmary. She looked down at her hands, where her fingers were covered in bandages.

Liz walked up to her, showing that her entire right hand was wrapped up as well. “Your flames were really impressive, Faith! There’s still plenty of room for your control over them.”

“Yeah… It’s funny. Before, if I managed to get hurt by a flame, I would be freaking out looking at the wound. Now though… I’m a lot more at peace with myself.”

“It just shows how much you’ve grown! Listen, I’m sorry about going rough on you guys, but I—”

Liz was interrupted by loud snoring that began to echo throughout the room. Faith turned around, facing the bed next to her where Winona was resting. She was sound asleep, even bearing a grin on her face.

“She definitely tired herself out.” Faith giggled quietly. “Looks like she’s peaceful…” She looked toward the other side of the room, where Brandon was currently lying unconscious in a bed of his own. “Brandon on the other hand…”

He was giving off a grimace of pain, while Paul sat beside him with concern in his eyes. “This guy did way too much. Hopefully, he’ll feel better soon…”

Faith stood up and walked over next to Brandon. She leaned in close to get a better look at his condition. “Brandon… His breathing isn’t right…”

“Hey, don’t worry about him.” Liz placed her hand on Faith’s shoulder. “You know, you should be getting some rest as well. I’m surprised you’re not already knocked out.”

“Right… That’s probably a good idea.” Faith accepted Liz’s suggestion, flopping down on her own bed. She rolled over to face the ceiling, wanting to review everything that had happened that day, but couldn’t—her body wouldn’t let her. Faith’s eyelids slowly closed, and she was asleep in seconds.

 

Adam’s eyelids slowly opened, staring at the ceiling above him. It took him a moment, but he realized it was the ceiling to their room in the hotel. He rose, having his memories come back to him involving what occurred prior to this. As he remembered the tunnel, the barrier, and the girl he saved, Adam froze. There was something in front of him that required his attention.

He wanted to look away, but could not. A little girl stood on the bed a few feet in front of him. However, it couldn’t possibly be the girl he saved. This girl, this thing was utterly grotesque, a green slime oozing from her rotting body. She had no eyes or teeth—her mouth hanging wide open. A foul, rancid smell plagued Adam’s nostrils—he covered his nose, backing up and smacking his head on the wall behind him.

“Hey, what’s wrong?”

Adam looked up a second time. The horrific sight was no more, and a normal, non-demonic girl now stood there. It quickly dawned on him that he knew this girl. She was not only the girl he saved from that strange void, but she happened to be the same one that he saw in Ann’s back when this all began.

“It’s… It’s you…?”

“Adam, what are you doing?” Charlotte walked over to the side of the bed, hands on her hips. “You’re gonna scare her.”

“You were in the store that night…”

“Huh?” Charlotte was curious as to what Adam was talking about. The girl has a questioning look as well, sitting down on the bed.

“Brown hair and eyes… pigtails… suspenders… Yeah, it’s gotta be you, from that night! Charlotte—she’s the girl I was talking about!”

“Wait—for real!? That one you said initially activated your World Mirror that night!? What kind of odds?”

“Um…” The girl wanted to speak. Adam and Charlotte turned to her. “I’m not sure what you’re talking about, mister… But you saved me from that darkness—I know that much. So… T-Thank you!”

“I did…?” Adam looked down at his hand. “I’m not sure how I did… or if I did to begin with, but at least you’re safe, whoever you are.”

The girl grinned. “I’m Lucy!”

“Lucy, huh? Got a last name?”

“I… Um… I’m not sure. I can’t remember…”

“Are you serious…?” Adam sighed. “Not another one…”

“I think Lucy’s issues with her memories are a lot more justified in her case.” Charlotte stated.

Adam looked at her with curiosity on his face. “Huh? What’s that mean?”

“Well, she’s a ghost…” Charlotte gestured toward Lucy, who had started to float in mid-air.

“I know that from meeting her in the store—hey, be careful! Don’t go phasing through the ceiling!”

“I’m fine, I’m fine!” Lucy responded, laughing in enjoyment.

“Well—” Charlotte continued. “Lucy’s… I’m not sure how—or why—but she’s as strong as I am. She’s clearly not an Ouderkirk, yet she has enough power to keep her form without it dissipating.”

“What the hell…?” Adam glanced at the girl, now flying around the room pretending to be an airplane. “Was that the reason she was there in the basement…? No, that doesn’t make sense. I saw her way before we even knew about that room.”

“Muraco and I… have actually come up with a theory for that.” Charlotte said, her voice slightly cracking. “After all that energy vanished, you and Lucy emerged, both unconscious. Before we got out of there, we took a look in the coffin…”

Adam’s eyes widened. “Don’t tell me…!?”

“It wasn’t her body. Well—I should say—it no longer is. The chaonic energy had built up for so long, it turned her remains into dust…”

“Chaonic energy…? Yeah—I’d say it’s gotta be related to the Night of the Half Moon, for sure.”

“What exactly is the Night of the Half Moon? I can vaguely recall it from my investigation, but you’ve said it a few times now…”

“The Fisher family—” Adam began to explain. “They owned a farm not too far from here. An odd family from an outside perspective, but nothing too out of the ordinary. However, there was darkness there. Horrible darkness. They had molded their family into a cult over several years, performing various rituals and sacrifices to gain power…”

“Sacrifices…?”

“They would give birth to children merely to sacrifice them… It had something to do with the ‘purity’ of phantons within newborns, and that was vital to what they were attempting to accomplish.”

“Are you serious…?”

Adam nodded. “They got to the point though where they were incredibly weakened using this method. They got desperate, since they were so close to achieving their goal. So… they went on to kidnap local children. That’s how they ended up getting caught.”

“…Do you know what their goal was?”

“It was something chaonic—that much was obvious. Whatever it was… they did manage to create it, for a short amount of time. And in that time… it caused lots of damage. As well as… kill my mother.”

“Adam…” Charlotte tried to move the topic away from that. “Do… Do you think Lucy was one that was sacrificed? You said newborns, though…”

“That is odd—hey, Lucy.” Adam got the girl’s attention. She immediately flew over and landed on her feet. “Do you remember anything surrounding your death?”

“Adam! You can’t be so blunt! What if she isn’t aware that she’s—”

“Oh, it’s okay, Charlotte!” Lucy gave her a thumbs up. “I already know… and I’m sorry, but I don’t remember much about it…”

“That’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” Adam stood up and patted Lucy’s head while walking by. She was silent for a moment, then giggled a little.

“What’s the plan, Adam?” Charlotte asked him.

Adam began to stretch. “Well, I guess we found out what was down there inside the barrier. I suppose… we can head back to Prelude and see if those guys can figure out Lucy’s background?”

“I think that’s probably our best bet right now. They should be able to uncover information that we would be unable to by ourselves.”  

“Lucy, do you want to go with us?” Adam asked, turning to her. “I’m… not really sure what you would do otherwise? But I think it would best to keep you safe, regardless.”

“Sure!” Lucy responded cheerfully. “I don’t know what I’d do either! I’m just here right now…”

“I was thinking…” Charlotte started to speak. “If I, an Ouderkirk, has issues with her memory, then I’d assume Lucy would have an even bigger issue. That is, if we take into account that phantons record memories and that memories have been erased to help keep our forms stabilized.”

“That could be a possibility… although, I’m assuming in your case there’s a lot more to it than just that. Considering the World Mirror, and everything…”

“Right…” Charlotte sighed. “I’m tired of not knowing anything.”

“I’m tired in general. But… we can’t let up. We have to keep going. We’ve got to get all this stuff figured out.” Adam clenched his fist. “Now, I’ve been wondering. Where the hell has Muraco been!?”

“He’s been—”

“I’m back!”

They turned toward the door, where Muraco hopped out from the shadows.

“Bunny! You’re back!” Lucy hopped at Muraco, grabbing a hold of his ears.

“H-Hey! Watch it! My ears are sensitive!”

“That’s good timing. I’ll ask you myself—Muraco, where have you been?”

“Charlotte didn’t get a chance to tell you anything? I’ve been keeping an eye on the activity around here ever since we busted that barrier.”

“Oh yeah? Did you see anyone?”

“Yeah… I sure did. Unity definitely found out. Brown Suits are starting to swarm into town. Think this could keep them away from Prelude?”

“It might… for a bit. We should get back as soon as we can.” Adam sat back down on the bed. “We’re sandwiched right now… We’ve got this group we have to worry about, as well as Unity. I’ll be honest… I want to take it all on myself. I don’t want anyone getting hurt… but…”

“We won’t let you do that,” Charlotte assured him. “We’re all in this together.”

“I know… That’s good though. Cause I certainly have no idea how I would do this on my own.”

“It’s all about teamwork!” Lucy cheered.

“Yeah…” Adam smiled softly. He glanced over at Muraco. “Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Huh? What is it?”

“For a third time, I’ve seen something freaky when you’re around. You say you don’t have an Ability like that, so I’ll trust you. But… Do you know why it’s been happening? Any clue?”

“Hmm…” Muraco pondered the question. “The only thing I can think of—an Ability that I don’t know I have? And it seems to only trigger for you, for some reason? Another World Mirror thing, perhaps?”

“That wouldn’t surprise me. This thing’s chock-full of mystery.” Adam shrugged. “Anyway, we ready to sneak outta here, Charlotte?”

“Yeah. I’ll phase deep underground, then we can move and pop up in Prelude without issue!”

“Y-You think that will have no issue? How can you tell where you’d be that far underground!?” Adam questioned with unease.

“Don’t worry, I got it.” Charlotte grinned, almost sinisterly.

“How…? How can you be sure we won’t end up caught in the dirt or anything? Charlotte? …Charlotte?”

Lucy ran up to Adam and grabbed his hand. “No need to worry! We just gotta wing it!”

“Y-You should be worried… You have your whole life ahead of—wait, no you don’t. Uh…”

Charlotte giggled, holding Lucy’s shoulder. “That’s something Adam would say, minus the enthusiasm. Isn’t that right?” She glanced at him. “Don’t worry so much. You always worry when there are others involved.”

“Muraco, say something?” Adam turned to look at the rabbit who was keeping his distance from the scene.

Muraco responded with a simple shrug.

Adam at that point could only sigh.

 

The man sat in his wooden chair in the shadows of the run-down building, holding his glass of whiskey with one hand and his head with the other. In the dimly lit part of the room opposite of him, a black mass floated slightly above the floor—it’s duck-face mask looking at the clearly stressed out person.

“Are you okay?” The figure asked him—voice eerily echoing against the worn-out walls.

“Of course not. I was convinced that the room was simply those bastards keeping information about that night locked up. A lot of things that happened are highly confidential, after all. But… that’s what was down there…?”

“It’s quite interesting… Not only did that man manipulate Unity to place that down there, but to go to such lengths… to make you suffer?”

The man chuckled. “That’s what it seems like. Even if we were to figure out how to capture this wandering key of ours, we would have had to face what was in that room for it to even be useable.”

“Then you should be thanking Adam. His Ability seemed to destroy the barrier without much of a commotion. The power needed normally—we concluded—would have brought that city of Minuet to ruin. I couldn’t even get inside using my phantom energy—it was quite the obstacle.”

“I don’t care about the how—all I care about is the result. Our key now has a stable form. Before anything else happens, we need to secure it.”

“Right, right.” The shadow cackled. “What’s our next move then, leader?”

“They’re returning to Prelude, it seems. Hmm… They’re lucky they have such an easy way to move around—it’s certainly helped us.”

“You’re talking about me, aren’t you? Oh, you don’t have to praise me. We’ve known each other for so long, after all.”

“I’ve told you, I still can’t trust that statement completely. Although, I’ll keep calling you Jason, for the time being.”

“Hey—I’m not even sure of it myself. So it’s only natural for you to have your doubts about my origin.”

“Anyway—regarding our next move. I think it’s about time we use her.”

“Oh!?” The figure seemed highly enthused. “Really!? We’re going all out!?”

“I think it’s the time to do so. Look at what these people have been doing. So many defiant characters running around—Rizzo won’t know which direction to focus on. His bullshit ‘reign’ will come crashing down soon enough. If not by us, then maybe this silly ‘Twine’ group can do it.”

“So you don’t want us to destroy them? It’s only natural you wouldn’t want to.”

“I don’t care. I just want the key in our possession. I can’t trust it with anyone else. The power that’s behind this seal… It has the power to change everything.”

The door to the room swung wide open, almost falling off its hinges. Carl casually strolled inside.

“It sure does! Sorry—I’ve been listening.”

“I know—I could sense you.” The man sighed. “How’s it going, Carl?”

“Well, I’m excited now! We can finally get things rolling!” Carl looked down at his hand. “We can gain the power we deserve.”

The shadow chuckled. “I can finally have a human body, at last. I’m sure you’d like your body back to normal, Carl.”

“It’s never going to be ‘normal’ again. Once it restores itself, I’ll be at an entirely new plane of existence. Not only will I have perfect control over chaons—like our leader over here—the entire concept of chaons can be thrown away.”

The man smirked. “You’re really confident in those body modifications of yours. Just make sure you save me a seat. I’ll arrive at that level soon enough.”

“Of course, my friend! I’m even surprised you would think that I could reach it before you do!”

“You have lots of potential. We all do… I called this group ‘Fangless’, after all. Ones who seemed to lack any sort of power—any sort of way to fight back. Now look at us—look at how much we’ve accumulated over the years.”

“And we can finally put it to use!” Carl laughed.

The man nodded, determination filling his brown eyes. “Carl. Jason. I’m not going to waste any more time. Begins preparations. We’re taking over Prelude.”


Next: Chapter 2.19

Previous: Chapter 2.17

Table of Contents

Chapter 2.17

As Charlie’s Metal Manipulation struggled against Brandon’s Shepherd Surge, a thought crossed his mind. “Even if he can make my metal magnetic—however he’s doing it—the raw power it takes to even overwrite the values I’ve put into it… Let alone—keep it going for this long…”

The electricity crept up the metal appendages, getting closer to him. Charlie couldn’t help but laugh.

“Jerry… What kind of people are you friends with?”

Brandon’s body finally caught up to what he was doing. The lightning broke and scattered apart, causing him to collapse on his knees.

“God… God damn… That took a lot out of me… That was-was-was-was-was…!”

Speaks flew from Brandon’s head. He screamed in agony, rolling onto the ground.

“Brandon…!? Hey! What’s wrong!?” Paul dashed over to his teammate, sliding next to him.

Charlie stepped onto the ground, forming all of the metal back into its original rapier shape. He leaned down, checking Brandon’s condition.

“I see… It seems if you overexert yourself, your own Ability can mess with your neuron activity. It’s probably been charging them up this entire time, considering how you’ve managed to avoid quite a lot of attacks.” Charlie looked up toward the ceiling. “Rizzo. Can we call it here? This kid’s shown me more than enough, and I don’t want to waste my time on Paul—someone who I already know is good—with the risk of this kid’s health.”

“It’s your call,” Rizzo responded over the microphone. “He was certainly far more impressive than I thought he would be, as well. If we work on those weaknesses of his, he’ll definitely be a powerful force for Unity.”

Charlie nodded. “Paul, help me lift him up. Let’s get him out of here. Those others are still fighting, after all. We don’t want to get mixed up in that mess.”

The two picked Brandon up and began to carry him. He had a blank expression on his face—the electricity having subsided for the time being. For some strange reason, Brandon—through what little he could currently process—swore he heard a young woman’s voice cry out to him.

“I’m… fine… mom… D-Don’t… worry…”

“Brandon…” Pam stared at the monitor in front of her, having no hesitation in showing how worried she was.

“Pamela—” Rizzo turned to her. “You shouldn’t worry about that boy. After all, don’t you have more important things to worry about?” He pointed to the monitor next to the one she was looking at.

Winona had grabbed Faith, attempting to move into the island area using dirt she was using for temporary flight. Liz had been able to teleport out of her attempt to corner her and take her down—which drained a lot of Winona’s stamina.

The dirt carrying the two couldn’t last, and they fell onto one of the tiny pieces of land that were scattered about on the body of water in the southeast corner of the room.

“Gah! Sorry, Faith… I can’t get us away—”

Liz appeared, kicking Winona away from Faith, crashing into the water nearby.

“You guys seem to be getting a handle on the distance I can do with each Teleleap. If I go beyond that limit, it’ll cause strain on my body. Even though she was trying to encase me in all of that rubble, her attack covered quite a wide area. So I had to leap quite far to get out of it.”

Faith unleashed flames from her body, attempting to wrap Liz in them. Of course, she was not quick enough. Liz appeared behind her, punching Faith before she could maneuver her flames to defend herself. She fell into the water with Winona.

Faith glanced down into the depths below, noticing Winona had already been swimming back up toward the surface. Winona gave her a grin, simultaneously holding her breath. They had a plan.

The two shot out of the water, startling Liz. Faith waved her arm fiercely, sending a wide wall of flames rushing at Liz. She teleported above, rattled by the sudden updraft the fire had created.

Although this distraction was brief, it gave Winona enough time to prepare for her move. She gathered the dirt particles she usually kept close by, forming a spiraling sandstorm above her. With a flick of her fingers, Winona sent it at Liz.

Liz had no choice but to use Teleleap once again. She moved back down near the water’s surface, attempting to search for a good angle to counterattack. Faith and Winona landed on the tiny island, the latter taking the opportunity to use her Ability on it.

The island rose, breaking apart from the mass of earth hidden underneath the waves. Liz—continuing to leap around—was astonished at the sight of Winona’s capabilities.

It was Faith’s turn. She manipulated her flames around the surface of the floating island, completely covering herself and Winona within the intense heat.

“What the…? Faith’s flame’s aren’t hurting Winona…?” Liz landed on another small island, staring in awe at the sight the two were creating.

“Good job, Faith!” Winona began to pant heavily. “Now… we have a good defense. All that’s left is…!”

“A finishing blow! Right…!” It was taking all of their focus and concentration to keep their combination going. Yet, they had, in fact, created something that Liz could not penetrate.

“I’ll drop the island into the lake! It’ll distract her, then we can go all-out, shooting dirt and flames from above until we hit her!”

“This is…” Faith tried to catch her breath. “Taking quite a lot out of us…”

“It’s all we can do right now…” Winona stated—the island now approaching the ceiling. “We’re out of her league. Besides, this is great practice for us…!”

Liz smirked, cracking her knuckles. “You two sure are impressive. Using up this much power would be foolish in an actual fight, but here… You’re really showing your stuff. You two have grown so much.” She giggled. “…however, your defense only takes into account the main factor of my Teleleap. There’s another thing it allows me to do…”

Clenching her fist, Liz jumped. She began teleporting quickly, almost entirely in place. She ascended, regardless, slowly picking up speed. Faith and Winona look down at her in fear.

“What is she going to do…?” Winona questioned.

“My Teleleap can build up momentum! Which means—”

With a swing of her fist, Liz ripped right through the island, smashing it into pieces. The two girls were bewildered at what just occurred.

“…I can charge up attacks like that!”

Faith’s flames diminished, while Liz prepared a second attack right away.

“Dammit!” Winona motioned the shattered earth around them, attempting to capture Liz in her movement. Instead of leaping all over the place, she used the same technique again—building up momentum by teleporting almost entirely in place. The stones striking at her were torn apart, unable to cause any damage.

“Win!” Faith shouted in terror, as Winona was grabbed by Liz. Using her Teleleap, she moved the two of them off toward the desert area. With her descent, Faith could only watch the event unfold. She crashed into the water a few moments later, not bothering to try to brace herself for the impact.

“If… If this was an actual fight… I would have just lost Winona. The enemy could have finished her off at that moment. No—not only that, but… if they wanted to, they could have finished me off…”

Faith glanced up, staring at the light shining from above.

“I’ve… I’ve let this fear get to me for too long. I need to keep moving forward. I need to continue to grow, and become strong enough so nothing like this actually happens…!”

With her resolve set, Faith put her hands close together.

 

“Are… Are you saying I can do that trick as well!?” Faith asked her mother during training a week prior.

“I don’t see why not? I was able to pull it off with my Ability. You seem capable of drawing out loads of power with your flames—that’s key.”

“It is…?” Faith looked down at her hands.

“Your father’s Ability could cause whatever he came in contact with to spin… It was due to his Ability, that I came up with the idea for this move—”

Opening the palm of her hand, Pam created several tiny spheres of steam. They spiraled intensely, showing the raw energy that was being placed within them.

“Roswell Sphere—one of my go-to techniques. If you want to, I can teach you the basic principles. As I can create and manipulate steam, you can create and manipulate fire. I’m sure it’ll help out with your control as well!”

“You based it off of how dad used his powers…? Then, I think it’s obvious.” Faith pumped herself up. “Please teach me, mom!”

“Heh…” Pam smirked, causing the tiny sphere to float off into the sky. “I’m sure your dad would be happy to hear that.”

 

“Focus it all into one area, Faith…” A flame formed in between her hands, slowly lighting up the darkness surrounding her. “Let the flame spin, like a mighty twister…”

Through her sheer willpower, Faith concentrated her Ability into a sphere of raging flames. She couldn’t help but grin at how much she’s been able to get it under control. Not only her Ability, Flame Witch, but the fear that had plagued her for so long.

“In no way have I perfected this yet, but that’s okay… All I need to do…” She moved her hands below her—the sphere exploding with massive ferocity.

Faith shot out of the water, basically making herself a rocket. The single burst had enough force to give her temporary flight—soaring her through the air. It wouldn’t last long, which is why she prepared a second one.

In the desert, Winona attempted to stand. Liz had been pacing around, taunting her.

“It sucks, doesn’t it? You’re in such a perfect area to unleash your Ability with full force, yet you’ve exhausted yourself. You can barely move a grain of sand, can’t you?”

“You…” Winona started laughing. “You’re really acting like a villain here, you know that?”

“That’s the role I’ve gotta play! You two need to be prepared for this sort of stuff in the future. You—”

Liz turned around, hearing a loud noise from behind. Faith had erupted her second Roswell Sphere, causing her to fly toward the desert area at incredible speed.

“You’ve still got some fight in you, Faith!?” Liz grin became crazed. “I like it! To honor your resolve, let me fight right back!”

Liz leaped at Faith, building up her momentum with her Ability. The two met in the air—Flare Witch and Teleleap colliding with one another. Liz had struck at the Roswell Sphere with the palm of her hand, having built up enough force to compete with it.

Faith noticed that Liz had still been teleporting in place, continuing to build up energy. She already had difficulty keeping the sphere’s shape in the first place. With this extra pressure, Faith had no clue how she was managing.

“Faith—tell me! Why do you want to join Unity?”

“Why…?” She could begin to feel her fingers singe from her own flames. “I… I want to become someone… Someone just like the person who has saved me in the past…!”

With all her might, Faith pushed forward—the Roswell Sphere exploding against Liz’s power.

“I’m going to become a hero!”


Next: Chapter 2.18

Previous: Chapter 2.16

Table of Contents

Phantonics’ Schedule on Royal Road

I decided on a schedule. Starting today with Chapter 1.2, Phantonics will release daily on Royal Road until it catches up with the main site. Chapters will release each day at 2 PM EST. If you haven’t read it yet or have yet to catch up, reading it on Royal Road will be a great way to help you out with that! Check it out here!


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Phantonics Now on Royal Road!

Phantonics has been approved on the Royal Road, and now I can finally start posting it there! I’ll try to think of a schedule for the chapters, since I don’t want to post them all at once. I’ll make another update once I figure that out. Eventually, when it catches up to the site release, I’ll probably release them both simultaneously. For now, check out the story here!


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Phantonics Fact of the Day #6

Fact #6:

If Faith did not have to join Unity, she would have probably pursued her musical talents. She would have most likely joined a band that one of her friends (who has not yet been introduced) is the founder of.


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Phantonics Fact of the Day #5

Fact #5:

Faith is quite musically talented. She can sing, play guitar, and play piano. Faith even landed a main role in a musical during high school.


Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

Check out the Table of Contents!

Support me on Patreon! Gain access to chapters early, along with other content!


Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

Regardless of being a Patreon or not, I thank you very much for your support!

Chapter 2.16

Faith and Winona were on the field on the opposite side of the forest, with Liz standing before them. The ground was slightly lower than the area around it, indicating that the floor in the training room was not lowered.

“Faith, don’t you wonder what kind of technology they use to work this thing!?” Winona asked her.

“I do… Um… Before that though, can I ask you something, Win?”

“What is it?”

Liz crossed her arms, seemingly pouting. “I wanted to get started right away, but I guess I can let you two work out a quick strategy.”

“Thanks—” Faith turned back to Winona. “We… already have one. But that’s not what I want to talk to you about.”

“I was about to say. So, what’s up?”

“…I’ll be blunt. Why are you being so positive right now?”

Winona was silent for a moment, before letting out a heavy sigh. “Yeah. I figured you’d see through that.”

“You like to fight—I know that. But, considering everything right now… and especially what you told me happened last night.”

“You’re right. It doesn’t make sense. I kind of wanted to be positive for… Brandon’s sake, I guess?”

“That’s a good excuse.” Faith said without hesitation. “You’re usually quite cheerful, but when something bothers you, it’s easily noticeable.”

“I guess… for my own sake? Or… Cynthia’s…?”

 

“The previous evening, Winona was walking back from the restroom, heading to the room Faith and herself were staying in. On the way, she saw quite the familiar face.

“Cynthia! Hi! I thought you were out on a mission?”

“Hey, Sis… It’s orientation time, isn’t it? How are you holding up?”

“It’s fine so far. Brandon… got sort of messed up though. He’ll be all right, thankfully.”

“I see… it figures something would happen right off the bat.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s Unity, Win. Of course something would happen. Sounds a lot tamer than what happened during my orientation…”

“What happened…? You never told me.”

Cynthia snuggled up in her coat, which was clearly still too heavy to wear in the summertime. “Don’t worry about it. Just focus on what you have to do. And… try not to get hurt.”

“Cynthia… is everything okay? You’re still wearing that coat, as well…”

“I told you, I use it for training. I make wind flow down my legs, venting out all the heat—”

“No, that’s silly. I can tell you’re lying about that. What is it really for?”

“Winona… you shouldn’t be so blunt.” Cynthia sighed. “I just…”

“Just what?” Winona’s stance was firm—she was going to get to the bottom of her sister’s behavior.

“It’s just… cold. I hate the cold. No, I… I’m afraid of it…”

“Huh? Afraid of it? What do you—”

“I’ll talk to you about it when you become a legitimate Unity member.”

And with that, Cynthia walked right by her sister. Any sort of power Winona temporarily held on her was shattered—unable to figure out what to say.

Despite this, she quickly came up with the words she wanted to use.

“I love you, Cynthia…”

Cynthia stopped in her tracks. There was no movement, no sound. Just silence. The two sisters stood in the empty hallway back-to-back.  After what seemed like an eternity, Winona could have sworn she heard a sniffle.

“I love you too, Winona…”

As Winona turned toward her sister, Cynthia used her Ability to accelerate her body, moving out of sight in the blink of an eye.

“Cynthia…”

 

“Liz—” Winona stepped forward. “I’m not going to hold back.”

“Oh?” Liz beamed. “That’s what I like to hear!”

“Let’s do this, Faith.”

Faith walked up to her side, cracking her knuckles.

“Yeah!”

Before they began, the group heard a giant crash from behind them. Faith and Winona turned around, while Liz began to giggle.

“They already got started, it seems. Let’s not waste any more time!”

As Liz took the first step, Winona glanced back at her—sensing her movement. With a swift motion of her foot, the ground in front of Winona tore apart—rocks flying toward Liz.

Within a mere second, it seemed as though Winona had already landed the first blow with her Stone Rose Ability at its maximum power. Faith stared at her friend in utter amazement.

“That was—”

“That was fast, but—”

Liz had appeared behind Winona out of nowhere. Before either Faith or Winona could react, Liz grabbed ahold of Winona’s arm.

“You’ll have to be faster to beat my Teleleap!”

Jumping upward, Liz seemed to teleport herself and Winona multiple times, making progress toward the ceiling each time. She smashed her opponent into it with tremendous force—Faith not believing the amount of strength Liz had to pull off such a strike.

The dust settled, showing that Winona had taken the attack. Liz jumped back, slowly descending back toward the ground.

“Oh? You’re lucky that ceiling’s made of stone. You were able to change its properties at the last second.”

Winona stuck to the ceiling, now turned into a sandy surface. She had used it to cushion her from the blow while also keeping herself attached. Using her Ability, Winona formed four spears of stone on the side of her. She launched them with great speed at Liz, who seemed to use her own Ability to teleport out of the way. The spears struck each other, failing to make a blow.

Liz appeared back on the ground, brushing off the sand from her clothes. “Gotta be careful—don’t want you to manipulate the stuff that gets on my clothes—”

Feeling a sudden warmth, Liz turned toward Faith. Without hesitation, Faith had formed a mighty flame, which was heading directly for her. Once again, Teleleap was too quick, and managed to get Liz out of the way.

“I’m so proud of you, Faith! You’ve finally got those flames down!”

“Heh—thanks. It’s not as easy as it looks, though—”

Faith motioned her hands, like she was grabbing directly onto the flame. She whipped it at Liz, who evaded the move just as easily as before. Continuing to move the flame around, Faith attempted to strike Liz, yet was unable to, as she approached the girl cautiously with her Teleleap.

“Dammit! This flame is—”

“You’re putting too much effort into using your Ability, Faith.”

Liz had finally appeared behind Faith, holding onto her shoulder. Faith’s flame slowly diminished, while her fear took over.

“You’ve put so much focus into learning how to control your Ability, you’ve forgotten all that training you’ve done over the years. You know how to fight. An Ability shouldn’t slow you down.

Clenching her fist, flames erupted from Faith. Liz managed to teleport away from her just before she was caught.

“I know I’m focusing too much on my Ability.” Faith stated, as the flames surrounding her faded away. “That’s what I need to do right now. I’ll make sure I’ve got this Ability on a leash once I’m done with it!”

“You can form the flames around your body, huh?” Liz commented. “I’m gonna have to be careful making physical contact with—”

Liz teleported out of the way just in time, as a giant rock nearly missed crushing her.

“Winona’s back up to bat, huh?” Liz looked up toward the ceiling, expecting to see Winona sending a rainfall of stones down on her. Yet, she was not there. A second rock flew toward her—evading the technique for a second time helped Liz figured out Winona’s location.

“The city!?”

Winona stood in the window of one of the tall buildings. Using the stone from the structure, she shot toward Liz and Faith’s location. Multiple rocks were now heading directly at Liz.

“Damn, how’s her aim so good!?” Liz dodged the incoming stones, dancing around the field with her Teleleap. Thanks to her teammate’s accuracy, Faith took this time to move back while Liz remained preoccupied.

“I’m gonna have to leap over there to stop this. To think, she has this much strength with her Ability already!? It’s fine—I can use these rocks as stepping-stones, so the trip shouldn’t be too straining—”

A rock that had just missed Liz exploded, revealing Winona hidden inside.

“How did you…!?”

“Recklessness.”

Winona formed her hand into a fist. With that simple movement, all of the stone that she had scattered about gathered with lightning speed, striking Liz. The impact shook the entire room, knocking Winona and Faith off their feet.

 

“What… was that…?” Brandon stood up, having been knocked into the front of the mountain area. “Was I… Did I lose consciousness from that?” He looked at the trees in front of him, having been torn to shreds.

“I.. must have. It was only for a few moments I think, but… Dammit! I can’t keep getting tossed around like this!”

Paul suddenly appeared, flying directly toward him. Before they collided, Paul managed to do a flip in the air, barely missing his teammate. He even landed on his feet, with his eyes focused forward.

“Oh, good. You’re okay.” Paul sighed, both in relief and exhaustion. “Charlie’s giving me quite a lot of trouble.”

Before Brandon could ask how, Charlie emerged from the forest. He had wrapped the metal from his sword around his body, forming what appeared to be spider-like legs, which he was currently using to move around.

“Why the hell did you make your sword turn into that!?

“Why not? It helps me traverse through the trees easier. You should also be creative whenever you can—I believe.”

Charlie moved his hand, causing the legs to rise from the ground, proceeding to jab at Brandon and Paul. The two managed to avoid Charlie’s strikes—Brandon with his Shepherd Surge’s influence on his reaction time and Paul with his Sensory Swap.

As Charlie formed more legs, it was clear to them that they were becoming cornered quickly. The metal struck the ground multiple times, attempting to land a blow on them as they continued to evade. They moved into the mountainous terrain, using the stone surrounding them as cover.

Yet, Charlie easily slashed their defense apart, forcing them to continue to move. Brandon picked up a rock from the debris, and chucked it with great force. His aim was fantastic, flying directly at Charlie despite the commotion he was causing. It didn’t do much, as Charlie formed a slab of metal in front of himself with little effort.

“Brandon, I’m impressed, honestly. You have lots of strong points, yet you lack key fundamentals for surviving a fight!”

Charlie stabbed at the ground, focusing several legs on a single point. The impact was right in front of where Brandon was standing—the force sending him flying into a rock wall nearby.

Paul retaliated by jumping toward Charlie. As a leg aimed at him, Paul maneuvered in the air, landing on it. He slid on the leg, getting closer to Charlie himself. With simple manipulation, Charlie caused the leg to crumble apart, leaving Paul wide open.

With another leg heading right at him, Paul used his blade to smack the side of the appendage, moving him out of the way. Landing on the ground, he noticed Brandon moving out of the corner of his eye.

“There you go. You got back up already.”

As lighting shot of his body, Brandon dashed forward, flying by Paul and heading toward Charlie. Charlie sent more legs raining down on the boy, yet Brandon was capable of barely avoiding each and every one of them.

“Even if I’m in a place I know nothing about… I chose to be here. I have to keep moving forward!”

With a burst of powerful electricity, Brandon soared—kicking through several of Charlie’s metal legs with his power.

“I-I did it…! I did the thing again—” Brandon fell onto the ground, rolling multiple times due to losing his focus.

Despite losing several legs, Charlie restored them quickly, preventing him from falling over.

“I see… So that’s what you’re capable of.” Charlie smiled. “You’ve surpassed my expectations, honestly. Not bad, kid.” He raised all the metal around him, with the exception of two legs to keep his balance.

“I’ll be nice and let you turn in early, Brandon. As a veteran of the battlefield, I would feel bad for a newbie to deal with so much in one fight. I’ll be sure to keep testing Paul once you’re knocked out, though.”

Descending from above, Charlie aimed multiple legs directly at Brandon. Preparing to dodge, he quickly understood the gravity of the situation.

“They’re too fast… I can’t—”

By instinct, Brandon raised his hands in front of himself to guard against the attack. A surge of electricity erupted from them, blocking Charlie’s metal from coming into contact with him.

Paul cheered. “Nice, Brandon! See that, Charlie? Brandon’s not out of—”

Looking at his senior’s expression, Paul grew incredibly concerned.

“Charlie… Why does he look absolutely petrified?”

Charlie gulped—his eyes wide with fear.

“This entire time… I’ve taken into account his electricity. I changed the properties of the metal, to make sure it wouldn’t be magnetic. Yet… Brandon… How are you defying that…? How are you magnetizing my metal…!?”


Next: Chapter 2.17

Previous: Chapter 2.15

Table of Contents

Phantonics Fact of the Day #4

Fact #4:

In an original short story I wrote for some essay in fifth grade, Charlie was the little brother of Paul (I think) and was an evil genius. Brandon and Paul had to stop him from using his “Meat Masher” machine, which used raw meat for power (please, PLEASE don’t ask).

Volume 2 is ongoing! New chapters drop every Tuesday and Friday!

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Reminder on the Patreon goals:

$10- Helps make sure my WordPress will be covered without worry when I have to pay for it.

$25- I will begin to post analysis and explanation posts for Patreons detailing various things that occur during the story.

$50- I will begin to work on side stories for various characters, starting with Alexander Strauss.

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Chapter 2.15

Meanwhile, Brandon and Paul entered the training room, ready for the challenge that awaited them. Faith and Winona were the only other ones in there, sitting on the floor discussing something. At the sight of the two coming in, Faith sprang up.

“Brandon! How are you doing!?”

“Much better!” Brandon grinned, giving Faith a thumbs up. “I’m ready for today!”

“That’s not what you just said to me.” Paul snickered. “Didn’t you say you were scared to death about this test—”

“Hush, you!” Brandon pressed his hand against Paul’s face, silencing him. Paul smacked Brandon’s hand away.

“That’s the second time you’ve done that today. Do you like touching mouths or something?”

“Only if it’s using my lips! Uh—a-and if it’s a girl’s of course. Uh…” Brandon groaned. “Dammit!”

“Glad to see you two are getting along.” Faith smiled, shaking her head in disbelief at the same time.

Winona stood, jumping up and down. “Are you guys excited!? This is going to be fun!”

“Fun!? No! Paul just said I’m scared to death!” Brandon whined.

“Interesting. Didn’t take you too long to give up on trying to hide it.” Paul noted.

The door off to the side swung open, with two people walking out into the room. The woman to the left almost had to duck down to avoid hitting her head, covered by long curly blonde hair. Her light blue eyes glanced toward the four as she gave them a grin. The man on the right gave off an opposite aura—his lazy hazel eyes were a part of his gloomy expression. He scratched his short unkempt red hair—which gave Brandon a sense of familiarity.

“Hey, kid—” The man pointed at him. “You’re Jerry’s friend, right?”

“Y-Yeah? How do you know Jerry?”

“He’s my nephew. The name’s Charlie Peck, and I’m gonna be the guy in charge of you and Paul from this point forward.” Charlie adjusted his Unity pin on his coat, which was sloppily put on.

“I-I didn’t know Jerry had family in Unity!?”

“Oh, yeah? Jerry never mentioned it to you?” Faith asked him.

“No, he didn’t. Odd, I figured that would be something that would surely come up in conversation.” Brandon pouted, clearly upset at the information his friend withheld from him.

“Eh, don’t sweat it. You should know that kid’s busy like his dumbass father.” Charlie chuckled. The tall woman next to him suddenly jolted her arm upward with great enthusiasm.

“Are we ready!? Young Faith Roswell! Young Winona Collins! Today’s the day!”

“I knew you’d be with us, Liz!” Faith cheered, as the girls ran up to her and gave her a hug.

“They know her?” Brandon asked Paul, who shrugged at his question.

“Beats me.”

Faith turned back to the two curious boys. “This is Elizabeth Rhodes. She’s worked with my mom quite a bit, and we’ve had training with her already. She’s great!”

“Aww, Faith—you sweetheart. Brandon, is it? I heard my husband took care of you yesterday?”

Brandon was silent, with a horrified look on his face.

“…T-Trevor’s not your husband, is he…?”

Liz burst out into laughter, almost falling onto the floor. “No! Jordan! My husband! He’s the doctor here! He healed you—that’s what I meant by ‘take care of’”

“Oh… That guy. Yeah, I think I was unconscious when he fixed me up. I never saw him.”

“That’s him for ya.” Liz sighed. “He’s a shy one, that guy.”

“So completely opposite of you, it seems…” Brandon murmured to himself.

“Anyway—” Liz pointed up toward the room above. “It’s time, everyone!”

Rizzo stood in the window, with Pam standing next to him. She gave an awkward wave down to them, as Rizzo prepared to speak.

“As Unity members with Abilities, you’ve been granted quite the honor to lead this organization into any obstacle we must overcome. That’s right—for events that call for it, you will be the first on the front lines. Unity mustn’t hold back against hostility of any kind. No hesitation to go all out—that’s one of Unity’s strongest points. Therefore—” Rizzo raised his hand, facing it downward toward the group below.

“You must learn how to fight to the fullest extent your Abilities will allow you to. Everyone—prepare to descend.”

“Huh? Descend!? Like, go down!? Get our asses kicked!? Wha—”

“Brandon, relax.” Faith put her hand on his shoulder to calm him down. She pointed at the floor below, which began to shake. After a moment, it began to descend.

“W-What’s happening!?”

“The floor acts as a sort of elevator.” Charlie answered. “Don’t know why they couldn’t just build a normal elevator, but this will go down right into—”

The walls surrounding them vanished, as they lowered into an even larger room, lit up like it was outside. Brandon was in awe at the sight he was witnessing—terrain of all varieties filling up his view. He couldn’t get a good enough look as the “elevator” came to a stop, merging with the floor below.

“Welcome to Unity’s true training grounds!” Liz blurted out.

“W-What…?” Brandon was clearly terrified at the sudden change of scenery. Luckily, Faith was there to calm him down.

“We landed in a forest section—as you can see.” Charlie waved his hand around, showing the group a wide variety of trees surrounding them, some even tropical.

“It’s more like a jungle…” Winona commented. “I can’t believe how natural it feels…”

“You’ve never been down here?” Brandon asked her.

“Nope. Only official Unity members are allowed to enter here.” Winona grinned. “So—you know what that means?”

“That’s right—” Rizzo’s voice echoed from a speaker from somewhere in the large room. “You can now consider yourself legitimate Unity members. Congratulations.”

“W-Where is he!?” Brandon looked around in a panic.

“We have monitors up here that allow us to view what transpires down there. Not to worry, Mr. Shepherd. I’ll keep my eye on you.”

“That’s… creepy.” Brandon laughed nervously.

“Let me give you kids a rundown of what’s going on here—” Charlie began to pace around them. “This room is divided into several different sectors. We have the forest—or jungle—sector that cuts right through the middle of the room horizontally. The floor in the other room can also descend down here, as you’ll probably be able to tell.”

“…Who designed this place!?” Brandon sighed. “It’s freaking weird…”

“The northwest sector is mountains, northeast is a city—with some basic buildings, southeast is an ocean with various islands, and the southwest is a desert.”

“How!?” Brandon shouted. “Just how do you design it like this!?”

“Don’t underestimate the capabilities of Unity, Mr. Shepherd.” Rizzo responded to him ominously through the speaker.   

“Anyway, your objective is quite simple.” Charlie stretched his arms. “Brandon and Paul are against me, while Faith and Winona are against Liz. We fight.”

“…Until we die, or something!? You gotta be more specific than that!”

“You’re quite the character, Brandon.” Charlie groaned. “No—not until you die. We’ll stop as soon as Liz and I are satisfied with the fight. We’re getting a gauge on your Abilities, teamwork capabilities—that sort of stuff.”

“Oh, all right…” Brandon forced a smile onto his face. “Well—I’m still nervous when it comes to all of this, but I have to give this a shot, isn’t that right?”

“Don’t worry—I’ll try not to damage you as much as Trevor.” Charlie snickered, pulling out a Core from his pocket.

“W-Wait, isn’t that—”

“Faith, Winona.” Liz beckoned the two of them. “We’re gonna start in the other area. Gotta give each team their proper space.”

“Gotcha.” Faith nodded in agreement. Winona was the first one to move—following Liz toward the trees. She turned and waved back.

“Good luck, Brandon! Don’t stress over this too much!”

“R-Right…”

Before she took off, Faith placed her hands on his shoulders, looking him directly in the eye.

“Brandon. We’re doing this for Adam, remember? Not just him… For everyone. And… ourselves. We have to become strong, right?”

“Y-Yeah…” Brandon was now distracted—not from Faith’s words—but from how close she currently was from his face. Although getting past that, her words did finally sink in. “Let’s do this thing…!”

Faith grinned, nodding her head. “Yeah!”

She let go of Brandon, dashing off behind Winona and Liz toward their battleground.

With Faith’s departure, Brandon’s sense of comfort also left. For the first time since arriving at Unity, he felt truly alone.

“Alone…”

He glanced at Paul, who gave him a smile.

“You ready, Brandon?”

“I…”

A flash of blue interrupted him. The two turned toward Charlie, who had formed a silver-colored rapier from the Core.

“Don’t worry, you guys. I’ll make it dull so it won’t pierce through you.”

“Make it dull…? It looks pretty freaking sharp to me.” Brandon noticed.

I said—don’t worry, Brandon. I can see you’re going to be quite a handful…”

Brandon took another look at Paul. Although he was there on his side, the loneliness couldn’t be shaken off.

“I… Paul… He’s still new to me. This… I don’t know. It would be less scary if I had someone with me that I knew. Faith and Winona left though… It’s just me, right now. Until I get familiar with these two, it’s just me.” A thought crosses Brandon’s mind, which made him feel even more uneasy.

“Adam… Is this how you felt? When none of us could be with you… Honestly, I’ve never felt like this. Even when I was playing soccer, or another sport… I never had this sense of emptiness. What is…”

“Brandon, you ready!?” Paul shouted, which snapped Brandon back to reality. Paul reached into his pocket and pulled out a Core of his own.

“Huh?”

“Just do whatever feels right! I’ll take charge! Don’t sweat it!” Paul activated his Core, which transformed into a silver scimitar. “Here we go, Charlie. A generic Core Weapon—my go-to. Strange… shouldn’t you have a custom one made?”

“I should—you’re right.” Charlie smirked, waving his blade around. “Although, it’s not really necessary for me. After all… this can form into whatever I want!”

Charlie pointed the rapier at Paul. It expanded—shooting directly toward him. Paul swiftly blocked the jab with his weapon, although it pushed him back a few feet.

Brandon was in awe. “W-What the hell just happened!? Does he have some sort of super weapon!?”

“No—no need for that sort of thing.” Charlie retracted his weapon, pointing it at the ground. “My Ability is ‘Metal Manipulation’. It gets the point across, doesn’t it? Along with that—phantonite already reacts to phantons as is. Along with my Ability, I can make it become quite versatile.”

“Really, dude?” Brandon shook his head. “You could call it anything, yet you choose something boring like that?” He stood his ground—forming electricity around his body. “Say hello to Shepherd Surge. Once I figure out this Unity crap, it’s over for all of you!”

“What? Is your goal to fight everyone in Unity or something?” Charlie asked.

“Nah, just Rizzo—hi Rizzo!” Brandon waved up at the ceiling, assuming Rizzo was still listening in on them. “But if anyone wants to get in my way, I’ll fight them too!”

“I get it…” Charlie sighed. “You’re one of those people. Someone who wants to reform Unity. I think that’s what you’re getting at? If that’s what you’re thinking…” He raised his sword, now pointing it toward Brandon.

“Just give up.”

The blade once again extended, now aiming at Brandon. With his quick reflexes granted to him by his Ability, Brandon managed to maneuver his head out of the way just in time. Yet, the attack wasn’t over. The rapier’s shape changed—curling around Brandon’s body like it was a metal whip.

“What the—”

“See ya, kid.”

Charlie whipped the blade to the left, releasing Brandon and sending him rocketing into the forest toward the mountain area. Branches and bark from the trees scattered about, almost pelting Paul with a hail of wood. He seemed to have no trouble evading all the debris, however.

“Now that the new kid’s out of the way for the time being—” Charlie started walking toward Paul, his blade slithering around like a snake. “Let’s test how you are, by yourself.”

Paul grinned, closing his eyes and pointing his own weapon at Charlie.

“You think I’m going to let what you just did to my teammate slide?”


Next: Chapter 2.16

Previous: Chapter 2.14

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